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Now Wait for Last Year: more PKD

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

wait7 “Has using that time-travel drug scrambled your wits, you don’t know you’ve got only one tiny life and that lies ahead of you, not sideways or back? Are you waiting for last year to come by again or something?”

“In a town where everything is legal, he thought, and nothing achieves worth, you are wrenched back into childhood. Placed among your blocks and toys, with all your universe within grasp. The price for license is high; it consists of a forfeit of adulthood. And yet he loved it. The noise and stirrings represented authentic life… this irritable ceaseless motion had once carried life right out of the sea and onto land.”

These are the payoff of this novel.

Plot summary.

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Categories: Media

Mindfulist 1/15: Reflect upon your present blessings…

January 16, 2010 5 comments

A-Scanner-Darkly-1…of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have  some.” – Charles Dickens

At the moment, I’m enjoying tea and Philip Dick. This kind of thing keeps me going.

Compassion in isolation. That bit of the human condition is Dick’s playground.

It is so easy to miss what’s right in front of us. Sadly that has become cliché. Many of the most direct and powerful experiential truths come across that way.

Simple to communicate, passé in expression, world-shattering in application.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Just pulling things together in another way.

Dick’s strength is his ability to communicate internal experiences. Directly, without filters. It’s why his stories involving hallucinations come across so strongly. And science fiction trappings allow him to put his characters through situations that, in a realist novel, you would have to dance around. The physical circumstances give direct access to the idea.

As for that, The Man in the High Castle and A Scanner Darkly both communicate this wonderfully without any really necessary sf tricks, beyond their settings.

This is not a review. Just a few thoughts on how they create impact.

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Categories: Media, mindfulist

Expressing the Impact of a Secular Holiday

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

So, tell me, what is the meaning of the season, as a national holiday?

Where do atheists get meaning, without a god?

The same place everyone else does; we inherit some of it, and make the rest up as we go. Or coast along, if we’re lazy. Whatever works.

This video’s a good example. Another comes from my Christmas weekend.

We watched a handful of movies. Three in particular stood out: Avatar, Julie and Julia, and Choke. I found the same take-away message in all three, which might otherwise seem drastically different.

Let’s take a look at their individual emphasis first.

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