Good morning, Flames!
There are just five days until pencils down on our musings on reality.
I would ask you today if you’ve ever had occasion to alter actual events in your memory to reconstruct reality, but if you had you wouldn’t know…
If I could do a survey, I wonder what percent of people would insist that there is one reality – one fixed set of known data about the universe – and all those who do not see it as THEY do must be mentally deranged. Probably close to 100% right? Unless we queried some crazy people. 0_o
Philip K. Dick wasn’t just an author who imagined alternate realities for his characters and the future of humanity. Outside of his fiction, he suffered from the persistent belief that the reality accepted by the common man was a version given to us by external forces that wanted to control mankind. He would regularly vacillate between the forces keeping us ignorant so that we would work to attain awareness and those same forces being motivated by the power derived by our obliviousness. PKD alternately attributed the signal he had tapped into – revealing true reality – to divine powers, alien beings, and government agencies.
He just didn’t know.
And he spent years trying to work it out. Eight thousand words later, he was no closer to an answer than Einstein came in his quest for a unifying theory of everything. (To which we now know the answer is 42. Sorry Al.)
PKD pushed this new information on everyone he knew well enough to pen a letter to, and made new friends with anyone who would listen. He believed that the books he’d written prior to his first true revelation – when the signal first broke through – came from pieces of that same signal he had unwittingly intercepted throughout his past. Then he began to use his own works of fiction as foundation material for his study of reality. What he wanted more than anything was to be heard and validated. PKD’s quest for answers was lonely, infuriating, depressing, and manic. Even the people who listened and nodded (instead of shaking their heads in denial) were on the outside looking in. Other than the rare blurt that it was all a result of having taken too many psychotropics in prior years, he never stopped believing in the signal and the message.
RicoChey asked at the beginning of the month if it was possible that the creative mind is actually a sign of mental illness. If you use PKD as the yardstick, then maybe we writers are all on the precipice of madness.
Have you ever met a person who can swiftly convince themselves of little adjustments to their reality. I don’t mean they lie convincingly to you, they lie to themselves and the next moment it becomes their truth.
I was once in a relationship with a man who had this ability. It could be a scary thing to witness. The first time I realized that he wasn’t just a stubborn liar – the first time it dawned on me that he believed his own lies completely – I was at a loss on how to handle it and it made me question every anecdote of his life he’d shared. It was never about the big stuff, but there were plenty of little things to make a case for delusional behavior.
Would you tell them that they are wrong? How do you make a case with the proof of your senses against another who is just as convinced their senses reported something different? How long until you start to wonder if they’re right and you’re deluded? Without a live camera feed recording every shared moment, you can’t. In my preferred genre of writing, it makes for an interesting character. But in the real world it makes for a terrible relationship.
Talk to me about your experiences colliding with another’s reality.
Then #gowrite while there is still time.