I'll make bones about the fact that I'm going on a total media blitz for Anne Dick's recently revised memoir The Search for Philip K Dick. I'm writing a more extensive review currently, but I want to give you guys another glimpse at the potential impact this book has on the academic study of PKD. I'm making a list of all the books that Anne mentions Phil reading - it's a long list and I'm 60 pages in. Just this afternoon I encountered this passage:
About this time I had started reading some of Carl Jung's writings. Dorothy Hudner [Phil's mother] had been deeply influence by Jung's works, and when she heard about my interest she sent of one of the beautiful Bollingen editions. Both Phil and I read it and soon we acquired and read the whole set. I thought of going to Zurich to study with Jung. I dreamt about cooking dinner for him. In the dream I opened up the refrigerator but it was filled with rotten meat. I guess it's just as well I didn't go. We listened when BBC interviewed Jung arriving in England for a visit. They asked, "Dr Jung, do you believe in God?" We were awed by his answer: "I do not believe. I know."
Phil studied Jung's volumes Alchemy and Symbols and Transformations in the Mass. He was interested in Jung's idea that a new world religion would soon arise, a religion based upon a quaternity instead of a trinity. The fourth force will be, Jung said, the force now regarded as demonic. This statement has a big influence on Phil" (60).
Well, there you go... A perfect foothold in the wall of influences any PKD scholar must confront. I've never read these books - I'm going to skim wikipedia forthwith [uh oh, wikipedia says, only: In 1944 Jung published “Psychology and Alchemy”, where he analyzed the alchemical symbols and showed a direct relationship to the psychoanalytical process. He argued that the alchemical process was the transformation of the impure soul (lead) to perfected soul (gold), and a metaphor for the individuation process.] - but I would imagine this idea of a quaternity could be read into The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (not to mention VALIS and The Divine Invasion). Who knows? The connections could be profound. I find it thrilling - like I've received a sudden bunch of leads in a long and tangled case. So much of the scholarship or coffee house speculations (if that's what you'd rather call it, I'll do you one better: bonged-out recliner ramblings) about PKD simply stab at the dark. There's a lot we know he read, but quite often people have been known to decide that PKD was influenced by a particular text. I may have been guilty, in the past, of assuming (perhaps even arguing that) PKD may have watched a particular movie.
Here in the excerpt from Anne's memoir you have solid evidence that this specific idea from Jung's text played some role in Dick's worldview (perhaps invading his subconscious and affecting his writing without his awareness). So I've added these volumes by Jung to the top of my reading list, but as I said earlier, I'm only on page 64. Perhaps more pressing research projects will emerge as I proceed.
Buy your copy today.