After a short road trip with the band to SoCal, I'm back at my copy of Galactic Pot-Healer. In fact I'm only 30 pages from the end. I was a little overwhelmed thinking about how I would write about this book. It's kinda 'floopy' -- sort of elastic and weird. Critically speaking, it's a slippery critter to cage.
Luckily, today in the mail I received (no not an invitation to raise an ancient and mysterious cathedral on a distant planet) but rather a sample copy of Rickels's I Think I Am: Philip K Dick which features a whole chapter on GPH. It may take me some time to digest it, but it looks to be good stuff. And perhaps he will help me corral these elusive thematics.
I'd also like to point to Mr Hand's comments for the previous post. He got me thinking about how the Mare Nostrum represents more than just the Freudian or Jungian unconscious, but rather seems to represent a field of experience outside our normal reality. In the dark ocean all things seem to conform to an opaque and unknowable logic. All the elements related to the Glimmung and Plowman's planet, the sacred books, the shards of pottery with pictographs, the messages from the Glimmung, ring with an air of certainty, but unfortunately, they are almost instantaneously contradicted by some other equally certain divine proclamation.
Joe Fernwright, by leaving his mundane life, is forced to operate in this state of extreme uncertainty. What he substitutes for routine is an unceasing questioning of the Universe and his own place in it. He confronts death, in the form of his own rotting, submerged, and of course talking corpse. He confronts both the Glimmung and the anti-Glimmung; this opposition suggests that one of the entities is good and the other is evil, which in turn may suggest that these are only these two spiritual forces which permeate the Universe.
What's important is that every effort Joe makes to understand what is happening around him fails, and I think all efforts to understand this unknowable field of experience are doomed to fail.
I'm also struck by how GPH reads as prescient autobiography for PKD who can be seen as our lunch-pail hero, called by the Pink Light in 1974 to a higher purpose, asked to make sense of the nonsensical. Horselover Fat, often in VALIS, interprets his 'mystical experiences' as a call to action, and yet what I suspect we will learn when a larger culling of the Exegesis is finally available is that all of Dick's visions, all of these calls to action, were unresolvable, an insistent prodding towards some act of unification, by which what is fragmented will be made whole. Think Sisyphus, but instead of a obeying a punishment for some crime, the guy pushes the rock up the hill because obscure signs (of divine origin??) on the side of the path suggest it's the right thing to do. You'd certainly read the signs differently the second time up the hill wouldn't you?