Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Robert Bee on Galactic Pot-Healer
Frank Bertrand pointed me to Robert Bee's article on GPH written for the Internet Review of Science Fiction, An Alien God and a Jungian Allegory, in which Bee concludes:
"The last sentence [of the novel] emphasizes Joe’s failure: the pot is awful. Joe has returned to isolation and failure, the state he was in at the beginning of the novel. The characters that remained with Glimmung are part of a group mind that makes them greater than they were before; they retain their individuality and remain in touch with their deeper collective unconscious. Joe cannot create art because he has returned to a spiritually impoverished existence. Joe is the "hero" who does not complete his quest and cannot ultimately accept the integration of conscious and unconscious. Dick’s ending is an unusual take on Jungian style allegories, but it coheres with his desire to depict ordinary people in extraordinary situations; after all, an ordinary person might be overwhelmed by the attempt to recover spirituality in the modern world."
I can only assume that, after writing this, Mr Bee placed the gun against his head and gently pulled the trigger. Besides, the question is not whether the pot is 'good' or 'awful' - it's about whether or not it has wu. I think it does. From The Man in the High Castle:
"'The hands of the artificer,' Paul said, 'had wu, and allowed that wu to flow into this piece. Possibly he himself knows only that this piece satisfies. It is complete, Robert. By contemplating it, we gain more wu ourselves. We experience the tranquility associated not with art but with holy things. I recall a shrine in Hiroshima wherein a shinbone of some medieval saint could be examined. However, this is an artifact and that was a relic. This is alive in the now, whereas that merely remained. By this meditation, conducted by myself at great length since you were last here, I have come to identify the value which this has in opposition to historicity. I am deeply moved, as you may see.'"