iUniverse author John C. Woodcock’s insights on writing: Part 8

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iUniverse Blog continues the excellent series of posts from prolific author John C. Woodcock as he explores the raison d’être for the  style and form of writing of his latest book UR-image.

“A key methodological approach in producing this kind of “mad” writing is that the author takes seriously whatever phenomenon presents itself, in its own terms. The author must be able to remain “within” the phenomenon long enough so that it can teach her what it means in terms of its own logic, no matter how crazy it may sound when appraised from the categories of our current form of consciousness. The author is thus compelled to think self-presentational thoughts that defy rationality. I’ll give one example here from Dick’s book, Valis, which I also read, subsequent to writing UR-image, with enormous enthusiasm..

Dick tells us of a dream he had in which he is living with this wife:

Pre WWII Car“I have had dreams of another place myself, a lake up north and the cottages and small rural houses north and the cottages and small rural houses around its south shore. In my dream I arrive there from Southern California, where I live; this is a vacation spot, but it is very old-fashioned. All the houses are wooden, made of the brown shingles so popular in California before World War Two. The roads are dusty. The cars are older, too.”

Following the dream, which Dick accepts completely in its own terms, he begins to compare its reality with his outer reality which does not include many of the elements in the dream. He then gets a memory of his father and realizes that in his dream he is living his father’s life. From this achievement, Dick argues further that the individual contains the history not only of her personal life but of our entire race, back to its origins, back to the stars: “This is gene pool memory, the memory of the DNA.”

Final Thought?

Philip K. Dick“Now this final thought has been discovered and articulated by others. In modern times, C. G. Jung has developed a unique view of history which is very close to Dick’s, namely that we are psychologically the “outcome” of many historical transformations in consciousness, all of which may be reconstructed in our modern minds, with the correct methodology—history, as much as it is psychologically relevant to our lives, may be found “within”.  The really significant point here that I want to make is that Dick did not gain this knowledge externally, as a student of psychology might do so. He was initiated into it by the phenomenon—his dream, which he took to be as real as his waking life! His eyes were opened to another reality!

To take this line of argument a step further, we can ask what happens if, when the very categories that support our current form of consciousness break down, we stay immersed in the chaos that logically follows, as Dick does and as I did (in my case for about fifteen years or so). The process becomes mad and both Exegesis and Valis feel that way, from the perspective of our modern-day consciousness. But Dick emerges with an astounding conclusion—one that I am totally in agreement with, on the basis of my own mad immersion:  Dick discovered that a reversal in a fundamental polarity takes place.”

LighthousedownunderIn Part 9 of this iUniverse Blog series from John C. Woodcock, we continue to explore the emerging writing genre for his new book, UR-image.  To learn more about John, his books and his thinking, visit his website. To see all of his books visit the iUniverse Bookstore.

 Dick, P. K. (2010-04-18). Valis (S.F. MASTERWORKS). Orion. Kindle Edition. P. 113 ff.
 For a detailed discussion of this unique view of history see Giegerich, W. (2008). Collected English Papers Volume III: Soul Violence. New Orleans. Spring Journal Inc.

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