THE COSMIC PUPPETS shows historical dialectics in action. In a sense our ideology is a definite negation of our civilization. Our reality contradicts the democratic ideals of freedom and equality. In essence Dick shows how philosophical ideologies fit in with our modern reality. The battle between good and evil occurs in human and abstract forms. Although socio-economic conflict theory is similar, Dick depicts the conflict as being between a distorted social structure and true consciousness. When the war is fought for control of the earth and the battle is won, the earth will be rejuvenated and society reconstructed. And like Will Christopher we won't be aware of it ever having happened.
One last point before I finish this critique. I cannot stress enough the importance of Dick's decision to change the image of woman. During my own studies of Western dualism I have found myself becoming defensive. I felt it was unjust to make woman the symbol of the negative pole of dualism. The duality is between good and evil/ positive and negative/ spirit and matter. Man is the good, positive and spiritual aspect. Woman is the evil, negative and material aspect. I asked myself: why is woman made the symbol of evil or the negative force? Because she is the bearer of children? Because she reminds man that he is not a spiritual entity, he is an animal with animalistic drives?
It seems that Dick may have tripped over this same stumbling block and solved the dilemma. He realised that the problem was with the transference of the dualism of religion to the dualism of science. The opposites of good and evil do not fit the opposites of spirit and matter. The subjective reality and the objective reality cannot be completely good or evil, only actions can be so. The sacred and profane are ideas of the human mind. So Dick expelled the two gods from the consciousness of his characters, eliminating the flaw of dualist ideology. When evil is removed the subjective unites with the objective, the objective reality is no longer seen as something evil opposing man. Matter loses its profanity!
To sum it all up, THE COSMIC PUPPETS is an exploration of dualist thought from Zoroastrianism to Marxism and beyond. The Zoroastrian myth served as the skeletal structure and reflected the religious dualism between God and Satan. The scientific dualism of mind and matter is shown in the story with the problems the characters face trying to adjust the objective reality to their subjective ideals.
Hegel's dialectic method has been incorporated in the story as the struggle of the characters to bring themselves and the world spirit to the realm of pure thought. Then Dick turns Zoroastrianism upside down as Marx turned Hegel upside down, he brought the myth to life, making the abstract concrete. As he does this, he also expresses the Marxist theory according to Lukacs. Millgate is a miniature replica of our social reality. It has been reified by an omnipotent source and has become a false reality. Some of the inhabitants are a part of the distortion and perpetuate it. Others live in it but know it is distorted. All exhibit some form of false consciousness; they have not achieved a true conscious state. People are alienated from nature and each other. The earth is being attacked by Industry's pollution. Lives are being destroyed. But all is not lost! There is a way.
Dick outlines the solution in THE COSMIC PUPPETS. First we must make the abstract concrete. We cannot ignore the distortion but we can change it with true consciousness. The petty bourgeoisie, the workers, and the lumpenproletariats must strive for true consciousness and express a strong will to bring about the change. The old rotting structure of the commodity regime must be replaced with a more natural reality. The image of woman must change, she must become a righteous comrade and the driving force in the battle to resurrect humanity. Those who wander aimlessly in false consciousness and know there is a distortion must realise the true reality and actively change the false reality. Unfortunately, as in THE COSMIC PUPPETS, it may take the destruction of Mother Earth to spark this change.
When the true reality begins to appear we can expect the Beast to become insecure and angry and to use all of its power to maintain the distortion. All will seem lost. Then the human emotions of love and caritas will enter the soldiers of the Beast, the tide will turn. The intelligentsia will realise true consciousness, they will realise that they hold the answer -- humanity is god. We are the creators of reality.
NOTE: This essay appeared first in FOR DICKHEADS ONLY #3, Ganymedean Slime Mold Prods
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