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lunes, 24 de diciembre de 2018

Reality out of joint: Philip K. Dick vs David Lynch

(Para la versión en español pulse aquí)

Watching "Twin Peaks: The Return" (TP3 for short), submerged again in the spell of the metaphysical drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, I realized I was feeling the same uneasiness and awe, the same suspicion about the nature of reality that I felt readying the books of Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), the unclassifiable science fiction author. The more I thought about it, the more similarities I saw between his work and Lynch's.

SPOILER WARNING: Revealing plot details below and, possibly, dangerous knowledge about the nature of dreams and the universe.

To the general public, Philip K. Dick is best known as the author of stories that inspired popular movies like "Bladerunner", "Total Recall", "Minority Report", "The Adjustment Bureau" or, recently, "The Man in the High Castle" series.

However, if we peel off all the layers of action and special effects added by the Hollywood machinery, at the core of Dick's stories we find an eerie, sometimes paranoid vision of reality influenced by strange personal experiences, and narrative themes which (I intend to show) match in many ways the universe created by David Lynch.

A Jungian backdrop

One of the key intellectual sources of Dick's ideas was the psychoanalyst Carl G. Jung (1874-1961). Jung developed concepts which are now mainstream, like the collective unconscious, structured by archetypical figures like the Shadow, the Wise Old Man, the Anima/Animus duality, etc. For Jung, dreams are vehicles that we use, via archetypes, to access the shared unconscious knowledge usually hidden to our minds.

Beyond the causal links and the linear time used by science in describing of the world, Jung sees a realm of meaning-based relationships connecting the events around us. This synchronicity (another key concept of Jung), the network of non-causal connections, is not affected by long distances in time or space. It defies rational, deductive logic.

Jung introduced to European and American minds the traditional Eastern practices, as a way to access the unconscious dimension forgotten in the Western world, to activate what he called active imagination.

Meditation was one of those practices, as well as divination. It was Jung who presented to the West the "I Ching" book used by one of the characters in Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" (1963). Both this character and Dick himself, during the writing of the novel, decided their course of action by interpreting randomly chosen statements from the book.

In addition, Jung was also fond of Eastern spirituality. He rescued from the obscure pages of history the heterodox ideas of Gnosticism, which had existed in the fringes of the old Persian religion (in the form of Manicheism and other sects), Judaism and early Christianity.

One of the common tenets of the gnostic doctrine is dualism, the idea that good and evil forces are equally powerful in the universe. The gnostic God stays aloof from our human world, unreachable and unknowable, leaving the tasks of creating and managing the Earth to a complex hierarchy of imperfect entities (the Demiurge --sometimes identified with Satan--, Sophia, the Archons). These entities have differing goals and can be cruel or insane.

Popular interest in Gnosticism grew in the West after the discovery of ancient manuscripts in Nag Hammadi (Egypt) in 1945.

A Jungian approach has been sometimes used to understand the 'logic' behind David Lynch's work (for instance, in "The Passion of David Lynch" by Martha P. Nochimson). We have no indication that David Lynch actually studied Jung, as we have for Dick and Frank Herbert (the author of "Dune", with whom Lynch collaborated in the film adaptation), but it is clear that Lynch participates of many of Jung's views, concepts and techniques shared by mystic traditions around the world.

The deep and dark wells of creativity

Lynch is a very active practitioner of trascendental meditation, introduced from India in the fifties. He also promotes it as a therapeutic method through the David Lynch Foundation. This meditation involves the repeated use of a sound or mantra and it is clear how important music and sounds are for David. He is very closely involved in the creation of the soundtracks for his movies and shows. For instance, Lynch is credited as sound designer in TP3, where the scratchy, windy or crackly sounds are characters of their own ("Listen to the sounds", says the Fireman to Cooper in E1).

The role of meditation and art is not accidental or accessory to Lynch's creative process. By his own account, he uses these sources, as well as dreams and visions, as paths to reach the "keys to the kingdom" in our inner selves, a "big ocean of pure vibrant consciousness within" and to boost his creativity (his "active imagination", in Jungian terms).

Synchronicity, happenstance or serendipity, however we want to call accidental connections, also play a role in Lynch's creative process. As Cooper says and Twin Peaks story proves all along, "Fellas, coincidence and fate figure largely in our lives."

A famous example is the decision by Lynch to cast Frank Silva, who was set decorator in TP1, as a new character in the series. After Silva's reflection was accidentally caught on camera (see below), he became the embodiment of the evil entity known as Bob, responsible for Laura Palmer's death.

Lynch has also acknowledge using material from visions and dreams in his work. Without discussion, he is the most surrealist moviemaker since Buñuel. He actually follows the original movement's idea of bringing raw oneiric "narrative" into literature, painting and cinema to question the nature of reality.

The most extreme example of Lynch's surrealism might be Inland Empire, which was largely improvised from his daily dreams. Far from being accessory, the nightmarish scenes in Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks present us with essential participants and truths that propel the story. The dreams of main characters like FBI agent Cooper give them (and us) access to a deeper layer of meaning and understanding of what is going on, but they also open new enigmas.

Despite our innate inclination to search for symbols and meanings, a vision in Lynch's oeuvre may be just a vision, a crack in the wall hiding the unconscious ocean from our sight, and it can be interpreted in a multiplicity of explanations without ever exhausting its significance.

The ear found by a young Cooper, I mean MacLachlan, in "Blue Velvet" was based on a vision that Lynch had. Does the ear need to have a definite meaning?

For Philip K. Dick, the nightmares and visions he experienced were not something he voluntarily sought or enjoyed, but unwelcome invasions of his already troubled life. Because of them, he doubted his sanity. Dick thought he might have schizophrenia or some other psychosis, but the doctors he consulted with rejected the idea. They probably thought Dick just had an exceptionally "active imagination".

Similarly to Lynch, Dick didn't need (nor wanted) hallucinogenic drugs to open the visionary dimensions to him. It is true that his natural predisposition (some speculate he might have suffered temporal lobe epilepsy known to cause mystical experiences) might have worsened because of his use of amphetamines (taken to stay awake during long writing sessions). He also used other drugs like speed and mescaline. However, borrowing Aldous Huxley's expression, the "doors of perception" had opened for Dick long before his stint with recreational drugs in the late sixties, memorably described in "A Scanner Darkly", and opened much wider in the seventies when he was clean.

Dick's hallucinatory experiences reached its peak during February and March 1974 in a series of visions which included a pink laser firing information into his head to informed him about a hidden mortal defect in his baby son and a divine savior's coming to Earth, among other surprising pieces of knowledge.

Compared to Lynch, there was a big difference in the way Dick reacted to his visionary experiences. He believed there had to be a logical, rational explanation for them and he agonized trying to find the reason and the origin of the messages. During this weary exploration, he discussed endless theories with his friends and exposed many of them in this books, especially after 1974. Sometimes Dick favored "scientific" explanations (a secret mind control experiment, or a transmission sent by alien beings), while the next day he was convinced of having been contacted by a god-like entity to bring ultimate salvation, or enslavement, to humanity.

When Dick died in 1982, he left about 8,000 pages (he named them his "Exegesis") detailing an infinite number of theories for his visions, explanations rooted in theology, cosmology and occultist traditions. Excerpts of these journals were published in 2011.

A very special source of visionary inspiration for Dick, stressed by Lawrence Sutin and other biographers, was the inner presence of his twin sister Jane. She died only a few weeks after their birth, and Phil always thought that she continued living inside him. He used to listen to her voice at night while writing. With time, the twin duality acquired a cosmological significance linked to the Gnostic ideas: the whole universe was wrong because one of the cosmic twins had failed to materialize as an independent, healthy being.

Ultimately, the main difference in tone between Lynch and Dick is that, while the first assumes happily the unconscious dimensions of reality and sees them as a tool to enrich our lives, Dick interprets this well of hidden meaning as a proof that the reality that surrounds us is a fake, a shared hallucination. 

The dark side of everyday objects

A common, disturbing, technique used by both Lynch and Dick to show the limits of our conventional reality is to transform the role of everyday objects. For instance, in TP2, after Josie Packard's sudden death, her spirit seems to be trapped inside a table's wood knob.

Electrical wiring and the infamous pole #6 are ominous presences in TP since "Fire Walk with Me".

The role of electricity in the TP mythology has being reinforced in TP3. When Cooper returns from the Red Room to substitute for Dougie Jones, he shows up through the electrical plugs.

In Dick's stories, everyday objects are also used as proxies for a disturbing truth. One of his most "Lynchian" novels, "Time Out of Joint" (1959) tells how the reality of the protagonist, Ragle Gumm, falls apart through ordinary objects. For example, a soft-drink stand disappears, replaced by a slip of paper with "soft-drink stand" printed on it (you can actually buy a T-shirt showing these paper slips here).

In the same novel, the protagonist suspects something is very wrong when, one night, he finds that his bathroom light cord is no longer there. Everyone claims it never existed, and there was always a light switch on the wall. This episode is actually based on Dick's own baffling experience at home. He never found out why the light cord he remembered had been changed into a switch.

In "Ubik" (1969), one of Dick's most revered novels, the reality of the protagonists again breaks down and only a mysterious elixir can restore it. They would be saved if they could just grab this thing, which takes the shape of common products like instant coffee, aerosol spray or analgesic pills. 

Jumping in time and space

There are some motifs repeated all along Lynch's universe, making us feel that all pieces of his work are connected by invisible links.

Beyond these repeating motifs, a distinctive feature of Lynch visual narrative is the juxtaposition of different timeline intervals. Often, it is not possible to say whether a scene belongs to the future or to the past, a question we hear in TP's Red Room. Maybe it is with this uncertainty how, despite the aging of the cast, Lynch manages to create a circular or spiral timeline in the TP story.

To further complicate things, time may work differently in different realms. Apparently, the Fireman and Señorita Dido created Laura Palmer after the spawning of Bob, but this seems to happen many years later. The logic of time in Twin Peaks is full of paradoxes, even more confusing because, as we'll see, multiple times are combined with multiple identities.

This double time/identity confusion is evident in the TP3 finale when Cooper and Diane (or their tulpas) cross the 430-mile mark in the highway and go to a motel. When Cooper (Richard?) comes out from the room the next morning, not only the year has changed (car and motel are more modern) but probably their own identity, too.

Since Lynch purposely used time superposition in Inland Empire, and hinted at it in other movies, many fans try to find other evidences of time overlay (or sync). For instance, one of the many theories following the TP3 finale is based on the idea that the last two episodes can be overlaid together

Philip K. Dick often made his characters travel along the same timeline or to alternate ones. In "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" (1965), one of his most scary books (he was unable to read it after finished), the protagonist fights a malign mogul (Eldritch) who develops a drug which can to transform reality into a shared hallucination he can control. During the confrontation, the protagonist travels to a possible future and then back to the past. Interestingly, as it happens in Lynch's works, we find a combination of time shifts, alternate universes and identity mix-ups, since both the protagonist and Eldritch inhabit other bodies to escape and confuse their adversary.

In "Now Wait for the Last Year" (1966), the dangerous hallucinogenic drug of the moment (called JJ-180) causes the consumer to travel in time, and also to alternate timelines, creating a game of deception played across various dimensions.

The central idea of "Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said" (1974) is very similar. The user of an experimental reality-warping drug called KR-3 transports the protagonist (a famous singer) to an alternate reality where he does not exist (a traumatic experience for a popular person!). However, after the user of the drug dies, he returns to his original reality.

Universe as a dream or hallucination

Dreams are very important in Lynch's narrative, and not only as a plot device. The distinction between what is a dream and what is real is often blurred to the point that the two become indistinguishable.

The dream themes are ubiquitous in "Mulholland Drive" (Lynch's tagline for the film was "A love story in the city of dreams"), and become a starting point for the many interpretations that attempt to make sense of the story.

“I’ve been to one of their meetings,” reappeared agent Philip Jeffries says to his assembled FBI colleagues in the deleted scenes of "Fire Walk with Me" (reused in TP3). “It was above a convenience store. It was a dream. We live inside a dream.”, he concludes.

As the show progressed, what seemed just a crime investigation has been "invaded" by alternate dimensions initially seen in dreams: the Lodge, the Fireman's fortress and other locations populated by overgrown tea kettles have become the glue that holds together the narrative pieces.

"We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?", says Monica Bellucci to Gordon Cole/David Lynch in his own dream (TP3E14). We find again a combination of the two questions: the nature of reality and the problem of personal identity, both favorites of Lynch and Dick.

We know the source of Bellucci's phrase. Commenting on the pervasiveness of the dream theme in "Inland Empire", Lynch quoted a classic mystical text, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: "We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe."

The dream nature of the Twin Peaks reality is again stated by Dale Cooper in the TP3 finale, but the question of who the dreamer is remains. Maybe the dreamer has Cooper's face, ghostly overlaid in this scene, or maybe each member of the audience is the dreamer.

Back to Philip Dick, we have already seen that alternate realities are a common theme for him. In many cases, his protagonist finds that he lives in a fictional world, an illusion. "Time Out of Joint" is a clear example. The 1959 in which Gumm lives in only a cover-up, a set built for his benefit like the fake city in "The Truman Show". The true reality he finds outside it is a futuristic world where Earth is suffering crippling nuclear strikes from rebel lunar colonies.

In "A Maze of Death" (1970), fourteen colonists assigned to a strange planet find themselves with no communications or help of any kind. They die one by one in the colony as they try to solve its mysteries. In reality, the colonists are suffering inside a virtual reality simulation they have entered trying to escape another torment: they are the crew of a stranded spaceship with no hope for rescue. But they have brought their angst with them into the simulation.

The idea of a "fake reality" is now mainstream thanks to movies like "The Matrix", but Dick, as Lynch does, goes beyond a clear cut distinction between true and fake, between dream and reality.

In his award-winning uchronia, "The Man in the High Castle" (1963), we see an alternate world in which the German Reich and Japan won World War II and the US territory is split between occupying powers. What is more interesting is that inside this world there is room for an alternate storyline, told in a book called "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy", in which the Axis lost the world. However, there are significant differences between the "Grasshopper" version and the actual historical events we know. It seems there are at least three possible historical lines, or more. No resolution is presented. We don't get to find out which universe is "real".

Some of the visions in 1974 transported Dick to the time of the early Christians as they fought the persecution of the Roman authorities. In some occasions, the writer would actually see a superposition of the Californian landscape and Ancient Rome. This led him to speculate that both historical moments were somehow parallel and the same good versus evil forces had been at play all along, a knowledge he summarized with the sentence "The Empire never ended".

Evil intrusions

Lynch's works are filled with evil human figures: bloody assassins and gangsters, psychopaths, abusive husbands and disgraced youngsters going the wrong way. But there is also an entirely different species of evil: entities who invade our reality from other dimensions.

Sometimes it's not entirely clear whether they mean to do evil or not, but they surely are scary, like the homeless in "Mulholland Drive".

Since "Eraserhead", we can see horrific creatures intruding into the "normal" life of the characters, sometimes taking over their bodies.

In Twin Peaks, we get a whole set of human-shaped beings coming to the ordinary world to make havoc. Here we have Bob and some of his colleagues meeting above the convenience store

TP3 brought us a group called the Woodsmen. They easily cross between worlds, to bring the bad Cooper back to life, to kill witnesses of his doings, or (in the famous E8) to assist another "invader" near the New Mexico atomic test site.

In E8 we can also have a look at Judy, the most powerful evil entity known to the FBI Blue Rose operatives. Bob is seen in the "vomit" coming out of her mouth.

This Judy might be the same entity who appeared in the New York attic and killed savagely the two onlookers.

Even harmless Sarah Palmer, Laura's mother, seems now possessed by a rather aggressive being, seen when she removes her face.

Dick experienced evil intrusions as part of his paranoid episodes. People around him, most frequently one of his wives, could suddenly appear as a hellish nightmare bent on destroying him.

In one of his early stories, "The Father Thing" (1954), a child sees his father replaced by an alien entity, a premise common to other works of fiction at the time (like the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers), but told with special poignancy by Dick.

Among his paranoid visions, one made Dick truly afraid: he saw a gigantic eye watching him from the sky, an evil presence who seemed to control and spy on our reality. Philip ran home horrified and searched for an answer in both traditional and fringe religions (Was this entity the Gnostic demiurge?). From this point on, he will interpret many tragedies in his life as interventions of an evil god (for instance, the death of his cat, or the demise of his good friend Episcopalian Bishop James Pike in the Judean desert).

In the novel "Eye in the Sky" (1957), the protagonists suffer an accident in a particle accelerator and wake up in a strange world which turns out to be the private reality of a religious fanatic, and therefore dominated by a vengeful god.

We have already mentioned "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch". By Dick's own account, the terrifying look and fearsome powers of Eldritch were based on his evil-in-the-sky vision. Palmer (a name familiar to Twin Peaks fans) could control reality around his enemies by using an addictive drug. His ultimate goal was to enslave all humanity in a world of his own creation, to reign on it as an omnipotent god.

The shadow of the self

A recurrent issue and mind-bending plot device used by Lynch is the fluid nature of personal identity. "Mulholland Drive" is an obvious example. The dark-haired woman we see in the beginning has lost her memory, she doesn't remember her true identity. She is helped by a blonde aspiring actress, but later in the movie we see the blonde woman waking up with a different identity. Many interpretations suggest she might have been dreaming everything we have seen so far. And this is not the only identity shift happening in the movie.

Mulholland Drive's game of identities and time jumps, like the twists in Lost Highway, might be based on the idea of psychogenic fugue. As Lynch explained, "The person suffering from it creates in their mind a completely new identity, new friends, new home, new everything—they forget their past identity." This is clearly another well from which the director can extract unlimited puzzles for our bafflement and enjoyment.

With Twin Peaks, Lynch has created a full mythology based on the replication of bodies which share (or not) part of their identity.

These clones are called doppelgangers and tulpas in the Twin Peaks lore. The Lynchian concept of doppelganger as a kind of evil twin follows the Jungian archetype of the shadow (Mr. Hyde alongside Dr. Jekyll), different from the original meaning of the German term. The concept of the tulpa is taken from Tibetan mysticism (familiar to Lynch), a spiritual emanation conjured through meditation, which can become sentient and physically independent.

The climax of these TP identity confusions is reached in the final episode, in which we see all three "Coopers" plus, maybe, a fourth one named Richard. Ditto with Diane. She is the second character after Cooper who sees face to face one of her replicas (Is that Linda, or is Linda the one looking out from the car?).

The question of identity was essential to Philip K. Dick as well, often linked to the existence of human-like androids. He became obsessed with this topic after seeing an automaton of Lincoln at Disneyland, and began thinking about the distinction between real and artificial humans, finding that the difference was no so easy to point out (unless you can use a Voight-Kampff machine). 

Dick explored the problem of androids, or simulacra, in several of his novels, most notably in "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" (1968), which was freely adapted in "Bladerunner" (in the movie, androids are called "replicants").

Dick's conclusion is that androids can be as human as regular people if they have memories and empathy. On the other hand, humans without heart can behave like androids, as Nazis did. Therefore, in "Do Androids Dream..." the advanced models are imbued with false memories to make them believe they are actually human (Rachel), opening the question of how someone can really be sure that he/she is not an android (Deckard).

Many other stories written by Dick use the concept of false memories. In "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (1966), which became the movie "Total Recall", an ordinary clerk wishes to have an adventure in Mars and he gets involved in one (or is it just the simulated vacation trip he's paid for?). A psychiatrist appears in the middle of his hallucination to convince him that he is delusional, but the protagonist doesn't buy it.

The movie uses another of Dick's persistent ideas: a different human conscience might be sharing your own body (remember, Dick believed that his dead twin sister lived inside him). This is how the rebel Kuato hides from enemy agents.

In "Dr. Bloodmoney" (1965), Hoppy Harrington survives without limbs in a post-apocalyptic California and becomes a petty dictator after finding out he has telekinetic powers. A girl, Edie, confronts him. She has a conjoined twin brother Bill, a sentient fetus within her body. Harrington uses his powers to draw Bill outside to kill him, but the fetus manages to swap his dying body with Harrington's.

In "A Scanner Darkly" (1977), based on a period in which Dick adopted the drug culture of the sixties, the protagonist is an undercover narcotics cop who hides his true appearance from other policemen to infiltrate a group of drug users. However, after trying a dangerous drug, substance D, he begins confusing both identities, treating them as different persons.

The last book Dick researched before his death in 1982 was titled "The Owl in Daylight". His idea for the plot involved a mediocre music composer who suddenly becomes a genius, thanks to the invasion of his mind by an alien being. The alien comes from a planet with no concept of sound, and thus regards music as a supremely mystical experience (Lynch would love this concept). In a Faustian turn, the composer finds that the presence of the alien, while transforming him into a great artist, is also consuming him to death. He must then choose between life and art.

The confusion of identities sometimes reaches Dick himself, blurring even more the separation between literature and biography. 

In "A Scanner Darkly", Dick recognized the biographical content of the novel by adding himself in the final, tragic dedication.

A more clear example is visible in one of his final and most moving novels, "VALIS" (published in 1981). In the book, Dick re-enacts his desperate search for an explanation of the 1974 visions, discussing many hypotheses with his friends, as he did in reality. What is fascinating is that he, Phil Dick, appears in the book as one of the gang, a moderately successful but mostly silent science fiction writer. He also has a doppelganger, Horselover Fat, who is the one with the crazy hallucinations and harebrained theories everyone pokes fun at. At one point, Sophia, a little girl who might be a divine incarnation, reveals to them that Dick and Fat are the same person. An identical pattern is used in "Radio Free Albemuth" (an early version of the VALIS, written in 1976).

I would not be surprised if at some future (or past) point in the Twin Peaks saga, an otherworldly presence confides to us that David Lynch and Gordon Cole are the same person!

The failed salvation

Neither Lynch nor Dick are fond of closed, happy endings. Their troubled protagonists don't find a resolution, an explanation, an ending to their tribulations. Actually, we can hardly speak of an ending in their story arcs. Their plans to find an exit from their nightmares never work as expected. Salvation seems to be always close by, but always elusive.

How could it be otherwise given the "out of joint" visions of reality we have described?

Focusing on Lynch's Twin Peaks saga, the "Fire Walk with Me" movie presented a seemingly happy final scene. Laura has endured torture and an attempt by Bob to possess her. She finally had to use death as the only way out. After this odyssey, she is comforted by Dale Cooper in the Red Room. Then, an angel appears to her and we can see joyful tears flowing on her smiling face.

This apparent ending works a counterpoint to Dale Cooper's terrible fate: seeing a horrific twin return to the external world instead of him.

In the TP3 finale, after this evil doppelganger seems defeated, Cooper returns to his primary mission: to save Laura Palmer. To do this he travels back in time to the fateful night when she died, but although he manages to change the past, she is snatched from his hand as they approach the Lodge.

As if Cooper were assigned to a case that spans through infinite timelines, he returns to find another "Laura" under a different identity, in a different world, again suffering, again lost in the murky waters of crime. This Laura is brought to the Twin Peaks town to confront her "timeless" past at the Palmer house. Initially, it seems there is no connection to the original timeline, but a question from Cooper and a familiar call open again the floodgates of terror.

Lynch creates a puzzle made of pieces from different storylines, with characters playing multiple identities, all precariously connected by symbolic elements in a plot that does not follow conventional linear time but whose cyclical, multidimensional structure is closer to the Eastern cosmology.

in his Exegesis, Dick concludes that the balance between the original male and female cosmic twins was broken with the failed birth of the feminine half (a sublimation of his deceased twin, Jane). Out of balance, the universe becomes the arena for an eternal fight between good and evil, playing simultaneously in different, connected history lines. 

In Dick's mind, Richard Nixon was a representative of the evil Empire that never ended. Ferris F. Freemont, the President in his dystopian "Radio Free Albemuth" is based on Nixon.

As mentioned earlier, "VALIS" is the most touching account of Dick's anguish about the dominance of evil in the world and in his life. Until his last days, Philip believed in a new coming of the eternal Savior who appears in critical times. VALIS tells us about the search for this savior, which in the book seems to take the shape of a little girl. But the girl dies in an accident, reproducing once more the never-ending tragedy of the female half of the universe.

The same cycle repeats in "The Divine Invasion" (1981), which was first titled "VALIS regained". In this novel, we find again dreams, parallel universes, and various personifications of the female savior and her evil antagonist. 

Dick's verdict in this book, the last one he saw published, seems to be that in all timelines, and for everyone, there is a personal decision to be made, a decision which will result in the much-anticipated salvation or in its eternal deferral.

What about the cosmic female half of Twin Peaks? Will Laura Palmer ever find salvation herself? Maybe the fight will never end.

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