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Late Night Thoughts On Metaphysical Points-of-view In a June 7, 1964 letter to James Blish, Philip K.

Dick writes:
As to my multiplicity of characters: I was weaned on the school of young post World War II Japanese writers at the French Department of the Tokyo University; they write without a protagonist appearing, only, as in my books, a variety of human viewpoints, a sort of several monad percept-system intertwined structure in which the reality is always therefore subjective, and varying with each character. (The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1938-1971, pp. 77-78)

Then, in an April, 1981 interview with Gregg Rickman, PKD states:


Ill bet I can think of another viewpoint (laughs). Like having a whole lot of people walking around with interior viewpoints, you know. Thats where I developed the multi-foci third person interior, was I tried all the logical possibilities. (Philip K. Dick: In His Own Words, p. 93)

Now, what might we glean from these two PKD quotations that helps us to understand how, as Jason K. aptly notes, PKD makes his readers constantly re-examine their metaphysical point-of view? I would suggest that our starting point should be the particular point-of-view indicated metaphysical. But, to paraphrase Aristotle, metaphysics lies in the eye of the beholder. It is the most abstract, and in some commentary, high-falutin part of philosophy. Its concerned with characteristics of ultimate reality, what really exists, and what it is that distinguishes ultimate reality and makes it possible. Reality is, of course, a concept PKD wrote a great deal about, both in his fiction and non-fiction. It is one of his two major literary motifs, the other being What is a human. And the two become inextricably intertwined in his work as he attempts to ascertain the kinds of points-of-view that are manifest in any reality which involves human selves.

As the first quote suggests there are for PKD a variety of human viewpoints and therefore reality is always subjective, and varying with each character. So, reality lies in the eye of the character. This implies, in turn, that each of us as a reader of a PKD book will bring our own metaphysical viewpoint(s) with us to PKDs subjective fictional representation of a subjective reality, adding yet another layer to obscure our ability to clearly see into PKDs glass [onion] darkly. In effect a PKD work lies in the eye of the reader. How, then, can we possibly engage in a coherent and cogent exploration and explication of PKDs fiction and, perhaps, non-fiction? One possible solution is the interior viewpoints mentioned in the second quote. This notion derives from his reading of Joyces Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and PKD explains that:
It allows the greatest latitude in terms of character development.Its not valuable in terms of an overview of the actions of the plot. Thats where the omniscient viewpoint is useful. But the third person interior tunes you into the thoughts of the person beautifully. (Philip K. Dick: In His Own Words, pp. 93-94)

But thats just one possible resolution. There are as many others as our respective interior viewpoints can focus on and elucidate. My particular preference would be to use PKDs non-fiction, along with relevant philosophical and literary contexts, as thought probes that could help us identify potential ideas for increasing our understanding of PKD his reality and the realities in his works of fiction. And as we do so we need to keep in mind Samuel R. Delanys observation that Literature whether a particular piece right through here is being judged minor or

major will reflect just about anything you want to read into it.if you read intensely and intelligently enough. So will paraliterature. Thats why texts are unmasterable. (Silent Interviews, p. 213) Yes, I have indeed hereby opened a philosophical Pandoras box. But I strongly agree with Gregg Rickmans observation that The day may come when Phils reputation as a philosopher exceeds his (large and growing) reputation as a science fiction writer. (Philip K. Dick: In His Own Words, p. xx)