|PK Dick, Autism, and Precognition
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|Author:||Jasun [ Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:05 pm ]|
|Post subject:||PK Dick, Autism, and Precognition|
I am working on a long piece about these subjects, here are a few notes:
Autism is a condition of hyper-sensitivity or extra-consensual perception in which the ordinary physical senses are seen to overlap with apparently “supernatural” or “paranormal” potentialities, such as psychism, precognition, etc. The earliest depictions of autism in the field of science-fiction were by Philip K. Dick, and emphasized this overlap. The autists in Dick’s fiction are psychics whose capacity to perceive the future and other extra-consensual realms makes them both a threat to humanity and an essential aid to it, a force to be harnessed but also, like the replicants in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, to be feared.
Dick's novel Martian Time-Slip was published in 1964. The precogs in Minority Report might be seen as autistic types also, and the orignal short story was written in 1956.
Precogs are produced by identifying the talent within a "subject" and developing it in a government-operated training school — for example, one precog was initially diagnosed as "a hydrocephalic idiot" but the precog talent was found under layers of damaged brain tissue. The precogs are kept in rigid position by metal bands, clamps and wiring, which keep them attached to special high-backed chairs. Their physical needs are taken care of automatically and it is said that they have no spiritual needs. Their physical appearance is somewhat different from that of ordinary humans, with enlarged heads and wasted bodies. Precogs are deformed and retarded, "the talent absorbs everything"; "the esp-lobe shrivels the balance of the frontal area". They do not understand their predictions. Most of the data produced is useless for preventing murders and is passed to other agencies.
From Martian Time-Slip, a good description on how autists are resistant to culture, i.e., consensus reality:
The teaching machines demonstrated a fact that Jack Bohlen was well aware of: there was an astonishing depth to the so-called “artificial.” And yet he felt repelled by the teaching machines. For the entire Public School was geared to a task which went contrary to his grain: the school was there not to inform or educate, but to mold, and along severely limited lines. It was the link to their inherited culture, and it peddled that culture, in its entirety, to the young. It bent its pupils to it; perpetuation of the culture was the goal, and any special quirks in the children which might lead them in another direction had to be ironed out. It was a battle, Jack realized, between the composite psyche of the school and the individual psyches of the children, and the former held all the key cards. A child who did not properly respond was assumed to be autistic—that is, oriented according to a subjective factor that took precedence over his sense of objective reality. And that child wound up by being expelled from the school; he went, after that, to another sort of school entirely, one designed to rehabilitate him: he went to Camp Ben-Gurion. He could not be taught; he could only be dealt with as ill.
Autism, Jack reflected, as he unscrewed the back of the Angry Janitor, had become a self-serving concept for the authorities who governed Mars. It replaced the older term “psychopath,” which in its time had replaced “moral imbecile,” which had replaced “criminally insane.” And at Camp B-G, the child had a human teacher, or rather therapist.
Perhaps, he had once conjectured, it was because there really was such a condition as autism. It was a childhood form of schizophrenia, which a lot of people had; schizophrenia was a major illness which touched sooner or later almost every family. It meant, simply, a person who could not live out the drives implanted in him by his society. The reality which the schizophrenic fell away from—or never incorporated in the first place—was the reality of interpersonal living, of life in a given culture with given values; it was not biological life, or any form of inherited life, but life which was learned. It had to be picked up bit by bit from those around one, parents and teachers, authority figures in general . . . from everyone a person came in contact with during his formative years.
Some descriptions of autism as a different form of being in time:
http://autism.lovetoknow.com/Time_Perce ... m_Disorder
http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.ca/2011/04 ... utism.html
http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/news/ ... m-symptoms
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