Normalcy

Blade Runner 2049


Ruffling through the Sunday paper
And remembering how little Los Angeles
Values the written word
We appear to be about motion
Pictures, streaming franchises
Celebrating celluloid heroes
Rather than the acerbic minds
Creating worlds in words
Metaphors for the madness
Through which we now walk

They speak of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece
Without ever tipping a hat to Philip K. Dick

The gift of Dick’s craziness was to see how strong the forces
Of normalcy are in a society, even when what they are normalizing
is, objectively, nuts. In “Clans Of The Alphane Moon”, from 1964, a mental hospital
in a remote solar system has been abandoned by its keepers,
and the lunatics have, over time, proliferated and organized themselves
into a strange but functioning interdependent country:

A clan of paranoids supplies the statesmen

The skitzes live in poverty, but have poetic visions

The Deps provide a depressed, realistic appraisal of the future

And the Manics are the warriors

It’s weird, but it’s a working society, not a suicidal one.  And a society that in some ways resembles Dick’s own, that of the Johnson-Nixon years.  Of the normalized madhouse on the Alphane Moon, a psychiatrist says:

Leadership in this society here would naturally fall to the paranoids.  But, you see, with paranoids establishing the ideology, the dominant emotional theme would be hate.  Actually hate going in two directions.  The leadership would hate everyone outside its enclave, and also take for granted that everyone hated it in return.  Therefore their entire so-called foreign policy would be to establish mechanisms by which this supposed hatred directed at them could be fought.  And this would involve the entire society in an illusory struggle, a battle against forces that didn’t exist for a victory over nothing!

 

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