Sunday, August 20, 2006


This month J. D. Daniels explores A Scanner Darkly: Philip K. Dick’s novel, Richard Linklater’s film adaptation, and people who look into Scanner and see themselves.


Blinded by the Light
by J. D. Daniels

Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly, 1977.
Richard Linklater, A Scanner Darkly, 2006.

I don’t know how much acid you took. I don’t know how much I took, either. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I loved growing up in Kentucky, but after a certain point there was nothing to do but take drugs.

Two years after an obsidian statuette in my stomach had begun talking to me, in a rare moment of clarity, I wondered if I might not have gone at least partly and temporarily, if not completely and irremediably, insane. I spent some time in a hospital. The sign on the door said Level Four: Risk of AWOL and the door stayed shut. The people who worked at the hospital didn’t want to hear what I had to say about Finnegans Wake. They told me I was going to have to stop taking the mind-altering drugs I enjoyed and learn to prefer the mind-altering drugs they prescribed. All right, I said. Add whiskey and stir.

Back then my friends read William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson. They read G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky and H. P. Lovecraft and H. P. Blavatsky, anybody with initials. They read the science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick, and they, too, went cuckoo. Sometimes the cuckoo went back into its clock, and sometimes the cuckoo flew far away, never to return.

It’s easy to see why. Dick’s novel Martian Time-Slip centers on the R. D. Laing-ian conceit that schizophrenia is not a crippling mental illness but a privileged insight into the true nature of reality. Try that one on after you’ve been shrooming for the better part of 1991.


READ THE FULL ARTICLE and post your feedback in the comments field below.


Blogger Carla said...

my personal favorite:
If only we were so lucky. What’s the matter with garbage? I would rather re-read The Essential Captain America Vols. 1 & 2 than the collected works of haut-garbage comic-fanboys Jonathan Lethem and Michael Chabon, for the simple reason that I prefer to drink my toilet water straight from the toilet.

11:47 AM  
Blogger CLAY BANES said...

man, this is a great piece!

6:59 PM  
Anonymous macianinspire said...

true. said. amazed.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Teryo Law said...

Haha. Nice post. ^^ I am a big fan of the movie, have never read the book though. I too can relate to the movie in the user-kind of way.

9:50 AM  

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