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"A biological necessity at work" : evolution in selected novels of Philip K. Dick


"A biological necessity at work" : evolution in selected novels of Philip K. Dick

Katz, Jason (2007) "A biological necessity at work" : evolution in selected novels of Philip K. Dick. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
MR34443.pdf - Accepted Version


In selected novels of Philip K. Dick, fear of entropy is the primary catalyst for action, and one way the characters endeavour to escape entropy is through human evolution. Evolution is thought both to counteract entropy and to enable spiritual transcendence to a more permanent universe where entropy cannot follow. This thesis traces the two kinds of evolution found in these novels, the ineffective kind and the effective kind. The first is technological and left-brained; it tends to lead in Dick not to evolution and transcendence but to capitalist oppression, loss of agency, loss of identity, eugenics, and a totalitarian police state, all of which lead instead to devolution and an increase in the entropy of the universe. The second kind of evolution is biological and right-brained, and it stems from human empathy. Empathy, in Dick's novels, as it grows stronger, becomes telepathy and eventually forms the beginnings of a collective consciousness very much like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's notion of a noosphere. This collectivity of mankind is brought about by love and empathy and will enable the transcendence and escape from entropy that Dick's characters seek. This thesis uses historical, philosophical, and scientific contexts to clarify this binary in Dick's work between left-brained technological devolution and right-brained empathic evolution. At their most ambitious, these novels supply a model for how Dick believes the human race ought to proceed if it intends to survive: not through advanced technological posthumanism, but through the simple advancement and dissemination of love and empathy.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Katz, Jason
Pagination:iv, 154 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sisti, A
ID Code:975410
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:07
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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