What distinguishes schizophrenic existence from that which the rest of us like to imagine we enjoy is the element of time. The schizophrenic is having it all now, whether he wants it or not; the whole can of film has descended on him, whereas we watch it progress frame by frame. So for him, causality does not exist. Instead, the acausal connective principle that Wolfgang Pauli called synchronicity is operating in all situations -- not merely as only one factor at work, as with us. Like a person under LSD, the schizophrenic is engulfed in an endless now. It's not too much fun.

At this point the I Ching (The Book of Changes) enters, since it works on the basis of synchronicity -- and is a device by which synchronicity can be handled. Maybe you prefer the word "coincidence" to Pauli's word. Anyhow, both terms refer to acausal connectives, or rather events linked in that manner, events occurring outside of time. Not a chain passing from yesterday to today to tomorrow but all taking place now. All chiming away now, like Leibnitz's preset clocks. And yet none having any causal connection with any of the others.

That events can take place outside of time is a discovery that strikes me as dismal. My first reaction was, "Good God, I was right; when you're at the dentist it does last forever." I'll let the mystics dilate on, more favorable possibilities, such as eternal bliss. Anyhow, LSD has made this discovery available to everyone, and hence subject to consensual validation, hence within the realm of knowledge, hence a scientific fact (or just plain fact, if you prefer). Anybody can get into this state now, not just the schizophrenic. Yes, friends, you, too, can suffer forever; simply take 150 mg of LSD -- and enjoy! If not satisfied, simply mail in -- but enough. Because after two thousand years under LSD, participating in the Day of Judgment, one probably will be rather apathetic to asking for one's five dollars back.

But at least one has now learned what life is like during the catatonic schizophrenic state, and one does return from LSD within a short time period as computed within the koinos kosmos (the shared world) (roughly ten hours), however much longer it is in the idios kosmos (the personal world) (to rather understate the matter). For the catatonic schizophrenic the duration of this state is not only forever idios kosmoswise but also, unless lucky, koinos kosmoswise. To put it in zen terms, under LSD you experience eternity for only a short period (or, as Planet Stories used to phrase it, "Such-and-such," he screamed under his breath). So, within a nontime interval, all manner of elaborate and peculiar events can take place; whole epics can unfold in the fashion of the recent movie Ben Hur. (If you'd prefer to undergo the experience of LSD without taking it, imagine sitting through Ben Hur twenty times without the midpoint intermission. Got it? Keep it.)

- Philip K Dick: "Schizophrenia & The Book of Changes"

No comments:

Post a Comment