Similar, But Not The Same

Even if I was Philip K. Dick, I find that there is one major difference when I try to write like him while maintaining a degree of honesty: while the dominant theme in Phil’s work is the dialectic of competing and fluid narratives of reality, the dominant theme in my work is the dialectic of competing and fluid narratives of identity.

This isn’t to say that identity doesn’t come into play in Phil’s work, or that narratives of identity and of reality are entirely exclusive to each other. In truth, at least a portion of our sense of reality- inasmuch as we are taught to understand the concept- comes from the proposition “I am…” and its accompanying clause.  A tenuous grasp on reality might be cause for a crisis of identity, a tenuous grasp on identity might be cause for a crisis of reality.

And really, at the heart of it all lies the experience of having had the rare experience of my false identity- not an identity of my own creation, but given to me by family and mentors who meant well but could not see the damage they were doing to me and to themselves, riddled with neurotic middle class values and the painful contradictions of the Protestant cultural milieu- collapse catastrophically under the weight of gender dysphoria. Exactly what role the past life memories that came around the time my unhappy and ultimately false male identity imploded have, other than to exacerbate what was already a confusing time for me.

So was Philip K. Dick a part of my past, a previous life that I lived, or merely an archetype who surfaced after the dust settled from the catastrophic death of an unhappy male identity (who was exemplified by John)? And do the memories I have confirmed so far support the idea of a continuum of these three lives, or merely evidence that I’ve bridged enough archetypes to feel continuity across disparate existences?

Then again, isn’t continuity of experience and memory across disparate existences, in its own way, a form of reincarnation? Perhaps the fact that these memories live in me was a sort of transfiguration of my being to another state entirely- not necessarily higher but distinct nonetheless- brought on by a perfect storm of coincidences?

There is so much material here to work with, because it’s a Gordian knot of competing and complimentary ideas (and ideas of an uncertain aspect) if there ever was one.


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