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Time Slip: Philip K. Dick's Lifelong Struggle With Schizophrenia

2272 words - 10 pages

The Golden Age of Science Fiction featured many of Science Fiction’s greatest and most prolific authors. American author Philip K. Di" (1928 - 1982), active from 1952 until his death, was one of those who helped shape science fiction during the three decades during which he was active (Behrens and Ruch). Throughout his career, Di" wrote more than forty novels, one hundred short stories, as well as numerous essays. Amongst the author’s numerous works, eight short stories and four novels were eventually adapted to the silver screen (such as the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) which became Blade Runner (1982) and the short story “Adjustment Team” (1954) which was loosely adapted to eventually become The Adjustment Bureau (2011) (Kimbell). Nevertheless, something was eating the author away despite his success.
Although it was only later in his life that Di" received the diagnosis, for much of his life he suffered from schizophrenia and paranoia. The writer’s mental state and his will to understand the workings behind it would become the basis for many of Philip K. Di"’s stories and essays, such as was the case for Martian Time-Slip (Behrens and Ruch). In Philip K. Di"'s book Martian Time-Slip (Martian Time-Slip), the author symbolically poses both as the characters Ja" Bohlen and Manfred, with the former representing his current mental state and the la$er his envisioned future mental state. The parallel between Di" and his fictional characters is made even clearer after having read his essay “Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes” (1965), which reflects upon the authors views on schizophrenia, LSD, and the “Book of Changes” (known as I Ching in Mandarin). “The Exegesis of Philip K. Di"”, a collection of journals kept by Di" also gives us a be$er idea of the writer’s mental state shortly prior to his death, in addition to giving the reader an idea of the many similarities between Manfred and him.

FINAL ESSAY Tétreault !3
Up until the late twentieth century, schizophrenia was still misunderstood by most people. Throughout most of the twentieth century research on the subject was still scarce and inconclusive as to what caused the illness. Even the symptoms of schizophrenia weren’t well known until later in the century. As a ma$er of fact, it wasn’t until the nineteen-twenties that schizophrenia became its own illness, previously being merely a symptom of dementia praecox. Dementia praecox would later be divided into four more illnesses, including schizoid affective disorder (which would yet again be redefined to eventually become schizophrenia) (Tartakovsky) (Enersen). Due to this la" of information regarding the disorder, people suffering from the illness often had no idea what to make of their illness nor did they understand it. “Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes” was the Philip K. Di"’s own a$empt at describing the illness and controlling it.
The essay begins by describing what living with schizophrenia before recommending...

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