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"Paranoid eyes"

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posted on May, 24 2009 @ 04:55 AM
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The following passage is from Philp K Dick's book "Now Wait for Last Year," in which he hauntingly and lyrically evokes the psychology of true paranoia. This passage has stuck in my head for years because I think it is very apt, despite being counter to what most people think of as constituting paranoia. I reproduce it for you here simply because I like it, as well as finding it an excellent little psychological gem.

The character being described is a world leader. I think that once you start to mull over this a bit, you will recognize it in many of the leaders of our own time.




"But his eyes...Eric noticed that...Freneksy had what Eric thought of - and recognized in his [medical] practice as - paranoid eyes. Once he had learned to spot this, future identification generally came easy. This was not the glittering, restless stare of ordinary suspicion; this was a motionless gaze, a gathering of the totality of faculties within to comprise a single undisturbed psychomotor concentration. Freneksy did not decide to do this; in fact he was helpless, compelled to confront his compatriots and adversaries alike in this fashion, with this unending ensnaring fixity. It was an attentiveness which made empathic understanding impossible; the eyes did not reflect any inner reality; they gave back to the viewer exactly what he himself was. The eyes stopped communication dead; they were a barrier that could not be penetrated this side of the tomb."


By the way, as a side note, I have read almost all of PK Dick's works, and this particular book remains my favorite. For some reason, it hasn't gained the recognition within the Philip K Dick corpus that I think it so richly deserves.

[edit on 5/24/09 by silent thunder]




posted on May, 24 2009 @ 05:10 AM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


Philip K Dick is a great author. If you like him you might want to check out Chuck Palahniuk.

[edit on 24-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 05:28 AM
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Thats a really good description of clinical paranoia, one only Phillip K. Dick could summon.



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 06:36 AM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 
If Philip K Dick can be said to occupy a genre, it's a genre I enjoy a lot. Vonnegut and Bukowski are around the same area in my mind. His description of paranoid eyes is appealing to my own work-related experiences of 'dead-eyes.' I've read a few K. Dick books and probably enjoyed Time out of Joint most. 'Scanner Darkly' was forward thinking, but less enjoyable for me than others.

Several great authors have really evoked the sense of mental illness. Like Sky suggests, they describe their own experiences. I recall the Glietmann psychology textbook's chapter on abnormal psychology. It introduced the subject of depression with a Shakespeare quotation they described as one of the best representations of clinical depression in popular literature...


O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter!
O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed;
things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely.
That it should come to this!


Hamlet Act 1 Scene 2



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 08:05 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by silent thunder
 


Philip K Dick is a great author. If you like him you might want to check out Chuck Palahniuk.

[edit on 24-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]


Will do. Thanks for the tip. I really liked Fight Club but I've never actually read any of his books.



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 08:10 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


Good post...I like the authors you mentioned as well. Will look for the textbook. It is hard to write well about mental illness because most of the people who truly know about it are rarely coherent enough to make good authors, I guess.

Given the books and authors you've listed, I highly, highly recommend the book "The Eden Express" by Mark Vonnegut, who is Kurt Vonnegut's son. It os a memoir of his schizophrenic experience and, while quite different in style than his father's writing, every bit as good, in my opinion. It's a shame that he had to live in the shadow of his famous father, otherwise that little-known gem would probably have gotten more attention. It certainly deserves it.



posted on May, 24 2009 @ 08:24 AM
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Oh and by the way, let me just add: Vladimir Putin, cold warrior:



I love photos of Putin just on general principles...he looks like he could just as casually rip your windpipe out as shake your hand most of the time.




[edit on 5/24/09 by silent thunder]



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