I keep saying I want to write all this out, which I have a little bit, and with urgency I must finish just so it has someplace to go, and so I can feel less insane . . . but I’ve been having a difficult time sitting down to type, or really sitting down to do anything at all. All I’ve wanted to do is sleep. Something is wrong with me. I told someone that lately I feel like a facsimile of myself, and the real me is watching the fake me on television in purgatory, and I can’t merge the two Ryans again. I’m stuck in a bad dream feeling like the fake. It is a surreal and awful feeling to feel outside of yourself like that.
In A SCANNER DARKLY, the two hemispheres of Bob Arctor’s brain began to compete with one another . . . they cease working in tandem. As an undercover narcotics agent, he has infiltrated a group of dope fiends in order to weasel out their supplier. Inside the house where he lives with them are hidden scanners which monitor everything. Later, in his office, he watches videos of himself and the dope fiends that were recorded by the scanners, but as his brain begins to split in half, he doesn’t even realize he’s watching himself. A doctor performs a routine neurological examination at the point of no return:
“It’s as if you have two fuel gauges on your car,” the other man said, “and one says your tank is full and the other registers empty. They can’t both be right . . .”
I mean, yeah! That’s how I feel, more or less, that two gauges are giving me conflicting information. I don’t know what to do with when received external stimuli that I need to survive is incongruous. And then inside I feel scrambled as hell. It all feels like nonsense to me. It makes me feel nauseous and exhausted and deeply alone to inhabit a little purgatory island inside my brain. Neil Young said he was deep inside himself but he’d get out somehow. Did he eventually pull that off? Did he leave instructions in some other song??
Well: Even though I feel absolutely bonkers, I suppose I’ll have to go on hiding it a little longer until it disappears. Maybe I can just ride it out. I have of course experienced worse. This just feels different is all. I think that is what scares me about it.
Anyway, maybe it’ll help me if I finally finish that thing I’ve been writing. Or rather, I’ll watch through a glass darkly as the carbon copy phony version of myself does it . . .
Why not end with another Philip K. Dick quote:
An hour after I have woken up from the dream I can still see in my mind’s eye—whatever that may be; the third or ajna eye?—the garden hose which my wife in her blue jeans is dragging across the cement driveway. Little details, no plot. I wish I owned the mansion next to our house. I do? In real life, I wouldn’t own a mansion on a bet. These are rich people; I detest them. Who am I? How many people am I? Where am I? This plastic little apartment in southern California is not my home, but now I am awake, I guess, and here I live, with my TV (hello, Dick Clark), and my stereo (hello, Olivia Newton-John) and my books (hello nine million stuffy titles). In comparison to my life in the inter-connected dreams, this life is lonely and phony and worthless; unfit for an intelligent and educated person. Where are the roses? Where is the lake? Where is the slim, smiling, attractive woman coiling and tugging the green garden hose? The person that I am now, compared with the person in the dream, has been baffled and defeated and only supposes he enjoys a full life. In the dreams, I see what a full life really consists of, and it is not what I really have.