The stories by Phillip K. Dick have the philosophical background. Imposter is one of Dick’s works. Although it is written in the genre of fiction and narrates about the imaginary future, its plot shares the common themes with the philosophical teachings of Plato, the Ancient Greek philosopher. The second novel, which will be discussed in the essay, is The Man in the High Castle, which represents the fiction drama telling about what life of the Americans might have been if the state had been conquered by Japan, which was the Nazi ally during the World War II.
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The Philosophy of Plato
Plato was the outstanding Ancient Greek philosopher, whose teachings represented the fundamental tenets of the philosophical thought. Plato focused on the explication of the human soul and the essence of life. He explained them by his very important concept of ideas. Besides, he made the distinction between the external and internal world of the human nature. The concept of beauty played a crucial role in his understanding of it.
“The most fundamental distinction in Plato’s philosophy was between the many observable objects that appeared beautiful (good, just, unified, equal, big) and the one object that was what beauty (goodness, justice, unity) really was” (“Plato” n.pag.). That is why he said that the people saw the beauty in the external world to the extent by which they had the beauty in their minds. He explained that there was an unseen world, which was composed of the human ideas.
Plato also said that people never died because their souls would be alive forever. According to him, the human soul was pure when it arrived at the sinful Earth. Plato believed that the soul was immortal because the highest good was immortal and the soul derived from the highest good or the unseen world.
The Philosophy of the Novels by Phillip K. Dick
The novels by Phillip K. Dick have the philosophical background. His story Imposter uncovers the themes of the human misleading thoughts and madness. Spence Olham, the main character of the novel, is accused of the attempt to blow up the Earth. He is betrayed by his friend, who does not say the word to defend him from the false accusation. The secret agent insists on the necessity to kill Olham, because he is believed to be the android sent by the space enemy to destroy the Earth. The author tries to emphasize the delusiveness of the human thoughts. While being persuaded in their judgments, they are deaf to the arguments of Olham. “He would become Olham in mind as well as body. He was given an artificial memory system, false recall.
He would look like him, have his memories, his thoughts and interests, perform his job” (Dick, Imposter, n.pag.). They are going to murder him and to commit the crime by themselves, while being misled by their false thoughts. I guess the story Imposter by Phillip K. Dick can be explained from the standpoint of the philosophical teachings by Plato. Obviously, the author of the story shares the similar views with the Ancient Greek philosopher. Dick tries to say that people tend to be driven by their ideas and the problem is that their ideas can destroy the surrounding world.
The novel The Man in the High Castle is similar to Imposter in that it is basically devoted to the problem of human ideas and thoughts. The author reflects his view on what America might have been if the Nazi had won in the World War II. The novel uncovers the themes of human consciousness, humanity, as well as mentality of people. We get to know that two main characters of the novel, one of whom is the American and another one is Japanese, experience the hard mental crisis as a result of the war.
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Undoubtedly, the war is the embodiment of the negative ideas. Thus, we can see that the bad thoughts lead to hate and destroy people’s lives. The war contradicts the highest good and beauty taught by Plato. Probably, for that reason, the characters of the novel experience the mental crisis as they simply cannot see the good in life. The author puts the additional emphasis on the clash of cultures and its influence on people’s self-consciousness. “Tagomi deliberately mispronounced the name; insult within the code that made Childan’s ears burn” (Dick, The Man in the High Castle, 2). I think that the philosophical views of the author coincide with the teachings of Plato, who said that there was the inner world of thoughts, which played the vital role in the human life.
In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that the novels by Phillip K. Dick reflect the philosophical thoughts. In my opinion, the author agrees with Plato and tries to say that there is an unseen world of ideas, which lead human behavior. Overall, it can be said that the philosophical teachings of Plato have been reflected by Phillip K. Dick in his fiction novels.
Dick, Phillip K. 1953, Impostor. Web.
Dick, Phillip K. The Man in the High Castle, Boston: Mariner Books, 2011. Print.
“Plato”. Plato.stanford.edu. 2013. Web.