Palmer Eldritch is Capital, Androids are “Postmodernism” (Part I)

“What we have here, he realized, is not an invasion of Earth by Proxmen, beings from another system. Not an invasion by the legions of a pseudo human race. No. It’s Palmer Eldritch who’s everywhere, growing and growing like a mad weed. Is there a point where he’ll burst, grow too much?”

 Philip K. Dick, from The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

“[A]s representative of the general form of wealth—money—capital is the endless and limitless drive to go beyond its limiting barrier. Every boundary is and has to be a barrier for it. Else it would cease to be capital—money as self-reproductive… Capital as such creates a specific surplus value because it cannot create an infinite one all at once; but it is the constant movement to create more of the same.”

 Karl Marx, Grundrisse

“At an oil painting Phil Resch halted, gazed intently. The painting showed a hairless, oppressed creature with a head like an inverted pear, its hands clapped in horror to its ears, its mouth open in a vast, soundless scream. Twisted ripples of the creature’s torment, echoes of its cry, flooded out into the air surrounding it; the man or woman, whichever it was, had become contained by its own howl. It had covered its ears against its own sound. The creature stood on a bridge and no one else was present; the creature screamed in isolation. Cut off by—or despite—its outcry…

 ‘I think,’ Phil Resch said, ‘that this is how an andy must feel.’ He traced in the air the convolutions, visible in the picture, of the creature’s cry. ‘I don’t feel like that, so maybe I’m not an—‘”

 Philip K. Dick, from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“All of which suggests some more general historical hypothesis: namely, that concepts such as anxiety and alienation (and the experiences to which they correspond, as in The Scream) are no longer appropriate in the world of the postmodern. The great Warhol figures—Marilyn herself, or Edie Sedgewick—the notorious burn-out and self-destruction cases of the ending 1960s, and the great dominant experiences of drugs and schizophrenia—these would seem to have little enough in common anymore, either with the hysterics and neurotics of Freud’s own day, or with those canonical experiences of radical isolation and solitude, anomie, private revolt, Van Gogh-type madness, which dominated the period of high modernism. This shift in the dynamics of cultural pathology can be characterized as one in which the alienation of the subject is displaced by the fragmentation of the subject.”

Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”


~ by Tim on April 14, 2008.

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