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"I Am Alive, You Died." Philip Dick's Pathography - Great And Terrible
"I Am Alive, You Died." Philip Dick's Pathography - Great And Terrible

Video: "I Am Alive, You Died." Philip Dick's Pathography - Great And Terrible

Video: "I Am Alive, You Died." Philip Dick's Pathography - Great And Terrible
Video: Philip K Dick - I Am Alive and You Are Dead- Review 2023, March

Philip Kindred Dick is one of the most influential American science fiction writers. He wrote 44 novels and 110 short stories. Based on his works, 17 films have been filmed, including Blade Runner and Total Recall. However, not everyone knows how difficult he was in communication and that the reason for this was addiction and illness

Scary mask

Philip Dick was born on December 16, 1928 in Chicago. His father Joseph served as a newspaper censor, and his mother, Dorothy, edited the speeches of government officials. Dorothy gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, six weeks ahead of schedule. The babies were very weak, and after ten days the girl died. On the tombstone next to her name, the name of her surviving brother was also engraved, leaving an empty space for the date of death. Philip Dick will be buried in this grave.

During World War I, Edgar Dick volunteered for the front and returned from Europe with a heap of heroic memories and a gas mask, with which he once tried to cheer up his three-year-old son. However, the fun did not work: seeing the round, impenetrable eyes and ominously swaying black rubber trunk, Phil screamed in fear, deciding that some monster had taken his father's place. And then for several weeks in a row the baby carefully studied the face that had regained its former appearance, fearing to find other signs of substitution. Many years later, Philip Dick will write a story about a little boy convinced that some terrible creature has replaced his father.

The romance of hallucinations

From childhood, Philip showed an interest in writing. At the age of 10, he made his own newspaper, The Daily Dick, and at the age of 12, he first became acquainted with science fiction by reading the magazine Stirring Science Stories. After reading the works of Plato, Dick came to the conclusion that the world around him is not as real as it seems, and it is almost impossible to be convinced of the absolute reality of anything.

Phil was five years old when Dorothy filed for divorce. She and her mother moved several times and finally settled in California. In the evenings, the son and mother talked, each lying in his bed and leaving the bedroom doors open. Their favorite topics of conversation were books, diseases and medicines.

Dorothy visited a psychotherapist, loved to self-medicate, had an extensive first-aid kit, and constantly tried new drugs. The writer's aunt Marion suffered from catatonic schizophrenia. Dorothy selflessly took care of her sister, visited her in the hospital and even settled her with her. She surrounded the sick patient with devoted but eccentric care, moving from one miraculous treatment to another - from Dianetics to the teachings of Reich. Dorothy romanticized her sister's illness, and when Marion suffered terrible hallucinations shortly before her death, Dorothy claimed that she was enjoying wonderful visions.

Disease manifestation


Philip Dick in 1953

Phil was afraid of heights, open spaces and public transport, could not eat in public. At the age of 15, while attending a symphony concert, he was suddenly overcome by panic - the boy thought that he had sunk to the bottom and looked at the world through the periscope of a submarine.

Phil had a stomach ache after dinner one day. He went to get the medicine down the dark corridor leading to the bathroom. On the threshold, he began to feel by touch for the cord from the lamp. But he was not there. However, Philip was certain that the cord was hanging to the left of the door. His fingers spread, Phil began to fumble in the dark. Panic swept through him, as if everything around him had disappeared. He muttered that he couldn't find this damn cord … and suddenly realized that no cord existed. There is and always has been a switch to the right of the door. Philip found it without difficulty, turned on the light with a sharp blow. This incident pushed him to the idea of the novel "The connection of times has fallen apart." He was very attracted to the thought of how someone, starting from an insignificant detail, notices that something is wrong.

Since then, the disease has progressed. One day while walking, Dick heard the cry of a bird. He raised his head, and instead of the sky above him there was a face: huge, metallic, terrible; bent over, it looked at him. Philip realized that all his life he was afraid to see exactly this. And the stupid joke of his father with a gas mask, which scared him in childhood, also foreshadowed this. He decided that his mechanism, which filters reality, began to seize and he accidentally saw the real world.

Love carousel

Phil was rather insecure and usually looked like a hipster: jeans, a checked shirt, old army boots. He was tall, awkward, loose, often poorly shaven or with a beard. By the age of 40, the writer weighed about 100 kg and was indifferent to his appearance.

Dick did not like to leave the house, so he set things up so that people would come to him. He liked the role of master and author of the rules of the game. Surprisingly, his insecurity didn't stop him from marrying four times. In courtship, he showed amazing perseverance and onslaught. He preferred very young girls. Very little is known about his first wife; they were together for only a few months. The second wife, Cleo Apostolidis, was 19 years old at the time of their acquaintance. From her, Phil left for the young widow Anna Rubenstein, and did not even try to hide his connection from his wife.

Two years after the wedding, Phil fled from Anna and settled with a girl named Grania. Living with her, Philip fell in love with almost all the women he met. And they all turned out to be the wives of his friends. He wrote them pitiful letters, called them at night. Then he met Nancy. She was a timid, gentle, fragile girl with a barely audible voice. In pursuit of her, he threatened that he would take a lot of pills and die. She succumbed to his onslaught and in the spring of 1965 moved to live with him, they got married. She was 19, and he was 37. Five years later, Nancy left him, and soon Phil became friends with 18-year-old Tessa, and after breaking up this relationship with 22-year-old Doris. Anna, Nancy and Tessa gave birth to children from Phil.

He treated all his women equally. The period of violent courtship quickly ended, and Dick began to tightly control his wives, did not allow them to work or even leave the house, and then suspected them of insanity. Anna suffered the most - he managed to convince their family psychiatrist that she was going crazy and wanted to kill him. Anna was admitted to a psychiatric clinic for several weeks. Philip Dick suspected healthy women of insanity, and considered sick women the only ones worthy of love.

Gliding in the dark

Dick was shy to show anyone his works, so his second wife Cleo secretly did it, sending his story to editor Anthony Bucher. He called Dick's story promising, which inspired the writer to abandon psychology and philosophy and take up creativity. The Man in the High Castle was Dick's first success: he won the Hugo Award. By the age of 40, the writer's works were translated into other languages. Periods of hard work alternated with months when he could not squeeze out a line.

Stanislaw Lem wanted Dick's Ubik novel to be translated into Polish. But the fee could only be received in Poland, and Dick suspected that they were planning to lure him into Eastern Europe and not let him out, about which he wrote to Lem several times. Lem soon stopped responding to his letters. Within 4 months of 1974, Dick wrote 14 letters to the FBI, where, among other things, he informed that the writer Stanislav Lem did not exist, that under this name the committee preparing the conspiracy was hidden

Despite the fact that Dick repeatedly ended up in a psychiatric clinic, visited psychotherapists and psychiatrists throughout his adult life, tried to commit suicide several times, there is no mention of whether he was officially diagnosed in Russian-language sources. However, this does not mean that there was no diagnosis. His biography and his books give grounds for the assumption that he could have been diagnosed with a schizophrenic symptom complex.

He was characterized by fluctuations between melancholy and psychotic states, uncertainty combined with high anxiety. He wrote stories and novels at night, and slept during the day. I used a lot of drugs. He knew what symptoms the doctors needed to describe in order to get a prescription.

Philip Dick spent months pondering the work, and then, under the influence of amphetamines, wrote the book in a few weeks. The final version, as a rule, did not differ much from the draft. Most of all he was attracted by the plot, in which a person suddenly realizes by an insignificant detail that something is going wrong. But no one believes him, he is forced to look for ways to prove his innocence, and in the end it turns out that the world is not at all what it seems

The further, the more often his plots boiled down to a mad escape among death and terrible transformations. His characters either go crazy or think they are crazy. They cannot always understand what kind of world they are in, whether they are alive or dead.

For the story "Complete Settlement" Dick received $ 195, and 20 years after his death, the Paramount film studio paid the writer's children $ 2 million for the rights to film this story. Dick did not live to see real fame for only a few months. However, most likely, he would not have noticed her, taking it for a hallucination.

Diagnostic guess

Schizophrenic symptom complex: paranoid thinking and behavior. Delusions of persecution, delusions of jealousy, erotic and hypochondriacal delusions. Attacks of excessive religiosity, visual and auditory hallucinations, suicidal activity. It can be assumed that Dick had the Kandinsky-Clerambault syndrome, namely ideational automatism, when it seems to a person that someone is putting his thoughts into his head, and also “makes” his dreams and memories.

The assumption of paranoid schizophrenia is supported by Dick's attempts to detect his enemies (for example, letters to the FBI), as well as anxious-fearful excitement, a sense of fear and impending danger. Patients with schizophrenia are more likely to be diagnosed with concomitant diseases, in the case of Dick it is depression, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, acrophobia, drug addiction.


  1. Carrer E. Philip Dick. I am alive, you died. SPb.: Amphora, 2008.
  2. Bratus B. S. Personality anomalies. M.: Thought, 1988.
  3. Zeigarnik B. V. Pathopsychology: a textbook for students of higher educational institutions. M.: Publishing Center "Academy", 2003.

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