Language virus theory of PDK

#1
https://pkdreligion.blogspot.com/2011/09...lliam.html

"Dick spent some time thinking about the information virus theory of William Burroughs, which he uses here to clarify his own thinking about "living information." Burroughs' theory interests and troubles him, as he indicates by praising Burroughs for getting the problem right. But he ends up disagreeing with Burroughs about the nature of the entity, and takes the opportunity to distinguish his own view in contrast to Burroughs. As is not uncommon in passages like this, Dick proceeds beyond the general theoretical question to speculate about his own experiences. I find this kind of passage beautiful and picturesquely Dickian. He is weaving a tense and compelling portrait, almost Lovecraftian in its description of the theoretical attraction and squeamish repulsion he feels for Burroughs' notion, of his work on the information paradox.

"Language is a virus from outer space."---William S. Burroughs

"I cannot accept Burroughs' view that we have been invaded by an alien virus, an information virus, yet on the other hand I cannot readily dismiss this bizarre theory as mere paranoia on his part. I think he is onto something real and important, and that his statements do more good--far more good--than harm (that is, he states the problem correctly, although perhaps his analysis of the cause is faulty; still, merely to be aware of the problem is to achieve a great deal). Now, I have been able to find accounts in ancient times of what seems to be a thinking or perceptual dysfunction or perhaps the thinking or perceptual dysfunction.

...Burroughs may have indeed detected an "information virus" or something like an information virus, but my supposition is that, if you grant its existence, it is of long-standing. World mythology supports this. Not just Christian.

Where Burroughs and I sharply disagree is that my supposition is that if--if--and information life form exists (and this is indeed a bizarre and wild supposition), it is benign; it does not occlude us; on the contrary: it informs us (or perhaps it has no interest in doing either, but simply rides our own information traffic, using our media as a carrier; that is entirely possible. That I myself saw this living information in the spring of 1974 is not something I wish to claim; on the other hand, I will not deny it. The issue is important, vital, and also elusive. If you grant an occluding information virus, are you not then yourself occluded in your very analysis of it, as well as your perception of its existence? There is a paradox involved. I'm sure you can see that. And I try to deal with it in VALIS."
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#2
(Jun 24, 2018 04:15 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: PKD on language virus theory of William S. Burroughs [...] "Language is a virus from outer space."---William S. Burroughs

"I cannot accept Burroughs' view that we have been invaded by an alien virus, an information virus, yet on the other hand I cannot readily dismiss this bizarre theory as mere paranoia on his part. I think he is onto something real and important [...] ..Burroughs may have indeed detected an "information virus" or something like an information virus, but my supposition is that, if you grant its existence, it is of long-standing. World mythology supports this. Not just Christian.

Where Burroughs and I sharply disagree is that my supposition is that if--if--and information life form exists (and this is indeed a bizarre and wild supposition), it is benign; it does not occlude us [...]


Instead of ascribing inherent "life" to them, I'd just say that language frameworks (concepts, principles, mindsets, systems, etc) mutably develop because they're information riding and evolving on the neural substrate of biological brains.

It is the specific package of ideas interacting with each other in a person that constitute the latter's identity. Along with acquired habits / skills and personal memories. That "package of thought constructs" may arbitrarily or eclectically accumulate over childhood and adulthood, or be methodically taught (indoctrination); both.

But that said, also the extreme of viewing language as a whole as an invasive, living infomorph would unsurprisingly have vague origins in elder traditions. Deities were an ancient effort to invest concepts with "character-hood", which sported even occasional "being-hood" or location in space and time (i.e., theophany; the abstract/general becoming material/particular). The Abrahamic God seemed to be an attempt to unify all the social, moral, administrative, etc schemes into one personified complex. Yet Kant refined the mono-deity back down to primarily a reification / personification of a moral system or imperative by rational agents.

"Reason inevitably creates objects for itself. Hence everything that thinks has a God. [...] The concept of God is the idea of a moral being [...] The latter is not a hypothetical thing but pure practical reason itself in its personality..." --Opus Postumum


EDIT: We know what the most revered ideology slash language framework was in the USSR. But its own atheistic component prevented it from being deified in the classic sense. The populace had to settle for statues of mortals (Marx, Lenin, etc) as sacred totems to admire (with "liberty" reified as a lady statue in the US). But that concept was still the pervasive, regulating force across the Soviet realm; it just could not receive apotheosis to god characterization as in olden days. In an arguably bizarre respect it maybe maintained more of a non-corporeal status than the defied Greek ideas taking time out from meta-phenomenal duties to breed with humans, animals, and non-biological entities.

~
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