Their [the stars] influence on our fate is considerably less than the influence of a banana peel, on which you can slip and break your leg. But there is no interest in banana peels, whereas serious periodicals include horoscopes [...] It lifts his spirits. The whole universe revolves around him, and even if things aren't going well, even if the stars are lined up in such a way that the suspenders manufacturer loses his shirt and the individual consequently loses his job, it's still more comforting than to know that the stars don't really give a damn. Knock astrology out of his head, and the belief too that the cactus on his windowsill cares about him, and what is left? Barefoot, naked despair.
It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.
If they come upon one who still has not seen it and they speak to him of fire, he does not know what they mean. So they, in turn, fall back upon telling him what fire is like. 'As they do so, they know from their own experience that what they are telling him is not the truth, but only a part of it. They know that this man will never know reality from their words, though all the words in the world are theirs to use. He must look upon the fire, smell of it, warm his hands by it, stare into its heart, or remain forever ignorant. Therefore, 'fire' does not matter, 'earth' and 'air' and 'water' do not matter. 'I' do not matter. No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.
To finally know that you didn't have to hold on so tight. To realize that all your life--you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain--it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there's a monster at the end of it.
He remembered the top, the sudden leveling of the hill, when the climb ceased and the other part of it began. How many times had he done this? The several times blurred; future and past blurred; what he had already experienced and what he would eventually experience blended so that nothing remained but the moment, the standing still and resting during which he rubbed the cut on his arm which the stone had left. God, he thought in weariness. In what way is this fair? Why am I up here alone like this, being tormented by something I can't even see? And then, within him, the mutual babble of everyone else in fusion broke the illusion of aloneness.
- Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
John Tocher surveys the free music landscape for new and old releases encompassing the realms of avant garde, experimental, electronic, musique concréte, industrial, dada-ist music. A transplant from the Los Angeles area, he now makes his home in southeast Texas near the border with Louisiana --deep in swamp country, where the ambiance is enhanced by cicadas and the occasional hurricane.