Reading, Reviews

Blade Runner: The Sanity of Depression

TLDR: Recommended reading! Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is as relevant a book as ever.

I just finished reading Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) and I was impressed. Phillip K. Dick deserves his praise.

This is the third PKD book I’ve read after Valis and Minority Report. There’s a lot of powerful scenes that thrust difficult questions into the reader’s face. Having watched the movie, I thought the book might all be about “What if my memories are fake and I’m an android?” but there is much more to it than that, including questions about the importance of empathy and the sanity of depression in a depressing world?

My thoughts keep coming back to the opening scene in which the protagonist, Rick, and his wife have a fight about using their mood devices, which can be used to schedule feelings and emotions for yourself including “feeling like watching TV no matter what is on” or “feeling optimistic about going to work for the day”.

Interestingly, the protagonist comes off as a much less interesting character than his wife. He wants her to simply dial in some contentment for herself, but she has scheduled a depression for herself. She argues that it’s sane to be depressed. After all, in their world the afternoon forecast calls for radioactive ash to rain from the sky.

I think this is a potent question. Radioactive ash might not be raining from the sky but America is deeply divided and questions of justice are being buried and obscured by political goals. Ask yourself if your emotions are a sane response to your environment.


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