Wednesday, December 27, 2000

In the wee small hours of the morning before falling into bed last night, I added a page to my Homepage’s library, describing the anime titles that I own, and which ones I’d like to buy in future. I figure this will be a good way for me to keep track of what I have and what I’m looking for.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the theory of kipple-ization from Philip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the basis for the film Blade Runner). It’s interesting to see what I thought I remembered from the book, compared to what’s actually there.

What I remembered was the idea that all things eventually devolve into little messy things called “kipple,” like all the junk scattered around the floors of an abandoned house. And mankind’s great purpose in life, what he does as his place in the universe, is to fight against kipple-ization. So, we must build and maintain, while destruction only furthers our devolution into kipple.

But here’s what Dick actually wrote. The conversation is between John Isildore, a somewhat dimwitted man, and Pris, an android who has just taken up residence in the same apartment building that John lives in (they are the only two tenants, thanks to mass migration to off-world colonies).

“…This building, except for my apartment, is completely kipple-ized.”

” ‘Kipple-ized’?” She did not understand.

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.”

“I see.” The girl regarded him uncertainly, not knowing whether to believe him. Not sure if he meant it seriously.

“There’s the First Law of Kipple,” he said. ” ‘Kipple drives out nonkipple.’ Like Gresham’s law about bad money. And in these apartments there’s been nobody there to fight the kipple.”

“So it has taken over completely,” the girl finished. She nodded. “Now I understand.”

“Your place, here,” he said, “this apartment you’ve picked — it’s too kipple-ized to live in. We can roll the kipple-factor back; we can do like I said, raid the other apts. But–” He broke off.

“But what?”

Isildore said, “We can’t win.”

“Why not?” The girl stepped into the hall, closing the door behind her; arms folded self-consciously before her small high breasts she faced him, eager to understand. Or so it appeared to him, anyhow. She was at least listening.

“No one can win against kipple,” he said, “except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I’ve sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I’ll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It’s a universal prniciple operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.”

— Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968)

Not quite what I remembered, is it? Either way, I’m tickled by the idea of kipple-ization, and I agree with the idea that mankind’s greatest purpose is to decrease kipple. I’ve started keeping my room tidier than usual as a result, and I’m surprised to see that I’m proud of it. I like having a clean room, especially when I have a reason to be clean.

Oh, and I bought a nice shiny new 19″ monitor today. Ain’t I special?

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