The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick


  • Prehistoric man in a sterile white lab coat in some Berlin university lab, experimenting with uses to which other people’s skull, skin, ears, fat could be put to. Ja, Herr Doktor. A new use for the big toe; see, one can adapt the joint for a quick-acting cigarette lighter mechanism. Now, if only Herr Krupp can produce it in quantity… It horrified him, this thought: the ancient gigantic cannibal near-man flourishing now, ruling the world once more. We spent a million years escaping him, Frink thought, and now he’s back. And not merely as the adversary… but as the masterman-in-the-high-castle
  • they were thanking him for having things like these for them to see, pick up and examine, handle perhaps without even buying. Yes, he thought, they know what sort of store they are in
  • It was a chance to meet a young Japanese couple socially, on a basis of acceptance of him as a man rather than him as a yank or, at best, a tradesman who sold art objects
  • And nowadays such a violation of the harsh, rigid, but just Japanese civil law was unheard of. It was a credit to the incorruptibility of the Jap occupation officials, especially those who had come in after the War Cabinet had fallen
  • The radio said: “Co-Prosperity Civilization must pause and consider whether in our quest to provide a balanced equity of mutual duties and responsibilities coupled with remunerations…” Typical jargon from the ruling hierarchy, Frink noted. “…we have not failed to perceive the future arena in which the affairs of man will be acted out, be they Nordic, Japanese, Negroid…” On and on it went.
  • At first he had thought it was just plain bad eyesight, but finally he had decided that it revealed a deep-dyed otherwise concealed stupidity at her core. And so finally her borderline flicker of greeting to strangers had annoyed him, as had her plantlike, silent, I’m-on-a-mysterious-errand way of coming and going. But even then, toward the end, when they had been fighting so much, he still never saw her as anything but a direct, literal invention of God’s, dropped into his life for reasons he would never know. And on that account—a sort of religious intuition or faith about her—he could not get over having lost her.
  • Nor did he take notice of the enormous neon signs with their permanent ads obliterating the front of virtually every large building
  • In fact, the uproar of radios, traffic noises, the signs and people lulled him. They blotted out his inner worries.
  • But Africa. They had simply let their enthusiasm get the better of them there, and you had to admire that, although more thoughtful advice would have cautioned them to perhaps let it wait a bit until, for instance, Project Farmland had been completed. Now there the Nazis had shown genius; the artist in them had truly emerged. The Mediterranean Sea bottled up, drained, made into tillable farmland, through the use of atomic power—what daring
  • I’m not a countryman of yours,” Baynes said. “Oh, yes; that’s so. But racially, you’re quite close. For all intents and purposes the same.”
  • Obviously, it was God’s sardonic vengeance, right out of some silent movie. That awful man struck down by an internal filth, the historic plague for man’s wickedness.
  • Be small… and you will escape the jealousy of the great.
  • The jewelry business will bring good fortune; the judgment refers to that. But the line, the goddam line; it refers to something deeper, some future catastrophe probably not even connected with the jewelry business. Some evil fate that’s in store for me anyhow… War! he thought. Third World War! All frigging two billion of us killed, our civilization wiped out. Hydrogen bombs falling like hail. Oy gewalt! he thought. What’s happening? Did I start it in motion? Or is someone else tinkering, someone I don’t even know? Or—the whole lot of us. It’s the fault of those physicists and that synchronicity theory, every particle being connected with every other; you can’t fart without changing the balance in the universe. It makes living a funny joke with nobody around to laugh. I open a book and get a report on future events that even God would like to file and forget. And who am I? The wrong person; I can tell you that.
  • Gresham’s Law: the fakes would undermine the value of the real.
  • “You know what I think? I think you’ve picked up the Nazi idea that Jews can’t create. That they can only imitate and sell. Middlemen.” He fixed his merciless scrutiny on Frink.
  • The oracle. I’m sorry. Fleece-seeking cortical response.” Woolgathering, Baynes thought. That’s the idiom he means. To himself he smiled
  • The paper proves its worth, not the object itself!
  • the word “fake” meant nothing really, since the word “authentic” meant nothing really
  • There’s nothing more foolish than economic competition
  • “This situation has occurred before. We have not in our society solved the problem of the aged, more of which persons occur constantly as medical measures improve. China teaches us rightly to honor the old. However, the Germans cause our neglect to seem close to outright virtue. I understand they murder the old.”
  • The Nazis have no sense of humor, so why should they want television? Anyhow, they killed most of the really great comedians. Because most of them were Jewish
  • Slavs, Poles, Puerto Ricans, were the most limited as to what they could read, do, listen to. The Anglo-Saxons had it much better; there was public education for their children, and they could go to libraries and museums and concerts
  • Object of his drives; self-glorification in ancient emperor fashion.
  • Not self-gratification, is underlying ambition, but power for its use purely
  • Period after death of Leader critical in totalitarian society
  • I’m trying to pretend that these Japanese and I are alike. But observe: even when I burst out as to my gratification that they won the war, that my nation lost– there’s still no common ground
  • You cook the native foods to perfection, Robert Childan thought. What they say is true: your powers of imitation are immense
  • Why do I cater to them? Due solely to their having won?
  • They know a million tricks, those novelists. Take Doctor Goebbels; that’s how he started out, writing fiction. Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the surface. Yes, the novelist knows humanity, how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed—all he’s got to do is thump on the drum, and there’s his response. And he laughing, of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets.
  • Juliana, Frink thought. Are you as alone as I am?
  • He said nothing. His breathing, long, slow, regular… like the ocean, she thought. We’re nothing but water inside.
  • He no longer viewed his stock with the same reverence. Bit of knowledge like that goes a long way. Akin to primal childhood awakening; facts of life
  • “I think they should be the rulers,” Juliana said, pausing. “They always were the best. The British.”
  • I tell you; a state is no better than its leader. Fuhrerprinzip–Principle of Leadership, like the Nazis say. They’re right. Even this Abendsen has to face that. Sure, the U.S.A. expands economically after winning the war over Japan, because it’s got that huge market in Asia that it’s wrested from the Japs. But that’s not enough; that’s got no spirituality. Not that the British have. They’re both plutocracies, rule by the rich. If they had won, all they’d have thought about was making more money, that upper class. Abendsen, he’s wrong; there would be no social reform, no welfare public works plans—the Anglo-Saxon plutocrats wouldn’t have permitted it.”
  • “Those old rotten money-run empires, Britain and France and U.S.A., although the latter actually a sort of bastard sideshoot, not strictly empire, but money-oriented even so. They had no soul, so naturally no future. No growth. Nazis a bunch of street thugs; I agree
  • Example: they won’t help a hurt man up from the gutter due to the obligation it imposes. What do you call that? I say that’s typical; just what you’d expect from a race that when told to duplicate a British destroyer managed even to copy the patches on the boiler
  • Humiliated me and my race. And I’m helpless. There’s no avenging this; we are defeated and our defeats are like this, so tenuous, so delicate, that we’re hardly able to perceive them. In fact, we have to rise a notch in our evolution to know it ever happened
  • The SD man’s jaw burst. Bits of bone, flesh, shreds of tooth, flew in the air. Hit in the mouth, Mr. Tagomi realized. Dreadful spot, especially if ball ascending. The jawless SD man’s eyes still contained life, of a kind. He still perceives me, Mr. Tagomi thought. Then the eyes lost their luster and the SD man collapsed, dropping his gun and making un-human gargling noises
  • To save one life, Mr. Tagomi had to take two. The logical, balanced mind cannot make sense of that. A kindly man like Mr. Tagomi could be driven insane by the implications of such reality.
  • The oracle enigmatic. Perhaps it has withdrawn from the world of man in sorrow. The sages leaving. We have entered a Moment when we are alone. We cannot get assistance, as before. Well, Mr. Tagomi thought, perhaps that too is good. Or can be made good. One must still try to find the Way.
  • When I was a child I thought as a child. But now I have put away childish things. Now I must seek in other realms. I must keep after this object in new ways
  • Metal is from the earth, he thought as he scrutinized. From below: from that realm which is the lowest, the most dense. Land of trolls and caves, dank, always dark. Yin world, in its most melancholy aspect. World of corpses, decay and collapse. Of feces. All that has died, slipping and disintegrating back down layer by layer. The daemonic world of the immutable; the time-that-was.
  • The terrible dilemma of our lives. Whatever happens, it is evil beyond compare. Why struggle, then? Why choose? If all alternatives are the same.
  • We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy.

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