Möbius Corp. in Time Out of Joint

April 5, 2008

Throughout my literary investigations, there are – at least – three permanent novels that i am ‘liable’ to deal with. One of the is the above mentioned ‘Time Out of Joint’ by Philip K. Dick.

The relatively widely-used visual tool, The Möbius-strip, that has been metaphorised and used as a graphical representation for Dick-novels serves as a fair example here, as well. Moreover, I would like to superimpose the Möbius-strip with Lacan’s four discourses.

Let me illustrate my theory. If you are familiar with the novel, or at least with the movie (the very idea was adapted into a film, the ‘Truman Show‘ with Jim Carrey),you probably know that there is a shift between two worlds. Here, the Strip is a useful illustration as each side of it works as a possible world. One side is where Amerca is ‘shown’ in the 1950s,and the other side is America shown in the future-(or in the ‘present’?)

The question is how we should superimpose these ideas? In my special interpretation behind the world-constructing idea of TOOJ there is an ideology. An ideology that makes the fake,the simulacra-world coherent and comprehensive. These laws or forces are there to make sure nothing would go wrong or if something does, this problem should be banned as soon as possible.

Lacan argues that cultural or ideological phenomenons,such as regimes can be analyzed through the lenses of The discourse of the University.I would make a small detour here to construct an analogy with its original meaning. The properties of Discours de l’Université are the following: it essentally regulates BOTH the students and the Master and it tells you it must not waste time (therefore it monopolizes the spaces of speech-i.e. the professors hold lectures, not the students who have millions of questions about the topic).

In the novel we can acknowledge that the ideology- whatever it is about -is lingering in the air making everyone act according to its own rules, just think of a reality show. Thus it does not waste time, it acts as ordered in any field of the constructed and fake world. Each subject is thus LIABLE to act accordingly, so each of them is within the Discourse of the University. What if the main hero, Ragle Gumm- when revealing the ‘true’ means of the surrounding world became the subject entrapped by the Discourse of the Hysteric, which questions subjectivity and realizes that the field (world)-governing laws are not irrelevant but part of its problem? He becomes what Discourse de l’Hystérique is about: a subject with badly-adapted habituses, who knows too much and thus he becomes the obsessive questioner.(For the more advanced readers: don’t you think it is another connection with Hamlet?)

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5 Responses to “Möbius Corp. in Time Out of Joint”

  1. nezsike Says:

    discuss the question with Benyó 🙂
    and since when do u possess such a thorough knowledge about Shakespeare works, that you can even compare them with other works? this is yet another surprise for me ….

  2. kelemenzsolt Says:

    I don’t:D ‘Hamlet’ is a Shakespeare-classic, a classic that even I’d read. Plus, if one follows the reviews and analysises of ‘TOOJ’, s/he finds comparisons of the two ‘classics’.
    For example the title is a (Shakespearean) citation from ‘Hamlet’ .

  3. nezsike Says:

    Oh I know, because I, au contraire to you, possess a somewhat thorough knowledge about Shakespeare’s works …. “The time is out of joint. O cursed spite/That ever I was born to set it right.”

  4. Parole Says:

    Okay, but isn’t there an unbridgeable gap between the hysteric and the knowledge (S2)? So how could Raggle realize the “truth” about his situation? And by the way, does he become an obsessive questioner? Don’t remember…

  5. kelemenzsolt Says:

    Parole: yes, there is a gap and I believe Ragle doesn’t REALLY acknowledge what is going on around him. Ragle does realize that he is used for a reason, but of course, he won’t be able to understand it universally.(i.e The war that’s been going on, or why do objects keep on disappearing in front of him-can we talk about his psychosis in this case?)
    Moreover, his brain is conditioned to this world from time to time,making the knowledge(S2) -and not the realization – inaccessible to him.
    By obsessive questioner, I mean his urge to ask questions- either philosopical ones, or direct questions about the world(think of the scene when he tries to dicover the ‘real’ meaning of the game to Lowery)


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