Exploring the Nature of Reality in Science Fiction through the use of Taoism and Advaita Vedanta
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The Man in the High Castle and Distances use non-dual philosophy to move beyond post-modernism, toward a recognition, appreciation, and reconfiguration of the boundaries of reality. The inclusion of Taoist and Advaitic philosophy in High Castle and Distances is not simply an aesthetic that lends itself to estrangement, but the novels' overall message is influenced by the tenets of these philosophies. Dick and Singh’s characters progress toward a non-dual perspective—a recognition of the parts that make up a whole—that suggests a completeness. The characters experience a self-contained revolution in which their world may not change, but their understanding of themselves within it will change and grow immensely. The inclusion of non-dual philosophy may function as an ontological frame for these novels, but also lends a totality to these works that takes into account an ambiguous outlook on the world that does not render its aspects merely good or bad. The characters recognize a wider perspective on and appreciation for their reality as it is. The characters' discoveries do not depend on their worlds as much as on their perspectives.