Forms and Shifts

Philip K. Dick Ubik (New York: Vintage Books 1969 reprint 1991 page 132) has a particular take on Plato

But why hadn't the TV set reverted instead to formless metals and plastics? those, after all, were its constituents; it had been constructed out of them, not out of an earlier radio. Perhaps this weirdly verified a discarded ancient philosophy, that of Plato's ideal objects, the universals which, in each class, were real. The form TV set had been a template imposed as a successor to other templates, like the procession of frames in a movie sequence. Prior forms, he reflected, must carry on an invisible, residual life in every object. The past is latent, is submerged, but still there, capable of rising to the surface once the later imprinting unfortunately — and against ordinary experience — vanished. The man contains — not the boy — but earlier men, he thought. History began a long time ago.

The ordinary experience of boys with movie frames admits splicing and montage. How like a template is a frame? The simile invites a bit of thinking about how a succession differs from a procession. Both do possess a quality of entities following one after the other. Yet one has room for more. The boy is not contained by the man. The boy traverses the man. The long ago may be only a frame away or even awaiting just off screen. A man is traversed and because of that is unlike a succession. The container leaks.

And so for day 241