Elements of Postmodernism in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” 540 Words

In Philip K Dick’s book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” it is evident that there are many postmodern themes when the book is carefully analyzed. The religion of Mercerism has the postmodern theme of blurring high culture and low culture. Both the masses and the more intelligent members of society seem to believe in this idea even though it sounds completely ridiculous. There is also much ambiguity surrounding the treatment of animals. Animals are sacred according to Mercer, but many humans only care about the money they are worth causing animals to become a mere status symbol. There is also the ambiguity between humans and android with the new Nexus-6 model androids even the Voigt-Kampff test is having a hard time differentiating them from humans. This forces the humans in the novel to question what it is that makes them different from the androids. There is also the idea that there are no originals and only copies which is another common postmodern theme. For example most of the animals went extinct and real animals have become so rare that people have created artificial animals to show their human compassion. Mercerism can be viewed as a parody of religion in some ways, because the whole religion is ridiculous and is the major religion in the novel. Animals are also an example of the blur between high and low culture. We find evidence of this due to the fact that having compassion for animals is the basis of the Voigt-Kampff test to determine whether one is a human or android. Many ideas in this book cannot be explained by conventional reasoning or science and can be viewed as the author’s rejection of the humanist self. Rick Deckard desperately tries to prove that humans and androids are different yet the thing that truly sets them apart is not so clear cut as the androids become more advanced. Mercerism also cannot be explained logically, a man that goes to the top of the hill and is pelted to death by rocks only to be reborn again. Humanism defines our humanity as our ability to reason where as animals do not have this ability. However, the more advanced androids are often smarter than the average human so we are forced to turn to another definition of humanity. Animals are now given some higher purpose rather than being resources they are now objects that define ones humanity. This puts animals above the androids who can reason just as well if not better than humans. This definition of humanity totally contradicts the idea of humanism and shows what lengths humans will go to, to justify our superiority over other beings. The humans in this novel are doing similar things to androids as politicians have done in the past to justify the enslavement or extermination of an entire ethnicity or religion. The specials, which are humans that have mutated due to the fallout, have been given a status in between androids and humans. Most of humans look down upon them with disgust and think that they have lost their humanity. This seems to contradict the idea of only needing to have compassion for others to be human, especially because many humans in the novel are not compassionate.

Here is a song that I believe fits the posthuman theme very well


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