Books and Movies Reviews

Consumerism in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

In the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick explores the recurring idea of entropy-a concept which describes everything as moving towards disorder and energy as being perpetually lost and wasted. This idea of constant disorder in emotional, societal, and metaphysical aspects permeates throughout the story. It is represented by consumerist characters who readily purchase commodities as well as by "kipple," which serves as a symbol for wasted goods. Throughout his novel, Dick notes how entropy is a continuous, and unstoppable procedure and suggests that humans' consumerism is a futile attempt to fight it.
Dick employs the mood organ to suggest that attempts at reducing disorder through artificial means leads to further chaos and bedlam. Dick introduces the protagonist of the story, Rick Deckard, and his wife, Iran, and through the dialogue, he immediately portrays their relationship as unconventional and broken. Iran constantly berates Rick, calling him a "murderer" with "crude cop's hand[s]" and Rick, in response feels irritable which grows to "outright hostility" towards his own wife (Dick 4). To combat these negative feelings, they use a technological development called a mood organ; a device which can control a user's mood. Instead of finding genuine hope and happiness in this decaying world, they resort to artificial and consumerist products that reduce complex emotions to simple three digit numbers. Rick can just dial in numbers for "creative and fresh attitude toward his job," "awareness of the manifold possibilities," or "ecstatic sexual bliss" (6-7). However, the mood organ can also be used for negative emotions and when arguing with Iran, he considers "dialing for a thalamic suppressant (which would abolish his mood of rage) or a thalamic stimulant (which would make him irked enough to win the argument)" (4). T…