Additional Discussion, pp. 374-396
Monstro's comment from a couple of days ago struck me as extremely apt:
I think these metaphoric systems are being chosen for a reason. It isn't just that Pynchon is being "trippy" but that he is trying to find simpler ways to describe something and to offer as many metaphors as possible to show that this "trend" in the way things actually work isn't really all that unusual at all. But then, what is he going for finally. What are these the echoes of? That's what's got me right now, because the second you start using politics, religion, and the nature of reality as metaphors for something REALLY important, you have to ask: what's more important than those?
Here's some commentary from another source that I thought was relevant to this topic. My dear wife, Wonder Woman, bought me for Christmas the volume of Zak Smith's drawings of Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow. A quite stupendous thing, which I intend fully to have at my side when next I foray into that unforgettable masterwork. From Zak's Foreword:
[This is] the real-world unity of the Pynchonish style of thought: go off looking for the answer to some maybe-meaningless question, collect and connect the obscure clues, find out that the world is weirder and wider than you'd imagined and so are you.Oh, please do discuss...
Or, to put it another way, Pay attention to everything interesting because everything is connected.
People often call this style of thinking "paranoid," but that word connotes something pathetic rather than something that might be creative or useful. Gravity's Rainbow in particular seems to have been written by someone who began with no other project than to observe, write esssays about, and know the history of nearly everything that interested him in the one-eyed hope that, in the end, it would all be connected -- the hope that after 760 pages some thread connecting warfare, behaviorism, and bad limericks would emerge and that this thread would be relevant, if not to the entire world, then at least to the life of the author.