virus: Dalinian L3

Wade T. Smith (
Fri, 17 Oct 97 22:13:08 -0400

Well, perhaps a trinity of levels is more apt for this most scientific of

(This is an excerpt from the Docent web page, and unattributed as far as
I could tell.)


The Paranoid Critical Transformation Method

An Introduction

Of all the Surrealists and their achievements, there is one that
stands out above all the others. The Paranoiac Critical method was a
sensibility, or way of perceiving reality that was developed by
Salvador Dali. It was defined by Dali himself as "irrational
knowledge" based on a "delirium of interpretation". More simply put,
it was a process by which the artist found new and unique ways to view
the world around him. It is the ability of the artist or the viewer to
perceive multiple images within the same configuration. The concept
can be compared to Max Ernst's frottage or Leonardo da Vinci's
scribbling and drawings. As a matter of fact, all of us have practiced
the Paranoid Critical Method when gazing at stucco on a wall, or
clouds in the sky, and seeing different shapes and visages therein.
Dali elevated this uniquely human characteristic into his own artform.

Dali, though not a true paranoid, was able to simulate a paranoid
state, without the use of drugs, and upon his return to 'normal
perspective' he would paint what he saw and envisioned therein.

Dali was able to create what he called "hand painted dream
photographs" which were physical, painted representations of the
hallucinations and images he would see while in his paranoid state.
Although he certainly had his own load of mental problems to bear, it
can be said that Dali's delusions and paranoid hallucinations did not
totally dominate his mind, as he was able to convey them to canvas.

Being a painter of miraculous skill, he was capable of reproducing his
myriad fantasies and hallucinations as visual illusions on canvas.

It is in this context that one of Dali's most famous statements takes
on a whole new meaning and understanding.

"The only difference between myself and a madman, is that I am not

In Dali's own words, taken from his Conquest of the Irrational,
published in 1935:

"My whole ambition in the pictorial domain is to materialize the
images of my concrete irrationality with the most imperialist fury of

He then goes on to say:

"Paranoiac-critical activity organizes and objectivizes in an
exclusivist manner the limitless and unknown possibilities of the
systematic association of subjective and objective 'significance' in
the irrational..."

" makes the world of delirium pass onto the plane of reality"

Wade T. Smith | "There ain't nothin' you | shouldn't do to a god." |
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