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Kipple is the metaphysical representation of this decay; stuff that has been destroyed or left behind by those that left a decaying world.Kipple, or decay, simply manifests itself where other Kipple is located indicating that decay is a constant evolving process in the world.Rick hates his electric sheep precisely because he believes it cannot feel any love for him, even though he cares for it.
His job is to kill them and he does so for the money.
This individual selfishness is seen on a macro level in the Rosen Association's desire to economically survive.
This demonstrates the hypocrisy of Dick's future society.
On the one hand, they seek to value and have empathy for all life while on the other they make clearly distinguished lines of hierarchy where some life is valued more than others.
In the novel's closing chapters Rick even fuses completely with Mercer.
He becomes the real Mercer and the real Mercer becomes Rick.Empathy is the main theme of the novel and is the crux on which Dick's metaphysical reflection on the meaning of life hangs.Each character in the novel must deal with what it means to be empathetic and whether that allows someone to be valued as a living thing.John Isidore has already become a victim of the cloud and has been turned into a "chickenhead," a person with a diminished mental faculty."Chickenheads" are treated as second class citizens in this world.They only have the ability to take menial jobs and they are not allowed to emigrate to Mars so that the pure colony there will not be contaminated.Characters such as John Isidore have become so caught up in the world that Buster Friendly spins that they often have a hard time reconciling his views on something like Mercer with the feelings and emotions that they have towards Mercer.Likewise, the androids of the novel are also caught up in Buster's propaganda, sure that his expose on Mercer's false religion will destroy the already shaken faith of humanity and will allow androids to live as humans.This, however, does not happen as evidenced by Rick and John's continued faith in the principles of Mercerism, even in they are no longer strict adherents to the false religion.In the novel, intelligence and ability are contrasted with the mental deficiency of those called "chickenheads." Rick notes in the novel's opening pages that he has a valued skill - the ability to kill androids - but that this skill could be taken from him at any time by the radioactive dust that en-clouds the world.He chooses not to feel the decay of humanity and instead focuses only on his own need for a real animal in order to show his social worth.This leads him to reject any notion of empathy or care for electric animals or for androids.