Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick

PKD was an American science fiction writer and novelist who changed the genre profoundly. Though hailed during his lifetime by peers, Dick received little public recognition until after his death, when several popular film adaptations of his novels [Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale), Minority Report, Paycheck, the Truman Show (Time Out of Joint), A Scanner Darkly & PKD inspired Southland Tales] introduced him to a larger audience. (His books outclass the movie adaptations by far.) His work is now some of the most popular in science fiction, and Dick has gained both general acclaim and critical respect, though, sadly, most of the popular interest in his work has occured after his death.

In February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of visions and auditions including an information-rich "pink light" beam that transmitted directly into his consciousness. A year after the events, in March 1975, Dick summarized the 2-3-74 experiences that would pervade his writing for the final eight years of his life:

  • March 18, 1974: It, from inside me, looked out and saw the world did not compute, that I - and it - had been lied to. It denied the reality, and power, and authenticity of the world, saying, 'This cannot exist; it cannot exist.'
  • March 20, 1974: It seized me entirely, lifting me from the limitations of the space-time matrix; it mastered me as, at the same time, I knew that the world around me was cardboard, a fake. Through its power of perception I saw what really existed, and through its power of no-thought decision, I acted to free myself.

  • There are those who are eager to create a 'Saint Phil' who emerged from this experience. In that regard, it's wise to remember that Dick himself always
    bore in mind what he called the "minimum hypothesis" -that is, the possibility that all that he had undergone was merely self-delusion.
    On the other hand, there are those who regard Dick as a charlatan who foisted upon his readers a pseudo-mystical revelation fueled by
    mental disorder. But surely a charlatan is one who insists on the seriousness and accuracy of his claims. This Dick never did.
    One has only to go and read VALIS (1981) to find a piercingly knowing humor in Dick's portrayal of himself as Horselover Fat:
    "Fat must have come up with more theories than there are stars in the universe. Every day he developed a new one, more cunning, more exciting and more fucked."

    Those who insist on the "truth" or "falsehood" of Dick's experience of 2-3-74 are missing the central point: that those experiences provided him with the means to explore, with integrity, insight, and humility, the difficulties of making sense of any spiritual path in a relentlessly secular and cynical Western culture in which even apparent revelations can be instantly repackaged as popular entertainment.

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    PKD wrote a captivating essay called 'How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later' after a series of recurring strange events in his life with VALIS that Rome's civilisation never ended and we were still there. In the philosophical movie 'Waking Life' by Richard Linklater (Who is directing the upcoming 'A Scanner Darkly'), they expand on the essay, that PKD wasn't far from the truth...
    that there's only one instant, and it's right now. And it's eternity.
    On the other hand, if you consider the vatican's world influence you could indeed say that Rome civilisation is still in effect...

    At one point, during an encounter with VALIS, Dick learned that his infant son was in danger of perishing from an unnamed malady. Routine checkups on the child had shown no trouble or illness; however, Dick insisted that thorough tests be run to ensure his son's health. The doctor eventually complied, despite the fact that there were no apparent symptoms. During the examination doctors discovered an inguinal hernia, which would have killed the child if an operation was not quickly performed. His son survived thanks to the operation, which Dick attributed to the "intervention" of VALIS.

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    "After all, if you're a buddha, you should be able to figure it out for yourself."
    Philip K. Dick

    Links:
    Official PKD site
    Terence Mckenna: I understand PKD
    PKD Dedroidify Blogposts (lots of great excerpts)
    PKD on YouTube