Was Philip K. Dick Insane?

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Philip K. Dick is one of my heroes. He recognized the phoniness, the artificiality of modern life. Of course, for most of us, this is a metaphor. Philip Dick came to believe that our reality is an artificial construct. At least, a part of him believed this. He conducts arguments with himself about this whole affair in his final novels. In the clip I include at the bottom of this post, Phil Dick begins by saying that what he is about to give a speech about, may not exist. Of course, for him, as for me, what does not exist, nevertheless exists, in a different way. Now that I have thoroughly confused my readers, allow me to fill you in. Philip K. Dick was, as most of you probably know, a pulp science fiction writer who cranked out a huge number of short stories, and novels before developing an overarching theme. His theme consists of the idea that things are not as they seem. Our ‘real’ world hides another. This idea came to a climax in the early seventies, when he was visited by a young woman. She wore the Christian fish symbol about her neck, and as Philip Dick gazed at it, a pink beam of light struck him. This light unleashed a torrent of information into his mind. He learned that an entity known as Valis, ‘vast active living intelligent system’, was orbiting the Earth, and was the source of all this information. He learned that we live in an artificial construct, a ‘virtual’ world, in which everything is already programmed. Only the occasional ‘bug’ in the program gives it away, or as Dick says, a variable is changed. The Roman Empire still exists, according to Valis, and the crucifixion is a recent event. Valis wanted Philip Dick to convey this information to the rest of us, which he did in 1977. The youTube clip is his revelation. Needless to say, most of his fans were more than skeptical. They thought he had gone nuts, or to put it more politely, schizophrenic. I think he was sane.

When Philip K. Dick talks about our living in an horrendous slave state, it feels true. Of course, we are given the means to deceive ourselves. We believe ourselves to be free, but are we? Could it be that the rapture and the end of the world have already occurred? Or that the life of Christ and the crucifixion, is an endless loop, and that our conception of time and space is completely fictional? I have had the feeling of living a double life in the present. I am not a schizophrenic. I do not suffer from hallucinations, and I don’t think Philip K. Dick did either. He had a vivid inner vision, as do I. This is distinct from imagination. I am talking about vivid visions which intrude into your imagination, without your direction. It is more like a waking dream than imagination. But at no time am I unable to distinguish between sensory reality and the inner vision. Actually, what Philip K. Dick experienced isn’t all that unique. Many of the world’s religions are based on similar experiences. Suddenly a ‘download’, if you will, is delivered into someone’s mind, complete and whole, with instructions not to edit. Swedenborg, Carl Jung, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Cayce, Whitley Streiber, John A. Keel, the list goes on and on, of people who have received instructions from something, somewhere. None of these people were or are, crazy, in my estimation. But God, the Angel Moroni, Aiwass, the ‘Greys’, Ingrid Cold, Valis, or whatever you choose to call it, is real and it appears to have a purpose. What is it? What is it’s purpose? Interestingly enough, there have been prophecies made by this weird source, which turned out to be nonsense. Perhaps something happens in the interface between human receiver and the source of this information which corrupts it.

I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of this subject, but I just wanted to be at least one voice in the wilderness, saying Philip K. Dick wasn’t insane. He was onto something. He thought it was profoundly important. It reminds me of the experiences I had when I took LSD, mescaline, or peyote. Something profoundly important occurred, but I couldn’t begin to articulate it. I am left with the sense that what Philip Dick spoke about was, and is, true. But I am at a loss to articulate clearly how it is true, without my also being labelled a schizophrenic. That is one of the scariest things about schizophrenics. I am often left with the nagging feeling that there is some kind of crazy sense to their ravings. But I can never arrive at that sense. It always ends up being nonsense to my rational mind. I could assert that these experiences and the information conveyed is poetic in nature. Except that the information itself insists upon being taken literally! Philip K. Dick had hoped to perform a bit of metaphysical sleight of hand by saying that what he was about to describe did not exist, and therefore he could say nothing or anything about it. But the diabolical? allure of this information caused many in his audience to forget the disclaimer.

So what do you think? Was Philip insane? Is this a dark avenue that I should avoid without the light of logic? Or should I cast logic aside and allow my sense of this to soar? Or should I put my mind to more important concerns? The infamous clip is below, and as the clip indicates, Dick’s ideas were much of the inspiration for the movie “the Matrix”, along with many, many more films, books, and songs. Unfortunately the clip is heavily edited, so you do not hear all that he said. If anyone knows of a full recording of that speech I would love to see it! As Rolling Stone would say, ‘I welcome your comments, love letters, and advice. ‘

5 responses »

    • As soon as I am no longer unemployed, I plan on getting the Exegesis. I would love to read it. I have a lot in common with PDK, poverty being one. Such a shame he died when he did, I wuuld have loved to have met him. Read some other posts on my blog, if you like PDK, you would like some of those.

      • Nice to meet you. I happen to live next to PKD’s first house. I imagine that his ghost is still walking around our neighborhood. I am a writer, too– go ahead and check out my short stories or the novel I’m posting on my blog– I am writing an homage to him now, so stay tuned.

      • Pleased to meet you as well. PKD speaks through us, and many others, getting his message out. Now if only I could get a clear idea of what that message is.

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