Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wired on the Problem with Causes

The problem with this assumption, however, is that causes are a strange kind of knowledge. This was first pointed out by David Hume, the 18th-century Scottish philosopher. Hume realized that, although people talk about causes as if they are real facts—tangible things that can be discovered—they’re actually not at all factual. Instead, Hume said, every cause is just a slippery story, a catchy conjecture, a “lively conception produced by habit.” When an apple falls from a tree, the cause is obvious: gravity. Hume’s skeptical insight was that we don’t see gravity—we see only an object tugged toward the earth. We look at X and then at Y, and invent a story about what happened in between. We can measure facts, but a cause is not a fact—it’s a fiction that helps us make sense of facts.

The truth is, our stories about causation are shadowed by all sorts of mental shortcuts. Most of the time, these shortcuts work well enough. They allow us to hit fastballs, discover the law of gravity, and design wondrous technologies. However, when it comes to reasoning about complex systems—say, the human body—these shortcuts go from being slickly efficient to outright misleading.
Trials and Errors: Why Science is Failing Us

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sanford L. Drob restates the Lurianic Kabbalah in abstract terms

(1) a primal nothing/being or “Absolute” (Ayin/Ein-sof) (2) initiates a contraction or self-negation (tzimtzum), which gives rise to (3) an imagined and alienated realm (ha-olamot) (4) within which a created, personal subject arises (Adam Kadmon). (5) This subject embodies the fundamental structures, ideas and values of both God and the human world (Sefirot), However, (6) these Sefirot are inherently unstable and deconstruct (shevirat ha-kelim), leading to (7) a further alienation of the primal energy from its source (kellipot, Sitra Achra) and (8) a rending apart of opposites, resulting in the intellectual, spiritual, and moral antinomies and perplexities of our world. As a result of (9) a spiritual, intellectual, and psychological process (birur), (10) the ideas and values of the world are restored in a manner that enables them to structure and contain the primal energy of the Absolute, and complete both God and the world (tikkun ha-Olam).
The Lurianic Metaphors, Creativity and the Structure of Language

This is interesting to compare with PKD's efforts in the Exegesis to restate his own mystical system in abstract principles. Also, Sanford L. Drob sounds like the name of a Character from a PKD novel.

David Gill on Exegeting the Exegesis without God - like listening to punk rock quietly

"And here's where the rubber's gonna meet the road: the Exegesis is hardcore theological speculation, an endeavor that many in our current milieu feel to be pointless, and what's worse, the sign of a degraded mind.

But to take the God out of the PKD, is kinda like listening to punk rock quietly: what's the point? I'm not getting all deist on you. I actually am pretty open minded about the whole thing. Recently, I asked a class of students to raise their hands if they thought Wilbur Mercer, the savior character in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was real, and I was amazed when not a single hand went up."
Total Dick-Head: Exegeting the Exegesis

I love the comparison with punk rock. Gill also has a great line about PKD's experimental writing on esoteric philosophy being like jazz improvisation.

On the affinity between Vonnegut and Dick (from a FB comment)

I've always felt a weird affinity between Vonnegut and Dick. Both are literary writers who happened to write a little SF, and who therefore got unjustly pigeonholed as SF writers. Dick was hugely inspired by Vonnegut's first book "Player Piano," while Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout character seems like a clear homage to the legend of Philip K. Dick: bleak and obscure but brilliant SF writer toiling in obscurity writing stories with brilliant concepts but terrible prose. Their writing styles and subject matter are very different, although both put a rare emphasis on compassion which I very much appreciate in my literary fiction. Did I ever tell you the story from college of when I was walking through the music stacks of the UCD library and found a PKD and KV book sitting together on the shelf? I thought it was a weird synchronicity since I had just read a ton of KV+PKD over the past year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

on God as a topic in SF

"God, as a topic in science fiction, when it appeared at all, used to be treated polemically, as in OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET. But I prefer to treat it as intellectually exciting."
-Philip K. Dick on his story Faith of our Fathers

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mystic Diagram from Kipple, a jazz project

Kipple: Flashes of Irrational Happiness

Call for Papers: Philip K. Dick Conference in San Francisco next September

Philip K Dick in 21st Century

The Largest Gathering of PKD Scholars and Fans Ever Assembled in North America, A Multi-disciplinary Celebration of the Legendary California Writer

Philip K Dick is arguably one of the most important writers of the 21st century. Dick’s uncanny prescience not only foretold of our current surveillance technology and color-coded terror, but additionally captured the narcissism and psychological withdrawal that defines the early part of this new century. Considered at the time of his death to be little more than a genre writer, Dick’s burgeoning literary reputation was kindled by a handful of fans and scholars. With his recent canonization in the prestigious Library of America and the 2011 publication of Dick’s esoteric religious notes, The Exegesis, now is the time to examine Dick’s influence and how he became such an important literary figure. The Bay Area, home to Dick for the majority of his lifetime, is also the perfect location for the event, allowing fans and scholars to step into Dick’s own past and retrace his steps in this vibrant city by the bay. Sept 22-23, 2012 will be a weekend long celebration and examination of Dick’s life and work.

The conference's guest of honor will be none other than Jonathan Lethem, the editor for Philip K Dick's three volumes from the prestigious Library of America, an editor of The Exegesis of Philip K Dick (from Houghton Mifflin), and a celebrated novelist in his own right. Lethem currently holds the Roy E. Disney Chair in Creative Writing at Pomona College and his writing about Philip K Dick appears in his essay collections The Disappointment Artist, and The Ecstasy of Influence.

Other confirmed guests include: Pam Jackson (Editor, Philip K Dick's Exegesis), Erik Davis (Annotations Editor for the recent publication of The Exegesis), John Simon (director of Radio Free Albemuth), Sam Umland (Chair of English Department at University of Nebraska Kearney and author of Contemporary Critical Interpretations: Philip K Dick), Douglas Mackey (author of Philip K Dick, Twayne's United States Author Series), Umberto Rossi (independent scholar and author of The Twisted Worlds of Philip K Dick), Marc Haefele (an Assistant Editor at Doubleday who worked with Philip K Dick on his masterpiece novels Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), William Sarill (a longtime friend of Philip K Dick who helped Dick develop the religious system in his novel A Maze of Death), and many, many more.

Stay tuned for more information about the schedule and lodging in San Francisco. If you are interested in either presenting or attending, please contact conference organizer, David Gill: We are currently looking for speakers to give cogent and plain-spoken presentations on the following aspects of Dick’s life and work:

1: Biographical
2. Literary Criticism
3. Science Fiction
4. Cinematic Translations
5. Sociology and Psychology
6. Religion and Philosophy

Best Book to buy somebody who's interested in PKD and Literary Criticism

Umberto Rossi's book is the PKD lit crit masterpiece we have been waiting for. Not since Kim Stanley Robinson's "The Novels of Philip K. Dick" have we seen a book on Dick's novels of this scope. Your giftee will find deep and learned analysis of the most important works of PKD. Rossi knows literature and criticism well, bringing an erudite perspective, but he's also sympathetic and sensitive enough to the reality breakdown and creaky prose of this complicated author.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

For Comparison: Jung "doing a schizophrenia" (see also Swedenborg's mystical crisis)

"As his convictions began to crystallize, Jung, who was at that point an outwardly successful and ambitious man with a young family, a thriving private practice and a big, elegant house on the shores of Lake Zurich, felt his own psyche starting to teeter and slide, until finally he was dumped into what would become a life-altering crisis.

What happened next to Carl Jung has become, among Jungians and other scholars, the topic of enduring legend and controversy. It has been characterized variously as a creative illness, a descent into the underworld, a bout with insanity, a narcissistic self-deification, a transcendence, a midlife breakdown and an inner disturbance mirroring the upheaval of World War I. Whatever the case, in 1913, Jung, who was then 38, got lost in the soup of his own psyche. He was haunted by troubling visions and heard inner voices. Grappling with the horror of some of what he saw, he worried in moments that he was, in his own words, “menaced by a psychosis” or “doing a schizophrenia.”

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious (NYT on Jung's Red Book)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hegel on Eriugena

Scholastic philosophy is considered to begin with John Scotus Erigena who flourished about the year 860, and who must not be confused with the Duns Scotus of a later date. We do not quite know whether he belonged to Ireland or to Scotland, for Scotus points to Scotland, and Erigena to Ireland. With him true philosophy first begins, and his philosophy in the main coincides with the idealism of the Neo-Platonists. Here and there stray works of Aristotle were likewise known, even to John Scotus, but the knowledge of Greek was very limited and rare. He shows some knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew tongues, and even of Arabic as well; but we do not know how he attained to this. He also translated from Greek to Latin writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, a later Greek philosopher of the Alexandrian school, who more especially followed Proclus: namely, De coelesti hierarchia, and others which Brucker calls (Hist. crit. phil. T. III. p. 521), nugæ et deliria Platonica. Michael Balbus, Emperor of Constantinople, had in the year 824 made a present of these works to the Emperor Louis the Pious; Charles the Bald caused them to be translated by Scotus, who long resided at bis court. In this way something of the Alexandrian philosophy became known in the West. The Pope quarrelled with Charles, and complained to him of the translator, against whom he made the reproach that “he should have first sent the book to him in conformity with the general usage, and asked his approval.” John Scotus afterwards lived in England as head of a school at Oxford, which had been founded by King Alfred.

Scotus was also the author of some original works, which are not without depth and penetration, upon nature and its various orders (De naturæ divisione), &c. Dr. Hjort, of Copenhagen, published an epitome of the writings of Scotus Erigena, in 1823. Scotus Erigena sets to work philosophically, expressing himself in the manner of the Neo-Platonists, and not freely, and as from himself, Thus in the method of expression adopted by Plato, and also by Aristotle, we are rejoiced to find a new conception, and on bringing it to the test of philosophy, to find it both correct and profound; but here everything is ready to hand, cut and dry. Yet, with Scotus, theology is not yet built on exegesis, and on the authority of the Church; the Church in many cases rejected his writings. Thus Scotus is reproached by a Lyons church council in these words: “There have come to us the writings of a boastful, chattering man, who disputes about divine providence and predestination, in human fashion, or, as he himself boasts, with philosophic arguments, and without relying on the holy scriptures and bringing forward the authority of the Fathers. And he dares to defend this on its own merit, and to establish it on its own laws, without submitting himself to the holy scriptures and the authority of the Fathers.” Scotus Erigena hence even said: “The true Philosophy is the true Religion, and the true Religion is the true Philosophy. The separation came later on. Scotus then made a beginning, but properly he does not belong to the scholastics.
History of Philosophy

Hegel on Malebranche

a. What is most important in this book is his idea of the origin of our knowledge. He says: “The essence of the soul is in thought, just as that of matter is in extension. All else, such as sensation, imagination and will, are modifications of thought.” He thus begins with two sides, between which he sets an absolute chasm, and then he follows out in detail the Cartesian idea of the assistance of God in knowledge. His main point is that “the soul cannot attain to its conceptions and notions from external things.” For when I and the thing are clearly independent of one another and have nothing in common, the two can certainly not enter into relation with one another nor be for one another. “Bodies are impenetrable; their images would destroy one another on the way to the organs.” But further: “The soul cannot beget ideas from itself, nor can they be inborn,” for as “Augustine has said, ‘ Say not that ye yourselves are your own light.’ ” But how then comes extension, the manifold, into the simple, into the spirit, since it is the reverse of the simple, namely the diverse? This question regarding the association of thought and extension is always an important one in Philosophy. According to Malebranche the answer is, “That we see all things in God.” God Himself is the connection between us and them, and thus the unity between the thing and thought. “God has in Him the ideas of all things because He has created all; God is through His omnipresence united in the most intimate way with spirits. God thus is the place of spirits,” the Universal of spirit, “just as space” is the universal, “the place of bodies. Consequently the soul knows in God what is in Him,” bodies, “inasmuch as He sets forth” (inwardly conceives) “created existence, because all this is spiritual, intellectual, and present to the soul."(2) Because things and God are intellectual and we too are intellectual, we perceive them in God as they are, so to speak, intellectual in Him. If this be further analyzed it in no way differs from Spinozism. Malebranche indeed in a popular way allows soul and things to subsist as independent, but this independence vanishes away like smoke when the principle is firmly grasped. The catechism says: “God is omnipresent,” and if this omnipresence be developed Spinozism is arrived at; and yet theologians then proceed to speak against the system of identity, and cry out about Pantheism.

b. We must further remark that Malebranche also makes the universal, thought, the essential, by placing it before the particular. “The soul has the Notion of the infinite and universal: it knows nothing excepting through the Idea which it has of the infinite; this Idea must hence come first. The universal is not a mere confusion of individual ideas, it is not a union of individual things.” According to Locke the individual from which the universal is formed precedes (infra, p. 299); according to Malebranche the universal Idea is what comes first in man. “If we wish to think of anything particular we think first of the universal;” it is the principle of the particular, as space is of things. All essentiality precedes our particular conceptions, and this essentiality comes first. “All essential existences (essences) come before our ordinary conception; they cannot be such excepting by God’s presence in the mind and spirit. He it is who contains all things in the simplicity of His nature. It seems evident that mind would not be capable of representing to itself the universal Notions of species, kind, and suchlike, if it did not see all things comprehended in one.” The universal is thus in and for itself, and it does not take its rise through the particular. “Since each existent thing is an individual, we cannot say that we see something actually created when, for example, we see a triangle in general,” for we see it through God. “No account can be given of how spirit knows abstract and common truths, excepting through the presence of Him who can enlighten spirit in an infinite way,” because He is in and for Himself the universal. “We have a clear idea of God,” of the universal: “We can have such only through union with Him, for this idea is not a created one,” but is in and for itself. As with Spinoza, the one universal is God, and in so far as it is determined, it is the particular; we see this particular only in the universal, as we see bodies in space. “We already have a conception of infinite Being, inasmuch as we have a conception of Being without regard to whether it is finite or infinite. To know a finite we must limit the infinite; and this last must thus precede. Thus spirit perceives all in the infinite; this is so far from being a confused conception of many particular things that all particular conceptions are merely participations in the universal Idea of infinitude — in the same way that God does not receive this Being from" finite “creatures, but,” on the contrary, “all creatures only subsist through Him."(3)

c. As regards the turning of the soul to God, Malebranche says what Spinoza said from his ethical point of view: “It is impossible that God should have an end other than Himself (the Holy Scriptures place this beyond doubt);” the will of God can only have the good, what is without doubt universal as its end. “Hence not only is it essential that our natural love, i.e., the emotion which he brings forth in our spirit, should strive after Him" — "the will is really love towards God" — "but it is likewise impossible that the knowledge and the light He gives to our spirit should make anything else known than what is in Him,” for thought only exists in unity with God. “If God were to make a spirit and give it the sun as an idea or as the immediate object of its knowledge, God would have made this spirit and the idea of this spirit for the sun and not for Himself.” All natural love, and still more knowledge, and the desire after truth, have God as their end.” All motions of the will as regards the creatures are only determinations of motion as regards the creator.” Malebranche quotes from Augustine “that we see God even from the time we first enter upon this life (dès cette vie), through the knowledge that we have of eternal truths. The truth is uncreated, unchangeable, immeasurable, eternal above all things; it is true through itself, and has its perfection from no thing. It makes the creator more perfect, and all spirits naturally seek to know it: now there is nothing that has these perfections but God, and thus the truth is God. We perceive these unchangeable and eternal truths, hence we see God.” “God indeed sees but He does not feel sensuous things. If we see something sensuous, sensation and pure thought are to be found in our consciousness. Sensation is a modification of our spirit; God occasions this because He knows that our soul is capable of it. The Idea which is bound up with the sensation is in God; we see it, etc. This relation, this union of our mind and spirit with the Word (Verbe) of God, and of our will with His love, is that we are formed after the image of God and in His likeness."(4) Thus the love of God consists in relating one’s affections to the Idea of God; whoever knows himself and thinks his affections clearly, loves God. We further find sundry empty litanies concerning God, a catechism for children of eight years of age respecting goodness, justice, omnipresence, the moral order of the world; in all their lifetime theologians do not get any further.
History of Philosophy

what Dick thought was much more dangerous

(I have been making a similar point in the "was Dick postmodern?" discussions.)

"The Baudrillardians are happy to have him point out that time is an illusion; that the authorities are out to get us; that God can talk through cheesy television advertisements; and that, with the endless refractions of different media playing the same message back and forth, nothing is quite as it seems. But they are happy for him to do so just as long as it is a fun metaphor making an important point but not to be taken seriously.

Judging by these journals, however, what Dick thought was much more dangerous."
"Dick’s theology, though not quite orthodox, is not noticeably more odd or problematic than that of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena or St John of the Cross."

"The oddest thing of all is that a man who perfectly described the world in which we all now live, who predicted the anxieties that would affect the citizens of the 21st Century, can – on the basis of these journals – be dismissed as a nutcase."

"The trouble is that the Exegesis doesn’t read like that. It reads like a clever man trying to come to terms with the world around him, a world that he had always distrusted, and that gave him reasons to distrust it."

"...the unfashionable truth is that Philip K. Dick believed in an old-fashioned story: this world is an illusion, and the world that matters, the one which can be relied upon, was revealed by Jesus Christ."

Did Philip K. Dick Dream of a Message from God?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Call for Papers - PKD Conference in Germany November 2012

“Worlds Out of Joint: Re-Imagining Philip K. Dick”
An International Conference
15-18 November, 2012
TU Dortmund University, Germany
2012 sees the thirtieth anniversary of the untimely death, at the age of
53, of Philip K. Dick – a figure whose cultural impact within and beyond
science fiction remains difficult to overestimate. Dick’s academic and
popular reputation continues to grow, as a number of recent monographs,
several biographies and an unceasing flow of film adaptations testify. Yet
while his status as “The Most Brilliant Sci-Fi Mind on Any Planet”
(Paul Williams) is rarely questioned, scholarly criticism of Dick has not
kept pace with recent developments in academia – from transnationalism
to adaptation studies, from the cultural turn in historiography to the
material turn in the humanities. Too often Dick remains shrouded in
clichés and myth. Indeed, rarely since the seminal contributions of
Fredric Jameson and Darko Suvin have our engagements with Dick proved
equal to the complexity of his writing – an oeuvre indebted to the pulps
and Goethe, Greek philosophy and the Beats – that calls for renewed
attempts at a history of popular culture. The aim of this conference is to
contribute to such an undertaking. At a time when mass protest against
irrational economic, political and cultural orders is once again erupting
around the world, the Dortmund conference will return to one of the major
figures of the long American Sixties: to an author whose prophetic
analyses of biopolitical capitalism and the neo-authorian surveillance
state remain as pertinent as they were 30 years ago. Confirmed keynote
speakers: Marc Bould (University of the West of England, Bristol), Roger
Luckhurst (Birbeck, University of London) and Norman Spinrad (New
York/Paris). Possible topics for panels and papers include but are in no
way limited to: 1. The Realist Novels: What do Dick’s early realist
novels add to our understanding of his work? In what relation do they
stand to late modernist and realist U.S. literature? Can they be
understood as Beat writing? 2. Transnational Approaches: Dick drew on
various European and non-European cultures, and his SF worlds are highly
transnational in their hybridity: What cultural transfers and
transformations are evident in his work? 3. Dick’s Global Reception:
Dick’s fiction has been widely translated – from Portuguese to
Japanese, from Finnish to Hebrew. Yet we know little about his global
reception. How has Dick’s work been read abroad, and transformed in
translation? What has been his impact on SF outside America? 4. Dick and
the SF Tradition: Critics have rarely engaged in-depth with Dick’s
contribution to SF. What is Dick’s debt to the pulp magazines, to Robert
Heinlein, A. E. van Vogt, or other SF authors? To what extent did Dick
influence his contemporaries, and what does today’s SF owe to him? 5.
Dick and Fandom: Long before his canonization as a literary figure, Dick
was a cult author, and he retains a committed fan base. How has fandom
shaped the way we read him? What role does Dick play in SF cultures of
fandom today? 6. Narrative Structures and Aesthetics: Dick’s short
fiction and novels are linked by common motifs, tropes and fictional
devices. How do they shape his writing? His status as a popular writer has
also meant that the aesthetic dimension of Dick’s fiction has often been
neglected. How can it help us understand his work? 7. Dick and Mainstream
Literature: Dick’s impact on ‘serious’ literature has often been
posited but rarely analyzed. What do Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut or
David Foster Wallace owe to Dick? What role have his writings played in
the integration of SF into mainstream literature? 8. Adaptations: What
makes Dick’s writing so attractive to filmmakers? How have these visual
narratives changed our understanding of his work? Should we pay more
attention to adaptations to other media – from opera to computer games?
9. The Letters and Journals: How do Dick’s letters and journals, as well
as interviews with him change our understanding of his fiction? 10. The
Final Novels: Dick’s late novels are gaining increasing attention, but
critical evaluations vary widely. Are they evidence of a spiritual turn in
Dick’s writing? How do they allow us to look at his work of the 1960s
anew? 11. Dick and the Sixties: Recent scholarship drastically has changed
our understanding of the Sixties. Does this necessitate a re-writing of
Dick? What can we learn from the contradictions and achievements that
shaped this era and Dick’s writing? 12. Dick and Global Capitalism: How
do Dick's analyses of global capitalism, mediatized politics and
individualized consumer culture correspond to our own present? Please send
an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short biographical sketch to before 29 February 2012. Presenters will be asked
to submit a full version of their 20-minute presentation by 31 August, and
an electronic reader will be distributed before the conference to all
participants. A selection of the papers given at the conference will be
published in book form. Conference Organizers: Walter Grünzweig, Randi
Gunzenhäuser, Sybille Klemm, Stefan Schlensag, Florian Siedlarek, (TU
Dortmund University); Alexander Dunst (University of Potsdam) and Damian
Podleśny (Katowice) Conference Director and Contact: Stefan Schlensag
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik TU Dortmund University
Emil-Figge-Straße 50 D-44227 Dortmund, Germany

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Philip K. Dick Playlist (a selection of songs/works mentioned in his books)

Thanks to David Gill for sharing the complete list (and whoever made it)

Bach - Sleepers Awake
Beethoven - Quartet #13
Berg - Wozzeck
Berlioz - Roman Carnival Overture
Bizet - Carmen
Brahms Symphony #3
Captain Beefheart - (unspecified)
Dowland - Flow My Tears
Jerome Kern - Old Man River
Liszt - B Flat Sonata
Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead
Gilbert and Sullivan - HMS Pinafore
Handel - Belshazzar
Bob Dylan - "I Gave Her My Mind" (PKD might have meant this song)
Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
Debussy - La Cathedral Englouti
Donizetti - L'Elisir d'Amore - una furtiva lagrima
Karl William Dittershand - Song of the Wind
Koto Music
Paul McCartney - Teddy Boy
The Mamas and the Papas - Young Girls are Coming to the Canyon
Mozart - Symphony #40
Jan Peerce - Bluebird of Happiness
Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsk
Puccini - La Boheme - thy tiny hand is frozen
Purcell - Dido and Aeneas
Ray Noble's Orchestra - Turkish Delight
Linda Ronstadt - You're no Good
Ravel - La Valse
Schubert - Erlkonig
Schumann - Happy Farmer
Sibelius - Symphony #7
Frank Sinatra - I've got Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle
Pete Seeger - Out on Penny's Farm
Stockhausen - Gesang der Jungelinge
Stravinsky - Firebird Suite

Monday, November 28, 2011

Religion and Madness in Valis

Quotes lifted from Palmer Eldritch again

I'm not sure God did anything at all for him; in fact in some ways God made him sicker.

Fat was certain that God had healed him completely. That is not possible. There is a line in the I Ching reading, "Always ill but never dies." That fits my friend.

There is no door to God through dope; that is a lie peddled by the unscrupulous.

After he had encountered God, Fat developed a love for him which was not normal.

We enjoyed baiting Fat into theological disputation because he always got angry, taking the point of view that what we said on the topic mattered - that the topic itself mattered. By now he had become totally whacked out.

"God is either powerless, stupid or he doesn't give a shit. Or all three."

During the years - outright years! - that he laboured on his exegesis, 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.

"There's something in the Bible about falling sparrows," Kevin said. "About his eye being on them. That's what's wrong with God; he only has one eye."

You cannot say that an encounter with God is to mental illness what death is to cancer.

How are we to distinguish a genuine theophany from a mere hallucination on the part of the percipient?

A lot can be said for the infinite mercies of God, but the smarts of a good pharmacist, when you get down to it, is worth more.

For Fat, total psychosis was a mercy.

"Many claim to speak for god, but there is only one god and that god is man himself."

"Madness has its own dynamism; it just goes on."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

David Gill on PKD as a guide, caring about the world around you

Dick asks, what is real is what you perceive when you care about the world around you and what is human is the condition that puts you in a position to see reality and these are important tips. That’s what I want to get to. It’s not about Dick’s notion of Freudian thought or any of that. It’s like he’s given us a guidebook on how to operate in this century and how to stay sane and how to stay centered and how to stay positive, even though those aren’t characteristics that are used to describe his work or him. Something comes out of that when he goes over to the dark side. He’s suffering from his mental illness, which is a disease that he suffers from rather than some pool of great inspiration that he takes from. He can tell us what that's all about. It’s good stuff.
Interview with David Gill

illustrating the Sefer Yetzirah (a proto-Kabbalistic text)

Hoeller on Jung's Gnostic Paracelsus

The cosmos, according to Paracelsus, contains the divine light or life, but this holy essence is enmeshed in a mechanical trap, presided over by a kind of demiurge, named by Paracelsus Hylaster (from hyle, "matter," and astrum, "star"). The cosmic spider-god has spun a web within which the light, like an insect, is caught, until the alchemical process bursts the web. The web is none other than the consensus reality composed of the four elements of earth, water, fire and air, within which all creatures exist. The first operation of alchemy therefore addresses itself to the breaking up (torturing, bleeding, dismembering) of this confining structure and reducing it to a condition of creative chaos (massa confusa, prima materia). From this, in the process of transformation, the true, creative binaries emerge and begin their interaction designed to bring about the coniunctio or alchemical union. In this ultimate union, says Jung, the previously confined light is redeemed and brought to the point of its ultimate and redemptive fulfillment.

While these statements ostensibly refer to the material universe and to nature, Jung perceives in them a model or paradigm for the material and natural aspect of human nature as well. Under the guise of liberating the light confined in matter, the alchemists were endeavoring to redeem the spirit or psychic energy locked up in the body and psyche (the "natural man" of St. Paul) and thus make this energy available for the greater tasks of the spirit or spiritual man.

The roots of this thinking within both the Christian and the Hermetic gnosis are clearly acknowledged by Jung, who likens the imprisoned light to the primordial man of the Gnostics, the Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah, and by association to the lost lightsparks of the Kabbalah of Isaac Luria. (The implications of this concept of alchemical redemption are many and impressive. On the one hand, it is clear that matter and the body are by no means to be equated with evil and darkness, while on the other hand, the pagan emphasis on a mere immersion of human consciousness in nature as advocated by some in our times under such slogans as "affirmation of life" and the "celebration of nature" reveals itself as a limited view to which alchemy may serve as a much needed corrective.)

Stephan Hoeller, C.G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal

for further illumination try these books on Jung and Gnosticism/Alchemy. Stephan Hoeller reads Jung's Gnosticism in the light of the Nag Hammadi books (which of course fascinated PKD), and Raff on the concept of "Alchemical Imagination"

Letter 23: PKD's Gnostic Key to the Sefer Yetzirah

At some point in the late period of his Exegesis, Philip K. Dick discovered Kabbalah. He can probably be considered a Christian Cabalist in the light of passages like this below, from Fall 1981

[64:E-5] The universe was created out of 22 Hebrew letters ("Sepher Yetzirah") but there is a missing 23rd letter; when his 23rd letter is added, all the negative prohibitions of the Torah vanish; severe limitation and justice are replaced by mercy and freedom: this is the third Shemittah and it is the Messianic Age. Christ, then, can be construed—as rogue information system—to be the corrected, completed basis of creation in which 23 Hebrew letters replace the 22 originally employed.
The plasmate is this hyper-information (the 23 letter system) feeding into the old rigid, mechanical, limited, fossilized 22 letter system. As the blood of Christ, just as Valis is his cosmic body.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Philip K. Dick on Prophets of Science Fiction

Buy it for two bucks -- cheap! Below are the comments I live-tweeted about it,
and a brief exchange with a fellow Dickian. Read from the bottom up for chronology.

@1ZenWoman I don't mean to gripe. Very much glad that it's there to introduce folks to the PKD bio, if not the themes. My wife liked it.

@1ZenWoman: @t3dy It was no BCC Arena piece, but my friends loved it... their first "glimpse" of this man who has so dominated a chun ...

@1ZenWoman I would simply add that you don't need the fancy technology coming true to have a phildickian story. Not his only trick.

RT @1ZenWoman: @t3dy Well, I preferred KSR's definition of phildickian. Pessimist to sum up PKD? I like his own "philosophizing writer."

@1ZenWoman I don't agree that he was an unqualified pessimist. Was motivated by hope, had great insight into optimistic side of gnostic coin

@1ZenWoman Have you gotten much into Terence McKenna's I Ching stuff? I was delighted to learn in the Exegesis that PKD knew TM's theories.

@1ZenWoman Best parts of the show were those reconstructions. I'm glad they did MiTHC but bummer it's the only unfilmed book they mentioned.

RT @1ZenWoman: @t3dy ahhh... I-ching and pink beams, just a few of my favorite things ;)

Ridley Scott: "Aren't most prophets troubled souls?" #PKD

KSR: "He's really one of the best descriptors of our entire culture."

I maintain that "phildickian" is a much better choice than the infelicitous "PhilipKDickian." Don't get me started on these definitions.

I'm not all that interested in this "PKD predicted it" approach. He was talking about problems that reality already had, didn't need to wait

@1ZenWoman I'm not 100% on the same page with Rickman's theories about PKD, but I'd have like to see him talk about them.

What about Phildickian cosmology? His "insights" are not in the realm of theoretical physics (although they're interesting as info science).

Not digging the choice to have Michio Kaku do the same rant on string theory and parallel universes we've already seen a million times.

@1ZenWoman Me too. I've neglected too many opportunities to meet Rickman. (+ keep forgetting that it's his first name has the double-letter)

Digging the I Ching stuff. KSR "he would plot his novels using the I Ching..."

The reconstruction of PKD working at his wife's jewelry shop and having the inspiration to write Man in the High Castle is a nice surprise.

RT @1ZenWoman: @t3dy watched earlier, but missed the close. Gonna see that now. 1st time I've SEEN Rickman.

PKD: "Nietzsche was right about Christianity." His anti-religion moments weren't all that rare.

I wish they had spent a little more time showing the trippy old 60s
70s paperbacks we barely got a glimpse of just now.

Having Gregg Rickmann summarize the minority report story is a waste. Let him talk about his biographical theories and literary arguments!

apparently he's only an influence thru films.

Would PKD fans be up in arms if they had chosen Sasha Grey to play Tessa?

KSR narrates the fish neclace pink beam experience. Fortunately they're using the Crumb comic to illustrate. But no clip from @rfamovie

Stan Robinson very soberly telling us that PKD predicted it all in advance. Too bad he can't really say anything else given the format.

some of these talking heads are mistakes. "loose yourself" pun not intended.

The quick shot of the UCSD library is a more interesting and phildickian image than most of the computer stuff

"Dick's insights into the flexible nature of reality are prophetic." KSR:"he was talking about, well what if the TV's taking over our lives"

Neuroscience of memory dude is pretty rad. "manipulate... the information."

Glad to see the emphasis on loss of his sister. Disappointed that it follows the order of the movies, which don't explain PKD's literature

Getting off track w/PKD as influence on android designers "Androids that are humanlike make us nervous...b/c we wonder if they have a soul."

glad to see Kim Stanley Robinson, and especially Greg Rickmann interviewed. The reconstruction of Dick theorizing the break-in is hilarious.

Collection of PKD and PKD-Related Tweets

Philip K. Dick and the alchemists

Recently unearthed/Rare Philip K. Dick Interview, Santa Ana 1979

"[Bruno] rejected hylomorphism in favor of a monism in which the universal, infinite, and eternal substance was identical with God+nature."

Giordano Bruno in Paul Oscar Kristeller's Eight Philosophers of the Italian Renaissance

Giordano Bruno, His Life and Thought, with an annoted translation of his Infinity of Worlds Dorothea Singer

RT @19thC4d: @t3dy did 20thC theosophical writers get the hots for bruno? did dick read these? they were all over neoplatonists in the l ...

@19thC4d I don't know if Dick read much post-HPB theosophy, doesn't seem like it. Of course he was big into the theosophy of Boehme.

Gatti: One of the most original aspects of Coleridge's interest in Bruno regarded his dialectic.

Where did Philip K. Dick get his ideas about Giordano Bruno? (under construction, would appreciate any leads)

Giordano Bruno as supplement to Deleuze

Ballard: The task of the arts seems more and more to be that of isolating the few elements of reality from this mélange of fictions, ...
...not some metaphorical “reality”, but simply the basic elements of cognition and posture that are the jigs and props of our consciousness.

"Crazy or not, whatever it is that has gone wrong with you, you are one of a kind. […] This is not an ordinary kind of insanity." PKD/Flow

Umberto Rossi on Philip K. Dick's prose

@Ballardian tribute to Philip K. Dick's 80th birthday

What Philip K. Dick learned about women from Ursula K. Le Guin

"It’s not a book that reads like a narrative. It doesn’t get anywhere. It’s an endless meditation on existence." J.Lethem on PKD's Exegesis

"There are lyrical flights in it where suddenly it becomes visionary, it becomes literary+you see the writer taking over+the language soars"

Philip K. Dick: The Exegesis Never Ended Lethem on Exegesis An Appreciation

Philip K. Dick, The Most Brilliant SF Mind on Any Planet 1974 Rolling Stone article by Paul Williams

PKD: [3:33] I am exoterically disseminating a very (normally) esoteric world view!

PKD: [19:2] We are in a "Palmer Eldritch no-real-elapsed-time-passage" spurious world, which is why for us the Kingdom hasn't come.

"It is as if the immune system has failed to detect an invader, a pathenogen (shades of William Burroughs: a criminal virus!)." PKD/Exegesis

RT @aureliomadrid: eriugena (part of the) periphyseon PDF @t3dy

Philip K. Dick's Gnostic UFOlogy twitter conversation with Metcalfe+Southwell on PKD+UFOs

[21:44] Meanwhile, the Empire continues; it never ended. Orthodox Christianity is a form which the Empire takes." -Philip K. Dick, Exegesis

"I restore Gnostic gnosis to the world in a trashy form, like in Ubik." -Philip K. Dick, Exegesis

Today is the 40th anniversary of Philip K. Dick's notorious break-in. Was it the FBI, local drug dealers, Soviets, or did PKD bomb himself?

Erik Davis interviews Pamela Jackson on PKD Exegesis "VALIS, visionary glimpses, and the spiritual practice of writing"

Lethem on Philip K Dick in Orange County:"a period where he seems less grounded in place...very strong alienation from any real environment"

I think it's wise for Philip K. Dick interpreters to attempt to avoid using the word "reality" as much as is possible.

Philip K. Dick: A 'plastic' paradox lots of quotes from PKD family members, and PKD scholars

@Giania Okay, I'll bite. A spammer that just attached itself has the word "Wub" in the title, and I've been thinking a bit about PKD's Wub.

"Whether it was real or imagined, it was important to his life because it really mellowed him out." -David Gill on PKD's Exegesis

A baffling work from Philip K. Dick discussed at ALOUD

Lethem on PKD: "It's as if the novels themselves were visions. He was preparing to be the writer of the Exegesis from the very beginning."

Frank Hollander's index to scholarly annotations of PKD's Exegesis(notes by Jeff Kripal, Erik Davis, D.Gill, McKee etc)

Paracelsus Celebration website by Allen Debus, dean of alchemical studies in the history of science

Aleph (if anybody has good images of important words for PKD-Logos study please get them to me)

RT @Lyndon_M: "I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God." - Sufi Proverb

Zurich Paracelsus Project

I have been thinking about Jonathan Lethem's claim (it was JL iirc) that VALIS shouldn't be considered a trilogy. I see three theo-trilogies

PKD's second theological trilogy consists of some of his darkest novels: Flow My Tears, A Scanner Darkly, Maze of Death. VALIS is the third.

PKD's first theological trilogy? compare Mercer in Androids, Runciter in Ubik, and Palmer Eldritch in Three Stigmata

Ficino and Neoplatonic Theories of Language James Bono, The Word of God and the Languages of Man

"The inner nature of everything may therefore be known through Magic in general, and through the powers of the inner (or second) sight." -Paracelsus

"[Alchemy] is like unto death, which separates the eternal from the mortal, so that it should properly be known as the death of things." -Paracelsus

Paracelsus on inner seeing

“Just as outer seeing is suited to the farmer, inner seeing, which is secret seeing, is suited to the physician." -Paracelsus

Paracelsus "was the first to imagine that the body worked like an alchemical laboratory+that it was chemical in nature"

"... also I have to some extent formulated my own system (as Bruno did). I have seen God but it was not." -Philip K. Dick

P.K. Dick: [Exegesis 3:50] Inner space (of Paracelsus) is perhaps the key as to how the immortal man can be transtemporal and transpersonal.

"Obviously I'll be either going Borges one better or parodying him—either will do." -Philip K. Dick on his unfinished Owl in Daylight novel

RT @davidbmetcalfe: Philip K. Dick's Gnostic UFOlogy via @t3dy

Philip K. Dick's theory of time and alchemical music "Beethoven expanded the hologram" cc @kimcascone

Kripal vs. Philip K. Dick as Postmodernist

"The idea of God as a constantly evolving dialectic is perhaps Dick's most intriguing theological proposition" Gabriel McKee in the Exegesis

Yancy likes people to take a spiritual view of matters..." #PKD

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'If this were a police state…there'd
be some kind of resistance movement.' #PKD

RT @Hal_Duncan: I do hope the delivery guy who brings my PKD exegesis
is wearing an ichthys pendant. That would be neat.

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'I may be the start of something promising: an early and incomplete explorer. It may not end with me.' ht

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'What's got to be gotten over is the false idea that a hallucination is a private matter.' ...

RT @palmer_eldritch: In homage to the great man, I shall read PKD's Exegesis all night, then go to work in the morning where I shall hav ...

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'I sure have odd nights.' #PKD #exegesis

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'I'm always pre-cog, a little.' #PKD #Exegesis

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'There's nothing more foolish than economic competition.' #PKD

RT @davidbmetcalfe: @t3dy btw, thanks for encouraging me to pick up the exegesis, just a bit of skimming has already been quite inspirat ...

@davidbmetcalfe Glad to hear it! I've been absolutely riveted. Don't understand why so many readers complain about it. Such good writing!

@wwjimd @Giania @Horse_ebooks there's a ton of weird, difficult stuff in PKD's Exegesis influenced by information theory + computer science.

@davidbmetcalfe PKD's Zebra erasing our memory whenever we figure out it exists.

Philip K. Dick's Dante Model

notes on Jung's influence on PKD's religious ideas (links, scholarly exerpt, preview of where I'm going with PKD+Jung)

Notes on the influence of C.G. Jung on Philip K. Dick by Frank Bertrand #Psychology #SF #PKD

Paracelsus on the Unconscious

"Resolute imagination is the beginning of all magical operations." [attributed to?] Paracelsus

Philosophy of Religious Experience Philip K. Dick: The Gnostic Christ resembles UFO sightings cc @davidbmetcalfe @cultauthor

"Kripal: way for parapsychologists to test+experiment on aspects of paranormal experiences." via @davidbmetcalfe

RT @davidbmetcalfe: Rice prof speaks on paranormal, consciousness inlecture RT @davidbmetcalfe: A Conversation about Philip K. Dick & UFOlogy/Channeling with @t3dy and @cultauthor

RT @cultauthor: @t3dy Which makes perfect sense when part of your vision is that antiquity never ended.

RT @davidbmetcalfe: @joeysavitz @t3dy Walmart on Sunday, hanging at the food court, reading some Exegesis, seems perfect. : )

@davidbmetcalfe @JoeySavitz or while walking down the aisles

RT @davidbmetcalfe: @JoeySavitz @t3dy that would be great, read the entire thing in a rented room at walmart

Philip K. Dick covers illustrating religious themes visualizing angelic visionary experiences

Philip K. Dick on Language Virus in Exegesis he writes "what William Burroughs discovered but interpreted differently"

Jeffrey Kripal argues reading and writing are the privileged modes of mystical life for Philip K. Dick writing=ASC tech

@davidbmetcalfe @JoeySavitz visiting places like Walmart is the quintessential phildickian initiation.

RT @davidbmetcalfe: Dan Merkur on Active Imagination in Paracelsus via @t3dy

Dick was a pioneer in thinking that the classic mystics of antiquity and the middle ages explained his own paranormal/ASC experiences.

@davidbmetcalfe @joeysavitz I dunno, but pound for pound it's got a ton more Christian philosophy+true believer Christology than most xt.bks

Dick's "world as word/info" was a big influence on Terence McKenna who said things like "reality is made of language"

@JosephMagnuson Unfortunately Dick wrote before the flowering of theurgy scholarship. I hope to apply Gregory Shaw's Iamblichus to PKD magic

@JosephMagnuson Sometimes Dick was convinced that he had gotten into the authentic pre-Christian Neoplatonist religious experience...theurgy

@JosephMagnuson elsewhere he talks about "the gods" in plural, even says something about magic being about seeing or getting their attention

@EPButler So Dick would have found in Cornford detailed introductory-level commentary on the Timaeus, perhaps the dialogue he was most into.

@JosephMagnuson In one place he writes "through [or past] the angels" which sounds more like yr "go through the angels to be able to steal."

RT @JosephMagnuson: @t3dy ...or did he have to go through the angels to be able to steal it??? Thanks for the links...

@EPButler Dick was big into Cornford's study of the Timaeus.

RT @EPButler: @t3dy Cf. #Plato Timaeus, in which one God (the Demiurge) discerns in the beauty of another (the Intelligible Animal) a co

yesterday's Conversation about Philip K. Dick and UFOlogy/Channeling with @davidbmetcalfe and @cultauthor grist 4 mill.

Philip K. Dick found confirmation for his theories (as well as inspiration/visionary resonance) in "every Pythagorean."

PKD sometimes thought of his "gnostic message" as a "secret stolen through the angels" Does he mean *from* the angels?

Philip K. Dick's interpretation of Torah in Kabbalah filtered through his own vision/theory of "Bible as Information."

Philip K. Dick on his "Zebra Principle" the universe is alive but we don't see it because we're in it

Jeffrey Kripal explains why Philip K. Dick was not a postmodernist He believed he got gnostic invasion from an outside!

Quotes from Philip Dick's Exegesis on Kabbalah the Jewish/Kabbalistic concept of Torah became a key to his experiences

Aquinas was able to reconcile the diversity of ideas with God’s simplicity. The solution involves viewing ideas as nonbeings relative to God

"Divine ideas are exemplar causes in the likeness of which God produces creatures. Ideas belong to God’s practical knowledge." review/Doolan

"Am I saying that the basis of reality is words? ... Ideas in the mind [of God]. -Philip K. Dick plus links on med.phil

@JoeySavitz @davidbmetcalfe Christians will love it! After all, Philip K. Dick discovers Christian Platonism in there. Never mind the

RT @JoeySavitz: @davidbmetcalfe @t3dy Walmart is selling the Exegesis. Barnes & Noble is pushing it at discount as a seasonal gift-book....

Philip K. Dick's "Bible as Information/World as Information" experience confirms Spinoza

Kripal on writing and reading as the privileged modes of mystical life for Philip K. Dick

Kripal: There is no way to overestimate or repeat enough this fact: for Dick, writing+reading are the privileged modes of the mystical life.

RT @erik_davis: Mr. Hand is sure enjoying the Exegesis!! Nice to see...RT @t3dy: Kabbalistic Philip K. Dick


"Autonomy. Inner-directed. Totally. Religious anarchists. Self-regulating because in inward direct touch with God." -Philip K. Dick E[83:30]

RT @davidbmetcalfe: @cultauthor good point re: filter - there is obviously a lot of scholarship influencing his interpretation of his ex ...

RT @cultauthor: @davidbmetcalfe @t3dy Let's not forget at times, PKD thought VALIS was a supercomputer from future in orbit.

Philip K. Dick wrote about two million words in his Exegesis. Compare Plato who wrote .5 million Aristotle 1 Aquinas 10

thanks to @cultauthor and @davidbmetcalfe for injecting some much-needed ufology into my reflections on PKD theories

RT @6__d: Major Arcana of the Philip K. Dick Tarot @t3dy

Philip K. Dick found confirmation of his experiences/theories in "the visions of every Pythagorean in history"

blogger reading later stuff in the PKD Exegesis (much of this material I've barely skimmed so far--there is so much!)

Doug Mackey reviews Philip K. Dick's Ganymede Takeover

@erik_davis PKD's a lovely example of how one need not get stuck in texts, but use them to think. Kripal: Reading+writing=his mystical life.

@erik_davis Yeah the summary format of the Encyclopedia was perfect. Gave him general gist but didn't tie down w/ constraints of the details

RT @erik_davis: @t3dy What's weird is how the Encyclopedia sources actually let PKD roam with creativity as well as knowledge, so he ca ...

@cultauthor @davidbmetcalfe Dick's method was to take whatever weird idea then ruthlessly twist+rotate it in order to make it fit his theory

How Big is Philip K. Dick's Exegesis? Jay Kinney estimated 2 million words. Editors say about 8,000 pages. We have 10%.

@cultauthor @davidbmetcalfe The distortion is necessary since he's appropriating stuff for his own purposes, reinterpreting/plugging into...

Adding more sidebar links to readings on -- plz let me know if there are any good articles on PKD+Religion I'm missing

@davidbmetcalfe @cultauthor Reading PKD's ASCs/gnosticism/UFOlogy is very difficult not only bc of his sources but also his phildickian lens

Audio Recording of "Stairway to Eleusis"(talk by PKD Exegesis Editor Rich Doyle) via David Gill of

RT @cultauthor: @davidbmetcalfe @t3dy I actually got hold of one of PKD's COINTELPRO who opened his mail. It's a shame to have to respec ...

Frank Hollander, a Philip K. Dick completist I greatly admire, put together this Table of Contents for the Exegesis

RT @cultauthor: @davidbmetcalfe @t3dy I love the fact in those days, most entities had to have names like VALIS, SPECTRA or ZEBRA to be ...

RT @davidbmetcalfe: @cultauthor another great point, I was just reading Keel's description of the Black Night in Disneyland of the Gods ...

RT @cultauthor: @davidbmetcalfe @t3dy I also love the way in talking to some friends, PKD equated VALIS/ZEBRA with the whole Black Knigh ...

"The truly great writer does not want to write: he wants the world to be a place in which he can live the life of the imagination" H. Miller

"Plotinus’s heirarchy of Being is more famous than his thinking of any unity at all as a kind of profusion." The Cone

The Cone of Plotinus: Ontologies of Profusion and Particularization

Diagramming Plotinus

top ten things I [had been] looking forward to discovering in Philip K. Dick's Exegesis (sadly still ~90% unpublished)

from Philip K. Dick's Exegesis: "I am not the true and actual source of my own fiction...Maybe [John] Denver is right."

"This is not an evil world. . .There is a good world under the evil. The evil somehow superimposed over it. . ." -PKD via @palmer_eldritch

". . .Palmer Eldritch can spin out his hallucinatory world and time for what seems - just seems - forever. . ." -Philip K. Dick via @palmerE

PKD: "My writing is a very unlikely place to expect to encounter the Holy; the Koinos, the Message-processing, Ubik-like ultimate entity."

"In my writing I am a destroyer of worlds, not a generator: I show them as forgeries." -Philip K. Dick

"most severe assault delivered in my work is against materialism as such, in my probing into the illusory nature of apparent reality." -PKD

I had to develop a love of the disordered+puzzling,view reality as vast riddle to be joyfully tackled,not in fear but w/tireless fascination

"THE THREE STIGMATA, if read properly (i.e. reversed) contains many clues as to the nature of God and to our relationship with him." -PKD

Quotes from In Pursuit of VALIS Selections From The Exegesis ( 1991 )

RT @davidbmetcalfe: John Scotus Eriugena in Philip K. Dick's Exegesis via @t3dy

Philip K. Dick gets pretty deep into straight Christian theology for a religious anarchist.

"Miracles act to "prove" a particular revelation. But what do paranormal experiences prove? Well, nothing yet..." Jeffrey Kripal

The Philip K. Dick Punk Rock Connection

Paranormal America Interview with Jeffrey Kripal

"I want this book to challenge the common assumptions people make about profound, life-changing, mind-blowing mystical experiences."

Total Dick-Head: Lost in A Maze of Death (PKD's lesser-known but equally formidable theological novel)

Philip K. Dick on Giordano Bruno, from the Exegesis "Clearly, Bruno is my main man."

Philip K. Dick on Paracelsus: "one man's little mind becomes the magic mirror of the macrocosm."

Leonard Nimoy narrates a tv-reconstruction of the death of Bishop James Pike.(friend of PKD, subject of his last novel)

Philip K Dick Exegesis excerpt on Slate (unfortunately it will be familiar to readers of Sutin's "in pursuit of valis")

Jonathan Lethem on Philip K. Dick's Exegesis (video) "an attempt to understand something"

Simon Critchley on Philip K. Dick's Schopenhaurian side

Neoplatonism "bringing down" Christianity

Kripal explains the argument against viewing PKD as a postmodernist more succinctly than I did recently on FB.

Dennett on Postmodernism and Truth
"no sane philosopher has ever argued..."

Philip K. Dick: Turning Time into Space is What Beethoven Did

Neoplatonism Bringing Down Christianity in a "Dear Claudia" letter by Philip K. Dick

"Schopenhauer in fact advocated overcome a frustration-filled and fundamentally painful human condition."

The Man in the High Kipple #lessinterestingbooks #PKD

Philip K. Dick and Alchemy (corrected, illustrted and updated with a "3-74 as alchemy" quote from the Exegesis)

The Zebra Principle about the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, and its editors, on Google Books

totally honored to have played a role, however obscure and humble, in this PKD publishing moment. totally high from seeing my name in print.

I finally took a look at the acknowledgements page of the PKD Exegesis and saw that my name is indeed on it. 1st time seeing myself in print

Science Channel will have Philip K. Dick episode of its Prophets of Science Fiction series

What I hope to find in Philip K. Dick's Exegesis

"Language Virus" moment in Philip K. Dick's mainstream novel Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

RT @elizabethkarr: Handy color pdf Radio Free Albemuth Variety Review @RFAmovie #philipkdick #indiefilm #scifi

Major Arcana of the Philip K. Dick Tarot

there's plenty of that in the phildickian occult. RT @theclockworm Gnostic/Dickian ideas sans religion is a special area of interest for me.

An excellent podcast series by David Beardsley covers the history of Platonic Idealism in the West Socrates to T.Taylor

Philip K. Dick's Exegesis comes out Monday. Here are 10 things I'm looking forward to discovering in it #PKD

Grant Morrison on Philip K. Dick and Terence McKenna

Philip K. Dick Exegesis Project (text of Tractates and links)

Christopher Palmer: "Philip meanwhile comes to participate in Fat's obsessions and theorizing habits..."

@xanadu_xero I've done plenty of PKD reading as a mystic "true believer," + as a theorist of myth, but even some as a materialist-realist...

"To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement.This is a paradox:whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire;[1/2] proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies." -Philip K. Dick, Tractates/Valis [2/2]

Christopher Palmer, Postmodernism and the Birth of the Author in Philip K. Dick's Valis SFS #55, November1991

"The Empire is the institution+codification, of derangement; insane +imposes its insanity on us by violence, bc its nature is a violent one"

"We should be able to hear this information, or rather narrative, as a neutral voice inside us. But something has gone wrong."-Philip K.Dick

"thoughts,,, are experienced by us as arrangements... but in fact it is really information+information-processing which we substantialize."

"We lost ability to read language of Mind at some primordial time; legends of this fall have come down to us in a carefully-edited form."PKD

"The changing information which we experience as world is an unfolding narrative." -Philip K. Dick, Tractates Cryptica Scriptura/VALIS

Philip K. Dick, Tractates Cryptica Scriptura Exegesis excerpts from the appendix to his novel VALIS

"One of the reasons I so identify with the work of PKD is that many of his peak experiences closely mirror my own."

Philip K. Dick and his interpreters on The Black Iron Prison add your own quotes -- "The Empire Never Ended"

Philip K. Dick on Direct Experience of the Divine, vs. Organized Religion "I guess you could call me a neo-platonist"

Philip K. Dick: "There's no way we can fight back, because the language itself works against us... [1/2]

...The very words were manufactured to explain their situation so it looks good,+ours so it looks bad." -PKD, Humpty Dumpty in Oakland [2/2]

PKD mini-bio and links

Philip K. Dick Words project -- hypertexting the dear claudia letters

"Nam-Shub versus the Big Other: Revising the. Language that Binds Us in Philip K. Dick, Neal. Stephenson, Samuel R. Delany, and Chuck ..."

"Didn't that early guy, Carl Jung—didn't he manage to decode the schizophrenic's language years ago?” -Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip

"If the world of written SF were ever to be translated into the language of visual art, PKD would be Salvador Dali."

"Dick's novel tells us our real world is made of words; that words are necessary to give sense to it. Words have a strange substantiality"UR

Philip K. Dick on having second thoughts about including religion in his Science Fiction

RT @rfamovie: Asteroid or Valis?....

"Thinness" of a Philip K. Dick novel reframed by him as "a petering out of the reality of the book"

RT @cratylus: @t3dy PKD seems ike a nerd theologian to me too - theology as hobby; something to in the shed of one's head.

"Each movie is an intriguing attempt to translate into cinematic language Dick's ... paranoia about the stability of human identity." FutImp

@cratylus The sensibility in PKD is a very important part of the appeal+methodology that gets lost in these all pomo/SF/exiztnz-discussions.

RT @cratylus: @t3dy great in tne small - which links back to mysticism ;) I've always loved PKD 's sensibity - a bit like an american jo

@cratylus Work is definitely a blue-collar human activity in PKD, rather than some theoretical ideal.

@cratylus On one level, PKD should be seen as building theologies in his basement like others might a boat. But they're still *theologies*

@cratylus But I think McKee is correct to argue that theology meant more to PKD than a mere hobby-though he's certainly a hobbyist about it!

Philip K. Dick on Religion in his Letters: mid 70s late 70s early 80s

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'These are the things that break a human heart. But back to the novel.' #PKD #NaNoWriMo

"My books are forgeries. Nobody wrote them." -Philip K. Dick, Exegesis (quoted in Umland, p.19)

"no matter how many times Dick unmasks or destroys the Black Iron Prison of American suburban life, he always returns to it."Jonathan Lethem

"Dick is our poet of the simulacrum"

Frank Bertrand reviews Claudia Bush's MA thesis on Philip K. Dick

"[Philip K.] Dick is our poet of the simulacrum" fusing of book and reality in his last novel

Philip K. Dick on God+infinity- 'Every thought leads to infinity, does it not? Find one that doesn’t.' I tried forever.

the fusing of book and reality in Philip K. Dick's last novel

The Black Iron Prison of Philip K. Dick excerpts from PKD novels and scholarship

TDH in an absolute coup interviews Philip K. Dick's editor

Phildickian Discordianism: "For me, the BiP and the Curse of Greyface are very similar..." cc @eglinski

Philip K. Dick: The Other Side Paul Rydeen a neo-gnostic take

@erik_davis From somebody who understands how difficult the thing is to read, let alone edit or criticize, thank you hugely for your efforts

RT @erik_davis: PKD's Exegesis is just out, and looks beautiful. I have to say I am proud to have been involved in editing it, however m ...

more on the PKD estate lawsuit over The Adjustment Bureau

Philip K. Dick covers illustrating religious themes

Philip K. Dick on Spinoza and Kabbalah

Philip K. Dick's notion of "The Dark Counterplayer"

Philip K. Dick was a big fan of Godel, Escher, Bach, which he felt explained his "puzzle stories" in a way he couldn't.

Rossi vs. McKee on Philip K. Dick and Christianity

Philip K. Dick on Religion, Science, and Belief from the Selected Letters 1980-1982

PKD: "God manifested himself to me as the infinite void; but it was not the abyss; it was the vault of heaven..."

Philip K. Dick and the alchemy of information

Finally, my Philip K. Dick+Religion blog saw some action. Gabriel McKee defends himself vs. Umberto Rossi's criticism

Philip K. Dick on how to use prayer and the "AI Voice" to pas a physics test

Angel Archer on the fusing of book and reality in Philip K. Dick's Transmigration of Timothy Archer

Six new Philip K. Dick audiobooks glad to see Now Wait for Last Year

Synopsis of Philip K. Dick's "Eye in the Sky" on Islam and Science Fiction blog #PKD

RT @robertshutter: RT @LynneRice RT @elizabethkarr: Raves from Philip K. Dick scholar for @RFAmovie: via @t3dy #sci ...

Philip K. Dick's theory of three-level mind (the human, the robot, and the computerized god?) based on Dante

Philip K. Dick on "spurious realities"

Philip K. Dick on Language Virus theory of William Burroughs

Philip K. Dick book cover art illustrating religious themes Essential books for the study of PKD

Got a comment from Gabriel McKee, one of the top five scholars working on Dick's religious experiences (+ see my reply)

anagrams for Philip Kindred Dick -- Delphic Pink did Irk (visions) / Dipped Child in Kirk(he secretly baptized his son)

Philip K. Dick on God's Infinite Game

"He brought colour, shape, awareness to the void..." Philip K. Dick, Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

"I see Hume's point. It was all just talk. The solemn philosophers weren't taking what they said seriously." -Philip K. Dick

"The two basic topics which fascinate me are "What is reality?" and "What constitutes the authentic human being?" -Philip K. Dick

review of Humpty Dumpty in Oakland, by Philip K. Dick (spoiler warning)

"God said 'Here is infinity. Here, then, I am.' I tried for an infinite number of times; each time an infinite regress was set off... [1/2]

God said, 'Infinity. Hence I am here.' Then he said, 'Every thought leads to infinity, does it not? Find one that doesn’t.' I tried forever"

Philip K. Dick on Dante's Three-Level Cosmos Tripledome theory

RT @erik_davis: @ToddGailun Nah, I dont think PKD met too many tech visionary types. He loved Captain Crunch tho!

@palmer_eldritch of course, Hollywood can graft just about anything onto a PKD story if history is any guide, they'd Heinlein RFA up good.

Mystic PKD covers PKD on religion/science/belief is PKD undermining ontology?

PKD: "He brought colour, shape, awareness to the void...and took his seventh day -- a cup of coffee."

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'I watch these show people come up; they got no talent. That the truth. What they got is personality.' ht ...

Tweeted Review of Radio Free Albemuth, the first movie to get Philip K. Dick really right. cc @rfamovie

"religious" Philip K. Dick covers PKD+Kabbalah PKD on Godel, Escher, Bach

“…today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations" -Philip K. Dick

RT @otaviocarvalho: ¨Activity does not necessarily mean life. Quasars are active. And a monk meditating is not inanimate.¨ Philip K. Dick

RT @openculture: Stories by Ernest Hemingway, Philip K. Dick, Italo Calvino added to Free Audio Books collection:

RT @TOMolefe: I've got so much of love for this: Phillip K. Dick, a fictionalising philosopher (via someone)

RT @DennyCoates: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick book covers illustrating religious themes

Philip K. Dick was notoriously fun to hang out with, unless you wanted to be romantically involved with him.

"Even [Philip Dick's] 2-3-74 experience... [has a] strong political component that cannot be totally obliterated by any ecstatic mysticism."

"...are not Dick’s theological speculations a reflection on a fallen condition that is also a political condition?" reviewer on GM "defect"

"The Black Iron Prison, the Demiurge, Satan, if you prefer, are ways to reflect theologically on a personal crisis" SFS reviewer on McKee

McKee: "PKD never rejected religious interpretations of his writing+thought such interpretations more valuable than more secular analyses."

McKee's book is "useful for literary critics because it is full of interesting suggestions about Dick’s less obvious sources [lit/phil/rel]"

"something is constant in Dick’s endlessly shifting theological interrogations, and that is the basic idea of the unreality of the cosmos"

Gabriel McKee: “it is problematic and inaccurate to attempt to find one category that can describe the entire breadth of Dick’s metaphysics”

I do very much agree with McKee that Dick’s writings “blend religion and sf in a truly

original way” (ix)

SF Studies review of Gabriel McKee's book on Philip K. Dick's theology "Pink Beams of Light from the God in the Gutter"

Spinoza aimed to surrender freedom of action if it clashed with the interests of the state, but desired full freedom of thought+expression."

Gabriel McKee on Philip K. Dick's "theophanies" and theories "It’s difficult, if not impossible, to categorize [them]."

McKee, Rossi, Davis, PKD as postmodernist critics wrongly emphasize the uncertainty in Philip K Dick's engagement with ontology/epistemology

"Dick’s stories serve to undermine the readers’ faith in ontology—he is poking the universe with a pin to see if it pops." -Gabriel McKee

RT @frqncs: @t3dy PKD as theologian:

"We fell because of an intellectual, not a moral error." -Philip K. Dick

RT @elizabethkarr: Radio Free Albemuth review from #renosf #indiefilm @RFAmovie via @t3dy

"God has eaten Man"

Philip K. Dick being interviewed in a spinning teapot at Disneyland: via @avisolo

"Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man." -Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'If they had won, all they'd have thought about was making more money, that upper class.' ...

Philip K. Dick on Religion, Science, and Belief in Voices from the Street

"This country is evil. We're big and rich and full of pride. We waste and we spend and we don't care about the rest of the world." -PKD,VFTS

RT @palmer_eldritch: DailyDick-'They should give time for the depression to come in between, so people are glad to go off and fight.' ht...

big collection of PKD tweets (needs to be updated with the last few months' worth)

bunch old notes for future PKD and Religion posts

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flow Your Tears, the Policeman Said

I couldn't find this in a google search so I thought I should post it.

(This is a parody of the dystopian Philip K. Dick Novel "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.")

found via David Gill's Facebook post, credit to Jason Nathaniel Miller for the idea and Luc Valentine for the execution

see also Viewing the UC Davis Pepper Spraying from Multiple Angles

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where did PKD get his ideas about Giordano Bruno?

(under construction)

What did Dick read about Bruno and Hermeticism?

Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition
Frances Yates

(discuss how Yates invented a Hermetic tradition in a speculative move worthy of PKD)

Giordano Bruno; his life and thought
Dorothea Waley Singer

Giordano Bruno by Walter Pater

PKD doesn't seem to have been interested in Crowley or Golden Dawn Occultism, he was interested in Jewish Kabbalah, maybe through a Marin New Age filter, probably through a bit of a "Christian Cabala" filter, but not doing occultist "Qabala"

Alexandre Koyre
From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe

not available to PKD but great sources on Bruno

Leo Catana
The Concept of Contraction in the Philosophy of Giordano Bruno

Ingrid Rowland
Giordano Bruno: Philosopher / Heretic

Hillary Gatti
Giordano Bruno and Renaissance Science

In her Essays on Giordano Bruno, Gatti writes, "One of the most original aspects of Coleridge's interest in Bruno regarded his dialectic." (interesting in terms of McKee's argument that Dick's notion of a dialectical divine is one of his most intriguing contributions to theology--although of course Dick would say that it's also found in Boehme...)

Bruno's Cause, Principle, and Unity--and Essays on Magic

Bruno's Cabala of Pegasus

Giordano Bruno and the Kabbalah

Thursday, November 17, 2011

going back to a hermetic, Gnostic neoplatonism

So I haven't been disappointed, there are a number of places in the Exegesis where Phil discusses being convinced that he has a "hermetic" view. Here we see that he understands "hermetic" in the context of gnosticism and neoplatonism, elements of his "radical critique" of mechanistic philosophy. I still haven't found much about the source of his understanding of "Hermetic" but I'm gaining confidence that it was the Yates view, directly or indirectly, that influenced his notion of Hermeticism having so much to do with a magical mirror of the cosmos in memory.

[3:28] The Soviets have guessed that Ubik contains a correct cosmology radically different from all accepted ones ... Richard was on the right track with Empedocles. That's the what; next they wanted to know how—how come. I proved to be an idiot savant, much to their disgust. Boy, what I could tell them now! [...] Maybe those 4 Marxists were right about Ubik being subversive to capitalist society.80 [...] I am tearing down time, space, causality, world—this would be subversive to capitalism, to the bourgeois mind which is intimately connected with 18th century Anglo-Saxon rationalism (Newton, Locke, Bentham, etc.). I am systematically undermining the philosophers and philosophy on which capitalism is based, and going back to a hermetic, Gnostic neoplatonism. And a vitalism replacing mechanism—I deal a lethal blow to anglo-saxon thought, to its vaunted pragmatism.