Thursday, September 8, 2011
religion-related PKD Quotes from Selected Letters 1980-1982
(image from 18th century grimoire "The Key of Hell"
I wrote an outline of a new novel last month in which I combined Heidegger with early Hebrew concepts of monotheism - a daring effort on my part since Heidegger was a Nazi and totally rejected the idea of God, and, most of all, the Hebrew deity. The outline ran 80 pages.
There is no universe as such; there is a pluriverse or multiverse; I mean, each person has his own unique universe, so there are as many universes as there are conscious foci.
In a sense there is nothing actually out there but a field that each of us participates in and shapes; what it is in itself we can never know because we can never exclude our own consciousness from the equation.
My theory is that our Will (which lies outside our consciousness) creates a field that becomes part of the external reality field to form a single seamless field, and it is this field that we experience when we experience reality; viz: our Will is a component which cannot be excluded.
In 1974 I had an encounter with supernatural reality that gives implications that the world is not what we think it is - and, what is more, God is not what we think He is; hence I wrote VALIS.
I am that man who once knew Christ, sort of, as traces of light in the alley and a faint breeze rustling the weeds.
As to my exegesis, I wrote THE END on it and then kept right on writing.
. . .Christianity has no room for former lives.
I guess someone who spends all his waking time studying about Brahmanism and neo-Platonism has as much need for one hundred thousand dollars as a polar bear has for golf clubs.
I remember coming here (Christ this sounds nuts!) from the stars.
Am I then to go out and say, "I am here from the stars, part of an immortal group of secret revolutionaries, and we are all living in a vast but invisible prison; we are in fact enslaved? And then, when this underground wins, we will live in a Palm Tree Garden under the rule of Christ." Well, if you talk like that you are absolutely crazy.
The issue here is love, joy, intoxication, marriage, and the birth of the divine child. I experienced this. I felt its birth in my mind - in fact my brain. I had a name for it; I called him "Firebright".
VALIS resembled Ubik in that VALIS arranged physical reality into information. . .
. . .he loves us for what we are, our unique and individual essences, in the face of which he will bend the entire universe, rather than infringe on that uniqueness.
It's too bad I can't go to a priest or a minister with these matters, but I have done so in the past, and, as Ali McGraw says in the movie "Just Tell Me What You Want", they "can't tell tit from twat," which is not a very nice way of putting it, but nonetheless it is so.
. . .it's strange the thoughts that come to you very late at night. . .
In March 1974 I seemed. . .to be able to distinguish an invading life form here of such an advanced nature that I took it to be Christ or God.
I am convinced that God exists but when someone asks me to define God I find that I cannot (I can't define science fiction either, but I am equally sure it exists).
Everyone I know seems to be caught in a karmic trap, which they only dimly discern; they have a sense of mounting helplessness and desperation, and I feel for them.
I got really ripped on some good grass a week ago and realised that I missed Jesus and I would never be happy until I saw him again.
I just reread VALIS in its entirety. I now understand.
Dante is our guide; the solution to the mystery of our corporeal existence, our servitude, lies in the COMMEDIA, yet everyone assumes it has to do with the next world; we read it and do not recognise our condition.
My God; the world I write about is hell. Literally.
The intelligible idea in the mind of God that is Philip K. Dick required that this happen. Without you and your help it never would have happened.
I seem to be saying in the trilogy that while no single human can be Christos, humans collectively can be.
VALIS depicts hell and I would not recommend it, really.
I have known a bishop; I have known a judge; I have known a junky. . .and the junky was the most humane - and in a sense the most human - of them all.
Meanwhile I work away at my type C writing, convinced that I decyphered some of the universe's master screts. It's a good feeling.
John Allegro says somewhere that as long ago as Sumer the most touching belief held by the people of that early age was that when the time came for the great Crossing, the person's god took him by the hand and held his hand through the journey. . .this is the basis of it all, and to hell with doctrine and dogma.
above quotes borrowed from Palmer Eldritch's helpful site
p/.76 I am now of the opinion that 11/17/80 consisted of a theophany, a self-disclosure of the Divine, of the divine nature, which is agape; but March 1974 was (in contrast) an act of God. It was God exerting sentient force on reality, rather than God communing with me mind to mind. Thus March 1974 falls into the category of miracle and pronoia (Divine Providence) which I have long suspected. The actual fabric of reality was altered by divine intervention in order to extricate me from dire and immediate peril. In an act of Divine Providence, the transcendent God of Christianity becomes immanent...
p.82 My kerygma is contra what James Stephens says of nature "there is no appeal." This is the essence of the issue. My testimony, which is firsthand, is, "There is appeal."--and yet, even this "violation" (perturbation) is based on logic! I.e. my later act vis-a-vis Covenant House was necessary for the March 1974 perfturbation to occur. Logic is still involved (something on the order of karmic law or theodicy). The AI voice explained it to me in such a way that, amazing as it may seem, for there to have been no perturbation (violation) in March 1974 would have, in the highest possible sense, been (paradoxically) illogical. So Spinoza's system holds; it obtains if you carefully scrutinize exactly what you mean by "logic." ...
p.87 It is a theodicy of logic, not a theodicy of merit... Righteous acts, highly moral acts, are committed constantly in the world without the universe setting in motion a perturbation such as I experienced; I had to perform a specific--an incredibly specific--act to cause that perturbation. In a sense, then, like Frank Frink in HIGH CASTLE I saved myself.
p.88 It had no purpose as we understood the term "purpose"
p.93 ...and Robert Heinlein would gaze at us in awe... (comedic routine)
p.93 I work every day on my Exegesis... "It is worse to have known God and then lost God than to have never known God at all." Strange.
p.96-97 (Gnosticism, to Michael Bishop)
p.99 The trouble with being familiar with Gnosticism is that you cannot then lay it aside and return to the unchallenged postulates of orthodoxy. I lost my occlusion in March 1974. I lost it for several weeks. As a result I saw quite a different world, if world it was, and I saw how the machinery works and it works in such a way as always to present the semblance of the veridical to us; whereas in fact spatiotemporality is not real; causation is not real, and there seem to be supratemporal eide (Forms) out there that either possess polymorphous aspects or onto which we project--or some mysterious agency projects--polymorphous aspects (this is virtually an exact description of Brahman, obviously). And the entire structure is self-motivating and unitary and apparently sentient and volitional. What I saw--and I saw it for several months in all--did not resemble any one theological or philosophical system that I have in seven years been able to come up with. Therefore, to repeat myself, I say, "I can say what is not there, but I cannot say what is, even though I apperceived it." What is really scary is that my apperception seemed to be as much a prior as it was empirical, as if I had suddenly developed a binocular vision in which a priori apperception and empirical perception were unified. Perhaps (as I often think) I saw the two attributes that Spinoze attributes to the one substantial: mind and spatial exptension' I appreahended mind a priori and spatial extension empirically; hence, then, I saw God. But, as I say, this cannot be correlated with the evident Gnostic elements involved--specifically, my sense that a messenger from some other realm had come here and deliberately broken the power of coercive world over me, and the breaking of this coercive power consisted precisely in the disclosure to me that world is irreal... Contention or question; I'm not sure which. Am I saying that we are compelled to take the irreal as real or am I asking if we are? But it is not the intelligible archetypal ideas themselves (to use Malebranche's term) that compel us; it is the agency that generates them, presumably God--and once more, I am back to the Gnostic intimation that we may indeed be worshipping God but he may indeed be the wrong God.
p.100 I just reread VALIS in its entirety. I now understand.
p.101 There is a destruction or abolition of normal ordering categories of time, space and cauation... For this, all religion exists.
p.107-109 letter to Joan Didion about Jim Pike
p.112 Heidegger, Tillich
118 in my opinion, the mystery religions, particularly Orphism, taught techniques for this... meta-abstraction
120 fish sign
121 Did my percept system simply ape my mental operation?
121 I know this will sound strange, but for us the Lord's Supper was like the hologram of the Princess in STAR WARS.
p.133 Ursula is trying to get me to stop studying and then writing about metaphysical ideas...I will cause other people to "spiral into themselves"
p.134 Hence my use of the vernacular in VALIS. It is a picaresque novel blended with new elements derived from William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson and my own earlier novel, A SCANNER DARKLY. VALIS is a novel about madness and God, told by a madman with whom I identify mtself, not only as a character but (and this is far more important) ideologically and spiritually; I say that his quest, his goals, his journey, are valid and important and worthy and should be emulated.
p. 145-7 Burroughs
p.141 I had a dream seven years from the day I had my original revelation (back in March 1974); this dream completed the original revelation and explained it; it filled in the missing pieces. (summary follows)
p.148 My apperception is totally in accord with Whitehead's... But I am saying, yes, there is a process. But it is not a flow process...
p. 166 Frank Bertrand... makes too much of Teilhard quote
p.167 Wittgenstein... This suggests the Hermetic micro-macrocosmic identity, perhaps...
p.208 upper/lower realm diagram
p.209 I find myself compelled either to Erigena's four hypostases of God or to abandon Western religion entirely... And I must include Eckhart and Boehme.
p.216 This life form has not invaded our universe (as William Burroughs supposes) but is the source of our universe, one level higher; it is available to us as the Forms are through a meta-abstraction on our part; that is, it is know [sic] intelligibly, rather than empirically (sensibly).
p.217 (bot) not information but derived from information
p.218 Perhaps I have gone full circle from Taoism to Taoism. (to Le Guin)
p.219 Philosophically I am a Platonist, but my heart is with the Torah. (to Le Guin)
p.227 Ursula, I wouldn't cast you out because for one thing I am myself an outcast, a creature who sees the divine in the trash of the gutter: a sparkle of light in the weeds, a rustle of color--I suddenly sense a Presence that knows me as I know it. It shines and then vanishes ... it is magic, perhaps, enchantment, as if I am in a fairy kingdom, and yet I see more, I sense the holy, and I feel awe; I feel the beauty of this trash and these weeds is--well, another realm impinging on this one, or perhaps my eyes extract the holy out of a mixture in which it is normally obscured, as if I have seen very clearly that God loiters at the busy intersection of the mundane, speaking from rocks and beer cans, discarded debris...
p.228 The Absolute, be he God or the One or the Tao, must chuckle in gentle amusement to see me hunched over my clipboard laboriously rewriting and rewriting a few simple basic Greek terms. Yet I am delighted; it is like flying, like skimming over the landscape at enormous velocity. Strange. (Le Guin)
p.232 The Great Enlightenment comes--is--at the moment when you recognize something in world as familiar, and from this recognition--called by Plato anamnesis--comes the realization that world, creation, is your creation, that you are Pantocrator. This world that you see--it is an objectification of your own prior thought-formations; it is substantial now, but originally it consisted of ideas (Plato's eide); that is, it has two modes of existence: first as ideas in a mind--and it is your mind--and then as objective, substantial creation comiong back at you-as-percepient. Thus you are not what you thought you are, and you have an origin and nature different from what you supposed; you have a history, and if that history is followed backward in time, you arrive at the Absolute, call it Ch'ang Tao, or Brahman, or God, or the One, or the Good, or the Prime Mover--names do not matter; perhaps it has no name. This realization is the awakening, but it leads, after a time, to further realizations equally great, which ineluctably follow, and carry equal weight; if you came from this Absolute, it follows that you will inevitably return; this is something that cannot be doubted; it is understood to be indubitable. It is as indubitable as truth as the truth of your origin.
p.233 ...And so, while sensing the presence of the Absolute, you move away from it, precisely because you love it so; and the quality that it reveals to you when you at last perceive it is: beauty. As the Sufis teach. The essence of God is not love nor wisdom nor power nor goodness but beauty. And creation serves the purpose of a medium by and through which this beauty manifests itself in an infinity of infinities; viz: there are an infinite number of beautiful things (the pluralization of the One) and each one of this infinitude is, itself, alone, infinitely beautiful. Thus beauty is the only infinitude that yields up an infinity of infinitudes; there is only one goodness, only one love, only one power, only one wisdom, but there is an infinitude of infinities of beauty; beauty can be broken down--pluralized, multiplied, divided--infinitely, and each fragment remains infinitely beautiful; so infinity is the ultimate infinity, possessing an infinity of axes. This is recognized in the arts, and it is in the arts--in the aesthetic sensibility--that God is best understood, and this the Sufis teach. True, goodness can be infinite (God is infinitely good); wisdom can be infinite; God is infinitely wise, and so forth, but the fragments of wisdom, the fragments of goodness, the fragments of love, being fragments are incomplete, and so, when manifested in this world lack the ontological completeness that they have as when they exist in the Absolute; in the fall from hypostasis to hypostasis (from Kether to Malkuth) they all lose something with each drop, but beauty does not. (to Patricia Warrick)
p.236 This is so radically different a world that I am having trouble mapping it out. Its cardinal "face" that it would present, I think, would be (as the Sufis teach) beauty. (to Russell Galen)
p.241 the Gnostic revelation is not self authenticating... (to Le Guin)
p.246 Pat, I am onto a line of thought involving Pythagoras's insight that the basis of reality is form; I have connected this to Philo's logos doctrine--"Logos" defined as the rational principle immanent in the universe. Pythagoras' concept of form is a concept of pure structure, how things fit together and that they fit together--in contrast to some physical substance as the basis of reality. Thus, the basis of reality is an abstraction--and indeed I find out that for that time-period there was an incomplete ability to conceive of pure form as an utter abstraction, so that for these people even numbers were to some degree substantial. (They would not, for instance, have been able to conceive of what we call "energy.") Nonetheless, the Pythagoreans were in the right track... when I saw VALIS it was not a thing among things but was how plural things fitted together... VALIS is not only seen (or "seen") by an abstraction--an abstracting cognitive event or process--in the percipient's mind, it itself is an abstraction, but it is real; it is an abstraction that has intrinsic independent existence.
p.247...There is a very strong possibility, then, that what I saw that I called "VALIS" was in fact Pythagoras' kosmos, but as I say I am now identifying that kosmos with Philo's Logos, with Plato's Forms, and finally, with the Christ-Logos Doctrine of the Fourth Gospel. Then indeed Christ as the Logos invades and penetrates the universe, devouring, as I say in VALIS, so that, as I say, "the entire universe is in the invisible process of turning into the Lord," the Corpus Christi. This Corpus Christi is available to us only if our minds perform this meta-abstraction, and this, as Plato taught, depends on anamnesis (which I discuss at length in VALIS). Something is progressively consuming our universe, and that "something" is rational: the rational principle or agency itself; and, in contrast to it, the universe (it follows logically) must be regarded (as I do in fact regard it in VALIS) as irrational. This is the dialectic that I saw, this combat between the rational kosmos oir Logos or Cosmic Christ and the antecedent universe.
p.249 So (I am saying) my experience was not religious, not occult, not supernatural; it does not point to God nor to providentia. It points to a fundamental flaw in modern epistemology; world is not what we think it is, and we do not know of its existence in the way that we think we do--basing our view consciously or unconsciously on Descartes. My March, 1974 experience is to Cartesian epistemology as the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1881 was to Newtonian mechanics; without intending to it proved that the prevailing system of thought is fundamentally in error. It has taken me more than seven and a half years to realize that my experience was not religious but was perfectly natural given a totally different epistemology in the sense of what we believe exists and how we believe we experience that which exists. Now, modern quantum physics recognizes that the Cartesian dualism is in error, that such things as unified fields exist, and that the observer and what he observes are somehow one. I was able to know the worl a priori, and this is because Plato's Forms are everywhere the same, in the mind and in world, like mathematical principles they can be discovered in our own minds, not just outside us like roses and sheep and popsicles.
p.255 Teilhard... this is what I experienced when I saw VALIS
p.262 having accidentally gained access to the retrieval system... phylogons (Warrick)
p.263 Reality is continuously converted into information... it follows that VALIS is the Logos (bottom)
p.263 Over and out and amen.
p.267 equation between the concept "Gnosticism" and "access key to the retrieval of information from a vast information-retrieval system that is the universe" ... The Gnostic receives the total picture of reality; the non-Gnostic receives only a mere fragment.
p.267 My "groove to music" model, then, is especially illustrative of the ontological status of the two opposing states of knowledge and ignorance.
... We are just simply only receiving a thin slice of reality, only the carrier and not the modulation... To the Gnostics, access must have seemed to be divine revelation, and in a sense it is
p. 295 It is Christ whom I seek...
p.302 What would group sex be without the big toe? droll orgy planning anecdote
p.306 I am able to analyze from a professional standpoint the messages from Maitreya the Christ.
p.310 experiences of being overshadowed by a superior intelligence
p.311 I saw Christ the new Savior but discorporate
p.312 telepathic contact with the Savior
p. 314 The Great Invocation