Post number two comes to us from “Mr. E,” a pseudonymous contributor. Page number references for the Exegesis passages mentioned below will be supplied later today.
ADDENDUM: Mr. E would like our readers to know that he will be checking the previous post for comments from time to time, and that, while he cannot furnish advice, he would be glad to speak candidly with anyone experiencing similar things in need of conversation. If you’re in such a position, either leave an e-mail address or let us know here at the site and we will forward you to Mr. E discretely.
Philip K. Dick (PKD) is a man I had never had any reason to think of until a few short weeks ago. This all started with the publication of the Exegesis. I was led to this work through a series of synchronicities and what I found there I was entirely unprepared for. I have always considered myself a rational person, and the experiences I have been having fly in the face of all that I know, or have ever known. I want to preface what you are about to read with a few comments. First, I am not sure what all of this means. Second, while my story is entirely unbelievable, I have no reason whatsoever to lie about it. Feel free to call me a lunatic or speculate as to what neurosis I must be suffering from. I am open to hearing them with genuine interest as I am just as mystified as you might be before you are finished reading. Third, I am writing this anonymously for several reasons, not the least of which is to convey that I have nothing to gain by sharing any of this. I am simply trying to share my experiences in the event that they will help to add context for experiences others may be having. Also, I have no interest whatsoever in being found as I have a life that exists entirely outside of this strange experience and I do not wish to be defined by it in any facet of my life, or yours. Fourth, I do not think that the sun rises and sets with PKD. Not even my own personal world-view does.
I will start by saying I have never read a Phillip K. Dick novel. This begs the questions, why write this? This will become clear, I promise. I heard his name mentioned in the movie Waking Life, briefly, and that was the totality of hearing more than a book title up to this point. What I have read is the newly published Exegesis. I am going to attempt to tell you all why this is such a strong connection, how it relates to PKD, and what my understanding is at this point. To do that I have to give you some back story. It is not all pretty, but I am going for brutal honesty here and I want you to all to know I am not going to pull any punches. (That is why the anonymity is so important, in another regard.)
In the late 1990s I started to have a series of what I now understand to be synchronicities. I felt that I was being guided in life by a series of signs that were obvious to me, and largely unseen by others. As a result of this I was led to a Buddhist. When I spoke with him about my experiences he told me that a number of westerners were having similar experiences to mine once they took LSD. I took this as a sign to try LSD. I did this a number of times with amazing clarity as a result as far as understanding my experiences went. I now know that, of course, many people see meaning in things when on LSD, and this is nothing unique. These experiences started to be something I sought out over everyday interaction, and I thought I was uncovering the secrets of the universe. Literally for the first time. Again, I know this is nothing unique. Then, in one summer late in the 90s I ingested a large quantity of psychedelic mushrooms (I realize this not the best way to establish credibility, but it is the truth.) I was already under the influence of psilocybin when I ingested this other, more substantial, quantity. I ended up consuming about an ounce of mushrooms in a single sitting, which had a large impact on my consciousness, as you can imagine. Again, no surprise. What happened as a result of this massive dose was that I was able to maintain my “tripping” consciousness in everyday life for a few weeks after this point. Being on drugs for a few weeks can take its toll on the body (which is why I wrote off all of these experiences and continued nominally sanely into full adulthood) and I was not able to sleep normally, act socially with the same decorum etc. What happened was that the night I took all of the mushrooms I was warned by my friends I had taken too much. They urged me to go outside and vomit before I got sick, or even died. When I went outside I was struck. I do not know how else to put it. I was struck with a realization, that even though I was in a clearly altered state of mind, continued to resonate with me well into my adult years. Since I was on psychedelics I was able to follow this realization with some sort of twisted logic.
I stayed awake for days and wrote. I felt I was being taught by unseen tutors. I was learning language in my waking and sleeping lives. I was learning things that were not mine to know (through any logical sense) and having to catch up to my own learning through research. Again, this is not entirely unique. It can be explained in Jungian terms of the collective unconscious, or even in terms of some sort of dissociative fugue where I was remembering things I had been exposed to in a smaller way, and was now able to remember. Again, this is why I was able to write off the experience and move past it and succeed in college, social life etc. I just let all of this go. As I said I am a very skeptical and rational person. In fact, I destroyed a number of my notebooks from that time for fear that I would be committed somewhere if people were to discover the grandiosity of my thoughts and writing during that time.
So what we have up to this point is a series of incoherent ramblings from a drug induced state. Fast forward to the present time. I have not taken psychedelics in years and years and do not currently take any drugs recreationally or otherwise. I am sober, I do not even drink.
I continued to have synchronicities in my life. I continued to follow my heart, study religion informally and formally and stay true to what I considered to be my true self. So, I have had somewhat of a strange existence in that I am somewhat tuned in to what others may consider the collective unconscious and others may call hippie nonsense. I am fine with any and all explanations as I seek to convert no one to anything. In any case, I am from what I can tell a likeable guy and people do not feel it necessary to call me crazy, or even eccentric. By and large, I am very vanilla and plain.
Now remember, up to this point my only knowledge of PKD at all was a short mention in the movie Waking Life about his 50AD experience, which I listened to with some interest, but never followed up on as that movie was full of interesting information. Also, I had never had an experience like that, so why do anything with it anyway? (As a side note, a person from my distant past sent me a short story by PKD on the same day I had a tragic event occur, as a result I never read that story, and still have not. I suppose this could be its own strange event, but not in the comparative sense of my story.) So, on December 16th of this year I saw a short blurb about it being PKD’s birthday and a mention that some book about him or by him had come out. I clicked on the link just casually and read a little piece about what the Exegesis was. Instantly I was reminded of my experience in the 90s. It was with a little more than curiosity, but not much more, that I continued to read. An editor chose a quote out of the Exegesis to share with people as an introduction. The quote was almost verbatim something I had written in the 90s. A conclusion I considered to be very insightful at the time about the suffering inherent in life. When I read this I was struck by his choice of words and what I could see as his implied experiential basis for writing this. I could sense that it was not a logical conclusion, but an experiential one. Interested, I clicked on Amazon and started to read some of the body of the Exegesis. What I found there literally shook my whole world-view.
Phillip K. Dick had written in the Exegesis almost the exact things I had written in the 90s. Not only about the same things, but he was having realizations in the same order. Of course, I shared what was going on with my significant other and I was discussing this with her. I was telling her what I was experiencing in the 1990s and how I had felt when I wrote, almost verbatim, what PKD was writing. The next morning (the 17th) we went to the store and purchased the book. When I got home the weirdness just kept being piled on. I was reading PKD’s experience in real time right out of my life from the 1990s. I was then so freaked that I started to call out to my significant other what was going to come next. And there it was. Now this gets really far out there from here. As if this was not already crazy enough.
I decided to tear apart the house and try to find some of my notebooks from the 90s. I found one. I showed it to my significant other and it happened to be the part I was reading at that very moment. I showed her right there how I had come to the same conclusions, learned some of the same words in different languages etc. She was freaked too, but also excited for me. Here was tangible proof I had been on to something my whole life, even if it was nonsense and did not amount to anything. That being said, I was not comforted. I felt like I was being robbed. Like my most sacred experiences were not my own. I was lamenting the loss of something I held dear and mourning for PKD knowing what he was going through. It is terribly isolating to have these experiences.
What came next was a little too bizarre, even for me. I am not sure what it means, if anything, and include it only for the context it might offer to others. While reading the Exegesis I came to a part where PKD was talking about how these experiences had to be approached with a healthy skepticism. He used an example from his life to drive this point home in a letter to one of his associates. In it he said that he had been having a dream over and over again about a single book. Each night while he was sleeping he was getting little bits and pieces of this book. This went on for 3 months until he finally got enough information to find the correct volume from his library. The book was a biography of Warren G. Harding. PKD thought this was ridiculous and had been a total waste of his time. Here he was searching for something for 3 whole months that was of no use to him or his understanding. When I read this I was in total shock. Some years ago I worked on research about the Warren G. Harding presidency. I spent a long time trying to find information about Harding in order to drive home some points that were terribly important to me at the time. I spent months trying to find information (which I thought should be readily available about an American President) that was very difficult to come by. Eventually after months of searching I came into what I believe to be this same volume of work which allowed me to finish my research. For a long time I was waiting to find this book (that I knew existed thanks to the budding years of database searches using library computers) and it represented the last piece of the puzzle I was waiting for in order to finish what I was working on. In my rash judgement I placed much undue importance on this study, and on this book (what I can only honestly say, I think was the same volume) in particular. When I read PKD’s account of spending all of this time looking for a book which ended up being meaningless for him I felt completely overwhelmed with the sensation that I had somehow wasted PKD’s time in the his past with my confusion in my past. (Which, of course was the present when it was happening, and in either way was a future for PKD and he was no longer alive.) This threw me off in a serious way. I had to put the Exegesis down because I was overwhelmed. I felt like I had contributed to PKD’s limited understanding of what was happening to him through my own confusion. It was all too much. Seems like, if true, that message got delivered to the wrong address and about 20 years too early. It lent credence to PKDs ideas about orthogonal time and made it more difficult for me to skip over the parts that did not directly pertain to my experience. It also made me want to not read any further.
So it is clear to me at this point that I have some weird collective unconscious connection with PKD. That maybe the messages being given to us were not unique and we were just tuned into the right “consciousness channel” to hear them. At this point I do not know what to make of any of these experiences. As far as a I can tell PKD is not unique in his experiences. I found this blog and decided to contribute and find out what others (there must be others, I am certainly nothing unique in any sense of the word and never have been) who speak this strange universal language do with it.
It is no mistake that I have left out specific information about the content of my experiences. I believe that this information is overwhelming to people. I, even with an understanding and context for the Exegesis, am overwhelmed while reading it. I think its publication was somewhat reckless and that this information belongs to those who receive it. I will not now, or ever, share the content of my understanding with those who have not had the same experiences. I do not do this to shield truth as I know it (which I see as just as reckless), but to spare those who would become lost in the content and think that the one sharing it (namely myself or PKD) are somehow to be venerated and respected or worse, feared and persecuted. I also will not share it because it is my understanding that I am nothing special. I do not seek to convert, change or reshape anyone with what I feel I know. What I know is for me and what PKD knew was for him. What is true for me will not be true for others and sharing it with them will only serve to increase the amount of misunderstanding we have in a world that is already chaotic, in my opinion. In a general sense I am open to sharing things, thus this posting. In a specific sense I think that if this is to be shared with people then the opportunity will present itself for that to happen on a case by case basis.
I hope that my sharing what I have here will let you know you are not alone if this is happening to you. I wish for you a process of uncovering your truth that does not overwhelm you or lead to hubris. If you think you have figured anything out and that you have reached some sort of conclusion, I invite you to take your time before taking any action. If indeed this is meaningful and true, then it has been here all along. As such, there is no hurry for you to finish this journey. I also invite you to try and maintain balance in your life. Too much searching too fast only leads to false bottoms and conclusions. This can harm you and the ones who count on you to have a sense of societal predictability, especially those who have loved you and fostered you up to this point in your life. If anything you discover causes you to stop honoring those who have offered you love and kindness, I invite you to look deeper and find balance and pacing. Philip K. Dick lost a lot on this path. Try not to forget that if you can.