House of Ubiquity

Mystical and Mysterious Encounters in the World of Philip K. Dick

Tag: finding a book

Alienus Tempus: Part 3

The third installment by MDK.

-The Admins

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Part 3: The Secret Ascension

This is the third installment of my account of a series of experiences I’ve had that I believe to involve Philip K Dick. In the previous installment I recounted a déjà vu experience involving Phil’s virtual memorial at findagrave.com. I should have included that in this installment as there were a few significant events that occurred before I found findagrave.com. I’ll briefly mention the findagrave.com event as I believe it happened in the timeline of events. Since you can read it more fully in Part 2, I’ll spare you the details at that point.

I continued to learn more about Phil during the week beginning 6-23-2002. The next “event” occurred either on Friday, 6-28-02 or the next day. My significant other at the time (I’ll call her T from now on) and our daughter (I’ll call her S) were walking home from a downtown street event known as “Riverfest” in Cape Girardeau, MO. It’s essentially like an arts and crafts fair with a variety of food options. We lived about a 10-15 minute walk from the downtown area. Anyhow, as we reached our apartment complex I noticed a piece of stationery beneath one of the windshield wipers of my 1988 maroon Dodge Daytona. When I unfolded the paper (it was about 8 inches long and 3 inches wide) and began reading the note, I had a sense of déjà vécu (already experienced). The note read: “Simon – Call Home ASAP. Mom and Dad”. Was, there some significance to this because of the déjà vécu? Who was Simon? Was his car exactly like mine? I had distinct bumper stickers on my car. Because of the proximity of our apartment building to downtown, people were parking closer to our area, but not within at least 4-5 blocks from our apartment. I still imagine it could have been completely coincidental and there really is a “Simon and his Mom and Dad”. However, I had the distinct feeling that the message was indeed intended for me. If “Simon” and his “Mom and Dad” really did exist perhaps their intention was to give this note to Simon, however they were also performing a secondary function, one that they were “programmed” to do. I have wondered, however, given Phil’s interest in Gnosticism and the fact that he felt he was somehow connected to the Gnostic Christian, Thomas, that could it be possible that this was in reference to the Gnostic, Simon. Phil-Thomas and me-Simon? I don’t know. Were we part of a mission (my guess is it was hidden in Gnosticism, and really isn’t a religious mission, per se). To be honest I haven’t thought about that too much, as I don’t share the same interest in Christianity and Gnosticism that Phil did. I was a practicing Christian as a teenager, but as of this moment I am technically Agnostic and have been for many years. I don’t think I could ever believe in the ontologic reality of any “god of one people amongst others” as its origin. If it is so, then this clearly is no god, but merely some other kind of entity or else a socially constructed reality. I have many beliefs and ideas similar to some of Phil’s ideas/beliefs, but that will be a conversation much later.

Obviously wanting to know more about Phil, but being ridiculously broke at the time, I went to Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University (my Alma mater) to see what I could find. All they had pertaining to Phil was the french film, Barjo (a French film adaption of Phil’s Confessions of a Crap Artist), Philip K. Dick: a book of an analysis of some of Phil’s most well known works by Douglas MacKey, and a novel, The Secret Ascension by Michael Bishop. It also goes by the title, Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. So, on 7-01-02, I borrowed the two books.

Douglas MacKey’s Philip K. Dick is an introduction to Phil’s major works. I read through it hurriedly the first week and the ideas were amazing but I felt no immediate psychic connection to them. About one or two weeks later I watched the film Barjo, and when I did I felt a rush of familiarity with it, although I know I had never actually seen it. Then the déjà vu, or déjà vécu feeling came on especially at one point when they were playing the really comical music in the background. I can’t recall how long the feeling lasted or at which exact scene it occurred. I haven’t seen it since.

The most significant event occurred while reading The Secret Ascension, by Michael Bishop. The novel includes Philip K Dick as one of the main characters, although he has passed on from our realm, at least after the prelude. The prelude begins with PKD dying in flesh in his Santa Anna apartment while PKD #2 arises (half substantive and half astral simulcrum). Bishop refers to this copy of Phil as “Dick#2”. This copy of Phil is strengthened through coffee and snuff (sustains his essence) and soon forgets who he is once Dick#1 passes on and ends up in a psychotherapist’s office to be treated by the wife of an avid PKD fan. Phil, one of his fans, Cal (the husband of the psychotherapist who sees Phil), and a few others must stop the president, Ferris F. Freemont, from oppressive regime. The story ends with Phil in a monastery writing new worlds into existence. The novel is a pastiche, written in Phil’s style. A very delicate and appreciated homage to Phil.

Soon after reading the first few chapters, it became apparent to me that I had read this book before. Not in any déjà experience, but I had actually read it at some earlier point in my lifetime. The further I got into the book, the more familiar it became to me. By the time I had finished, I realized when and where I had read it. When I was 12 (summer 1986) I flew from Missouri to Tulare, California to spend about 5-7 weeks with my biological father and his new family. The memory was really vague, and I wasn’t sure when and where in Tulare that I had read it, but I knew with a good degree of certainty that I had read it during that time period.

What’s interesting about this is that when I looked at the copyright page, I noticed it was published in 1987. I had confirmed this by searching for all editions and even going to Bishop’s website and emailing him personally about it. I thought perhaps he had a manuscript floating around out there, somewhere, and I had gotten hold of it. He reassured me that there was nothing of The Secret Ascension going around at the time. I certainly wasn’t going to argue with him about that. I still maintain that I read it the summer of 1986. As you will see in a later installment, there is more to my stay in Tulare, California in the summer of 1986 that plays prominently in everything to follow and this situation as well. I thought it was about time to buy works from the man himself… Philip K Dick. If he was trying to communicate with me, I was determined to find out why and what it was about. After all, he did leave his calling card on 6-23-2002.

It was sometime during the first week of July 2002 that I had found the post by Kemek on findagrave.com. I wrote about this in part 2 when I should have included it here. I had finished reading The Secret Ascension by the end of this week as well.

During the first or second week of July 2002 I had a dream, and in that dream I was in my apartment holding a car antenna like a fencing sword in defensive posture while two people whom I couldn’t make out were about 4-6 feet away from end of the antenna. What’s significant about this dream is the very next morning when I went out to my car, my antenna was missing. It could have been carefully removed but I think it was broken off near the base. Although I’ve never walked in my sleep, I asked T if she remembered me getting up in the night. She said she wasn’t aware of anything. I’m not sure of the actual causal mechanism that led to my car antenna being broken off, and if it has anything to do with my dream. But, I think it rather suspicious, and quite possibly precognitive.

I believe it was the second week in July 2002 when I trekked to the local Barnes & Noble to see if they had PKD in stock. I can’t remember what all they had but obviously they had the Minority Report collection of short stories. Keeping in tune with everything that was happening I decided that I would buy that short story collection. Since it was the movie Minority Report that introduced me to Phil’s world, I read the short story “Minority Report” first. I won’t bore you with the details of the story, but when I got to the end of the story, the part where Witwer walks alongside Anderton’s vehicle as he and his wife are about to depart, I felt that I had read that before. This would be déjà lu (already read). It’s different than the The Secret Ascension situation because in this case I could not place where I had read it before if I indeed had. That’s why I consider it a true déjà experience. As far as I knew I had never read any of PKD’s stories or books. I just felt like I had a close association with the ending. I read several more short stories but never felt anything psychically. However, they were some excellent reads. It looks like the “Minority Report” short story was an isolated event, at least for the short stories. The novels on the other hand… well, I’ll get to that in probably the next installment or the one after.

One evening during that second week in July I rented a few movies from the local Hastings. One of the movies was Legend. Tom Cruise, in his early years, was the star in this fantasy film from the mid 80’s. While watching the movie I realized I had watched it before. Again, not in the déjà vu sense, but I really had watched it. Memories of the Summer of 1986 began flooding my mind. This was the time I was spending the summer with my father and his family in Tulare, California. Legend had just come to theaters in May and was out on VHS in July or August. My older stepsister, who did not live at the home, brought it over for us to watch. Of note is that Tom Cruise starred in Minority Report which led me to Legend which was directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed Bladerunner which was based on Phil’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Watching Legend in 2002 brought back many memories of the summer I spent in Tulare, CA. There was a feeling of surrealism to the entire scenario. I’m referring to my stay in Tulare in 1986. This is the time that I had my first of two Anomalous Events. Other nouns could be used: mystical visions, paranormal activity, time travel, interdimensional travel, hallucinations, etc. The list could go on and on, but at this point I prefer Anomalous Events. I’ll describe those and how they relate to PKD in the next installment or the one after.

It was sometime during the second or third week in July when I rented “Impostor” on VHS from the local Hastings. Impostor is a movie based on Phil’s short story of the same name. I’ll give a brief synopsis. The year is 2079 and Spencer Olham, who works for the governments weapons department, is being chased by the very government he works for. Their enemies from Alpha Centauri have begun making entities in the image of humans. They are impostors. The Earth’s shield is breached by a Centaurian craft and lands in a dense forest near the city. Because of Olham’s close proximity to the Chancellor and because of other decoded messages, they have reason to believe that Olham has been genetically copied and the real Olham is dead. Of course, Olham is not convinced. He attempts to clear himself by getting a body scan at the hospital where his wife, Mia works as a physician. He narrowly escapes the hospital before the scan can finish, but has made arrangements to meet his wife where they first met, which was also where they spent the last weekend. It also happens to be near where the Centaurian ship landed. Mia finds Spencer Olham at the location but the government is in tow. They attempt escape and after running a distance discover a Centaurian craft. After clearing debris around a nearby pilot pod and open the hatch, they are both horrified to see another Mia in the pod, throat slit. Olham looks at Mia with surprise as she backs away in disbelief.

When they first open the hatch and we see the real, dead Mia I had a pronounced sensation of déjà vécu (already experienced). It felt like something quite literally knocked me on my ass. Seriously! Everything about the situation: that particular point in the movie, T sitting next to me on the couch. It was like a fresh memory. Anyway, it turns out there was a second pod and Spencer Olham sees himself in that one. Bomb explodes… end of story. Deception and paranoia is a major theme in Phil’s works, and one could say his mental life as well (excluding the fiction, of course). Some of it may have been justified. I have to admit that I, too, share a fair amount of paranoia. I won’t be discussing paranoia and deception in detail on this blog, (although I will have a little to say at a later point) but will discuss it in more depth in my memoir.

A few days up to a week after the Impostor event, my mother had asked me if I would give her and a couple of the kids a ride to the doctor’s office in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I took them and then drove to Kmart to get a DVD of Legend. It had just been released as an ultimate edition with both versions of the movie, one with the Tangerine Dream score and the other with Jerry Goldsmith’s score. It had been released in May but for some reason it wasn’t available in the area until July. I had recently joined the rest of the industrialized world and purchased a DVD player just so I could watch Legend on DVD. I wasn’t really expecting anything while watching it. I still haven’t watched the version with the Goldsmith score. Maybe I should… Anyhow, while driving on the busy main street, an old plump lady behind me in a tiny car quickly veered off into the right lane. Another déjà vécu moment. A hard hit. It seemed I had lived through this very event before. I remember the sounds, the sight, the feeling. I’m not sure if that was significant at all. Perhaps it was just another random, insignificant déjà vu feeling that we sometimes experience. I would agree with that, however, if it weren’t for the fact that I was on my way to purchase Legend which was significant in that it reminded me of the summer of 1986. Remember, Tom Cruise was the star of both movies: Legend and Minority Report. Ridley Scott directed both Legend and Bladerunner, the latter of which was the very first movie based on one of Phil’s creations. An even stronger thread will be revealed in an upcoming installment.

In order for T and I to watch movies at the theater we would generally have to take S to my mother’s house in Dexter. The opening night for Signs was August 2, 2002 so we decided to go to Dexter and leave S with my mother so we could watch it. Disclaimer: I was not going to see this movie expecting any “signs” or having any experiences of any sort whatsoever, except that of any other person eager to watch a hopefully good movie. If you have watched the movie then you will be familiar with the part I’m referring to. In this scene the father and two children (the children are adorned with tinfoil hats) are sitting on one of the kid’s bed at their farmhouse looking through a book about extraterrestrials that Morgan, the little boy had bought at the local bookstore, one that had apparently been shipped there by mistake. As the father turns a page they see in the upper left corner of the page an alien spacecraft with yellowish red beams directing toward a farm house (camera slowly pans from left page to right page). The house is on fire and then the camera pans to the left bottom page where they see a large human figure and two smaller human figures lying on the ground. When they see this they are obviously spooked. At that exact moment I got hit by déjà vu hard. I can’t recall whether it was at the beginning when I saw the alien craft or if it was when I saw the house in flames. It wasn’t déjà vécu. I didn’t feel as if I had been in the exact situation before, that being… with T, at the Dexter theater, etc. I had just felt like I had seen that particular scene. And what a scene in which to experience déjà vu , in which the characters in the movie have their own surreal experience. Kind of meta-fictional for the characters and meta-meta-fictional for me.

In the next installment I’ll be describing experiences beginning in August 2002. T, S and I moved from Cape Girardeau to Dexter so S could begin Kindergarten. We also thought it would be useful if my mother could help out with S, should I become unable to while T was at work. Prior to the 6-23-2002 experience I had been going through a severe depression and “pure obsessional” OCD was crippling me. Unfortunately, these mysterious experiences didn’t alleviate the depression. However, once we moved to Dexter in August, I began reading Phil’s novels. Over time, they did help to some degree. But that is not the significance that is the most important. I will be disclosing those to you next time. Thank you for your time and hope you stay with me. Till then…

Vast, Active

In the spirit of the dynamic and shifting nature of these experiences, our first author, “Manfred Steiner III,” has asked to be allowed to publish some “disconnected notes and follow-up thoughts.” Please be aware that this piece was composed after Steiner had finished reading Mr. E’s entry; references to the previous author refer to him and not MDK. He also wishes to express that, since composing this, his conclusions have changed significantly, though not in a way he is ready to write about at this time. We are happy to have some insight into this process, and hope other authors will consider doing the same thing in the future. This project is about discovery; current research is always welcome.

-The Admins

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Like the individual in the previous entry, when I began reading the Exegesis, I found pieces that almost directly mirrored conclusions and ideas of my own. Some of the ideas I was familiar with, having read Dick’s work as well as the previously-available material from the Exegesis, but others would have been unknowable, except to the editors. This includes ideas about space and time, specifically about time as not just non-linear but much more nuanced and self-influencing. It included ideas about the universe as a subset of some other reality, or at least as the major object in a game or system which extended beyond its mere form. It included ideas about human suffering and cruelty, about the android nature of the universe, which is not evil but simply uncaring, about the Logos, the living language that breached realities, about knowledge as a real force itself, about identity as an iterative, overlapping thing, about synchronicity as the modus operandi of the living mind of the world.

I’ve come to an understanding that is hedged in some of Dick’s conclusions, but which he never fully settles on and which I’ve never heard anyone else express. Somewhere in Cosmogony and Cosmology, he briefly alights on an idea that the universe is a learning machine, wherein God might accumulate knowledge or experience. He also suggests that the universe is the literal womb of God, and that we are giving birth to God – an idea that I find beautiful if not correct. I essentially believe a version of the former to be true. The strong pushing-through of information I experienced, which both mirrored the action in Ubik and seemed to point to its central idea about reality, led me without much issue to Gnostic ideas; of course, I’d already been exposed a little from reading Valis. But therein I saw a cosmology and a religious aspect, and found that only the cosmology held weight for me. What I retained was the idea of the universe as somehow partial. I retained the idea of emanation, to some degree, and of being “selected” to have some measure of this hidden knowledge revealed to me.

I essentially believe that the universe is a false or at least limited part of total reality. I believe that a meta-entity – not (necessarily) god, but like god in many ways – which is comprised of a shifting set of permutations of individual aspects, has exploited this physical universe for its own purposes. The entity has realized that its near-perfect intellect has prevented the development of character, and, in the drive to better oneself which lies at the heart of human life, realized that only by limiting itself could it grow. So it drops its aspect – a small portion of the whole – into occluded human lives. Upon death, the experiences of each being are absorbed into the whole. Some of us have more of that substance, or more awareness of it (or perhaps only some of us are truly “real” at all); this makes for a richer life, but also means that the entirety of the truth cannot be hidden. More of this substance inherently means more awareness – that’s the nature of the entity.

This essentially means that reincarnation is correct, but only to an extent; I may be reincarnated in two different people, each sharing my essential nature with another. I often feel as though my wife and I are both reincarnations of Phil, with his own internal polarizations split evenly into two people. Is this sounding crazy enough yet?

I also struggled with the idea of Sophia for a while. I had an experience one night, well after these things had happened but while I was knee-deep in the Nag Hammadi documents. In the moment before falling asleep, I allowed myself to extend a feeling of need outward. Almost instantly, I was struck with the presence of a feminine force, one which seemed utterly familiar. She gave me a thought, pure and clear: she told me “All love is perfect. Even yours.”

I struggled with this for a while, but settled eventually on the understanding that meta-entity has certain access points, if you will, which are not physical but experiential and can be accessed by the driving force of desire. Sophia is a part of the entity, available to those who know how to contact her, in order to keep us stable in our limitation. She is, therefore, also part of us.

It’s come to my attention that quite a few of those who have had “these experiences” are writers. I feel strongly that there’s something in the personality profile of those of us who have been exposed to this knowledge which makes us prone to telling stories. It’s a thread I see running through Gnosticism as well, and which clearly includes PKD. In many ways, I think this is the way in which any insights or ideas found through these experiences can best be expressed and disseminated in their most meaningful form. Like one of the previous authors, I worry that too many of us shifting too much focus to this more explicit investigation of ideas is the wrong path; however, I think developing a touch-stone for sharing the difficulties and maintaining a sense that these are real and valid, not to mention shared, experiences can be valuable. I only wish to ask that anyone else out there not lose focus: Dick’s biggest influence, even with respect to the ideas he fleshed out more fully in his Exegesis, still comes from his fiction. Through this, often without being recognized, his central concerns have permeated our culture. This is something that could never have happened through philosophy and theology alone; it needs stories to thrive.

There’s a passage on page 22 of the Exegesis, starting toward the bottom, where Dick talks about feeling as though Bishop Pike was occupying his mind and life. The most succinct summary I could make of my own experiences would be that same paragraph, but with my name where Dick’s is and Dick’s name where Pike’s is. From there, I began a journey that extended beyond that initial moment, much as Dick did – a process of research and discovery, of insight and further synchronicity. It is still quite active.

Balancing Light

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.

-The Admins

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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.

Respectfully,

Mr. E

Getting What You Ask For

A Note from the Admins: We’ve received our first account! This mind-bending tale comes from “Manfred Steiner III,” a pseudonymous submitter who has provided no background info. We’re glad someone got on board so early, and we hope this will kick things off with a bang. Thanks to Manfred for his comprehensive and insightful account.

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It was around August of 2010 when my experience occurred. I had just gotten a new laptop – a birthday present from my future wife – a month earlier. On the hutch above the computer had been a small, wooden globe. At the top was a small spike – the tip of the axle which allowed the globe to rotate. The cats, while we were out one day, had knocked this down, sending the little spike into the top of my closed computer. When I opened it up, the screen was all wonky, the liquid having been set loose behind the film of the screen. On the surface of the lid was a small dent.

I was devastated. To shake off the crappy feeling, we decided to drive out to the Salvation Army. This particular location was about an hour away, in the middle of nowhere. Nothing much beside Mennonite communities existed in that direction.

As we were driving, I sighed with disappointment. F asked me if I was alright. I was; I have a sense of humor about misfortune. It was in that spirit that I shook my fist at the sky and proclaimed, “You owe me a Philip K. Dick hardcover!” Up until this point in my life, I had always been essentially an Athiest, in the “without god” sense; I still am. Shaking my fist at the sky was meant to be funny. However, the feeling behind it was quite real.

When we got to there, we set about scouring the bookshelves. F started on the opposite side; as I was scanning cover after cover, I head her say my name. I came to see what she had found.

It was a pristine, untouched hardcover edition of “Counterfeit Unrealities,” an anthology of four novels, including Ubik, A Scanner Darkly, Androids, and Three Stigmata.

I stood there in shock. What is the appropriate response to getting what you ask for when you make demands of the sky? We went home, my world beginning to tilt.That night, I had a strange sensation. It seemed that the book was transmitting. I was uneasy.

I woke up abruptly to F telling me about a very unpleasant dream she had. Some details are personal, but the basic events involved the decaying of a person into a state resembling a pile of meat, as well as other forms of physical decay. The spirit of these events, as well as the details, reminded me quite a lot of a book I had read the previous year, long before I found the anthology which also contained it – Ubik.

I was worried about telling this to F, but I tried anyhow; I will always remember her saying, in frustration, “This is not about Philip K. Dick!” I had been trying to get her to read something of his for some time, but had so far been unsuccessful; I think she was already feeling overstimulated by my talking about him.

Other dreams followed, too many to get into here – dreams with elements from Ubik, forces that seemed to resemble Jory – cunning, deceptive, preying on the familiar. Days later, we were at F’s mother’s house again. The severity of the dreams had been disturbing F greatly, and she shared some of them with her mother. Her mother responded by telling us a dream she had had. In the dream, she was walking down one of the main streets in our area, past the area where there now stands a CVS. As she walked past, the facade of the building changed, giving way to an old drug store. She entered, and inside, the entire place was old, like the five-and-dimes of her youth. She picked up a book, the pages of which showed moving images – images of her life, of her childhood, which changed as she looked at them.

I said nothing. The next day, over lunch, I pulled out the book – the new one I had found – and read F the passage from Ubik which corresponded to her mother’s dream. The connection was even less tenuous that those in F’s dreams. It was direct.

This was a strange situation. The book had appeared at my demand, but the dreams were not mine. They all related specifically to Ubik. I was the only person involved who had read that book. I held the information that connected all these experiences, but they branched out beyond me. There was sufficient complexity in the situation that I could not simply ignore it. There were other people involved, which showed me that this was not simply a personal experience, but something that connected to a larger message or truth.

As I pondered the experiences, the first conclusion I came to, the only one that made sense at the time, was that I was dead. The book was brought into my realm of experience in a way that implied intent. It contained information I was already privy to as fiction, in such a way as to offer commentary on said information. In the book, when information is “placed” into the reality of the characters, it serves to make them aware of their true situation – that they are dead and in stasis. All the strangeness of my life seemed to fit into this notion.

Months later, we returned to that same Salvation Army, having had a “feeling;” I even asked for a PKD hardcover again. In the same place we’d found the Dick book before there was a copy of the Gnostic Bible – hardcover, perfect condition. In the intervening months, I’d already acquired a copy of the Gnostic Scriptures, the first printing – my father happened to have it. It was almost as if the second coincidence was a joke and a commentary – I’d been led to those texts already, and that was where I needed to be. On the way out, I happened to glance at the very small “religion” shelf – where I found a hardcover edition of the comic book adaptation of “A Scanner Darkly.” Again, it seemed like a joke – I’d found a hardcover PKD book, again, like I asked for, but it was the bullshittiest one possible. And on top of that, I’d found it in the religion section, while I’d found the Gnostic Bible in the same location as the first book.

Time went on, and I tried to parse the particulars of this. I looked for evidence of others who had similarly “mystical” experiences, in particular relating to PKD. I looked into Gnosticism, an inevitable end to all of these things. There I began to find some answers that made sense. It wasn’t as simple as my being dead. The world as I knew it, and perhaps everyone in it, was unreal or occluded; this was all a sort of Cold Pak. It was a startling cosmology, but a lot was still missing. I had felt the sense of intent, but it hadn’t seemed divine; it had seemed otherly, but human. I responded to the cosmological aspects of Gnosticism, but could never understand why it got tied up in Jesus, or even religion proper. Without getting too far into my beliefs, I’ll say this: I have a lot of respect for the Gnostic Christians I’ve encountered who’ve gotten there via PKD. In the end, though, I was led, through those ideas, to a different place.

I finally got F to read some Dick – I think the weight of the weirdness made it inevitable. Now we scour used bookstores together, that gleam in both our eyes. I still have inexplicable experiences from time to time, though never with as much clarity or obvious intent as that first time.

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