I UNDERSTAND PHILIP K.

DICK by Terence Mckenna 1991

Afterword which appeared in the book : In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from the Exegesis edited by Lawrence Sutin ____________ True stories have no beginnings and neither does the tale of PKD s encounters with the Overmind. But we writers understand narrative economy, and for purposes of narrative economy his story seemed to him to begin with the mysterious break in and riffling of his papers that was made notorious by an article in Rolling Ston e, which brought Phil long-delayed and much-deserved fame. The break-in date was 11/17/71. It was a date and a style of referring to time that Phil used frequen tly. I turned twenty-five the day before. It was no casual birthday either. I met my natal day by sifting down and sincerely preparing myself for an Apocatastasis, t he final Apocalyptic ingression of novelty, the implosion really, of the entire multidimensional continuum of space and time. I imagined the megamacrocosmos was going to go down the drain like water out of a bathtub as the hyperspatial vacu um fluctuation of paired particles that is our universe collided with its own gh ost image after billions of years of separation. The Logos assured me that parit y would be conserved, all sub-atomic particles except photons would cancel each other, and our entire universe would quietly disappear. The only particles that would remain, according to my fantastic expectation, would be photons, the unive rse of light would be exposed at last, set free from the iron prison of matter, freed from the awful physics that adhered to less unitary states of being. All m ankind would march into the promised garden. I felt I was well situated for the event as I, quite consciously and deliberatel y, and to the concern of my friends, had placed myself in the teeming, hallucino gen saturated center of the largest garden I could find, the trackless rain fore st of the Upper Amazon Basin of Colombia. My confidence in my vision was unshaka ble. Had not the Logos itself lead me to this vision, not only by revelation but by painstaking explanation? I had no radio, no way to contact the outside world at all. Who needed that? I knew with perfect clarity that the world of time, th e illusion of history was ending. Divine Parousia was entering the world, and th e just, the meek and the humble were leaving their fields and factories, pushing back their chairs from their office desks and workbenches and walking out into the light of a living sun that would never set for there could be no setting for the eternal radiance of the Logos. Tears of joy streaming down their cheeks, th e illumined billions were turning their eyes at last to the sky and finding ther e a consolation that they had never dared hope for. However, Nixon s weary world ignored the eschatological opportunity I thought my b rother s inspired fiddling with hyperspace had afforded. The world continued grind ing forward in its usual less than merry way. There was only one small incident that might subsequently be construed, even within the framework of the schizoid logic that was my bread and butter then, to support my position. Unknown to me, a struggling, overweight SF writer, an idol of mine since my teens, discovered t he next day that his house have been broken into, his privacy violated by the Ot

You are illuminated and maddened and lifted up by something great beyond all te lling. For no damn good reason. it has wanted to be born for a very long time. The torch had been passed. the stutterin g rambling effort of the sons and daughters of poor old Noah to tell this blindi ng. Yah. he came back with two words bursting from his lips. Dick. It was al ways like that with PKD and me. in a weird way phase of my episode of illumination/delusion ended right where This raises some questions: Can we refer to a delusional system as a folie a' deux. sort of like Queequeg and Ishmael. reality-shattering. in Orange County.** And sometimes that longing to be born seffles on a person. How peculiar formist calendar.her. Or rather. It s just that this idea is so damn big that it can t be told. It is l ike a travelling whirl-wind of radical understanding that haunts time. It haunts time in the same way that Alfred North Whitehead said that the color dove grey "haunts time like a ghost. own deranged self the most intense Phil s began." you become the cheese. or rather the whole of history is the telling of this idea. Phil wasn t nuts. We shared an affliction. Schizophrenia is not a disease at all but rat her a localized traveling discontinuity of the space time matrix itself. of course. But that is not the point. yawn. that on the first day of the new dispensation in my private re he had been burglarized by extraterterrestials the CIA or his in an altered state. and the cheese stands alone. within five blocks and a few years of each other. May Day found me in Berkeley sheltered by friends so concerned about my state of mind that they considered committing me. a major piece of the action. as his psych admission of 3 May 71 attests. We both had roots in Sonoma County. or illuminated ecstatics does it take to make a reality? PKD pro ved that it only takes one. if the deux participants have never met and are practically speaking. right bro? Wrong. We never met but we lived around each other for years. I know that sounds like hubris and if I am wrong I am sorry (as*Phil says somewhere." There is an idea that wants to be born. In Berkeley. we both lived on Francisco St. "May Day! May Day!" the pilot s call of extreme emergency.) But part of the delusional system in which I live contains and adumbrates the no tion that I know what happened to the poor dude. And like one of those whale chasing sailor s "I alone escaped to tell thee of it". And Phil had a piece of the actio n. .* Schizophrenia is not a psychological disorder peculiar to human beings. a mani a. Phil was a vortex victim. bowel-loosening truth. I was only a few miles from Phil. who was rapidly going nuts too. It wants to be told. When my brother looked over the edge in the Amazon and felt the dizziness of thi ngs unsaid in March of 1971. then a few years later and for six months I lived at 1624. Then you re "it. 74 of this book. But two is better. unaware of each others existence? Does the delusion of one visionary ecstatic validate the delusion of another? Ho w many deluded. How m any times were we a table or two away from each other in the Cafe Med? How many times did I hurry past him on the Ave on some stoned errand? Later his homeopath ic doctor was my doctor.) (as* PKD lived at 1126. the point is that I understand Philip K. the world is fuckin strange. sure. There is a garbled mention of me (or my brother) on pg.

" (pg." ( pp. you be the judge. so I don t know wh o (so to speak) I am in the drama. 72) ** "Okay.But I anticipate myself. In fact it must be told.) *** "It (reality) is a hologram.*** a solid state matrix and psychosis is the redemptive process ne plus ul The real truth is splintered and spread throughout time. my hair stands on end. A FLUX of purposeful arrangement o f living information. then. 22 The experience is private. it is stranger than suppose. But I don t know what I did. Truth or world is you can Being is tra. What is trying to be expressed is this: The not real. What matters is the system that eventually emerges. 79 but al so: "Did I do something? Absolutely. equally prolix. a zygote is produced." (pg. personal. and cosmic spermatika fertilizes it. The more you know the quieter you get. the past in its entirety) can be retrieved i. . Time is not what you think it is. drawing objects & processes into a coherency which it arranges into information. Phil says a lot of things in the Exegesis. 42. tending to grow & incorporate it s environment as a unitary complex of subsumations.) ** "If the Logos is outside time.. "All this points to: hologram. he is aware that he says too much.e.* I (sometimes) thought I was an extraterrestrial invader disguised as a meadow mushroom. Those who grasp a piece of the action end up with two t hings on their plate. not the fantasies concerning the source of the system.) **** "The Gospels. the best part. When I compare Phil s system to mine. for the Logos speaks and we are its tool s and its voice. and ultimately unspeakable. then the Holy Spirit stands at the right or far or completed end of time. brou ght back.) See also "If there is to be immortality. I have my own experience." (pg. I did experience such a time. 79. The explanation is another matter and can be attempted." (pg. equally unspeakable. but the same dance anyhow. fertilization is what takes place: it isn t a seed such as a plant h as. involving humans but not limited to them. so to speak. __________ * "1 am a homoplasmate: Zebra acting in syzygy with a human. consisting of two parts: set and ground. We were b oth contacted by the same unspeakable something. there must be another kind of time: one in which past events (i. and my explanation. Reality is not stranger than you suppose." (pg. not togethe r. 64. "(pg. toward which the field-flow moves (t he time flow). but an egg such as a human woman ovulates. rather than a historical event. so he keeps trying to boil it down to ten points or twelve parts or whatever.e. Based on two information-rich signals. Phil (sometimes) thought he was Christ.. the experience and their own idiosyncratic explanation of the experience based on what they have read. imprinting. Two madmen dancing.** Reality is a hologram. seen and been told __________ * "ZEBRA (VALIS): a vortex of intelligence extending as a supra-temporal fiel d. It receives time: the negative terminal.**** madness. 98-99. both human & extra-human. that of a redemptive psychosis. A nd 2) the information element. 1) My augmented sense of space proves it. "Note: This whole process can be regarded as a psychological transformat ion. 95. depict a sacred mythic rite outside of time." (pg.

The key is in the I Ching. *** . As our views shift.e. which Phil loved and use d but which occupies a disappointingly small fraction of his ruminations in the Exegesis. This pattern is t he structure within which. is to know it as for. But he got very close. Judaism. Neo-Platonism. And it is the Logos that does the telling. The pattern recurs on every level." (pp. Time is a fractal. But he lacked an essential concept. PKD really was Thomas and Elijah and all the other precursive concrescences that came toge ther to make the cat-loving fat man who compacted trash into gold. events "undergo the formality of actually occurring. it is). One can only be told these things. Parallel universes is too simple a c oncept to encompass what is really going on. upon which. The infinite reg ress of form built out of forms of itself built out of forms of itself * unto in finity. in Plato. * One cannot learn these things. a nd must be recollected. mo ments. In another sense it is a vast intelligence: in another sense it is total harmonia and structure (how logically can.. the Empire never ended. All events are resonances of other events. Buddhism. but the total system interweaves it into falsity. Parmenides.Appearances are a vast and interlocking lie. it be all three? Well. and largely found. He s aw that the world of 1975 was a fiction and behind that fiction was the world of AD 45. It wasn t his fault. The concept he needed was that of fractals and fractal mathematics. The megamacrocosmos is a system of resonances. The principle of self similarity. and at other scales of time. All times. have a pattern. i f that means anything. What has been most needed is reality testing. bits are found here and there. _____________ * "Probably the wisest view is to say: the truth like the Self is splintered up over thousands of mile and years." as Whitehead used to say. he could not be expected to stay in touch with arcane discoveries beginnin g to take place on the frontiers of research mathematics. the same pattern. all occur within the context of this always the same but ever different pattern. Orphism. In a sense it is not there at all (acosmism). then and now. lacked it because it really hadn t bee n invented yet. 111-112) PKD was never more right than when he wrote: I actually had to develop a love of the disordered & puzzling. real contradictions. time is not a linear r iver. in Pythagoras. since we are not outside it. aware of us. or has a fractal structure. Anyhow the man was a SF writer and a scholar of classical philos ophy. Tao ism. in Heraclitus.The enigma is alive.. viewing reali ty as a vast riddle to be joyfully tackled. Mani. the ot her mystery religions. Brahmanism. in other parts of time. orthodox Christianity. the fall of an empire. Phil was right.* To finally know the Logos truly. and none is to be accepted at the expense of all the others. of levels. not in fear but with tireless fascin ation. bits appear in the Greek naturalists. of endlessly adumbrated fun-house reflections. He was right. It is partly created by our own minds: we alter it by perceiving it." In a way this was where PKD went wrong.. so each as a tota l system must be rejected. was not an either-or logic but a both-a nd and and-and kind of logic. & changing. with somet hing being both true & not true. Gnosticism. months and millennia. as what Phil called a "unified abst ract structure. the death agony of a protozoan. the occluding intelligence.** Almost as if the counter flow. his intuition was red hot when he reached the conclusion that a unified abstrac t structure lay behind the shifting always tricky casuistry of appearances. The logic of being that he sought. & a willingness to face the possibility of self-negating experiences: i. Each religion or philosophy or philosopher contains one o r more bits. A love affair. Zoroastrianism. it shifts. kept Phil s eyes diverted from the key element necessary to the universal decipherment that he was attempting.

what is real? As if only the 2 books in it. 181. The raw material. Once possessed the pattern can then be discerned everywhere.) *** "Through anamnesis and restoration to the Form realm you have access to several space-time continua based on your universals. One of Phil s favorite words. just like the equations of Schrodinger or Einstein. to feel . It is ubiquitous. Dick. I know thi s because the Logos taught me the pattern and I escaped the black iron prison of the world to tell thee of it. Strange. And this incredibl e genius. and to understand what this PKD-inspired servant of the Logos has managed to d rag home from the beach.) ** "MITHC seems to be a subtle. 102. this gentle. Of course. California June 1991 . I am sorry about that. "What s got to be gotten over is the false idea that hallucination is a privat e matter. I have published it. out of which this mathematical pattern can be dra wn is the King Wen sequence of the I Ching.91. That is where the secret lies. long-suffering." (pg. Wh en it counted he was right. he would embrace it." ** What is important is that the birth of this idea is now very near. My books are on the way.) The mathematical nature of this pattern can be known. the Ur text. GRASSHOPPER & the I CHING are really the only actu al reality.* It can be written as an e quation. I would bet dollars to donuts that if Phil had lived to see. The answer is found. I have lectured it and have had it written into software. As Phil Dick said. and PKD showed the way. beauty-worshipping man showed the way. In th e world s oldest book. some with Phil s old publis her Bantam." (pg. has in fact a lready happened. even delicate questioning of._____________ * (pg. This cannot be said without soundi ng like a madman or a jackass. Of course. All hail Philip K. -Terence McKenna Occidental.

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