Philip K. Dick
One of the most prolific science-
In a sense, it all began on November 17, 1971 when persons unknown broke into Dick's
house while he was away, stole many of his files, and did enough pointless, malicious
damage to suggest that some threat was intended. Since Dick had been active in both
the civil rights movement and the anti-
Three years later, in February 1974, Dick had a tooth extraction for which he was given sodium pentathol. He had previously used acid in the 1960s (who didn't?), frequently employed methamphetamine to finish books on deadline, and had more recently flooded his body with megadoses of vitamins in accord with 1970s' ideas of maximum health. He thought all of these might have played a role in what happened.
For over a month, February to March, Dick watched as his whole universe collapsed
and was replaced not by a new universe but by a series of hypothetical or virtual
universes. He was literally living in many of his own sci-
As he returned to comparative normalcy, Dick came more and more to think of the Experience as a revelation of the greatest false memory case in history, imposed on all humanity, from which he had partially awakened. That is, The Empire Never Ended (he always printed it in boldface, like that): most of the last 2,000 years of history never happened. We have been brainwashed by the Roman Empire to think he were are living in a totally false world (the Black Iron Prison, Dick called it), so we would not know we were actually living in the Messianic Age. Nixon is Nero, the assassinations we think we remember are distortions of the real memory of the Christians being thrown to the lions, and nothing inside the Black Iron Prison of ordinary perception is what it seems.
Being both a philosopher and a science-
His last novel, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, rejects all metaphysical interpretations of the hero's similar experiences and concludes that all we can learn from consciousness expansion is to be more tolerant, to love each other a hell of a lot more, and to do something concrete and practical about the suffering and injustice on this planet.
Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick, by Lawrence Sutin, Underwood-
The VALIS Trilogy, by Philip K. Dick, Quality Paperback Book Club, New York, 1990
In Search of VALIS: Selections from the Exegesis, by Philip K. Dick, Underwood-