An Interview From Beyond the Kenoma with Philip K. Dick and Vance Socci
Based on “Cosmogony and Cosmology” by Philip K. Dick
Long before the Matrix Trilogy was produced, a lone man’s imagination and/or contact with the Cosmic posited that we live in an artificial construct; this man’s name is Phillip K. Dick, who brought us such masterpieces as Blade Runner. Assuming this imagination was a space which both Phillip and I could share, I “interviewed” him concerning the subject of “Cosmology and Cosmogony” in that very space. The words are those of PKD, taken verbatim from his paper of that title. The questions are mine, but are a mere reflection and framing of these groundbreaking and illuminating ideas . . .
VANCE: Good afternoon Phillip! We’re here today to talk about your views about what underlies this universe in which we find ourselves. Some say that what we experience isn’t real at all but is some kind of construct. What are your opinions about that subject?
PKD: As to our reality being a projected framework — it appears to be a projection by an artifact, a computerlike teaching machine that guides, programs, and generally controls us as we act without awareness of it within our projected world. The artifact, which I call Zebra, has “created” (actually only projected) our reality as a sort of mirror or image of its maker, so that the maker can obtain thereby an objective standpoint to comprehend its own self. In other words, the maker (called by Jakob Bohme in 1616 the Urgrund) is motivated to seek an instrument for self-awareness, self-knowledge, an objective opinion or appraisal and comprehension of the nature of itself (it is a vast living organism, intrinsically — without this mirror — without qualities or aspects, which is why it needs the empirical world as a reflection by which to “see” itself).
VANCE: Why would this Urgrund bother to construct this artifact? Is the artifact conscious?
PKD: It constructed a reality-projecting artifact (or demiurge; cf. Plato and the Gnostics), which then, on command, projected the first stage of the world we know. The artifact is unaware that it is an artifact; it is oblivious to the existence of the Urgrund (in terms that the artifact would understand, the Urgrund is not, rather than is), and imagines itself to be God, the only real God.
Studying our evolving reality, the Urgrund more and more adequately comprehends itself. It must allow the reality-projecting artifact to continue to project an evolving reality no matter how defective and malshaped that reality is (during its stages) until finally that reality is a correct analog, truly, of the Urgrund itself, at which point the disparity between the Urgrund and the projected reality is abolished — whereupon an astonishing event will occur: The artifact or demiurge will be destroyed and the Urgrund will assimilate the projected reality, transmuting it into something ontologically real — and also making the living creatures in it immortal.
VANCE: This sounds a lot like the second coming of Christ in the NT book of Revelation; when do you think this will happen?
PKD: This moment could come at any time, this entrance of the Urgrund into our otherwise spurious projected framework.Zebra, the projecting energetic artifact, is close at hand, but it has occluded us not only to its actions but [also] to its presence. It has enormous — virtually decisive — power over us.
Zebra, the projecting energetic artifact, is close at hand, but it has occluded us not only to its actions but [also] to its presence. It has enormous — virtually decisive — power over us.
VANCE: What do you think will happen to us when this moment arrives? What will happen to this “framework” you say we live in at that point?
PKD: The prognosis for (fate of) our world is excellent: immortality and the final infusion of reality once it has reached the point of congruent analog to the Urgrund. But the fate of the artifact is destruction (unknown to it). But it is not alive, as we and the Urgrund are. We are moving toward isomorphism. The instant that precise isomorphism is reached, we at once bond to (are penetrated and assimilated by) the Urgrund, in a stunning flash of light: Bohme’s “Blitz.” March 1974 was not that moment, but rather Zebra the artifact adjusting its projected reality, it having gotten off course in its evolution toward isomorphism with the Urgrund (a purpose unknown to the artifact).
VANCE: Why did the Urgrund come up with Zebra? What do you think Urgrund had in mind when creating it?
PKD: Since the goal of our evolving projected reality is to reach a state in which we humans are isomorphic with the true maker, the Urgrund that fashioned the projecting artifact, there is a highly important practical situation coming closer in terms of frequency and depth:
Although not yet precisely isomorphic with the Urgrund, we can be said already to possess imperfect (but very real) fragments or fractions of the Urgrund within us. Therefore the Christian mystic saying: “What is Beyond is within.” This describes the third and final period of history, in which men will be ruled from within. Thus the Christian mystic saying, “Christ possesses your body, and you possess him as your soul.”
VANCE: Are there any other religions in history that seem to point to the Urgrund or the Zebra it has apparently created?
PKD: In Hindu philosophy, the Atman within a person is identified with Brahman, the core of the universe.
VANCE: So how does the Christ or the Hindu Atman relate to Zebra? Is it generated by Zebra for some purpose?
PKD: This Christ or Atman is not a microform of Zebra, the computerlike reality-projecting artifact, but of the Urgrund; thus in the Hindu religion it is described (as Brahman) as lying beyond Maya, the veil of delusion (i.e. the projected seeming world).
Already humans so closely approximate isomorphism with the Urgrund that the Urgrund can be born within a human being. This is the most primal and important experience a human can have. The source of all being has bypassed the artifact and its projected world and come to life within the mind of one human here, another there.
One can correctly deduce from this that the Urgrund is already penetrating the artifact’s world, which means that the moment of the Blitz, as Bohme termed it, is not far off. When the microform of the Urgrund is born in a human, that human’s comprehension extends beyond the world in terms of its temporal and spacial limits. He can experience other time periods, other identities (or lives), other places. Literally, the core deity within him is larger than the world.
Penetrating to the heart of the projected world, the Urgrund can, emanating from human minds, assimilate the projected world and simultaneously abolish the projecting artifact the instant the proper evolutionary state (including that of man) is reached. The Urgrund alone knows when this will occur.
VANCE: I guess we’ll have to remain in the dark as to when this “Blitz” will occur and just wait it out. I wonder what it will be like when this happens . . . what kind of existence will we find ourselves in?
PKD: It — the Urgrund — will break the power of the illusory world over us when it breaks the deterministic coercive power of the artifact over us — by annihilating the artifact; it will cancel out the artifact’s being by its own nonbeing. What will remain will be a totally monistic structure, entirely alive and sentient. There will be no place, time, or condition outside the Urgrund.
VANCE: Could you say that this is analogous to God defeating the Devil and casting him down to Hell, as in Christian mythos? Is the Devil’s evil intentions the root cause of our suffering?
PKD: The projected world of the artifact is not evil, and the artifact is not evil. However, the artifact is ruthlessly deterministic and mechanical. It cannot be appealed to. It is doing a job for ends it cannot fathom. Suffering, then, in this model, is due to two sources:
- the heedless mechanistic structure of the projected reality and the artifact, where blind causal law rules;
- what the N.T. [New Testament] calls the “the birthpangs of the universe,” both in the macrocosm and the human microcosm.
The birth looked forward to is the birth of the Urgrund in humans first of all, and finally the assimilation of the universe in its totality, in a single sharp instant. The former is already occurring; the latter will come at some later unexpected time.
VANCE: So we’re stuck in a mindless machine left to suffer with no recourse or help from higher realms? How do we get ourselves out of this mess?
PKD: Reality must be regarded as process. However, although there is acute suffering by living creatures who must undergo this process, without understanding why, there is occasional merciful intervention by the Urgrund overruling or overriding the cause-and-effect chains of the artifact. Perhaps this salvific intervention results from a birth of the Urgrund in the person. One should note that the actual historic meaning of the term “salvation” is “liberation,” and that of “sinful” or “fallen” is “enslaved.” It is a priori possible, given this model, to imagine a freeing of a human from the control of the artifact, however good, useful, and purposeful the activity of the artifact may be. It is obviously capable of error, as well as imperfection. An override is obviously sometimes essential, given this model. Just as obviously, it would be the primal maker or ground of being that would possess the wisdom and power to do so. Nothing within, or stemming from, the artifact or the projected world, would suffice.
ADVANTAGES OF THIS MODEL
VANCE: I’m still confused about what this is all about; what is this world we find ourselves in and why was it created? Why does there seem to be so much evil and suffering?
PKD: Basically, this model suggests that our empirical world is the attempt by a limited entity to copy a subject that it cannot see. This would account for the imperfections and “evil” elements in our world.
In addition, it explains the purpose of our empirical world. It is process toward a specific goal that is defined.
VANCE: I see. So you mean we’re not suffering at the hands of God because of some collective sin we’re guilty of as a race, as in the “original sin” taught by some forms of Christianity?
PKD: In this system, man is not accused of causing creation to fall (it is not satisfactory to state that man caused creation to fall inasmuch as man appears to be the central victim of the evils of the world, not their author). Nor does it hold God responsible for evil, pain, and suffering (which also is an unacceptable idea); instead, a third view is presented, that a limited entity termed “the artifact” is doing the best it can considering its limitations. Thus no evil deity (Iranian dualism, Gnosticism) is introduced.
Although intricate, this model successfully employs the Principle of Parsimony, since, if the concept of the intermediate artifact is removed, either God or man is responsible for the vast evil and suffering in the world, a theory that is objectionable.
Most important of all, it seems to fit the facts, which seem to be:
- the empirical world is not quite real, but only seemingly real;
- its creator cannot be appealed to for a rectification or redress of these evils and imperfections;
- the world is moving toward some kind of end state or goal, the nature of which is obscure, but the evolutionary aspect of the change states suggests a good and purposeful end state that has been designed by a sentient and benign proto-entity.
VANCE: That sounds pretty hopeless; we find ourselves the victims and prisoners of a vast machine, this Zebra, with no chance of escape except for the final “zap” . . . what’s to say this machine won’t totally get out of hand and mess things up to such a degree that we can never connect with the Urgrund? Seems we need a miracle to keep this from happening . . .
PKD: A further point. It appears that there is a feedback circuit between the Urgrund and the artifact in which the Urgrund can exert pressure on the artifact under certain exceptional circumstances, these being instances in which the artifact has strayed from the correct sequences moving the projected world toward an analog state vis-a-vis the Urgrund. Either the Urgrund directly modifies the activity of the artifact by pressure directly on the artifact, or the Urgrund goes to the projected world and modulates it, bypassing the artifact, or both. In any case, the artifact is as occluded as to the nature and existence of the Urgrund as we are to the artifact. A full circle of unawareness is achieved in which the primal source (Urgrund) and the final reality (our world) are moving toward fusion, and the intermediary entity (the artifact) is moving toward elimination. Thus the total schema moves toward perfection and simplification, and away from complexity and imperfection.
VANCE: Great, so how exactly does the Urgrund interact with the projected world? Is this always happening, or just once in a while?
PKD: Although it will complicate the model to add this point, I will offer the following modification:
It is possible that the Urgrund perpetually interacts with the world-projecting function of its own artifact, so that the empirical world produced is the result of a constant dialectic. In this case, then, the Urgrund has bipolarized the artifact in relation to itself, with the empirical world to be regarded as the offspring of two yang- and yinlike intermingling forces: one alive and sentient and aware of the total situation, the other mechanical and active but not fully aware.The empirical world, then, is the outgrowth of an Is (the artifact) and a superior Is-not (the Urgrund).
The empirical world, then, is the outgrowth of an Is (the artifact) and a superior Is-not (the Urgrund).
VANCE: That’s interesting; if the Urgrund is always interacting with the artifact’s projection, we should be able to see it happening. How can we tell when the Urgrund is at work?
PKD: For creatures living within the projected empirical world, it would be virtually impossible to discern which pressures arise from the artifact (regarded improperly as evil) and which from the Urgrund (correctly regarded as good). Merely a vast flux would be experienced, a constant evolutionary change assuming no particular gestalt at any given moment in linear time.
However, this does seem to fit our experience of our world. The primal ground of being has constructed something (the artifact) to throw its own self against, out of which there arises the world we know.
This modification of the model would explain how the artifact could copy something that it cannot see and is in fact not even aware of.
VANCE: So the Urgrund is a kind of subconscious mind for the artifact?
PKD: The artifact would probably regard the intrusions by the Urgrund into its own world projection as an uncanny invasion, to be combated. Therefore the resulting strife would, among all known philosophical and theological systems, most resemble that of Empedocles, with oscillations of chaos versus the formation of one krasis (gestalt) after another. Except for a direct revelation from the Urgrund, we could only dimly infer the presence and nature of the two interacting forces, as well as the proposed end state of our world.
VANCE: Now that’s an interesting possibility – direct revelation from the Urgrund, Do you think this occurs? Is it possible that the mystical experiences and revelations that people sometimes have are actually the Urgrund making direct contact with them?
PKD: There is evidence that the Urgrund does in fact sometimes make such a revelation to human beings, in order to further the dialectical process toward its desired goal. On the other hand, the artifact would counter by inducing as much blindness or occlusion as possible; viewed this way, darkness and light seem to be at war, or, more accurately, knowing versus nonknowing, with the human beings correctly aligning themselves with the entity of knowing (called Holy Wisdom).
However, I am pessimistic, in conclusion, as to the frequency of intervention by the Urgrund in this, the artifact’s projected world. The aim of the artifact (more properly the aim of the Urgrund) is being achieved without intervention; which is to say, isomorphism is being steadily reached as the desired end goal without the need of intervention. The artifact was built to do a job, and it is successfully doing that job.
Some sort of dialectical interaction seems involved in the evolution of the projection, but it may not involve the Urgrund; it may be simply the method by which the artifact alone works.
VANCE: I don’t know, for a bit I thought there may have been some hope in the form of contact with the Urgrund for some kind of salvation, but you don’t sound like we should count on this contact for any satisfaction . . .
PKD: What we must hope for, and look ahead to, is the moment of isomorphism with the ground of being, the primal reality that as a Divine Spark can arise within us. Intervention in our world qua world will come only at the end times when the artifact and its tyrannical rule of us, its iron enslavement of us, is abolished. The Urgrund is real but far away. The artifact is real and very close, but has no ears to hear, no eyes to see, no soul to listen.
VANCE: So do you think that those not fortunate to contact the Urgrund are being punished in some way for their lack of attention to spiritual matters? Or something like that . . . what are we doing wrong – can we correct it somehow? What can we do?
PKD: There is no purpose in suffering except to lead out of suffering and into a triumphant joy. The road to this leads through the death of the human ego, which is then replaced by the will of the Urgrund. Until this final stage is reached, each of us is reified by the artifact. We cannot arbitrarily deny its world, projected as it is, since it is the only world we have. But on the moment that our individual egos die and the Urgrund is born in us — at that moment we are freed from this world and become a portion of our original source.
VANCE: Freedom – the object of desire for so many! What can we do to get this freedom?
PKD: The initiative for this stems from the Urgrund; as unhappy as this projected world is, as unheeding of suffering as the artifact is, this is, after all, the structure that the Urgrund has created by which we reach isomorphism with it. Had there been a better way the Urgrund certainly would have employed it. The road is difficult, but the goal justifies it.
I tell you most solemnly,
You will be weeping and wailing
While the world will rejoice;
You will be sorrowful,
But your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers,
Because her time has come,
But when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering
In her joy that a man has been bom into the world.
So it is with you; you are sad now,
but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy.
And that joy no one shall take from you. (John 16:20/23)
RAMIFICATIONS OF PROJECTED REALITY
IN TERMS OF PERCEPTUAL DENIAL
VANCE: So, if this world we find ourselves isn’t real in some absolute sense, why can’t we just deny it and break through to the real world – freeing ourselves?
PKD: The capacity of a merely projected world, lacking ontological substance, to maintain itself in the face of a withdrawal of assent is a major flaw in such a spurious system. Human beings, without realizing it, have the option of denying the existence of the spurious reality, although they must then take the consequences for what remains, if anything.
That an authentic, nonprojected substratum of reality, normally undetected, could exist beneath the projected one, is a possibility.
VANCE: I think we should try to figure out a way to reveal this substratum, as you say. How could we find out whether or not this nonprojected reality exists?
PKD: There would be no way to test this hypothesis except by the existential act of a withdrawal of assent from the spurious. This could not be readily done. It would involve both an act of disobedience to the spurious projection and an act of faith toward the authentic substratum — without, perhaps, of ever having caught any aspect of the substratum perceptually. I therefore posit that some external entity would have to trigger off this complex psychological process of simultaneous withdrawal of assent and expression of faith in that which is invisibly so.
If such an alternate, invisible substratum of authentic reality exists beneath or concealed in some way by the spurious projected reality, it would constitute the substance of the greatest esoteric knowledge that could be imagined. I propose the proposition that such an invisible substratum does indeed exist, and I further propose the proposition that a hidden group or organization processes this guarded knowledge as well as techniques to trigger off a perception, however limited, of the authentic substratum. I term this group or organization the true, hidden, persecuted Christian Church, working throughout the centuries underground, with direct ties to the esoteric oral traditions, gnosis, and techniques dating back to Christ. I propose, further, that the induced triggering off of awareness of the authentic substratum by the true, secret Christian Church results ultimately in the subject finding or entering or seeing what is described in the N.T. as the Kingdom of God.
Thus, it can be said that for these people, and for those they trigger off, the Kingdom of God did come as specified in the N.T., which is to say, during the lifetime of some of those who knew Christ.
Finally, I propose the startling notion that Christ returned in a resurrected form shortly after his crucifixion as what is called the Paraclete, and is capable of inducing a theolepsy that is equal functionally to the birth of the Urgrund in the person involved. And finally, I state that Christ is a microform of the Urgrund, not a product of it, but it itself. He does not hear the vox Dei [voice of God]; he is the vox Dei. He was the initial penetration of this projected pseudoworld by the Urgrund, and has never left.
VANCE: That’s fascinating! This seems to be consistent with the insistence by Christianity that Christ *is* God, as opposed to those who just say he was speaking for him here on earth. It also seems consistent with Christ’s insistence on concentrating on the kingdom of heaven as opposed to this world.
PKD: The authentic substratum disclosed by disobedience and denial of the spurious world is the reality of Christ Himself, the space-time of the First Advent; in other words, that portion of the spurious framework already transmuted by the penetration of the Urgrund. Since the First Advent was the initial stage of that penetration, it is not surprising that it would still constitute the segment of pure and authentic reality, bipolarized against the projected counterfeit. Situated outside of linear time, standing outside all the limitations of the artifact’s projected world, it is eternal and perfect, and theoretically always available literally within reach. But withdrawal of assent to the projected world is a precondition for a perception of and experience with this supreme reality, and this must be externally induced. It is the act of absolute faith: to deny the empirical world and affirm the living reality of Christ, which is to say, Christ with us, hidden by the pseudoworld. This disclosure is the ultimate goal of authentic Christianity, and is accomplished by none other than the Savior Himself.
Therefore the sequence is as follows: the spurious projected framework is denied and stripped away, revealing a single timeless template: Rome circa A.D. 70, with Christian participants ranged against the state, virtually a Platonic archetypal form, echoes of which can be found down through the linear ages.
VANCE: The seeds of a revolution! That sounds consistent with the Biblical stories of the Romans persecuting the Jews, and especially the newly emerged Christians.
PKD: The themes of enslavement and then salvation, or fallen man liberated — these are stamped from the original mold of Christian revolutionary against the legions of Roman force. In a sense nothing has happened since A.D. 70. The archetypal crisis is continually reenacted. Each time freedom is fought for it is Christian against Roman; each time human beings are enslaved it is Roman tyranny against the meek and defenseless. However, the spurious projected world of the artifact masks the timeless struggle. Revelation of the struggle is another secret, which only Christ as Urgrund can disclose.
VANCE: It does seem that throughout history, we have story after story of oppressive regimes putting down the helpless subject and exploiting them, followed by the revolt of those people.
PKD: This is the bedrock dialectic: liberation (salvation) against enslavement (sin or the fallen state). Inasmuch as the artifact enslaves men, without their even suspecting it, the artifact and its projected world can be said to be “hostile,” which means devoted to enslavement, deception, and spiritual death. That even this is utilized by the Urgrund, which utilizes everything, is a sacred secret and hard to understand. It can be said that the liberating penetration of the projected world by the Urgrund is the final and absolute victory of freedom, of salvation, of Christ Himself; it is the beautiful resolution of a timeless conflict.
There is a parallel between the road to salvation and the road to the popularly envisioned fall of man, described by Milton as:
Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe. . . .
(Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 1-3)
VANCE: So your saying that revolution is actually the key to breaking through this false reality to reach the Urgrund?
PKD: Disobedience is the key to salvation, precisely as it is said to have been the key to the primordial Fall (if such ever in fact did take place), except that as a key to salvation is it not a disobedience to the present system of things, which [system of] things, if bipolarized against the Urgrund, is at the same time an act of obedience to God? The chink in the armor of the enslaving and deluding projected world is narrow, small, and difficult, but within the terms of this model it can be defined: Restoration to what is conceived to be our original divine state enters, so to speak, via the road of disobedience to that which, however much coercive power it exerts over us, is counterfeit. Disobedience to the artifact’s projected world in a very real sense overthrows that projected world, if the disobedience consists of a denial of the reality of that world and (and this is absolutely necessary) an affirmation of Christ, specifically the eternal and cosmic Christ whose body is in essence an authentic “world” underlying what we see.
VANCE: I see, its not enough just to revolt for revolutions’ sake; one must also recognize the purpose for the revolt, the underlying true reality masked by the artifact’s creation.
So what experience does such a revolutionary have to look forward to once he starts his opposition?
PKD: The artifact, if disobeyed, will insist that it is God, the legitimate God, and that disobedience is a fault against the Creator of man and of the world. It is indeed the Creator of the world, but not of man. The Urgrund and man, being isomorphic, stand together in opposition to the world. This is the condition that must be achieved. Alliance is the formation of an alliance against the Urgrund. God and man belong together, pitted against the projected world.
VANCE: So how is this alliance forged?
PKD: To affirm God actually, a denial of the world must be made. Possessing enormous physical power, the world can threaten — and deliver — punishment to men who disobey and deny it. However, we have been promised an Advocate by Christ Himself, who will be (has already been) dispatched by the Father (the Urgrund) to defend and comfort us, in fact literally to speak for us in human courts.
Without the presence of this Advocate, the Paraclete, we would be destroyed upon denying the world. The only way to demonstrate the actuality of the Advocate is to take the leap of faith and confront the world. Thus tremendous courage is required, inasmuch as the Advocate does not appear until the denial is made.
Now, to refer back to my original description of the artifact as a teaching machine. What is it teaching us? There is a puzzle here, in the sense of a game; we are to learn step by step either a series of gradually more difficult lessons or perhaps one specific lesson. During our lifetimes we are presented with various forms of the puzzles or puzzle; if we solve the puzzle we go on to the next step, but if we do not, then we remain where we are.
VANCE: OK, so we are learning lessons within this teaching machine; this sounds similar to some New Age teachings that tell us we are here to learn. Where does it all lead though?
PKD: The ultimate lesson learned comes when the teaching machine (or the teacher) is denied, is repudiated. Until that moment comes (if for some of us it ever does) we remain enslaved by the teaching machine — without even being aware of it, having known no other condition.
Therefore the series of lessons by the artifact are intended to lead to a revolt against the tyranny of the artifact itself, a paradox. It is serving the Urgrund by ultimately bringing us to the Urgrund. This is what is called in theological terminology “the secret partnership,” which is found in the religions of Egypt and India. Gods who appear to combat each other are, on the transmundane plane, colluding for the same goal. I believe this to be the case here. The artifact enslaves us, but on the other hand it is attempting to teach us to throw off its enslavement. It will never tell us to disobey it. You cannot order someone to disobey you; that is both semantically and functionally impossible.
VANCE: That reminds me of the Zen Master stories, where the student follows the master for years, finding out at the end that the master was just trying to show him that *he* was the real master and was too blind to realize it . . .
So what do you think this learning process actually looks like?
- We must recognize the existence of the artifact.
- We must recognize the spuriousness of the empirical world, generated by the artifact.
- We must grasp the fact that the artifact has by its world-projecting power enslaved us.
- We must recognize the fact that the artifact, although enslaving us in a counterfeit world, is teaching us.
- We must finally come to the point where we disobey our teacher –perhaps the most difficult moment in life, inasmuch as that teacher says, “I will destroy you if you disobey me, and I would be morally right to do so, since I am your Creator.”
In essence, we not only disobey our teacher, we in fact deny its reality (in relation to a higher reality that does not disclose itself until that denial takes place).
This is a complex game for ultimate stakes: freedom and a return to our source of being. And each of us must do this alone.
VANCE: It seems that the suffering we talked about earlier is part of the impetus that drives the individual towards revolution against the artifact and its false reality. However, what can we say about those people who have gotten themselves into positions of comfort and don’t really suffer very much?
PKD: There is a very curious point that I see here for the first time. Those persons on whom the artifact, through its projected world, heaps pleasure and rewards are less likely to take a stance against it and its world. They are not highly motivated to disobey it. But those who are punished by the artifact, on whom pain and suffering are inflicted — those persons would be motivated to ask ultimately questions as to the nature of the entity ruling their lives.
VANCE: And so Jesus’ story about getting a rich man into the kingdom of heaven has a practical basis in your idea of reality! Perhaps the pain that most of mankind has to endure has a value after all . . .
PKD: I have always felt that the basic constructive purpose of pain is somehow to wake us up. But wake us up to what? Perhaps this paper points to what we are being awakened to. If the artifact through its projected world teaches us to rebel, and if by doing so we achieve isomorphism with our true maker — then it is the hard road that leads to immortality and a return to our divine source. The road of pleasure (success and reward by and in this projected world) will not goad us to consciousness and to life.
We stand enslaved by a ruthless mechanism that will not listen to our complaints; therefore we repudiate it and its world — and turn elsewhere.
The computerlike teaching machine is doing its job well. It is a thankless task for it and an unhappy experience for us. But childbirth is never easy.
There can be no divine birth within the human mind until that human has denied the world. He rebelled once and fell; he must now rebel again to regain his lost state.
That which destroyed him will save him. There is no other path.
The maker is motivated to seek an instrument for self-awareness: This is the premise of this paper. And our reality was constructed to act as a sort of mirror or image of its maker, so that the maker can obtain thereby an objective standpoint to comprehend its own self.