Erik Davis on now, talking about Philip K. Dick and his Gnostic experiences.
Discussing his 2-3-74 experiences with Valis. Dick felt he was possessed by an ancient figure called Thomas, and could see the Roman Empire rising around him as a hologram collapsed.
Indeterminacy is a term for Dick’s experiences, as one biographer wrote. Valis is the culmination of Dick’s Gnostic ideas, at first panned by critics but these days very warmly considered.
Then there is the Exegesis, the huge text where Dick put all of his mystic and paranoid ideas in no particular order. Paul Willimas, his agent, said its a vast labyrinth where he could draw form his earlier novels and finds prophecy.
Erik says that Dick was counterculture to the traditional religious experiences. It was more like ‘experiences deemed religious.’ The senses become big players organized by the mind, leading to a higher mind. In other words, very Sethian in nature. Dick’s experiences may seem esoteric, but they are more. They are a mystic mobious strip, winding and twirling and coming back to itself instead of the transcendental.
Three 60s religious cultural domains of occult:
- Psychedelics. People were tuning out and plugging in to higher states of consciousness.
- An new embrace of psychology and psychological language of the mind.
- A huge interest in mythology, whether it was Jung, Campbell or Tolkien.
Doesn’t get more Gnostic than that, if you read their texts. Dick was part of a huge stew of new religions and movements. People were creating their own reality like crazy.
Dick was more complicated, though. He was cerebral and conservative in many ways, as close to Des Cartes as he was to Boehme. And he was a trickster knowing that much of what he wrote was ‘bullshitting.’
Dick wrote about his experience of 2-3-74 first to Ursula L. Leguinn. He saw a flash in a girl’s fish necklace who was making a delivery. Pink beams bounced off and he has his great moment of Gnosis. Some believe the girl never was there, but the experience was there.
Dick wrote about the Gnostic Gnosis or anamnesis (lost of forgetfulness) where we remembered in our DNA everyone about our past and the universe and the reality of the cosmos.
Erik mentions the hippies had embraced the Jesus fish as symbol of counterculture. It rebelled against the strict religion and government. As Dick said: fish cannot carry guns.