from NewDawnMagazine Website
Dick added that up until that point he felt as if he had,
What could he have meant by such a strange comment? Was it simply writer's imagination or was it something of significance?
Dick certainly thought
In the final few years of his all-too-short career he wrote a series of semi-autobiographical novels describing his encounter with this entity that invaded his consciousness.
The most famous of these
but in many ways the one
that most closely follows Dick's actual encounter is his
posthumously published novel
Radio Free Albemuth, recently
made into an intriguing movie of the same title written, produced
and directed by Los Angeles based John Alan Simon.
He was a quiet, somewhat introverted child, recovering from the loss of his twin sister Jane, who died soon after they were born in a cold Chicago December in 1928, and the subsequent abandonment of his father a few years later.
As he grew older he was clearly highly intelligent but with certain neurological and psychological problems that caused him difficulties at school.
These issues tended to come to the surface during periods of stress such as exams. The young Phil would suffer from vertigo attacks together with strong feelings of disassociation from the physical world.
He once described the
sensation as like viewing the world through the wrong end of a
telescope. It was in one crucial physics exam that something very
peculiar took place.
Dick believed this "entity" was some form of "guide" that was to become a permanent fixture in his life, lying dormant for years but involving itself in his life and in times of great crisis.
In another interview Rickman asked Dick if the voice had ever returned. The writer described that although he regularly sensed its presence its verbal comments were very rare.
Dick cited one particularly odd manifestation that took place in the late 1960s.
Dick was intrigued by the source of this "voice."
It was clearly located
within his brain and yet it used terminology and word structures
that were alien to him. Indeed, it was clear from his childhood exam
experience that this being knew things he did not know.
At that time he had encountered the theories of Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes. A few years before, in 1976, Jaynes had written a highly influential book entitled The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
Jaynes suggested the brains of ancient human beings may have been "bicameral." By "bicameral" Jaynes meant that the twin hemispheres of our ancestors brains were isolated from each other.
Whereas modern humans understand that the "inner narrative" we all use to decide upon our actions is all part of a singular "self," the ancients did not. They heard the "inner voice" and identified it with the voice of the gods.
Jaynes then argued that at around 1000 BCE the two hemispheres somehow merged into a unitary consciousness of the sort experienced today. He was of the opinion that certain neurological conditions such as schizophrenia are a throwback to this earlier dual state of consciousness.
In this way he attempted
to explain how certain individuals hear voices which give
instructions, criticize or assist on a regular basis.
His comment here is of significance.
He is suggesting this life-long partner has "psychic power" and that it uses these powers to assist its less able associate located in the left hemisphere.
The question that has to be answered is,
A clue may lie in another very curious incident that Dick described in a 1977 interview with journalist Richard Lupoff.
This is worth quoting in full:
What Dick is suggesting here is that his future self was able to go back in time and experience from another location in space an earlier life-incident.
Note there are two viewpoints here.
What if the consciousness existing in Dick's older right hemisphere perceives the whole of his life from a vantage point outside of linear time and as such it can travel anywhere within the author's time-line?
If this was the case then from its vantage point it is totally precognitive. It knows the outcome of every decision that its linear-time existing partner will make.
That the author had on-going access to information known to his future self is evidenced from the way in which Dick frequently claimed that his fictional plot-lines came from his future experiences.
He cited a handful of quite startling "future experiences" that turned up in his earlier fictional writings.
For example, here Phil describes how an incident in his book Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said actually came to pass many years later:
Is it possible that in writing Flow My Tears Dick incorporated subliminal "future memories" into his work of fiction?
As we know, most writers use visualization techniques in which they allow their subconscious to take the story where it needs to go. Could it be that Phil simply accessed the "memories" of his own non-dominant hemisphere?
There was a second
incident in Dick's life in which he found himself experiencing in
real life an event he described in Flow My Tears.
The stranger and Buckman make an emotional link. Buckman then walks away, only to return and hug the man a few minutes later.
Four years after writing the novel Phil found himself helping out a stranger in an all-night gas station when he was overcome with a powerful déjà vu sensation:
Dick wrote Flow My Tears in the early 1970s, a period in his life in which he had become fascinated by the workings of the two hemispheres of the brain.
As we have already seen, Dick had been intrigued by the work of Julian Jaynes.
He had also become aware of the surgical operations of Roger Sperry, a neurosurgeon based at the Californian Institute of Technology. Sperry and his associate Michael Gazzaniga had operated on the brains of individuals with severe epilepsy.
It was believed that by cutting the communication channels between the two hemispheres of the brain they could stop seizures spreading across the whole brain.
In their initial aim they succeeded, the patients showed a marked improvement. But there were intriguing side-effects including the bizarre observation that the patients had become dual personalities.
In effect, Sperry and
Gazzaniga had created a neurological situation similar to Jaynes'
bicameralism. Dick was fascinated by the implications of these
operations and wondered if his own "inner voice" could be explained
by this outcome.
The author of the article Harvey Ross described how the condition of a young boy with severe schizophrenically-induced visions was improved by the introduction of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet supplemented by a cocktail of vitamins.
Ross gave the recipe for the cocktail and included in it the instructions that 500 mg of vitamin C should be taken in the first month with an increase to 1,000 mg for the second month onwards.
Ross argued that the
large dose of vitamins brings about a marked improvement in the
firing of brain cells (neurons) which, in turn, facilitates the
synchronization of the two hemispheres of the brain. 7
This was a way for him to cure himself of his own "bicameralism," reconnect the two hemispheres of his brain, and finally open up direct, rather than arbitrary, communication with the part of him that had identified itself as being his "Tutelary Spirit."
As the cocktail of vitamins were all water soluble and easily available from any pharmacist, Dick decided he would try this himself.
He was already aware of the developments in neurology suggesting that the right and left hemispheres of the brain function independently and that most "normal" people only use their "dominant" hemisphere.
For Phil it was logical to conclude that by using Ross's recipe human consciousness could be raised onto another level of awareness:
He then goes on to describe how, after taking the dose, he found that his two hemispheres did, indeed, "came on together" as he termed it.
According to one of his
biographers, Lawrence Sutin, Dick actually got the recipe
wrong and ending up taking seven grams more vitamin C than he should
His use of wording here is quite precise.
It seems that the overdose of vitamin C, mixed with a cocktail of pain killers that he was taking to relieve the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, may have allowed his mysterious partner to become far more immanent in his life.
He called this entity,
This being became very active in Phil's life.
It organized his
accounts, told him to sack his agent and even had him buy clippers
to trim his somewhat unruly nose hair!
An intriguing suggestion
made by, among others, astrophysicist Bernard Haisch,
anthropologist Martin W. Ball and comedian Bill Hicks
is that we are all God and that under certain circumstances
we all can access elements of the "mind of god."
Dick once described himself as a "acosmic pan-entheist."
He defined this as being
somebody who doesn't believe the universe exists in itself but is an
extension of God in space and time. For Phil, God
exists outside of space and time and extends himself into
In the Exegesis he went further:
In this model, what exactly is "God"?
It is clear Dick was not describing the Western concept of a personal deity but more the Eastern idea of an impersonal life-force that permeates everything.
Recent work by
researchers such as Vlatko Vedral, 10 Tom
Campbell, 11 Nick Bostrom and Frank Tipler
12 suggests the great mystery of the mind-matter split
can be explained if that at a more fundamental level everything is
simply mathematical information.
In effect, the universe and everything in it is a huge "computer" program containing the en-coded information of everything that has happened and can happen. This "program" exists outside of space-time (as space-time itself is part of the program).
In a quotation that could have been taken from Dick's Exegesis, French mathematician Alain Connes, made the following observation:
As we are all elements of the program, it is logical to conclude that under certain circumstances we may be able to perceive information within the program.
This information (or in-formation as it was termed by another great scientist-philosopher, David Bohm) is analogous to the digitized data found encoded within the reflective surface of a DVD.
The DVD contains ALL the information of the respective movie, video game or whatever linear narrative it has been created to re-create.
But the linear nature only exists from the viewpoint of the observer. In actuality, all the information exists in a single location, in this case the DVD itself.
Many years ago Philip K. Dick made a similar analogy using the technology of his time, a long-playing gramophone record.
The information system that the physical universe is based:
Whatever the case, Philip K. Dick's encounter with the noetic will continue to fascinate, beguile and intrigue all who encounter them, and, in doing so, will be the source of debate and discussion for many years to come.