Philip K. Dick: It’s Alive! – It came here from the future.

philip-k-dick1

I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts. Not ignoring what is good, I am quick to perceive a horror…
……– Herman Melville,  Moby-Dick

Fabricius Veiento was discoursing very wisely to us just now on the follies of superstition, exposing the various forms of priestly charlatanry, the holy men’s mania for prophecy, and the effrontery they display in expounding mysteries they very often utterly fail to comprehend themselves. Is it not much the same type of madness that afflicts our declaimers…
…… – The Satyricon by Petronius

“In Ubik the forward moving force of time (or time-force expressed as an ergic field) has ceased. All changes result from that. Forms regress. The substrate is revealed. Cooling (entropy) is allowed to set in unimpeded. Equilibrium is affected by the vanishing of the forward-moving time force-field. The bare bones, so to speak, of the world, our world, are revealed.”1 says Philip K. Dick in his great behemoth of revelation, myth, science, and strangeness The Exegesis.

He would go on to ask: If time stops, what takes place? Not frozen-ness, but revelation. Some might see his mad world as unhinged, fragmented, deeply imploding into the dark gnosis of a twisted mythopoeic series of footnotes to the apocalypse. But they are wrong. Dick was actually quite sane by our standards. We are the ones trapped in a limited set of concepts, metaphors, tropes not P.K. Dick. Dick had already broken out of the prison house of language, left the tribe of academic jargon behind for the great frontiers of the imaginal, the imagination of humanity. He was unafraid of tapping into the ancient flows of religion, magic, occult – all the hidden and arcane wisdoms out of the subterranean realms of our literary, philosophical, and religious  inheritance and legacies.

Heidegger, whom I cheerfully abhor, nevertheless sets me an example when he says that it is necessary to think one thought and one thought only, and to think it through to the end. (Bloom) Dick would do him one better, he would latch on to many thoughts and send them diving into the abyss of human imagination. A Deep Diver Dick gave us his giant Black Book of Time lore as an map of the Real, or gateway to a gnosis and wisdom of strange days and ways. Dick is a wisdom writer, a reversion to the pre-Socratic cosmographers who first thought up the tropes by which we assemble our fractured lives and minds.

Dick would see our world caught up in dynamic forces, a universe of strange and unresolved tensions, a fractured playground of darkness harboring a malfeasance beyond telling. “There are still the retrograde forces remaining, at work. And also underlying positive forces other than time. The disappearance of the force-field we call time reveals both good and bad things; which is to say, coaching entities…” (KL 320-324) Like a Gnosticrator of arcane cartographies Dick would listen in on the conversations of these entities from the future, releasing into his fictions the messages of freedom and escape, exit and deliverance from the retroactive forces of decay and death.

The key to this imaginal universe of Dick’s is Time. What is it? How does it effect us? How can we overcome it? “What is missing is a form of heat: the Aton. The Logos (Runciter) can tell you what to do, but you lack the energy— heat, force— to do it. (I.e., time.)” (KL 324) Yes, that’s it! We’re missing “time”, time the great force against inertia, against entropy and decay, dissolution and death. It’s stopped, turned back on itself, begun to recycle its dark heritage like so much daemonic energy. Cut off from time we live in a realm of no-time, bound to the entropic forces of accumulation and tyrannies of Archons who enslave us to a global system of death. Closure, decadence, and the enclosure of hyperworlds of infospheres, trapped in a frozen realm of capital we live out our lives like zombies for the dark lords of Time.

Hyperstition or madness? Take your pick: choose your ammo, deal the deck you see fit. This is your life in hell (our present world). Dick would pit the powers of the Word (Logos/Holy Spirit) against the force of Entropy (Demiurge):

The Holy Spirit is related to the Logos in terms of embodying word-directives and world-organizing powers, but at a very weak level, it can progressively to a greater degree overcome the time field and flow back against it, into it, impinging and penetrating. It moves in the opposite direction. It is the anti-time. So it is correct to distinguish it from the Logos, which so to speak reaches down into the time flow from outside, from eternity or the real universe. The H.S. is in time, and is moving: retrograde. Like tachyons, its motion is a temporal one; opposite to ours and the normal direction of universal causal motion. (KL 326-331)

Dick caught between the Black Magick of Physics and the White Magick of Myth would build and construct an alternate time machine, an accelerating time bomb that could blow the universe to smithereens revealing its actual and Real energic source. “When I wrote Ubik I constructed a world (universe) which differed from ours in only one respect: it lacked the driving force forward of time. That time in our own actual universe could weaken, or even go entirely away, did not occur to me because at that point I did not conceive time as a force at all. I thought of it in Kantian terms. As a mode of subjective perception. Now I believe that time, at this point in the expansion of the universe, has in fact actually begun to weaken, at least in ratio to certain other fields. Therefore, this being true, a measure of the Ubik-experience could be anticipated. I have indeed had that experience, or a measure thereof. That is, time still drives on, but counter forces have surfaced and impinge, laying bare the Ubik landscape— only for a few moments, that is, temporarily. Then time resumes its sovereignty.” (KL 338-345)

Here and there chinks in the armor of the hyperreality matrix that keeps us locked into the illusion of reality suddenly breaks down revealing holes in Time, escape portals into alternative realms (realities). Dick like a gnostic cosmonaut discovers the way into the rhizome, builds devices that can measure the “Ubik-experience” where Time weakens and reveals these hidden tunnels between realities.

Caught between competing visions of time and force Dick will tell us that what we should expect is two fold: (1) Material (e.g., information, images, weak energy fields, etc.) from the future leaking or bleeding back to us, while we continue on. (2) Abrupt lurches back on our part to recent prior time periods, like a needle on a record being anti-skated back to a prior groove, which it has already played, and then playing on from there as if nothing happened. The latter we would not be consciously aware of, although subcortical responses, and perhaps a vague sense of amnesia, dreams, etc., would tell us that something was “wrong.” But the leakage back to us from the future, not by us but to us, that we would be aware of (calling it ESP, etc.), and yet be unable to account for it. (KL 346-351)

This sense that forces from our future are trying to communicate with us, send us information, images, etc. that might help us as we, too, begin to enter our own hyperstitional fields and retroactively replay the past like an old Punk tune from vinyl times. Deja Vu movements, awakenings out of the freeze frame of our stopped time – moments in the fabric of our lives that disconnects from the enframed stills, stop-gaps between frozen lairs that brings us news from nowhere. Wordsworth in The Prelude:

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence–depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse–our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.

Spots in time that open us to the future, that expose us to the “repair” words of those messages sent back to renew us, help us know a way forward: guiding us and bringing us the very thoughts of newness we need to break free of this frozen prison of time.

“But what is most telling is that in March, at the initial height of the “Holy Other” pouring into me, when I saw the universe as it is, I saw as the active agent, a gold and red illuminated-letter like plasmatic entity from the future, arranging bits and pieces here: arranging what time drove forward. Later I concluded that I had seen the Logos. What is important is that this was perceptual to me, not an intellectual inference or thought about what might exist. It came here from the future. It was/ is alive. It had a certain small power or energy, and great wisdom. It was/ is holy. It not only was visible around me but evidently this is the same energy which entered me. It was both inside and out. So the Logos, or whatever it was, this plasmatic life form from the future which I saw, satisfies, as near as I can fathom, most of the theoretical criteria above.” (KL 351-357)

So here we have it P.K. Dick a science fiction author, a man who has pushed the limits, broken into a space of imaginal feedback, been made aware of something (“whatever it was”), a being, entity, energy from the future that was in process of rewiring, rewriting, reprograming our world like some AI Intelligence. And, Dick, perceives this through his senses, not by indirect inference or some intellectual imagining. So what are we to think? Madness? Sanity? Schizoanalytic break through into the Real? As Dick says, put the semantic bullshit aside, what’s important is “that it comes BACK HERE FROM THE FUTURE, is electrostatic and alive, but a weak field. It must be a form similar to radiation”. (KL 361-362) To top it off Dick will provide us one final insight into his dark gnosis:

However, that which caused me to see differently and to be different must be distinguished from what I saw and became. A bioplasmic orgone-like energy entered me or rose up in me and caused changes in me; that is one enormous miracle … but the heightened awareness caused me to see a different universe: one which contained the red and gold living threads of activity in the outside world, a world enormously changed, very much like the world of Ubik. But I feel a unity between the force which changed me and the red and gold energy which I saw. From within me, as part of me, it looked out and saw itself. (KL 362-366)

coda

In several previous posts on time influx, acceleration, etc. I’ve discussed the hyperstitional aspects of our current situation:

This notion that civilization is an engine to stave off the effects of entropy, to embalm time in an absolute medium of synchronic plenitude and cyclicity (i.e., Nietzsche’s “eternal recurrence” theme) was shown in Nick Land’s Templexity: Disordered Loops through Shanghai Time:

As its culture folds back upon itself, it proliferates self-referential models of a cybernetic type, attentive to feedback-sensitive self-stimulating or auto-catalytic systems. The greater the progressive impetus, the more insistently cyclicity returns. To accelerate beyond light-speed is to reverse the direction of time. Eventually, in science fiction, modernity completes its process of theological revisionism, by rediscovering eschatological culmination in the time-loop.

Maybe Dick in his own way was truly ahead of his time and had foreseen it all… just in his own way. Dick allowed the alien to wake up within him and begin to perceive itself, its own time-flows as our own strange earth (Deleuze’s BwO – body-witout-organs), thereby entering into the only freedom we will ever know… Like the paradoxical Zen Master who quickly slaps his student who mistakes the “finger for the moon” we sit back and ridicule P.K. Dick and others, when truly it’s the “mote in our own eye” that needs to be removed. For it is us not these brave ones who are trapped in the literalism of linguistic stupidity. We live out our days in torment and grief, caged like wild animals in systems of thought and time shaped to the desires of others who would keep us in the dark halls of enslavement to do their bidding. Beasts of burden to systems of frozen time we work in our 24/7 capsules like zombies crafting the secret prisons against our own freedom, while our archon overlords laugh and play upon the dark fires of our early abyss. Poetry? Madness? Metaphor? Enter into your own narrative, spin it anyway you want, fill the void with hyperstitional fictions: what matters is breaking out of this Iron Prison of Time.


  1. Dick, Philip K. (2011-11-08). The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (Kindle Locations 314-316). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

2 thoughts on “Philip K. Dick: It’s Alive! – It came here from the future.

  1. “Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”
    ― Philip K. Dick

    Liked by 1 person

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