Sunday 27 October 2019

The divine revelations of Philip K Dick

Some eight years before he died in 1982, the science fiction writer Philip K Dick had a series of powerful divine revelations with a Christian theme. (These are fictionalised in his novel Valis, 1981.)

I have been reading excerpts from Exegesis - the massive private journal he kept over those last eight years in which he tried to make sense of the events of February and March 1972, and the changes that followed.

PKD's revelation was, I believe, genuine: he really was communicated-with by God. And it made a qualitative difference to his inner self. But the 'fruits' of revelation were extremely mixed, and Dick's life did not improve significantly - he continued with the kind of chaotic, impulsive, self gratifying, self destructive Californian lifestyle of that era - in an extreme version.

To my eye, Dick's personal fate is representative of what went wrong with the 1960s spiritual awakening, except with Dick I am sure that the awakening was genuine (whereas most were fake).

In a nutshell, PKD could not do anything with his awakened life because he remained in thrall to the 1960s ideology of promiscuous sex, mind altering drugs and leftist radicalism.

Trying to lead an awakened Christian life in such a context, without repenting these errors, is impossible.

So PKD had a real experience of divine revelation, and knew this, and never gave up on it; but it never yielded its potential because he constrained the revelation within an unchanged, primary, secular, false socio-political framework.

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