Insight

Philip K. Dick's Reality by Tessa Dick

(Tessa Dick was the late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick's 4th wife. Dick's most famous book is probably "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" published in 1968, which was made into the film "Blade Runner." Note that he also had "visitors.")

One of the last substantial conversations that I had with my husband Philip K. Dick entailed a synopsis of all the speculation in which Phil had engaged since his visionary experience of 1974, when he saw the world of ancient Rome superimposed on the landscape of southern California.

Phil agreed with Plato that we see only the shadows on the wall of the cave, and not the real objects which cast those shadows. Those real objects, the archetypes, stand outside of space and time, but occasionally they bleed through and some people catch a glimpse of them. Thus, the Rome that he saw was not, strictly speaking, the Roman empire of early Christian times, but an archetype of that kind of reality.

Hints of these philosophical ideas can be found throughout Phil's writing, even in works from before he experienced the visions. He always suspected that we have made some kind of Faustian pact, that we agreed to live, suffer and die in this illusory world. Thus, when a character tries to purchase a cola from a vending machine, he might find himself in an empty room holding a piece of paper on which the words vending machine are printed. The visitors who came to Phil showed him alternate histories stacked like dominoes above our time line, in what he called "orthogonal time"a time and space perpendicular to our own, where we cannot perceive them any more than the point in Flatland can see the sphere who comes to visit him. He sees only the circle that appears in his flat world when the sphere passes through.

Those visitors seemed to be moving chunks of alternate history and dropping them into our time line, trying to achieve a result that would satisfy their goals. They sometimes leave behind artifacts, which might explain why many ancient societies which we have labeled "primitive" left evidence of advanced technology, including electric light bulbs and flying machines. It would also explain records of ancient nuclear war, such as we find in the Vedas.

The time travelers, or time meddlers, sometimes enter our reality to observe us, and they appeared quite shocked whenever they realized that Phil could see them. They did occasionally communicate with him. They claimed to come from a time that is neither the past nor the future, but outside of our time. Phil most often thought that they were humans, not aliens, but genetically altered in some way. He felt that they wanted to help us avoid some global disaster that happened in the 1970s and which negatively affected their world.

The longer I live, the more I see that this world is not quite real. To some extent, we have distanced ourselves from reality with our technology, but the illusory quality goes deeper than that. Some things simply do not make sense. The next time you say, "This cant be happening" or "I don't believe it," you just might be right.

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