Editor’s note: On this 87th anniversary of the birth of Philip K. Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982), enjoy a deep dive into some of the more paranormal aspects of his life and how they relate to experiences of other visionaries.
By By AK WILKS
Source: Steamshovel Press
This article will look at some of the similarities between the contact experiences of two American writers, Philip K Dick and Robert Anton Wilson. In the 1973-1974 time frame, both would have unusual experiences that they thought could be contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Or some undefinable something that wanted them to think it was extraterrestrial. And as incredible as it sounds, some of their experiences are confirmed by other people, and include verified transmission of knowledge that it seems they could not have obtained from any human source. We will also look very briefly at some other possibly related contact experiences involving musician and cultural icon John Lennon, researcher into human-dolphin communication and consciousness Dr. John Lilly and the Swiss scientist and inventor of LSD Dr. Albert Hofmann.
NOTE: William Burroughs first told Robert Anton Wilson about the “23 Enigma”. Wilson and Kerry Thornley incorporated it into their ideas and created the related concept of the Discordian Law of Fives (2+3=5). The number 23 and the numbers 2 & 3 & 5 recur at multiple points in this article. In most cases I do not note them but the interested reader may wish to note how many times they recur and if it is more than expected by chance.
PHILIP K DICK
Philip K Dick was a science fiction writer with a prolific output from 1953 to 1981 of 121 short stories and 44 novels. Since his death in l982 he has become even better known. His stories have been made into major films like “Blade Runner”, “A Scanner Darkly,” and “Minority Report”. He has also been acknowledged as a major influence on other films, including “The Matrix”. The recent indie film “Radio Free Albemuth” is an excellent adaptation of Phil’s novel of the same name, dealing with Phil’s fictional version of the true events dealt with in this article.
PKD had themes that recur over and over again throughout his stories – What is real? What is human? How do we know that what we think of as reality is actually real? What defines humanity? Will humans be replaced by machines? PKD also had political themes and religious themes. Though he turned 40 in l968, he identified with the youth counterculture of the l960’s. He was against the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration. He refused to pay federal taxes in protest of the war, and his name appeared in published ads of writers and artists involved in the protest. The federal government confiscated his car for back taxes.
A typical PKD hero was a writer, small businessman, a TV repairman and/or a backyard inventor. He finds his life turned upside down when he discovers that reality is not what it seemed. He wages a fight against vast evil empires of heartless corporations, fascist governments, robots posing as humans, and alien invaders. He is often assisted by a beautiful and intelligent dark haired girl.
Starting in 1971, Phil was no longer just writing about government conspiracies, alternative realities, and struggles against an empire. He started living it. His home was broken in to. Things were damaged, papers were taken, but little of value was stolen. It did not seem like a traditional burglary. Strangely, part of Phil was actually relieved. He thought, “See! I’m not some crazy paranoid. They really are after me.” But he was also horrified and scared of what they would do next. It also validated him however. He must be getting through and having an impact if he was enough of a threat to have this done to him.
His wife Tessa confirms that in 1969 Phil got a phone call from a fan, Dr. Timothy Leary. She wonders if that call was wiretapped by Feds trailing Leary, and if Phil came on their radar screen then, if he had not before. When Leary escaped from Folsom prison, she wonders if Phil got attention because of the Leary connection. Phil claimed that he also talked to John Lennon as part of this same phone call. The connection was probably Rolling Stone writer Paul Williams, who knew PKD well and wrote about him in Rolling Stone magazine, and Williams was with Lennon and Leary in Canada.
President Nixon had called Leary “the most dangerous man in America”, a label he only used for one other person, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. Nixon had authorized a break in at Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. The FBI, BNDD(DEA) and the CIA were involved in the hunt and recapture of Leary. Did one of those agencies do the break in looking for clues to where Leary was hiding? Nixon was also using the pretext of a marijuana conviction to try to get Lennon deported. The real reason was his anger over Lennon’s support of the anti-war movement, both lyrically and financially.
Aside from the Leary/Lennon connection, Phil had also attracted government attention on his own, as he had in the Ramparts magazine anti-war tax protest. He later found out that letters he had sent to Soviet scientists had been intercepted by the CIA. His books appeared on a list compiled by the government of works that promoted the drug culture. (This was ironic as Phil later became very anti-hard drugs, because he felt they robbed people of their humanity and led to tragic results). In between marriages, Phil opened his home to and hung out with drug users, small time criminals, political radicals, teenage runaways and street people. An Orange County cop told Phil “They don’t need crusaders here.” Phil says he was afraid to ask the cop who or what he thought he was crusading for.
Phil obsessed over who did the break in – the FBI? CIA? KGB? Local police? A right wing group like the Neo-Nazis? A criminal gang? But eventually something else even bigger would come along to obsess over.
In February and March of l974, Phil had amazing contact experiences that changed his life. He would spend the rest of his life trying to figure out what exactly happened, and who or what was responsible. His theories included mental illness at one end, to direct contact with God at the other end. In between were the theories of contact with an alien race, time travelers, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) computer from the future, a government agency or a secret society.
Eventually he came to call what contacted him VALIS, for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Phil would have different ideas on what VALIS was – a satellite beaming information to him from an alien world or just a manifestation of God? He came to think VALIS was a satellite from advanced entities perhaps from the Sirius double star system. One of the missions of VALIS was to fight the Empire,(“The Empire never ended”) the continuation of the Roman Empire in the evil power elites in the East and West, who were secretly connected in their desire to keep their populations enslaved. The second mission of VALIS was to enlighten people with information and knowledge, to spark creativity, invention, art and innovation. This was also partially done through the true hidden and suppressed gospels of Jesus Christ which were revealed to the world in the Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi in 1945. This information is a living plasmate that comes alive in every person who reads the gospels or who reads about VALIS in the stories of Philip K Dick. The final mission of VALIS was to show Phil that this is a fake world, a “Black Iron Prison”, a “criminal virus” that occludes people from seeing that the world is alive. In fact the world that we see is fake, and we may be living in a computer simulation or a hologram. Now you can see why the creators of “The Matrix” acknowledge PKD as a major influence.
He would write what he called his Exegesis to investigate and explain what he came to call the “2-3-74” experience, meaning February and March of 1974. His Exegesis would grow to over 8,000 pages. Recently a 900 page version was published. Phil increasingly came to favor theological interpretations of VALIS, but at one point, after reading Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “Childhood’s End”, he expressed his experience in Clarke language and classic Sci-Fi terms:
(1)We are not only being watched; we are being controlled, but don’t know it; they remain beyond our threshold of vision.
(2) They work for a higher purpose, one we can’t understand but which fits our concepts of spiritual, moral purposes.
(3) We are instruments, therefore, of an invisible spiritual force which causes us to grow and develop in certain arranged directions.
(4) Some of us are either part of their race or can be elevated to their level, as they work through these individuals.
(5) The probable reason for their concealment is our evil qualities. We cannot be trusted, individually or collectively (man qua beast).
(6) A critical moment has approached or is approaching; this is a unique period in their work, therefore in our use-purpose.
(7) The extent of camouflage and delusion induced in us is extraordinary in amount and degree
Understand that the above formulation was not Phil’s favorite. As I stated he increasingly came to favor a more theological interpretation, bringing in elements from Buddha, Dionysus, and mysticism, but primarily Gnostic Christianity as revealed in the Nag Hammadi scriptures uncovered in 1945. But I like the formulation above because it is clear and concise and perhaps fits best with some of the other experiences we will look at later. Section #5 about concealment deals with a subject Phil talked a lot about, which was the fate of men like Socrates, Christ, Bruno, JFK , MLK and his friend Bishop Jim Pike. Given that history, VALIS must conceal itself most of the time, and rather than announce itself on the lawn of the White House, and be sent to federal prison or worse, it would reveal itself gradually in scattered trash, pulp magazines, rock music songs, comic books, B movies, episodes of “Star Trek”, sci-fi paperbacks and through an imperfect odd California science fiction writer.
In part of the 2-3-74 experience Phil saw a cartoon cat that appeared in the pink light of a rectangle that reflected the “Golden Ratio.” The Golden Ratio of 1.618 occurs throughout nature, and is seen in everything from galaxies to sea shells to flowers to the human face. Phil’s cat had just died and he said the cartoon cat came over to him and put his paw on his shoulder, as if to console him and tell him it will be all right.
In another part of the2- 3-74 experience, Phil said he experienced hundreds of abstract and expressionist art paintings. They were as vivid and colorful and real as anything he had ever seen in his life. He mentioned Kandinsky and Klee as the type of art that he saw.
Then throughout 1974 he experienced strange events, some seemingly “good”, and some seemingly “bad”. Strange synchronicities, “coincidences” that seemed to have underlying connections. If VALIS was a positive moral force aiding Phil and humanity, there were also other dark forces wanting to keep humanity enslaved and blind, and Phil feared these dark forces. He gave his son Christopher an improvised Christening with chocolate milk and a bit of hot dog bun, as a way to protect him from these dark forces.
Phil had multiple marriages and divorces and a documented history of mental illness; and of course, he had a vivid imagination, as seen in his stories. Add in that he had a reputation as a drug user, and it is tempting to write off these interesting but unverifiable experiences as hallucinations, insanity, and/or hoaxes.
It’s true that Phil had mental health issues, but they mostly revolved around depression. In this period, living with his wife Tessa and young son Christopher, he was happy most of the time. Phil did take legal uppers, and he experimented with LSD, but only twice. His reputation as a wild man drug user was exaggerated in the press. One time Phil was eating dinner at a sci-fi convention, and a fan snatched a pill beside his plate and swallowed it. “What’s going to happen to me?” the fan asked. Phil explained, “Well, if you have a sore throat it will feel better.”
First of all, it is doubtful that Phil would have been moved to devote the time and energy of an 8,000 page exegesis if all these events were just hoaxes or misperceptions. Secondly, a few key incidents have been verified either by outside facts and/or his wife at the time, Tessa.
Tessa B. Dick has written her own book called “Remembering Firebright: My Life with Philip K. Dick”. In a few instances she explains how she thinks Phil misconstrued ordinary facts into something fantastic. One senses she is honestly recounting things as best she can remember, and that like Phil, she has struggled over the years to understand these events. But on several key incidents, she largely confirms Phil’s account of events. She says that unusual and unexplainable things did happen.
One of these is the “Firebright” of the book’s title. Phil said this was a small baseball size sphere of blue light. He said he thought it facilitated communication between him and an alien satellite that was in orbit around the earth. This satellite explained mysteries of the universe to him, sometimes by historical figures he admired (or simulations thereof), like Francis Bacon and Thomas Aquinas. Tessa did not experience that aspect, but she states she did see Firebright, that she and Phil could see it together, and each correctly describe what it was doing. Was it a shared hallucination? Was it a shared reality?
Another incident described by Phil was when his radio kept playing, even after he turned it off and even after he unplugged it. He said the radio was saying messages attacking him. Tessa does confirm the radio kept playing even after being unplugged, and it was not the type that had batteries. She did not hear personal attacks on Phil, but normal pop songs. However, she can’t explain how or why it kept playing. She did note at the time that the neighbor’s apartment was mostly vacant, as if nobody actually lived there, but they had a lot of electronic equipment, so there may be a natural earth-bound explanation for the strange radio incident. She felt then and now that they were spying on someone, be it Phil or someone else. But that would not explain the mystery of “Firebirght”, nor would it explain the following mystery.
Sometime in the late summer of 1974, Phil reported drifting between sleep and waking while listening to the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” sung by John Lennon. At the point in the song where it says “Living is easy with eyes closed,” Phil opened his eyes. He cried out to Tessa to “Call the doctor and tell him that Christopher has an inguinal hernia and he could die if it strangulated”. Tessa says Phil looked as if he were in a trance and she confirms what he said, and that he stated the medical terms correctly. She took their 14 month old son Christopher to a doctor, and the doctor confirmed Phil’s diagnosis, and the doctor scheduled and eventually did the potentially life-saving surgery as soon as Christopher was old enough, which was a couple of months later. In the meantime they were instructed to be careful not to let him cry for any prolonged period.
In subsequent conversations with the “normal” Phil, Tessa says he went back to not understanding the medical terms and was mispronouncing them. Who or what intervened and gave Phil the information that saved his son’s life? Was it VALIS?
I was able to recently ask Phil’s last wife Tessa about this incident. She again confirmed most of the elements of Phil’s story as correct. She said the doctor told her that if Christopher had been left to cry throughout the night for an extended period, the hernia could have strangulated and cut off blood flow, causing serious injury or even death. She does not remember the stereo being on, so unless Phil had the small radio on, she wondered if Phil heard “Strawberry Fields Forever” in his dream. I asked her how was Phil able to correctly diagnose the hernia? Was it VALIS, a religious miracle, just really good intuition or simply unexplainable? She stated:
“I have no earthly explanation for how Phil could have known that our son had a hernia. He did not change diapers, and he had little medical knowledge. I knew that something was wrong with our baby, but I had not yet discussed it with Phil.”
Phil felt that it was VALIS, and that it also intervened in his life in other positive ways. He says it prompted him to ask his agent for back royalties on books sold overseas, and he subsequently received substantial checks. He also had a sense of renewed creativity and in addition to the non-fiction Exegesis, the strange events in his life gave inspiration to several excellent novels, including “Radio Free Albemuth”, “VALIS”, “The Divine Invasion”, and others. His income from book sales greatly increased, and his novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” was made into the movie “Blade Runner” (the title came from William Burroughs). He saw parts of the film before it was released and was greatly impressed. He told the makers of the film that it validated his entire career and even his life.
Tragically, he never got to see the entire film and the world got no more PKD stories. He had a series of strokes leading to a heart attack , which caused his death on March 2, 1982. Before he died and when he was in seemingly good health, he may have had a premonition about his death, as he told Tessa, whom he had divorced but was seeing again, “You will remember, and you will tell them”.
ROBERT ANTON WILSON
Robert Anton Wilson was an editor at Playboy magazine — a very good, interesting and well paid job. But he left the magazine in 1971 to pursue his other interests. These interests included sex, drugs, higher states of consciousness, libertarian economics, anarchist politics, Constitutional rights, philosophy, quantum physics, history, psychology and the occult.
Along with Robert Shea he wrote the “Illuminatus!” trilogy, the most complex exposure of the conspiracies running the world and/or satire of such theories. He wrote many successful books, and he approached all topics with his trademark agnosticism and maybe logic. This avoided the traps of dogmatism and guruism. He wrote about serious subjects with a sense of humor, but treated even seemingly crazy ideas seriously.
Within weeks of meeting Timothy Leary in 1964, he and his family saw their first UFO. Timothy Leary, who was kicked out of Harvard for his LSD experiments, would become a good friend, mentor, frequent teacher, major influence, sometime student, co-author, and partner in “thought crime”.
Philip K. Dick met several times with RAW, and they became correspondents. PKD famously said that “Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity.” PKD mentions RAW in his Exegesis, and RAW mentions PKD in his books. Just as PKD’s fiction seemingly came to life in his contact experiences, RAW’s fiction also escaped from the page into his life.
RAW embarked on a course of what he called “deliberately induced brain change.” From July 23, 1973 until October, 1974, he entered a belief system in which he was (perhaps) receiving telepathic messages from advanced entities on a planet near the double star Sirius.
Were these entities real? To him, at the time, they “seemed real enough”, though “not as real as the IRS”, but “easier to get rid of.”
In keeping with his model agnosticism and desire not to get trapped in any one reality tunnel, RAW undertook a multiple-paths-all-at-once approach to making contact with higher intelligence. He used incantations and rites by Aleister Crowley to invoke the Holy Guardian Angel. Wilson says that if you look at Crowley’s words on the page, they mostly seem like “pretentious rubbish”, but when read out loud, it “vibrates, moans and sings with eerie power.” He also used a hypnosis tape called “Beliefs Unlimited” by Dr. John Lilly, the pioneer in inter-species communication and consciousness research. At first he also used Mescaline and LSD. He later achieved similar results without any drugs. He also tried tantric sex with his wife with the goal of breaking through to new levels of consciousness (and having fun, which RAW always liked to do).
In a dream on July 23, 1973, he got the message “Sirius is very important.” He did not know what it meant. He found out that Sirius was a double star system about 8.6 light years away from Earth. Further research showed him that Sirius (maybe) played an important role in the belief systems of Crowley, the Freemasons, and various occult groups. He then found out that in the ancient Egyptian tradition, the dog star Sirius was celebrated from July 23 to September 8. This was the period when contact between Sirius and Earth was said to be strongest.
He wrote about his experiences in his book “Cosmic Trigger.” You don’t just read this book, you go along on his intellectual, spiritual and physical adventure with him. The topics he writes about start happening in his life. In similar and different ways to what happened to PKD, strange things, unexplained events and seeming “coincidences” linked by underlying synchronicity start to occur.
In this book he mentions Philip K. Dick and his novel “VALIS” based on real events. He notes some of the similarities and differences in their experiences. He also mentions a book by Robert KG Temple called “The Sirius Mystery”.
In reading Temple’s book, he learned that there was evidence (maybe) that Egypt, Sumeria and other ancient civilizations told legends of contact with advanced men who came down from the sky to teach them engineering, science and arts, and that these men came from the Sirius system. He learned that the Dogon tribe in West Africa also had legends of contact with entities from Sirius, and knew that Sirius had a companion star which was not visible to the naked eye. How did they know it existed? Because they really were visited long ago by entities from Sirius who told then about it? Well maybe. But maybe they learned about it from more recent European visitors. But if so why did they claim it was a long standing part of their belief system? What about all the other evidence of “Ancient Astronauts” and many peoples who tell legends of men from the sky, including stories from the Bible?
Wilson quotes this key part by Robert KG Temple from his book “The Sirius Mystery”:
“I would even venture that we may be under observation or surveillance at this very moment, with an extraterrestrial civilization based at the Sirius system, monitoring our development to see when we will be ready ourselves for their contacting us . . .Would they think that (this book) was their cue? If what I propose in this book really is true, then am I pulling a cosmic trigger?”
Most of the experiences Wilson describes are fascinating, but subjective and unverifiable. He himself comes to no definite conclusion about them. But one in particular stands out as unexplainable, and like the incident with Philip K. Dick and his son, it involves a child in danger. On April 26, 1974, Wilson was with a group of self-proclaimed witches in a new version of the Golden Dawn occult group. He had a vision of his son Graham lying on the ground with police walking toward him. He was afraid this indicated that Graham had been in an accident or some kind of trouble.
He invoked a cone of protection around his son and tried to send a message to call him in the morning. The next morning Graham did call and he explained that he and his friends had been illegally sleeping in a field. Police spotted their car, and walked towards them with their flashlights. They were certain they would be seen and then arrested, but amazingly, the cops did not see them and just walked away. This happened a few minutes before midnight, which was the same time that Wilson had his vision of Graham lying in a field with police walking towards him.
Wilson would later have another vision that a member of his family was in danger, and thought again it was Graham. Tragically, it turned out to be his daughter Luna, killed in a violent and senseless robbery. He writes movingly of her life and death. A lifelong opponent of the death penalty, even in his grief and anger, he does not want her killer to die, because he believes more than ever in the value of life over death.
Wilson comes to no final conclusions about his experiences. He suspects that the Holy Guardian Angel and the extraterrestrials from Sirius probably do not exist outside of our imaginations. But even if they are not literally real, RAW thinks that a belief in them was a tool to open up access to a previously untapped area of his brain.
On the other hand, remembering Arthur C. Clarke’s idea that any sufficiently advanced technology may be indistinguishable from magic, RAW wondered “what if Temple’s book was true?” What if PSI powers like ESP and telepathy are true? Stars can last 9 billion years. We are only half way through the life cycle of our star. That means there could be civilizations from Sirius or elsewhere that are one billion years more advanced than us. RAW asks what would be the technological capabilities and PSI powers of a civilization 100 million years, 500 million years, two billion years more advanced than we are now? RAW wonders if they will use psychic powers and/or technologically advanced communication methods to aid our evolution. Which sounds a lot like VALIS.
In his book “The Illuminati Papers”, Wilson quotes Dr. Ronald Bracewell from Stanford and Dr. Frank Drake of Cornell as saying that advanced aliens may have immortality and may be “trying to communicate with us right now.” Dr. Brian O’Leary, a Berkeley PHD and former NASA employee, states that aliens, be they extraterrestrial or inter-dimensional, may be on Earth now and have “technologies of consciousness.” Did an advanced race use “technologies of consciousness” to contact PKD and RAW?
Wilson in “Cosmic Trigger” also noted that the genius Tesla reported getting whole detailed descriptions and blue prints for inventions into his mind from an unknown source and sometimes had conversations with unseen entities. He reported that Dr. Jacques Valle told him that over 100 scientists had similar experiences of transmission of ideas but most are afraid to go public for fear of ridicule. Dr. Jack Sarfatti is one of the few who have gone public.
The discoverer of DNA, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick, was a regular user of marijuana and may have first perceived the double helix shape of DNA while on LSD. Dr. Kary Mullis says taking LSD was one of the most important things he ever did and that he would not have won the Nobel prize for perfecting the PCR DNA method if he had not done it. He also had a strange UFO or Mothman Prophecies type encounter with an entity. Steve Jobs said taking LSD was one of the most important things he had done and convinced him that the goal of life was not just to make money but to invent and design things that would go into the stream of history and affect consciousness. Both the DNA and computer internet revolutions owe something to the (VALIS directed?) discovery of LSD Dr. Hofmann which we will examine. Is DMT or LSD a pathway to communication with higher intelligence? Or is it a pathway to open up previously untapped parts of our brain? Maybe. But this is a reason for LSD and other drugs to be legal, so they can be correctly manufactured and taken in safe doses at facilities with medical and psychological professionals. Both RAW and PKD strongly warned people not to take street drugs, they each saw the bad consequences that can result.
JOHN LENNON, DR JOHN LILLY, DR ALBERT HOFMANN
Finally I want to mention very briefly some other experiences that may have some similarities to the PKD and RAW experiences. John Lennon, as part of the Beatles and on his own, was a huge catalyst for the Sixties counter-culture revolution. Not only a force in music and the arts, he affected politics through his support of the anti-war movement and giving money to radical groups. He even gave money to Dr. Timothy Leary when he was on the run. John had a life-long interest in the subject of UFO’s, including subscribing to British journals on the subject. In a period when he separated from Yoko Ono and was living with May Pang, he actually saw a UFO from the balcony of his NY apartment. It was on August 23, 1974. John actually cried out for the UFO to take him. They took pictures but they did not come out. They called all their friends. One of their friends called the police and newspapers and was told others had seen it as well.
May Pang later said that Lennon told her “if the masses started to accept UFO’s, it would profoundly affect their attitudes toward life, politics, everything. It would threaten the status quo.” Pang also said that 1974 was not his first sighting. He told her more than once he suspected he had been abducted as a child and that this experience made him different from other people the rest of his life. Abducted by aliens? “Yes, but John didn’t go into detail about it”. Pang said.
Dr. John Lilly, MD, was a genius who pioneered human – dolphin communication and researched communication among whales and gorillas. He also researched human consciousness with himself as a test subject. He did experiments with LSD, Ketamine and other substances, sometimes in conjunction with an isolation tank he developed. His work with dolphins inspired the film “Day of the Dolphin” and his research on consciousness inspired the film “Altered States”.
Adam Gorightly wrote an article called “John Lilly, Ketamine and the Entities from ECCO”. He describes two incidents that have some similarities to the experiences discussed here. Adam told me he got the information from a book by Lilly called “John Lilly, So Far”. The first incident seems to have taken place in the summer of 1973, the summer of the RAW Sirius experience. Lilly took Ketamine and got into his hot tub. His body could not support itself and he sank under. He was drowning. His friend Phil Halecki had a sudden urge to call him. He called him at that moment. He got John’s wife Toni who said John was fine he was in the hot tub. Phil insisted she get him right now. She did and saw John face down and drowning. She saved him and performed CPR, which she had just learned the day before from a magazine article.
John felt he was saved by the work of what he playfully called the Earth Coincidence Control Office, or ECCO. He first encountered these entities of light and love as a child and given his religious upbringing he thought of them as angels. He came to believe that they arrange “coincidences” on Earth to assist in the growth of knowledge and for the greater good. ECCO sounds very similar to what PKD called VALIS, the Vast Active Living Intelligence System, which he felt intervened in his life to save his son, impart knowledge and fight the Empire. Both ECCO and VALIS also sound similar to the Carl Jung concepts of synchronicity, the collective unconscious and archetypes. They also resonate with what quantum physicist David Bohm called the “implicate order” and Celtic legends call Fairyland.
While ECCO works on the side of aiding humans, an entity Dr. Lilly called Solid State Intelligence (SSI) works to achieve dominance for computers and machines over all biological forms, in particular intelligent mammals like humans, dolphins and whales. Think of the machines in “The Matrix” or the mega computer Skynet in “The Terminator”. Dr. Lilly used computers and technology for good purposes but feared there use for bad purposes, by evil men of the military-industrial corporate state or even self-aware AI computers on their own.
The other incident is said by the book to have happened in the fall of 1974, but as the book is loose with dates and even years, I have reason to think it was probably 1973. John and Toni were on a flight to Los Angeles. Dr. Lilly took Ketamine on the flight and then looked at the Comet Kahoutek and it greatly increased in brightness. He then received a message that said SSI was going to shut down all systems at LAX. He told this to Toni, who disapproved of John’s increasing drug experiments and thought ECCO was nonsense. But minutes later, the pilot announced they could not land at LAX because a plane had crashed into power lines causing a black out. The plane landed safely elsewhere. Terence Kahoutek was not visible to the naked eye in 1974 but it was visible in 1973. There was a plane that hit power lines on November 17, 1973.
John later felt that the message was from ECCO about the dangers of SSI. Had the pilot attempted to land at LAX when the power and lights went out, he might have crashed. Did ECCO/VALIS send Dr. Lilly a warning? As it had sent to his friend when he was drowning? As ECCO/VALIS had sent to PKD and RAW about their sons? Dr. Lilly later got warning messages of nuclear devastation from ECCO in 1974.
Dr. Albert Hofmann was the Swiss chemist who had many great patents and discoveries, but his greatest was discovering LSD. He said that he had planned a career in the humanities or arts but that “Mystical experiences in childhood, in which nature was altered in magical ways” caused him to want to understand the world and he choose chemistry. At the website for the Albert Hofmann Foundation writer John Beresford notes that the first major step in the creation of the atom bomb happened on December 2, 1942, in Chicago. Enrico Fermi as part of the Manhattan Project caused the first nuclear chain reaction.
About 131 or 132 days later Dr. Hofmann had what he called in German a “Vorgefuhl”, which roughly translates as a presentiment, about LSD-25. He actually first discovered that 5 years ago, on November 16, 1938, but he had discarded it on the useless pile, no doubt with hundreds of other failures. Dr. Hofmann would not say if the Vorgefuhl happened when he was asleep or awake. But it was strong enough that it caused him to go back to this formula from 5 years ago, and on April 16, 1943 he (re) discovered LSD – 25, and changed the history of the world. World War II was raging and the stakes got even higher some 132 days before with the Chicago nuclear chain reaction.
“One is free to speculate that the “instruction” to re-synthesize LSD came from a spiritual power which intervenes in the affairs of man to restore order when the danger of disorder has become too great. The reckless act of science in Chicago in December, 1942 was remedied in Basel four months later with Albert Hofmann chosen as the instrument to perform the cure.”
What he describes sounds very much like VALIS. Along these lines one should also consider that the first detonation of an atom bomb occurred on July 16, 1945 (7/16=23?) at the Trinity Site at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. About two years later, around June 16, 1947, the “flying saucer” enters American culture with the reality (or myth) of a saucer crash at Roswell, New Mexico, just 114 miles to the east of the Trinity Site at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. On June 21, 1947 the Maury Island UFO is sighted in Puget Sound, Washington. On June 24, 1947 pilot Kenneth Arnold sees nine shining discs near Mt. Rainer in Washington. Others pilots also see them and a man photographs these discs.
Terence McKenna believed that the reality (or myth) of UFO’s were a confounding of the close minded scientific, corporate and government establishments, in the same way that the reality (or myth) of the resurrection of Jesus was a confounding of Greek empiricism and Roman Imperialism. McKenna felt that what he called the “Overmind” of the planet can create UFO’s, miracles and other events when technology and power out run ethics. His “Overmind” also sounds a lot like PKD’s VALIS, except it is probably not extraterrestrial in origin. But then again VALIS may not actually be extraterrestrial either, even if it wanted to appear to be so at times.
Carl Jung felt the massive wave post war UFO sightings indicated “changes in the constellation of psychic dominants, of the archetypes, or “gods” as they used to be called, which bring about, or accompany, long-lasting transformations of the collective psyche.” He compared them to the “signs and wonders” that accompanied the transition from paganism to Christianity. Constantine seeing a cross in the sky and the spinning disc and lights seen at Fatima in 1917 might also fit in here.
This entity, let us call it VALIS, is not necessarily always pro-Christianity, or pro or anti-technology, or UFO. As Dr. Jacques Vallee states it is a cultural thermostat. In the summer the thermostat cools your house, in the winter it warms it. At the time of the brutal Roman Empire the Christian idea of universal love was needed. When Christianity became a Roman Empire of its own, a new confounding was needed. (PKD=”The Empire never ended”) VALIS acted to spur science and technology when needed and to counter it when needed. Dr. Vallee felt these things have been with us a long time but ancient man called them gods from the sky, later man called them angels or demons, the Celts called them fairies.
Jung felt that some UFO’s were real in the sense that they are picked up on radar screens and in some cases can be photographed, and McKenna felt that they were “real” in every sense of the word, though most or all were probably not nuts and bolts craft and most or all were not probably not extraterrestrial in origin. It presents another way to think about unexplained things. These alternative ideas are explored best in “Passport to Magonia” by Dr. Jacques Vallee , “The Mothman Prophecies” and “Our Haunted Planet” by John Keel, “The Archaic Revival” by Terence McKenna and “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies” by Carl Jung.
We can perhaps tie the presentiment about LSD and the start of the UFO sightings to the end of WWII and the start of the nuclear era. Why did the experiences of PKD, RAW, Lennon and Lilly happen in the 1973/1974 era? Was it related to the Nixon drive for war abroad and a police state at home? Was there a higher danger for nuclear war or other calamity in this time frame? General Alexander Haig, in the waning days of the Nixon regime which ended on August 9, 1974, issued instructions to the military not to follow orders from the President, reportedly out of fears revolving around his drinking and mental state, and concerns he might start a nuclear war or use troops to refuse to cede power if impeached.
Philip K Dick felt VALIS had a political dimension. He had received the message “The Empire never ended”. He took this to mean the Roman Empire continued through Nazi Germany, through totalitarian communism in the East and the military-industrial complex ruling elite in the West. PKD felt The Nixon regime in particular had come to power through the murders of JFK, RFK and MLK, and now posed the threat of outright fascist dictatorship and a police state through the pretext of the War on Drugs and the criminalization of dissent and free thought. PKD thought VALIS helped to defeat Nixon in this crucial 1973/1974 period. In his novels the character President Ferris F Fremont was an even more McCarthyite and fascistic version of Nixon. “The Empire never ended.” That was the message PKD got from VALIS. The true Gnostic Christian rebels helped by VALIS defeated Nixon in August 1974.
Or was the 1973/1974 era also the time for a need for a change in culture and the arts, in ways that we cannot understand or explain? Was there, as Carl Jung would put it, a need for a change in the collective psyche?
RAW was excited when Ken Campbell did a stage play in Liverpool of “Illuminatus!” in 1986. In 2014 Ken’s daughter, Daisy Eris Campbell did a stage play of “Cosmic Trigger”. Graphic novelist Alan Moore has often talked about the influence RAW had on him. Moore has also stated that he has read and admired PKD. Moore supported the new play and provided the voice for an off stage character. Moore wrote the magnificent graphic novel “V for Vendetta” which was the basis for the film of the same name. RAW was quite happy when a German youth named Karl Koch adopted the name of his “Illuminatus!” anarchist hero Hagbard Celine as his computer hacker name and became (in)famous.
PKD, through the films “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix” as well as his many novels, stories and non-fiction, influenced modern science fiction, art, film, the Cyberpunk movement and the computer hacker culture. Influenced by PKD, RAW and Moore, the cyberpunks, white knight computer hackers and hacktivists try to turn the technology of the modern corporate police state against itself. The RAW influenced Alan Moore was very pleased when members of autonomous groups like the pro-democracy activists in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Occupy and Anonymous started using the stylized Guy Fawkes masks used by his hero V from “V for Vendetta” in real life protests. Moore stated that when he wrote “V for Vendetta” he would have thought “wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world…It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped from the realm of fiction.”
The change we want will not come from over optimism and simply waiting for God, the New Age , the UFO or LSD or any other one thing alone to rescue us. Nor will it come from over pessimism and thinking the Rockefellers and Bushes and their plutocratic ilk control the world and we are totally helpless to affect change. As RAW said those guys may think they run the world, “but I prefer to think me and my friends run the world”. He believed time would judge whether the power of money or the power of ideas would win in the long run. He felt the power of ideas would. If VALIS or something like it is actually real then it should be studied further, to find ways to connect to it, to enable it (or even just the untapped powerful parts of our brain) to assist us. But in the end it is up to us. Wilson said that any single act of love or hope could be the grain of sand that tips the scales towards utopia, while any single act of cruelty or injustice may be the grain of sand that tips the scales the other way, toward oblivion. It is up to all of us.
As Alan Moore said in 2014 in a promotion for the “Cosmic Trigger” play, “It is time to take the safety off and pull the Cosmic Trigger.”
Is VALIS real? Most seem to quickly write off the experiences of Philip K Dick and Robert Anton Wilson as products of their over active imaginations. Yet parts of their stories are verified by others and resist such easy explanations. Who or what gave Phil the information that probably saved his son Christopher’s life? What caused the accurate vision of Wilson? What caused Dr. Hofmann to ‘remember” a useless formula from years ago, which led to the (re) invention of LSD? Indeed what is the seemingly intelligent force behind evolution, that has taken us from amphibian to ape, from ape to caveman, and from caveman to Einstein, Shakespeare and Beethoven? And from there to what a 1,000 years from now? Philip K Dick said the Vast Active Living Intelligence System exists to 1) Fight the Empire in all its manifestations and 2) Exult, inspire and direct man to higher intelligence, creativity and achievement.
Whatever we are talking about, it seems unlikely it involves entities from across the galaxy – unless such distances can be traveled instantly. And it is not clear why entities light years away would take such an interest in us. So rather than ET’s the evidence is more supportive of Inter Dimensional entities. As some quantum physicists postulate, there may be multiple dimensions coexisting with us here on Earth. They have some capacity to communicate with us. At different times in history we have called these entities Gods, men from the sky, fairies, angels or aliens. They seem to communicate to certain individuals at certain critical times in our history. They may be part of the active intelligent force that has created our planet, the life on it and has directed our evolution.
Consider the words of Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Planck, think about the perfect rotation of our Earth around the sun, and reflect on how closely Planck’s description matches PKD’s concept of a Vast Active Living Intelligence System: “[As a hard headed physicist I tell you that] there is no such thing as matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
Max Planck, The nature of Matter Speech, 1944
AK WILKS AUTHOR BIO
AK Wilks has a BA in Political Philosophy and a Juris Doctor in Law. He has worked as an attorney, researcher and writer. He is also a screenwriter. He is continuing his research into the subjects of PKD, RAW, LSD, HP Lovecraft, Crowley, the UFO enigma, contacts with higher intelligence and related subjects for a book and/or film.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .