Gold Wizard of the Day - Philip K. Dick - #GoldWOTD
Gold Wizard of the Day - Philip K. Dick - #GoldWOTD
. As a writer-artist, I have tremendous respect for this wizard.
Born in Chicago, Dick moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with his family at a young age. He began publishing science fiction stories in 1952. His stories initially found little commercial success, but his 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle earned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel. He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Following a series of religious experiences in 1974, Dick’s work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in novels A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981). A collection of his nonfiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982 in Santa Ana, California, at the age of 53, due to complications from a stroke.
Dick’s posthumous influence has been widespread, extending beyond literary circles into Hollywood filmmaking. Popular films based on Dick’s works include Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). Beginning in 2015, Amazon produced the multi-season television adaptation The Man in the High Castle based on Dick’s 1962 novel, and in 2017 Channel 4 began producing the ongoing anthology series Electric Dreams based on various Dick stories. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik (1969) one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer ever to be included in The Library of America series.
Philip Kindred Dick and his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, were born six weeks prematurely on December 16, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (née Kindred; 1900–1978) and Joseph Edgar Dick (1899–1985), who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture. His paternal grandparents were Irish. The death of Philip’s twin, Jane, six weeks after their birth, on January 26, 1929, profoundly affected Philip’s life, leading to the recurrent motif of the “phantom twin” in his books.
His family later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. When Philip was five, his father was transferred to Reno, Nevada; when Dorothy refused to move, she and Joseph divorced. Both parents fought for custody of Philip, which was awarded to the mother.
In 1963, Dick won the Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle. Although he was hailed as a genius in the science fiction world, the mainstream literary world was unappreciative, and he could publish books only through low-paying science fiction publishers such as Ace. Even in his later years, he continued to have financial troubles. In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man, Dick wrote: “Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don’t agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn’t raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I’m a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love.”
In 1971, Dick’s marriage to Nancy Hackett broke down, and she moved out of their house in Santa Venetia, California. Having abused amphetamine for much of the past decade (stemming in part from his need to maintain a prolific writing regimen due to the financial exigencies of the science fiction field), he allowed other drug users to move into the house. Following the release of 21 novels between 1960 and 1970, these developments were exacerbated by unprecedented periods of writer’s block, with Dick ultimately failing to publish new fiction until 1974.
One day in November, Dick returned to his home to discover that it had been burglarized, with his safe blown open and personal papers missing. The police were unable to determine the culprit, and even suspected Dick of having done it himself. Shortly afterwards, he was invited to be guest of honor at the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention in February 1972. Within a day of arriving at the conference and giving his speech The Android and the Human, he informed people that he had fallen in love with a woman named Janis whom he had met there and announced that he would be remaining in Vancouver. An attendee of the conference, Michael Walsh, movie critic for local newspaper The Province, invited Dick to stay in his home, but asked him to leave two weeks later due to his erratic behavior. This was followed by Janis ending their relationship and moving away. On March 23, 1972, Dick attempted suicide by taking an overdose of the sedative potassium bromide. Subsequently, after deciding to seek help, Dick became a participant in X-Kalay (a Canadian Synanon-type recovery program), and was well enough by April to return to California.
Upon relocating to Orange County, California at the behest of California State University, Fullerton professor Willis McNelly (who initiated a correspondence with Dick during his X-Kalay stint), he donated manuscripts, papers and other materials to the University’s Special Collections Library, where they are archived in the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Collection in the Pollak Library. During this period, Dick befriended a circle of Fullerton State students that encompassed several aspiring science fiction writers, including K. W. Jeter, James Blaylock and Tim Powers. Jeter would later go on to continue Dick’s Bladerunner series with three sequels.
Dick returned to the events of these months while writing his 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly, which contains fictionalized depictions of the burglary of his home, his time using amphetamines and living with addicts, and his experiences of X-Kalay (portrayed in the novel as “New-Path”). A factual account of Dick’s recovery program participation was portrayed in his posthumously released book The Dark Haired Girl, a collection of letters and journals from the period.
On February 20, 1974, while recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth, Dick received a home delivery of Darvon from a young woman. When he opened the door, he was struck by the beauty of the dark-haired girl and was especially drawn to her golden necklace. He asked her about its curious fish-shaped design. “This is a sign used by the early Christians,” she said, and then left. Dick called the symbol the “vesicle pisces”. This name seems to have been based on his conflation of two related symbols, the Christian ichthys symbol (two intersecting arcs delineating a fish in profile) which the woman was wearing, and the vesica piscis.
Dick recounted that as the sun glinted off the gold pendant, the reflection caused the generation of a “pink beam” of light that mesmerized him. He came to believe the beam imparted wisdom and clairvoyance, and also believed it to be intelligent. On one occasion, Dick was startled by a separate recurrence of the pink beam. It imparted the information to him that his infant son was ill. The Dicks rushed the child to the hospital, where his suspicion was confirmed by professional diagnosis.
After the woman’s departure, Dick began experiencing strange hallucinations. Although initially attributing them to side effects from medication, he considered this explanation implausible after weeks of continued hallucinations. “I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane,” Dick told Charles Platt.
Throughout February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of hallucinations, which he referred to as “2-3-74”, shorthand for February–March 1974. Aside from the “pink beam”, Dick described the initial hallucinations as geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and ancient Rome. As the hallucinations increased in duration and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live two parallel lives, one as himself, “Philip K. Dick”, and one as “Thomas”, a Christian persecuted by Romans in the first century AD. He referred to the “transcendentally rational mind” as “Zebra”, “God” and “VALIS” (an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System). Dick wrote about the experiences, first in the semi-autobiographical novel Radio Free Albemuth and then in VALIS, The Divine Invasion, “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer” and the unfinished The Owl in Daylight (the VALIS trilogy).
In 1974, Dick wrote a letter to the FBI, accusing various people, including University of California, San Diego professor Fredric Jameson, of being foreign agents of Warsaw Pact powers. He also wrote that Stanisław Lem was probably a false name used by a composite committee operating on orders of the Communist party to gain control over public opinion. At one point, Dick felt that he had been taken over by the spirit of the prophet Elijah. He believed that an episode in his novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said was a detailed retelling of a biblical story from the Book of Acts, which he had never read. Dick documented and discussed his experiences and faith in a private journal he called his “exegesis”, portions of which were later published as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. The last novel Dick wrote was The Transmigration of Timothy Archer; it was published shortly after his death in 1982.
Dick was married five times: Jeanette Marlin (May to November 1948), Kleo Apostolides (June 14, 1950 to 1959), Anne Williams Rubinstein (April 1, 1959 to October 1965), Nancy Hackett (July 6, 1966 to 1972), and Leslie “Tessa” Busby (April 18, 1973 to 1977).
Dick had three children, Laura Archer Dick (born February 25, 1960 to Dick and his third wife, Anne Williams Rubenstein), Isolde Freya Dick (now Isa Dick Hackett) (born March 15, 1967 to Dick and his fourth wife, Nancy Hackett), and Christopher Kenneth Dick (born July 25, 1973 to Dick and his fifth wife, Leslie “Tessa” Busby). In 1955, he and his second wife, Kleo Apostolides, received a visit from the FBI, which they believed to be the result of Kleo’s socialist views and left-wing activities. The couple briefly befriended one of the FBI agents.
He was physically abusive with his third wife, Anne Williams Rubinstein; after one argument in 1963, he attempted to push her off a cliff in a car, then later claimed she was trying to kill him, and convinced a psychiatrist to commit her involuntarily. After filing for divorce in 1964, he moved to Oakland to live with a fan, author and editor Grania Davis. Shortly after, he attempted suicide by driving off the road while she was a passenger. Dick tried to stay out of the political scene because of high societal turmoil from the Vietnam War. Still, he did show some anti-Vietnam War and anti-governmental sentiments. In 1968, he joined the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest”, an anti-war pledge to pay no U.S. federal income tax, which resulted in the confiscation of his car by the IRS.
On February 17, 1982, after completing an interview, Dick contacted his therapist, complaining of failing eyesight, and was advised to go to a hospital immediately, but did not. The following day, he was found unconscious on the floor of his Santa Ana, California home, having suffered a stroke. On February 25, Dick suffered another stroke in the hospital, which led to brain death. Five days later, on March 2, he was disconnected from life support and died. After his death, Dick’s father, Joseph, took his son’s ashes to Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, (section K, block 1, lot 56), where they were buried next to his twin sister Jane, who died in infancy. Her tombstone had been inscribed with both of their names at the time of her death, 53 years earlier. He died four months before the release of Blade Runner, the film based on his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
Dick’s stories typically focus on the fragile nature of what is real and the construction of personal identity. His stories often become surreal fantasies, as the main characters slowly discover that their everyday world is actually an illusion assembled by powerful external entities, such as the suspended animation in Ubik, vast political conspiracies or the vicissitudes of an unreliable narrator. “All of his work starts with the basic assumption that there cannot be one, single, objective reality”, writes science fiction author Charles Platt. “Everything is a matter of perception. The ground is liable to shift under your feet. A protagonist may find himself living out another person’s dream, or he may enter a drug-induced state that actually makes better sense than the real world, or he may cross into a different universe completely.”
Alternate universes and simulacra are common plot devices, with fictional worlds inhabited by common, working people, rather than galactic elites. “There are no heroes in Dick’s books”, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote, “but there are heroics. One is reminded of Dickens: what counts is the honesty, constancy, kindness and patience of ordinary people.” Dick made no secret that much of his thinking and work was heavily influenced by the writings of Carl Jung. The Jungian constructs and models that most concerned Dick seem to be the archetypes of the collective unconscious, group projection/hallucination, synchronicities, and personality theory. Many of Dick’s protagonists overtly analyze reality and their perceptions in Jungian terms (see Lies, Inc.).
Dick identified one major theme of his work as the question, “What constitutes the authentic human being?” In works such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, beings can appear totally human in every respect while lacking soul or compassion, while completely alien beings such as Glimmung in Galactic Pot-Healer may be more humane and complex than their human peers.
“Dick’s third major theme is his fascination with war and his fear and hatred of it. One hardly sees critical mention of it, yet it is as integral to his body of work as oxygen is to water.” - Steven Owen Godersky
Mental illness was a constant interest of Dick’s, and themes of mental illness permeate his work. The character Jack Bohlen in the 1964 novel Martian Time-Slip is an “ex-schizophrenic”. The novel Clans of the Alphane Moon centers on an entire society made up of descendants of lunatic asylum inmates. In 1965, he wrote the essay titled “Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes”.
Drug use (including religious, recreational, and abuse) was also a theme in many of Dick’s works, such as A Scanner Darkly and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Dick himself was a drug user for much of his life. According to a 1975 interview in Rolling Stone, Dick wrote all of his books published before 1970 while on amphetamines. “A Scanner Darkly (1977) was the first complete novel I had written without speed”, said Dick in the interview. He also experimented briefly with psychedelics, but wrote The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), which Rolling Stone dubs “the classic LSD novel of all time”, before he had ever tried them. Despite his heavy amphetamine use, however, Dick later said that doctors told him the amphetamines never actually affected him, that his liver had processed them before they reached his brain.
Summing up all these themes in Understanding Philip K. Dick, Eric Carl Link discussed eight themes or ‘ideas and motifs’: Epistemology and the Nature of Reality, Know Thyself, The Android and the Human, Entropy and Pot Healing, The Theodicy Problem, Warfare and Power Politics, The Evolved Human, and ‘Technology, Media, Drugs and Madness’.
Dick had two professional stories published under the pen names Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland. “Some Kinds of Life” was published in October 1953 in Fantastic Universe under byline Richard Phillipps, apparently because the magazine had a policy against publishing multiple stories by the same author in the same issue; “Planet for Transients” was published in the same issue under his own name.
The short story “Orpheus with Clay Feet” was published under the pen name Jack Dowland. The protagonist desires to be the muse for fictional author Jack Dowland, considered the greatest science fiction author of the 20th century. In the story, Dowland publishes a short story titled “Orpheus with Clay Feet” under the pen name Philip K. Dick.
The surname Dowland refers to Renaissance composer John Dowland, who is featured in several works. The title Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said directly refers to Dowland’s best-known composition, “Flow, my tears”.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) utilizes an array of science fiction concepts and features several layers of reality and unreality. It is also one of Dick’s first works to explore religious themes. The novel takes place in the 21st century, when, under UN authority, mankind has colonized the Solar System’s every habitable planet and moon. Life is physically daunting and psychologically monotonous for most colonists, so the UN must draft people to go to the colonies. Most entertain themselves using “Perky Pat” dolls and accessories manufactured by Earth-based “P.P. Layouts”. The company also secretly creates “Can-D”, an illegal but widely available hallucinogenic drug allowing the user to “translate” into Perky Pat (if the drug user is a woman) or Pat’s boyfriend, Walt (if the drug user is a man). This recreational use of Can-D allows colonists to experience a few minutes of an idealized life on Earth by participating in a collective hallucination.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) is the story of a bounty hunter policing the local android population. It occurs on a dying, poisoned Earth de-populated of almost all animals and all “successful” humans; the only remaining inhabitants of the planet are people with no prospects off-world. The 1968 novel is the literary source of the film Blade Runner (1982). It is both a conflation and an intensification of the pivotally Dickian question: What is real, what is fake? What crucial factor defines humanity as distinctly “alive”, versus those merely alive only in their outward appearance?
Ubik (1969) employs extensive psychic telepathy and a suspended state after death in creating a state of eroding reality. A group of psychics is sent to investigate a rival organisation, but several of them are apparently killed by a saboteur’s bomb. Much of the following novel flicks between different equally plausible realities and the “real” reality, a state of half-life and psychically manipulated realities. In 2005, Time magazine listed it among the “All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels” published since 1923.
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) concerns Jason Taverner, a television star living in a dystopian near-future police state. After being attacked by an angry ex-girlfriend, Taverner awakens in a dingy Los Angeles hotel room. He still has his money in his wallet, but his identification cards are missing. This is no minor inconvenience, as security checkpoints (manned by “pols” and “nats”, the police and National Guard) are set up throughout the city to stop and arrest anyone without valid ID. Jason at first thinks that he was robbed, but soon discovers that his entire identity has been erased. There is no record of him in any official database, and even his closest associates do not recognize or remember him. For the first time in many years, Jason has no fame or reputation to rely on.
He has only his innate charm and social graces to help him as he tries to find out what happened to his past while avoiding the attention of the pols. The novel was Dick’s first published novel after years of silence, during which time his critical reputation had grown, and this novel was awarded the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. It is the only Philip K. Dick novel nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula Award.
In an essay written two years before his death, Dick described how he learned from his Episcopal priest that an important scene in Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – involving its other main character, the eponymous Police General Felix Buckman, was very similar to a scene in Acts of the Apostles, a book of the New Testament. Film director Richard Linklater discusses this novel in his film Waking Life, which begins with a scene reminiscent of another Dick novel, Time Out of Joint.
A Scanner Darkly (1977) is a bleak mixture of science fiction and police procedural novels; in its story, an undercover narcotics police detective begins to lose touch with reality after falling victim to Substance D, the same permanently mind-altering drug he was enlisted to help fight. Substance D is instantly addictive, beginning with a pleasant euphoria which is quickly replaced with increasing confusion, hallucinations and eventually total psychosis. In this novel, as with all Dick novels, there is an underlying thread of paranoia and dissociation with multiple realities perceived simultaneously. It was adapted to film by Richard Linklater.
VALIS (1980) is perhaps Dick’s most postmodern and autobiographical novel, examining his own unexplained experiences. It may also be his most academically studied work, and was adapted as an opera by Tod Machover. Later works like the VALIS trilogy were heavily autobiographical, many with “two-three-seventy-four” (2-3-74) references and influences. The word VALIS is the acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Later, Dick theorized that VALIS was both a “reality generator” and a means of extraterrestrial communication. A fourth VALIS manuscript, Radio Free Albemuth, although composed in 1976, was posthumously published in 1985. This work is described by the publisher (Arbor House) as “an introduction and key to his magnificent VALIS trilogy”.
Blade Runner (1982), based on Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer. A screenplay had been in the works for years before Scott took the helm, with Dick being extremely critical of all versions. Dick was still apprehensive about how his story would be adapted for the film when the project was finally put into motion. Among other things, he refused to do a novelization of the film. But contrary to his initial reactions, when he was given an opportunity to see some of the special effects sequences of Los Angeles 2019, Dick was amazed that the environment was “exactly as how I’d imagined it!”, though Ridley Scott has mentioned he had never even read the source material.
Following the screening, Dick and Scott had a frank but cordial discussion of Blade Runner’s themes and characters, and although they had wildly differing views, Dick fully backed the film from then on, stating that his “life and creative work are justified and completed by Blade Runner”. Dick died from a stroke less than four months before the release of the film.
A Scanner Darkly (2006), directed by Richard Linklater and starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Robert Downey Jr., based on Dick’s novel of the same name. The film was produced using the process of rotoscoping: it was first shot in live-action and then the live footage was animated over.
Next (2007), directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Nicolas Cage, loosely based on the short story “The Golden Man”.
The Terminator series prominently features the theme of humanoid assassination machines first portrayed in Second Variety. The Halcyon Company, known for developing the Terminator franchise, acquired right of first refusal to film adaptations of the works of Philip K. Dick in 2007. In May 2009, they announced plans for an adaptation of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.
Dick was recreated by his fans in the form of a simulacrum or remote-controlled android designed in his likeness. Such simulacra had been themes of many of Dick’s works. The Philip K. Dick simulacrum was included on a discussion panel in a San Diego Comic Con presentation about the film adaptation of the novel, A Scanner Darkly. In February 2006, an America West Airlines employee misplaced the android’s head, and it has not yet been found. In January 2011, it was announced that Hanson Robotics had built a replacement.
In the 1976 alternate history novel The Alteration by Kingsley Amis, one of the novels-within-a-novel depicted is The Man in the High Castle (mirroring The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in the real-life novel), still written by Philip K. Dick. Instead of the novel being set in 1962 in an alternate universe where the Axis Powers won the Second World War and named for Hawthorne Abendsen, the author of its novel-within-a-novel, it depicts an alternate universe where the Protestant Reformation occurred (events including the continuation of Henry VIII’s Schismatic policies by his son, Henry IX, and the creation of an independent North America in 1848), with one character speculating that the titular character was a wizard.
“Flow My Tears” is the name of an instrumental by bassist Stuart Hamm, inspired by Dick’s novel of the same name. The track is found on his album Radio Free Albemuth, also named after a Dick novel.
“Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” and other seminal Ph. K. Dick novels inspired the electronic music concept album “The Dowland Shores of Philip K. Dick’s Universe” by Levente.
“Flow My Tears the Spider Said” is the final song on They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, the second album by experimental Los Angeles punk-rock outfit Liars.
The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s 2011 album The Anarchy and the Ecstasy includes a song entitled “Canonize Philip K. Dick, OK”.
Bloc Party’s 2012 album Four contains several references to Dick’s work, including a song entitled “V.A.L.I.S.”.
Sister, a Sonic Youth album, “was in part inspired by the life and works of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick”.
“What You See” is a song by Faded Paper Figures that pays homage to the literary work of Dick.
The first song on Japancakes’ debut album If I Could See Dallas is titled ‘Now Wait For Last Year’.
Now let’s jump into Extra Credit
Over The Summer this little cute game of charades between Ivanka / Elon and Lana happened.
Lana Wachoski replied back as well
here is the thing, the term “Red Pill” does not come from “The Matrix” it is a black world term, It happens on the day you are initiated and after taking the Green Door Oath. In which they tell you all the secrets to mankind and how far humanity truly has gone.
Your red pill date is a date you will remember forever.
and it was not the first time that the masses saw the red pill refrenced.
The original disclosure for Red Pill is Total Recall
im still confuse of what do you refer/mean when you say Black World. I was thinking it was the world ruled by technology but sure that is not what you meant
can you please give me some other references on that Aries?
Both Inception and The Matrix films are Gold Disclosure for the masses but both films were inspired by Philip K Dick and The Black World.
Listen carefully to this Black World Submariner defining his Red Pill date.
So when people talk about being Red Pill it is both a Philp K Dick Reference and a Black World Reference. If they immediately point towards The Matrix you are dealing with a 101 Normie who’s never experince Solomon Syndrome.
Hey mate, just wondering if you’d heard of Sophia Stewart who supposedly wrote the Matrix. Think she was also involved somehow with The Terminator. Listened to a couple of interviews with her, she seems very clued up.
+100000 really great to read about Philil K Dick as a wizard
Can you redpill us all?
How we can get our hands on the great technology. Do we need to work for the military?