Click to Subscribe
‘A Vast and Important Book’
Exegesis of Phillip K. Dick 4:13, Reading from Pages 14-16
Letter to Claudia Bush, July 5, 1974
Dick has been plagued by the same reoccurring dream which focuses on a huge blue book which his dream guides—silently it seems—hold before him and implore him to seek out. Perhaps the only things I have in common with Dick are our unusually high output, prodigious reading, poor spelling and disturbing and repeating dreams, occurring after we had written the larger portion of our work—on the downside if you will. So, I wonder if perhaps Dick’s subconscious is attempting to ransack his aggregate reading.
As it turns out, the book is a tedious biography of Warren G. Harding, 700 pages of tiny type, a book which was blue, which was in Dick’s own massive library, and which he regarded as nigh unreadable, effusing to delve into it even after those who he regards as the avatars of God had directed him to.
He postscripts:
“This is on the level, and it goes to show you that you should never take your dreams too seriously. Or else it shows that the unconscious or the universe or God or whatever can put you on. A three-month gag.”
At over 900 pages, I have outstayed my chance at reading this entire book at my hosts, so will continue with this serious of letters and then randomly open the book a few hundred pages in to check for conceptual drift. At this point, I read Dick’s dream experiences, not as external contact but as internal sorting.
The Mind of Mescaline Franklin
The Awakening of a Paleface Ethnocist
prev:  Saving Our History     ‹  blog  ›     next:  Marie and Madeline
of the sunset world
book of nightmares
black & pale
logic of steel
supplicant song
c8Aug 10, 2019

"At this point, I read Dick’s dream experiences, not as external contact but as internal sorting."

James shaving brilliantly with Occam's Razor again...

Dick's "pink light" experience, when the hippy chick (id) showed up at his door one day wearing a fish symbol necklace (superego) caused Dick to have a vision of the world as the Roman Empire, and the idea came unbidden into his mind that 'The Empire Never Ended.' Per Dick, we still subsist in the actual Roman Empire, the lineaments blurred perhaps by our own hallucinations, prompted by an invidious media complex.

The experience with the girl at the door wearing the symbol of the Christian underground, c. 250 BC, led him to write the Valis trilogy, fleshing out his ideations in a novel set in Messiah-seeking 70's Cali, the Golden Age meets the Golden Boy, and the whole thing plays out as farce that must, according to the iron rule of the universe, end as tragedy. As you note with such concision, this was Dick the writer's way of grappling with the reality of illusion. Dick was able to analyze and finally comprehend this apparent need of our brains, scouring the universe like radio antennae for signals, for signs of intelligent life, to occasionally deceive themselves, conjure signals from coincidence, signs in the sky, or, perhaps most pitifully, from errant nighttime electrochemical rebalancings. If the right amygdala is burdened by an emotion or confusion, the left amydgala conjures at 2am a story about a celestial wheel, or a puppy that talks, or whatever. Balance is restored by hook or by crook. We can barely intuit the mechanism. Freud, high on coke, wrote entire books on attempting to assign real world importance to Dreamthink. What a maroon!

Of course, I think we can all agree, Dick would have discovered if he had read the Blue Book that Warren G. Harding was his father.
responds: Aug 10, 2019

Well written, Sir.
Add a new comment below: