The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick

If you haven’t heard of Philip K. Dick’s exegesis, it was a self-reported religious experience that inspired Philip K. Dick to write his “VALIS” series, as well as his remaining novels. Which is, arguably, of a much more spiritual quality than his previous works, and albeit a bit more out there I think they’re some of his most profound writing.

In summation, when Dick was at home sick, he was visited by a courier who was wearing an Ichthys around her neck. When Dick answered the door, the reflection of light met his eyes and in his words experienced :

In that instant, as I stared at the gleaming fish sign and heard her words, I suddenly experienced what I later learned is called anamnesis—a Greek word meaning, literally, “loss of forgetfulness.” I remembered who I was and where I was. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. And not only could I remember it but I could see it. The girl was a secret Christian and so was I. We lived in fear of detection by the Romans. We had to communicate with cryptic signs. She had just told me all this, and it was true.

For a short time, as hard as this is to believe or explain, I saw fading into view the black, prisonlike contours of hateful Rome. But, of much more importance, I remembered Jesus, who had just recently been with us, and had gone temporarily away, and would very soon return. My emotion was one of joy. We were secretly preparing to welcome Him back. It would not be long. And the Romans did not know. They thought He was dead, forever dead. That was our great secret, our joyous knowledge. Despite all appearances, Christ was going to return, and our delight and anticipation were boundless

There are a lot of inquiries into this anamnesis, my favorite of which is his own “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later”.

There was a repost of the comic on Hacker News. I have attached the first three pages below, and here is the comments section.

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick

Original Source

The quality may seem poor, but it is essentially the only source I have been able to find online and it could be a very small font. I’d love to see an original though.

Edit: This appears to be gaining some traction on the Hacker News comment section, so I did want to add if you want to take it a step further I invite you to read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” I’m not sponsored by Amazon or anything, buy it second hand, etc. but it’s a great read and probably cheap 🙂 It also talks of the loss of ego, and Phaedrus. I feel like I’m giving a bit of the spoilers away, but they aren’t at all. It is a fun concept to talk about, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this in the future.

Other Philip K. Dick works of note: “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said”, “The Divine Invasion”, “Radio Free Albemuth”, “Ubik”… This could continue on for awhile, but I recommend the entire library based on the handful I’ve read.

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