The Paranoia, and the Prophetic Genius of Philip K. Dick

The works of science-fiction author Philip K. Dick are the most authentic articles of modern prophecy since Nostrodomus.

Many of his works have made it to the movie theaters over the past 26 years, ‘Blade Runner’ (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), ‘A Scanner Darkly’, ‘Paycheck’, ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Minority Report’ to name a few.

Like most geniuses however, PKD suffered from episodes of paranoia and delusions, possibly from premature birth and a death of a twin sister when they were five weeks old. Dick often refered to her as his ‘phantom twin’, which was a recurrent theme through-out his writing career.

But Dick would say his illnesses were from the ‘visions’ and ‘possessions’ he suffered during the 1970s. Oddly, some of his best writing was produced during this time.

Throughout February and March 1974, he received a series of visions, which he referred to as “two-three-seventy four” (2-3-74), shorthand for February-March 1974. He described the initial visions as laser beams and geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and of ancient Rome. As the visions increased in length and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live a double life, one as himself, “Philip K. Dick”, and one as “Thomas”, a Christian persecuted by Romans in the 1st century A.D. Despite his history of drug use and elevated stroke risk, Dick began seeking other rationalist and religious explanations for these experiences. He referred to the “transcendentally rational mind” as “Zebra”, “God” and, most often, “VALIS“. Dick wrote about the experiences in the semi-autobiographical novels VALIS and Radio Free Albemuth.

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 story from the Biblical Book of Acts, which he had never read.[15]

In time, Dick became paranoid, imagining plots against him by the KGB and FBI. At one point, he alleged they were responsible for a burglary of his house, from which documents were stolen. He later came to suspect that he might have committed the burglary against himself, and then forgotten he had done so. Dick himself speculated as to whether he may have suffered from schizophrenia.

However paranoid Dick became, his powers of predictive deduction were not diminished. If anything, they increased with time.

One such item, although he initially wrote about it in 1965, is becoming reality now in this time period, courtesy of DARPA, the Pentagon’s best friend:

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVE: The Gandalf program is an advanced technology and development and demonstration program that is seeking solutions to the functions of radio frequency (RF) geolocation and emitter identification using specific emitter identification (SEI) for specific signals of interest. The ultimate goal of the Gandalf program is to enable a set of handheld devices to be utilized to perform RF geolocation and SEI on RF signals of interest to the Gandalf program. The specific goals and performance objectives associated with RF geolocation and SEI for the Gandalf system are classified.

The basic idea is that a group of agents or troops could carry a hand-held gadget that could pick out the phone of a specific person, and then target that person.

Philip K. Dick had a unique understanding of the military mind, and he called this one in his wonderful 1965 novel The Zap Gun. He called this process of targeting a single individual needle-eyeification:

“The final solution,” Febbs said, “in my opinion, in n-e weapons.” N-e: that signified the esoteric term, used in Wes-bloc’s weapons circles such as the Board which he now (God in his wisdom be praised!) belonged to, needle-eye. And needle-eyeification was the fundamental direction which weapons had been taking for a near half-century. It meant, simply, weapons with the most precise effect conceivable. In theory it was possible to imagine a weapon – as yet untranced of by Mr. Lars himself, still – that would slay one given individual at a given instant at a given intersection at one particular given city in Peep-East. Or in Wes-bloc, for that matter…

God, how clearly he could conceive it in his own mind!

Now my question is this, “Is this a case of art imitating life, or life imitating art?”

Is the US Government purposely using the genius of a dead science-fiction author to create the weapons of oppression to be used against its citizens?

Or was P.K. Dick a latter-day prophet, tortured by visions he could barely understand and was trying to warn a future world of dangers that only demons in hell could dream up?

DARPA Gandalf Project And Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick Wikipedia entry


11 responses

  1. […] Read more: The Paranoia, and the Prophetic Genius of Philip K. Dick […]

  2. Whoof ! I loved PKD when I was young but stopped reading after his death. Mistake !
    Anyway, I looked at the Wikipedia entry and was startled at some of the stuff he was coming out with – because I have experienced some of the feeling of shared consciousness.
    I don’t see how we can admit the Rhine evidence of telepathy and then immediately say we’ve ‘gone off our nut’ if we occasionally have that subjective experience : but then ‘consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds’, hm ?
    For me, I would think there’s small evidence that I am occasionally a ‘projective telepath’ anyway – which means I can ‘talk’ but don’t ‘hear’ so well. Try damn near never.

  3. Thank you for this post. Phil might have been paranoid, but he was also correct. He used to talk about Sinclair Lewis’ novel Babbit, in which advertising media created a false reality. But then, Babbit was not specualtive fiction; it was a mainstream novel about a man whose life was meaningless. Yet it was not boring?

    ~~ Tessa Dick

  4. I read VALIS once years ago.

    I couldn’t understand it at all.

    I’m willing to give it another try after my past two years of InnerTube travels.

    I never had the telepathic thing happen to me, that I’m aware of.

    But I swear my wife reads my mind at times.

    I chalk that up to familiarity breeds contempt though! 😆

  5. Thanks for stopping by Tessa, Phil’s genius indeed transcends time. His insights do exceed Michel de Nostrodame’s in my view.

    That’s interesting about Lewis’ ‘Babbit’.

    Another case of “life imitating art” perhaps?

    Qui bono?

  6. The world is getting too small. They might say we’re crazy; but it’s only the next step to start noticing and looking outside our common sphere. And find common grounds among the “outer” cosmos, too.

  7. […] there was the paranoia, his prodigious appetite for amphetamines, his obsession with Linda Ronstadt and his fear that […]

  8. Some people are slightly synesthetic when it comes to ‘seeing’ the events of the future… Dicks were on a macro level… he could see society changes in the future… but rarely were his predictions related to ‘this one person will change the world’

    Now prediction like this was also carried out by Asimov… Remember Asimov predicted the internet, gay rights, mobile phones, computer technology, androids technology, and all sorts of amazing things you would image nobody could predict from such a vantage point…. but if you asked anyone with knowledge of basic physics in the 1850’s ‘will anyone ever create a machine that can fly thrgouh the air or into space’ they would all predict the answer to be YES and might even draw one for you!

    These predictions are made by adding up what we know of the world as it is now…and like playing chess working out all the potential venues available… some are better than others at this…some are better educated to begin with giving them a broader base to draw on.

    However if you are synesthetic in predictive ability then you arrive at an answer but can’t relay to others how you managed to come to that conclusion in a language they would understand. You might be able to smell, hear, touch things that are in the future.. and simply not be able to explain that to others…

    Now I do not subscribe to any paranormal, supernatural or weird and whacky ideas… but at the same time, given P K Dicks hit rate…I’m really worried about his last prediction… it really really worries me.

  9. I realise this is just a teeny bit late… but I can’t see how on earth you could put together a blog post about Phil Dick’s prophesies, precognition, his paranoia, psychosis, and 2-3-74 without mentioning the one event that is utterly inexplicable even today.

    I am, of course, referring to the near death of his baby son. After he first encountered the pink light beam from that lady’s fish necklace, he had various hallucinations and other weird experiences, but one day something quite startling happened. He was sitting at home when he very suddenly heard a voice that told him his son was going to die. This was an apparently healthy infant – I’m not sure how old exactly, but I think less than a year at this point – but the voice told him he had an undiagnosed condition, the precise name and nature of which I can’t remember right now. But it was an internal thing, genetic, and it was something he was born with but had been undetected. This voice told Dick exactly what the condition was, so he could tell the doctors what tests to run. Then he was told to get his son to the hospital right away, or there would be a catastrophe.

    So he did. He ran to the next room, told his wife exactly what the voice just told him, and they took the kid straight to the emergency room. I’m not entirely sure what transpired there, except for the fact that they did some tests and were utterly flabbergasted to find that Dick’s completely evidence-free diagnosis was 100% correct. The boy received treatment and he lived.

    Without that panicked trip to the hospital, the child would have soon died without anyone knowing why until the autopsy.

    I’ve never read of anyone disputing this, so as far as I’m concerned it’s more or less a modern-day miracle as impressive as anything a certain well-known carpenter is reputed to have performed a couple of thousand years ago.

    I’d be interested if anyone know more about how this happened, or if it was later found to be a hoax or something.

    Anyway, apart from that type of inspired prophecy, Dick did imagine or foresee a great deal of our modern world, and the social/political consequences of some of the technology that was barely extant when he was writing about it.

    Despite this, as a modern-day scientific Nostrodamus he can’t even hold a candle next to Arthur C Clarke. He ‘invented’ the satellite, the concept of geosynchronous orbits, the modern PC as well as the internet, various types of android and artificial intelligence, as well as the concept of an automated system for early-warning of approaching asteroids. And those are just off the top of my head without researching anything. Clarke was a genuine visionary of the non-drug-fuelled kind, who was a real engineer and consulted with NASA and many other similar organisations over his life. He practically invented the late 20th century.

    it’s just a shame he was probably some kind of pedophile, or at least that’s what the rumour was about his reasons for moving to Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka).

  10. In the 20th Century visionaries such as Clarke, Dick and Asimov were not only great writers of fiction, but actually worked in the mainstream world to bring about their visions, drug fuelled or otherwise.

    Maybe these folks were able to tap into an over-laying Consciousness that had these esoteric realities swimming around us?

    Just my own weird theory. 🙂

  11. […] But, oh, was he weird. This was a guy who would obsess over his dead twin. The poor thing, named Jane, died at two months. A frequent sufferer of panic attacks, Dick visited his first psychiatrist at 6 years old. He was agoraphobic and had fears of certain kinds of food as well. His paranoia is legendary. […]

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