Philip K. Dick and the Frontier of Soul
This one will be ‘way, ‘way out.
In many spiritual paths, people are told that all esoteric or paranormal experiences should be 100 percent personal and kept secret from everyone. That makes sense in many contexts, but should not be taken to extremes. I suddenly associate this with a time when I was on a quiet little tourist boat on the peaceful lake in the center of Guilin in China, passing by a very small island with just a few trees and rocks and low pi nk light to warn ships – and a speaker, through which filtered an instrumental version of the old song “The sound of silence.. silence like a cancer grows..” And before that, I was reminded by a couple of scenes on the theme of “when the truth must out” in The Dark Knight Rises, a movie I saw with Luda and Chris at noon yesterday (this is 3AM Sunday).
Whether the human species survives or (not), I resolved about a year or two ago (or three, when I saw the US Senate at work) that I personally at this stage of life should give the spiritual side of life its due. Whatever the story of other people – my own “soul” has at least much chance of survival as anything on this planet, and something which is half my being should get at least half the energy, especially since it has more useful life expectancy than the other half right now. Also, it is half my own special comparative advantage. (From age eight or ten to 21, I thought mathematics was my comparative advantage, and maybe some genetic correlates of that, but I learned otherwise… though like Jung and Pythagoras I see the associations between mathematics, music and mysticism.)
But how to DO that? Given our ignorance, given the huge mix of rational and irrational barriers, how can we really do justice to spiritual development?
There are so many reasons for inhibitions in even talking about it, rationally based on the fact that we are all so uncertain about the meaning of our experiences, which we encode differently in our psyches. But if we firmly develop the discipline of how to live with uncertainty, and how to map out the diversity of coding systems, we can be rational about some of these things (not omniscient but rational!), and not totally flip out or succumb to destructive forms of imbalance. We can maintain a kind of impedance matches, to avoid the twin dangers of deadening ourselves or overwhelming ourselves… let alone falling into nutty wrong convictions.
In my case, I do have one “secret weapon” on the coding side. The Rosicrucians call it “assumption.” My paper in August 2012 Neural Networks has a section on dreams where we “are” another person. That section is a Trojan Horse. It is totally justified by very serious science, a bit like the original “Lucid Dreams” work at Stanford (but more mathematically grounded than that.) Yet in the same way, it urges the reader to open up in a way which mobilizes certain spiritual or paranormal powers. Some folks have been unhinged by lucid dreams, but I hope my version is relatively safe as such things go. I hope that the experience, by a person grounded in sanity (the main theme of the ugust 2012 paper), of what it feels like to be a DIFFERENT PERSON, will generally lead to more ethical and socially constructive behavior and thought.
For myself, I have had such experiences for many years, since the 1970’s, maybe a bit less just a couple of years ago. But there have been literally thousands of them,
And lots and lots of veridical support. In the bulk of the cases, where they see “green,” I also see green … but I remember a white woman who saw herself as black when she started to feel sexual feelings she felt she shouldn’t. And how they see life and society and other people is incredibly different, so much so that it’s hard to adapt to, especially when you see that person the next day and need to behave almost as if nothing happened. (“Almost”: one can be a bit more sensitive to them, of course, in the usual case where people are not too touchy about their motives. And tuning into most people around you is not advisable, when stronger spiritual connections between you and them are not appropriate – a special consideration for me, since I tend to amplify the projections of anyone I connect to strongly. Flows of qi or backpropagation, as in a neural network or vine.)
But all of this is baby stuff. Preface.
I also have experience which I have not fully digested involving time, and the survival of the soul, which I have never expressed yet to anyone. Lots of it.
This morning I feel especially called to record two “assumption dreams” I had after
reading the first 20 or 30 pages of “The Exegis of Philip K. Dick” before going to
bed. Let me emphasize that I do not just take dreams at face value, that I have far more trust in a state I think of as “cosmic consciousness” when I am not dreaming at all (which usually happens AFTER all dreams but before I leave bed), etc.
But I must give one more piece of background. I have at times had assumption dreams and others exploring the realm of the dead. And yes, I have had a bit of contact with Dr. Joel Whitton, author of Life Between Life and the recent sequel
not yet published (I think), who has worked hard to reconcile what he has seen in neuroscience and hypnosis and parapsychology experiments with theory from the Tibetan Book of the Dead and Rosicrucianism (by giving more definition to those viewpoints). I think back to meetings with my father, with an old friend Jeff Keppel, and with the crew of the Challenger (translated in time to two weeks before the actual crash). I am not a Swedenborgian, but the book What Dreams May Come by Mathieson struck my fancy; even though the movie does not do full justice to the book, I did send a video of it to my mother when she was going through a rough patch.
So… perhaps it was predictable, but after reading Dick’s material for an hour before going to sleep, and thinking loosely about that stuff… which I had some direct insight into… It is not surprising that I had two dreams which I remember right now which reflect that. My crude summary:
1. Second visit to a kind of tour service (organized a bit like a cruise line) to a kind of peaceful Jurassic park, on the first leg finding a peaceful place to sleep amongst the human-sized brown dinosaurs (among other things), and on the second leg visiting the new headquarters (reminding me of a new building on an old road in Urumqi, where I was last week) of the tour service to discuss the next phase of the tour.
2. Starting from a kind of normal social gathering at a kind of campus or party kind of area … moving on to inspect a kind of tough hiking trail for future use, going up in the final trek to an alternate trail much more rugged than the usual one, by a very vigorous mountain stream with great energy… one place with no handholds requiring great care but flat and no cliff type hazards.. and another next to a huge cliff, but with some plastic clear barriers to prevent any real danger, closer to the end.
What are these? In a more conscious state as I woke... I had not CHOSEN or MEANT to tune into Dick, but I >80% interpret these as assumption traces of what he himself is going through right now, considering choices for his next incarnation. They are encoded versions (>90%) of the issue of choosing incarnations.
AFTER that… I attribute somewhat higher probability to the general gist of Whitten or core Tibetan (“mindfulness”) Buddhism. (Rosicrucianism is more consciously a “big tent” which discusses several possibilities.) After that and a
few other things. Also, my thinking is more precise than anything in this posting.
Again, I did not do anything whatsoever to create this kind of assumption effect,
nor did I even think of it as I read those pages. There were too many other things going on in those pages. As I sat in the big brown chair in our living room, I mentioned to Luda that some parts of those pages reminded me of the quote from Meng Tze in Yung Fulan which seemed fuzzy and weird to others but perfectly clear to me and resonant with very definite experience. (I actually had a bit of contact with Dick himself in old days. His book on Palmer Eldritch really hit home, when I was a graduate student at Harvard.. before the Civil Service dampened out so much.)
Gossamer threads connecting us all… some aspects of time. In those days, I projected a lot about tachyons myself, after Schwinger expressed some interest and I asked myself some questions… though I later learned other options.
I am tempted to say more about time (which has been very striking to me in recent experience not in dreams at all) and about the soul interface (following on thoughts started when I was in Istanbul a couple of years ago).. but it is now 4AM, an hour after I started typing this. I promised Luda I would return after this
“bout of the muse,” which I do not plan to mention on Facebook… only in the most obscure place…
Best of luck,
Added at 6AM:
In any discussion of Philip K. Dick, I should mention that -- unlike
Bill Clinton or Barack Obama -- I emphatically never touched marijuana
or any other illicit substance at all, even though the cultural pressures
I experienced were stronger that way to at least try marijuana once.
I remember in the early 1970's learning that all the dozens of former students from Lawrenceville I could track had tried marijuana at least once -- except me and a
Chinese friend, Chen.
Many reasons why. Not least of them -- the realm of human experience is complex enough without adding gross additional random disturbance. Also... knowing how difficult it is to evolve something as well crafted as a human brain (for all its limits)...
to me, taking psychedelic substances would be like booting up a high precision computer, and then hitting it with a sledge hammer. No way.
Other that that, I was a lot like Palmer Eldritch, as part of my life, in the 1970's.
There was also a Dick novel where there was a minor character, whose
name for psychic purposes was the Chinese word for "word" (I then often
used Verbus, the proper pronunciation of my own last name) projecting as a simple kitchen pot... warning him not to put too much faith in a less honest projector who was
a bigger part of that particular story.
Another reason is that what we have by nature is powerful enough... and I did resonate
a bit with a little book by Annie Besant which I had read which discussed such things.
Yes, I read Andrew Weil's Natural Mind (when a suitemate showed it to me)
and, in more detail, the Castaneda series of books. Still no real temmptation,
given my awareness of the other aspects. I remember a very intelligent anthropologist I met circa 1980, who had studied in the Amazon, and also read Weil... and,
intelligent or not, ended up dead as a result of believing Weil too much.
I have had moderate use of alcohol and caffeine, on-again off-again,but
lately more off-again. They start to hurt my body long before they do much to
my brain. I join my Chinese compatriots at baijiu at dinner, but I always say
"saluda" instead of "kampei," even though some do not like that, because it is better to really taste the flavor of a small amount than wash too much down the throat.
Two big decafs every day at work... and a cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning
only at some special times (like with my wife on a weekend, or at a conference where
there is little choice).
3PM the same day:
I have scanned through the whole of the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.
Quite a trip.
From pages 20 to 45, I was happy to see some progress from commonplace delusions
to signs of real insight. When he got to The Other, he began to seem as if he
was intuiting something about "Assumption" (though he did miss some basic aspects).
But... after the last lucid bit, about page 179... it never really seemed to
converge with reality.
The bit about "hypertime" reminded me of my first Nuovo Cimento paper, circa 1974...
though as I learned better math, I saw less and less need for such scaffolding.
Only very recently have I begun to think again about that kind of possibility, but
not in florid sort of way Dick does.
In general, it reminds me of how some dreams can be a MIX of fantasy and
Best of luck...