I actually had to develop a love of the disordered & puzzling, viewing reality as a vast riddle to be joyfully tackled, not in fear but with tireless fascination. What has been most needed is reality testing, & a willingness to face the possibility of self-negating experiences: i.e., real contradicitons, with something being both true & not true.
The enigma is alive, aware of us, & changing. It is partly created by our own minds: we alter it by perceiving it, since we are not outside it. As our views shift, it shifts in a sense it is not there at all (acosmism). In another sense it is a vast intelligence; in another sense it is total harmonia and structure (how logically can it be all three? Well, it is).
Page 91 (1979)
In Pursuit of VALIS: Selections from the Exegesis
by Philip K. Dick, edited by Lawrence Sutin
This deeply touches upon my experience. I also had to develop a love of the disorderd & puzzling… for I never felt capable of denying these or distracting myself from their effect upon me. If I didn’t learn to love the puzzles that thwarted my understanding, then seemingly the only other choice would be to fear them.
I was just thinking about the several years after my highschool graduation. For most people, this time of life is filled with a sense of bright opportunity and youthful fun. But, for me, it was the darkest time of my life. I felt utterly lost with no good choice available to me. I questioned deeply because my life was on the line… quite literally… because it was during these years that I attempted suicide.
I don’t remember exactly when I discovered PKD, but it was around that period of my life. PKD’s questioning mind resonated with my experience. The questions I asked only exacerbated my depression, but I did not know how to stop asking them. So, to read someone who had learned to love the unanswerable questions was refreshing. Plus, I was inspired by the infinite playfulness of his imagination.
Imagination was what I sorely needed during that time of feeling stuck in harsh reality. To imagine ‘what if’ was a way of surviving day by day, and the play of possibilities brought a kind of light into my personal darkness. I won’t say that PKD saved my life, but he did help me to see something good in it all.
Then, I became interested in other writers for quite a while. I had even given away most of my PKD books. I’d forgotten why I had liked him so much until A Scanner Darkly came out. I watched it twice in the theater and was very happy to be reacquainted with PKD. That movie really captured his writing like none other.
Those years spent away from PKD’s work, I had been seeking out various answers(such as those provided by the great Ken Wilber). But now I feel like I’m in a mood again to simply enjoy the questions.
I’ve been taking notes on another book and came across some lines that resonate with my sense of what PKD was about:
“Mercury is the trickster, happiest when he is at play. Playing he is able to achieve the double consciousness of the comic mode: the world is serious and not serious at the same time, a meaningful pattern of etenrity and a filmy veil blocking the beyond.”
The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines
Eric G. Wilson