Philip K. Dick & Reshaping the ‘Matrix’

Searching for Reality Behind the Computer Simulations

Everything we think we know about the world and the universe in which we live, whatever we have been led to believe concerning the course of human history, could very well be completely wrong and misinformed. There is a growing belief that some unseen—unknown—intelligence or force may assist or, perhaps, hamper our daily existence and take away our free will.

The late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s gift to mankind was his ability to show us alternate realities that may or may not be parallel to our own. Where did his insight come from? Who was the muse who helped Dick lead us to ways of seeing other worlds? Dick said a kind of supernatural force entered his life and granted him the ability to live in two or more realities simultaneously.

It was Dick who first proposed the idea that what we call reality is really a computer simulation. As John Lennon wrote in the song Strawberry Fields Forever, “Nothing is real.” The movie franchise, The Matrix, is based on Dick’s ideas, though he never received any official credit for his concept from the film’s producers.

Publisher, and the book’s co-author, Timothy Green Beckley, has been experiencing many strange synchronicities since childhood. Included in the book are his memoirs of meaningful ‘coincidences,’ both happy and sad, and his belief that we are all just prisoners who are enclosed in the ‘matrix’ Dick posited.

If we accept the existence of the ‘matrix,’ does that mean that we can also escape it? Can we exert freewill in spite of the unknowably complex nature of the machinery that generates our reality? The Matrix Control System of Philip K. Dick and the Paranormal Synchronicities of Timothy Green Beckley tries to answer that question.

 

The Matrix 

Philip K. Dick remains one of the most revered writers in the history of the science fiction genre. His books and stories have been translated to the big screen many times, in such megahits as Total Recall, Blade Runner, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2006, hipster director Richard Linklater did an animated version of A Scanner Darkly, and Amazon has streamed one take on Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle, which takes a look at what the world might be like if the outcome of World War II had been different and the Axis powers had won.

Dick is also widely credited with originating the concept behind the movie The Matrix. Although never officially acknowledged by the filmmakers, Dick was the first modern sci-fi writer who conjectured that what we think of as everyday reality, the reality where you knock on a table and feel it in your knuckles, is not reality at all. [The basic idea has been around for millennia—at least as far back as Plato.—ED]

Instead, in the modern version, it has been proposed, we live in a computer simulation of reality where unseen puppet masters can bend us to their will at any time. This theory, this concept, has since grown in popularity in UFO and paranormal circles, due in large part to parallel statements and research from the likes of Charles Fort (who thought we were like movable pieces on a giant chest board), UFO researcher Dr. Jacques Vallee, and seminal paranormal writer John A. Keel.

The programmers/overlords “playfully” make themselves known with moments of synchronicity, with meaningful coincidences that cannot possibly have happened by mere chance. Since our lives in the matrix are all we know, it is difficult to even imagine escaping from the predestined existence that has been meted out to us.

 

Girding Up His Loins to Make War on ‘Reality’

Sometimes described as the Hunter Thompson (‘gonzo journalist’) of UFO and Paranormal research, Timothy Green Beckley doesn’t quite agree with the dismal, hopeless perspective of many ‘Matrix’ believers. Beckley believes, as perhaps a prisoner of war might, that it is his duty to at least try to set himself free from the arbitrary control of the program’s designers. If we can imagine freedom from the matrix, does the mere act of imagining make it possible?

Meeting the many challenges of ‘the Matrix’ is the thrust of the book. Four hundred and fifty pages long The Matrix Control System of Philip K. Dick and the Paranormal Synchronicities of Timothy Green Beckley is well-documented and illustrated for a book on such an elusive subject. Written in an easy-to-comprehend, conversational style, with only minor references to more intellectually obscure and complex figures, such as Carl Jung, whose concepts on synchronicity can sometimes be difficult too follow for even his most ardent students.

The new book opens with an introduction by the late Dick’s widow, Tessa. “Tim Beckley has a firm handle on the nature of the strange incidents,” she writes, “that occurred in the life of my husband, Philip K. Dick. Whereas many writers have chosen the easy way out, offering explanations ranging from epilepsy to drug abuse, Beckley has dug deep into the story of Phil’s life and unearthed evidence that such things really do happen to many people.”

According to Tessa, her late husband often questioned his own sanity, a form of self-doubt, which, for those who experience synchronicity and the paranormal, seems to come with the territory.

“He told stories for a living,” Tessa writes, “and he told stories for fun. He took the little anomalies of our world and spun them into alternative realities. He also warned us of the police state in which we live. The Nazis won World War II, and the Empire never ended. We must wake up and see the world as it is, not as the media present it to us. Behind the propaganda, this world is all about control.”

 

A Life-Changing Knock on the Door

The visionary mysticism that would come to dominate Philip K. Dick’s final years began in 1974, with a visit from the local drugstore. It was a pivotal moment in Dick’s life and has been much written about and analyzed since.

Dick had recently been to see the dentist about an impacted wisdom tooth. The procedure included a dose of sodium pentothal. Next, a young woman delivered a bottle of Darvon tablets to Dick at his apartment in Fullerton, California. She was wearing a necklace with a pendant of a golden fish, an ancient Christian symbol that had been adopted by the Jesus counterculture movement of the late 1960s.

The fish pendant, he later recalled, began to emit a golden ray of light and he suddenly experienced what is called “anamnesis,” the recollection of the entire sum of knowledge. It is also called “intellectual intuition,” the direct perception by the mind of a metaphysical reality behind the screens of appearance. Dick had seen the ultimate nature of what he called “true reality.”

In the following days and weeks, he would have psychedelic visions and see phantasmagorical light shows. He also heard “voices” and experienced prophetic dreams. These phenomena would continue until his death eight years later at the age of 53.

After the 1974 experience with the pendant and his sudden awakening, Dick dedicated the rest of his life to understanding what it all meant. He wrote a lengthy, 8,000-page analysis of the events called “Exegesis,” what he called “an attempt to understand my own understanding.”

That understanding would lead Dick to practice a form of Christianity called Gnosticism, which New York Times columnist Simon Critchley, in writing about Dick’s conversion, called “the worship of an alien God by those alienated from the world.”

Dick believed that he, along with the rest of us, were all living simultaneously in the present day as well as the time of the first Christians in Rome. The political and economic structure of our modern world is really the BIP, or Black Iron Prison, which is opposed to the spiritual redemption offered by the PTG, or Palm Tree Garden. This is again a belief heavily influenced by the Gnostics, many of whom held that the physical, material world is really the creation of the God of Evil and that we await salvation from an “alien” God, a true “extraterrestrial,” not bound up in the wickedness and oppression on our planet’s surface.

At one point, Dick’s voices and visions drove him to attempt suicide, and he was placed in a mental hospital. “When I believe, I am crazy,” he wrote. “When I don’t believe, I suffer psychotic depression.” But elsewhere Dick says more optimistically, “I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane.”

There is, of course, the tritely familiar expression that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Philosophers have also argued that there is a fine line between madness and genuine religious experience. Could Dick’s “alien God” truly free us from the Matrix? Did Dick mark a path to freedom that we might one day follow?

 

The Strange Ups and Downs of Synchronicity

The second part of the new book’s title is The Paranormal Synchronicities of Timothy Green Beckley. As a memoirist of meaningful coincidence, Beckley has few equals. His life is saturated with moments that he believes force him to acknowledge the invisible maker of all things in the ‘matrix.’

According to his biography on the Coast to Coast radio show website, Beckley’s life, since early childhood has virtually revolved around the ‘paranormal.’ At age three, his life was saved by an invisible force. The house he was raised in was thought to be haunted. His grandfather saw a headless horseman. Beckley vividly recalls out-of-body experiences starting at age six and saw his first UFO at age ten. He has had two more sightings since, and even attempted to communicate with one of those.

Beckley has written over 25 books on everything from rock music to the secret MJ12 papers. He has been a stringer for the national tabloids such as the Enquirer and editor of over 30 different magazines. He is one of the few Americans ever invited to speak before closed-door meetings on UFOs, presided over by the late Earl of Clancarty at the House of Lords in England.

Perhaps one of Beckley’s most “intimidating” experiences with the matrix would involve Philip K. Dick, himself, and an Episcopal clergyman, Bishop James Pike. In 1966, Pike performed the wedding ceremony for Dick and his fourth wife, Nancy Herbert.

Pike was himself an anomaly. He was under fire from the church for what were considered at the time to be “radical” views, like the ordination of women to the priesthood, racial desegregation, and the acceptance of LGBT people within the mainline churches. Pike also had controversial opinions on the Virgin Birth, the Second Coming of Jesus, and other basic church doctrines.

A few months before the bishop officiated at Dick’s wedding, Pike’s son committed suicide. The young man had been residing in a single room in a hotel off Broadway in midtown Manhattan. He had been depressed and using drugs, and just couldn’t take it anymore.

A friend of Beckley’s, a woman named Sandra, whose family lived in an apartment next door to young Pike’s, said the condition of the room had been “messy” in the aftermath of Pike’s use of a handgun to take his own life. “But I didn’t realize,” Beckley said, “until I spoke to Sandra recently, that I had slept in the very room where the tragic event had taken place.” The room had eventually been merged with the apartment rented by Sandra’s family, and Beckley had stayed there many times. But no one had ever told him about the history of Room 429.

There is a lot more to the story Beckley has to tell about Dick, Pike, and Pike’s son, events that would come to involve a well-known spiritualist and medium named the Reverend Arthur Ford as well as Diamond Jim Brady, the dapper man-about-town of the early twentieth century. For the full story, read the book, as Beckley recounts a chain of events that is both amazing and nightmarish but which cannot be briefly summed up in the space here.

 

Transcending the Matrix

The Matrix Control System of Philip K. Dick and the Paranormal Synchronicities of Timothy Green Beckley also offers contributions from an extensive cast of paranormal writers and researchers, including: Tim Swartz, Brad Steiger, Nick Redfern, Diane Tessman, Valerie D’Orazio, Brent Raynes, Cynthia Cirile, Hercules Invictus, and Joseph Green.

The various authors discuss their own experiences with synchronicity and provide an overview of some of the “real-world” factors that support Dick’s concept that our reality has been preprogrammed by computer “designers,” of whose existence we can barely conceive, let alone, claim to understand.

Our existence means something. It is important to us, even if we live in a mechanized contrivance that is basically indifferent to our struggles and hardships. Perhaps, by coming to understand what synchronicity really is, we will be taking that first step to a truly free form of consciousness that transcends the ‘matrix’ entirely.

By Sean Casteel