Daily Wisdom-isms: The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick

“They”. “Them”. “The Establishment”. “The Machine.” Whatever it’s called, it’s the same thing: The ultimate force plotting the sinister downfall of humanity.  PKD called it “The Empire”. This force is always illusive and only seems exposed through “glitches” in the system.  Fighting the system is futile, because even if you win, you lose.


“The Empire is the institution, the codification, of derangement; it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one.

To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox. Whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.” —-Philip K. Dick, “Valis” p. 235


Now think back to every movement that has challenged the system in the past 100 years. What’s happened to them? What happened to the hippie movement? To the Tea Party? To the Occupy movement? Each one was infiltrated and co-opted by the “Empire”.  Each one mutated into what it so desperately fought against. And there you have the paradox.

About That One Guy

Jason lives, laughs and loves in the Land of Enchantment. He has been many exciting things in his life, but his title has always been "author." His book, "The Ruined Man," was a finalist in the 2017 NM-AZ Book Awards. Follow him on Facebook at: facebook.com/jasondegrayauthor Twitter: @infinityjones and Instagram @theruinedman and don't forget to check out his blog at universalshiftblog.wordpress.com

Posted on May 2, 2013, in Author, Fiction, Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality, Spirituality, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. This is true! I especially think of Christianity. Love your enemies, die before you seek revenge, give to those who would take from you… and yet, the history of the church is riddled with this infection of the Empire. I don’t mean to pick on the church, it just happens to be on my mind in regard to this.

    • I was talking with a friend the other day about this. I think the Church was infected by the “Empire” as soon as it was adopted as Rome’s state religion. Once that happened it grew in influence and power until it mutated into the corrupt beast it’s become.

      • That seems like a likely place for it to go wrong. But maybe the “wrongness” was more from it being a movement at all. That seems to be what the PKD way of looking at things would imply. The alignment with Rome just sealed the deal that had been inked much earlier.

      • True. And in all fairness, the Gnostics were running rampant in the Christian world and seriously annoying the Pauline sects. They’d been battling back and forth right up until the Council of Nicaea.

      • A lot of people idealize the Gnostics. They were better in some ways and worse in others. But ultimately, I think PKD is right. Even if they won that battle by the very nature of engaging in the battle they would have lost.

        So, what do you do? Give up on the world? Seek your own enlightenment and leave a few clues behind so some folks might find their own way but always be obscure enough that no one can turn your ideas into a movement?

        Not much social consciousness in that, eh?

      • It’s true. If the Gnostics would’ve come out on top the same thing would’ve happened. They would have essentially become part of the empire. Not much social consciousness at all. But maybe that was the point of their failure. PKD thought our screwed up reality was a self correcting system. That’s what his experience with VALIS was ultimately about: this broken universe fixing itself. To him and the Gnostics that would happen through truth via information. That truth, that information, was a living thing to him and it operated outside the confines of the Empire though it was trapped within it at times (or so it seemed). So if the Gnostics really were on to something truthful then they couldn’t become part of the Empire as they would’ve been rejected for propagating the living truth (or Holy Spirit) that PKD experienced.

      • I may have to dig into Valis. I think I read it many years ago and a lot of it went over my head.

      • Definitely worth another read. VALIS and the other two books in the series (Transmigration of T. Archer and The Divine Invasion) were all attempts by PKD to make sense of his religious experience. I think there was a lot of stuff not even HE understood. lol.

  2. Reblogged this on erickeys.

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