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Daily Wisdomisms: Philip K. Dick (The Empire)

Another excerpt from The Exegesis taken from the appendix to VALIS. This particular excerpt rings true to my soul. Enjoy!

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.” PKD VALIS p. 235

What PKD calls “The Empire” I have always dubbed “The Machine”. But my beliefs on it have matched PKD’s even before I read the passages. It’s true though. If we look throughout history at all of the uprisings, revolts and revolutions that started out with such noble and pure intentions, those rebels who came to power afterward soon turned out like the very despots they overthrew. This is part of the Machine. It eats everything around it and turns it into a lifeless extension of itself. This can be very clearly seen in the arts. Every artistic movement that has arisen has been assimilated into the Machine and turned into a mass-produced mockery of itself. The same can be said for social movements. The Beats, the Hippies, the Punks, the Occupy Movement, the Tea Party, etc. The Machine swallowed them all. Infiltrated them, labeled them and neutered their influence. Thus, in order to defeat the Empire we must leave it behind.

 

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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.

Inspiring Muses

When does that spark return? Do you feel the moment or does it just explode into you like a supernova of revelation? PKD had VALIS. But, we aren’t all fortunate enough to be blessed with PKD’s… idiosyncrasies. What is it then? Where does passion well from? I suppose that’s more a question of inspiration and/or muses.

I think passion-inspiration-muses-whatever are like energies. Flowing tendrils of energy criss-crossing the earth behind the Veil. Passion throughout the ages, is spurned then, by people tapping into these tendrils. Stepping into the flow of the river, as it were. It washes over a person and then BAM!

Inspiration.

Creation.

Art.

Of course I don’t think this concept is limited to the Arts. Passion is universal. There is a passion for everything. The question remains then, how do we tap into these conduits of inspiration?

Obviously a passion for something is helpful. But this is easy. The problem with this is the connection is only temporary. After a while, it dwindles away, though it remains inside you like smoldering embers.

So it makes sense that like embers, you have to stoke your muse from time to time to reignite your connection to inspiration. I call this “Overcoming Writer’s Block”.

Easier said than done. Life gets in the way. Beautiful, distracting, all-important LIFE. Without it, we are dead. But with it, we are chained inside our own limited perceptions. We are contained to the flesh, forced to sustain it. Thus survival supersedes inspiration. This is always the case. The days of pure artists are gone. Now everyone (myself included) is an artist in their free time. Trying to tap into the matrix of inspiration as part of a scheduled routine. But that’s not how inspiration works.

Muses work on their own schedules and if you aren’t ready when they are then forget you. They’ll move along and give that great idea to someone else. And you’ll kick yourself later when you see your idea in a book store or on television.

I’m beginning to realize, I can’t serve two masters. Either give in to my muse’s strict demands or struggle trying to make inspiration work for me. When really, it’s always the other way around.

Philip K. Dickbot

I got a web bot in my brain
From spending too much time
On the internet.

It was a viral virus like a video
Vexing my mental registry with predictions most grim.

I named it Philip K. Dickbot
Because he wore pink like VALIS
While dreaming of androids dreaming of
Eclectic sheeple.
Oddities.

Are you paranoid yet?
I know
I AM.

Scanning the night sky darkly for an Archer’s Transmigration.

Until then, I’ll sit in my high castle
With a drill bit in my hand
Waiting for whoever robbed my safe
To send me to the Promised Land.

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