My favorite article about the science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick goes deep into his writings, his belief system and his thoughts on reality and manipulation. Years ago I printed this article, and I keep it in a file cabinet next to my desk, returning to it from time to time:
It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question “What is reality?”, to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real.
Dick covers a lot of ground here. Much like The Matrix, he believes time is frozen, reality is false, and we’re living in an illusion he calls the “Black Prison.” Specifically, he believes that we are actually still living in Christian times, and the illusion is created to hide this from us. He realized this was true when a girl wearing a fish pendant (a fish is a Christian sign) showed up at his door. He believes it was a message.
Further, Dick believes he is writing things which have been written before. He relates the story of a gas station encounter. He believes this encounter replicated a scene in the Book of Acts in the Bible. This ties in with Dick’s belief that history stopped during Roman times, and we are living in an illusion.
It is an eerie experience to write something into a novel, believing it is pure fiction, and to learn later on—perhaps years later—that it is true.
Dick’s writings, of course, are referenced numerous times in The Matrix, with good reason – few authors explored reality and manipulation like Phillip K. Dick. What is reality, anyway? Is it just a collective hallucination that we all agree on? And if so, what is base reality?
This is a fantastic article, worth reading.