Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kindred in Spirit

Why do we love Philip Kindred Dick's work so much? Because 'Kindred' is his middle name in more than a literal sense.

Gnostics eschew grand high know-it-alls, or point and laugh, depending on their mood. Nothing about being a priest is more disturbing than people occasionally treating you as if you weren't in the midst of it all trying to make your way through it and figure out what you can, like everyone else. Except, perhaps, encountering those who think they really do fit that bill.

Since Gnosis is real, it comes to us where we are, as we are, doing whatever we're doing at the time. The transformation that comes from it is also real, and so not disconnected from any of that either. Or, put another way, “waking up” means you have to make your bed, shower, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and get to work—not entering a perfect dream world, as that would be, well, the opposite of waking up.

There's no shortage of people who will sell you a bill of goods rather than the goods, and seemingly no shortage of people who won't notice the difference. There's also no shortage of folks who will pretend that everything either is perfect, or will be perfect, if/when/since the bill of goods was purchased. However, if you have had an awakening experience, you know that just isn't the case, and furthermore can't be. It can't be, because you've had the goods all along.

Once you sift through the marketing and the make-believe, there isn't that much left to address what it is like to live through these experiences. Particularly, the real process of coming to terms with having such experiences in one's life, which really never reach the “all wrapped up” state that we yearn to see in fiction. Yet, Philip K. Dick did just that. Rather than receiving an account filtered through the perceptions and positive lenses of others, we have the accounts of the one living through the experiences and their aftermath, and further one given through multiple perspectives.

And so we express our gratitude to a kindred spirit for the great gift he has given to so many of us, on this the anniversary of his death. Rest in the eternal fullness with our thanks, Phil.

2 comments:

coe said...

And Thanks Rev. Troy for the post. When I read Valis, it really blew me away. I have several other PKD books on my list of books to read.

I appreciate the candor and humility of this post. You've said a lot, and said it well.

jp said...

I agree-- I couldn't have said it better and won't even try.