Monthly Archives: January 2015

By The Way, Which One’s Pink? On the Minimal Conditions for a Transmission of Philip K. Dick’s Valis Event(s)

Pink is real—or it is not—but it is just as real or not-real as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Michael Moyer, “Stop this Absurd War on the Color Pink” Scientific American

In 2-74 there was no pink light as such. But sunlight. Fish sign + light. Like Boehme. And Mr. Tagomi. Philip K. Dick, The Exegesis, Folder 57, p. 009, Q 14.

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself –
And there isn’t one.

Wei Wu Wei, “Ask the Awakened”

Why would one man write nearly nine thousand pages after the epiphanic experience of being fired upon by a “pink beam of info-rich light?” ( Folder 18, p. 66) Writer Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis, now partially accessible to scholars in print as well as digitally at http://zebrapedia.psu.edu, attempts to explicate a 1974 experience of what he called “pure consciousness.” In this mammoth text, Dick worked through the range of all possible explanations for this anomalous event of “ultra thought”, including an alien immanent god he called VALIS, a cosmic galactic network of living information. By pursuing a relentless path of writing and thinking through the unbelievable with humor, skepticism and a passion for the truth, Dick ultimately exhausts his capacity to think any further, arriving, again, at pure consciousness. Beyond thought, PKD writes up his journey as a story featuring himself as a fictional character in the novel Valis. Through the pages of The Exegesis and the novels, PKD discovers and relates the unthinkable: the self itself does not exist, relating perhaps the necessary and sufficient conditions for the experiences of 1974: what the Advaita tradition calls the perception of “no self.” Along with a necessarily compressed account of PKD’s text and its journey beyond thought, this talk will briefly explore the question: Why was the light pink?

Richard Doyle
Penn State University
mobius@pu.edu
February 20th
Penn Humanities Forum
University of Pennsylvania

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