He’s often cited as the single greatest author of science fiction of the 21st century, but Philip K. Dick’s paranoia and drug use may have fueled more than just his paranoid science fiction. It might have actually given him insight into a parallel universe which not only helped him gain some level of peace in his later years, but saved his son’s life.
The Author of many books, including “Ubik,” “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer,” and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (which later would come the Harrison Ford classic “Blade Runner”) also wrote another book “Valis” which was semi-autobiographical and chronicled his philosophical musings and what friends and family would confirm was one of the single greatest religious experiences of his life.
It all began as he was acquiring food from a fast food delivery woman outside his door. As he stood there, a glint of sunlight caught a necklace she was wearing and suddenly he found himself transported to an ancient time when Christians were being executed by Romans for practicing religious rights outside of the standard Roman pantheon of ritual and sacrifice to the gods of Olympus. He believed she was wearing the symbol as a sign of greeting to those who were like minded to herself without the knowledge of passing Roman guards or soldiers. He then found himself back in his normal house having paid the woman and walked inside. Later that night, as he was listening to the radio, the Beatles song, “Strawberry Fields Forever” came on the radio and he once again found himself entering a trancelike state.
He saw his own son, Christopher, in great danger as the words of the song became distorted and he began to hear them telling him of his son’s medical condition. Perplexed by the disturbing vision, Dick became convinced it was real and had his son immediately taken to the doctor where he was examined. As Philip K. Dick told the doctors of the exact medical condition his son had, doctors found that the famous author’s sudden bizarre request was not only founded, but exactly medically right. Christopher was operated on right away and he was sent home soon after. Had the condition, a badly infected hernia, gone untreated the child surely would have died within days. It was only due to Philip K. Dick’s recommendation that doctors were able to discover the unlikely condition and subsequently save the child. Experts were at a loss to explain the diagnosis by Dick who had no medical background himself.
He explained that the information had been transmitted directly to him by an intelligent entity known as VALIS. The entity would later become a major force in a novel he would later write and title simply VALIS. The word itself meant Vast Artificial Living Intelligent System.
Many authors have claimed muses throughout history, but rarely has one had such a mythology about it and actually performed an act that seemed by doctors to be anything short of a miracle. Valis, according to some is Dick’s interpretation of this essence that speaks to many authors and ensures the progression of not only literature and writing in general, but of all intelligent thought; the sort of muse set up with a firm hand in the progression of the human race’s progression.