Notes from Valis, by Philip K. Dick

Pedro Góis Nogueira
6 min readFeb 11, 2021

Men and the world are mutually toxic to each other. But God — the true God — has penetrated both (…) and sobers the landscape.

Lurking the true God literally ambushes reality and us as well. God, in very truth, attacks and injures us, in his role as antidote.

The nature of things is in the habit of concealing itself.

So the rational, like a seed, lies concealed within the irrational bulk.

‘Salvation’ through gnosis — more properly anamnesis (the loss of amnesia) — although it has individual significance for each of us — a quantum leap of perception, identity, cognition, undestanding, world and self-experience including immortality — it has greater and further importance for the system as a whole, inasmuch as these memories are data needed by it and valuable to it, to its overall functioning.

We did not fall because of a moral error; we fell because of an intellectual error: that of taking the phenomenal world as real.

Immortality, the abolition of time and space, comes only through the Logos or plasmate; only it is immortal.

It all had to do with time. ‘Time can be overcome’, Mircea Eliade wrote. That’s what it’s all about, The great mystery of Eleusis, of the Orphicsm of the early Christians, of Sarapis, of the Greco-Roman mystery religuins, of Hermes Trismegistos, of the Renaissance Hermetic alchemists, of the Rose Cross Brotherhood, of Apollonius of Tyana, of Simon Magus, of Asklepius, of Paracelsus, of Bruno, consists of the abolition of time. The techniques are there. Dante discusses them in the Comedy. It has to do with the loss of amnesia; when forfetfullness is lost, true memory spreads out backward and forward, into the past and into the future, and also, oddly, into alternate universes; it is orthogonal as well as linear.

Two realmes there are, upper and lower. The upper, derived from hyperuniverse I or Yang, Form I of Parmenides, is sentient and volitional. The lower realm, or Yin, Form II of Parmenides, is mechanical, driven by blind, efficient cause, deterministic and without intelligence, since it emanates from a dead source. In ancient times it was termed ‘astral determinism’. We are trapped, by and large, in the lower realm, but are through the sacraments, by means of the plasmate, extricated. Until astral determinism is broken we are not even aware of it, so occluded are we. ‘The Empire never ended.’

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.

Against the Empire is posed the living information, the plasmate or physician, which we know as the Holy Spirit or Christ discorporate. These are the two principles, the dark (the Empire), and the light (the plasmate). In the end, Mind will give victory to the latter. Each of us will die or survive according to which way he aligns himself and his efforts. Each of us contains a component of each. Eventually one or the other component will triumph in each human. Zoroaster knew this, because the Wise Mind informed him. He was the first savior. Four have lived in all. A fifth is about to be born, who will differ from the others: he will rule and he will judge us.

Na irruption from the collective unconscious, Jung taught can wipe out the fragile individual ego. In the dephts of the collective the archetypes slumber; if aroused, they can heal or they can destroy. This is the danger of the archetypes; the opposite qualities are not yet separated. Bipolarization into paired opposites does not occur until consciousness occurs.

So, with the gods, life and death — protection and destruction — are one. This secret partnership exists outside time and space.

God can be good and terrible — not in sucession — but at the same time. This is why we seek a mediator between us and him; we approach him though the mediating priest and attenuate and enclose him through the sacraments. Is is for our own safety: to trap him with confines which render him safe.

The gentle sounds of the choir ‘Amen amen’ are not to calm the congregation but to pacify the god.

When you know this you have penetrated to the innermost core of religion. And the worst part is that the god can thrust himself outward and into the congregation until he becomes them. You worship a god and then he pays you back by taking you over. This is ‘enthousiasmos’ in Greek, literally, ‘to be possessed by the god’.

Unless your past perishes, ‘Sophia said to me,’you are doomed. (…) ‘Your future must differ from your past. The future must allways differ from the past.

‘What you teach is the word of man, Man is holy, and the true god, the living god, is man himself. You will have no gods but yourselves; the days in which you believed in other gods end now, they end forever.

Evil does not die of its own self because it imagines that is speaks for god. Many claim to speak for god, but there is only one god and that god is man himself.

Those who obey Power will succumb as Power succumbs.

Do not fear, speak out and Wildom will guide you. Fall silent out of fear and Wisdom will depart you.

Good will make evil into what evil does not wish to be; but evil will not be able to make good into what good does not wish to be. Evil serves good, despite its cunning.

Wisdom has to be, by its very nature, rational; it is the final stage of what is locked into the real. There is an intimate relationship between what is wise and what exists, although that relationship is subtle.

The supra-temporal expression of a given human being is what we actually mean by the term ‘god’, is what we worship, without realizing it, when we worship ‘god’.

Matter is plastic in the face of mind.

We hypostatize information into objects. Rearangement of objects is change in the content of the information; the message has changed. This is a language which we have lost the ability to read. We ourselves are a part of this language: changes in us are changes in the content of the information. We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and is then projected outward once more, now in an altered form. We are not aware that we are doing this, that in fact this is all we are doing.

We lost the ability to read the language of the Mind at some primordial time; legends of this fall have come down to us in a carefully-edited form. By ‘edited’ I mean falsified. We suffer the Mind’s bereavement and experience it inaccurately as guilt.

The Mind is not talking to us but by means of us. Its narratve passes through us and its sorrow infuses irrationally. As Plato discerned, there is a streak of the irrational in the World Soul.

All creation is a language and nothing but a language, which for some inexplicable reason we can’t read out side and can’t hear inside.

Arrangement of parts of the Brain is a language. We are parts of the Brain; therefore we are language.

We do not even know what we are, let alone what the outer reality is of which we are parts. The origin of the word ‘idiot’ is the word ‘private’. Each of us has become private, and no longer shares the common thought of the Brain, except at a subliminal level. Thus our real life and purpose are conducted below our threshold od consciousness.

To be ‘born again’, or ‘born from above’, or born of spirit’, means to become healed; which is to say restored, restored to sanity.

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.

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Pedro Góis Nogueira

Poems, short stories, essays and aphorisms | Lisbon, Portugal, 1974