Fullerton(?), California, No Publisher, 1974. Unbound. A three-page (3pp) typed letter signed. Date July 19, 1974. The letter is signed by PKD and has eight minor corrections. Addressed to Claudia Bush.
Bush commenced her dialogue with PKD whilst writing her thesis on him for her MA at Idaho State University. The thesis was published as "The Splintered Shards: Reality and Illusion in the Novels of Philip K. Dick." Much of the Bush correspondence is held in the Willis E. McNelly collection at California State University Fullerton; they are scarce in commerce. A wonderful letter offering a primary source for Dick's attempt to understand his 'visions' from around four months earlier, famously reported in his 1981 work VALIS. The letter was published in Underwood-Miller's Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick Volume Three (p192).
In this letter PKD recounts to Bush how a bookseller had visited him mentioning that PKD's experiences were similar to those of Jim Pike. Pike was the Bishop of California whose life took a severe downward spiral after the suicide of his son in 1966. Pike had been accused of heresy by the church given his subversive stance on parts of the doctrine, but personally he had deep beliefs in the continuation of the spirit, a belief that share some kinship with Dick's own unpicking of his situation. In the letter PKD postulates that "all these ideas, all this classical information, was some how connected with Jim, somehow came from him."
Later, PKD writes "It is only the mind which survives, in our words -- the psyche, which carries on its acquired knowledge rather than its character or personality into a reborn life on this world. Jim had said to these students that as one acquires knowledge one gets closer and closer to God; hence the transmission of acquired knowledge in the process of transmigration." - an interesting quote given that Pike was the basis for the eponymous character in PKD's final novel The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. We're further led into PKD's unpacking with this quote "I can never prove the Jim Pike came across to me, bringing with him all this healing wisdom from Attic Greece, but my friend's pinpointing my description of the material as 'sounding like what Jim Pike used to say' may come as close as I'll ever get." Further in this letter Dick describes, first hand, his 'visions' including the occurrence of the Golden Rectangle. There's also great quote from Tessa: "Pythagoras talks to him in his dreams and heals him."
Finally, to round the letter off PKD attributes the visions etc. to the "what", Attic Greece the "where from", and Jim Pike as the "why" and also even the "how." The letter concludes with PKD rationalising, psychologically, his postulating and teeters between vanity and humility at the very end. All in all a fascinating take on how PKD was understanding his issues at the time.
This letter is written in the aftermath of his VALIS visions of 1974, which happened shortly after a wisdom tooth operation. Dick received a home delivery of opioids from a woman wearing a Christian Ichthys necklace. The symbol emitted a pink beam of light which was the catalyst for months of visionary experiences, including Dick?s belief that his mind had been invaded by a benign but separate consciousness. The period of PKD's visions began in February or March of 1974, and continued for anywhere between two and 12 months. In What if Our World is Their Heaven, Dick asserts that this separate consciousness was present ?for one year. From February 1974 to February 1975? (p. 149). Fine condition [10914, Hyraxia Books].