Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Buddha is in the Park

The prolific science fiction writer Philip K. Dick has become a legend since his death in 1982 as one of the most important and insightful authors of the genre. Throughout his career, PKD pursued psychologically intriguing metaphysical narratives, which drew heavily from his interest in Gnosticism, mysticism, and theology. Arguably the granddaddy of the Cyberpunk genre, his plots were populated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, alternate universes, and last but certainly not least, altered states of consciousness.

In 1974, PKD had multiple encounters and/or visionary experiences with an entity he called VALIS. This is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Dick had described VALIS as one node of an artificial satellite network originating from the star Sirius in the Canis Major constellation. According to Dick, the Earth satellite used "pink laser beams" to transfer information and project holograms on Earth and to facilitate communication between an extraterrestrial species and humanity. 

Additionally, and more profoundly, Dick's fevered vision of VALIS was that of one (manifest) aspect of God. From the revelatory events of 1974, until his death, PKD chronicled and explored his religious and visionary experiences in a journal he titled his Exegesis. PKD's wealth of knowledge on the subjects of philosophy, religion, and science enlightened the work throughout.

Since his untimely death, PKD's body of work has been a pop cultural wellspring. His 1962 novel: The Man in the High Castle …was arguably foundational in establishing the ALT History genre. PKDs works have especially influenced the motion picture industry. Beginning with Ridley Scott’s classic Bladerunner, which was released in 1982 (the very year of his death), many of PKD's works have been adapted for the silver screen. Although a couple of PKD inspired films were produced in the twentieth century, use of PKD material dramatically proliferated with the dawning of the new millennium. 

Perhaps the epoch-changing 911 event in NYC in the fall of 2001 transformed the planet’s pop cultural paradigm. Perhaps the dystopian themes of PKD became more pertinent, after the horrific attack on the World Trade Center and the ensuing War on Terror. Perhaps these are the tales that must be told, in our globally surveilled, Brave Noƶ Future.

Even with the box office success of PKD's film adaptations, a more profound and lasting influence on the zeitgeist has been his memetic idiom contributions. Most, if not all of these phrases were a product of his visionary experiences with the VALIS entity, which were subsequently chronicled in Exegesis. A classic example of this is the widely adopted use of the phrase: THE EMPIRE NEVER ENDED.

This phrase’s significance crosses many cultural boundaries, beyond mere science fiction. The overt meaning of the phrase refers to the Roman Empire. It implies that although the polyform or structures of Empire may change over time, its dark essence remains. The phrase’s use informs modern politics and political resistance (both right and left) such as the various Alt Right ideologies, as well as the Anonymous Collective.  It influences esotericism, the occult, and modern spiritualism… especially the New Age movement.

In a recent article concerning this phrase, author CJ Stone wrote… “The Empire is a psychological as well as a military state. It exists as a mental construct, as a psychopathic state of mind, as a system of control. It exists in all of us. All of us are infected with this thought-form virus.” Within this context, THE EMPIRE NEVER ENDED alluded to a system of control that PKD labeled: The BLACK IRON PRISON.

These two now-famous catchphrases embody darker aspects of PKD's prophetic vision. There were also within the Exegesis, positive memetic phrases that embodied the light. These often took on a redemptive aspect, such as the HEAD APOLLO, or the phrase: KING FELIX which refers to the happy or rightful King. 

One such phrase… one that acts as a counterbalance to the Black Iron Prison is the enigmatic idiom: “The Buddha is in the Park.” If the Black Iron Prison embodies the dark powers of repression… The Buddha is in the Park embodies the means of Escape from the Black Iron Prison
The word Buddha means “awakened one” or “enlightened one.” According to the Chinese Buddhist tradition, the title is literally translated as: “The Knowing One.” Interestingly, Buddha is also used as a title for the first awakened being in any of the four Yugas or Hindi epochs or eras.

(Note: Within Tek-Gnostics mythology, the Buddha represents the epitome of the: Intelligence Engineer… the apex or pinnacle of Intelligence Engineering.)

A means by which one attains Buddha-nature is through meditation. Meditation often involves the quieting of the mind’s preoccupation with the past or future (ie: time travel), and focusing on the great, present and eternal now. Meditation is broadly considered to be a practice of liberation. In our modern world, the vision of Buddha equates to the practice of meditation. That is, meditative practices are often symbolized with the use of a Buddha icon.

Now there are two elements or subjects within PKD's “the Buddha is in the Park” line. It includes the Buddha... embodying liberation through meditation, and a second subject: the Park... representing a safe, natural environment. So PKD's term: The Buddha is in the Park, also suggests a natural environment wherein it is safe to pursue meditative practice. In this regard, the Buddha is in the Park could also be rephrased as: The Buddha is in the natural world… Liberation of the human in balance with Mother Nature. 

In this day and age, it is too easy to ignore the natural world… after all, our twitter feed is calling! However, in these times it has never been more important to pay attention… to get in tune with… our natural environment. The ability to tune out the electronic… the digital... the virtual… is essential in reconnecting with Gaia. For the coming of the new paradigm equates to the re-emergence of the feminine energies… the great mother.

It has also never been so important to develop a personal meditative practice… to develop the ability to turn off the time travel of thinking about the future or past, and just be… to practice the art of: intelligence engineering.

The means by which we escape PKD's Black Iron Prison, is the liberation of the mind, in tune with Gaia... or, to use the Gnostic allegory, in tune with Sophia... the great feminine aspect of Divine knowledge. The Black Iron Prison represents the last vestiges of the old, patriarchal paradigm. The prophecy foretold in PKDs Exegesis as: "St Sophia is going to be born again" represents the rise of the new paradigm, the rise of the feminine... the great mother.

In contrasting PKD's two famous quotes... the Buddha is in the Park represents the power of the individual and meditative development of a personal metaphysics… in tune with nature. Conversly, and simply put, the Black Iron Prison is of course “the machine” to use Pink Floyd’s terminology.

In concluding… the time has come for us all to play an active, creative role in developing our own personal metaphysics… our own understanding of the nature of reality. This understanding is a conspiracy between each of us and Universe. If we don't develop our own metaphysics, our own mythology... we will be forced... by default... to rely on someone else's inferior mythology. No one knows your power better than you. Become an Intelligence Engineer. Develop the natural mind in nature. Become the Buddha in the Park, and witness the chains of the Black Iron Prison melt away.

- J ♥