2 3 74
In February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of visions and auditions including an information-rich "pink light" beam that transmitted directly into his consciousness. A year after the events, in March 1975, Dick summarized the 2-3-74 experiences that would pervade his writing for the final eight years of his life:
"I speak of The Restorer of What Was Lost The Mender of What Was Broken."
"March 16, 1974: It appeared - in vivid fire, with shining colors and balanced patterns - and released me from every thrall, inner and outer.
"March 18, 1974: It, from inside me, looked out and saw the world did not compute, that I - and it - had been lied to. It denied the reality, and power, and authenticity of the world, saying, 'This cannot exist; it cannot exist.'
"March 20, 1974: It seized me entirely, lifting me from the limitations of the space-time matrix; it mastered me as, at the same time, I knew that the world around me was cardboard, a fake. Through its power of perception I saw what really existed, and through its power of no-thought decision, I acted to free myself. It took on in battle, as a champion of all human spirits in thrall, every evil, every Iron Imprisoning thing."
There are those who are eager to create a "Saint Phil" who emerged from this experience. In that regard, it is wise to remember that Dick himself always bore in mind what he called the "minimum hypothesis" -that is, the possibility that all that he had undergone was merely self-delusion.
On the other hand, there are those who regard Dick as a charlatan who foisted upon his readers a pseudo-mystical revelation fueled by mental disorder. But surely a charlatan is one who insists on the seriousness and accuracy of his claims. This Dick never did. One has only to go and read VALIS (1981) to find a piercingly knowing humor in Dick's portrayal of himself as Horselover Fat:
"…Fat must have come up with more theories than there are stars in the universe. Every day he developed a new one, more cunning, more exciting and more fucked."
Those who insist on the "truth" or "falsehood" of Dick's experience of 2-3-74 are missing the central point: that those experiences provided him with the means to explore, with integrity, insight, and humility, the difficulties of making sense of any spiritual path in a relentlessly secular and cynical Western culture in which even apparent revelations can be instantly repackaged as popular entertainment.