The divine fire of Philip K Dick’s religious visions
The comment box for this article was titled "Are religious visions best understood in terms of mental illness?"
Individuals 'best understand' anything in terms that work for them and this of course depends on their accepted and active self definition. Some define emotional and mental dysfunctions as a result of relational communication breakdowns as 'mental illness' for their own reasons and others have such put upon them - along with forced medications etc.
Our experience can be defined and limited by conceptual identities that deny other perfectly valid but socially tabboo realms of consciousness - in fact consciousness is effectively taboo to expand or awaken as - EXCEPT as one's societal conditioning allows.
The opening into a realm of Meaning that cannot be meaningfully translated into our current conceptual grasp is often associated with a conflicted identity - where the new perspective is not established, grounded or integrated and the personality loses balance and experiences conflicted and fragmenting purpose - in fear, in self guilt and projected blame. But the dis-ease is primarily in the conflict that such expansion reveals - for it was already latent but did not show significant symptoms within the reality agreements of the social norm - that shares such conflicts and normalizes them.
Experience does not have to be labelled 'religious' or 'illness' just because it doesn't fit the official reality consensus. 'Bleedthroughs' of Soul connections or exchanges of information are part of a multidimensionality from which a filtered conscious self-sense operates above - and generally unconscious of - in part from the identification with a continuity narrative.
Dick' account shows that 'a sense of loss of such experience of Meaning - left a contrasting meaninglessness in which he at least temporarily became suicidally depressed. It might be said that his lack of awareness did not mean a lack of support in his continuing existence and Phillip K Dick - for his personality level was not the authorizer of ending his life - though in some sense it may have been the covering over of the 'numinous'.
It is noticable that the opening into Mind or Consciousness is often traumatic and yet also beatific and the former can be a confusion of awe with terror - for the 'mind' of our personality cannot understand in its own limited terms - yet can stand under in terms of receiving guidance and support for the integration of consciousness within Consciousness - for there are no walls or distances in the non-physical so much as vibrational frequencies of focus that allow an experience of separate self sense as part of the extended self sense - and the idea non physical and non-temporal Soul extending into multiple realities at once and yet embracing all of them as one is not yet given general acceptance - but insofar as truth is in any case the case - the linkages between apparently diverse elements - when exposed to our 'waking' awareness - become part of the anomalies in search of a narrative embrace or conscious acceptance - or more likely pushed down and away in the protective gesture of re-asserting the established identity; the 'devil we know' or think we know and thus believe as a sense of self control amidst... Infinity?
It should be noted that what is normal in our world is far from sane. Of course insanity can be redefined as sane - and must be if it is not to be immediately addressed. Whereas the recognition of insanity paradoxically witnesses the opening of a context of sanity from which to recognize the mis-identification. For some this can occur via dramatic experiences - for others in a relatively smooth transitional series of steps. But insanity - as a denial of a prior or true nature - cannot actually persist without dependency upon the very nature it denies to seem to exist - and this is active as a self-destructive pattern in human endeavour today - as it was under dictate of the Roman State. They used the modified form of the Christian religion to 'unify' a diverse Empire while 'sanctifying' state power - which decreed what was and was not sane or acceptable via the masking of religious controls.
This can also be seen in the individual who demands or asserts such as to stop or deny or limit any feared or unwanted change to their thought system or sense of self-control. Most of which is a form of limiting and denying validity to Consciousness - excepting where it supports the current need.
But a true self-acceptance meets the true need. Denial of feelings and thoughts is against the grain as a persistent strategy and leads to breakdown as a means to health - for a true foundation is fundamental to any degree of consciousness and the more unified in purpose, the more scope and richness of experience - aka 'Life more abundant'.