You can understand why Fat no longer knew the difference between fantasy and divine revelation -- assuming there is a difference, which has never been established. He imagined that Zebra came from a planet in the star-system Sirius, had overthrown the Nixon tyranny in August 1974, and would eventually set up a just and peaceful kingdom on Earth where there would be no sickness, no pain, no loneliness, and the animals would dance with joy.
Fat found a hymn by Ikhnaton and copied parts of it out of the reference book and into his tractate.
"... When the fledgling in the egg chirps in the egg,
How manifold are thy works!
Entry 52 shows that Fat at this point in his life reached out for any wild hope which would shore up his confidence that some good existed somewhere.
52. Our world is still secretly ruled by the hidden race descended from Ikhnaton, and his knowledge is the information of the Macro-Mind itself.
"All cattle rest upon their pasturage,
From Ikhnaton this knowledge passed to Moses, and from Moses to Elijah, the Immortal Man, who became Christ. But underneath all the names there is only one Immortal Man; and we are that man.
Fat still believed in God and Christ -- and a lot else -- but he wished he knew why Zebra, his term for the Almighty Divine One, had not given early warning about Sherri's condition and did not now heal her, and this mystery assailed Fat's brain and turned him into a maddened thing.
Fat, who had sought death, could not comprehend why Sherri was being allowed to die, and die horribly.
I myself am willing to step forth and offer some possibilities. A little boy menaced by a birth defect isn't in the same category with a grown woman who desires to die, who is playing a malignant game, as malignant as her physical analog, the lymphoma destroying her body. After all, the Almighty Divine One had not stepped forward to interfere with Fat's own suicide attempt; the Divine Presence had allowed Fat to down the forty-nine tabs of high-grade pure digitalis; nor had the Divine authority prevented Beth from abandoning him and taking his son away from him, the very son for whom the medical information was put forth in theophanic disclosure.
This mention of three-eyed invaders with claws instead of hands, mute, deaf and telepathic creatures from another star, interested me. Regarding this topic, Fat showed a natural sly reticence; he knew enough not to shoot his mouth off about it. In March 1974 at the time he had encountered God (more properly Zebra), he had experienced vivid dreams about the three-eyed people -- he had told me that. They manifested themselves as cyborg entities: wrapped up in glass bubbles staggering under masses of technological gear. An odd aspect cropped up that puzzled both Fat and me; sometimes in these vision-like dreams, Soviet technicians could be seen, hurrying to repair malfunctions of the sophisticated technological communications apparatus enclosing the three-eyed people.
"Maybe the Russians beamed microwave psychogenic or psychotronic or whatever-they-call-it signals at you," I said, having read an article on alleged Soviet boosting of telepathic messages by means of microwaves.
"I doubt if the Soviet Union is interested in Christopher's hernia," Fat said sourly.
But the memory plagued him that in these visions or dreams or hypnagogic states he had heard Russian words spoken and had seen page upon page, hundreds of pages, of what appeared to be Russian technical manuals, describing -- he knew this because of the diagrams -- engineering principles and constructs.
"You overheard a two-way transmission," I suggested. "Between the Russians and an extra-terrestrial entity."
"Just my luck," Fat said.
At the time of these experiences Fat's blood pressure had gone up to stroke level; his doctor had briefly hospitalized him. The doctor warned him not to take uppers.
"I'm not taking uppers," Fat had protested, truthfully.
The doctor had run every test possible, during Fat's stay in the hospital, to find a physical cause for the elevated blood pressure, but no cause had been found. Gradually his hypertension had diminished. The doctor was suspicious; he continued to believe that Fat had abreacted in his lifestyle to the days when he did uppers. But both Fat and I knew better. His blood pressure had registered 280 over 178, which is a lethal level. Normally, Fat ran about 135 over 90, which is normal. The cause of the temporary elevation remains a mystery to this day. That, and the deaths of Fat's pets.
I tell you these things for what they are worth. They are true things; they happened.
In Fat's opinion his apartment had been saturated with high levels of radiation of some kind. In fact he had seen it: blue light dancing like St. Elmo's Fire.
And, what was more, the aurora that sizzled around the apartment behaved as if it were sentient and alive. When it entered objects it interfered with their causal processes. And when it reached Fat's head it transferred -- not just information to him, which it did -- but also a personality. A personality which wasn't Fat's. A person with different memories, customs, tastes and habits.
For the first and only time in his life, Fat stopped drinking wine and bought beer, foreign beer. And he called his dog "he" and his cat "she," although he knew -- or had previously known -- that the dog was a she and the cat a he. This had annoyed Beth.
Fat wore different clothes and carefully trimmed down his beard. When he looked in the bathroom mirror while trimming it he saw an unfamiliar person, although it was his regular self not changed. Also the climate seemed wrong; the air was too dry and too hot: not the right altitude and not the right humidity. Fat had the subjective impression that a moment ago he'd been living in a high, cool, moist region of the world and not in Orange County, California.
Plus the fact that this inner ratiocination took the form of koine Greek, which he did not understand as a language, nor as a phenomenon going on in his head.
And he had a lot of trouble driving his car; he couldn't figure out where the controls were; they all seemed to be in the wrong places.
Perhaps most remarkable of all, Fat experienced a particularly vivid dream -- if "dream" it was -- about a Soviet woman who would be contacting him by mail. In the dream he was shown a photograph of her; she had blonde hair, and, he was told, "Her name is Sadassa Ulna." An urgent message fired into Fat's head that he must respond to her letter when it came.
Two days later, a registered air mail letter arrived from the Soviet Union, which shocked Fat into a state of terror. The letter had been sent by a man, who Fat had never heard of (Fat wasn't used to getting letters from the Soviet Union anyhow) who wanted:
I) A photograph of Fat.
To Beth, Fat said, "Today is Monday. On Wednesday, another letter will come. This will be from the woman."
On Wednesday, Fat received a plethora of letters: seven in all. Without opening them he fished among them and pointed out one, which had no return name or address on it. "That's it," he said to Beth, who, by now, was also freaked. "Open it and look at it, but don't let me see her name and address or I'll answer it."
Beth opened it. Instead of a letter per se she found a Xerox sheet on which two book reviews from the left-wing New York newspaper The Daily World had been juxtaposed. The reviewer described the author of the books as a Soviet national living in the United States. From the reviews it was obvious that the author was a Party member.
"My God," Beth, turning the Xerox sheet over. "The author's name and address is written on the back."
"A woman?" Fat said.
"Yes," Beth said.
I never found out from Fat and Beth what they did with the two letters. From hints Fat dropped I deduced that he finally answered the first one, having decided that it was innocent; but what he did with the Xerox one, which really wasn't a letter in the strict sense of the term, I do not to this day know, nor do I want to know. Maybe he burned it. Maybe he turned it over to the police or the FBI or the CIA; in any case I doubt if he answered it.
For one thing, he refused to look at the back of the Xerox sheet where the woman's name and address appeared; he had the conviction that if he saw this information he would answer her whether he wanted to or not. Maybe so. Who can say? First eight hours of graphic information is fired at you from sources unknown, taking the form of lurid phosphene activity in eighty colors arranged like modern abstract paintings; then you dream about three-eyed people in glass bubbles and electronic gear; then your apartment fills up with St. Elmo's Fire plasmatic energy which appears to be alive and to think; your animals die; you are overcome by a different personality who thinks in Greek; you dream about Russians; and finally you get a couple of Soviet letters within a three-day period, which you were told were coming. But the total impression isn't bad because some of the information saves your son's life. Oh yes; one more thing: Fat found himself seeing ancient Rome superimposed over California 1974. Well, I'll say this: Fat's encounter may not have been with God, but it certainly was with something.
No wonder Fat started scratching out page after page of his exegesis. I'd have done the same. He wasn't just theory-mongering for the sake of it; he was trying to figure out what the fuck had happened to him.
If Fat had simply been crazy he certainly found a unique form, an original way of doing it. Being in therapy at the time (Fat was always in therapy) he asked that a Rorschach Test be given to him to determine if he had become a schizophrenic. The test, upon his taking it, showed only a mild neurosis. So much for that theory.
In my novel A Scanner Darkly, published in 1977, I ripped off Fat's account of his eight hours of lurid phosphene activity.
"He had, a few years ago, been experimenting with disinhibiting substances affecting neural tissue, and one night, having administered to himself an IV injection considered safe and mildly euphoric, had experienced a disastrous drop in the GABA fluid of his brain. Subjectively, he had then witnessed lurid phosphene-activity projected on the far wall of his bedroom, a frantically progressing montage of what, at the time, he imagined to be modern-day abstract paintings.
For about six hours, entranced, S.A. Powers had watched thousands of Picasso paintings replace one another at flash-cut speed, and then he had been treated to Paul Klees, more than the painter had painted during his entire lifetime. S.A. Powers, now viewing Modigliani paintings replacing themselves at furious velocity, had conjectured (one needs a theory for everything) that the Rosicrucians were telepathically beaming pictures at him, probably boosted by microrelay systems of an advanced order; but then, when Kandinsky paintings began to harass him, he recalled that the main art museum at Leningrad specialized in just such nonobjective moderns, and he decided that the Soviets were attempting telepathically to contact him.
In the morning he remembered that a drastic drop in the GABA fluid of the brain normally produced such phosphene activity; nobody was trying to contact him telepathically, with or without microwave boosting ...*
The GABA fluid of the brain blocks neural circuits from firing; it holds them in a dormant or latent state until a disinhibiting stimulus -- the correct one -- is presented to the organism, in this case Horselover Fat. In other words, these are neural circuits designed to fire on cue at a specific time under specific circumstances. Had Fat been presented with a disinhibiting stimulus prior to the lurid phosphene activity, the indication of a drastic drop in the level of GABA fluid in his brain, and hence the firing of previously blocked circuits, meta-circuits, so to speak?
All these events took place in March 1974. The month before that, Fat had had an impacted wisdom tooth removed. For this the oral surgeon administered a hit of IV sodium pentathol. Later that afternoon, back at home and in great pain, Fat had gotten Beth to phone for some oral pain medication. Being as miserable as he was, Fat himself had answered the door when the pharmacy delivery person knocked. When he opened the door, he found himself facing a lovely dark-haired young woman who held out a small white bag containing the Darvon N. But Fat, despite his enormous pain, cared nothing about the pills, because his attention had fastened on the gleaming gold necklace about the girl's neck; he couldn't take his eyes off it. Dazed from pain -- and from the sodium pentathol -- and exhausted by the ordeal he had gone through, he nonetheless managed to ask the girl what the symbol shaped in gold at the center of the necklace represented. It was a fish, in profile.
Touching the golden fish with one slender finger, the girl said, "This is a sign used by the early Christians."
Instantly, Fat experienced a flashback. He remembered -- just for a half-second. Remembered ancient Rome and himself as an early Christian; the entire ancient world and his furtive frightened life as a secret Christian hunted by the Roman authorities burst over his mind ... and then he was back in California 1974 accepting the little white bag of pain pills.
A month later as he lay in bed unable to sleep, in the semi-gloom, listening to the radio, he started to see floating colors. Then the radio shrilled hideous, ugly sentences at him. And, after two days of this, the vague colors began to rush toward him as if he were himself moving forward, faster and faster; and, as I depicted in my novel A Scanner Darkly, the vague colors abruptly froze into sharp focus in the form of modern abstract paintings, literally tens of millions of them in rapid succession.
Meta-circuits in Fat's brain had been disinhibited by the fish sign and the words spoken by the girl.
It's as simple as that.
A few days later, Fat woke up and saw ancient Rome superimposed on California 1974 and thought in koine Greek, the lingua franca of the Near East part of the Roman world, which was the part he saw. He did not know that the koine was their lingua franca; he supposed that Latin was. And in addition, as I've already told you, he did not recognize the language of his thoughts even as a language.
Horselover Fat is living in two different times and two different places; i.e. in two space-time continua; that is what took place in March 1974 because of the ancient fish-sign presented to him the month before: his two space-time continua ceased to be separate and merged. And his two identities -- personalities -- also merged. Later, he heard a voice think inside his head:
"There's someone else living in me and he's not in this century."
The other personality had figured it out. The other personality was thinking. And Fat -- especially just before he fell asleep at night -- could pick up the thoughts of this other personality, as recently as a month ago; which is to say, four-and a half years after the compartmentalization of the two persons broke down.
Fat himself expressed it very well to me in early 1975 when he first began to confide in me. He called the personality in him living in another century and at another place "Thomas."
"Thomas," Fat told me, "is smarter than I am, and he knows more than I do. Of the two of us Thomas is the master personality." He considered that good; woe unto someone who has an evil or stupid other-personality in his head!
I said, "You mean once you were Thomas. You're a reincarnation of him and you remembered him and his --"
"No, he's living now. Living in ancient Rome now. And he is not me. Reincarnation has nothing to do with it."
"But your body," I said.
Fat stared at me, nodding. "Right. It means my body is either in two space-time continua simultaneously, or else my body is nowhere at all."
Entry 14 from the tractate: The universe is information and we are stationary in it, not three-dimensional and not in space or time. The information fed to us we hypostatize into the phenomenal world.
Entry 30, which is a restatement for emphasis: The phenomenal world does not exist; it is a hypostasis of the information processed by the Mind.
Fat had scared the shit out of me. He had extrapolated entries 14 and 30 from his experience, inferred them from discovering that someone else existed in his head and that someone else was living in a different place at a different time -- two thousand years ago and eight thousand miles away.
We are not individuals. We are stations in a single Mind. We are supposed to remain separate from one another at all times. However, Fat had received by accident a signal (the golden fish sign) intended for Thomas. It was Thomas who dealt in fish signs, not Fat. If the girl hadn't explained the meaning of the sign, the breakdown of compartmentalization would not have occurred. But she did and it did. Space and time were revealed to Fat -- and to Thomas -- as mere mechanisms of separation. Fat found himself viewing a double exposure of two realities superimposed, and Thomas probably found himself doing the same. Thomas probably wondered what the hell foreign language was happening in his head. Then he realized it wasn't even his head:
"There's someone else living in me and he's not in this century." That was Thomas thinking that, not Fat. But it applied to Fat equally.
But Thomas had the edge over Fat, because, as Fat said, Thomas was smarter; he was the master personality. He took over Fat, switched him off wine and onto beer, trimmed his beard, had trouble with the car. But more important, Thomas remembered -- if that is the word -- other selves, one in Minoan Crete, which is from 3000 B.C.E. to 1100 B.C.E., a long, long time ago. Thomas even remembered a self before that: one which had come to this planet from the stars.
Thomas was the ultimate non-fool of Post Neolithic times. As an early Christian, of the apostolic age, he had not seen Jesus but he knew people who had -- my God, I'm losing control, here, trying to write this down. Thomas had figured out how to reconstitute himself after his physical death. All the early Christians knew how. It worked through anamnesis, the loss of amnesia which -- well, the system was supposed to work this way: when Thomas found himself dying, he would engram himself on the Christian fish sign, eat some strange pink -- the same pink color as in the light which Fat had seen -- some strange pink food and drink from a sacred pitcher kept in a cool cupboard, and then die, and when he was reborn, he would grow up and be a later person, not himself, until he was shown the fish sign.
He had anticipated this happening about forty years after his death. Wrong. It took almost two thousand years.
In this way, through this mechanism, time was abolished. Or, put another way, the tyranny of death was abolished. The promise of eternal life which Christ held out to his little flock was no hoax. Christ had taught them how to do it; it had to do with the immortal plasmate which Fat talked about, the living information slumbering at Nag Hammadi century after century. The Romans had found and murdered all the homoplasmates -- all the early Christians crossbonded to the plasmate; they died, the plasmate escaped to Nag Hammadi and slumbered as information on the codices.
Until, in 1945, the library was discovered and dug up, and read. So Thomas had to wait, not forty years, but two thousand; because the golden fish sign wasn't enough. Immortality, the abolition of time and space, comes only through the Logos or plasmate; only it is immortal.
We are talking about Christ. He is an extra-terrestrial life form which came to this planet thousands of years ago, and, as living information, passed into the brains of human beings already living here, the native population. We are talking about interspecies symbiosis.
Before being Christ he was Elijah. The Jews know all about Elijah and his immortality, and his ability to extend immortality to others by "dividing up his spirit." The Qumran people knew this. They sought to receive part of Elijah's spirit.
"You see, my son, here time changes into space."
First you change it into space and then you walk through it, but as Parsifal realized, he was not moving at all; he stood still and the landscape changed; it underwent a metamorphosis. For a while he must have experienced a double exposure, a superimposition, as Fat did. This is the dream-time, which exists now, not in the past, the place where the heroes and gods dwell and their deeds take place.
The single most striking realization that Fat had come to was his concept of the universe as irrational and governed by an irrational mind, the creator deity. If the universe were taken to be rational, not irrational, then something breaking into it might seem irrational, since it would not belong. But Fat, having reversed everything, saw the rational breaking into the irrational. The immortal plasmate had invaded our world and the plasmate was totally rational, whereas our world is not. This structure forms the basis of Fat's world-view. It is the bottom line.
For two thousand years the single rational element in our world had slumbered. In 1945 it woke up, came out of its dormant seed state and began to grow. It grew within himself, and presumably within other humans, and it grew outside, in the macro-world. He could not estimate its vastness, as I have said. When something begins to devour the world, a serious matter is taking place. If the devouring entity is evil or insane, the situation is not merely serious; it is grim. But Fat viewed the process the other way around. He viewed it exactly as Plato had viewed it in his own cosmology: the rational mind (noo's) persuades the irrational (chance, blind determinism, ananke), into cosmos.
This process had been interrupted by the Empire.
"The Empire never ended." Until now; until August 1974 when the Empire suffered a crippling, perhaps terminal, blow, at the hands- so to speak-of the immortal plasmate, now restored to active form and using humans as its physical agents.
Horselover Fat was one of those agents. He was, so to speak, the hands of the plasmate, reaching out to injure the Empire.
Out of this, Fat deduced that he had a mission, that the plasmate's invasion of him represented its intention to employ him for its benign purposes.
I have had dreams of another place myself, a lake up north and the cottages and small rural houses around its south shore. In my dream I arrive there from Southern California, where I live; this is a vacation spot, but it is very old-fashioned. All the houses are wooden, made of the brown shingles so popular in California before World War Two. The roads are dusty. The cars are older, too. What is strange is that no such lake exists in the northern part of California. In real life I have driven all the way north to the Oregon border and into Oregon itself. Seven hundred miles of dry country exists only.
Where does this lake -- and the houses and roads around it -- actually exist? Countless times I dream about it. Since in the dreams I am aware that I am on vacation, that my real home is in southern California, I sometimes drive back down here to Orange County in these inter-connected dreams. But when I arrive back down here I live in a house, whereas in actuality I live in an apartment. In the dreams, I am married. In real life, I live alone. Stranger still, my wife is a woman I have never actually seen.
In one dream, the two of us are outside in the back yard watering and tending our rose garden. I can see the house next door; it's a mansion, and we share a common cement retaining wall with it. Wild roses have been planted up the side of the wall, to make it attractive. As I carry my rake past the green plastic garbage cans which we have stuffed with the clippings of trimmed plants, I glance at my wife -- she is watering with the hose -- and I gaze up at the retaining wall with its wild rose bushes, and I feel good; I think, It wouldn't be possible to live happily in southern California if we didn't have this nice house with its beautiful back garden. I'd prefer to own the mansion next door, but anyhow I get to see it, and I can walk over into its more spacious garden. My wife wears blue jeans; she is slender and pretty.
As I wake up I think, I should drive north to the lake; as beautiful as it is down here, with my wife and the back garden and the wild roses, the lake is nicer. But then I realize that this is January and there will be snow on the highway when I get north of the bay Area; this is not a good time to drive back to the cabin on the lake. I should wait until summer; I am really, after all, a rather timid driver. My car's a good one, though; a nearly new red Capri. And then as I wake up more I realize that I am living in an apartment in southern California alone. I have no wife. There is no such house, with the back garden and the high retaining wall with wild rose bushes. Stranger still, not only do I not have a cabin on the lake up north but no such lake in California exists. The map I hold mentally during my dream is a counterfeit map; it does not depict California. Then what state does it depict? Washington? There is a large body of water at the north of Washington; I have flown over it going to and returning from Canada, and once I visited Seattle.
Who is this wife? Not only am I single; I have never been married to nor seen this woman. Yet in the dreams I felt deep, comfortable and familiar love towards her, the kind of love which grows only with the passage of many years. But how do I even know that, since I have never had anyone to feel such love for?
Getting up from bed -- I've been napping in the early evening -- I walk into the living room of my apartment and am struck dumb by the synthetic nature of my life. Stereo (that's synthetic); television set (that's certainly synthetic); books, a second-hand experience, at least compared with driving up the narrow, dusty road which follows the lake, passing under the branches of trees, finally reaching my cabin and the place I park. What cabin? What lake? I can even remember being taken there originally, years ago, by my mother. Now, sometimes, I go by air. There's a direct flight between southern California and the lake, except for a few miles after the airfield. What airfield? But, most of all, how can I endure the ersatz life I lead here in this plastic apartment, alone, specifically without her, the slender wife in blue jeans?
If it wasn't for Horselover Fat and his encounter with God or Zebra or the Logos, and this other person living in Fat's head but in another century and place, I would dismiss my dreams as nothing. I can remember articles dealing with the people who have settled near the lake; they belong to a mild religious group, somewhat like the Quakers (I was raised as a Quaker); except, it is stated, they held the strong belief that children should not be put in wooden cradles. This was their special heretical thrust. Also -- and I can actually see the pages of the written article about them -- it is said of them that "every now and then one or two wizards are born," which has some bearing on their aversion to wooden cradles; if you put an infant or baby who is a wizard -- a future wizard -- into a wooden cradle, evidently he will gradually lose his powers.
Dreams of another life? But where? Gradually the envisioned map of California, which is spurious, fades out, and, with it, the lake, the houses, the roads, the people, the cars, the airport, the clan of mild religious believers with their peculiar aversion to wooden cradles; but for this to fade out, a host of inter-connected dreams spanning years of real elapsed time must fade, too.
The only connection between this dream landscape and my actual world consists of my red Capri.
Why does that one element hold true in both worlds?
It has been said of dreams that they are a "controlled psychosis," or, put another way, a psychosis is a dream breaking through during waking hours. What does this mean in terms of my lake dream which includes a woman I never knew for whom I feel a real and comfortable love? Are there two persons in my brain, as there are in Fat's? Partitioned off, but, in my case no disinhibiting symbol accidentally triggered the "other" one into bursting through the partition into my personality and my world?
Are we all like Horselover Fat, but don't know it?
How many worlds do we exist in simultaneously?
Groggy from my nap I turn on the TV and try to watch a program called "Dick Clark's Good Ol' Days Part II." Morons and simps appear on the screen, drool like pinheads and waterheads; zitfaced kids scream in ecstatic approval of total banality. I turn the TV set off. My cat wants to be fed. What cat? In the dreams, my wife and I own no pets; we own a lovely house with a large, well-tended yard in which we spend our weekends. We have a two-car garage ... suddenly I realize with a distinct jolt that this is an expensive house; in my inter related dreams I am well-to-do. I live an upper-middleclass life. It's not me. I'd never live like that; or if I did I'd be acutely uncomfortable. Wealth and property make me uneasy; I grew up in Berkeley and have the typical Berkeley left wing socialist conscience, with its suspicion of the cushy life.
The person in the dream also owns lake-front property. But the goddam Capri is the same. Earlier this year I went out and bought a brand new Capri Ghia, which normally I can't afford; it is the kind of car the person in the dream would own. There is a logic to the dream, then. As that person I would have the same car.
An hour after I have woken up from the dream I can still see in my mind's eye -- whatever that may be; the third or ajna eye? -- the garden hose which my wife in her blue jeans is dragging across the cement driveway. Little details, and no plot. I wish I owned the mansion next to our house. I do? In real life, I wouldn't own a mansion on a bet. These are rich people; I detest them. Who am I? How many people am I? Where am I? This plastic little apartment in southern California is not my home, but now I am awake, I guess, and here I live, with my TV (hello, Dick Clark), and my stereo (hello, Olivia Newton-John) and my books (hello nine million stuffy titles). In comparison to my life in the inter-connected dreams, this life is lonely and phony and worthless; unfit for an intelligent and educated person. Where are the roses? Where is the lake? Where is the slim, smiling, attractive woman coiling and tugging the green garden hose? The person that I am now, compared with the person in the dream, has been baffled and defeated and only supposes he enjoys a full life. In the dreams, I see what a full life really consists of, and it is not what I really have.
Then a strange thought comes to me. I am not close to my father, who is still alive, in his eighties, living up in northern California, in Menlo Park. Only twice did I ever visit his house, and that was twenty years ago. His house was like that which I owned in the dream. His aspirations -- and accomplishments -- dovetail with those of the person in the dream. Do I become my father during my sleep? The man in the dream -- myself -- was about my own actual age, or younger. Yes; I infer from the woman, my wife, much younger. I have gone back in time in my dreams, not back to my own youth but back to my father's youth! In my dreams, I hold my father's view of the good life, of what things should be like; the strength of his view is so strong that it lingers an hour after I wake up. Of course I felt dislike for my cat upon awakening; my father hates cats.
My father, in the decade before I was born, used to drive up north to Lake Tahoe. He and my mother probably had a cabin there. I don't know; I've never been there.
Phylogenic memory, memory of the species. Not my own memory, ontogenic memory. "Phylogeny is recapitulated in ontogeny," as it is put. The individual contains the history of his entire race, back to its origins. Back to ancient Rome, to Minos at Crete, back to the stars. All I got down to, all I abreacted to, in sleep, was one generation. This is gene pool memory, the memory of the DNA. That explains Horselover Fat's crucial experience, in which the symbol of the Christian fish disinhibited a personality from two thousand years in the past, because the symbol originated two thousand years in the past. Had he been shown an even older symbol he would have abreacted farther; after all, the conditions were perfect for it: he was coming off sodium penthathol, the "truthdrug."
Fat has another theory. He thinks that the date is really 103 C.E. (or A.D. as I put it; damn Fat and his hip modernisms). We're actually in apostolic times, but a layer of maya or what the Greeks called "dokos" obscures the landscape. This is a key concept with Fat: dokos, the layer of delusion or the merely seeming. The situation has to do with time, with whether time is real.
I'll quote Heraclitus on my own, without getting Fat's permission: "Time is a child at play, playing draughts; a child's is the kingdom." Christ! What does this mean? Edward Hussey about this passage: "Here, as probably in Anaximander, 'Time' is a name for God, with an etymological suggestion of his eternity. The infinitely old divinity is a child playing a board game as he moves the cosmic pieces in combat according to rule." Jesus Christ, what are we dealing with, here? Where are we and when are we and who are we? How many people in how many places at how many times? Pieces on a board, moved by the "infinitely old divinity" who is a "child"!
Back to the cognac bottle. Cognac calms me down. Sometimes, especially after I've spent an evening talking to Fat, I get freaked and need something to calm me. I have the dreadful sense that he is into something real and awfully frightening. Personally, I don't want to break any new theological or philosophical ground. But I had to meet Horselover Fat; I had to get to know him and share his harebrained ideas based on his peculiar encounter with God knows what. With ultimate reality, maybe. Whatever it was, it was alive and it thought. And in no way did it resemble us, despite the quote from 1 John 3: 1/2.
Xenophanes was right.
"One god there is, in no way like mortal creatures either in bodily form or in the thought of his mind."
Isn't it an oxymoron to say, I am not myself? Isn't this a verbal contradiction, a statement semantically meaningless? Fat turned out to be Thomas; and I, upon studying the information in my dream, conclude that I am my own father, married to my mother, when she was young, before my own birth. I think the cryptic mention that, "Now and then one or two wizards are born," is supposed to tell me something. A sufficiently advanced technology would seem to us to be a form of magic; Arthur C. Clarke has pointed that out. A wizard deals with magic; ergo, a "wizard" is someone in possession of a highly sophisticated technology, one which baffles us. Someone is playing a board game with time, someone we can't see. It is not God. That is an archaic name given to this entity by societies in the past, and by people now who're locked into anachronistic thinking. We need a new term, but what we are dealing with is not new.
Horselover Fat is able to travel through time, travel back thousands of years. The three-eyed people probably live in the far future; they are our descendents, highly-evolved. And it is probably their technology which permitted Fat to do his time traveling. In point of fact, Fat's master personality may not lie in the past but ahead of us, but it expressed itself outside of him in the form of Zebra. I am saying that the St. Elmo's Fire which Fat recognized as alive and sentient probably abreacted back to this time-period and is one of our own children.
* A Scanner Darkly Doubleday, 1977, pgs. 15/16.