Strife, Pain Is Love?

Strife, Pain Is Love? November 22, 2011

It’s amazing how much James-James’ chaotic world resembles Empedocles’ world of strife, and the Corpus Christi resembles the krasis formed by love – which brings me back to Aphrodite. And the krasis possessing one more dimension than James-James’ ‘horizontal’ world

[ image of sphere with a plane through it]

Is it even possible that ‘strife’ (plane) is ‘love’ (sphere) seen in one less dimension – i.e., imperfectly perceived? Only the sectioning perceived? The ‘spherical’ krasis viewed, in a limited sense, as section, and thus all changed? Add the mission dimension and you go from the seeming world to the symmetrical real. This added dimension has something to do with time – the horizontal quality of ‘strife’ may be linear time. The sphere is the plane perfected and hence outside (above) time. There is a mystery here: intersection at two points: Rome c. 70 A.D. and Fullerton c. 1974 A.D. ‘time is round. [1]


Philip K. Dick had a Gnostic dream of a demiurge with the name of James-James. As with other Gnostic representations of such a demiurge, there is something wrong with James-James and therefore something wrong with the world created or developed by it. Either the demiurge is evil and tries to create a world to live out its evil desires, or at least, it is deranged, crazy, mad and the world it generates is itself chaotic and mad.

The world in linear time comes together through the influence of some sort of demiurge; time cuts through eternity and in doing so, creates an imperfect perception of the real, one which is not whole, and so with this perception there is much pain and strife. Though PKD himself did not go this far, perhaps it is best to say that the world of linear time, of eternity cut up by James-James is the world created and constructed by our fallen ego, the world which prevents us from seeing the world in and through God. James-James is, in this way, our fallen self. The world which is real is good. Once we, however, follow the path of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of duality which constructs the world based upon our thought-constructs, the self will read and map out reality based upon this dualism, and evil will be established, free to cause us pain and sorrow. This evil is based upon the real, for evil only subsists upon and in the good, but it causes pain and suffering because it is unable to be assimilated in and upon the world we have constructed. What pains us is that which is out of our control, of that which responds to us and tries to do to us what we do to it (karma!). It invades that world, it deconstructs it; as long as it is not properly integrated with the good, it is an annihilating force, destroying everything in its path, including itself.

Yet, pain and suffering, though it is evil when it comes from the evil we have created through our egotistical desire to control the world in and through ourselves, is nonetheless able to be seen as a part of something greater, of being the place of purification, of being transformative, if we give in to love. Pain and suffering, when the self tries to stay to itself, is a sign of evil in the world; pain and suffering, when the self dies in order to live in God, is a sign of love. It requires the self to stop its linear, simplistic existence and to thrive in the fullness of the real. What we see in a slice of a sphere is a part of the sphere, it is real, but it is not integral, it does not show the parts in relation to their whole identity, in the way in which they are meant to be and in the way they are to thrive. While PKD did not mention it here, but the icon of Christ revealing his sacred heart shows us both pain and love, and how what we see as pain, if we look at it under a conventional, fallen modality, is actually love, filled with joy and no sorrow whatsoever. Yet, he hints at this, by understanding how the Body of Christ, the Corpus Christi, reveals the real, of how it adds to us what our fallen self has cut out, so as to bring us out of the slice of the real and into the fullness of the real itself. It mixes to us all the graces needed to heal us from ourselves, to help transform us from would-be-demiurges to full, integral participants in the life of God.

Finally, PKD, in trying to understand why he believed his own experience had some connection to the experience of early Christians in Rome, came to believe that the spherical nature of eternity brings points of time in closer contact to one another when time is cut up by the demiurge. Thus, history not only repeats itself in cycles, but those cycles allow some sort of contact with other time periods, with people and places in those time periods, both in the past and in the future, if we open ourselves beyond our limited linear perception of time. This certainly is one way one could go about explaining the experiences of reincarnation without denying the uniqueness of each life.

[1] Philip K. Dick, Exegesis. ed. Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2011), 213-4.

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