Philip K. Dick’s Phylogenic Memory and the Divine Fire
By Brad Steiger
In my book Gods of Aquarius: UFOs and the Transformation of Man [Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976], I introduced the concept of the Star People, individuals who feel that they bear within their genes awareness acquired by extraterrestrial interaction with humans in prehistoric or ancient times and who have now been activated by DNA memory to fulfill a mission in assisting others in their spiritual and evolutionary advancement.
Sometime after the book's publication, I received a letter from Philip K. Dick, who told me that he suspected that he was such an individual as those whom I had profiled in the book. He had first realized this in 1974 when his own “DNA memory packet” began to fire within his psyche.
At that time, he told me, he was shown in a vision, “more properly, an inner hologram,” the cover of my book, Revelation: The Divine Fire (Prentice-Hall, 1973). A feminine voice told him that this book would help him to understand what was occurring to him. He was also told by the voice to get in touch with me.
Although Dick said that he did read the book and that he did receive the requisite information and comfort that he was promised during the vision, he was reluctant to contact me until he read of my research with those individuals whom I had given the name of Star People. Dick said that he was about to publish a novel (Valis, 1981) that would advance numerous similar concepts.
“I wish to hide behind the veil of fiction,” he wrote. “I can claim that I made the whole thing up. The revelations that I received were so astounding that it has taken me five years to arrive at a place where I will even put forth the concept as fiction.”
Dick was shown a vision of himself in a disabled spacecraft heading toward Earth in prehistoric times. He was one of the emigrants of a technologically sophisticated civilization that was undergoing vast convulsions. But the survivors of that extraterrestrial civilization feared that, once contact was lost with the home planet, they might lose continuity in terms of the handing down of their culture from generation to generation. The solution was “phylogenic memory.”
Dick explained phylogenic memory as complex DNA information packets distributed in dormant form:
“These dominant DNA information packets would be disinhibited--induced to fire--in due time, depending on either synchronized inner biological clocks or pure chance stimuli. Or a combination of both, ideally. Thus even thousands of years later, the primordial civilization will be ’released’ in the minds of the astonished descendants who suppose themselves autochthones [aboriginal inhabitants] of the planet they now inhabit.
“The DNA packets in a given individual will tell him: 1) Where he is from; 2) What made up that original civilization, his civilization; 3) His true nature and faculties; 4) What he must do.
“Ideally, he will act out a series of responses based on the packet, the purpose of which is to create on his planet, insofar as it is possible, the civilization which his ancestors maintained.
“I evaluate the current widespread firing of these phylogenic memory packets in those you call the Star People as a matter of supreme importance.
“In February, 1974, my own DNA memory packet was disinhibited, either by an inner biological clock, which synchronized it with disinhibitions in other people, or by accident. It fired for one complete year.”
When The Star People was published in February 1981, I included a number of anonymous quotes from Phil, attributing them to a "well-known science fiction writer's" take on what seemed to be a global phenomenon of men and women experiencing the awakening of their own DNA memory packets of somehow coming from the "stars."
During the course of our correspondence over the next few years, Phil told me that he had recognized the feminine voice that told him to read Revelation: The Divine Fire as the one that had spoken to him sporadically since his high school days. Eventually, the voice had identified herself as the Ruah, the Hebrew word for Spirit of God, Holy Spirit. She was, according to Phil’s understanding, a “tutelary spirit,” possessed of a “transcendentally rational mind.” The Ruah spoke to him in terse, succinct sentences, and communicated most often when he was falling asleep or waking up. He had to be very quiet and attentive in order to hear the brief messages that she relayed.
I had a revelation to share with Phil: The essence of The Divine Fire had been given to me in 1969 during a late night encounter with a hooded, monk-like entity. To silence my inquisitive--and startled--mind, the mysterious visitor had placed me into a deep sleep, but in the morning I arose with the complete outline of Revelation: The Divine Fire in my awakened consciousness. The book was published in 1973, about a year before Phil received the vision from the Ruah advising him to read it.
I lived in Phoenix in 1982, and Phil planned to come over around the time of my birthday in February to discuss a number of new concepts which were occurring to him. Blade Runner, based on his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, had not yet been released. My memory is uncertain on this point, but Phil either called me after he had seen a rough cut of the film or just before he was going to see a screening. In either event, he died before the motion picture was released and before he made the trip to Phoenix that would have enabled us to have that final mind-meld. I was pleased a couple of years ago when Phil’s widow filled out the Star People/UFO Mystical Questionnaire that Sherry and I still make available on our website.
I know that Phil’s revelations are expanding with every new release of a motion picture based on his work, a film library that appears to birth another cinematic creation each year--Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck, Next. Somewhere Phil smiles upon his legacy with an even greater expanded memory packet, one now suffused with the cosmic awareness that awaits us all.