V The AI voice (Artificial Intelligence)
The AI voice goes back mainly to 1974, yet in earlier letters Phil recounted an instance of how he was first helped by it when he was in elementary school. He had forgotten a mathematical principle upon which an entire test was based. The AI voice came to him and explained the principle.
To say the AI voice was an auditory hallucination is to ignore our long history of humans hearing voices that cannot be considered auditory hallucinations. If you are in a cabin in the woods and are about to open the door and hear a voice in your head that tells you “Don’t go outside, there’s a bear out there” and you look out and see a bear, then you do not condemn yourself for hallucinating. Towards the end of these letters Phil said the AI voice is the voice of the ecosystem/biosphere. Yet in earlier volumes when he thought the AI voice was in a satellite (I believe) he said he asked the voice where it was—the voice looked around and found something labeled “Portuguese States of America.
So I don’t think by using internal evidence we’ll be able to come up with an answer of what the AI voice was.
Phil directly addresses criticism of his mental health (he was accused of “going slowly crazy in Santa Ana”), so let me stake out a couple of personal positions. One, philosophers and theologians have been explaining their viewpoints for 2,500 years, yet when one writer attempts to say that he saw what they were writing about and further, attempts to describe it, people become concerned about his mental health. I think Philip K. Dick did in fact have some or many problems, but attempting to describe the universe of our greatest philosophers doesn’t constitute mental instability.
Two, the word schizophrenia used to be thrown around attempting to describe our writer. Given the definition of schizophrenia Philip K. Dick could not have been schizophrenic. If you disagree with this, then name a certified schizophrenic who left behind a body of literature. Put another way, it is impossible that the author of The Transmigration of Timothy Archer was schizophrenic. Just because you show certain symptoms of an illness, that doesn’t mean you have that illness. You could have something else entirely. Many illnesses share the same symptoms.