Searching for Philip K. Dick’s Signal

What if extraterrestrial life is trying to contact us through laser beams?

In his later work, the great science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick speculated that an alien intelligence had transmitted information to Earth via laser beams or other forms of light.

The $100 million Breakthrough Listen project aims to search one million stars for signals, from “the center of our galaxy and the entire galactic plane.” It will broaden our search to include laser transmissions, testing Dick’s theory.

Here’s more about the project:

“We are also carrying out the deepest and broadest ever search for optical laser transmissions. These spectroscopic searches are 1000 times more effective at finding laser signals than ordinary visible light surveys. They could detect a 100 watt laser (the energy of a normal household bulb) from 25 trillion miles away.”

In his 1981 novel Valis, Dick wrote about Horselover Fat, a character who experienced strange visions and messages. The narrator speculated that Fat may have been contacted by a higher intelligence via a beam of light.

He posed this theory:

“in actuality he wasn’t experiencing anything at all. Sites of his brain were being selectively stimulated by tight energy beams emanating from far off, perhaps millions of miles away. These selective brain-site stimulations generated in his head the impression – for him – that he was in fact seeing and hearing words, pictures, figures of people, printed pages, in short God and God’s Message, or, as Fat liked to call it, the Logos. But (this particular theory held) he really only imagined he experienced these things. They resembled holograms.”

What do you think? Have we already received cosmic messages? How could we possibly understand them?


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