The Black Iron Prison

What is the Black Iron Prison? Philip K. Dick said that the perfect description is that of a timeforsaken place, blending past, present, and future, buildings cast in wicked black—where the “alien” from the sci-fi movies of that name might call home. As for my own vision of it, it was nothing like earth of the waking mind ever was, not at all; my memory of the place was distinctly of an otherworldly landscape. It had a consistent aesthetic, between each time I visited, though I think it may have been that the buildings and such details might have changed between showings. PKD also said that this was the true nature of the world, that we do not perceive the ’Prison has always had us caged within it. Which makes sense, why he thought of it in that light, for he saw it superimposed on our everyday reality. But like I said, I had a different tack: I looked out the window and I didn’t recognize anything, like I had been transported to… well, I wasn’t allowed to think it while I was there: I had been transported to Hell. No other word fits.

Was it just a hallucination? If it were purely one person’s imagination, that doesn’t explain why other people saw some version of it, too. Is it then something like an archetype, something hardwired into the human mind, if not brain—maybe the vision of it is hidden in everyone’s mental structure? Eternity seems to be some factor that is intrinsic in it: past, present, and future as one in the architecture, as Dick noted. I have described this elsewhere, that in Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, in the third panel, “Hell”, there is in the far back a large building. I was in that building. That was where I was in the ’Prison, that exact place—what Bosch had entitled, “Hell”. If you look closely, too, you will notice that the building is partly in ruins, not a completely concrete object. How about that? It is a ghost building, a building only visible in a nightmare.

What do we make of Hell? Why is it that the world was supposedly locked behind the structures of it, then? As for it being the “bad place” of the afterworld, Hell wasn’t made by God. It is a perverse and twisted place, whose architecture is of pure evil; God has virtually no part in it, except for the fact that it originally was part of Heaven. Called the “ruined part of Heaven”, when Satan was cast from above, the place he and his angels had been residing they tore from greater Heaven and was given to the fallen angels as a separate realm. The reminiscence of Eternity is that timelessness one perceives. Even if, as it is written, it too shall one day have an end in the lake of fire. From the scale that Heaven operates on, it is my understanding that that ruined part of Heaven could easily envelop the whole of the world, whatever those dimensions might be as a noosphere, what I call the Halospace.

Is it real? If we understand reality as a shared experience, then it is real in that limited sense. Or perhaps in another limited sense, it is that archetypical representation of the dark side within human beings in general. If you will not allow a spiritual realm to exist, one might imagine it to be something like a place you go in dreams, or nightmares. Or could they be common hallucinations, like everyone seeing snakes when they take a specific psychoactive drug? It is a vision of darkness, in any case. It is a vision of all that is wrong in the world, if you ever do experience it, a merciless mood that makes up the stagnant air, the sensation: “abandon all hope ye who enter here”. But what if it were real, what would that mean? What if it is not completely in the eye of the beholder, but has separate existence apart from the observer? How does that affect the world? How would it affect your world?

If you wish deeper than what is writ here, faith is required of you, and reason. For it is not the end of faith when its object is plainly true; there will always be further that on that might be speculated upon, based on where reason seems to lead. And what is faith? “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” [Martin Luther King, Jr.] A leap of faith and a leap of insight are like fraternal twins. One may, in fact, use or confuse one for the other. Now, do we believe in the objective reality of the Black Iron Prison? For some, the question seems easy to answer: there is no place where it actually could exist, for it can only be a mental construct. But as we have said before, if it a shared mental construct—which at some level affects our psychology—if all of us follow the rails it puts down in our minds in a consistent way, then does it not in some way actually and really exist? Could we all of us fooled?

The ’Prison is made of iron. Why is it iron, when we’re talking about it being in a shadow dimension, with no true substance to it at all? Perhaps that it is specifically black is the clue. Iron was perhaps the most useful metal that human beings have ever found. In itself, there is no evil—but black iron, that which is put to dark purpose, iron would be then the opposite of that utility, being instead being wielded of nefarious mind. It is then become the all purpose material of evil. That is the Black Iron. And prison? Perhaps you have heard, of this life: you can’t win, you can’t break even, and there is no way out of the game. Even without a strictly physical form, the Black Iron Prison is so named correctly. But surely, there are parts of the world, both human and of nature, that are not elements of Hell, right? How is it that PKD said it is the true structure of the world? And others have said it, too, that we are completely enclosed by it, the whole of the world is imprisoned… It could be that it all is truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Philip K. saw the BIP, and then saw his freedom from it, the “real world’s” freedom from it, in 1974 when President Nixon resigned. The king deposed without violence by the work of two artisans—or were they modern day knights? Yes, the world was freed, but only from the point of view of PKD. For I know that I myself witnessed the BIP years after he had left the world. And one fine day in May, 1991, I saw the world freed of the ’Prison, myself, on the other side of the dream barrier: in my mind’s eye did I see all souls escape. The ’Prison is gone for everyone, from my point of view. That means, however, that other people may be able to see it still. The Halospace has a weird way of working. But let’s think about this: Phil said that the Black Iron Prison is, at the guts of it, a system of control, a means of power for the archons of this world. That would be the Devil and his own, for Satan once tempted Christ with the rule of all the world, and he couldn’t have offered what was not his.

Phil thought, after he saw the mighty king deposed, that the saw the ’Prison regroup and reformulate itself in the gap that had been left. But it was not that which he saw happen—not completely. The hole that had been punched in it was a permanent one, and cover it up as they will, it is still there. Walt Disney is God. Yea, verily. But again, not everyone is free of the ’Prison from their point of view. The Black Iron Prison, ultimately, is most rationally perceived as a psychological construct, which limits our actions and our perspective(s) on the world. (Thus its ultimate reality.) What Phil and I saw in visions, and others, can be compared to a nice visual graph of a mathematical function. The real work of such a graph is in the equations that define it. That’s where the numbers are crunched. What is the Black Iron Prison, down where the rubber hits the road, where the functions live? It’s Hell. Yes, what we initially started with. But more precisely, it is the idea of Hell. And everybody has one.

Therefore, the rule of Hell over the world was broken in the minds of Philip K. Dick and me (and most likely others). And if you are reading this right now, its hold on you, too, is being punctured. Understand that the freedom afforded you is not to go wild, party all the time, and not to do a speck of work. It is not a freedom of the hedonistic kind. As above, the ’Prison is a psychological construct: the freedom is to free your mind. It is a freedom from fear. It is freedom to love. There is no specific rule to follow, except maybe the one common to basically all religions: love your neighbor as yourself. Otherwise, it is a freedom from the rules, too. And if you hadn’t guessed, maybe give a shout-out to Jesus, since it was he who set us free… And listen, we’re all of us neighbors to each other, especially these days, when distance is no factor in how we are all just that. And to love? Don’t you know how? Love is so simple, we’ll never understand it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.


This is an excerpt from my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven, about the Black Iron Prison. (Have you ever seen it?) And I will acknowledge that back then I did do drugs, but man, how I would pay for that later:

This one time, I was beginning to psychedelicize and was looking through some interesting subversive material in the form of The Book of the SubGenius; when I was about to snicker about something therein, I happened upon the words, “Don’t Laugh,” and wow: the Conspiracy had suddenly infiltrated. Like my mind were being read by nefarious forces. I was listening to the radio, but what I heard now was some simplistic tune-like simulation, not real music but an aping of what music was in reality. And I could swear the “song” lyrics were talking to me, or about me. Trips don’t normally go like this, folks. I looked out the window: holy crap on a stick! Where did these bars outside my window come from? WTF is outside?!? This isn’t Pittsburgh! This isn’t Earth! I got the sense that my room were one small cell in an immense building, shut off from everything. I had been transported, somehow, elsewhere.

The sky was dim with red, and was there an oppressive presence of something above we didn’t want the attention of. (We dared not whisper the word, “evil.”) All the buildings were black, a landscape the likes of which I had never seen before. Alien. Like the ancient crossed with the future in architecture, and sinister, iron tortured into the shape of claws at the joints. Black, all black everywhere. Other people had seen this place too: they called it the Black Iron Prison.

That was the first time I thought I had been removed to another dimension, but it was certainly not to be the last. That first time, I believed I had literally died and had gone to Hell. It was Hell. Not that I was in any pain, but the sensation, the atmosphere was exactly how Dante put it: abandon all hope, ye who enter here. The land of utter despair. I imagined how they in the waking world were finding my body. I had thought that I had leaned too far back and crashed my head against the glass, so uncoordinated I had been in my wasted state. So this was going to be my eternity? It was as if my room had been taken with me in it and installed in the netherworld. In the bad place.

That year, one of my posters was Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, hanging up right above my bed; and on one of my stays in the ’Prison, I looked at the face of the Tree Man in the third panel (which was entitled, “Hell”), and I knew that that was where I was. Bosch had seen it too, apparently. If you look in the rear of that panel, there was that immense building where I had been prisoner. I did happen to get out all the times I was there, 3 maybe 4 times, and there were some weird productions on how that was accomplished each of those times, but it was the very last time which was the most interesting.

Once again, I looked out the window to that alien expanse. Black? Check. Iron? Check. Prison? Check. I didn’t feel worried in the least. Completely old hat. I was sitting in my chair, I think it was, doing something on my computer. (How exactly was it Hell when I had a working Macintosh IIci?) Then came a voice, a whisper, that let me in on the joke, told me the secret to it all: “Walt Disney is God.” And with that, BOOM! Not just me was it that were freed from the ’Prison, but everyone was now free, according to the landscape I could see with my mind’s eye, my eye into Halospace. (That was the beginning, I later realized, of the free floating apparitions of people, living and dead, whom I would interact with.) Note that this trip, too, I would come down from, but my psyche was by then quite tweaked. I was more LSD than man.

The Stage (cont’d)

Philip K. Dick saw it happen, in the year where he had his “pink light experience”, in 1974. That year, Richard Nixon resigned from his office as United States President. And Philip K. Dick interpreted this event correctly: the external world broken free of the Black Iron Prison. That was step one of two. The second breaching of the iron I beheld on Mother’s Day 1991, and that was in the unseen world, what I call the Halospace. Why these needed to happen before the War in Heaven could be concluded: this was when victory was snatched from the darkness. It was possible to win! This was God acting in our world, having reached the top from the very bottom. For PKD saw that God had been present in the trash layer of the world. Having been the greatest, he earned this greatness by working His way from the lowest reaches to the very highest.

And by God, I mean the Son of God, who being the Son shares the same nature as the Father: there is only one God, and Jesus Christ is Him: in the beginning the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. For in him was the way that the entirety of God entered the world, and not just words carried by the Spirit, or even what was known as the “angel of God”. He was the only free man, for by his actions was he the only of the innocent of this world. His reward from the Father was that he could choose any number and count them also innocent: any number. Thus salvation or damnation is simply him saying, “I know him,” or “I know him not.”

PKD wrote in his Exegesis how the books he had written proved to be useful in understanding his new visions, in 1974. Indeed, we were talking about “creating” realities in those writings. Or the nature of reality, what that might be, and how that related to our perception of any and everything. This was his specialty. And so he would write 8,000 handwritten pages trying to get to the bottom of things. Which unfortunately was not his to do. As written previous, his job was to set the stage. It was for me to see the play acted out on it, and with myself in fact to be one of the actors of said play. The powerful play.

And that was the thing: these possibilities that Phil wrote down: we could think in those directions because we no longer were shackled by the Black Iron. There’s an old hacker adage: “Information wants to be free.” Essentially, that was the victory: the information was finally free. The gnostics thought that salvation was not by faith, but by a (secret) knowledge. They were onto something, even if that strictly was not true. Christians sort of concur, if they say that only those who hear and accept the message of Christ can be saved. The fall of the Black Iron Prison was that the salvific knowledge were now available to all, baptised or not. And this is the work of the Son of God: it was available retroactively.

I have high hopes for the future. I don’t believe that the Black Iron Prison—functionally, at least—has been abolished for everyone on Earth personally. Just like the War in Heaven rages on in many people’s Halospace, even if they are unaware that it is there. Just like Satan still claims minds and souls even after he was long defeated on the cross. This is the mystery of Eternity. We still have work to do, here on God’s green Earth. It may be just that the going of it is not as hard as it used to be. Understand that we are nowhere near the end. Instead, rejoice, indeed: the Beginning is near!

The Stage

The War in Heaven could not be won while the world was in the grip of the Black Iron Prison. I imagine it was similar to how in the ’90s we couldn’t think beyond the year 1999. 2000 and on: there was a mental block, a psychological barrier that prevented us in seeing past that magic number. The ’Prison was in a sense a mental construct, contained in the unseen world, gone uunnoticed by most everyone who lived regular lives within it. But we were all prisoners, you see. And even when we break free, habit still sometimes goes by the old pathways that had been dictated to us while we were still prisoners.

How it came to be that all the world was entombed within the Black Iron is another story, but there we were. (It has something to do with the myth of Adam and Eve, if you want a hint of what that story may be.) And there was the fact that the ’Prison was as like an eternal realm: after all, it was Hell. This touches on the salvation of Jesus Christ: that we all deserved to be damned, according to the Law, and the substance of such consequence was that Iron. And only by obeying the Law to the letter could Christ have gained victory over the Law. Nothing short of absolute perfection.

We know that only when we are squarely dealing with at least the trappings of the Age of Gold can our minds be free to pursue the grander things: needless even to say that the psychological environment required for the attempt has to be available. When we spend the last ounce of strength to grow a subsistence level crop, we have no other, higher, work we can accomplish. Only when we have an atmosphere of peace and education, in a society of opportunities, only then can we truly be free. The possibility, the potential needs to exist for greater things. Only when we are fed can we think about justice.

The War in Heaven happened when it could, and it happened “within” us: Philip K. Dick and me, the twins—when we had had experience of things large and small that was in and of the world. We had some prerequisites down when we were picked. Phil was a voracious reader, and I had the internet, both of us with a longing to comprehend the deeper things of the world. Such research and literature as to be useful in the fight could only have become so available as the Age of Gold emerged out of the Iron. Information is a change in potential: in knowing, what is possible changes. (And the universe, too, is made of information.)

Someone said that we must state the problem in a way that allows for a solution. Throughout the landscape of religious texts, philosophy, and whatever else, PKD was searching out a site where the War could be won. That means not only finding out all the myths that the world may hold (and many could be found out in the late 1970s), but also to properly interpret them. For meaning is effect. Like having a hunk of flint we could use it as a weapon, but sharpen it to point and you have something quite a little more. Nothing was mentioned about the War, in Phil’s frameworks, for Satan was to be ignorant of this purpose—thus Phil himself was not to know. For his own good. For everyone’s good.