AQUARIAN:*Since drugs have cropped up in the discussion, it's no secret that many of your novels have been seen as "drug-oriented" or as outgrowths of your own drug experiences. Since one of your most enduring themes has been the breakdown between illusion and reality, has drug taking been a positive influence in this regard?
DICK:*No, absolutely not. There's nothing good about drugs. Drugs kill you and they break down your head. They eat you head. In "White Rabbit," Grace Slick says, "feed your head." But I say, "What are you really feeding it?" You're feeding it itself. Drugs cause the mind to feed on itself.Look, I'll be honest with you. There was a time in my life when I thought drugs could be useful, that maybe if you took enough psychedelics you could see beyond the illusion of the world to the nature of ultimate reality. Now I think all you see are the patterns on the rug turning into hideous things.A friend of mine had a shower curtain with tigers on it. You know, one of those prints. During an LSD trip once, the tigers started moving and tried to eat him. So he ran outside into the back yard and burned the shower curtain.That epitmoizes drugs to me: some guy in his back yard burning his shower curtain.I used to think that drugs put you in touch with something. Now I know that the only thing they put you in touch with is the rubber room of a psychiatric hospital.My drug experiences have not manifested themselves in my work. Many critics have said that*The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch*(1965) was the first "LSD novel." I wrote that after reading a magazine article on hallucinogenics by Aldous Huxley.Drugs have taken the lives of some very, very dear friends of mine.