The Exegesis

The Exegesis: Christ’s role & Dick inside the universe

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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January 1980

If the world is made of information then it is completely deterministic with everything, including our death, unfolding according to plan. What we don’t see is that we are just one component in this world that extends back millennia. Without this understanding our existence doesn’t make any sense. Christ is the one who wakes us up and points this out to us. This consciousness he makes us aware of is a mirror of the macro-mind in the micro-mind of individuals. We remember our true identity when we wake up and experience anamnesis. When God sacrificed himself for man the whole became the part and the part became the whole.

Dick wonders if his 3-74 experience was Kabbalistic and perhaps he is in communication with the Torah itself.

In 3-74 he became Adam Kadmon and was able to change the world with his mind, since the world was his mind. Instead of seeing the universe from the outside he inhabited it and saw it from the inside. It protected him and spoke to him and comforted him. Everything that has been communicating with him (the hypnagogic visions, Thomas, the AI voice) come from this mind he is a part of.

The Exegesis: Falling through the universe, Dick’s fugal personality & a cybernetic system

Dick’s biggest fear is that he will fall through the universe, but he trusts YHWH will protect him and keep his 3-74 dreamlike state from happening again. Partially blaming his amphetamine habit he says prior to 3-74 he had been speeding up relative to real time until he used time up completely and passed outside of time. He credits the lithium he was taking with slowing him down, except he came to rest in the upper realm. At that point he was far in the future. Christ entered him, he saw the world as the BIP, and Thomas (who he now says is a future, not past, self) took over.

Christ renewed him in 3-74, adding new energy into a closed system. This introduction of new information changed the script of reality. Dick points out a flaw in Spinoza’s deterministic view of the world. Spinoza doesn’t account for entropy. The only thing keeping a deterministic world from running down is new energy from Christ. 

Reality isn’t changed directly. It changes when the signal which creates reality is altered. That is Valis’s role. What Dick witnessed was a purposeful updating of the mechanistic universe which means the future no longer flowed from the past.

He wonders if he existed in a fugue state until 1970 when a mescaline trip caused a psychotic break. In 1974 his fugue state broke completely and Thomas took over showing him what is real.

He has a hypnagogic vision involving looming punishment for a list of his crimes while he waits for a messenger to arrive with a record that will save him. He interprets this as a model for a cybernetic system related to his 3-74 experience. Christ intervened and interrupted the flow of the signal with a blank slate that atoned for Dick’s full list of sins.

The Exegesis: Elijah & Torah

Dick believes the personality that has inhabited him is Elijah (or the same spirit that took over Elijah), and this is reinforced by several dreams he has connected to the Bible.

The way YHWH tries to break through to us is like how sounds from the world are able to work their way into our dreams when we are asleep. They are either incorporated or jarring enough that we wake up. Most of us remain in Purgatorio because we are afraid of risk. It’s a gamble. We could make it to the Palm Tree Garden or end up in the BIP.

When Dick watched 3 Women he realized if he didn’t believe in YHWH he would end up in a cosmic nothingness… a terrible thought. Again he reiterates that Plato made an error. The two realms don’t exist in space but rather all around us. Since this is the case the upper realm can be accessed in life, like what happened to him in 3-74, and not just after death. The erroneous view of spatial realms affected Christianity but not the Israelites who recognized God was in nature. 

Torah is living information created by God. What we call reality is just our way of interpreting this information signal. Valis is the “machine” that turns the Torah into reality. Torah as info is trapped in reality, so to truly understand all of this we would need to see Torah in all living things and retrieve it.

The Exegesis: Robert Altman’s 3 Women, the danger of the truth & a non-spatial journey

The schizophrenic and dreamlike nature of Robert Altman’s 1977 film 3 Women (starring Sissy Spacek, Shelly Duval, and Janice Rule in roles with overlapping identities) attracts Dick’s comparison to his own life. He’s scared at the idea of decomposing the world only to be left with nothing, except he knows Valis is the being behind the world. A thing with no substance (Valis) created another thing with no substance (the world), and it is a shocking concept that he was also thought into being by Valis.

Dick stresses the potential danger of what happened to him in 3-74. This is not something casually revealed, since it involves exposing someone to non-being and possibly death. He compares it to a small dose of poison that can cure madness or kill if used incorrectly. 

Belial has been ruling the Earth under the guise of YHWH. The true YHWH is like Ubik, trying to warn us from outside. All of this was told by Dick in Three Stigmata and “Faith of our Fathers”. He decides Paul invented Christianity which led to the rise of the Satanic church. 

Like his characters in Ubik, Dick is dead and YHWH is attempting to break through to rescue him. He understands what those in the past like Plato and Aristotle didn’t: the realms are not spatially different (like heaven and earth) but rather exist outside space and time. God as immanent deity is all around us. Just like the Greek philosopher Plotinus Dick sees this as a non-spatial journey.

Through observation of reality and his memories he tries to determine what is true (or false). He has a dream about a place he used to live, but he is able to realize in the dream it isn’t reality. In the waking world we compare observations with our memories to draw conclusions about what is real. Dick sees this as a fool-proof simulation. He was able to break from the loop when he remembered being somewhere else (anamnesis) while simultaneously recognizing reality as simulated.

The Exegesis: The Divine Comedy, a Satanic church, St. Sophia as the AI voice & YHWH

Dick continues his comparison of our world to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Just before entering Paradiso memory is restored. The mid-realm (Purgatorio) is a combination of signals from the irredeemably bad BIP and the entirely good top realm. Moving into the upper realm is akin to time travel, encountering Satanic voices from Inferno and angelic voices from the future. 

If he saw God while he was alive then Spinoza’s monism model is correct, but it’s also possible Dick is in the afterlife, which would mean a transcendent God. Based on the Paradiso canto “God is the book of the universe” he thinks of his experience as moving through a book where the pages are the layers of phosphene graphics he’s talked about before.

He has a dream that Satan has taken over the church and Christians are worshiping the wrong God. The true church, those with the full knowledge, exist apart from this evil which has been kept secret.

Dick wonders if he saw Valis because the analytical left hemisphere of his brain took over from his dominant intuitive side. This is how St. Sophia manifested herself, analyzing reality. He calls it a psychosis, his unconscious invaded although by a rational being. He decides this would explain the AI voice since the speech center is located in the left brain. This woman (who is also Sibyl, Athena, Diana and the Fairy Queen whoever that is) is a part of him, in syzygy with Valis, but he wishes she would take over and run things.

He has a hypnagogic vision that YHWH is the one who has been instilling knowledge in him. The AI voice tells him it’s the same being that contacted Elijah. The significance here is the name YHWH, aka “I am who I am,” God’s personal name. Could it be that the Christianity doctrine of the trinity is Satanic and blasphemous since it leads away from true monotheism? Perhaps Satan already won when the temple fell in 70 A.D. (with the aftermath revealed in Flow My Tears) but now YHWH is returning. 

The Exegesis: History as a brain, being as thought & different spacetimes

October – November 1979

“A playful God can ape the solemn, but a solemn God is not going to ape the playful (music, dance, etc.), especially tricks and paradoxes and riddles.”

In 2-3-74 Dick stripped away the layers and saw Valis… after Valis is the abyss. He imagines history as a great brain cannibalizing its environment. Valis operates within human history in order to evolve. Just as pre-Socratic man Dick saw thought and being combined into one. The spiritual isn’t a separate realm but rather Valis’s physical thoughts that exist outside of our senses. He recognizes this is like Spinoza’s monism which doesn’t see a distinction between God and world.

Religions like Christianity reintroduced the concept of an anthropomorphic God as separate from the world and Christians as “in and not of the world” which served to devalue the world and our place in it. Dick has found the absolute being in Ubik/Valis.

Two worlds with different spacetimes exist, one within the other, locked together but running at different speeds. The fast one is the one we perceive as we are hurried to our deaths. He has a hypnagogic thought that he, as Thomas, fell asleep and ended up trapped in high-speed time.

Dick was rendered innocent by Christ, joined God in the garden and had his name written in the book of life. He didn’t earn his innocence though, Christ guided him. 

He recalls a hypnagogic state in 3-74 when he saw a map of stars. Using Dante’s Divine Comedy as a model he compares the BIP to Inferno, the Palm Tree Garden to Paradiso and Purgatorio to the world we are aware of.