The Exegesis

The Exegesis: Questions about the Parousia & notes on Rome in 1974

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Dick wonders about the timing and specificity of the events that occurred to him in March 1974. He doesn’t doubt it was the Parousia (Christ’s second coming) but he’s not sure if it took place only in his idios kosmos (see the notes on his first letter to Malcom Edwards). He also doesn’t know if the entity was always there and he just saw it when it was revealed to him or if the entity only showed up at precisely the moment when his eyes were opened. Was everything that happened meant only for him or will everyone eventually experience it?

He thinks there might be a novelistic approach to existence where items someone encounters near death could be sprinkled throughout earlier in life (presumably according to the plan of the Logos) in order to give a subjective appearance of meaning and completeness. 

When Dick saw Rome supplant Fullerton in March of 1974 he took on the identity of a member of the Christian sect, identified by the Jesus fish symbol, working in secret. When he woke from this vision he entered into a fellowship with God. This reminds him of the vision he saw in the sky years before that inspired him to write The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. He decides what he saw was actually God, but he just perceived him to be hostile at the time because of his own derangement. 

The Exegesis: Notes on the “Logos Effect”

According to the editors there aren’t a lot of letters in the Exegesis from here on out. Dick’s notes often lack context when he’s not explaining things directly to anyone but himself, but I’ll do my best to makes sense of what he’s talking about. 

When European explorers first visited tribes in the 1600s they noticed religious beliefs strikingly similar to Christianity even though those cultures had never encountered it before. Dick calls this the “Logos Effect.” Something must be universally providing these salvation ideas to every race. 

Dick revisits the time theory of Dr. NK (aka Nikolai Kozyrev), the Soviet astrophysicist first mentioned in a letter to Claudia Bush on February 16, 1975. Dr. NK’s time theory resembles the ideas in Ubik so much that Dick says this is an example of the “Logos Effect” since he wrote Ubik in 1968, the same year Dr. NK’s theories were published in English. 

Another possibility though is that he was telepathically contacted by the Soviets at that time. Did it work? He wonders if it failed since he developed a dislike for the Soviets. Maybe his ideas for Ubik came from a combination of both the “Logos Effect” and Soviet telepathic communication. 

Dr. NK’s theory involves the ability of information to be transferred to people via time. In a sense Dr. NK rediscovered what the Logos was already doing. 

After a digression about a dream involving an entity named James-James Dick speculates about time splitting and reality realigning according to the plan of the Logos. 

The Exegesis: Notes on entropy & plot ideas for To Scare the Dead

Entropy equals disorder which means the universe is moving toward disorder. Orthogonal time is moving the other way toward form we just aren’t always aware of it. Dick wonders if one intersecting arc of the Jesus fish represents linear time and the other arc orthogonal time. They intersected in the past (100 A.D.) and are about to meet again. The symbol was designed to show Christ’s First and Second Coming.

In an idea for the novel he is working on called To Scare the Dead his protagonist realizes the two hemispheres of his brain are traveling at right angles to each other in time. All the questions this raises will be answered by the Valisystem entity that has been contacting him. 

The Exegesis: Letter to Claudia Bush, March 21, 1975

Dick writes Claudia on the vernal equinox and tells her not only is it spring but it is also the Springtime the entity told him would eventually arrive. The tyranny, he thinks, has ended. 

His conception of the universe (at least for now) is a cube. We are all inside this cube and the patterns are fed to us. He uses Beethoven as an example of how signals are passed to humans for us to uniquely modify to produce an output. Another way to look at life is as a barrel that we roll up a hill until we eventually reach God… not the clearest metaphor here.

Dick ends the letter by briefly recounting what happened to him in 1974.

March 16, 1974: The entity appeared to him.

March 18, 1974: The entity looked out from inside him and denied the reality of the world.

March 20, 1974: The entity took over, showing him what was real.

March 20 until late July, 1974: The entity showed him how to defeat the world’s tyrannies. 

August 1974 and on: The entity (aka Elijah/the Holy Spirit/Dionysus/Zagreus) gradually went away leaving him mentally healed.  

The Exegesis: Letter to Tony Hiss, March 2, 1975

Dick writes a short letter to Tony Hiss and includes the piece he is submitting for Hiss’s magazine The Real World. Hiss has apparently accepted a poem by Dick’s wife Tessa for the next issue and so Dick assures Hiss about his own hard work on this essay about Tony Boucher.

Tony Boucher was the editor of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction before he died of cancer in 1968. Dick wonders what kind of a world would let a man like Tony die of cancer. Dick paints a picture of Tony as a generous man ultimately scared of the universe. Dick’s first sale (his story “Roog”) was to Tony. No one understood that story at the time, but it went on to be taught in a college-level science fiction course. 

In a digression Dick goes on to say that his cat Pinky, who also died of cancer, and Tony were one and the same.