The Exegesis

The Exegesis: Bruno’s hylozoism & Paracelsus’s inner firmament

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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September 1978

Using concepts like hylozoism (the doctrine that all matter has life) Dick tries to explain how the universe is a living creature with a soul, which is what he depicted in Ubik.

He quotes a passage about the sixteenth century Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno from Will Durant’s book The Age of Reason Begins. Bruno wrote about the idea of a living God which is the universe. Dick wasn’t aware of this model of the world even though he based Ubik on it. Once again he feels he has “cracked the case” and achieved fulfillment. 

Dick has decided definitively that the space he occupied in his recent dreams is the inner firmament spoken of by Paracelsus whose teachings were introduced to him by Thomas even though Paracelsus was a German Renaissance philosopher. My simple understanding of this is that the inner microcosm of one man’s mind is a mirror of the macrocosm of the universe. The micro mind can experience the totality of the macro mind.

Dick begins to wonder if USA 1974 is real but maybe he is not. But then where does he exist? Perhaps it is belief in the world around us that makes it real and it is our psyche which creates the universe. 

Through Ubik Dick has attracted the attention of the Soviets, because by dismantling time and space through his line of thinking he is also tearing down the ideas capitalism is based on. 

The Exegesis: Two forms & a journey toward enlightenment

September 1978

Dick clarifies that Thomas is not himself or the Holy Spirit but a distinct human being in his head from the time of “Acts.” He contemplates destroying the exegesis, because he feels he is bound by some kind of code of silence and is not allowed to spill the cosmic secret that Christians from the past are operating within us. 

He points out that he has rewritten the same type of story over and over where a phony world hides the real one, which is exactly what was revealed to him in 3-74.

He touches on the idea of an infinite number of worlds and selves, and thinks he is a factory defect where the Thomas personality was stuck in his brain by mistake. He says we have two choices to make sense of everything. Either it is Rome 45 A.D. or else all time is a simulated illusion. He is leaning towards the latter.

In a moment of self-realization he admits “I have been governed too much by my own fictional models…” 

His writing, in the gutter of science fiction of the time, is a very unlikely place to encounter the holy message he found. He lists the two sides of what we see now that the illusion is breaking down: illusion – real, sleep – wakefulness, etc. Movement from one side to the other requires death of the psyche. Someone must experience their own irreality and the phony world.

Christ, after he died, distributed himself as living information with the goal of waking us up. Dick’s entire writing journey has been a search for enlightenment. In 3-74 he became a Buddha and since then has been able to understand intellectually what happened to him.

Why did we forget this wisdom and why do we need to earn it?

The Exegesis: Brahman’s games, information as light, and who is Thomas?

August 1978 or later

Dick is convinced the universe must be a hologram and then he decides once again that Brahman is behind it all. He addresses a short note to Brahman letting him know he is aware of Brahman’s games. For some reason Dick is concerned about the physicality of this unreal world. Where exactly is it? He imagines it projected as a hologram on some sort of matrix. This is a joint effort between Brahman and Atman (the Hindu concept of an individual spiritual essence), and so when Dick saw the Jesus fish necklace in 2-74 his own personal Atman projected Rome 45 A.D. and Brahman filled in the details in a kind of feedback loop. 

The brain is disassembling and absorbing the BIP, and Dick examines the closed system and the push-pull between the brain and its cells or parts. He stumbles onto the idea that the matrix resembles the double helix of a DNA strand. Information might travel on this conduit using light, with Zebra on the red frequency, which means Dick was able to see this infrared light. 

He tries to figure out who “Thomas” is: himself in a previous life in Rome 45 A.D. or someone else from a previous time inside his head. He leans toward the idea that he has multiple personalities, but does that mean he is in Thomas’s head? Everything since “Acts” is a false time created by the BIP, so Thomas wrote Flow My Tears to show what really exists. Thomas has masterminded all of the themes of Dick’s writing from the beginning, but Thomas, like other possible Christians from that era, wants to remain a secret. It’s fascinating to me how Dick is all over the place from Brahman to the certainty of Thomas in only a few pages.

The Exegesis: Is the fake fake real?, information degradation, schizophrenia & St. Sophia

August 1978 or later

Based on situations in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, A Maze of Death and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Dick tries to decide if hallucination is reality or reality is hallucination. He settles on the latter. He follows that with some circular reasoning about the real becoming fake becoming real. 

I struggle to understand his notes on entropy within the brain, but I think he concludes that because of information degradation the hologram weakened and allowed the Acts material to show up in his book Flow My Tears. Because of entropy the Acts message itself that made it through was degraded.

Dick admits he probably had a schizophrenic episode in 3-74 and the stress and the breakdown of his relationships that led to it began as early as 1970. The psychosis he encountered is gone at the time of writing due to financial security and a new relationship. A bright spot of the whole ordeal was that it put him in touch with Holy Wisdom / St. Sophia which is now part of his soul.

In a third-person passage he recounts what happened to him and the intervention of St. Sophia communicating her message of love, wisdom and harmony.

The Exegesis: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said as living information

August 1978

Dick tries to understand the connection between the book of Acts in the Bible and his novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. He sees Flow My Tears as something like an information-based eucharist which can replicate in people. This living information reprograms us and allows us to receive subliminal messages. 

Dick affirms Zebra is the Paraclete and thinks it should be studied scientifically, although he admits that would be futile since it is so advanced and nearly impossible to discern. It communicates through the “brain” network using pop culture artifacts like books and song lyrics. Once someone has Zebra in them they are part of the brain for good, but it can replicate itself in many different ways through “information plasma.”

One bit equals the entire information so once inside someone it will grow to the whole thing. He compares this to Jesus’s parable of the mustard seed. What Dick experienced in 3-74 was the entirety of the information expanding in his mind. Apparently (according to Dick) the authorities tried hard to prevent him from publishing Flow My Tears which proves how powerful it is. 

We are part of this living brain. He realizes the author of Ubik was Ubik itself and that Flow My Tears was the doorway that led to Rome 45 A.D.

The BIP represents entropy. Dick imagines a new big bang which will reset the cycle of the universe and it is all tied together with the Acts information encoded into Flow My Tears.

The Exegesis: The brain

August 1978

Dick marvels over the scope and originality of his exegesis. He wonders how to live his life day by day after an encounter with a superior life form. 

The Black Iron Prison which began in Rome 45 A.D. is stuck on repeat. Some sort of cosmic brain opposes it. It interfered with U.S. history during the Nixon/Vietnam era through an evolution toward individuality. The authorities tried to suppress it by killing the leaders but the “leaderless revolution” couldn’t be stopped. Zebra/God/Noös is the brain and we are the brain’s components.

The early Christians knew Zebra (the electrical impulses firing at us) as the Paraclete. The messages the brain communicates to us are subliminal, but the brain doesn’t control us since we are the brain. The book of Acts, when it describes the Pentecost, is the only written account of the brain.

Most people are still under the spell of the BIP. Without the brain the BIP would control all of us. Christ’s sacrifice created this distributed brain which forms a bridge between our world and the upper realm. Once the brain has achieved its goals it will reveal the true world of ancient Rome. If we could view the last 2000 years sped up we would see something like Yin and Yang: the brain (light) vs those still under control of the BIP (darkness) until eventually the light wins and takes over.