The Exegesis

The Exegesis: Letter to Malcom Edwards, January 31, 1975

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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I would love to see the other side of all of this correspondence. It would be fascinating to find out how (if at all) people responded to what Dick is trying to explain to them.

This appears to be a third letter to Malcolm Edwards. Dick references a January 30th letter that wasn’t included here. He expands on something he must have brought up in the second letter about some kind of structure that surrounds people and allows only them to receive a certain signal. These disinhibiting signals are created by the combination of several otherwise innocuous things like signage or advertising which trigger the neural firing of someone primed to receive it. The Creator is the one who programmed this whole signaling system in a deterministic way, and living creatures are the only things real in this universe. Everything else is just artificial props and scenery.

The Exegesis: Letter to Malcom Edwards, January 29, 1975

Dick takes a break from writing Claudia to send a letter to Malcolm Edwards at the beginning of 1975. Edwards reviewed Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said in the December ’74 issue of the British magazine Science Fiction Monthly. In that piece Edwards elucidated some things about the story that Dick had never been able to properly explain. 

Everyone has a private world (idios kosmos) which is contrasted by everyone’s shared reality (koinos kosmos). Dick wonders if a tyrannical state, for instance, could manipulate its citizens’ inner world through media and news to such an extent that they create a false universal reality. The world Dick wrote about in Ubik after everyone died was the true koinos kosmos that was revealed after everything else was stripped away, but he didn’t realize at the time that’s what he was getting at. 

He goes on to explain to Edwards how he transduced external electrical fields (I still don’t know what this means exactly) through his vitamin megadosing routine to improve his neural firing and cause the right hemisphere of his brain to ‘come on.’ Through this the true koinos kosmos emerged and he encountered the Immanent Mind.  

The Exegesis: Letter to Claudia Bush, November 30, 1974

In this letter Dick quotes a passage by John Calvin written in the 1500s about how human beings have supernatural abilities that will be restored by Christ. Again he relates to Claudia his experience of seeing Rome during the event that happened to him in March. 

In a postscript he pitches an idea of time in which time itself enters a person all at once as energy and we retain this in our heads as a potential which is slowly revealed. He uses this theory to explain déjà vu as we are glimpsing in advance what is already in our mind. 

The Immanent Mind which has been slumbering for two thousand years is now waking up.

The Exegesis: Letter to Claudia Bush, November 29, 1974

At the beginning of this letter Dick brings up Ubik and the Ubik screenplay he is writing for a European producer.

Dick connects Ubik, the force itself, with the immanent mind he mentioned in his last letter. All of us have bits of this universal mind which can be sparked by an external catalyst such as Christ. 

I’m curious what Claudia Bush thinks as she receives letter after letter from Dick repeating variations of the same thing again and again. 

The Exegesis: Letter to Claudia Bush, November 26, 1974

Dick tells Claudia about a hypnagogic vision he had of a godlike figure while at the same time a Greek phrase entered his head. His wife helps him determine the Greek was from Hebrews 7:26 (in the King James translation: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”)

Whatever is visiting him has gone by many names in the past: Apollo, the Holy Spirit, Elijah and what Virgil called the “Immanent Mind” in the Aeneid. Dick is convinced the Immortals made a promise to return thousands of years ago and they are finally keeping that promise. 

The Exegesis: Letter to Ursula Le Guin, September 23, 1974

Dick and Ursula Le Guin both attended Berkeley High School and graduated in 1947. Although they didn’t know each other at the time, and I don’t believe they ever met face to face, they did correspond in the 70s. 

Dick tells Le Guin that when he explained everything that has been happening to him to fellow sci-fi author Thomas Disch, Disch suggested Dick might have been possessed by Elijah. Dick is excited at the idea that it might very well have been the same spirit that filled Elijah, Elisha and reappeared as John the Baptist.