The Exegesis

The Exegesis: Dick’s true feelings about Blade Runner

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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December 12, 1981

People might assume it would be a victory for Dick to have one of his books made into a movie, but instead he calls it “the greatest defeat.” He doesn’t think Android’s themes survived in Blade Runner and goes so far as to say his work had been twisted into “fascist power fantasies.” The true victory comes from any renewed interest in the novel.

He has a revelation that the Godhead has inhabited the animal kingdom, which is an extension of the Tagore vision. He sees this as the true message, something he included in Androids but didn’t understand at the time. As the novel is rereleased in conjunction with Blade Runner this message will find its widest audience. 

He feels he can finally relax as he has done his job in spreading the word. Again he is glad he turned down the offer to write a novelization of the movie. The Tagore aspect of Androids conflicts with what he calls the “Heinlein power fantasies” of Blade Runner, and he is proud he didn’t sell out by suppressing the original book.

The Exegesis: Understanding the continuum & the biosphere’s soul

August–December 1981

Dick tries to outline how someone can become aware of a thing that is already familiar to them and make the leap from cognitive estrangement to “cognitive affinity.” It is difficult for him to explain the concepts though when space and time don’t exist, which means there isn’t really a “before” individual who would have already understood it.

He wonders if post-Newtonian physics might lead to us viewing reality as a unified field, exactly what he saw in 3-74. I think he is suggesting the atomists (presumably Newton and the other pioneers of physics) promoted a view of the world that prevented us from perceiving the continuum of the Noös. The quantum mechanical understanding of physics allows us to see the world correctly as a unified whole.

He believes the biosphere has been penetrated by the Logos and is alive to the point where it should be able to speak. Perhaps that is the source of the AI voice, and that could mean the AI voice is Tagore.

The biosphere/noosphere is trying to communicate, but we can’t make sense of it because of our limited perception. We have to learn to see what is surrounding us. The exegesis was not a waste of time, Dick decides, because it led to him figuring all this out. 

The Exegesis: A dream about life outside the drama

November 17, 1981

Dick spends several pages interpreting a dream he had about a play where men are arguing. In the dream Dick doesn’t realize it is a play so he tries to join in the discussion only to be shut down because he has broken the rules. He compares this to his waking life where he has always felt like an outsider to any drama, someone who is not allowed to participate while also misunderstanding that everyone else is playing a role. 

He goes on to connect the dream to Gnosticism. His fears come from the condition of Geworfenheit (or throwness). He is not allowed to take part so instead he tries to understand through his exegesis. The world was alien to him, but he created a role for himself. He wonders if the world changed in order to accommodate him, although that seems impossible. Logically, he decides he was the one who changed. He is sure he could not have had a psychotic break, since the unfamiliar became the familiar instead of the other way around. 

The dream made clear to him that he has misunderstood life from the very beginning, something he calls the “Gnostic ontological condition of ignorance.” He turned that ignorance into knowledge, and the exegesis is a meta attempt to understand his understanding. The ability to figure everything out is inside him, but he has to unlock it.

According to Gnosticism cognitive estrangement exists until an outside source alerts someone to their state, after which ontological ignorance can become knowledge and their perception of the world is transformed. This can only happen when someone understands their part in relation to the whole. In Brahmanism this is “Tat tvam asi.”

After Aristotle man’s experience with the cosmos went away replaced by only a belief that it existed. This is the beginning of the cognitive estrangement. The cosmos came back when Dick experienced it in 3-74.

The Exegesis: A letter to Pat about the third testament

August-December 1981

In a letter to Pat (possibly Patricia Warrick?) Dick attempts to explain his idea about “the plasmate.” The plasmate is the third testament that results from combining the Old and New Testaments, something Dick says the Italian theologian Joachim del Fiore wrote about in the 12th century. The testaments are living, biological organisms (self-replicating and sentient) that Dick names Psyche A (OT) and Psyche B (NT). The third recombinant testament he calls Ditheon Psyche C.

Ditheon is a life form superior to all creation, although not God itself. The Bible is the world as information, and the meta-organism exists in the OT and NT. Joachim understood this. Look no further than Psalm 22 (which Jesus speaks on the cross) as evidence that these books exist outside of space and time. When Dick says we are living in the time of “Acts” he doesn’t mean a specific historical time but rather a reality built from information contained in that book. The Bible is a signal created by words, and the OT and NT are constantly recombining as the third meta-entity. 

In 3-74 Dick uncovered the Logos / Word / information that God spoke to give birth to creation. 

The Exegesis: Christ as hyper information and the 23rd letter of the Hebrew Alphabet

Fall 1981

Christ, camouflaged in the informational world of “Luke-Acts,” reveals himself throughout as the perturbation in the reality field. Dick calls him hyper information and sees Christ’s attempt to break through as an information war between God and the “official” information system. 

Christ is the missing 23rd letter of the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet that created the universe as written about in the Sefer Yetzirah. The addition of this 23rd letter, which will cause the universe to regenerate, will bring about the Messianic Age of justice and mercy.

Gnosticism explains this hyper information infiltrating the existing mechanical system. Dick describes it as a Faustian bargain (the heroic vs the tragic) and indicates it will be an important part of the novel Owl in Daylight he has just begun brainstorming. 

When “Luke-Acts” is converted from information into the world the right side of our brain experiences the overall “gestalt” while the left side interprets the latent narrative. So Christ is hidden in the gestalt and revealed when the two sides are unified. Dick compares the Bible in our reality to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle, as the real world existing within the world. In order to perceive this someone would need to outrun time, like he did in 3-74.

The Exegesis: God’s suffering & Luke / Acts as the world

Fall 1981

Reality is an offering to us by God who created the world through his own suffering and death. The world exists as it is only for us, yet we don’t take care of it. It is an effort for God to represent himself to us this way, and that means he is vulnerable to pain inflicted by us. Through his vision of Tagore Dick understands this as a plea for help from God to stop our senseless destruction of the environment. It is now our job to save the Savior. 

Our suffering mirrors God’s suffering and the sacrifice of his creation. Dick calls all this cognitive sorrow and sees it represented in the music of the English Renaissance composer John Dowland. 

Dick takes ideas from the Sefer Yetzirah, a book on Jewish mysticism about the creation of the universe, and applies them to the book of Luke in the New Testament. He says Luke (and the followup Acts written by the same author) is not a description of a world but the world itself in informational form. Because Luke tells the story of Jesus that means Jesus (aka Christ/Valis) is present in our current infinite reality. 

The Old Testament is also an account of Christ, although this was not revealed until his arrival in the events of the NT. This is why Jesus claimed power over the law of the Torah. After his death he returned to the reality he created, hidden in our world. 

Because Jesus is the world, every time we eat plants and animals we re-enact the Eucharist without realizing it.