The Exegesis: Folder 16

The Exegesis: Punishment for play vs work

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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June or July 1978

Dick is upset his pop culture sci-fi is being legitimized. It’s how the powers that be destroy something when they can’t control it. A Scanner Darkly depicted the outsized punishment that comes not from drugs but from choosing to continue to play when society wants you to toil away. We have all been taught to expect this form of punishment for the sinfulness of play instead of work. Christ’s punishment, in spite of being blameless, seems to prove this wrong, but the true message, that suffering is not tied to sin, was lost. 

Dick thinks the decoded message in Flow my Tears is that Zebra is in fact Christ and he is here / has returned.

In A Scanner Darkly the authorities want to enslave everyone and force them to be subservient to group approval. God is the sentient being who will free us from that real-life enslaved state.

Dick quotes from Act 3 of Wagner’s opera Parsifal when all of nature rejoices at God’s mercy on Good Friday. He reads Will Durant’s history of the Reformation and decides the true message has been misunderstood for 2000 years. Dick says tears, enslavement, and pain (the Black Iron Prison) were transformed to innocence, love and joy (the Palm Tree Garden world) through Christ’s sacrifice. 

He wonders where he fits in with the history of Christianity and sees the most similarities with the Quakers who believed they could communicate directly with the Holy Spirit.

The Exegesis: Creator of fake worlds

June or July 1978

Dick continues to believe USA 1974 is a phony world covering up the real one, although now he has shifted further back to Rome 45 A.D. as the true reality. Again with his circular reasoning Dick imagines his own 3-74 experience as mirroring the plot of his novels where a fake world conceals the true one. The world is a mask put up by God to hide himself from man.

“Axiom: The best forgeries go undetected.”

He says that he is the mad God James-James, creator of fake worlds, and he seems to believe here that he wrote the story of his life (particularly everything after the 3-74 experience) and embodied it. If that isn’t true his books and stories mean nothing and the exegesis has been a waste of time.

He recounts what happened to him. He wrote Flow my Tears, which included Biblical elements, before he had his vision triggered by the Jesus fish necklace where he saw ancient Rome. He wasn’t aware of the messages he included in that book and wonders how it happened.