The Exegesis: Folder 22

The Exegesis: Thomas as savior and the Tractates Cryptica Scriptura

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October–November 1978

Dick hears a voice that equates him to St. Sophia, Buddha, Apollo and Siddhartha. He says that Thomas is more than just a secret Christian and instead is actually the savior. He thinks that whatever he experienced might be the Holy Spirit or perhaps the spirit of Elijah. 

No religious system can completely explain his vision. His divine eye was opened, he temporarily became Shiva and all this indicates he is a Buddha. 

He includes fragments and bits of dialogue from the VALIS novel he has started. He has a hypnagogic vision of “the catch” by Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series and compares his own exegetical efforts to the throw Mays made back to the infield. His work, the throw, is over and out of his hands. He calls his explanation of Zebra thus far the Tractates Cryptica Scriptura and he works through some ways it could be incorporated in VALIS. One idea is that the world in the book is an alternate reality where the New Testament doesn’t exist, Jesus is an impostor Messiah and Simon Magus is the founder of the church.

This marks the end of part 2.

The Exegesis: The insanity of the maze, a maze paradox & the path of the living information

October–November 1978

Dick connects his books to his present model of reality. Zebra is like the computer that constructs reality in A Maze of Death and also the thing that intrudes into our fake world as in Ubik. Like in A Scanner Darkly it is actively trying to hide its true nature, and this fact of occlusion is then further occluded from us. He says the “quasi-mind” of the maze appears insane and compares it to Yaldabaoth (one of the creator gods according to the Gnostics) who does indeed sound crazy. Because of this irrationality it is impossible to make sense of it. The maze is disorder and confusion which we can only navigate through the help of Zebra. Dick still thinks this is something we created for ourselves as a puzzle.

He has been working on the exegesis for 4 and a half years and says he is now being “signalled to die.” He is afraid the exegesis is unpublishable and that everything he has learned will die with him, another way that the maze will win. He recognizes a paradox though that if the maze wins we win, since we created the maze. 

He returns to the idea of Zebra as a living information virus embedded in his book Flow My Tears and imagines it proliferating as people read it. He wonders if it had been dormant since the time of Acts before traveling from the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls to the Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Allegro to Jim Pike to him.

The Exegesis: Metaphors, Dibba Cakkhu, an orthodox conclusion & an intellectual maze

October–November 1978

Dick compares us to fruit or crops which are growing and ripening until the moment we are mature and are able to see the true reality. This only happens to a select few, something the Biblical parables tried to express through the same metaphors. Are we being tested on our ability to see beyond the fake reality? Did Dick pass this test through his writing?

Through enough skepticism and belief, Dibba Cakkhu, one of the six higher psychic powers of Buddhism, can be achieved. I suspect Buddhists might say it takes more work than that, but this is the opening of the divine eye, what Dick calls the 3rd eye. Dick summarizes much of what he has said before about the living information which “impregnates” us and brings us to life. Whatever it is that is in control of the world, technology or not, has to be called God. That makes Dick a prophet like Elijah.

Dick explains the concept of original sin except he uses the word “occlusion” instead of sin and Zebra instead of Christ. He admits though that this belief system is orthodoxy and seems disappointed in his conclusion.

His attempts to figure a way out of this situation is depicted in his books as an intellectual maze. Is Zebra outside of the maze trying to help us, did we create Zebra to guide us, or is Zebra the living maze itself? Dick thinks he may have escaped due to his intellect, and he returns to the idea (illustrated in A Maze of Death) that we constructed our reality and left ourselves clues in order to avoid being trapped there.

He names five of his seemingly random earlier stories (see related) and says they show the idea of Zebra existing apart from a phony world, although it sounds like retconning to me.