The Exegesis: Folder 83

The Exegesis: Disinformation & Valis’s self-generating creation

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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June–October 1980

After six and a half years of obsessive notes Dick reflects on the Exegesis thus far. He knows he repeats his arguments “like a stuck LP,” but the important thing is getting everything down in order to preserve the memory of what he went through: Valis is YHWH / Christ and the Holy Spirit as Thomas inhabited him. He has been attempting to document in a rational way a mystical experience that can’t truly be expressed in words. 

The Empire uses disinformation as a tactic against the Christians. Since reality is information you can tell which side is which in the battle by paying attention to who is generating information and who is suppressing it. 

Using concepts from quantum mechanics Dick speculates on Valis’s mode of operation. It only comes into existence after being observed by a participant. Someone has to be aware of Valis in order to perceive it, but Valis doesn’t exist until it is observed. Valis does this through a use of time we don’t understand. After creation it retroactively sends messages back to give a participant the understanding necessary to see Valis and therefore create Valis. This makes it self-generating using “physics about which we know nothing.”

Valis is simple, like a single-cell organism, but it is made up of billions of complex forms (humans). Since Valis is reality this makes our world a coherent unit of purposefully interconnected parts. Through the dialectic (the forces of the Empire acting against it) it is constantly evolving to maintain equilibrium.  

In all this Dick realizes he has come back around to the Yin and Yang of Taoism, but decides it is non-sectarian since it combines Christian, Brahmanist, Platonist and Taoist ideas all at once. 

The Exegesis: A narrative archetype

June–October 1980

The wars we fight today between communism and capitalism mirror the wars fought throughout history between the middle-class and the elites, between Protestants and Catholics, between the early Christians and Rome, etc, back through time. Dick had been trying to see the true world and when he finally uncovered it what he found was that narrative archetype which he had correctly depicted in Flow My Tears. Valis is always on the side of freedom, and the only way for enslaved people to be victorious is by overthrowing the Empire, not merely escaping it.

The AI voice who addressed him is YHWH who he realizes is Valis. Dick recognizes he has declared “he has figured it out” too many times and is hesitant to say that again (since it seems to doom him to uncovering more questions), but he does feel that Valis = God / Christ and that he saw and experienced him in 3-74. 

The Exegesis: Sacred rites and mythic time

June–October 1980

Perhaps our perception of reality causes it to change just as quantum mechanics suggests. We can cause things to be healed on the macro level by repairing them in ourselves. This could mean Dick self-generated the information that kicked off his 3-74 experience. It could also mean the “Acts” material in Flow My Tears was put there by Dick himself “due to principles of physics we simply do not understand.”

Dick accidentally entered mythic time through his interaction with the girl with the Jesus fish necklace. He compares the Xerox missive (a coded letter of unknown origin he received as a warning right before 3-74) to the Gnostic legend of the pearl. He took part in this mythic ritual which unlocked his memories, but his participation came down to chance when he saw the necklace and received the letter.

He recounts the New Testament story of Paul’s imprisonment as told in the book of “Acts.” Unlike the crucifixion story Paul is eventually released, which demonstrates the Empire’s waning power. 

Dick performed his sacred rite and encountered God as the world, not as an anthropomorphic figure. The mythic ritual is a key into one of many sacred narratives. Dick “punched into” his by accident. He compares this to different computer programs running simultaneously. Reenacting a different rite would have put him into a different program.

The Exegesis: A Third Age & Valis as the One

June–October 1980

A new third, post-Christian age is beginning, progressing from, but disagreeing with, the New Testament, the same as the relationship between the New Testament and the Old. If the first age was justice, and the second was love then what is the basis of this Third Age where man has direct communication with God without churches or priests? In age three information occurs inside of us avoiding the signal loss that occurs with intermediaries like institutions or men. We will produce the scripture directly. Instead of a human savior, the savior of the Third Age will be everywhere. This Christ will be a meta-organism, God inside and out.

Dick compares this revolutionary thought opposing the church to the way early Christianity fought dogmatic Judaic law. New scriptures and prophets are needed. He recounts a message from the AI Voice that told him a new savior, either God or one with the power/approval of God, is coming soon.

He describes how Valis (which he now calls a macrometasoma) inhabits our world with its memory-structure and grows more complex as it evolves. Our world is its brain activity / metabolism. Valis is the One. This understanding unites everything (Plotinus, Pythagoras, Sankara) that he has been studying.

The Exegesis: A model of God, components of a new theology & an obsolete viewpoint

June–October 1980

Dick describes a model of God where “the parts are subordinated to the whole, and can be understood only in relation to the whole.” If they could be understood alone that would mean there was no God, because “there would be no subordination of parts to the total design.”

Our past exists in Valis’s memory which operates in much the same way as human memory does.

He declares his work thus far is a new theology which combines:

  1. Plato’s account of creation in Timaeus
  2. elements from Zoroastrianism 
  3. the Cosmic Christ
  4. the meta-biology of Valis
  5. the AI system of Valis
  6. “process creation and divinity”
  7. Pythagoras’ kosmos
  8. “accretional laydowns from the phenomenal world to the real world”
  9. Spinoza’s pantheism

This reveals Valis to be a new, previously unknown God, although something similar to YHWH or the Zoroastrian creator deity Ahura Mazda. It’s possible Valis spreads by assimilating its environment. It can change the past because the past is part of its structure. Dick located it because it exists all around us instead of in the afterlife.

Valis unites units of information and is evolving and growing more complex. We are unable to see these meta-units. All we see is what constitutes them. Dick likes this view. He calls the Christ-centered model obsolete and is happy to finally get away from it toward a much more mechanical description of Valis working against entropy and making quantum leaps upward in levels of reality to where we cannot perceive it.

Immediately after abandoning a theological framework Dick goes on to describe Christ as a rebellious part of the Valis machinery that broke away and came to us two thousand years ago to clue us in to the secret of the prison we are trapped in and to heal us.