The Exegesis: Folder 88

The Exegesis: Parsifal & converting sorrow to joy

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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December 1980

Valis, just as Ubik, is camouflaged in the world, intertwined with everything we know. It is ancient but also here now.

Dick compares what he wrote (since his theophany) to Paul’s New Testament writing. God wanted something outside of himself to exist on its own, and he created us out of love. The only way to join with God is to return to the creator after withdrawing. This is what God truly desires. The great secret is that human sorrow will eventually push us to the reunion with God. 

Valis is not God but a brain-like construct that arranges information for us as it “thinks.” He compares it to Christ becoming the world in literal transubstantiation. 

In high school Dick loved Parsifal, Wagner’s opera about the quest for the holy grail. He always wished for the next logical step from the third act, and he found it in his 11-17-80 theophany. In Dick’s interpretation Parsifal equals 3-74, or the crucifixion, which leads to the ecstasy of love as sorrow is converted to joy. He calls it a sorrow-compassion-agapē-joy-God sequence. 

Buddhism, Christianity and Brahmanism all lead to the same place “specifically to the perception of reality as one total sentient field” which is Valis / Brahman / the Cosmic Christ. From there the path leads to God. Dick says he has included all of this in VR / The Divine Invasion.

The Exegesis: Summarizing the delusions

December 1980

Dick reiterates that he didn’t have a theophany in 3-74 but rather he saw the world in a specific way in 3-74 and he misunderstood that to be God. The exegesis didn’t come from a 3-74 theophany. The 11-17-80 theophany came from the exegesis. His conclusion from the exegesis was that the perturbation in the reality field was an imprint of God in reality not God himself. 

He still believes the world is a delusion and that he wrote about it extensively in his novels. In a complex feedback loop those ideas came back to him from the world, and that further convinced him he had seen God when he was really just stuck in the maze of Valis. 

This delusion, mistaking the world for God, was a trick of Satan and the exegesis was a “hell-chore.” When he did finally encounter the transcendent God he didn’t find any puzzles or tricks, just agapē and infinite bliss.

He admits all this makes his exegesis a delusion not only for himself but also for others (anybody reading it, I suppose…).

He summarizes again the order of events: the 3-74 delusion followed by the further delusion of the exegesis and finally the 11-17-80 theophany that didn’t resemble his 3-74 experience at all.