The Exegesis: Folder 90

The Exegesis: The mind as Valis & belief in God

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Dick describes what sounds like a bipolar illness where he bounces back and forth between mania when he thinks he has figured things out and depression when he has lost his belief. 

He has been engaged in scientific research the last seven years trying to figure out what the perturbation in the reality field was in 3-74, but the whole time he’s been afraid he is insane, especially with regard to hearing the AI voice.

He has a dream about someone who lived in a void and whose mind created a world in order to keep him from going crazy. The more this person scrutinized the world the more real it appeared. The only thing letting him know the world wasn’t real was a preprogramed voice which failed to do its job due to the increasingly convincing nature of the false world.

Dick’s takeaway from the dream is that what he knows as Valis (and the binary computer) is actually his own mind creating this imprisoning world.

Now that he seems to know for sure what is going on and that he was right that the world presented to us is not the real world, he wonders what the “utility” of the delusion is. We can either see the phony world (understand it but not believe it is real) or see the world as it truly is and be unable to make sense of it. Both approaches look like mental dysfunctions to him. Is the false world a gift from God? God might be the only way out of the “solipsistic trap,” so does this whole thing lead to him? Dick is embracing belief. He can’t prove God exists (it may well be a hallucination), but he is choosing to believe that God exists beyond himself. 

The Exegesis: A return to the Palm Tree Garden

Dick’s model of reality (“a total system that perpetually chooses through a binary process of rejection that is cumulative”) is based only on his own experience. He’s not interested in any existing traditions or explanations about the nature of God. All he can concern himself with is whether it is true when it comes to what happened to him. He describes his scientific method of testing his experience against his model and iterating if it doesn’t fit. He wants and expects his experience to have changed him.

Christ is the necessary intruder that allows us to see the Palm Tree Garden, since reality never changes, only our perception of it. Perhaps because it was Easter Dick saw the garden the previous week but has lost his way back, even though he knows it exists. He felt burned out from exhaustion the night before he ended up in the spatial realm, similar to his feeling of running out of time, and then he woke in the garden world. He connects his spiritual rebirth to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. 

He wonders if his concept of binary branching creates endless new realities… if so what happens to them?

He has a dream about some children called “the Spinners” who are poisoned by heavy metals on a farm and are slowly going blind. In his interpretation the Spinners are immortals who came here, lost their third eye and are no longer able to see Christ.

The Exegesis: A binary system & a new model of Christ consciousness

In a letter to Patricia Warrick (presumably the author of The Cybernetic Imagination in Science Fiction) Dick tries to explain the model of reality he has been constructing over the last seven years. 

He claims many of his insights came to him on the edge of sleep during hypnagogic and hypnopompic revelations. One such insight: The macrometasomakosmos (which he is thankfully abbreviating now as MMSK) is a binary signaling system. It micro-adjusts reality by trying out moves and making corrections. Even though these switches happen in a trillionth of a second Dick saw it as a flickering, since during the off state reality ceases to exist. The universe is destroyed and recreated every day. We are left with the best of all possible worlds, although this decision making takes place in the black box of the void outside of our awareness.

He attempts, somewhat shakily, to reconcile Christianity (and Taoism and Gnosticism) with this quantum mechanical computer view of reality to create a new conceptual model. I believe he is saying that Christ enters our consciousness and allows us to comprehend and participate in this binary forking decision tree.

“For the first time in human history” we are perceiving and understanding the world in a new way. He connects what he saw to the double-slit experiment in quantum mechanics and decides that it demonstrates the binary fork decision making, but he has trouble fully describing this model where the Christ consciousness combines the observer and reality field into one.