tag: Acts

The Exegesis: The 2-74 trigger, God in the trash & straightening out his confusion

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October-November 1980

Dick tries to figure out what the trigger was in 2-74 that started his whole experience. The Christian symbology of the Jesus fish necklace was just a clue, but once he had a glimpse of how reality was arranged he “could not halt the involuntary chain of mental hypotheses” which led him to further and further abstractions.

Space and time are not real, no time has passed and the world only exists in God’s memory as the book of “Acts.”

“The secret is to view something ‘from the other side’ and not as it is.” Because everything is backwards God is in the trash (or like Ubik in throwaway commercials) and Satan exists in the cathedrals. It isn’t until the end times when they will assume their rightful shapes. Dick lets us know that he thinks Deus Irae is his worst book (“My worst book, Deus Irae, is my best”) while naming these reversals. In all the random junk and ephemera is where we will find God.

Dick hasn’t been trying to figure out what the TV drama is about for the last six and a half years but rather how the TV set works. Christianity is not the answer but instead content within the system.

It took that initial abstraction set off by the sodium pentothal followed by witnessing the Jesus fish necklace that led to him understanding the hierarchy of realms in reality. One spatiotemporal continuum (USA 1974) is the same thing as another (Rome 45 A.D.). They are two ways of looking at the same thing superimposed. He admits he can’t convince anybody of this and is afraid no one will believe him.

He has been trying to understand what happened to him through the framework of Christianity which doesn’t really fit with everything he now knows, unless he settles for the idea all of it was a miracle performed by God. Instead he accepts that Christianity is his narrative within the Neoplatonist structure. 

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: Adam Kadmon, Beethoven and another concept of the Christian universe

October – November 1979

In 3-74 Dick was restored as Adam Kadmon, one of the first entities who came into being in the Kabbalah, a man filling the entire universe, subject = object and microcosm = macrocosm. Dick compares the spatial reality created by the two systems of intersecting information to the music, and similar non-temporal reality, Beethoven created. He relates the expansive music to Paracelsus’s inner firmament, and Beethoven’s music is another trigger for the transfiguration that will free us from the BIP.

Memory is converted into a spatial volume, which is what he experienced as the world of Acts in 3-74. The hologram (reality) is created from this space, not time, so what we have is layer upon layer of the past.

Beethoven’s music was politically subversive because it expanded the mind of the individual. Dick’s writing is politically subversive because he explores the inner space, much like the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He hopes his writing can help others expand their inner space and break through into absolute space, just as Adam Kadmon. Beethoven’s music can free us and show us there is a world outside, a lot like the one portrayed in Ubik and A Maze of Death.

He says the Christian universe is its own universe, a compressed, 2000-year span that starts with the death of Christ and ends with his return. In trying to understand the connection between that universe and ours he hits on relativity where the events of that universe viewed here (or by him in 3-74) would fly by in a blur. More importantly, in 3-74, when he slowed down and was in phase with that Christian world, our world “sped up.” And in that moment he was able to discern Valis, no longer camouflaged in its environment. When this happened to him his present “stretched out millions of years.” He says this is the opposite of drug intoxication where you get smaller and the world gets bigger, and instead in this enlightenment you grow to fill up time and space. 

The Exegesis: Two forms & a journey toward enlightenment

September 1978

Dick clarifies that Thomas is not himself or the Holy Spirit but a distinct human being in his head from the time of “Acts.” He contemplates destroying the exegesis, because he feels he is bound by some kind of code of silence and is not allowed to spill the cosmic secret that Christians from the past are operating within us. 

He points out that he has rewritten the same type of story over and over where a phony world hides the real one, which is exactly what was revealed to him in 3-74.

He touches on the idea of an infinite number of worlds and selves, and thinks he is a factory defect where the Thomas personality was stuck in his brain by mistake. He says we have two choices to make sense of everything. Either it is Rome 45 A.D. or else all time is a simulated illusion. He is leaning towards the latter.

In a moment of self-realization he admits “I have been governed too much by my own fictional models…” 

His writing, in the gutter of science fiction of the time, is a very unlikely place to encounter the holy message he found. He lists the two sides of what we see now that the illusion is breaking down: illusion – real, sleep – wakefulness, etc. Movement from one side to the other requires death of the psyche. Someone must experience their own irreality and the phony world.

Christ, after he died, distributed himself as living information with the goal of waking us up. Dick’s entire writing journey has been a search for enlightenment. In 3-74 he became a Buddha and since then has been able to understand intellectually what happened to him.

Why did we forget this wisdom and why do we need to earn it?

The Exegesis: Brahman’s games, information as light, and who is Thomas?

August 1978 or later

Dick is convinced the universe must be a hologram and then he decides once again that Brahman is behind it all. He addresses a short note to Brahman letting him know he is aware of Brahman’s games. For some reason Dick is concerned about the physicality of this unreal world. Where exactly is it? He imagines it projected as a hologram on some sort of matrix. This is a joint effort between Brahman and Atman (the Hindu concept of an individual spiritual essence), and so when Dick saw the Jesus fish necklace in 2-74 his own personal Atman projected Rome 45 A.D. and Brahman filled in the details in a kind of feedback loop. 

The brain is disassembling and absorbing the BIP, and Dick examines the closed system and the push-pull between the brain and its cells or parts. He stumbles onto the idea that the matrix resembles the double helix of a DNA strand. Information might travel on this conduit using light, with Zebra on the red frequency, which means Dick was able to see this infrared light. 

He tries to figure out who “Thomas” is: himself in a previous life in Rome 45 A.D. or someone else from a previous time inside his head. He leans toward the idea that he has multiple personalities, but does that mean he is in Thomas’s head? Everything since “Acts” is a false time created by the BIP, so Thomas wrote Flow My Tears to show what really exists. Thomas has masterminded all of the themes of Dick’s writing from the beginning, but Thomas, like other possible Christians from that era, wants to remain a secret. It’s fascinating to me how Dick is all over the place from Brahman to the certainty of Thomas in only a few pages.

The Exegesis: Is the fake fake real?, information degradation, schizophrenia & St. Sophia

August 1978 or later

Based on situations in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, A Maze of Death and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Dick tries to decide if hallucination is reality or reality is hallucination. He settles on the latter. He follows that with some circular reasoning about the real becoming fake becoming real. 

I struggle to understand his notes on entropy within the brain, but I think he concludes that because of information degradation the hologram weakened and allowed the Acts material to show up in his book Flow My Tears. Because of entropy the Acts message itself that made it through was degraded.

Dick admits he probably had a schizophrenic episode in 3-74 and the stress and the breakdown of his relationships that led to it began as early as 1970. The psychosis he encountered is gone at the time of writing due to financial security and a new relationship. A bright spot of the whole ordeal was that it put him in touch with Holy Wisdom / St. Sophia which is now part of his soul.

In a third-person passage he recounts what happened to him and the intervention of St. Sophia communicating her message of love, wisdom and harmony.