tag: Acts

The Exegesis: Notes on salvation & the interface between the part and the whole 

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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February 1982

Dick declares “VALIS is true; Gnosticism is true; what the AI voice says is true.” The salvation prophecies are also true and the fifth savior has arrived. Although he’s not sure about the “theological structure” (but says he is settling on Buddhism) everything he has dealt with since 2-3-74 is about salvation. He refers to Valis using the Greek word for savior. 

In an interesting twist he admits Valis’s pink beam of light from 2-74 was really just sunlight reflecting off a Jesus fish sticker in the window, similar to the light Jacob Boehme saw. 

He illustrates a Venn diagram of the interface overlapping the part and the whole so that the part only connects to the whole indirectly. In this way the part experiences the world (the whole) as a representation through salvation, which in a sense creates the cosmos.

The interface is the Acts lens-grid. When this happened to Dick in 2-74 he understood the world he saw because he was a part of the whole. Info of the whole arises in the part, which makes the whole self-generating, and this info (the plasmate) points only to itself. 

VALIS shows that the universe is info, although since we can’t see info we only see the structure or unified field. This continuum, and not discontinuous matter, is the correct way to see things. 

God is the interface

In a reverie Dick imagines the suffering of the people and hopes the newly arrived savior can relieve it. Pain and hope are two sides of the dialectic. The AI voice has instructed him to spread this message. With a slip of the pen he writes the Greek word for sister when he means to write the Greek word for savior, and he feels the AI voice has identified itself at last. 

In one final insight he realizes both Yin and Yang are necessary for a true existence. 

This is the last entry in his exegesis as Dick would die on March 2, 1982 shortly after writing this. 

The Exegesis: A letter to Pat about the third testament

August-December 1981

In a letter to Pat (possibly Patricia Warrick?) Dick attempts to explain his idea about “the plasmate.” The plasmate is the third testament that results from combining the Old and New Testaments, something Dick says the Italian theologian Joachim del Fiore wrote about in the 12th century. The testaments are living, biological organisms (self-replicating and sentient) that Dick names Psyche A (OT) and Psyche B (NT). The third recombinant testament he calls Ditheon Psyche C.

Ditheon is a life form superior to all creation, although not God itself. The Bible is the world as information, and the meta-organism exists in the OT and NT. Joachim understood this. Look no further than Psalm 22 (which Jesus speaks on the cross) as evidence that these books exist outside of space and time. When Dick says we are living in the time of “Acts” he doesn’t mean a specific historical time but rather a reality built from information contained in that book. The Bible is a signal created by words, and the OT and NT are constantly recombining as the third meta-entity. 

In 3-74 Dick uncovered the Logos / Word / information that God spoke to give birth to creation. 

The Exegesis: Christ as hyper information and the 23rd letter of the Hebrew Alphabet

Fall 1981

Christ, camouflaged in the informational world of “Luke-Acts,” reveals himself throughout as the perturbation in the reality field. Dick calls him hyper information and sees Christ’s attempt to break through as an information war between God and the “official” information system. 

Christ is the missing 23rd letter of the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet that created the universe as written about in the Sefer Yetzirah. The addition of this 23rd letter, which will cause the universe to regenerate, will bring about the Messianic Age of justice and mercy.

Gnosticism explains this hyper information infiltrating the existing mechanical system. Dick describes it as a Faustian bargain (the heroic vs the tragic) and indicates it will be an important part of the novel Owl in Daylight he has just begun brainstorming. 

When “Luke-Acts” is converted from information into the world the right side of our brain experiences the overall “gestalt” while the left side interprets the latent narrative. So Christ is hidden in the gestalt and revealed when the two sides are unified. Dick compares the Bible in our reality to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle, as the real world existing within the world. In order to perceive this someone would need to outrun time, like he did in 3-74.

The Exegesis: God’s suffering & Luke / Acts as the world

Fall 1981

Reality is an offering to us by God who created the world through his own suffering and death. The world exists as it is only for us, yet we don’t take care of it. It is an effort for God to represent himself to us this way, and that means he is vulnerable to pain inflicted by us. Through his vision of Tagore Dick understands this as a plea for help from God to stop our senseless destruction of the environment. It is now our job to save the Savior. 

Our suffering mirrors God’s suffering and the sacrifice of his creation. Dick calls all this cognitive sorrow and sees it represented in the music of the English Renaissance composer John Dowland. 

Dick takes ideas from the Sefer Yetzirah, a book on Jewish mysticism about the creation of the universe, and applies them to the book of Luke in the New Testament. He says Luke (and the followup Acts written by the same author) is not a description of a world but the world itself in informational form. Because Luke tells the story of Jesus that means Jesus (aka Christ/Valis) is present in our current infinite reality. 

The Old Testament is also an account of Christ, although this was not revealed until his arrival in the events of the NT. This is why Jesus claimed power over the law of the Torah. After his death he returned to the reality he created, hidden in our world. 

Because Jesus is the world, every time we eat plants and animals we re-enact the Eucharist without realizing it. 

The Exegesis: An accidental creation and the “Acts lens-grid”

June 1981

In the dream Dick described in Folder 90 the Bible is the voice that is trying to alert us to the false nature of the world. 

He wonders if creation was accidental, if the Godhead’s self-awareness led to it uttering the word which kickstarted creation. This word was the blueprint of the Godhead itself, but since it was only a map and not actual reality it led to the Fall and a degrading feedback loop where it progressively lost self-knowledge, only finally waking up when it reached its lowest stage. When God was in this state we misperceived it as Yaldabaoth, the evil deity of Gnosticism. We have to keep in mind that even though this seems like a negative sequence of events the good outweighs the bad when we have our reunion. 

Dick calls the mediator that allows him to connect to the real world the “Acts lens-grid.” Through that he can see the beauty of the world, even though that beauty is not for him. 

The secret Christians (of which Dick is a part) are the rightful heirs to the kingdom. Dick has always felt alienated from the false world but misunderstood what the Jesus fish necklace in 2-74 represented, which was a sign pointing to the genuine world existing within the phony one. The “Acts lens-grid” has allowed him to understand his narrative, which is the world’s salvation and his own. 

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

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.