tag: Brahmanism

The Exegesis: Valis’s true identity & a successful exegesis except for one outstanding question

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October-November 1980

If someone put a gun to Dick’s head and forced him to give an answer about the nature of Valis he would say it is the Tao, since that represents the mastery of the dialectic through the Yin and the Yang.

After six and a half years he says the exegesis has finally become successful as he can now perceive, within the flux, ordinary daily reality. He feels old and misses the energy of his youth, but takes comfort in the fact that nothing from his past is truly lost and that his writing will “permanently affect the macrometasomakosmos” and survive in the structure of the world order.

What he really wants an explanation for is the “perturbation in the reality field,” a tug that he compares to the moon’s effect on the Earth’s tides. He has circled back to where he started. What does it point to?

3-74 was a heroic act, but it didn’t happen because he was a hero, given his history. A new self was born in him when Thomas took over. Perhaps Thomas wasn’t a lost part of himself but energy transferred from the world.

Valis is the Tao, YHWH, Cosmic Christ, Brahman, Shiva, Krishna or a quantum mechanic phenomenon. Or maybe there is nothing in the last mystery box, just God creating existence out of nothing. Paradoxically it has existed here all along in the ephemeral trash. The final great reversal. So the mystery is there is no mystery. This means Ubik is true, something Dick didn’t realize when he wrote it.

The Exegesis: Notes from Valis Regained, monotheism & the differences between YHWH and Brahman

January 1980

Dick speculates what it would be like for someone to inhabit the cosmos. This person, an “Adam Kadmon,” would be omniscient as they become one with the macro-mind. 

At this point he has an outline for what he calls VR (aka Valis Regained which would end up published as The Divine Invasion). He reads through his notes and has a moment of enlightenment about monotheism: illusion and evil are the same and reality and God are the same. This means when he witnessed Valis he saw God, since Valis/YHWH is reality or what remains when the illusion is broken. YHWH is not transcendent but all around us. Anything that is not Valis is part of the illusion. 

He equates being cut off from YHWH, as he was prior to 3-74, to an illness. He is convinced he saw God based on his studies of Spinoza and his understanding of the Old Testament. The living Torah is what surrounds us. He declares that Paul and Christianity are wrong, but then revisits his cybernetic model and says the messenger is Christ’s role. 

He comes to the conclusion that if monotheism is correct then Valis is God, since both Valis and God are reality. 

The differences between YHWH and Brahman are YHWH’s personal identity and the information YHWH uses to communicate. YHWH operates within human history and dynamically evolves as a part of it. Valis is a great mind which uses reality to think. It is not camouflaged in reality, as Dick previously thought, but rather is reality. Although since that would mean God is an organism that needs our physical reality and couldn’t exist independently of it before creation, he decides perhaps Valis doesn’t equal reality yet, but it will. 

The Exegesis: A camouflaged Zebra in the world

October 1978

Dick examines an epistemological argument about whether there is an actual external universe or just a universe in our mind that would be indistinguishable from an external one. He relates this to Brahman who is making us think we experience the world. What we perceive as evil is actually just the interests of the macrobrain which don’t necessarily align with our own. It has to be this way though otherwise existence would cease.

He wonders if the world and Zebra are two modes of the same thing: Zebra is awake and the world is asleep. Zebra has been in the world all along, playing dead, camouflaged until it wakes up. 

Dick embraces his love of Christ and his anticipation of the return of the rightful king. 

He reiterates that no time has passed since the time of Thomas. Someone has just made it appear that way. He thinks perhaps there is an objective reality. When it appears to change our brains perceive this as the passing of time, but he can’t figure out who is responsible for tricking our brains this way.

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: A time-traveler named Thomas and a hypnagogic message

February 1978

Zebra and the holographic world are both made up of some kind of thinking electricity that can shape shift into anything. Who or what is responsible for this reality? Is it the physical noosphere or is it in our mind? Dick leans toward something physical like Brahman. Another layer exists beyond 70 A.D. which Dick calls the abyss. 

Dick decides he is a time-traveler from 70 A.D. called Thomas and the PKD personality is just a mask. He thinks that Ubik the entity must have guided him to write Ubik the novel because where else would he have gotten the idea. It came about through a form of automatic writing. This makes that book a scripture of sorts along with A Maze of Death and Flow my Tears

In a hypnagogic state the spirit speaks to him and says they are “responsible for low-level decisions which can be overruled.” He assumes “they” refers to God. This means man’s relationship to reality is flipped. We become the objects in a living world. Dick sees this as a truly radical new understanding as it reveals God and reorganizes man’s place in the cosmic hierarchy. 

At Dick’s greatest point of desperation the being behind the veil let Dick see beyond it. His novels were a way to prepare him for his 3-74 experience and now he feels free. He ends this section by cryptically saying what comes next has something to do with Mexico.

The Exegesis: A fifth columnist & a dead end?

January 1978

Dick speculates the entity transcends all religions. It is Shiva/Cernunnos/Dionysus/Christ/St. Sophia. Whatever currently rules our world has usurped it from the rightful God and marginalized him, but now he is everywhere.

Dick sees himself as a subversive fifth columnist, although he wasn’t aware of this when he was writing his earlier novels. His later books and stories (Flow my Tears, “Faith of Our Fathers,” Ubik, A Maze of Death and Our Friends from Frolix 8) included encoded commands that he didn’t know about and people only think were added deliberately.

He reinterprets his earlier idea of retrograde time. Since we can’t remember the future we must have faith to see that “evil” events will be used ultimately for good purposes. 

We are caught in a web of illusory images just as the Brahmans believed the Divine Mother Kali spun the illusion of reality. 

Dick says he has reached a dead-end with his exegesis (doubtful since we have over 600 pages to go). It’s a little melodramatic here, but he says this has been a failure so far because he still doesn’t understand or remember why we are cut off from God. Every answer just turns up more questions.