tag: Dead Sea Scrolls

The Exegesis: Ultra-thought and the binary system

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Early 1979

Valis is a binary on-off system, but we are only aware of the “on” state. This means the distinction isn’t Valis vs non-Valis but rather on vs off. Everything, either linked or not, is part of the Valis computer. On is connected, off is disconnected, and Valis is evolving toward on away from the “failure” of off.

The “ultra-thought” of Valis is what occurs when the “neurons” are linked in a particular pattern, and this is what Dick saw. Reality became knowledge. Everything changed, but only he was aware of how things were in the prior instant. He mentions Ormazd vs Ahriman from the Zoroastrianism religion as a representation of the on/off relationship in this system he is mapping. We are saved when we are incorporated into this rational construct.

Is it possible that the living information itself was unearthed and restored to the world when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi? He compares the linking Valis is doing with the Pythagorean concept of a seed growing as it incorporates the incomplete into its structure. Thoughts (wisdom, knowledge and ideas) have a volition of their own, and they decide whom they will come to. 

The Exegesis: The insanity of the maze, a maze paradox & the path of the living information

October–November 1978

Dick connects his books to his present model of reality. Zebra is like the computer that constructs reality in A Maze of Death and also the thing that intrudes into our fake world as in Ubik. Like in A Scanner Darkly it is actively trying to hide its true nature, and this fact of occlusion is then further occluded from us. He says the “quasi-mind” of the maze appears insane and compares it to Yaldabaoth (one of the creator gods according to the Gnostics) who does indeed sound crazy. Because of this irrationality it is impossible to make sense of it. The maze is disorder and confusion which we can only navigate through the help of Zebra. Dick still thinks this is something we created for ourselves as a puzzle.

He has been working on the exegesis for 4 and a half years and says he is now being “signalled to die.” He is afraid the exegesis is unpublishable and that everything he has learned will die with him, another way that the maze will win. He recognizes a paradox though that if the maze wins we win, since we created the maze. 

He returns to the idea of Zebra as a living information virus embedded in his book Flow My Tears and imagines it proliferating as people read it. He wonders if it had been dormant since the time of Acts before traveling from the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls to the Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Allegro to Jim Pike to him.

The Exegesis: Letter to Claudia Bush, July 22, 1974

Dick solves the puzzle. He has been dreaming about the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls from the Qumran Essene community were found in 1946 in the Judean desert, so they weren’t exactly a brand new discovery when Dick wrote this letter. Nonetheless he is convinced that is what he is tapping into at night. Jim Pike studied the scrolls so perhaps this is because of Jim’s influence. 

I’m not sure how serious he is when he tells Claudia to be careful who she tells about all of this.