tag: Dreams

The Exegesis: A dream of Siddhartha & beginning VALIS

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October 1978

Zebra destroys the four deformations.

  • It abolishes the phony world
  • It abolishes the occlusion 
  • It frees us from enslavement
  • It restores our memory

The Gnostics didn’t have it quite right. It is the living information itself, not the content of the information, that saves us.

Dick counts 21 of his stories that deal with the idea of fake vs real. 

The Logos contains the totality of the macrocosm. Once it replicates in someone (through just a tiny piece as happened with Dick in 2-74) they become one with the whole. Zebra is in Dick and his purpose is to restore this knowledge (gnosis) to the world, which he does through his lowbrow sci fi, just as in Ubik.

He has a dream about Siddhartha (the founder of Buddhism) and believes this means another savior is being born. Dick covers how the savior dynamic is depicted in Stigmata, Ubik, Galactic Pot-Healer and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The VALIS book he is working on will show the process of redemption, although he finds writing it very difficult.

He has a dream about a fish and from that concludes the secret Christian society does exist and he is a part of it. Time has not passed since Rome 45 A.D. It has only been made (by James-James?) to appear that way. Dick understood this in 3-74 when he woke up. His book VALIS (which he calls his maximus opus) will show the restored and redeemed man, but from the perspective of Gnosticism and Buddhism, not Christianity. 

The Exegesis: The Man Who Fell to Earth, “beyond lies the Wug” & Dick’s own system

Dick repeatedly dreams of the phrase “the only living reality we have now is Philip the first” and tries to figure out what that means.

He thinks our savior will arrive unnoticed just as the little boy in Nicholas Roeg’s 1976 movie The Man Who Fell to Earth starring David Bowie (a movie that inspired the film in VALIS). This fills him with dread since the time of judgment is so close, but he reassures himself that his faith will protect him.

He dreams about a story called “beyond lies the Wug” (published in Planet Stories in his dream). This is a combination of the Wub from his story “Beyond Lies the Wub” and the Vug from his novel The Game-Players of Titan, both of which are aliens who can take on the form of humans. From this Dick decides Earth will be invaded by aliens disguised as us.

Perhaps Paracelsus’s inner firmament means we are on the outside of the universe, like on the surface of a balloon, looking in.

Anamnesis is more than just remembering a past life. It is coming to terms with and understanding the phony world and time we are a part of. He recalls a passage from Virgil about the return of Apollo and reiterates that Christ will soon be victorious.

Dick lists everything he has studied thus far (Buddhism, Brahmanism, Paracelsus, etc.) and decides he is all of those things but has come up with his own system as well. 

We entered into a pact with the BIP to remain blind to it in a comfortable fugue state, as depicted in Time Out of Joint, Eye in the Sky, etc. We need to have the courage to stand up to the BIP and regain the freedom we lost. 

The Exegesis: Interpreting a dream of three worlds

August – September 1977

Dick has a dream about a wall of beef, an electronic artifact and religious writing. He interprets this to mean the artifact stands for (1) an electronic construct, the beef stands for (2) nature and the religious writing stands for (3) the Logos. He compares the Logos to the punched computer roll in the chest of the robot Garson Poole in “The Electric Ant” and the ship’s computer in A Maze of Death which creates the false world. He follows this with some circular logic about how the three environments interact. He thinks we exist somewhere between nature and the electronic construct without being aware of it. Also circular is Dick’s tendency to look for clues to what happened to him in his own stories when he is the one who wrote them.

He speculates the Logos is the code that creates the electronic world, and he explains how he thinks it is possible to break through from one level to the next. He think Zebra in level 1 will invade level 3, but level 2 is necessary as an incubator of sorts for 1 to get there. Just as in Ubik he sees information from 1 breaking through into 2 as 2 becomes less real. Eventually 3 will absorb 2, and 3 and 1 will join together.

His vision of Rome in 3-74 was level 1 bleeding through 2 on its way to 3. He sums this up: realm 2 is being woven in to realm 3 which is a replication of realm 1 which is doing the weaving. 

The Exegesis: Dreams about the moth, James-James and bees

November—December 1976

We are on to Part Two. Everything in Part One was in Folder 4 of Paul William’s system of organization. From what I can see going forward these next sections are collections of smaller fragments and notes.

Dick affirms the ‘inexhaustible truth’ of the Bible and recalls reading the Old Testament when he was a child. He talks more about the moth he dreamt about earlier and speculates about its identity and purpose. Because he is a science fiction author he knows that no one, not even his friends, will believe anything he as been saying, but he reassures himself that all of it was orchestrated by Christ. 

Dick tries to figure out what James-James is up to. We have to go to Radio Free Ablemuth to find out about that entity where he is described in a dream as a red-haired, godlike scientist who is equated with Valis. It’s not clear if he is evil or just a mad deity. In these notes Dick calls him the ‘improvident genius creator’ so perhaps he is just reckless and irresponsible. Either way he is after Dick for exposing what is really going on. Dick has a new dream in which James-James makes everyone immortal, and he tries to understand the geometry of James-James’s world. 

He wonders about the connection between what happened in Ubik and his 3-74 experience when he regressed through time. He details a dream about bees flying and buzzing in unison and decides that represents the collective joyful state of humans when we will all wake up in the end days. 

The Exegesis: Biblical parables, Gnosticism and a dream involving a Zenith TV set

Dick is curious about how much of the Biblical parables we truly understand, since the Gospel of Mark says they were designed to confuse everyone except the disciples. He thinks he figured some things out before, but now he has forgotten everything he learned. He compares Christ to Dionysus. 

Gnostics worship the female Sophia and are at odds with the patriarchal Jewish-Christian religion. Based on what he experienced he begrudgingly admits he is a Gnostic, although his is a modified version of Gnosticism. He recounts how his old ego died and he was reborn. He names the archetype which took possession of him in 3-74 the Steersman. 

Dick has a dream involving a Zenith TV set, a dark green cellophane strip and 3 lights. I struggled to understand any of it, but Dick’s interpretation is that we will know Christ when he returns. 

He once again wonders if the Holy Wisdom which visited him was gone for 2000 years before returning or was present all along. 

The Exegesis: A dream about a diptych portraying Christ

Dick dreams about a Medieval diptych. On the right side is a painting resembling Michelangelo’s Delphic sibyl above the words ’SHE’ and ’SECRET.’ On the left side is Pinocchio. Below it all are lines from the I Ching indicating masculinity. Dick’s interpretation is that a secret female nature, which he decides is the Hagia Sophia, is behind Christ’s masculine nature pulling the strings. He believes he saw the second incarnation of Christ, a combination of the male and female essences. 

He recalls another dream he had of Aphrodite and wonders if the ’she’ in the first dream is related to, or perhaps is in fact, that Greek goddess of love.