November 17, 1981
Dick spends several pages interpreting a dream he had about a play where men are arguing. In the dream Dick doesn’t realize it is a play so he tries to join in the discussion only to be shut down because he has broken the rules. He compares this to his waking life where he has always felt like an outsider to any drama, someone who is not allowed to participate while also misunderstanding that everyone else is playing a role.
He goes on to connect the dream to Gnosticism. His fears come from the condition of Geworfenheit (or throwness). He is not allowed to take part so instead he tries to understand through his exegesis. The world was alien to him, but he created a role for himself. He wonders if the world changed in order to accommodate him, although that seems impossible. Logically, he decides he was the one who changed. He is sure he could not have had a psychotic break, since the unfamiliar became the familiar instead of the other way around.
The dream made clear to him that he has misunderstood life from the very beginning, something he calls the “Gnostic ontological condition of ignorance.” He turned that ignorance into knowledge, and the exegesis is a meta attempt to understand his understanding. The ability to figure everything out is inside him, but he has to unlock it.
According to Gnosticism cognitive estrangement exists until an outside source alerts someone to their state, after which ontological ignorance can become knowledge and their perception of the world is transformed. This can only happen when someone understands their part in relation to the whole. In Brahmanism this is “Tat tvam asi.”
After Aristotle man’s experience with the cosmos went away replaced by only a belief that it existed. This is the beginning of the cognitive estrangement. The cosmos came back when Dick experienced it in 3-74.