tag: Jim Pike

The Exegesis: A ‘godly anarchy’ and questions about the perception of the universe

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Dick continues to wonder why he can experience God and others can’t. What happened to him proves that God can communicate directly to people without an intermediary just as the Protestants said. The concept of God has evolved from something external to something internal which will affect future societies. He imagines a kind of ‘godly anarchy’ where laws are unnecessary. 

Any group that had the same experience he did might afterwards search for the cause by thinking back to recent people who have died. For Dick that was Jim Pike. For the early Christians it was Jesus. Others saw this being as Tammuz, Adonis or Osiris. Are all of these mystery religions thinking of the same entity with a different name?

During his experience Dick had the impression he had been viewing the universe ‘backwards’ his entire life. Are we perceiving the universe incorrectly? We’ve been taught since we were children to identify things by name which leads to an overfamiliarity and lazy thinking that could be preventing us from seeing things as they are. What we need to do is somehow look at things with fresh eyes. Dick is beginning to understand he encountered the totality of God and not just a small portion. If this happened to anyone they would obviously find it difficult to explain this overwhelming experience.

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.

The Exegesis: July 8, 1974: The First Day of the Constitutional Crisis

Another letter to Claudia Bush. Dick believes he is seeing beyond ‘the Lie’ he covered in the last letter. In a compelling idea he wonders if his writing alters reality. Do people expect the world to become more like his books after they read them?

He returns to Ubik. Is he (or everyone) living in a pseudo-environment like the one in that book? Is Jim Pike ‘coming across’ to him from beyond death like Runciter did? Dick is changing and wonders if this is from the influence of Jim. He switched to drinking beer instead of wine, listens to rock music which he never did before and trimmed his beard.  

With his regimen of massive doses of water-soluble vitamins he thinks he may have improved communication between the two hemispheres of his brain which are now working together for the first time in his life.

He dreams mostly of the Hellenistic period. He decides whatever is contacting him is non-Christian or pre-Christian. It pulled him back to 100 A.D. just before the start of Christianity. Maybe VALIS decided Christianity was a wrong turn and Dick is supposed to get it right this time around. Finally he concludes he is being contacted by Asklepios, Greek son of Apollo. 

In a footnote the editors remind us all these personality changes could be a result of temporary strokes due to Dick’s sky-high blood pressure.  

The Exegesis: Letter to Claudia Bush, July 13, 1974

In a second letter to Claudia Dick tells her about more dreams. In addition to the mysterious book he dreamt about the Cumaean Sibyl and a Cyclops. This leads him to Virgil’s Aeneid and an exploration of Greek and Roman myths. 

The sibyl tells him in a dream whoever broke into his home in San Rafael in 1971 and 1972 was looking for papers related to his friend Bishop Jim Pike.