tag: Logos

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: 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: Notes on the “Logos Effect”

According to the editors there aren’t a lot of letters in the Exegesis from here on out. Dick’s notes often lack context when he’s not explaining things directly to anyone but himself, but I’ll do my best to makes sense of what he’s talking about. 

When European explorers first visited tribes in the 1600s they noticed religious beliefs strikingly similar to Christianity even though those cultures had never encountered it before. Dick calls this the “Logos Effect.” Something must be universally providing these salvation ideas to every race. 

Dick revisits the time theory of Dr. NK (aka Nikolai Kozyrev), the Soviet astrophysicist first mentioned in a letter to Claudia Bush on February 16, 1975. Dr. NK’s time theory resembles the ideas in Ubik so much that Dick says this is an example of the “Logos Effect” since he wrote Ubik in 1968, the same year Dr. NK’s theories were published in English. 

Another possibility though is that he was telepathically contacted by the Soviets at that time. Did it work? He wonders if it failed since he developed a dislike for the Soviets. Maybe his ideas for Ubik came from a combination of both the “Logos Effect” and Soviet telepathic communication. 

Dr. NK’s theory involves the ability of information to be transferred to people via time. In a sense Dr. NK rediscovered what the Logos was already doing. 

After a digression about a dream involving an entity named James-James Dick speculates about time splitting and reality realigning according to the plan of the Logos. 

The Exegesis: Folder 4

I’m going to have to revise my idea of bite-sized chunks… I think I can probably only handle a few pages at a time. If any of this sounds remotely interesting you should read it on your own, since these notes are just a way to keep it straight in my own mind as best I can. I’m not a scholar, so I apologize in advance if I get this all wrong.

The editors kept some of Paul Williams’s system of folder organization for the pages and pages of material. Dick has adopted the possibility that he was inspired by something to write his stories. In a section labeled ‘Folder 4’ Dick muses about the Logos and how it connects to his novel Ubik. We get a glimpse at the gnosticism (which to overly simplify it is the idea of spiritual knowledge as a path to God) which underpins what he thinks has been happening to him. 

The Logos is the Word of God (as in “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” in chapter 1 of the Gospel of John) and is a separate entity from the Holy Spirit. The Logos exists outside of time unlike the Holy Spirit which exists in time but moves in an opposite direction to the time we perceive.

Dick believes the plasmatic entity that visited him in March of ’74 was the Logos traveling back in time from the future. That seems to contradict the distinction he made between the Logos and the Holy Spirit earlier, but then he says ‘What difference does it make? It’s only a semantic quarrel.’ These pages are a dense beginning where he connects all of this loosely to the non-time world in Ubik where Runciter serves in the role of the Logos. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into…