tag: Noosphere

The Exegesis: The splintered soul and the splintered truth

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October-November 1980

Dick thinks that perhaps Rome 45 A.D. and USA 1974 are not in fact superimposed but rather through metamorphosis Rome has changed into the USA.

By linking together all the different concepts he has been talking about he has destroyed religion’s hold over us and allowed the soul to understand its divinity and immortality. 

Dick’s intellect synced with his emotions and he saw the bleakness of the world, just like Buddha’s view of absolute suffering. He decides to face this stoically. We are all trapped in the cycle of birth-suffering-death because we made the mistake of believing the spatiotemporal realm is real, and only a few of us will discover the way out. In 2-74 Dick saw the spatiotemporal realm was not real and his soul “literally exploded through time and space,” leading to the terrible realization of everyone’s condition. 

We must recognize Tat tvam asi (“thou art that,” one of the four great sayings of the Upanishads expressing a relationship between an individual and the absolute) in order to reverse the primordial fall (when we took the spatiotemporal realm as real) and reassemble the splintered parts of our soul.

Dick admits he is rediscovering things he already knew and needs to rest.

The truth itself has been splintered up over the years, and bits of it can be found in all religions and philosophies. Alone none of them can be accepted as a total belief system, but Dick sees it as his task to reassemble them into one. He understands it is impossible to come up with the unified complete answer by only studying one of these bits of the whole. That would explain why he has never been able to match his 3-74 experience to any one religion or philosophy. 

The Noös (what Dick seems to be calling Valis in these pages) also appears exploded within the spatiotemporal realm, but in “the great reversal” we will see the Noös unified as it truly is. 

The Exegesis: Undeserved suffering

March 1978

When the universe encounters ‘counterfeit interpolations’ it repairs and replaces them which result in changes in the timeline, although we aren’t aware of it.

The Great Mother was the one who revealed herself to Dick, a big deal since no one has believed in this female side of God for thousands of years.

Dick tries to understand suffering from a cosmic point of view. He doesn’t think Christianity does a good job explaining undeserved suffering. He thinks it all comes down to the element of chaos in the universe. When the benevolent God sees suffering it substitutes itself to take it on. Through this the memories of the suffering beings are restored and they know their true identity. Because the suffering is undeserved and unavoidable they are forced to search for not just an answer but the answer.

Dick envisions a more mechanical concept of the Noös where St. Sophia is reorganizing the chaos and Christ is sent in to restore broken sections of a “circuit board.” This isn’t a supernatural idea but can and will be explored in a scientific way. 

The only way to encounter Christ is to be broken. Is the purpose of religion to merely explain suffering or to avert it?

The collective consciousness fell asleep in 70 A.D. when Christ left. Everything since then is fake time or a dream. Some group sits outside of this phony 1974 California reality and can see things we don’t see. Dick thinks his book Eye in the Sky is the most accurate representation of this. 

He lists all of his novels that fit this theme of fake or hallucinatory worlds that hide the real one: Eye in the Sky, Time Out of Joint, The Man in the High Castle, Martian Time-Slip, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Ubik, A Maze of Death, Flow my Tears, A Scanner Darkly, Clans of the Alphane Moon, The Game-Players of Titan, The Cosmic Puppets

Dick wonders if the Noös might not be a little insane and deranged in the paradoxes and illusions it creates.

The Exegesis: A time-traveler named Thomas and a hypnagogic message

February 1978

Zebra and the holographic world are both made up of some kind of thinking electricity that can shape shift into anything. Who or what is responsible for this reality? Is it the physical noosphere or is it in our mind? Dick leans toward something physical like Brahman. Another layer exists beyond 70 A.D. which Dick calls the abyss. 

Dick decides he is a time-traveler from 70 A.D. called Thomas and the PKD personality is just a mask. He thinks that Ubik the entity must have guided him to write Ubik the novel because where else would he have gotten the idea. It came about through a form of automatic writing. This makes that book a scripture of sorts along with A Maze of Death and Flow my Tears

In a hypnagogic state the spirit speaks to him and says they are “responsible for low-level decisions which can be overruled.” He assumes “they” refers to God. This means man’s relationship to reality is flipped. We become the objects in a living world. Dick sees this as a truly radical new understanding as it reveals God and reorganizes man’s place in the cosmic hierarchy. 

At Dick’s greatest point of desperation the being behind the veil let Dick see beyond it. His novels were a way to prepare him for his 3-74 experience and now he feels free. He ends this section by cryptically saying what comes next has something to do with Mexico.

The Exegesis: Zebra & the noosphere

January or February 1977

Dick has nicknamed the form-mimicker Zebra. He tries to imagine how it creates its phony world. He is not sure if our world is entirely faked or just a partially viewed reality. He speculates that Zebra is not Brahman after all, that God has an opposing subject (either neutral or antagonistic) and that Zebra is a Creator God building a new Earth. He thinks he was incorporated into Zebra’s world in 3-74.

He returns to the idea of the noosphere. Perhaps this is what Zebra is creating. He believes there is a duality between the creator of the world and this Zebra entity similar to Vishnu and Shiva or the Savior and God.

There is no difference between the builder and the world it is building. Is this recreated world Christ’s forthcoming kingdom? He goes over an earlier idea about how Zebra subliminally programs or guides us in order to free us from the Black Iron Prison. 

The theme of Dick’s writing has always been how reality is hidden from us. He is surprised at how close Ubik came to depicting Zebra in the form of Runciter. 

The Exegesis: Letter to Henry Korman, February 2, 1975

Dick met Henry Korman when Tony Hiss interviewed Dick for the New Yorker and brought Henry along. Henry and Dick discussed Sufism and Dr. Robert Ornstein’s work involving the parity between the two hemispheres of the brain. 

In a letter to Henry Dick tells him that he fell asleep after reading a Sufi magazine and had dreams of parallel universes, one in which he was a famous jet setter and another where he lived as a migratory worker in Mexico.

I don’t entirely understand the concept of the noosphere, but it dates back to the 1920s and the writings of Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Soviet geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky. Dick tries to connect the idea of the noosphere (some kind of next phase of the biosphere created by human cognition) to Ubik but he seems to be spitballing about what that connection really is.