tag: Palm Tree Garden

The Exegesis: Elijah & Torah

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Dick believes the personality that has inhabited him is Elijah (or the same spirit that took over Elijah), and this is reinforced by several dreams he has connected to the Bible.

The way YHWH tries to break through to us is like how sounds from the world are able to work their way into our dreams when we are asleep. They are either incorporated or jarring enough that we wake up. Most of us remain in Purgatorio because we are afraid of risk. It’s a gamble. We could make it to the Palm Tree Garden or end up in the BIP.

When Dick watched 3 Women he realized if he didn’t believe in YHWH he would end up in a cosmic nothingness… a terrible thought. Again he reiterates that Plato made an error. The two realms don’t exist in space but rather all around us. Since this is the case the upper realm can be accessed in life, like what happened to him in 3-74, and not just after death. The erroneous view of spatial realms affected Christianity but not the Israelites who recognized God was in nature. 

Torah is living information created by God. What we call reality is just our way of interpreting this information signal. Valis is the “machine” that turns the Torah into reality. Torah as info is trapped in reality, so to truly understand all of this we would need to see Torah in all living things and retrieve it.

The Exegesis: History as a brain, being as thought & different spacetimes

October – November 1979

“A playful God can ape the solemn, but a solemn God is not going to ape the playful (music, dance, etc.), especially tricks and paradoxes and riddles.”

In 2-3-74 Dick stripped away the layers and saw Valis… after Valis is the abyss. He imagines history as a great brain cannibalizing its environment. Valis operates within human history in order to evolve. Just as pre-Socratic man Dick saw thought and being combined into one. The spiritual isn’t a separate realm but rather Valis’s physical thoughts that exist outside of our senses. He recognizes this is like Spinoza’s monism which doesn’t see a distinction between God and world.

Religions like Christianity reintroduced the concept of an anthropomorphic God as separate from the world and Christians as “in and not of the world” which served to devalue the world and our place in it. Dick has found the absolute being in Ubik/Valis.

Two worlds with different spacetimes exist, one within the other, locked together but running at different speeds. The fast one is the one we perceive as we are hurried to our deaths. He has a hypnagogic thought that he, as Thomas, fell asleep and ended up trapped in high-speed time.

Dick was rendered innocent by Christ, joined God in the garden and had his name written in the book of life. He didn’t earn his innocence though, Christ guided him. 

He recalls a hypnagogic state in 3-74 when he saw a map of stars. Using Dante’s Divine Comedy as a model he compares the BIP to Inferno, the Palm Tree Garden to Paradiso and Purgatorio to the world we are aware of. 

The Exegesis: Punishment for play vs work

June or July 1978

Dick is upset his pop culture sci-fi is being legitimized. It’s how the powers that be destroy something when they can’t control it. A Scanner Darkly depicted the outsized punishment that comes not from drugs but from choosing to continue to play when society wants you to toil away. We have all been taught to expect this form of punishment for the sinfulness of play instead of work. Christ’s punishment, in spite of being blameless, seems to prove this wrong, but the true message, that suffering is not tied to sin, was lost. 

Dick thinks the decoded message in Flow my Tears is that Zebra is in fact Christ and he is here / has returned.

In A Scanner Darkly the authorities want to enslave everyone and force them to be subservient to group approval. God is the sentient being who will free us from that real-life enslaved state.

Dick quotes from Act 3 of Wagner’s opera Parsifal when all of nature rejoices at God’s mercy on Good Friday. He reads Will Durant’s history of the Reformation and decides the true message has been misunderstood for 2000 years. Dick says tears, enslavement, and pain (the Black Iron Prison) were transformed to innocence, love and joy (the Palm Tree Garden world) through Christ’s sacrifice. 

He wonders where he fits in with the history of Christianity and sees the most similarities with the Quakers who believed they could communicate directly with the Holy Spirit.

The Exegesis: Dick’s relationship with Zebra

May 1978

Dick believes the true deity had a role in overthrowing the U.S. Government. It was able to sneak in unnoticed disguised as lowbrow trash just as in Ubik

He thinks the Black Iron Prison world has yielded to the PTG (Palm Tree Garden) world, but because the BIP world was a bogus copy of the real world, and the PTG world copied that, we are then living in a fake of a fake. He goes on to clarify there is no world. We are enclosed in the BIP which is firing signals at us and creating what we see as the world. He doesn’t believe it is evil though.

The information Dick received in 3-74 was meant for Zebra and not for him. Whatever it was means Zebra is a permanent part of him now and he is in a symbiotic state with it.

It sounds like he thinks the information hidden in his book Flow My Tears is a way for Zebra to replicate itself in the minds of its readers. He suggests the Book of Acts in the Bible is not a book but is actually a world which he entered into in 3-74. I’m not sure Dick really understands what he is talking about here.

Dick has hit on the idea that we built Zebra to help us remember because we knew the BIP would take over and enslave us. Zebra is metabolic information restoring elasticity to the rigid BIP of the universe. Each person must rebel in order to see the world for what it truly is. 

Because we each contain the totality of the holographic universe Zebra and Dick are the same, but he is still reckoning with this.

The Exegesis: Hyperuniverses and our world as a hologram

Early 1978

Our universe is a sort of hologram. VALIS/Zebra is trying to wake us up to this with illusions that demonstrate our phony world. Everything is flipped. What we expect to be grounded reality is fake and the nonsense is real. Dick’s writing has value in exposing this.

Dick is deep down the rabbit hole at this point. I often wonder what he would make of the conspiracy theories overwhelming our present time. He quotes a passage from Robert Anton Wilson’s 1977 Illuminati book Cosmic Trigger about Terence and Dennis McKenna’s book the Invisible Landscape. The McKenna’s, whose theories also borrowed from the I Ching, apparently believed two hyperuniverses interact to form the hologram of our universe. Every piece of a hologram contains information of the whole thing, so that concept would extend to our brains which would contain the whole of the universe. From their idea Dick extrapolates that the two hyperuniverses are the Black Iron Prison and the palm tree garden world which combine to create the hologram. One is signal and one is noise, and Christ is invading the Black Iron Prison world in order to destroy it. 

Dick wonders why the omniscient entity doesn’t do more to alleviate undeserved suffering. Does it have limited power or knowledge, or is it operating in stealth mode to hide from its adversary? Dick concludes Christ is supplanting each suffering creature.