tag: Paracelsus

The Exegesis: Adam Kadmon, Beethoven and another concept of the Christian universe

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October – November 1979

In 3-74 Dick was restored as Adam Kadmon, one of the first entities who came into being in the Kabbalah, a man filling the entire universe, subject = object and microcosm = macrocosm. Dick compares the spatial reality created by the two systems of intersecting information to the music, and similar non-temporal reality, Beethoven created. He relates the expansive music to Paracelsus’s inner firmament, and Beethoven’s music is another trigger for the transfiguration that will free us from the BIP.

Memory is converted into a spatial volume, which is what he experienced as the world of Acts in 3-74. The hologram (reality) is created from this space, not time, so what we have is layer upon layer of the past.

Beethoven’s music was politically subversive because it expanded the mind of the individual. Dick’s writing is politically subversive because he explores the inner space, much like the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He hopes his writing can help others expand their inner space and break through into absolute space, just as Adam Kadmon. Beethoven’s music can free us and show us there is a world outside, a lot like the one portrayed in Ubik and A Maze of Death.

He says the Christian universe is its own universe, a compressed, 2000-year span that starts with the death of Christ and ends with his return. In trying to understand the connection between that universe and ours he hits on relativity where the events of that universe viewed here (or by him in 3-74) would fly by in a blur. More importantly, in 3-74, when he slowed down and was in phase with that Christian world, our world “sped up.” And in that moment he was able to discern Valis, no longer camouflaged in its environment. When this happened to him his present “stretched out millions of years.” He says this is the opposite of drug intoxication where you get smaller and the world gets bigger, and instead in this enlightenment you grow to fill up time and space. 

The Exegesis: Exploded time, a key in Parsifal, & acosmism and gnosticism combined

December 1979

Dick is having a hard time wrapping his head around what it means if he is Zebra. Does he exist in two places at once, as himself in 1974 and as Thomas in 45 A.D.? Did he cause the “perturbation in the reality field” that he saw? He envisions a parabolic orbit where we acquire a separate identity and then return in a loop back to the whole.

When Buddha achieved his enlightenment he converted time into space. Dick imagines time as a series of superimposed “laminations” added to, rather than replacing, the ones that come before. Ubik correctly represented this spatially. Ubik showed the beginning of enlightenment and VALIS is its logical successor. 

Dick says the line “here, my son, time turns into space” from Wagner’s opera Parsifal is the key to everything that helped him unite Buddha’s enlightenment, Paracelsus, Plato, Ubik and his 3-74 experience. Without that line in the opera he couldn’t have written VALIS. I always assumed the Valis and Ubik entities were one and the same but Dick here says he is only just realizing that.

Dick makes a connection between acosmism (the result when Zebra frees the body physically?) and gnosis (the freeing of the mind).

“I can come to no other conclusion. Reality is a field onto which our senses have falsely locked and which now coerces us and must be demonstrably broken from outside in a way in which we can witness (‘a perturbation in the reality field, a vortex’).”

Dick stands by his assertion that Valis did not create the universe but is a product of it or its antagonist. It is reordering the chaos of the universe. It doesn’t just use language but is language, which fits into his idea of Valis as living information.

He summarizes what he believes up to this point: just like in the cold-pac in Ubik we are surrounded by a hologram reality. Valis/Ubik breaks through into this maze (which they built?) in order to test us.

The Exegesis: The Man Who Fell to Earth, “beyond lies the Wug” & Dick’s own system

Dick repeatedly dreams of the phrase “the only living reality we have now is Philip the first” and tries to figure out what that means.

He thinks our savior will arrive unnoticed just as the little boy in Nicholas Roeg’s 1976 movie The Man Who Fell to Earth starring David Bowie (a movie that inspired the film in VALIS). This fills him with dread since the time of judgment is so close, but he reassures himself that his faith will protect him.

He dreams about a story called “beyond lies the Wug” (published in Planet Stories in his dream). This is a combination of the Wub from his story “Beyond Lies the Wub” and the Vug from his novel The Game-Players of Titan, both of which are aliens who can take on the form of humans. From this Dick decides Earth will be invaded by aliens disguised as us.

Perhaps Paracelsus’s inner firmament means we are on the outside of the universe, like on the surface of a balloon, looking in.

Anamnesis is more than just remembering a past life. It is coming to terms with and understanding the phony world and time we are a part of. He recalls a passage from Virgil about the return of Apollo and reiterates that Christ will soon be victorious.

Dick lists everything he has studied thus far (Buddhism, Brahmanism, Paracelsus, etc.) and decides he is all of those things but has come up with his own system as well. 

We entered into a pact with the BIP to remain blind to it in a comfortable fugue state, as depicted in Time Out of Joint, Eye in the Sky, etc. We need to have the courage to stand up to the BIP and regain the freedom we lost. 

The Exegesis: Bruno’s hylozoism & Paracelsus’s inner firmament

September 1978

Using concepts like hylozoism (the doctrine that all matter has life) Dick tries to explain how the universe is a living creature with a soul, which is what he depicted in Ubik.

He quotes a passage about the sixteenth century Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno from Will Durant’s book The Age of Reason Begins. Bruno wrote about the idea of a living God which is the universe. Dick wasn’t aware of this model of the world even though he based Ubik on it. Once again he feels he has “cracked the case” and achieved fulfillment. 

Dick has decided definitively that the space he occupied in his recent dreams is the inner firmament spoken of by Paracelsus whose teachings were introduced to him by Thomas even though Paracelsus was a German Renaissance philosopher. My simple understanding of this is that the inner microcosm of one man’s mind is a mirror of the macrocosm of the universe. The micro mind can experience the totality of the macro mind.

Dick begins to wonder if USA 1974 is real but maybe he is not. But then where does he exist? Perhaps it is belief in the world around us that makes it real and it is our psyche which creates the universe. 

Through Ubik Dick has attracted the attention of the Soviets, because by dismantling time and space through his line of thinking he is also tearing down the ideas capitalism is based on.