tag: Paracelsus

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

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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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.