tag: Soviets

The Exegesis: A doomsday device, paranoia & mental illness

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Dick has a dream: the KGB contacts him and shows him the “doomsday device” the U.S. Army has created. He interprets the dream to mean Valis is this doomsday device. The U.S. put information about Valis into Flow My Tears as a trap in order to draw out the KGB and get them to contact him. 

He decides to take the dream literally, but realizes humans didn’t let the weapon loose. It escaped. It is an anti-Soviet weapon that worked as designed by promoting love of God and country. He calls it capitalist mind control. It creates a personality that seeks bourgeois comforts and fears the left wing. He is afraid of all authority as a result.

He had been desperate in 1974 but now he feels guilty about the comfortable life he is living, one of financial security that he achieved by cooperating with the state. In a moment of reflection he admits his belief that the Soviets would contact him was a paranoid, psychotic fantasy.  

He has a memory of a parallel world that phases in and out of reality. He tries to makes sense of what have probably been schizophrenic episodes. His writing has been an attempt to create some kind of philosophical framework to deal with all of this. This is one of his clearest views of what he has been going through where he admits the puzzle he has embraced solving for so long exists mostly in his mind.

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. 

The Exegesis: An ersatz Soviet Logos & memory as an organ of perception

February 1978

Dick has decided the Soviets, using Tesla’s ideas, have built a Logos-like information transfer grid in the ionosphere. The true Logos is made of words and information. This inferior Soviet copy is an anti-Christ. 

Dick was a victim but now that role has been flipped and he is the one impinging on the world. These types of dramatic reversals are a sign of the end times. 

He thinks he experienced a version of time that indicates immortality is possible. When Dick reached his lowest point in 3-74 Christ was there and the entire universe was revealed to him. 

Memory is an organ of perception. Since the entity exists in time, anamnesis (aka remembering) is the only way to perceive it. We have forgotten this because of pain which we experience because we are individual parts yearning to be incorporated into the whole. The only way to do this is through Christ which will unite us into the totality, and it is the only way to give our lives true meaning.

When Dick saw Rome he knew that Christ would one day return, and he compares this to how UFO watchers must feel anticipating first contact, something that could happen unexpectedly at any time.

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: Letter to Claudia Bush, February 16, 1975

Before Dick shows Claudia notes for a new novel he is working on about time dysfunction he tells her the true name of Jesus was revealed to him in a dream: Zeus Zagreus. 

The novel’s working title is To Scare the Dead. The sketch for the plot involves an LA man in the record business who is disinhibited by a girl with a Jesus fish necklace and suddenly has the spirit of a 2nd century A.D. Essene in his head. The man reads about Christ’s return in Revelation and later has his house ransacked and his file cabinet blown open by the government. I wonder where Dick is getting these ideas from.

Dick goes on to talk more about cubic time and the possibly retrograde horizontal time axis. Dick speculates he may have had false memories about his life in California implanted after being hypnotized (by who?), and wonders if whatever happened to him in March could have been due to Soviet experiments led by the astrophysicist Nikolai Kozyrev.