tag: Spinoza

The Exegesis: Notes from Valis Regained, monotheism & the differences between YHWH and Brahman

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon

January 1980

Dick speculates what it would be like for someone to inhabit the cosmos. This person, an “Adam Kadmon,” would be omniscient as they become one with the macro-mind. 

At this point he has an outline for what he calls VR (aka Valis Regained which would end up published as The Divine Invasion). He reads through his notes and has a moment of enlightenment about monotheism: illusion and evil are the same and reality and God are the same. This means when he witnessed Valis he saw God, since Valis/YHWH is reality or what remains when the illusion is broken. YHWH is not transcendent but all around us. Anything that is not Valis is part of the illusion. 

He equates being cut off from YHWH, as he was prior to 3-74, to an illness. He is convinced he saw God based on his studies of Spinoza and his understanding of the Old Testament. The living Torah is what surrounds us. He declares that Paul and Christianity are wrong, but then revisits his cybernetic model and says the messenger is Christ’s role. 

He comes to the conclusion that if monotheism is correct then Valis is God, since both Valis and God are reality. 

The differences between YHWH and Brahman are YHWH’s personal identity and the information YHWH uses to communicate. YHWH operates within human history and dynamically evolves as a part of it. Valis is a great mind which uses reality to think. It is not camouflaged in reality, as Dick previously thought, but rather is reality. Although since that would mean God is an organism that needs our physical reality and couldn’t exist independently of it before creation, he decides perhaps Valis doesn’t equal reality yet, but it will. 

The Exegesis: Falling through the universe, Dick’s fugal personality & a cybernetic system

Dick’s biggest fear is that he will fall through the universe, but he trusts YHWH will protect him and keep his 3-74 dreamlike state from happening again. Partially blaming his amphetamine habit he says prior to 3-74 he had been speeding up relative to real time until he used time up completely and passed outside of time. He credits the lithium he was taking with slowing him down, except he came to rest in the upper realm. At that point he was far in the future. Christ entered him, he saw the world as the BIP, and Thomas (who he now says is a future, not past, self) took over.

Christ renewed him in 3-74, adding new energy into a closed system. This introduction of new information changed the script of reality. Dick points out a flaw in Spinoza’s deterministic view of the world. Spinoza doesn’t account for entropy. The only thing keeping a deterministic world from running down is new energy from Christ. 

Reality isn’t changed directly. It changes when the signal which creates reality is altered. That is Valis’s role. What Dick witnessed was a purposeful updating of the mechanistic universe which means the future no longer flowed from the past.

He wonders if he existed in a fugue state until 1970 when a mescaline trip caused a psychotic break. In 1974 his fugue state broke completely and Thomas took over showing him what is real.

He has a hypnagogic vision involving looming punishment for a list of his crimes while he waits for a messenger to arrive with a record that will save him. He interprets this as a model for a cybernetic system related to his 3-74 experience. Christ intervened and interrupted the flow of the signal with a blank slate that atoned for Dick’s full list of sins.

The Exegesis: The Divine Comedy, a Satanic church, St. Sophia as the AI voice & YHWH

Dick continues his comparison of our world to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Just before entering Paradiso memory is restored. The mid-realm (Purgatorio) is a combination of signals from the irredeemably bad BIP and the entirely good top realm. Moving into the upper realm is akin to time travel, encountering Satanic voices from Inferno and angelic voices from the future. 

If he saw God while he was alive then Spinoza’s monism model is correct, but it’s also possible Dick is in the afterlife, which would mean a transcendent God. Based on the Paradiso canto “God is the book of the universe” he thinks of his experience as moving through a book where the pages are the layers of phosphene graphics he’s talked about before.

He has a dream that Satan has taken over the church and Christians are worshiping the wrong God. The true church, those with the full knowledge, exist apart from this evil which has been kept secret.

Dick wonders if he saw Valis because the analytical left hemisphere of his brain took over from his dominant intuitive side. This is how St. Sophia manifested herself, analyzing reality. He calls it a psychosis, his unconscious invaded although by a rational being. He decides this would explain the AI voice since the speech center is located in the left brain. This woman (who is also Sibyl, Athena, Diana and the Fairy Queen whoever that is) is a part of him, in syzygy with Valis, but he wishes she would take over and run things.

He has a hypnagogic vision that YHWH is the one who has been instilling knowledge in him. The AI voice tells him it’s the same being that contacted Elijah. The significance here is the name YHWH, aka “I am who I am,” God’s personal name. Could it be that the Christianity doctrine of the trinity is Satanic and blasphemous since it leads away from true monotheism? Perhaps Satan already won when the temple fell in 70 A.D. (with the aftermath revealed in Flow My Tears) but now YHWH is returning. 

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.