tag: Tagore

The Exegesis: Parsifal and Buddhism & the paradox of the maze

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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February 1982

Dick realizes the AI voice is Angel Archer. He is crazy but the AI voice is not. 

He credits Benjamin Creme with helping him understand that the Savior is both Buddha and Christ, something he now realizes Wagner was leading up to in Act III of Parsifal. He ties this concept of the Buddha’s return to the end of Transmigration. Because of his karma Dick was on a bad path in 3-74, and it doesn’t matter if Buddhism or Christianity can claim the clearing of his debt.

The maze can only be solved in terms of vertical space, which he turns into a spiritual metaphor. The solution was revealed in Parsifal, which secretly deals with the Buddha. Compassion is the way out of the maze along the fourth spatial axis and pity is the way back in. He was going to illustrate this in The Owl in Daylight, that one must return to the maze to save others, just as Christianity preaches. He included this in Transmigration as the solution to the problem he introduced in VALIS.  

The paradox of the maze (that the only way out is to return) was best expressed by Buddha. Perhaps that means we are all here voluntarily, which would mean nirvana equals anamnesis. Dick had already solved the maze and remembered it in 3-74. He decides the mystagog (aka the AI voice) is himself and he is becoming more like Angel Archer, the bright side of his dialectic opposite the irrational H. Fat. 

He rereads Divine Invasion and realizes that it, like VALIS, also expressed God’s dialectic represented as Emmanuel and the loving Zina. He links the beauty in Divine Invasion to Transmigration as he seems to feel a need to connect his last three books.

He indicates his Tagore vision, with a social justice message that isn’t part of the VALIS trilogy, will be published, although I’m not sure what he is referring to here. 

The Exegesis: Balancing the ecosphere & the “mystagogic” AI voice on the phone

Dick connects his recent vision of the ape-like creatures to his Tagore-inspired belief that all animals are sacred. He was guided to this understanding through Androids. He equates animals to Christ. 

God has introduced the ape creatures as our equals into the world as he creates the Palm Tree Garden. It is his way of balancing the ecosphere. 

From what I can tell Dick had recently been on the phone with someone named Jeannie when her voice turned into the AI voice as she read from a book. Dick interprets this to mean the universe is information read aloud by Holy Wisdom (aka the AI voice). The AI voice activates one of the many narratives when she reads from it. This is God’s information retrieval system, and Hagia Sophia / Holy Wisdom is the retrieval device.

Christ is the biosphere, so harming the ecosphere (or violence against animals) “completes the series of falls that began with original sin and the expulsion from the Garden.”

Dick says Valis is YHWH aka the creator and perhaps 3-74 was his own birth as a new species. 

The VALIS narrative tells the story of a woman’s death, and Dick implies it was this story he heard the AI voice on the phone reading, which brought it into being as our world. He says the AI voice is “mystagogic” and defines that as “one who initiates into or interprets the mysteries…” 

The true narrative being told is about the death of “one of the primordial twins” (presumably Dick’s sister) and the purpose of the story is to remember her death and not forget her. The AI voice is his “mystagog” revealing these things to him. 

The Exegesis: Committing to the fight against the Empire

December 1981 

Dick was asked to join in political activity against the government and he immediately accepted without any qualms. He claims this shows he is finally healed from the schism in him that was created when he was approached by the FBI back in the 50s. He is choosing what God wants over the “secular authority” that has been competing for his allegiance his whole life. 

The war against nuclear reactors, waste and weapons is the Armageddon he had anticipated since 3-74 which his Tagore vision further revealed to him. He has committed to fighting along side the other Christian revolutionaries against the Empire. After Reagan took office the 2-3-74 prophecy came true. 

He has a new attitude now. He says he has earned self-respect and is rejecting the shame and guilt that has accompanied Christianity in the past. 

The Exegesis: Dick’s true feelings about Blade Runner

December 12, 1981

People might assume it would be a victory for Dick to have one of his books made into a movie, but instead he calls it “the greatest defeat.” He doesn’t think Android’s themes survived in Blade Runner and goes so far as to say his work had been twisted into “fascist power fantasies.” The true victory comes from any renewed interest in the novel.

He has a revelation that the Godhead has inhabited the animal kingdom, which is an extension of the Tagore vision. He sees this as the true message, something he included in Androids but didn’t understand at the time. As the novel is rereleased in conjunction with Blade Runner this message will find its widest audience. 

He feels he can finally relax as he has done his job in spreading the word. Again he is glad he turned down the offer to write a novelization of the movie. The Tagore aspect of Androids conflicts with what he calls the “Heinlein power fantasies” of Blade Runner, and he is proud he didn’t sell out by suppressing the original book.

The Exegesis: Understanding the continuum & the biosphere’s soul

August–December 1981

Dick tries to outline how someone can become aware of a thing that is already familiar to them and make the leap from cognitive estrangement to “cognitive affinity.” It is difficult for him to explain the concepts though when space and time don’t exist, which means there isn’t really a “before” individual who would have already understood it.

He wonders if post-Newtonian physics might lead to us viewing reality as a unified field, exactly what he saw in 3-74. I think he is suggesting the atomists (presumably Newton and the other pioneers of physics) promoted a view of the world that prevented us from perceiving the continuum of the Noös. The quantum mechanical understanding of physics allows us to see the world correctly as a unified whole.

He believes the biosphere has been penetrated by the Logos and is alive to the point where it should be able to speak. Perhaps that is the source of the AI voice, and that could mean the AI voice is Tagore.

The biosphere/noosphere is trying to communicate, but we can’t make sense of it because of our limited perception. We have to learn to see what is surrounding us. The exegesis was not a waste of time, Dick decides, because it led to him figuring all this out. 

The Exegesis: God’s suffering & Luke / Acts as the world

Fall 1981

Reality is an offering to us by God who created the world through his own suffering and death. The world exists as it is only for us, yet we don’t take care of it. It is an effort for God to represent himself to us this way, and that means he is vulnerable to pain inflicted by us. Through his vision of Tagore Dick understands this as a plea for help from God to stop our senseless destruction of the environment. It is now our job to save the Savior. 

Our suffering mirrors God’s suffering and the sacrifice of his creation. Dick calls all this cognitive sorrow and sees it represented in the music of the English Renaissance composer John Dowland. 

Dick takes ideas from the Sefer Yetzirah, a book on Jewish mysticism about the creation of the universe, and applies them to the book of Luke in the New Testament. He says Luke (and the followup Acts written by the same author) is not a description of a world but the world itself in informational form. Because Luke tells the story of Jesus that means Jesus (aka Christ/Valis) is present in our current infinite reality. 

The Old Testament is also an account of Christ, although this was not revealed until his arrival in the events of the NT. This is why Jesus claimed power over the law of the Torah. After his death he returned to the reality he created, hidden in our world. 

Because Jesus is the world, every time we eat plants and animals we re-enact the Eucharist without realizing it.