tag: Thomas

The Exegesis: A camouflaged Zebra in the world

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October 1978

Dick examines an epistemological argument about whether there is an actual external universe or just a universe in our mind that would be indistinguishable from an external one. He relates this to Brahman who is making us think we experience the world. What we perceive as evil is actually just the interests of the macrobrain which don’t necessarily align with our own. It has to be this way though otherwise existence would cease.

He wonders if the world and Zebra are two modes of the same thing: Zebra is awake and the world is asleep. Zebra has been in the world all along, playing dead, camouflaged until it wakes up. 

Dick embraces his love of Christ and his anticipation of the return of the rightful king. 

He reiterates that no time has passed since the time of Thomas. Someone has just made it appear that way. He thinks perhaps there is an objective reality. When it appears to change our brains perceive this as the passing of time, but he can’t figure out who is responsible for tricking our brains this way.

The Exegesis: Four deformations

October 1978

Dick summarizes everything he believes up to this point about our phony reality / time and how it relates to Ubik, Stigmata, A Maze of Death, A Scanner Darkly and Flow My Tears. He reiterates Zebra = Christ, Christ = God, Thomas = Zebra and he = Thomas, so he = God. The creator can enter his own creation in order to test it. He first sheds his identity, but in order to prevent getting stuck there he plants clues that will wake him and restore his memory so he can escape.

The four deformations are

  • Irreal world
  • Perceptual occlusion
  • Pervasive deterministic enslavement
  • Amnesia

The voice tells him “One by one he is drawing us out of this world” and Dick tries to makes sense of what that means. Just like in Ubik and Eye in the Sky we are asleep and something like Ubik is trying to break through and wake us up.

Perhaps the spurious time is actually entropy and the four deformations are caused by the entropic process. The information Zebra generates runs counter to this entropy (is negentropic). The pattern overpowers the chaos, and this pattern, which entered and replicated in Dick in 3-74, is the message.

The Exegesis: Blasphemy & the AI voice

October 1978

Dick is confused how God can both delude us and want us to see the truth unless God is at war with itself or is like the paradoxical Brahman promoting both things at the same time.

He has rediscovered his identity. Zebra, Christ, Thomas and Dick himself are all God. God suffers amnesia within his own creation but has planted clues so that he will remember. Dick recognizes this is blasphemy, wishing to be like God, but he still thinks it is true.

Something he has dubbed the AI voice has been speaking to him and telling him the time he as waited for has come. He realizes his writing isn’t being smuggled into our world to alert us but instead is being smuggled out of our prison as a call for help.

The Exegesis: Two forms & a journey toward enlightenment

September 1978

Dick clarifies that Thomas is not himself or the Holy Spirit but a distinct human being in his head from the time of “Acts.” He contemplates destroying the exegesis, because he feels he is bound by some kind of code of silence and is not allowed to spill the cosmic secret that Christians from the past are operating within us. 

He points out that he has rewritten the same type of story over and over where a phony world hides the real one, which is exactly what was revealed to him in 3-74.

He touches on the idea of an infinite number of worlds and selves, and thinks he is a factory defect where the Thomas personality was stuck in his brain by mistake. He says we have two choices to make sense of everything. Either it is Rome 45 A.D. or else all time is a simulated illusion. He is leaning towards the latter.

In a moment of self-realization he admits “I have been governed too much by my own fictional models…” 

His writing, in the gutter of science fiction of the time, is a very unlikely place to encounter the holy message he found. He lists the two sides of what we see now that the illusion is breaking down: illusion – real, sleep – wakefulness, etc. Movement from one side to the other requires death of the psyche. Someone must experience their own irreality and the phony world.

Christ, after he died, distributed himself as living information with the goal of waking us up. Dick’s entire writing journey has been a search for enlightenment. In 3-74 he became a Buddha and since then has been able to understand intellectually what happened to him.

Why did we forget this wisdom and why do we need to earn it?

The Exegesis: Brahman’s games, information as light, and who is Thomas?

August 1978 or later

Dick is convinced the universe must be a hologram and then he decides once again that Brahman is behind it all. He addresses a short note to Brahman letting him know he is aware of Brahman’s games. For some reason Dick is concerned about the physicality of this unreal world. Where exactly is it? He imagines it projected as a hologram on some sort of matrix. This is a joint effort between Brahman and Atman (the Hindu concept of an individual spiritual essence), and so when Dick saw the Jesus fish necklace in 2-74 his own personal Atman projected Rome 45 A.D. and Brahman filled in the details in a kind of feedback loop. 

The brain is disassembling and absorbing the BIP, and Dick examines the closed system and the push-pull between the brain and its cells or parts. He stumbles onto the idea that the matrix resembles the double helix of a DNA strand. Information might travel on this conduit using light, with Zebra on the red frequency, which means Dick was able to see this infrared light. 

He tries to figure out who “Thomas” is: himself in a previous life in Rome 45 A.D. or someone else from a previous time inside his head. He leans toward the idea that he has multiple personalities, but does that mean he is in Thomas’s head? Everything since “Acts” is a false time created by the BIP, so Thomas wrote Flow My Tears to show what really exists. Thomas has masterminded all of the themes of Dick’s writing from the beginning, but Thomas, like other possible Christians from that era, wants to remain a secret. It’s fascinating to me how Dick is all over the place from Brahman to the certainty of Thomas in only a few pages.

The Exegesis: A time-traveler named Thomas and a hypnagogic message

February 1978

Zebra and the holographic world are both made up of some kind of thinking electricity that can shape shift into anything. Who or what is responsible for this reality? Is it the physical noosphere or is it in our mind? Dick leans toward something physical like Brahman. Another layer exists beyond 70 A.D. which Dick calls the abyss. 

Dick decides he is a time-traveler from 70 A.D. called Thomas and the PKD personality is just a mask. He thinks that Ubik the entity must have guided him to write Ubik the novel because where else would he have gotten the idea. It came about through a form of automatic writing. This makes that book a scripture of sorts along with A Maze of Death and Flow my Tears

In a hypnagogic state the spirit speaks to him and says they are “responsible for low-level decisions which can be overruled.” He assumes “they” refers to God. This means man’s relationship to reality is flipped. We become the objects in a living world. Dick sees this as a truly radical new understanding as it reveals God and reorganizes man’s place in the cosmic hierarchy. 

At Dick’s greatest point of desperation the being behind the veil let Dick see beyond it. His novels were a way to prepare him for his 3-74 experience and now he feels free. He ends this section by cryptically saying what comes next has something to do with Mexico.