tag: Thomas

The Exegesis: A dream of the void & the Holy Spirit overcoming death

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Dick has a dream about a typed copy of the exegesis with a page in it that showed nothing but a blank white circle. This is possibly, in his interpretation, a signifier of a 4-dimensional void that accommodates a 3d object and is necessary for past, present and future to exist. This “is-not” realm is more real than the “is” reality, because the is-not must exist “in order that it provide a real core to the universe.” God equals this Yin-like void. 

A miracle happens through true belief in Christian doctrines, and entire universes are created through faith. Information becomes reality, just as Dick’s concepts became the world in 3-74. His micro mind was mirrored in reality as the macro mind.

When the Christians declared they had conquered death it’s because they were able to move into the past and the future with the help of the Holy Spirit, just as Thomas traveled from Rome 70 A.D. to California 1974. This was symbolized by the Jesus fish which resembles the Watson & Crick double helix DNA model. Without too much explanation he speculates the Holy Spirit might have come from the star Fomalhaut. 

Zebra / Valis is here. The macro within the micro goes against our logic. Part 3 of the exegesis ends with a quote from the New Testament: we are asleep but soon shall wake up.

The Exegesis: Valis’s true identity & a successful exegesis except for one outstanding question

October-November 1980

If someone put a gun to Dick’s head and forced him to give an answer about the nature of Valis he would say it is the Tao, since that represents the mastery of the dialectic through the Yin and the Yang.

After six and a half years he says the exegesis has finally become successful as he can now perceive, within the flux, ordinary daily reality. He feels old and misses the energy of his youth, but takes comfort in the fact that nothing from his past is truly lost and that his writing will “permanently affect the macrometasomakosmos” and survive in the structure of the world order.

What he really wants an explanation for is the “perturbation in the reality field,” a tug that he compares to the moon’s effect on the Earth’s tides. He has circled back to where he started. What does it point to?

3-74 was a heroic act, but it didn’t happen because he was a hero, given his history. A new self was born in him when Thomas took over. Perhaps Thomas wasn’t a lost part of himself but energy transferred from the world.

Valis is the Tao, YHWH, Cosmic Christ, Brahman, Shiva, Krishna or a quantum mechanic phenomenon. Or maybe there is nothing in the last mystery box, just God creating existence out of nothing. Paradoxically it has existed here all along in the ephemeral trash. The final great reversal. So the mystery is there is no mystery. This means Ubik is true, something Dick didn’t realize when he wrote it.

The Exegesis: Disinformation & Valis’s self-generating creation

June–October 1980

After six and a half years of obsessive notes Dick reflects on the Exegesis thus far. He knows he repeats his arguments “like a stuck LP,” but the important thing is getting everything down in order to preserve the memory of what he went through: Valis is YHWH / Christ and the Holy Spirit as Thomas inhabited him. He has been attempting to document in a rational way a mystical experience that can’t truly be expressed in words. 

The Empire uses disinformation as a tactic against the Christians. Since reality is information you can tell which side is which in the battle by paying attention to who is generating information and who is suppressing it. 

Using concepts from quantum mechanics Dick speculates on Valis’s mode of operation. It only comes into existence after being observed by a participant. Someone has to be aware of Valis in order to perceive it, but Valis doesn’t exist until it is observed. Valis does this through a use of time we don’t understand. After creation it retroactively sends messages back to give a participant the understanding necessary to see Valis and therefore create Valis. This makes it self-generating using “physics about which we know nothing.”

Valis is simple, like a single-cell organism, but it is made up of billions of complex forms (humans). Since Valis is reality this makes our world a coherent unit of purposefully interconnected parts. Through the dialectic (the forces of the Empire acting against it) it is constantly evolving to maintain equilibrium.  

In all this Dick realizes he has come back around to the Yin and Yang of Taoism, but decides it is non-sectarian since it combines Christian, Brahmanist, Platonist and Taoist ideas all at once. 

The Exegesis: The Tao of Physics and Dick’s own doctrine

January – April 1980

Dick reads The Tao of Physics, a 1975 book that deals with author Fritjof Capra’s notion of a relationship between subatomic physics and mystical religions, and it gives him some new insights into Valis other than the ones he “endlessly recirculates.” He has already talked about plenty of ideas that seem influenced by quantum mechanics, so I’m surprised it took him this long to discuss the connection, which he proceeds to do in his unique, confounding way.

In describing 3-74 he says the reality that surrounded him was a web-like structure in constant flux that could appear however it wanted. It was created by an interaction between his brain and Valis, so it required an active participation from him to exist. The entire experience was him merged with the entity. Since he was a part of it it was impossible to view it objectively, which is why he has had so much trouble making sense of it over the last six years. 

In order to understand 3-74 Dick studied all the mystical religions and “synthesized” them into a doctrine of his own. He says the world is an afterlife simulation controlled by Valis where we relive our lives in a loop (stuck in Purgatorio) until we wake up. We are constantly being judged by Ma’at (the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice), and it’s up to us to add new “good-karma” to break out of the cycle. Some secondary personality must exist who prods an individual to do good, and for him he recognizes that as Thomas (who he decides with finality is not “Pigspurt,” the first I’ve heard about the name he gave to Thomas when he thought Thomas might be some kind of government mind control). The introduction of this not-self self is what allows someone to break from determinism and shift to a path toward salvation.

The Exegesis: Christ’s role & Dick inside the universe

January 1980

If the world is made of information then it is completely deterministic with everything, including our death, unfolding according to plan. What we don’t see is that we are just one component in this world that extends back millennia. Without this understanding our existence doesn’t make any sense. Christ is the one who wakes us up and points this out to us. This consciousness he makes us aware of is a mirror of the macro-mind in the micro-mind of individuals. We remember our true identity when we wake up and experience anamnesis. When God sacrificed himself for man the whole became the part and the part became the whole.

Dick wonders if his 3-74 experience was Kabbalistic and perhaps he is in communication with the Torah itself.

In 3-74 he became Adam Kadmon and was able to change the world with his mind, since the world was his mind. Instead of seeing the universe from the outside he inhabited it and saw it from the inside. It protected him and spoke to him and comforted him. Everything that has been communicating with him (the hypnagogic visions, Thomas, the AI voice) come from this mind he is a part of.

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.