The Exegesis: A secret within a secret, suffering and beauty & an interpretation of the Christ story

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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January 1980

Dick lets us in on the secret within a secret. An evil empire exists but also a sect of Christians opposes it. It’s possible to know about the empire but not the Christians, whereas if you know about the Christians (the greater secret) you are also aware of the evil they are fighting. 

He has a dream about sheep who are tortured and killed but afterwards leave behind a painting on a wall. How do we reconcile the suffering with the beautiful thing it produces? Most of us do not find it justified. Is that the message we should receive from the death of Christ? That the emotional impact of the perceived suffering is more important than the eternal result? Dick thinks we should understand this is a basic law of the universe: absolute suffering leads to absolute beauty. Something beautiful and permanent comes from the suffering of perishable imperfect creatures, but even though that is the case it is a horrible thing to comprehend. We still put more emotional weight to the suffering than the result. He realizes all that is the theme of his recent story “Chains of Air, Web of Aether.”

He has a hypnopompic thought that the historical Jesus didn’t exist, and he interprets the Christ story (as best I can figure out) as an illustration of the individual escaping from a deterministic path to become immortal, which is what happened to him. He labels this a tragedy, since the absolute beauty can only be achieved by human suffering.