The Exegesis: Notes on 11-17-80

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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October-November 1980

Dick finds parallels between his 3-74 experience and his efforts to figure it out afterword with the exegesis. Both involved entropy, and in both he split apart after speeding up and reaching infinite velocity. In 3-74 the end result was that he saw Valis. During his exegesis he sped up again, fragmented into endless theories and finally encountered the infinite God on 11-17-80 as noted in the last entry. 

The journeys were similar but the outcomes different. Valis is the world but God is transcendent. 11-17-80 was the theophany he thought he experienced in 3-74. In 3-74 he didn’t connect with God but only understood that God existed and had saved him. 

He credits a little “Mary Jane” as the thing that gave him the final push that accelerated him through the exegesis. His theophany occurred when he gave up on the exegesis and “turned on.” Enlightenment only comes when you stop pursuing it. He realizes his journey didn’t begin in 1974 but in high school when he first heard the AI voice.

He remarks on the anthropomorphic nature of God in contrast to Valis. Valis is machinelike and computerlike but God (who he compares to Gandolf) has a personality much like the wise, old, loving man in a robe people have always envisioned.

Misinterpreting Valis as God was hubris and a form of blasphemy. It appeared as Ubik to him because it fed his preconceptions back to him. Dick says the exegesis was a sin. He intellectually tried to understand the world, but was eventually delivered from it after exhaustion.