The Exegesis: Punishment for play vs work

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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June or July 1978

Dick is upset his pop culture sci-fi is being legitimized. It’s how the powers that be destroy something when they can’t control it. A Scanner Darkly depicted the outsized punishment that comes not from drugs but from choosing to continue to play when society wants you to toil away. We have all been taught to expect this form of punishment for the sinfulness of play instead of work. Christ’s punishment, in spite of being blameless, seems to prove this wrong, but the true message, that suffering is not tied to sin, was lost. 

Dick thinks the decoded message in Flow my Tears is that Zebra is in fact Christ and he is here / has returned.

In A Scanner Darkly the authorities want to enslave everyone and force them to be subservient to group approval. God is the sentient being who will free us from that real-life enslaved state.

Dick quotes from Act 3 of Wagner’s opera Parsifal when all of nature rejoices at God’s mercy on Good Friday. He reads Will Durant’s history of the Reformation and decides the true message has been misunderstood for 2000 years. Dick says tears, enslavement, and pain (the Black Iron Prison) were transformed to innocence, love and joy (the Palm Tree Garden world) through Christ’s sacrifice. 

He wonders where he fits in with the history of Christianity and sees the most similarities with the Quakers who believed they could communicate directly with the Holy Spirit.