The Exegesis: The Groove Override and the New Free Merit-Deed

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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January – April 1980

Dick breaks down the process of his path to salvation into two parts: the groove override (GO) and new free merit-deed (NFMD). In the GO period the not-self self (Thomas in his case) freed him from his deterministic loop so he could perform his “good-karma” act in the NFMD period in order to escape from the afterlife cycle. Someone who follows GO with an evil act would gain bad karma and be judged again by Ma’at, although the ones working to help you (Christ, Buddha) have an omniscient view you will do good. Dick gets himself twisted up here trying to decide which is the cause and which is the effect, GO or NFMD, and decides it’s a paradox: in order to get out of the deterministic groove you already have to be out of it.

What needs to happen for GO is a psychological death which allows for rebirth, something illustrated by the crucifixion of Christ. Dick says this ability to escape from a preprogrammed groove is an evolutionary leap in mankind (which he dubs the meta-mind), since someone who achieved this would exist out of time and could create alternate worlds. Does Valis encourage this? Or are “angels” evolved humans who have already figured this out? He wonders if a future self outside of time could influence a past self (as the AI voice), becoming both cause and effect.