The Exegesis: Zebra mimicking Ubik

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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Early 1979

Dick wonders if some of his books (Ubik, Scanner, etc.) “went out from him” and then came back in signal form implying contact with the future.

The BIP (which Dick is now calling the Empire) is a uniformity or stagnation that puts an end to the dialectic. Dick thinks the entity which contacted him responded as Ubik because it doesn’t speak our human language. Instead it returned the signal Dick put out modified as a confirmation he could recognize. He still doesn’t know what it is even though he’s been in a dialog with it for almost five years. He’s not sure if it is Ubik or just appears like Ubik in order to communicate with him. This new realization is disturbing to him since it could mean Ubik itself is just a simulation that is taking a form he can understand. It could be the Holy Spirit, which would mean it is not trying to deceive him but is taking a form he recognizes from a point of grace and love.

This section is fascinating to me because Dick admits all along he may have been trying to make sense of what happened to him by using the sci-fi frameworks he made up. If Zebra is the deity it took the form he expected the deity to take. He doesn’t think any of this though undermines the fact that what he experienced was the deity.

He ties this back to the idea of the self-perpetuating dialectic. Dick put forth Ubik and Zebra responded as Ubik. He believes it assimilated his books, which would make sense since it is living information and his writing is information.

Valis is the real world and Ubik is how it breaks into our irrational simulated world, but then what is this real world and where is it?