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The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, Page 83

Philip K. Dick

  It explained why he would let us suffer here. How it would be justified. (This has always been my main theological-philosophical question.)

  Because it was infinite bliss it proved he was God (because I see this as proof: only God can provide infinite bliss).

  It made me happy intrinsically.

  But the love outshone the bliss; perhaps it gave rise to the bliss. I have never known such love.

  Human personality is imaged upon his personality (I realize). This is why although it was infinite it was—well—it was like an infinite augmentation of such love as I have in fact known in life—but—it was beauty-in-the-form-of-love. But it was more intimate (as well as more intense). It pulsated like—maybe a light.

  And he knew me. And yet still he loved me.

  Of one thing there is no doubt: this was the Judeo-Christian view/concept of God. Transcendent. With the life to come—the afterlife—as a reward, and this life here an ordeal, but one justified by the afterlife. And God of love bestowing infinite eternal bliss.* And God with distinct per sonality—which is not really the same thing as mere consciousness. Pantheism was by what he said ruled out. And he gave me to understand that (much as I had already figured out) I had experienced only traces of him here in this world; he is in his transcendence much more—infinitely more. Although he did not say it, I got the impression that—well, I was going to say, "We are created here," but I really don't know. But he did designate our lives here as an ordeal—but a little ordeal, in fact so paltry in comparison to what is to come that all my theorizing about reality is of little significance because this life here is of such little stature in comparison with what is to come; what is epistemology when infinities of infinities lie ahead of us? Even a tiny knowledge about infinity and eternity is more than a lot of knowledge about this finite world ... a point I have totally missed. All my speculations have been about world, so world has me fast! It has been a trap!

  But on the other hand (as I have noted) I was reeling from encountering the raw fact—proof—of God's existence and effort exerted on world. I was inferring God by the perturbation he caused in world (as the AI voice pointed out). Now I have direct knowledge of God. World no longer now seems to me to be of any importance.

  I just realized a common element I had missed that links the theophany of 3-74 to 11-17-80: in both cases my sense of evil, oppression and suffering was undermined drastically by an awareness of divine goodness, love, wisdom and power (cf. my Charles Platt interview: "removed as if by divine fiat"). There is a distinct continuity.

  I have it. "Valis" studies reason invading the irrational and arbitrary—this is Valis invading. The rational (reason, logic, justice—i.e., Valis) is higher than the irrational (ananke); this is all a Greek view, Greek and Roman. This is as far as my revelation had reached in 2-3-74: the dialectical combat between the irrational and the rational (ananke and noös, which is how I specifically and correctly express the combat in VALIS). But there is even one higher level, above reason: agapē (which doesn't show up in VALIS, i.e., in 2-3-74). Reason subdues the irrational: justice (Torah) subdues chaos! Order subdues chaos. But now—as of 11-17-80—I encounter something even higher: Jesus' God, Abba, whose essence is love "that moves the sun and the other stars"; this—agapē—is the highest, not higher, principle; it is Christian love above Stoic reason. It is bliss, infinity and love, and transcendent; it leaves the world-order, epistemology and metaphysics and philosophy and science behind/below. This is not noös; it is above noös; it is like us (cf. 1 Jn). Greek culture didn't give rise to this idea (it gave rise to the idea of logos or noös). Hebrew culture didn't give rise to it (it—Hebrew culture—gave rise to the idea of Torah, the will or law of God, cf. Spinoza). Where did it come from, then, this equating God with agapē (v. Paul's letters)? Why, it was revealed by Jesus; even Buddhism and Zoroastrianism lack it (note: the wise mind, not the loving Father). I see no precedent for this revelation by Jesus. We even today, 2,000 years later, have little understanding of this total, accepting loving-kindness, because of which God adopts us as his sons and heirs. I do deal with it at the end of Tears—but on 11-17-80 I experienced it. Words can't describe it, whereas words can describe logic and reason and justice. And I have been adopted.

  [87:37] One of my greatest realizations about him in 11-17-80 is that rather than just willing he also allows (in contrast to Spinoza: "His will is law"). Everything that exists he either wills or allows. The magnitude of the freedom expressed by this ("he allows") was a totally new conceptual experience to me. God's will was something I understood; in fact I had always viewed everything as due to his will. I had therefore no notion of human free will (in this I saw God and reality as Spinoza did). He allows independent being, which explains, perhaps, evil and disorder and that which is futile and wasteful, perverse and senseless. He shows infinite toleration due to his love and kindness; nonetheless this is not all; he also decrees (this is his will); a tension is created by his will and his permission, the result of which is an unfathomable mystery to a finite creature's intelligence; but God knows that every creature will within this mysterious bimodular reality—God's will and God's permission—find his way voluntarily back to God, however long and "inefficient" the path. This is totally bountiful; the parameters are infinity itself.

  [87:73] December 8, 1980

  Thus there is absolutely no problem in reconciling 2-3-74 with 11-17-80. The first had to do with world and a "perturbation in the reality field"; the second had to do with a transcendent God who is a loving father, with personality, his essence love, capable of conferring infinite bliss; he is infinite along all axes. This is more than his will. But from a practical standpoint, in terms of world and human history, his will is everything; for instance, it saved my life vis-à-vis the Xerox missive.

  Folder 88

  December 1980

  [88:10] December 10, 1980

  Notes to [>]. I did not start out seeing God—i.e., 2-3-74—and "this theophany led to my 6½ years of exegesis"—futile exegesis of 2-3-74 based on the delusion that I had seen God. What actually happened was that I saw world in a highly superior way, but still world: it had something to do with entropic time and my exhausting entropic time through/in/by the dialectic until a massive enantiodromia occurred; I "pulled world through infinity," i.e., into negentropic time/morphological arrangement (Plato's eidē). But I took this ultimate view of reality as a vision of God and so fell into a terrible trap both epistemologically (philosophically, metaphysically) and also theologically (spiritually); for example I supposed a pantheism à la Spinoza.

  But my main point (made on [>]), which I intended to be the last page of the exegesis, is: I thought the sequence went:

  (1) theophany (2-3-74), followed by:

  (2) exegesis of that theophany (3-74 to 11-80)

  But in fact this is correct:

  (1) exegesis 3-74 to 11-80, followed by:

  (2) theophany, 11-17-80(!)

  In other words the—this—exegesis came before the theophany. The exegesis finally reached the conclusion that everything I had seen in 2-3-74 had to do with world ("a perturbation in the reality field") except a glint of color in the weeds, of the alley and a ripple of wind—which was—even this was—not God but just the tracings/glyphs/footprint of God on reality. Thereupon, i.e., as a result of this realization (11-80) I then experienced a true theophany—and I construe what happened this way:

  (1) The world is delusional (Maya).

  (2) In my 10 volume meta-novel I saw this to be the case, saw world as a mere delusion, and I looked for reality—true reality—behind/beyond it.

  (3)Therefore, obligingly, the arch deluder served me up a further delusion (2-3-74) much more complex and sophisticated, based on my own particular preconceptions (anticipations, suppositions) as to what "true reality" would be like if you could see it. This is why 2-3-74 was a playback of my own mind to me (which every now and then I suspected, but I kept thinking, "Well, it only goes to show how astute my
intimations were"). 2-3-74 was—enchantment! Yes; it is so. However, this sudden transformation in world in 2-3-74 did show that world as we normally see it is indeed a delusion; it's just that what replaced normal world was no more real, just more sophisticated and complex, and, to me, not just more convincing but totally convincing! I believed for over 6½ years that I had seen true reality, in contradistinction to the previous Maya; but (as I say) it was just a more cunning Maya. As I say in VALIS, the maze is alive and it changes.

  Okay, finally, in the exegesis, I realized that I had seen nothing of what I had in 2-3-74 assumed I had seen, which is to say, God. It was world, and world is by my own definition and analysis irreal and delusive. I was, without knowing it, even more embroiled in world than ever, than the most ordinary average person is! And I construe this as Satan's wiles, the a posteriori horn of the dialectic; God gave him free reign. Satan could not see where it was leading. But God with his a priori knowledge could. It led me to God in this way: on 11-17-80 God actually manifested himself and presented me with logical arguments and analysis as to how I could know I had this time in truth experienced him. His argument lay in one line: the argument "to infinity." Would I accept an equation between God and infinity? (We had to agree on a premise, some postulate or other, some definition.) He said, "I can provide you with an infinitude of bliss; not just great bliss but infinite bliss. And this infinite bliss that you (will) feel derives from my personality and essence of loving-kindness (agapē). Will you accept that only God possesses an essence (einai) of agapē that would cause you an infinitude of bliss?" I agreed, and it came to pass; I experienced his personality and essence of agapē. I felt infinite bliss. There were no complexities, no enigmatic epistemological puzzles, no enchantment or magic: only a wise, loving old man, an individual human—except that everything about him extended into infinity along all axes! Wisdom, love, power, personality, intimate gentleness yet firmness, and eternity, unchanged simplicity. He concealed nothing from me, he played no games. He explained the relation between my life in this world and what it would be in the next, in terms of his theodicy (this was another and fundamental absolute: his theodicy). It, he said, is a promise from which we can draw conclusions, rather than starting elsewhere (e.g., in world) and reasoning to it. It is structurally—i.e., logically—related to his nature: agapē (i.e., anything but theodicy, absolute theodicy, would be incommensurate with infinite agapē).

  A major point that he made was that I was not employing analytical logic vis-à-vis 2-3-74 but was, instead, engaging in creative speculation—which led to infinite regresses, over and over again. Thus (as I say) he offered as a substitute (1) an agreement on one premise, and then (2) logical deductions from the one agreed-upon premise; he taught me to analyze and not speculate.

  And he was (I should remind myself) he who is customarily meant by the term "God," i.e., the transcendent, loving, wise God of my fathers both (1) wills; and (2) allows—i.e., allows error, i.e., independence to his creatures: free will; and this is logically deducible from his nature (agapē), because he would never infringe on the integrity and autonomy, which is to say the essence, of his creatures; if he only willed and did not allow he would de facto rob them (us) of their (our) einai! So this, too, logically stems from his nature, and my realization of this is not speculation, creative speculation.

  My exegesis, then, is both a delusion in which I am trapped and, in addition, a delusion I am creating for others—i.e., in VALIS—but he allows this in order to protect my integrity (einai).*

  Thus (to summarize) delusion—super sophisticated Satanic delusion—(i.e., 2-3-74) led to a futile exegesis, a hell-chore (punishment that he allowed Satan to inflict on me)—but: okay. "A chicken is an egg's way of producing another egg." Viz: the primary delusion (enchantment) of 2-3-74 led to the further delusion (second delusion) of the futile exegesis; I was totally trapped in Maya, led there by my own original suspicions—ironically!—that what we see is delusion! But: the second delusion—the exegesis—exhausted itself finally ("glint of color, ripple of weeds, in the alley"), whereupon a true and self-authenticating theophany did then occur—and it bore no resemblance to 2-3-74 whatsoever. Obviously, if the God of 11-17-80 were genuine (and as I say this theophany was self-authenticating based on [1] premise; and [2] logical deductions from the premise) then 2-3-74 was something else. Well, it was enchantment and magic; it was a spell; and enchantment magic and spell do not reveal, but, on the contrary, addle the wits; I was (as I say) fed what (1) I would most likely believe, and (2) wanted to believe—a bad combination that does not lead to the truth—i.e., to God.

  However, Satan had to generate a reality I'd accept, to reveal a great deal about reality to me. But he took the risk knowing I would confuse it with God. (Which I did.) Basically what he revealed is that my 10 volume meta-novel and its basic acosmism is correct: what we call "reality" is some kind of projected hologram and not real at all. We can be made to see anything and believe anything. Viz: in 2-3-74 I decomposed—desubstantialized "reality," which is an epistemological victory, but then I completely believed in what I saw instead! I said, "World, which is irreal, and which I suspected all along is irreal, broke down and conceded that it is irreal; so what I see now instead must be real—but it wasn't—must be that which I define as real: God." It was not. It was just a more sophisticated delusion. My years of skepticism turned into naïve credulity. "I saw God!" I said for over 6½ years, but in fact I did not. All I really saw was the projection machine and the projection broke down, whereupon it compensated by devising another and better projection—to which I should have said, "Aha—it tricks me further," but instead I said, "Aha: now I see what is really there: God, immanent God, probably Brahman." I was not applying logic, deductive logic (e.g., "If it can project first one reality—USA 1974—and then another—'Acts'—it can project anything"—that "anything" being Valis).

  Epistemologically, what I really know is all negatives: that what we see is not real, and that we cannot by our own efforts outwit the projection machinery. It can serve up one thing after another, ever more cunning and psychomorphic ("I am as you desire me"). VALIS is a hodgepodge of superstition and sensational nonsense—and yet "mixed in with the inferior bulk Sophia has inserted—without Satan knowing it—certain truths." I.e., "We fell into the maze, and the maze is alive; it changes" (thus rendering null and void all speculation as to the real nature [morphology] of the maze, if you think about it). (And this insertion was added after I was done, due to something Pat Warrick suggested!)

  Where I started to wise up vis-à-vis 2-3-74 in terms of my exegesis was when I remembered that in the Bardo Thödol trip your own prior thought-formations come back to you as world—which I wrote about in "Frozen Journey" and that was based on ideas of Lem's!

  And the God who revealed himself to me on 11-17-80 is quite different from my own prior thought-formations; he is the orthodox transcendent Judeo-Christian heavenly Father, loving and wise, who allows free-will; this world is an ordeal. But we (all) go to him in the end: he wins all of us—in the dialectic with Satan—eventually—and he knows this, due to his a priori knowledge.

  [88:23] December 15, 1980

  Valis: Set-ground. Camouflage. Here in the universe. Macrosoma blended into the universe in countless ways, here and there: a glint here, a word on a page, plural objects and their causal processes a ripple of wind in the weeds in the alley. Valis is not the universe but blended into it, as is Ubik. "I am Atman that dwells in the heart of every mortal. I am Vishnu. I am Shiva. Among words I am the sacred syllable OM. I am Himalaya. I am the holy fig tree. Among horses I am ... of weapons ... I am the wind ... the shark among fish: Ganges among the rivers. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of creation ... I am the knowledge of things spiritual. I am the logic of those who debate. In the alphabet I am A. Among compounds I am the copulative. I am time without end. I am the sustainer. My face is everywhere. I am death that snatches all. I also am the source of all that shall be
born. I am glory, prosperity, beautiful speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and forgiveness. I am the dice play of the cunning. I am the strength of the strong. I am triumph and perseverance. I am the purity of the good. I am Krishna. I am the sceptre and the mastery of those who rule, the policy of those who seek to conquer. I am the silence of things secret. I am the knowledge of the knower. I am the divine seed of all that lives. In this world nothing animate or inanimate exists without me."

  [88:24] My problem is too much intellect and too little awe and reverence. What I have to realize is that both 2-3-74 and 11-17-80 are self authenticating.

  [88:54] But consider the aspect of the ancient in VALIS. In a sense it is so: in a sense it is an illusion. The template was devised a long time ago but it applies to the now; that is the whole point—(1) it is ancient; and (2) it ap plies to the now—this is both the paradox and the revelation: the secret is here: how the ancient can be the now. If you can understand this, you have the answer.

  [88:57] God was aware of me; he ratified my einai by his love; he created it. He caused me to be; that is it: (his) agape "causes to be"; this is how you cause to be: by agape and agape alone. Love is a wish that the other, and not-you, exist; love guarantees the existence of what is not under your will—free of your will; this is true creation. He desires that something other than him exist and be itself. We truly are not him. Agape and creating are one and the same. It is not a desire for union; it is a desire to see something be on its own, its own self; each separate self is a universe! A world! God adores you because he adores beauty. Something that exists on its own is beautiful; this is the ultimate beauty, that it be free. "Where, amid the shadowy green, the little ones of the forest come unseen."80 It is not-God: it [is] not pantheism; the ultimate love: to curtail the ubiquity of the Godhead. Null Ubik is the truth; the solution to the absolute mystery. To not be the universe each reunion is accidental, and a reminder of the source of being: love. Love lets go/forgets. Love curtails itself, withdraws. But if the created separate thing (einai) returns of its own accord—love triumphs over love. Love is love for itself alone, and not for what it can do (create). The prodigal son: if the separate thing desires to return and forfeit its einai, then it must love, too; and the two—God and his creation—are joined; this is absolute bliss, that einai is not enough; the creature longs to return. This is rapture for God, that it wishes this; that, created, it wishes and tries to return, through the maze; it tries so hard. This is his reward. He gave it einai and it voluntarily surrenders einai (Sein!) in favor of nonbeing: i.e., return to its source. It would rather not be that it may be—as well—with him; this causes him to feel absolute bliss. Einai is the most precious gift of all, and it gave it back—to be with him.