c.1978 Exegesis by Philip K. Dick
The belief that we are pluriforms of God voluntarily descended to this prison world, voluntarily losing our memory, identity and supernatural powers (faculties), all of which can be regained through anamnesis (or, sometimes, the mystical conjunction), is one of the most radical religious views known in the West. But it is known. It is regarded as the Great Blasphemy: replication of the original sin mentioned in the First Book of Adam and Eve and in Genesis. For this pride and aspiration (we are told by orthodoxy) our original fall and exile and punishment, our being taken from our home the gardenland and put into the prison, was inflicted on us. “They wish to be equal to – like – us,” the Elohim say, and toss us down. Yet I have reason to believe that this, “the Great Satanic Blasphemy,” is true.
First, we are here voluntarily. We did not sin and we were not punished; we elected to descend. Why? To infuse the divine into the lowest strata of creation in order to halt its decomposing – the sinking of its lower realm. This points to a primordial crisis in creation in the total macrocosm (hexagram 12, as illustrated here). The yin form two (dark, deterministic) part was splitting away from the yang or form one. In conventional terms, heaven (upper realm) and earth (lower realm) were separating, carrying the lives within the lower away from their form one (upper) counterparts (this can be viewed as the Godhead itself falling apart, into its yang and yin two halves, with the lower form universe as God expressed physically in time and space). The solution was for the divine (yang, light, form one) to follow the lower realm down, permeating it and thus reuniting the cosmos into one totality. To do this, elements (in ancient terms, sparks) of light advanced (descended) into the dark kingdom, the immutable prison world; upon doing so they shed (and knew they would shed) their bright nature, memory, identity, faculties, and powers, and fell under the dominion of the delusion that the dark kingdom is real (which when severed from the upper realm it is not; i.e. the world we presently live in doesn’t exist). There they have lived as prisoners of the master magician, lord of the dark realm who poses as the creator (and who may not know of the light god, the true creator, his other half). But the light god and his pluriforms, the descending (invading) sparks, have cunningly distributed clues in the dark realm to recall to the drugged and intoxicated sparks of light their true nature and mission (and true source of home). Upon encountering these cryptic clues the forgetful sparks of the upper realm, now prisoners in and of the lower realm, remember, regain their powers and faculties, and link back up with the upper realm and the light god; they are the light god in pluriform, his way of invading the lower realm in disguise. The light god (the divine) has now crucially occupied critical stations in the sinking lower realm, and begins the reannexing of it back into the totality composed of both realms. The sinking ceases; the master magician is stripped of his autonomy and assimilated to the yang part of the Godhead as its passive counterpart, and once more there is one macrocosm ruled by the yang or active (creative) light god assisted by the now receptive yin (dark) side. The divine has triumphed at all levels; the prison is burst, and the vast, light-filled garden kingdom restored as the home of all creatures. These now whole creatures, composed equally of yin and yang, are what I term homoplasmates: The yin part is home (as we know ourselves to be now, only), and the light or yang part is the plasmate or energy part (vs. the physical). Thus renewed and complete microcosms mirroring the renewed and complete macrocosm are achieved. Reality is imparted to the otherwise irreal lower realm, and the upper realm now extends physically into the realm of matter. The integrity of the Godhead is restored; its two halves function in harmony; and the primordial split (or crisis) is resolved – healed.
This is a view compounded of Zoroastrianism, Brahmanism, Gnosticism, Taoism, the macro-microcosmos of Hermes Trismegistus and other mystery religions, and not very much of orthodox Christianity. Christianity can be added if the pluriform microsparks of light are considered plural saviors or Christs comprising a single mystical corpus that is distributed widely in time and space in the dark realm but possessing only one psyche that is somehow also God, the yang or light god.
I have read the above cosmology over, and find no fault in it. In fact, I am amazed. It is in a sense acosmic, and certainly Gnostic, but the Taoist overlay is novel and pleasing; the Taoist overlay redeems it from the flaws of conventional dualist religions and the problems therein. Instead of stressing moral aspects (“good vs. bad”), it stresses epistemological (“real vs. irreal,” which I can understand). The lower realm sinks not because it is corrupt or evil or somehow has rebelled but because, as shown in hexagram 12, it is the nature of yin to sink, as it is the nature of yang to rise. The pre-Socratics (and Plato in “Timaeus”) were aware of this; v. the model of the winnowing fan and the concept of the vortex. Yang must assimilate yin to keep the totality intact; i.e. yang must renounce its natural tendency to rise and must descend. It cannot expect yin to rise, because yin is not wise; it is only noos that can understand that it must compensate against its own natural tendencies, and do what is unnatural to it. Yin is, so to speak, thick, unthinking, not noos [mind] but soma [body]; noos and soma (or psyche and soma) are the total universe organism. Descending into the yin realm is a sacrifice on yang’s part, which through its bright or wise nature it realizes it must make, but it pays a great cost in terms of suffering: loss of memory and identity, abilities, and faculties: It becomes pseudoyin, literally disguised in the yin realm as if it were actually yin, even to the point of forgetting (until reminded), that it is not. This is the agony we face here in this irreal and dense yin realm, we yang traces: This is not our home. We are voluntary exiles here, alienated and alone, violating our own natures for a salvific purpose – a necessary purpose. Yin would not understand this, and until anamnesis sets in for us, we in our distress do not understand the reason either. Eventually it will be revealed to us; meanwhile we ache with longing for our proper home, dimly remembered but deeply felt for. Thus we suppose we are being punished; it feels like punishment, and we make the error of assuming we have sinned. On the contrary; we have renounced joy now, to produce greater joy later, for the good of all creation; we are the Godhead itself suffering the need to be what it is not, to ensure the ultimate stability of krasis (as Empedocles termed it): the unity of love.
Lest any Christian reject this, let him now read the Fourth Gospel in connection with this, and see for himself the similarities.
Lest any Taoist reject this, let him now see that hexagram 12 has turned to hexagram 11, Peace.
The upper trigram, in descending, has forced the lower trigram to rise. Disorder no longer reigns; heaven and earth are not pulling apart. There is harmony.
Moral: It is the ethical requirement placed on the yang traces by their own bright nature to abandon their natural tendency to rise, to escape what is heavy and dark and sinking; they must go in pursuit of the falling part of the cosmos, for the benefit of those and that which otherwise would be lost. This is the highest law: to violate one’s own nature for another’s good. And the most difficult – and painful – law to fulfill. Because of this need there is distress in the cosmos, distress for the innocent especially. My cosmology simply presents it as a fact. To escape it we would have to allow the cosmos to decompose. Could we do that? The tragedy is that by the very nature of the sacrifice we make we are occluded from knowing why. This is part of our sacrifices: our yang understanding. We must take on the dullness of yin to save the cosmos; we sacrifice the knowledge of why we sacrifice, and assume guilt – spurious guilt – in its place. This is asking a lot.
But consider who we really are. Or once were and will be again. Who else can do it? There is no one else. There is only yin, which does not know. The part of the organism that knows must help the part that doesn’t know, but this means abandoning its own knowing. It becomes what it helps, a dreadful irony, one that hurts. But it is only temporary, just for a little while. And then we go home for all eternity.