Friday 16 October 2020

My enemy, my adversary, the adversary of us all, is The Lie - from Exegesis by Philip K Dick

The clear concept of the liar... when I looked through my reference books I came across it and recognized it at once when I turned to a passage about Zoroastrianism. The God of Light versus the Master of the Lie. 

There it was. I could not recall ever having known that before. Perhaps I did, but it was no longer a conscious part of me. I realized something I'd never realized before.

I had never thought of it like that before. My enemy, my adversary, the adversary of us all, is the Lie; pierce that and see the truth and the situation alters in a radical and astonishing way. 


And from this has come months of new insight for me, as you know. It was, really one of the most important moments in my life. My faith in the Lie, my willingness to participate in it by accepting it as if bound by some kind of implicit oath of loyalty to it, my collusion that disappeared. 

There is no requirement of honor that obliges us to believe a lie, even when told to us by a person we love or have loved. 


What this discovery brought about was an unraveling of a long-term slavery to the Lie, to my own lie and to all lies, wherever they came from and for whatever purpose. 

Certainly in our national life; the life of our Republic, we have virtually been destroyed by the Lie; by its powerful signs and miracles, as Paul puts it in Second Thessalonians. 

The peculiar power that people have exercised over me, which I could not comprehend nor cope with, was based on (one) their willingness and capacity to tell the Lie and (two) my willingness and capacity to accept it: a compact between us, in which we jointly and in unison, as if we were one party on one side of the table, admired and nodded in agreement at the goddam thing.

For me it abolished one life, a sad and truncated life, and began an exciting new one. 


Needless to say, honesty was valued by the Persians as the first virtue, after piety (which was needed to justify honesty, evidently, since in those days everything had to be assigned to a supernatural cause to make it stick). 

I'm glad to say once released from the power of the Lie I saw passivity, resignation and despair as intended by products of the Lie, and any system of thought or religion which taught those as virtues (Christianity included) as a manifestation of the Lie. 

Any system which says "This is a rotten world, wait for the next, give up, do nothing, succumb" that may be the basic Lie and if we participate in believing it and acting (or rather not acting) on it we involve ourselves in the Lie and suffer dreadfully - which only reinforces that particular Lie.

Edited from the Exegisis by Philip K Dick (published 2011)


Jonathan said...

Insofar as these quotations go, I guess I am fully in agreement with Mr. Dick! It's a shame he didn't realize that there is a "version" of Christianity consistent with what he is saying here. I wonder if he suspected that (1) the scriptures are adulterated, and (2) the heuristic "I saw passivity, resignation and despair as intended by-products of the Lie, and any system of thought or religion which taught those as virtues (Christianity included) as a manifestation of the Lie" is good for identifying some of that adulteration.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jonathan - Dick in general, and Exegesis in particular, don't build to a conclusion. He had many brilliant, but contradictory, insights; moments of *specific* clarity. I have edited to make the above insight clearer and less diffuse. It is fairly typical of Dick to change his view overnight.

S.K. Orr said...

I liked this. And it took my thoughts back to Solzhenitsyn's "Live Not By Lies."

Bruce Charlton said...

cae - Noted.