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Overcoming Existential Angst with Afterlife Evidence

Posted on 28 March 2022, 8:58

According to several internet references, old-age begins at 65, but 65-74 is “young-old,” while 75-84 is “old” and 85-and-up is “old-old.”  As I cross the threshold into that oldest classification, perhaps best referred to as “dotage,” it seems like an appropriate time to philosophize, including looking back at how my views on God and the afterlife have changed with the four seasons of life, as depicted in the accompanying collage – youth, young adulthood, middle-age, and old age.

collage

My earliest beliefs were molded by the Catholic Church.  There was no question about the existence of God or an afterlife, one that had three possibilities – heaven, purgatory, and hell.  All those going to purgatory would eventually make it to heaven, although it might take a few hundred years of pain and suffering equivalent to that in hell before one had purified himself enough for graduation to heaven.  The afterlife seemed like a pretty dull place, but it was too far in the future to concern myself with the lack of entertainment and excitement there. I was a curious kid (top left photo) and often struggled with the Catholic teaching that one could live a sinful and shameful life but still make it to heaven, via purgatory, by confessing his sins on his deathbed, while another person could live a relatively virtuous life and be condemned to hell for eternity if he died with a single sin on his soul, one that he had not yet confessed. It just didn’t seem fair and I couldn’t imagine that a just God would permit a system that was based for the most part on luck. 

My high school biology teacher professed a belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution,  although he was very careful in setting it forth as dogma.  At that time, the early 1950s, I, and many others, took a belief in Darwinism to be one of atheism, and I couldn’t understand how such a nice and intelligent guy could have such a “demonic” belief.  As a college freshman, I took a philosophy course in which I was fully awakened to the idea that there might not be a God or an afterlife. But death was too far off to let nihilism really bother me too much. I clung to my Catholic beliefs but with more skepticism than before. 

During my three years of obligatory military service following college, I concluded that military life, while offering much travel and an abundance of adventure and learning experiences, was not for me. However, not long before the completion of my tour of duty, I participated in a military track meet and excelled to the point that the commanding general invited me to his office to congratulate me. The general noted from my file that I would soon complete my service and asked if I had given any consideration to making the military a career.  My athletic victories apparently outweighed my lack of a “gung-ho” attitude, as must have been evident in my file on the general’s desk. I didn’t go into detail with the general, but my primary reason for not being interested in such a career was an existential one, probably my first real existential reasoning. 

We were between the Korean War and the Vietnam War at the time and I reasoned that if I were to succeed in a career as a military officer I would have to hope for a war in order to have fulfillment in my career.  The alternative was to complete a 20-year military career without ever having put all my training into practice.  I saw it as a no-win situation – either continually hope for a war and have one or have a career in which all my efforts went for nothing beyond being prepared for something.  I discussed the dilemma with several fellow officers and was surprised to find out that they had never considered that aspect of it.  Moreover, they didn’t seem to fully grasp my mental conflict or to be interested in giving it any thought.  I was puzzled and wondered if I had been digging too deeply into the future.

No Carpe Diem
 
At that time, I was just beginning to struggle with the much greater existential concern of whether life had any meaning.  Even if I were to find some fulfillment in a career, I wondered to what end.  I never was a “carpe diem” person.  I could find no enjoyment in eating, drinking, and being merry in the time not allotted to preparing for war or later in working a nine-to-five job in the civilian life. I definitely wasn’t the “party animal” that many of my friends were. I could make absolutely no sense of smoking, a popular endeavor at the time, and I found beer and all other alcoholic beverages very distasteful.  The materialistic, hedonistic, or Epicurean lifestyle that most of my friends sought had no appeal, even though I made several attempts at experiencing it (top right photo). Fortunately, my “existential angst” during those early years was soon mitigated significantly by the demands of family life, a career, sport (bottom left photo), and other escapes from reality – a reality in which seemingly few pause to ask the meaning of it all.

In his 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Denial of Death, anthropologist Ernest Becker explains that we all use repression to overcome death anxiety.  That is, we bury the idea of death deep in the subconscious.  Borrowing from Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth-century French philosopher, Becker points out that we literally drive ourselves into a blind obliviousness with social games, psychological tricks, and personal preoccupations so far removed from the reality of the situation that they are a form of madness – “agreed madness, shared madness, disguised and dignified madness, but madness all the same.”
 
My madness continued through most of my forties. An empty nest at home, reaching a plateau of achievement and advancement at work, and a significant decline in athletic performance due to the effects of aging all prompted me, at around age 50, to come to grips with my madness and give more thought to existential matters. I soon realized that I was a victim of what Soren Kierkegaard, known as “the father of existentialism,” referred to as philistinism – tranquilizing oneself with the trivial.  As Kierkegaard saw it, most people in despair from philistinism don’t even realize they are in despair. 

I considered the humanist approach that life is all about making it a better world for future generations, but I ran into a roadblock when I tried to put myself in the place of a descendant several generations ahead with all the leisure and comforts of a true Epicurean, and wondered what I would then do to make it even more pleasurable.  Wouldn’t it just lead to more materialism, more hedonism, then monotony or insanity? 

Now, at the mid-point of my ninth decade of life (lower right art, thanks to Michael Hughes), I often reflect on the various crossroads in life, wondering where I would be at this moment if I had chosen a different path, or even if I would still exist as a human being. 

Then What?    

All that came to mind recently while reading Return of the God Hypothesis by Stephen C. Meyer, the director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute in Seattle.  Meyer writes that the problem of human significance began to torment him when he was 14 years old and an ardent baseball fan. He thought about a player achieving great success on the ballfield, being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, thereby achieving “immortality of sorts,” but then he would die. “Then what? What did any of those numbers measuring his achievements mean after that?” Meyer asked himself.  He further recalled wondering about the “lasting meaning” of a great surgeon who had saved many lives during her career – lives which had all now expired.

Meyer began to see his concerns as “a metaphysical panic, a fear of the meaninglessness of life.”  He could find no lasting value or meaning in any human achievement, nor in love or kindness.  In later years, he “encountered many other people, particularly students, who have experienced a similar metaphysical anxiety about whether their lives or human existence generally has any ultimate purpose.”  He suspects that such hopelessness has contributed to the epidemic levels of suicide among young people and that the plague of opioid addiction around the world is an attempt by people to numb themselves against a gnawing despair that has to do with what they see as a meaningless life.  To that I might add a recent report that alcohol-linked deaths surged in the pandemic’s first year, rising from 78,927 in 2019 to 99,917 in 2020.  What might the numbers be of the alcoholics who didn’t die?

Meyer has been able to overcome his angst by studying all the evidence suggesting Intelligent Design of our universe. If I am interpreting him correctly, he infers from such design that there is a God and deductively draws from that premise that consciousness must continue after death.  I don’t quite understand how Meyer moves from the reality of God to the reality of a larger life after death, but if that works for him and others, good for them.

For me, it has been inductive reasoning from some 35 years of studying psychical research and related stories that has provided a conviction that consciousness does survive death in a larger life. That conviction leads me to believe that there is an Intelligence behind it all, but I don’t see the need for searching for, identifying, and examining the Intelligence before considering the survival aspect. Moreover, the years of study have led me to believe the afterlife is much more than the humdrum heaven I envisioned during my youth and that the negative afterlife is not an eternal one.  I accept that it is beyond human comprehension, at least mine, but that, however it plays out, it is something that will not disappoint those who have lived essentially moral, productive and positive lives of love and service. 

The bottom line here is that as I advance from old age into the dotage stage of life, I am most thankful for the guidance provided, possibly from invisible sources, in understanding and overcoming much of the madness I once experienced.  I realize that a certain amount of madness is necessary to cope and survive in our complex world.  As Pascal said, “not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.”  However, tempering the madness and integrating it with a more infinite and cosmic consciousness is, I believe, the key to avoiding extremes of madness during one’s declining years. As the great German thinker Goethe put, we must plunge into experience and then reflect on the meaning of it. All reflection and no plunging drives us mad, but all plunging and no reflection makes us brutes.   

Moreover, I have no regrets about choosing the paths I took at those critical crossroads, even though, in retrospect, some of them were likely much more challenging and demanding, even more painful, than the ones I turned away from.  Would a life without adversity have any meaning? Onward Christian Soldiers!

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next Blog Post: April 11


Comments

I am reminded that there is such a thing as parthenogenesis in animals, although perhaps not occurring in humans, where females are able to reproduce offspring from an unfertilized egg.  From a biological point of view, it is not such a stretch to think that a human ovum or egg could fail to undergo meiosis resulting in a pseudo-fertilized egg with a full complement of chromosomes which would go on to develop into a fetus.  The problem with that when applied to the “virgin birth” or “immaculate conception” of Christianity is that the offspring are all females.  It could be however which a little supernatural tweaking with one X chromosome, it could be rather easily changed into a Y chromosome. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 11 Apr, 18:01

Bill,

Thanks for the contributions, understanding, and encouragement.  I doubt that I will be able to communicate.  If I am able, indications are that there are a shortage of “lights” on the Other Side. wink

Michael Tymn, Mon 11 Apr, 17:14

Eric: Yes, the immaculate conception in Catholic tradition refers to Mary, the doctrine being that a sexually pure vehicle had to be created for bringing forth the Son of God.

Bill and all: When we seek to evaluate the evidence for veridical mediumship, we are wise to rely on those psychic researchers who grappled with the subject over an intellectual lifetime. I suggest the same should apply when it comes to evaluating the historical evidence for Jesus. The vast majority of New Testament scholars, who have so grappled, confirm both the existence and crucifixion of Jesus.

When we wish to evaluate whether there is intelligent life on other planets in our solar system, should we look to astronomers or to statements purportedly made by spirit communicators, such as the discarnate Frederic Myers allegedly channeled by Geraldine Cummins?

Newton E. Finn, Mon 11 Apr, 16:19

Eric asks:  “Was it not Yahshua’s MOTHER, Mary, whose conception was said to have been immaculate?”

Dear Eric:

Regarding the “immaculate” conception of _Jesus_, not his mother, I suggest you visit the nearest Catholic priest and consult with him on this matter.

(I’m using “conception” in the usual, reproductive sense; per that, all of us were conceived in our mother’s womb, but not “immaculately.” Instead, our father, not some invisible deity, contributed, enabling the fertilization of an egg cell.)

Regarding the conception of Mary: That may require perusing material of a different nature. As I recall, the “Source” of Edgar Cayce, the clairvoyant who read the bible from cover to cover every year, did speak of this, but I haven’t reviewed that in many years—my memory on this is less than perfect.

Bill Ingle, Mon 11 Apr, 14:51

Do you want another version about the end of the life of Jesus? Than you can read also for free, ‘the spiritual laws’ and ‘the law of love’ from Vicent Guillem Primo. At the end of each book is a chapter about Jesus. In the spiritual laws is the story about the crucifixion mentioned. In his second book a story about the returning of Jesus, with some similarities with Seth. Attention, reading the law of love can be problematic for your relationship with your partner and children, as it gives new insides about relationships. But everybody is free to believe it or not😁.
It is all about free will and love, or like I see it…respect for yourself and the other.

http://thespirituallaws.blogspot.com/

Chris, Mon 11 Apr, 06:56

Dear Bill Ingle,

Was it not Yahshua’s MOTHER, Mary, whose conception was said to have been immaculate?

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 10 Apr, 18:27

Michael:

I hope you’ll make arrangements in advance so that upon your demise (and I truly hope you will continue to live on for quite some time, comfortably), the blog will still be maintained and communications from you regarding your afterlife experience can be shared.

You’ll have to ensure that someone notifies us, as well. It may take some time to locate a suitable medium (a stopgap measure might be the use of a ouija board) but I know this can be accomplished.

I would definitely value your afterlife commentary and I’m sure everyone else here would, too.

Bill

Bill Ingle, Sat 9 Apr, 17:28

Newton:  I suggest you read—carefully—that which is found on the links you provided.

This is from your first link:

‘There is no definitive physical or archaeological evidence of the existence of Jesus. “There’s nothing conclusive, nor would I expect there to be,” Mykytiuk says. “Peasants don’t normally leave an archaeological trail.”

“The reality is that we don’t have archaeological records for virtually anyone who lived in Jesus’s time and place,” says University of North Carolina religious studies professor Bart D. Ehrman, author of Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. “The lack of evidence does not mean a person at the time didn’t exist. It means that she or he, like 99.99% of the rest of the world at the time, made no impact on the archaeological record.”

(The title of the link is “The Bible Says Jesus Was Real”—is that surprising in the slightest?)

I have not said there was no Jesus, only that there is little evidence for his existence—not the same. 

I’ve never restricted my reading and other activities related to this question to the Seth material, either.

My personal opinion is that Jesus did indeed exist but it’s merely my opinion.

Do I believe he was the son of the Hebrew deity, “immaculately” conceived?  No.

Do I believe said Hebrew deity exists?  No.  (I believe in the existence of a being some refer to as “All” or “All That is,” very different.)

Do I believe Jesus arose from the dead?  No.

Was he crucified?  Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t; I don’t know, but no one else does, either.

As I posted, there’s nothing more than a few short “reports” from Josephus and two other Roman-era historians and these are not eye witness reports.

Everything else comes from those who ardently believed in what was a developing myth (until, several centuries later, it became set in stone as church dogma), and then there’s Seth, who said he wasn’t crucified.

Neither you nor I have any easy* way of validating or refuting Seth’s information. We could gather other channeled information, examine what various discarnates said through mediums, etc., and compare it, but where would that get us?

*(I can imagine one theoretical workaround. This would require inquiring of the “Christ Entity”—difficult but not impossible—whether Jesus was crucified. If he said: “No. Seth is correct on that point” we could then ask:  “What happened to him?” Possibly, we would then be provided with information that could be verified in some way. He might also answer “Yes.” If so, I’d have some additional questions starting with:  “Then what happened?”)

What do I believe:  That if Jesus was crucified, that was the end of his life; anything otherwise is a bit like the tale of digging up golden plates in New York state and translating them (preposterous nonsense, as far as I’m concerned, but each to their own).

Can I prove, conclusively, that no one ever came back to life after dying on a cross?  No. 

Can I prove, conclusively, that no anthropomorphized male divinity, similar to many other such divinities sacrificed to, worshipped, etc., at one time, existed or exists in anything but a “psychic” way?  No. 

In your other links authors offer different opinions on the topic, but that doesn’t change the basic fact that next to nothing is actually known about a man who is confused by many with a literary character—a fictional creation at the center of a religious myth.

As I’ve posted, I’m impressed with Fredricksen’s work, but her opinions, no matter how well informed and expressed, don’t change the “lack of evidence” above.

If you actually read her books, not merely a review of them, you’ll find that numerous passages in the NT don’t stand up to her careful scrutiny. Her position (that Jesus existed and that he was crucified) is still that—a position or stance.

So you’ve claimed that Jesus and the crucifixion are well documented.  This is not true, and can’t be, and the first link you provided attests to this.

In the end, I suggest none of this matters, as an old religious myth loses energy. (How many people today believe in the myth of Osirus, Mithras, Enki, or others?)

We will all die.

Until then, what can we firmly know about who and what we are, the nature of the reality we create and experience, and what we will experience upon our death?

_How_ can we firmly know any of this? What methods or techniques are available to us? (I’ve said a number of times here that _knowing_ is not the same as believing, whether our beliefs are based on what so and so said in a Victorian era “seance” or in some situation derided as “New Age.”)

Let me quote a brief excerpt from Session 586. of _Seth Speaks_ again:

“His message will be that of the individual in relation to All That Is. He will clearly state methods by which each individual can attain a state of intimate contact with his own entity; the entity to some extent being man’s mediator with All That Is.”

Clearly stated methods are not the same as opinions or beliefs about the murky origins of Christianity.  They are not the same as whatever some medium’s “control” personality once said. They are not the same as religious dogma or belief.

The difficulty lies in the fact that, as far as anyone knows, the clearly stated methods in question have yet to be stated; the quote is taken out of context and you’ll have to read _Seth Speaks_ if you want that.

Bill Ingle, Sat 9 Apr, 17:07

Bill, if Seth speaks to your soul, who am I to question or criticize that subjective experience, one apparently shared by many others? Nor can we engage in a meaningful historical debate within the confines of internet commentary. That said, it took me less than five minutes to come up with the following links, two of which include an author you cited:

https://www.history.com/news/was-jesus-real-historical-evidence

https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/bart-ehrman-on-the-existence-of-jesus-great-quotes

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/jesus/paulafredriksen.html

https://peteenns.com/interview-with-paula-fredriksen-when-christians-were-jews/

I always enjoy reading (and learning from) your comments, Bill, whether or not I happen to agree with them. In this case, I do happen to agree with much of what you’ve said, except for your evaluation of the historical evidence for the existence and crucifixion of a particular Palestinian prophet. All the best to you.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 8 Apr, 19:22

One-third of the book “The Sorry Tale” by medium Pearl Curran as transmitted by the discarnate Patience Worth is about Jesus.  An unforgettable depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus is given, somewhat different from the traditional presentations.  It is difficult to forget the image of a completely naked Jesus, dragged through the streets of Jerusalem, pelted with feces and other offal while the women of the town turned their heads away in horror.  The mother of Jesus also received some of that pelting as she followed her son to the cross.  The thief crucified next to Jesus unfortunately had torn his hands from the nails on the cross allowing his body to lurch forward breaking his legs at the knees before he died.  While at the end of the story, Theia, the mother of one of the other men crucified next to Jesus danced around the crosses until she was found dead at the foot of the cross in the morning.  This depiction of the crucifixion is unforgettable and related as if it was told by one who had actually been there.  And who knows?  Maybe the spirit of Patience Worth actually was there.  It often seemed so. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 8 Apr, 18:38

Since we are quoting channelled texts, here are some excerpts from “A Course in Miracles” about the crucifixion and resurrection.

Repetition compulsions can be endless unless they are given up by an act of will. Do not make the pathetic human error of “clinging to the old rugged cross.” The only message of the crucifixion was that we can overcome the cross. Unless you do so, you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose. But this is not the Gospel I intended to offer you. We have another journey to undertake, and if you will read these lessons carefully, they will help to prepare you to undertake it.

The crucifixion cannot be shared because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know its wholeness. Only this is knowledge.

The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:

Teach only love, for that is what you are.
If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended.

Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another, and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, anything that is destructible cannot be real. Its destruction, therefore, does not justify anger. To the extent to which you believe that it does, you are accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.

Your resurrection is your reawakening. I am the model for rebirth, but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it.

Jon, Fri 8 Apr, 18:31

There are two interesting lectures given by John Wesley, Anglican cleric who founded the Methodist Protestant sect.  Those lectures were given through medium Cora L. V. Richmond and published in 1878 in a book titled “Is Materialization True?”  In those lectures the recently deceased John Wesley reports his experiences looking for the heaven of traditional Protestant teaching.  He is expecting to see Jesus and enter the exalted state to be found in “heaven”.  However, it didn’t turn out that way.  Surprisingly what John Wesley reports is something like the experiences of people who report near death experiences today.


Eventually he does meet a “Christ spirit” or I should say he becomes aware of a Spirit he regards as Jesus but he has to take a circuitous route to get to him.  He is guided by an exalted spirit in oriental garb who takes him to various heavens populated by people from ancient cultures that existed before the birth of Jesus. And, he is made aware that the “Christ Spirit” appears in various ages according to the need of the people and their ability to understand the teachings of the Christ Spirit.  Overall, I found Wesley’s lectures to be very much in keeping with modern day spiritualist thought even though they were given more than 150 years ago. I would recommend them highly especially to those here who have studied Christology and preached the Gospel of Christianity.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 8 Apr, 18:18

Sticking with messages from the spirit world about Jesus, I’ll offer a quote from Silver Birch, the group soul that spoke through English journalist Maurice Barbanell,  As Barbanell was an atheistic Jew, not a Christian, the argument that his subconscious colored the communication cannot be given much weight, as it might with Imperator and the fact that the medium, Stainton Moses, was an Anglican priest.  Here is a little of what Silver Birch said:

“...the Nazarene was crucified, [not] only because the priests hated him, [but] because the power of the spirit was made manifest through him, because he was of God, because it meant the shattering of their vested interest. Today, there is still the same opposition. They have tried to crucify Truth, but they cannot….”

As I said before, there is no way to measure the credibility of Silver Birch/Barbanell with that of Seth/Roberts, but historical documents aside, the overwhelming preponderance of spirit messages is clearly with Silver Birch.

Michael Tymn, Fri 8 Apr, 16:53

Newton: “...the most well-documented fact about the historical Jesus, himself among the most well-documented figures of antiquity, is that he was crucified by the Romans as a social agitator.”

Newton:

First, I don’t care whether Jesus was crucified or not—it makes no difference to me.  If Seth says it was someone else who took his place, as he does, that’s interesting, but I have no way to verify it.

No channeling can ever be flawless, without a degree of distortion, owing to its nature; the same applies to the vast majority of messages from “spirit.”  (How could it be otherwise? With the exception of EVP, Bacci’s radio, etc., we are dealing with a translation and/or conveyance of telepathic information.) 

Even so, an unknown percentage of both types of information is reasonably accurate, in my opinion, while it’s also true that some channelers and some mediums are better than others, able to impart information with a minimum of distortion.  We could say the same of musicians or artists—some are more skilled, more gifted, than others.

I’d also say that overall, the Seth material is “pretty darn good” but that is, once again,  strictly my personal opinion and I wouldn’t expect you to share it.

The NT is seriously flawed in multiple ways and can’t be treated as an accurate representation of events, a simple fact, but neither can it be completely dismissed as a record of events—it does refer, here and there, to actual events and historical personalities, and that is corroborated by other sources.

Next to nothing is known of Jesus—he is definitely _not_ “among the most well-documented figures of antiquity.”

This is different when it comes to his brother James and, to a limited extent, other personalities such as John the Baptizer and even Saul of Tarsus.

Regarding the crucifixion, which you describe as   “the most well-documented fact about the historical Jesus”—please site relevant documents. Do you have access to the relevant Roman records? 

We do have words from Josephus (some of which were subsequently altered, most scholars agree), Tacitus, and Suetonius. Of these, Josephus has the best to offer.

The 10th Century Arabic version of Josephus’s words probably weren’t tampered with but if anything, suggest that Jesus was not crucified,  for the simple reason that people don’t walk around and greet their followers three days after being crucified, as Josephus reported: “They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive.”  (Obviously, Josephus didn’t see this with his own eyes.)

The idea that he was crucified then walking around and talking three days later is of a piece with his being the sole son of one of the many local gods of antiquity. (I’d work Aššur into this comment if it were easier to accomplish.) You may as well take the myth of Horus as being factual in nature.

On the other hand, if someone else was crucified (one of the many flaws of the NT accounts are the details involving the Sanhedrin, btw—see the book by Paula Fredriksen referenced in a previous comment), what others reported to Josephus would make sense.

You’re welcome to believe anything you wish, Newton. When writing, I attempt to adhere to   C.P. Scott’s words: “...comments are free but facts are sacred.”

Bill Ingle, Fri 8 Apr, 03:04

All
Interesting conversation. I’m the Michael that Mike Tymn refers to. We just finished lunch. I’m not a Seth expert or scholar. But I seem to remember that Seth says in one of his books that he is not omniscient, and that he is simply giving his view of reality as he understands it from his present state. So I believe he would respect Imperator and others and their opinions about Jesus.

Mike Schmicker, Fri 8 Apr, 02:56

Dear all,

I think Newton makes a very sound point, but I think it can, without error, be made still sharper. In my readings of both Seth and Stainton Moses/Imperator, I have found myself realising that there are some doubtful utterances that we may allow ourselves to discount, accepting instead that, in the apostle Paul’s words, “we are shut up to (ie have no alternative to) faith”, which is faith in the sense of having no resort than to TRUST our faithful Father/Mother. We are not saved by A ‘faith’, ie by a set of doctrines (my parents please note), but by His/Her perfect good faith and love towards us, not by doctrines, no matter how sure we are of their factuality, no matter how doubtful. Faith is not adherence to tenets, but TRUST IN OUR TRUE PARENT.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 7 Apr, 21:35

As Stafford Betty knows,for example, or anyone else professionally acquainted with some two centuries of painstaking NT scholarship, the most well-documented fact about the historical Jesus, himself among the most well-documented figures of antiquity, is that he was crucified by the Romans as a social agitator.

One is entitled to hold any number of opinions about who Jesus was or what his crucifixion means (if anything), but one—and that includes Seth or any other spirit communicator—is not entitled to create his or her own “facts.” One can contrast this silly position with the questionable but conceivable claim, made by Imperator, that Jesus was trained by the Essenes.

Newton E. Finn, Thu 7 Apr, 19:11

Bill,

I agree with most of what you said in your last comment, but I’m just narrowing it down to spirit messages.  Why is Seth more credible than Imperator, Silver Birch, or a dozen others who have supported the traditional version of “The Nazarene”?  It might make for a future blog.  I’ll be having lunch with Mike Schmicker in about 15 hours and will see what he has to say.  I’m pretty certain he will agree with you.

Michael Tymn, Thu 7 Apr, 10:04

Michael:

May you have a great lunch with your friend!

Leaving Seth out of this for the moment, when authors of dime novels like The Adventures of Wyatt Earp wrote those gems, the historical Earp was still quite alive.

Not so with the authors of “The Adventures of Jesus Christ”—the gospels, four “books” chosen from an unknown number of similar books, the existence of which is known today thanks to 20th Century archaeological discoveries and occasional obscure references in ancient writings. The gospels were written decades after the events they describe took place (or allegedly took place). 

Of course no religious cult revolved around Earp, unlike the Jewish cult or sect that over time developed into the official state religion of the Roman Empire that later included inquisitions, bloody crusades, and torture chambers quite contrary to, say, the content of The Sermon on the Mount—yet it is the teachings of that church (or its offshoots) that are deeply embedded in our minds,  with endless mental associations. It’s difficult for them to _not_ inform our beliefs.

There are undoubtedly elements of truth in both sets of tales, but ferreting them out from the tales of the religious myth is no simple task and, to an extent, impossible by ordinary means owing to an absence of evidence. 

Needless to say, this is a vast topic, and a highly charged one, emotionally and psychically, as it deals with the beliefs of millions of people currently held & held over the course of the last 2,000 years, the Christian myth long central to the peoples of many nations (but of course it’s not the only powerful myth in the history of humanity, while myths are important vehicles for truth, even if symbolic—see Joseph Campbell).

But upon what are these beliefs based?  What does “The Christ” mean, exactly? (This gets into more than beliefs—etymology and languages used in the ancient world come into play, as does Hebrew scripture, with its own history, purposes, and so on.)

Can a belief in an afterlife be separated from religious belief?  (Possibly, this depends on what is meant by “religious.”) 

If not, why restrict this to Christian religious belief?  Christianity is a major world religion in today’s world, but one of a number, while there have been thousands of religions since the dawn of humanity.

I believe that physical death will not be the end of my experience.  I also believe there is a highly evolved soul or entity associated with particular actual human personalities, including Jesus, one of the many brothers of the historical “James the Righteous.”  (Maybe this is the only such “highly evolved soul or entity” but I seriously doubt it.)

I have no problem separating these two beliefs, while I also believe in the existence of Nataraja (Lord of Dance; one of the many names of Shiva), despite its central role in _another_ major religious myth.

Seth never said a word about Nataraja; when I first heard “Lord of Dance” during a small gathering that included several trance communicators, I thought it was a reference to the Irish “Lord of the Dance”—I had scant knowledge of Hindu mythology…

Bill Ingle, Wed 6 Apr, 15:57

A somewhat interesting article on “Existential Depression” appears in the current issue of Medical News Today at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/existential-depression#what-is-it

It distinguishes between Existential Depression and Existential Dread.  I’m not sure how Existential Angst fits in.

Michael Tymn, Wed 6 Apr, 09:15

Michael confesses that, like me, he “will be a little disappointed if Jesus is not the Christ.” One’s Christology, of course (if one has one), is an individualized matter (like one’s view of God), no follower of Jesus having precisely the same understanding of his meaning and message. That’s why I love this beautiful song sung by a group of beautiful young people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW_RpWbnJXQ

Newton E. Finn, Mon 4 Apr, 20:08

Bill,

I doubt that we can discuss Seth in a few paragraphs here and, as I said, my reason for losing interest in reading more of Seth was an emotional one rather than a rational one. The crucifixion is the “crux” of the Jesus story; therefore, it seems to follow that Jesus of Nazareth, without the crucifixion (and resurrection), wasn’t the Christ and isn’t worth knowing about. Perhaps that is the truth, but it conflicts with the preponderance of spirit messages about Jesus. Or it may be that the story plays out that he was the Christ even though he was not the person the Bible authors report having been put to death on the cross. If that is the case, I missed it on my earlier read of the Seth material.  I will discuss with Michael Schmicker when I have lunch with him next Thursday.  As I previously mentioned, Mike is a big fan of Seth, placing the Seth material above all others.  If anyone can straighten me out on it, Mike, who has authored several books on mediumship and other paranormal subjects, can.

I fully recognize the distortion of the Wyatt Earp story by Hollywood and other media, but one can argue that on every historical story.  It is impossible to know how various biases by interpreters and storytellers have distorted the Bible or the Wyatt Earp story over the years.  Toss in Mary Lincoln, who has been discussed in past blogs here.  Nearly all Lincoln historians have made her out to be a real witch, but, while she no doubt had her faults, I suspect that Lincoln historians have disparaged her considerably because of her “occult” interests.  There are so many other examples of probable distortions by historians who weren’t even alive when the person they are writing about existed.

I do plan to get back to reading more of Seth soon and hope that I have misunderstood the crucifixion aspect of it. If I haven’t misunderstood, it will not affect my conviction that consciousness survives death, but I will be a little disappointed if Jesus is not the Christ.

Michael Tymn, Mon 4 Apr, 10:23

Michael:

“Thanks for refreshing my memory on Seth and the Jesus matter. Denying his crucifixion is, at least to me, almost the same as denying his existence, and, as I said, may very well be truth. It was just an emotional turn-off to me when I read it many years ago.”

Michael, I find your statement puzzling.  Why would denying the crucifixion be almost the same as denying the existence of Jesus?

The literary version of Wyatt Earp as found in 19th Century dime novels is based on the life of the historical Earp, but the two aren’t the same.

We have photographs, letters, and other documentation to help us discern the difference.

The language of the time and place is not too far removed from the present version, while the context of Earp’s activities is also well documented.

Earp did not become the center of a religious myth, true, but the distinction between the mythical Earp and the historical person parallels the distinction between the literary character known as Jesus and any real person (or persons).

Unfortunately, whatever took place that engendered what gradually became a whopping huge religious myth, complete with the dogma of an official version of events, is not nearly as clear and can’t be.

So called “channeled” sources (like Seth) are one source of information, serious work by scholars and historians quite another.

I read some of the latter every so often. One I’ve started but have yet to finish is _When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation_ by Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture at Boston University and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; I’m impressed with her work.

For me, there’s a third source: Probing directly, by myself and with others, with very interesting results.  Not too many years ago I had a strange, unexpected, and highly relevant encounter, but I will resist the urge to describe it here—as I’ve posted a number of times, such experiences tend to be entirely subjective, with no (easy?) way to validate them.

I can only assume you have some investment in the myth, as the crucifixion is central to it.

I’m much more interested in what is not mythical here (call it “the truth”) to the extent that it’s possible to know it, and have pursued that, on and off, for years—one topic of a number.

Bill

Bill Ingle, Mon 4 Apr, 02:19

One of your best. What interests me is the diverity of input and ways of thinking from your readers. Keep up the good work!

dale harder, Sun 3 Apr, 07:28

Dear all,

Newton is always worthy of response. First, then, we are all glad he is now in better health than he has lately been, as is implied by his latest comment.

The question has been asked whether we have to first prove that God exists and is of a merciful nature if we are then to prove that life goes on after the failure of the body. I think most of us agree that it is not necessary to prove God’s existence or nature first. We have evidence enough of continued conscious life because the chance of even one COGENT AND VERIDICAL sentence of any complexity being uttered by a medium if it is NOT communication by a consciousness is so minute if there is no continuity of living for us to conclude that mathematical/scientific probability of survival is very high. That there is a God and that there is survival of an essence are non-dependent statements, independent of each other, but the two statements ARE connected nevertheless, because it is IN God that we exist. There’s nothing that is not in God. The best view of God-ness that we can conceive is that ‘He/She’ exists ETERNALLY, that is “statically”, timelessly, but CONTAINING all the times, all the histories, of all smaller (constituent) beings, such as ourselves. These minor beings are ETERNALLY contained within ‘God’, each experiencing a time or world line WITHIN that timeLESS Being. Thus “God” contains all science. Therefore, so long as scientists are truly honest and conscientious, there is at least a very high level of assurance for humans that its findings are correct. As pointed out above, JUST ONE cogent and evidential sentence via a medium (eg by automatic writing) is evidence that a conscious and intelligent being has spoken, and been thus recorded, despite being invisible to us. Other branches of science show HOW there can be non-detectable inhabited universes contiguous with ours and inhabited by the beings so made credible/probable. Einstein’s Special Relativity shows US the reason. Small beings in contiguous universes (e.g. George Pellew, William Barrett, Oliver Lodge, Frederic Myers, no doubt have their own corroborations of such kind in THEIR parallel (and maybe different) physics, that possibly has more dimensions than our 4-dimensional system. I hope this is beginning to become clearer, easier to ’see’.

And, by the way, Googlemail has now made on-screen confession that it has been the cause of the failure to recognise that simonjenkins notifications are NOT spam. Oh! the joys of software that is too big for its boots and THINKS it knows how to run our lives for us when it’s actually what we would call each other if humans were fond to have done such things - pig-ignorant, arrogant, stupid. I am glad to loudly exonerate both author of blog and moderator of comments.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 2 Apr, 22:20

Heartfelt thanks to all who via email or this blog wished me well during a difficult time. Here’s another quote (overly long, I know) that ties in beautifully with Michael’s post, a quote from the underappreciated but brilliant James Hyslop.

“Mythology was sound in its psychology and its ethics when, after allowing the escape of all the evils in the world, it left Hope at the bottom of Pandora’s Box. No one can act rationally in life without hope…. If consciousness perishes at death it is clear that hope has no application beyond the grave. If personality extends beyond the grave, hope has a wider sphere of meaning, and so has life…..

It will be enough to show that nature ensures the survival of personal identity; and then, whatever curtailment of our selfish expectations may follow, we still have the opportunity of correction. Annihilation will allow neither progress nor correction of the past.

If the world has any claims to be regarded as good to its creatures, we should find the evidence of it in its outcome. We may endure temporary inequalities and suffering, if all ends well…. The sadness of sunset is only sublime pathos when we are assured of another dawn.”

Newton E. Finn, Sat 2 Apr, 17:48

Bill,

Thanks for refreshing my memory on Seth and the Jesus matter. Denying his crucifixion is, at least to me, almost the same as denying his existence, and, as I said, may very well be truth. It was just an emotional turn-off to me when I read it many years ago.  I read three of the Seth books and was very much impressed by them.  I reread “The Seth Material” several months ago and intend to read the other two books soon and possible read some of Seth that I didn’t previously read.  My friend Mike Schmicker is a big fan of Seth and we plan to discuss him at our next lunch.  I’m giving myself five lashes for the misstatement.

Michael Tymn, Fri 1 Apr, 19:39

Dear all,

I am STILL not receiving notifications of comments made in response to Mike’s blogs. I have no idea why.

I am relieved to see the comment from Newton of a couple of days ago. I was wondering about his health in recent weeks, he having told us that he was unwell.

Amos’s thinking regarding space and what surrounds it (and most people’s thinking concerning the human miscomprehension of a sort of NON-entity that humans call ‘time’) is rather tiresome, I have to say, and frankly I do not wish to bother yet again . . . More mature understandings, showing deeper logic and conceptual empathy, valid imagination (ie not delusion) are available, and I have often offered them, but it would be tiresome to have to try to expound them yet again with neither comprehension nor response on the part of readers. Sorry. Perhaps I’ll try to verbalise it again, when I feel I can face the task again.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 1 Apr, 07:17

Michael: “I struggle with Seth’s teaching that the man named Jesus of Nazareth never existed.”

Michael: Seth didn’t teach that. (Where did you get that idea?) He did say that Jesus or Yeshua didn’t die on the cross—someone else did. (How on earth could anyone verify that or rule it out?)

He also spoke of the “Christ Entity” which included in that time Jesus, John the Baptizer, and Saul of Tarsus (“Saint Paul”). In other words, they shared the same “greater self”. (This is similar to teachings of the Baha’i Faith.)

The material is in _Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul.”

This item:

“His message will be that of the individual in relation to All That Is. He will clearly state methods by which each individual can attain a state of intimate contact with his own entity; the entity to some extent being man’s mediator with All That Is.”

Is a reference to a reincarnated Saul of Tarsus and is connected with the only time Seth provided a specific year—2075, this in a prediction.

Per Seth, the teachings of this new version of Tarsus will have great effect by 2075. (Seth disparaged predictions despite this particular instance; they make little sense in light of all he said about probable realities, but he did qualify this, to an extent. He also offered a couple of very generalized references to a future change in humanity.)

The quote above is found in Session 586 in the Chapter called “The Meaning of Religion.” It has long inspired me.

It’s entirely possible that this new version of Tarsus has already been born.

Bill Ingle, Fri 1 Apr, 01:16

Newton,
A wonderful quote from Frederic Myers which is favourite of mine. I have a few of his books and find the soul of a poet and a practical mind.
Nice to see this quote,
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Thu 31 Mar, 03:32

What could I possibly add to this uplifting post and the seemingly diverse yet spiritually attuned conversation it has inspired? Unable at the moment to organize and express my personal thoughts, I defer to those of Frederic Myers concerning Plotinus’ vision of ‘the flight of the One to the One,’ the thoughts with which Myers concluded his epic “Human Personality.”

“‘So let the soul that is not unworthy of that vision contemplate the Great Soul; freed from deceit and every witchery, and collected into calm. Calmed be the body for her in that hour, and the tumult of the flesh; ay, all that is about her, calm; calm be the earth, the sea, the air, and let Heaven itself be still. Then let her feel how into that silent heaven the Great Soul floweth in….’ And how, concludes Plotinus, ‘may this thing be for us? Let all else go.’

These heights, I confess, are above the stature of my spirit. Yet for each of us is a fit ingress into the Unseen…. And albeit no historical religion can persist as a logical halting place upon the endless mounting way—that way which leads unbroken from the first germ of love in the heart to an inconceivable union with the Divine—yet many a creed in turn may well be close inwrought and inwoven with our eternal hope.”

Newton E. Finn, Wed 30 Mar, 17:29

Michael,
My question about George Pellew seems to be answered in your book Resurrecting Leonora Piper on p73. I had not read this book but thought I would check in it for the answer.
Your books are well referenced and well written,
Thanks,

Bruce Williams, Wed 30 Mar, 04:58

Many thanks to all for the very meaningful comments.  To clarify my closing comment, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” I do not subscribe to any orthodox Christian belief, but I do consider myself an unorthodox Christian and accept Christ not so much as God, per se, but as in the hierarchy of evolved spirits. As I have often stated, I look to Him as the “Chairman of the Board.”  I prefer a personal figurehead to visualize as I can’t wrap my mind around around an abstract picture of cosmic consciousness. In that respect, I might be considered a “Christian Spiritualist,” but I have never belonged to any Spiritualist organization.  I wrote many articles for the “National Spiritualist Summit” some years ago and attended one of their conferences about 20 years ago. My interest in mediumship has strictly been from a research/investigative standpoint, and I have never felt a need to hear from deceased loved ones. The few Spiritualist services I have attended in UK and the US were somewhat discouraging as the clairvoyants gave very general readings, ones that a skeptic would have a field day with. 

Bill and others have often referred to the Seth teachings.  I believe there is much to them, but I struggle with Seth’s teaching that the man named Jesus of Nazareth never existed.  That may very well be the truth and it may be a truth that can be reconciled in the larger picture, but it more or less turned me off to reading more of Seth than I have.

Frank recommended Natalie Sudman’s book and I just ordered it.  I look forward to reading it.
I also hope read more of John Hicks, as recommended by Stafford.

Thanks to Chris for the link to his website and to Claudio for passing on the blog to his Italian readers, and, again, thanks to all others for their comments.

Bruce asked for a reference on the George Pellew Material.  It is the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume XIII, pages 433-434.

Michael Tymn, Wed 30 Mar, 00:25

Hi Michael,  Thanks again for a very thoughtful and nostalgic memoir that I’m sure your regular readership will enjoy.  I’m just winding down here in Palm Desert prior to returning to Canada after missing this” Snowbird” experience last year because of Covid.My wife and I relish the California weather so while nice to go home we don’t like Canadian winters.Also wanted to add my thanks for three books you’d recommended and which were part of my winter reading between golf and Margaritas. ” The unanswered question” by Kurt Leland,“She walks in beauty” by Jim Mccarty and “Till death don’t us part ” by Karen Mccarthy .I enjoyed all for different reasons tho’ did struggle with Leland. He did sum up his thoughts quite well in his final chapter but it did take a special effort for me to work thro’ the whole book.I’m going to try your subscriber Chris’s website next to see whether I need to understand dutch to appreciate his contribution. All the best , Andrew .

andrew g simpson, Tue 29 Mar, 22:45

Ian,
Consider this imponderable thought: “Space must be in a place.”


Does the place in which the universe exists have a boundary?  If the material universe ends does the ‘place’ disappear?  Or if not, what are we to make of that?


Some people think that space is infinite—-it goes on and on.  But really?  Maybe space and non-space are equal but different sides of the same coin.  Without one, the other could not exist.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 29 Mar, 16:28

“.  .  .  KNOWING deep down that it all continues forever, that ‘I’ will surface as an organ of awareness in various forms forever, sentient waves on an endless ocean of thermodynamics. . . “

Beautiful language Donnalee. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 29 Mar, 16:13

Hi Mike.
Thanks for this wonderful article, with your kind permission I’ll translate it for the readers if my website because I too feel your same feelings even if I’m only a “young old”. In your words there is a lot of wisdom that only time can give,a calm review of your whole life very similar to the life review depicted by NDEr’s. Wish you a peaceful life and I want to send you a big,italian hug, hoping to meet you in the Other Side when our times will come.

Claudio Pisani, Tue 29 Mar, 07:54

Michael,
I am enjoying your book at the present. My life follows yours in the curious search for spiritual answers. I am 69. I have read many spiritualist books and I was impressed for your references drawing together the threads. It allows further research.
I started from a position as a born medium seeking to better understand the mechanisms of spirit controls. Having many times, given to others information unknown to me (or sometimes them) has convinced others.
I am also writing a book to give back to those who wrote about their experiences. It is hard to see what to include and what to leave out.
I was interested in George Pellew description of the sleep state on page 40 The Afterlife Revealed. Any reference to this? Richard Hodgson was a fellow Australian.

Bruce, Tue 29 Mar, 03:12

It’s not easy believing in a good God these days—it’s much easier believing in an afterlife. Michael hints at the difficulty in this fine blog. Like me, like all of us, he is troubled by the appalling degree of evil, both natural (killer viruses) and moral (Putin’s war), all around us. We ask the age-old question: Why, God?

The eminent English philosopher John Hick has written, for me, the most plausible answer—his version of the classical “free will defense”—in his book Evil and the God of Love. Here is a ridiculously short version of his argument. For me this is the only avenue making sense of human suffering from a theistic perspective. It gives faith a fighting chance. It has worked for me down through the years.

When raising our children, don’t we tell them to finish their homework before playing a video game, or clean their room before picking up their phone? Or to apologize when they have hurt someone? Or to control their temper when they don’t get their way? Why do we do this? Because we want them to grow up into dutiful, thoughtful, compassionate human beings even though they suffer a little along the way.

According to the classic Christian Free Will Defense, that’s what God wants too. Nobility of character does not come cheap. Unless morally challenged, we don’t grow – just as spoiled children don’t mature. God has designed our world to be a moral gymnasium. We are souls in training. Some athletes prefer to play teams they can beat, but others prefer stiffer competition. If we are wise, we will not surrender to the “stiffer competition” – the death of a loved one, the rejection by the one we most love, the being passed over at work, the tumor growing in our breast, or the slaughter of innocents in a brutal war – but will carry on. Trusting in God, we will bear in mind that the greater the suffering, the greater the potential for growth. God has given us a world full of physical and moral challenge, and He/She hopes that we will use our freedom to choose the good over the bad, and do it habitually, in spite of tremendous temptation to capitulate. To do so is to bring value, excellence, and ultimately joy into the universe, and that is what God wants. It’s what we should want too.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a world where God stepped in and removed suffering when it became too much to bear. Imagine living in a world where we could depend on that always happening. We would never develop any moral fiber. We would never be tested and would never evolve into nobler beings. So God leaves us alone, and we grow by trying to solve our own dilemmas. The philosopher Leibniz went so far as to claim that this world is the best of all possible for hatching moral beings. Leibniz has been the butt of every atheist’s jokes since Voltaire lampooned him in Candide. I suspect Leibniz is much closer to the truth than Voltaire.

If, like most atheists, you believe that death means extinction, this argument will not work. Such a worldview leads to existential despair or escape into meaningless hedonism. But if death is an event leading to another adventure of soul-growing, difficult though it may be, it works quite well.

Stafford Betty, Mon 28 Mar, 21:26

Thank you for your essay.

It interests me that my own fear now (‘me’, ‘my’, and ‘own’ in quotation marks since ‘I’ don’t perceive them as personal in this case)is derived from having been briefly dead three times these past twenty or so years, and KNOWING deep down that it all continues forever, that ‘I’ will surface as an organ of awareness in various forms forever, sentient waves on an endless ocean of thermodynamics, so to speak, matter into energy over and over, and feeling beyond exhausted at the prospect of never indeed being ‘exhausted’ in the sense of ‘used up’ or ‘finished’.  Oh well—we all carp at something.  It seems the best approach is to enjoy those strawberries granted as we fall over the next cliff, and be kind to all since all have suffering.  best wishes—

Donnalee D-M, Mon 28 Mar, 21:10

This “metaphysical anxiety” regarding whether our lives have some ultimate purpose behind the surface of things.

Such anxiety is a consequence of an underlying feeling that this might well be the only world there is.  That everything we ever do is for naught.  The idea that our lives will eventually end and we will descend into eternal nothingness.  That the human race will eventually end.  Indeed, all life in the Universe will finally end and there will just be an eternal nothingness where nothing of any significance ever happens again.

If this is so, then life and the Universe are purposeless and absurd, a joke.  It doesn’t matter what we will achieve.  For most of us, we will have been completely forgotten about in 200 years or so.  So all these accomplishments, achievements, mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

People sometimes appear to think I undergo such metaphysical anxiety and even that I’m depressed. No, if anything it’s the contrary.  Yes, I constantly think about such questions, but I find them exciting, interesting.  I’m pretty much convinced that the world and our lives are vastly more interesting than our modern western way of looking at the world implies.  I think our lives and the Universe are ultimately mysterious, not only stranger than we imagine, but perhaps stranger than we can imagine.

I’ve never seriously bought into this conception of reality that we are assimilated into believing by our modern western culture.  I’ve always been too much of an independent thinker.  I’ve always believed there is an ultimate purpose to our lives, it’s not something I came to believe in my adulthood or anything.

Ian Wardell, Mon 28 Mar, 20:14

Dear Michael
  I doubt there is a definitive answer to satisfy all expectations. In other words, there is no objective reality at all, so we have great latitude in shaping our own versions of how we think things should be. All religious beliefs are misleading and Christianity in particular is an existential scam because it is based on dualistic thinking (God can’t be me because he or her or it is “out there” separate from me in a different reality). Right now, I think Bernardo Kastrup has the edge on a sharp focus and I particularly am drawn to what astronomer/physicist Richard Conn Henry has to say. He wrote a limited edition book entitled The Universe Does Not Exist and some perceptive articles about the mental nature of reality itself. In sum, there is nothing that we have to conform to or satisfy the requirements of. As Jean has told me, “Don’t feel guilty about anything.” We can’t fail in life. It’s not possible.
  I strongly recommend looking at Natalie Sudman’s book, Application of Impossible Things. It is the most honest and comprehensive report of an NDE I have ever read. She has given many interviews on YouTube as well. Essentially, there are no worries, mate. We’re making it all up for our own purposes and self-deception is part of the challenge. Best wishes.

Frank Juszczyk, Mon 28 Mar, 19:33

Well Michael, from one old coot to another I agree that survival of consciousness and the existence of God are two very separate questions. Survival is not necessarily dependent upon the existence of a separate God especially if one considers that God is within all humans and perhaps every other living thing.  Humankind has looked for God in every conceivable place while all along God is right there, closer than one’s very breath, within us. Survival and God are intertwined.  Survival of consciousness is survival of the spark of God within. Each human consciousness is like a ripple on the surface of the ocean which alone is of no consequence but when it becomes part of a wave it is all powerful and all knowing.  If each consciousness is part of the whole and connected as has been suggested by some near-death experiencers, then connected together all consciousnesses may be the God for whom humans have been looking for eons.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 28 Mar, 19:15

Thank you for that, Michael.

Growing up in a small rural town in the U.S. in the 1950s, it wasn’t immediately obvious that no one I encountered knew much of anything about the nature of self or reality or that, once I’d learned how to read, nearly all information about anything was polluted, distorted, or biased in one way or another.

Everyone had beliefs, often with great emotion invested in them, but believing is not knowing, while one sure way to continue in this fashion, clueless, is to avoid examining one’s beliefs.

Further, beliefs held by those outside of myself often conflicted. The tales foisted on me and my peers in the small Protestant church were not aligned with the science I read about and was taught in school.

I gradually dismissed the teachings of the church and developed a smug belief in a materialist view aligned with what I’d learned of science—I became an atheist.

That didn’t survive my high school years in the 60s, though.  Marijuana became available and I got stoned. Not at first—I smoked a number of times without effect and began to think that whatever others were experiencing was nothing I’d ever experience, until, finally, shazam!  I got very, very stoned.

Sure, the high was temporary; a drug induced alteration of consciousness, but in that state were glimpses of, intimations of… something else, something clearly missing from both science and religion as I knew them.

Initially, the only available printed information that pointed towards something else was a paperback book about Edgar Cayce found in the book rack in a drug store in the town a school bus took me to and from every day, where my regional high school was located.

Then material of a different nature became available, puzzling books about Zen Buddhism and such areas, likely found in the nearest city, small and in serious decline—books by Alan Watts, D.T. Suzuki, etc.

I discussed the topics in these books with some of my peers but I was becoming confused and anxiety prone about life and my life, period, let alone what the heck everything was all about.

I melted down, twice, in my twenties, not without wild adventures and several transcendent experiences, but I didn’t achieve any lasting stability until I was nearly 30 and as a result entered the world of work late, at a lowly level and without any degrees, my entrance primarily owing to taking a course in typing in high school, when I’d believed typing would be a useful skill to have in college. (I’d narrowly missed getting drafted and being sent to Vietnam in 1970, owing to very unlikely but fortuitous circumstances.)

Post stable personality, I’ve had an unusual and highly provocative experience of an inner nature every so often.  One alone would provide ample material for pondering, with endless implications, the nature of self and everything, but there have been quite a few, while these haven’t ceased.

A full list with details would raise eyebrows and some would accuse me of being completely insane or, possibly, self promoting, possibly with a profit motive, after reading it.  With the exception of a few shared experiences, all of these experiences have been of a completely subjective nature—there’s no way I can prove their validity to anyone else and I don’t insist that what has been very real to me must apply to everyone or even anyone else, although I _believe_ they do.

I really don’t care—everyone is free to believe whatever they wish.  I’m not in the self-promotion business (not at the moment, anyway), either. It doesn’t really matter.

I’ll pick just one of these experiences as an example, a relatively minor experience. This involved looking briefly through the eyes of another version of me, a Frankish officer who served in Charlemagne’s army.  He was “dining” (in a very crude way) with a fellow officer, one well known in our time as a politician.

Per my present understanding (always subject to review and change), this would not have been possible had I not momentarily accessed what Seth refers to as the “soul or entity”—a gestalt being comprised of multiple “reincarnated” selves, all accessed simultaneously from its perspective.

What some call “god” I think of as “All” or “All That Is” and I infer from the above experience and others that it is simply the most expansive, all encompassing gestalt being; by definition each of us (and each of our entities) is part of it.

Focusing on our particular connection to it yields results, although a possible downside could be an estrangement from all fellow humans who have no such beliefs, find the concepts involved contrary to those they hold dear, and have never had any conscious experience remotely similar to what I’ve experienced. 

Although I once dismissed Christianity and still dismiss the vast majority of its tales, rituals, dogma, worship, etc., at the same time, owing to several experiences, I believe the man upon whose shoulders the myth has been draped did exist.

As such, he, too, is one life experience of a number for his particular “soul or entity.”

This is no ordinary “soul or entity,” however, in terms of its level of understanding, in the same way that the greater self or entity of, say, Leonardo is no ordinary “soul or entity,” but of course each of these two entities has its own proclivities, as does each of our own entities and their, in some cases, hundreds or more of life experiences or “focus personalities.”

I believe the proclivities of the greater self of the man worshipped in Christianity as the sole son of an anthropomorphized, patriarchal “god” bodes well for humanity, but that this won’t be apparent for maybe about another 50 years or so.

Bill Ingle, Mon 28 Mar, 18:49

Michael,
I enjoyed your blog entry.  Last year at 60, I voluntarily left a job I spent most of my adult life with.  My coworkers thought I was insane for leaving the sure security it provided. I could not see the sense of continuing to collect money and stuff just to give it away in a will. Now I am back in school again (7th-time college adventurer and counting). My previous education was all applied science but this time it is Spiritualism.  I have not told the family; in case they decide I have lost my mind and need to be legally deprived of all my worldly possessions.  Somehow though, I feel this is the most important studying I have done thus far in life.  It is nice to step up to a ledge, then step out in an act of sheer adventurous faith.  Oh, what fun life can be!

Keith K, Mon 28 Mar, 18:47

Hi Michael
As you Americans say thank you for sharing. I too was brought up in a devout Irish Catholic household. I now at 64 wholly reject their controlling doctrines.
However having held those beliefs in formative years it makes it extremely difficult to find something substantial to take its place to give a higher meaning to your life !
Since the age of 18 I have been on that existential rollercoaster of belief in the survival of consciousness and the materialists.
Colin Wilson born in my hometown over the course of his life came to believe in the existence of discarnate spirits but felt it did not really help him in answering his question of why are we here and what should we do whilst here.
I find myself in the position of thinking there is something and that there is evidence to support a rejection of materialism. I am just not sure what !
A lot of people are not interested in focusing on the big questions and it’s great when people like you Michael and other contributors here confirm my views, thoughts etc
Best wishes
Pete
Leicester England

Pete Marley, Mon 28 Mar, 18:05

Wonderful article
thanks for the old age descriptions
It is our treat that you decided to study the paranormal as we all learn from you and your articles ! 
Blessings Karen

Rev. Karen Herrick PhD, Mon 28 Mar, 18:03

Thank you, Michael, for this wonderful essay.

Elizabeth, Mon 28 Mar, 17:13

Michael, this is a very nice piece. I’m touched by your story. From my youth on, I was a thinker and a searcher. Searching for answers. The last years I got answers, answers in my dreams, answers in your blog, answers in spirit teachings,answers in everyday life. I wrote them down in my eagle story, a four books counting story, an extended kind of fabel. It’s a pity it is only in dutch and I don’t know if google translate will make a readable translation. Maybe the more recent poems or better ‘dream’messages can be easier translated by google.
I now offer my books free to download and read on one of my websites.
https://djemana.wixsite.com/djemana
you are free to try it.
It is my way to try to make the world a better place, to give purpose and meaning to my life and is that not the ultimate goal of ‘being’?

Chris, Mon 28 Mar, 10:43


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The Orpheus Motif in North America: The Comanche tradition – To give the reader a general idea of the form taken by the Orpheus tradition in North America, I reproduce the version of the Comanche Indians, here published for the first time. It was communicated to me orally by the late Dr Ralph Linton, who noted it down in the course of his field-studies among the Comanche (1933). Particular interest attaches to the Comanche narrative, for it is the first recorded Orpheus tradition from the more easterly Shoshonean groups. No account is given of it in Wallace and Hoebel’s Comanche monograph, which is otherwise a valuable source for the religion and folklore of this tribe. Read here
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