“Life After Death”: the geography of the Afterlife (Martin)

I received, from author Stephen Hawley Martin, a complimentary review copy of his Second Edition (2017) “Life After Death: Powerful Evidence You Will Never Die”.  I think the first edition was in 1995.

The author believes that consciousness generates the Universe and permeates it.  Consciousness exists apart from matter and energy – you could wonder if it has anything to do with dark energy, or with unused dimensions in string theory.  Consciousness tends to aggregate into concentrates that seek some sort of physical vehicle for expression.  Since ultimate conscious entities can make choices, in theory conscious entities – expressed (on this planet at least) with reproductive life forms, oppose entropy, which would cause the Universe to degrade.

Human being (and animal) individual consciousness comes about as genetics and “morphogenetic” influences cause a “soul” or conscious entity to become expressed or “received” by a physical body.  Many other sources talk about “free will” and self-awareness as connected to microtubules within neurons able to deal with quantum uncertainties.

Martin’s book, which is a bit random in its presentations style, focuses most on evidence from “near death experiences” or NDE’s, and many examples of reincarnation.  He mentions AMORC, or the Rosicrucian Order, as well as the Monroe Institute (20 miles south of Charlottesville VA) which he says the CIA has used to train agents in remote viewing. He cites cases of intelligent people with very little cerebrum matter, and notes that even plants can “behave” despite not having brains.

I think there is a logical question.  Do most newborn babies develop a “new” soul, or are most actually reincarnations?  If the universe expands infinitely and has infinitely many centers of consciousness, there could be an “infinite series” of reincarnation – but then again, some series will converge! He mentions AMORC’s (Rosicrucian) teaching that typical reincarnation cycles last about 140 years.

The author suggests that homosexuality may result when the person was of the opposite sex in the previous incarnation (although this idea runs the risk of confusing sexual orientation with gender identity or fluidity, very different concepts).  It’s all too easy to imagine the “Putin” argument that acceptance of homosexuality can lower procreation (and give returning souls another chance).

He also talks about “life between lives”, as being “what you want”.  Some souls “get stuck” as “asylum seekers” and become ghosts.  The sites “Afterlife Knowledge” and Mike Pettigrew’s give a geography of the Afterlife.  Note the “hollow heavens” available to those with strict religious beliefs;  “Focus 27” seems to be the most advanced level.   The author notes that a lot of souls got “stuck” after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but not after 9/11, because the deaths were more instantaneous. That would suggest that the way you die does affect your next course in the Afterlife.

The  soul life might be the “real life”, whereas earthly life is like a “dream” (as in the song “Row your boat”);  In a dream during sleep, you don’t remember how you got there, although you know who you are.  This is the concept of Christopher Nolan’s movie “Inception” (2010).  Other films worth mention here are “Cocoon” (Ron Howard, 1985), or even  the “Chiller”, “The Disembodied” (1957). The appropriate term for a person who has passed away is “discarnate”.  We could also ponder “Our Home: Astral City” (2011, Brazil), “What Dreams May Come” (1998, Robin Williams), and “Defending Your Life” (1991).

Martin mentions the “life review” that occurs at time of passage, that seems to give the person access to every moment in his or her life as if on a video.  The term reminds me of “content evaluation” in the POD book industry.  As evidence of his theory, Martin also notes that people with Alzheimer’s disease often become lucid and get most of their memory back just before they pass on, as if the memory came from a repository of cosmic consciousness.

Martin also talks about Grace as a cosmological concept that matches up with that in the Christian and other faiths, as organizing nature.  He explains telekinesis (or maybe self-teleportation as with young Clark Kent in “Smallville”) as instances of “mind over matter”.

He does mention angels a couple times, and I’ve wondered if these are immortal physical beings, or maybe someone like Jason Ritter’s hero character Sean Walker in NBC’s series “The Event“, someone who doesn’t know he is an alien, and almost immortal, until the end.  In my own novel manuscript “Angel’s Brother” I play with the idea that a soul could experience another (younger) person’s body through “consolidation” (through a fictitious virus) but the process backfires when one of the persons separates as piece of ball lightning and then reconnects himself.

Martin mentions the Myers-Biggs personality charts (p. 173), and considers himself “INTJ” (introverted-intuitive-thinking-judging), about 2% of the population.  I fall into that category (“feminine subjective” by Rosenfels), and can be unpopular, viewed as a spectator rather than a participant.

I think the concept of relation between soul and living person can be put into analogy with a phonograph recording of a performance of a music work.  This concept may have been more applicable in the past before the Internet and digital age with cloud storage.  But an “instance” recording of a work can wear out (bad styli in the past) and need to be replaced, but the actual work and performance still lives forever.  You could even draw a comparison to object-oriented programming, with “classes” and “instances”, where rebirth is “instantiation” (or “construction”).

I have visited the grounds of the Monroe Institute (Aug. 2014), but you have to arrive very early for a one day event.   The long sessions with Hemi-Sync require a considerable time commitment.   I visited the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose CA in 1975.

Author: Stephen Hawley Martin
Title, Subtitle: “Life After Death: Powerful Evidence You Will Never Die”
publication date 2017, 1995
ISBN 978-1543134322
Publication: Oaklea Press, Richmond Va; Paper, 13 chapters, 206 pages
Link: sales

(Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:15 PM EDT)

Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”: how to leverage you’re assets when others see you as the underdog

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Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Title, Subtitle: David and Goliath
publication date 2015
ISBN 978-0-316-28525-4
Publication: Back Bay/Little Brown, 327 pages, paper, indexed
Link: author

I perceive Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell as somewhat the liberal David Brooks, someone who wants to show us how to be good.  But actually he often offers what amount to conservative to libertarian arguments, more or less along the lines of Mary Ruwart.

In his 2015 book “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants”, Gladwell provides a counterweight to his 2008 “Outliers” (see Index), as he looks at how underdogs, in most political and social systems, often leverage their special circumstances to prevail.

The book, while starting with recount of the Old Testament is Bible story that introduces us to King David, is laid out in three large parts (nine chapters and an Afterword): “The Advantages of Disadvantages (and the Disadvantages of Advantages), “The Theory of the Desirable Difficulty”, and “The Limits of Power”.

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His first example is given by basketball coach Vivek Ranadive, but I could digress with a discussion of “backyard baseball” (really softball and sometimes whiffleball) in eighth and ninth grade in the 1950s.  I was behind the other boys physically, but I invented a “league” of individual softball players, with the rules arranged to make the scores reasonable.  Although I was weaker, I had tremendous home field advantage because I could hit the ball just hard enough for “homers” according to my ground rules – and that could make the other kids mad, as it seemed anti-meritocratic.  Or, when I was a patient at NIH in 1962, I won a ping pong tournament by “keeping the ball on the table”, making other impatient players mad with errant slams.  I developed my own catchphrase, “fighting with my fingernails”, which I actually did once in seventh grade, inflicting potentially disfiguring forearms cuts on a bully.

With Teresa Debrito, he introduces the idea of U-shaped curves in explaining that smaller classes don’t always result in better students and better academic results.  Then with Caroline Sacks, he explores the idea of a “big fish in a small pond”, specifically with the issue of whether some students do better if they don’t go to top colleges. (I like the way he talks about organic chemistry.)   I could say that the way I leveraged my writing on the Internet in the early days of search engines, and influenced the debate on gays in the military, could have added more material to the chapter.

He then goes into the idea that having a “handicap” often precludes asymmetric, spectacular success in life.  He develops a lot of his material with dyslexia.  Particularly impressive is the way Gary Cohn talked his way into the brokerage industry by tailgating someone after an elevator pitch.  But in some cases, it’s extroversion and risk taking that has to happen for success to occur (which isn’t exactly the case with me). In discussing David Boies, he gives an important personality chart on p. 116 which is distantly related to the Rosenfels idea of polarities.  With Emil Freireich, he gives an interesting history to the development of combination chemotherapy for leukemia  (earlier account )   In talking about “tricksters” in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, he explains the advantage of having nothing to lose.  So that explains the “Rich Young Ruler” in the New Testament – a rich man who has too much, hunkers down, and doesn’t know when to let go.

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The last section, starting with the IRA in the late 1960s, does convey some lessons on why the imposition of overwhelming political and military power doesn’t always work.  The book concludes with an interesting Afterword on why US policy failed to win the Vietnam War into which I was personally conscripted in 1968 (although I was sheltered stateside).  Gladwell also gives some cogent analysis on why increasing sentences for crimes (like “three strikes” laws in California) don’t always reduce crime.  He does get into a brief but interesting self-conversation on how the criminal mind works.  One point is that the usual idea of morality doesn’t make sense to a criminal who cannot function cognitively and simply perceives the need to control others.

Gladwell gives an account of the 1940 bombings of London which could be compared to Sebastian Junger’s “Tribe” (May 31).

There are “moral” questions about the way one deploys one’s hidden assets or “poison pills” – sometimes by avoiding the risks and personal stakes that others have, without much conscious choice.  The “rightsizing” (or “karma”) debate, common in some religious circles, is never mentioned explicitly.  That sounds like something David Brooks could take up (or I will).  Maybe I could name a book “Jacob and Esau” and wonder who is manly enough.

(Posted: Monday, October 10, 2016 at 7:15 PM EDT)