Last entry, I compared the study of alternative archeology, with reincarnation studies, noting in particular that mainstream science blocks progress because of clinging to a linear view of human history, and a linear view of individual human life, respectively. I brought in an example of my lampoon of an academic philosopher, showing that I was fighting this same fight in my earlier incarnation in the 19th century. In that lifetime, I advocated several causes, including Spiritualism. Apparently, I was a Swedenborgian early in life, and moved to a more general alliance with Spiritualism, mid-century.
As I started this entry, I remembered that my Guru, Meher Baba, had said that it is relatively rare for a person to return to his or her past-life endeavors, upon reincarnating, and I had in mind to open with that quote; but I couldn't find it. When I had studied his teachings most deeply in my early 20's, a great many of his ideas stuck in my mind, but at that age I wasn't inclined to note down actual citations. So now, I remember that he said this-or-that, but I have a heck of a time locating the actual quote, even with the digital search function.
In the process of searching through the seven chapters devoted to "Reincarnation and Karma" in his "Discourses," however, I was struck with how much better his information is, than anything I could present on my own. Of course, I use his teachings in the background, which is inevitable when you have studied something deeply. One of the points he makes, is that full and complete memory of past lives surfaces naturally when a person is spiritually mature and ready--and here, he sets the bar very high. One has to become so selfless, that one feels no "claims or counter-claims" toward anyone, once the old contexts are seen. Which is to say, former spouses or lovers, former children, former enemies, etc. I cannot claim to have evolved to that level, myself; though I am prepared to allow former enemies to grow out of whatever I object to in them, and I am prepared to allow former lovers and children to move on. I cannot say the same where my soul-mate is concerned--and here it appears I am deviating from my own Guru's teachings.
In this, I can only say that it seems, to me, that "all bets are off" when it comes to soul-mates--that this particular bond operates by a different set of rules. That's what the logic of several lifetimes' experience seems to be saying, to me. There are, I think, two relationships which span time--one, the Guru/disciple relationship, which is something Meher Baba does talk about in these chapters; and the soul-mate relationship, which he never addressed, to my knowledge. He seems to have demonstrated it, in a chaste relationship with his foremost female disciple (and yes, it was a chaste relationship); and he mentioned that each incarnation of the Avatar has a "consort," i.e. Rama had Sita, Krishna had Radha, and so-on. And there were married couples that Meher Baba gave combined nicknames, like "Fredella" for Fred and Ella (a wonderful soul-mate couple whom I had the privilege of meeting). But he never taught the concept of soul-mates, per se. Personally, I think it's because the world isn't ready, and would mis-use it--i.e., much the same concern as Baba expressed regarding remembering past lives. People would be claiming this or that karmic connection as a "soul-mate" willy-nilly, wreaking havoc and providing a justification for affairs and for breaking up marriages. But that's just a guess on my part.
Be that as it may, the most remarkable result of my reincarnation self-study has been to find my soul-mate, Abby, who was Mathew Franklin Whittier's first wife, still in the astral world. That is probably the primary cause of people deciding that I'm a nutcase. They will have to dismiss me and come back in 20 years, is all I can say about that. There are things I dismissed 20 or 30 years ago, and came back to, only to realize it was legit, and I had been hasty. It happens, and there's no accounting for either receptivity, or timing.
But the second-most interesting find, in my study, has been to see how I took up and carried forward the public work I had been engaged in, as Mathew. Not as regards Abolition, but as regards Spiritualism. In the 19th century, the main obstacle to Spiritualism was traditional religion; and secondarily, the rise of Materialism, and mainstream academia. Mathew fought both, using two different tools--essays, and humorous sketches.
He did not have the benefit of the teachings I've studied in this lifetime. What he had, is the Hermeticism that Abby had taught him, in his youth; the philosophy of the ancient Greeks; Swedenborg; and whatever else he could get his hands on. His biographer said of him that in his older years, he was an "omnivorous reader"; but he was an omnivorous reader from the time he could read, apparently, and he loved ancient tomes. We'll get to that subject before I close, here, hopefully.
So reading through Meher Baba's chapters on reincarnation and karma in his "Discourses," my first thought is, if you were smart, you would stop reading this blog, and immediately go look up "Discourses," which you can easily find online. Search for "Reincarnation and Karma," go back to the first chapter in that series, and read that. Forget this.
But if you want to hang in there with me a little longer, let's briefly look at what I was writing for this cause, i.e., for the cause of Afterlife Studies, over 150 years ago, in a different physical body. Sound interesting? I sometimes wonder if this stuff is interesting to anybody else. Certainly, it doesn't seem to inspire them to purchase my book. What I'm doing is doling out little bits of my book in some of these blog entries. If you are reading this blog, you are reading my book, already--but wouldn't you like to see the full presentation? One would think so. Forego that hamburger and fries for yourself and your sweetie at lunch, and buy my book, instead. You won't miss the lunch by tomorrow, and you'll have an incredible book.
In 1852, Mathew was writing extensively for Boston's answer to Britain's "Punch" (which, in turn, was Britain's answer to France's "Charivari"), called the "Carpet-Bag." Mainstream historians only know that he wrote as one character, the Archie Bunker prototype, "Ethan Spike." Various of Ethan Spike appear only three times in the two-year run of this newspaper. But my research indicates that he had a financial interest in the paper--and that he was practically setting the tone for it, by submitting the best humorous sketches (which others would then imitate, or respond to), writing as many as four pieces per weekly edition, all under various pseudonyms, or anonymously.
Again, mainstream historians attribute his best work, which was written under the pseudonym of "Trismegistus" and its spin-offs, to Benjamin Drew, a career teacher and school principal. They get this from the editor's own memoirs--but it was a lie. The editor, Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber, had to have known. Mathew may have urged him to secrecy. Shillaber praised Mathew for "Ethan Spike," calling him a "genius"--but no mention was made of all the other work, which I am certain, now, he wrote for that paper. It's inexplicable; but I spent a great deal of effort to nail this one down, and I'm certain of it. We will assume I'm right about this, here.
So, under the "Trismegistus" umbrella, Mathew, being fresh from England, created a stuffy academic philosopher named E. Goethe Digg, a graduate of "Brazen Nose College." (There is, in fact, a Brasenose College in Oxford, which Mathew must have run into in his travels, and which name must have amused him.) Dr. Digg, as a sort of universal know-it-all, would pontificate absurdly on any topic, and for a time, he turned his prodigious brain toward Spiritualism. Here is a sample of his scientific investigations, whereupon he concludes that he is a medium:
On the night of the 17th of January, 1852—the weather being intensely cold—I directed two ordinary junk bottles, filled with hot water, to be placed in contact with my feet, when I horizontalized for somnolent repose. My domestic placed them in their proper position, both filled with aqua fontis, at 212° Fahrenheit. On placing the soles of my pedal extremities in contact with the bottles, I became aware of a sudden and violent repulsion, which caused my head to rap or rather thwack against the head-board, and at the same time I saw sparks like stars, which I conjecture were electrical. Regardless of pain or personal inconvenience, where a scientific principle is concerned, I repeated the experiment several times, and saw stars as often as my head came into contact with the head-board. I have since satisfied myself that these stars or sparks were detached optical illusions. "The first step in every thing is discovered by chance and not by reflection," as Madam De Stael remarks in her "Influence of Literature." I had by chance taken one step in the right direction. The glass bottles had communicated positive electricity to my feet—of course my head was negative. This consideration convinced me that I was a medium. After revolving the matter mentally for weeks, I proceeded to experiment, alone in my study. I took a common writing desk with an inclined top or upper surface. On this, I placed a common India rubber ball, and concentrating all my faculties, I willed it to roll down the slope. The experiment succeeded—the ball rolled down with an accelerated motion, and at length dropped upon the floor, where it performed a series of raps in a truly wonderful manner. The will, then, had something to do in the matter—but how much? I was not clear on this point, so I proceeded to further trials.
In a subsequent installment, Dr. Digg acts as medium during a seance. In a bit reminiscent of Johnny Carson's mind-reading skits, a series of six questions are put to the spirits, who answer them via rapping. I would really like to reproduce this in its entirety, but one example will suffice:
Q. 5. What instrument of offence destroys more lives in peace than it does in war?
A. 5. The mortar.
Scandalbeg arose in a rage. "It is false--I did not come here to be insulted"; and he strode to the door. "Hold!" cried Blarney O’Blarney, "In the hands of a scientific apothecary like yourself, the mortar is only charged with saving powders--but in the hands of a quack,"--"True," answered Scandalbeg--and he resumed his seat, admitting, with the rest, the correctness of answer No. 5.
All of the questions relate to current topics, until he gets to the sixth and final one. Suddenly, Mathew reverses his character in mid-stream, providing not only positive confirmation of mediumship in his fictional example, but citing similar historical confirmations, as well. He could get away with this, because it appears he had taken the editor to a seance, and convinced him of the reality of Spiritualism--so the editor had his back.
Q. 6. [A blank space.]
A. 6. [A blank space.]
“That, gentlemen,” said I, “is a remarkable, a most satisfactory test of the truthfulness of spirituous answers or replications. It was by the same process that Pyrrhus satisfied himself of the truthfulness of the Delphic oracle. He sent a sealed letter, directing that the oracle should transmit a correct reply, before opening his own missive. A blank sheet was returned; and on opening the letter of Pyrrhus, it was found to be blank!” “Don’t retail Rollin’s Ancient History to us!” exclaimed the Schwarzelbugs. “But,” said Mesdame La Bryot, “was the oracle true and reliable? If we admit from No. 6, the truthfulness of the rappings, we must admit, by parity of reasoning, the truthfulness of the oracle.” “There is nothing new under the sun,” I answered, “there were great men before Agamemnon, and small men, too. Spiritual rappings, communications from above humanity and beyond humanity, have always been delivered, wherever and whenever there were wise men to hear and transmit them, and wise men to put their truth in them, and rich men to give splendid offerings to Apollo, and poor men to devote a portion of their substance to the benefit of mediums.” “I must see you again on the subject,” said Miss Snibby; “I wish to inquire whose cat killed my canary.” “Next Thursday evening, Mesdame, I shall be at your service.” [Exeunt.]
E. Goethe Digg, U. G.
In 1857, Mathew is an officer in the Portland (Maine) Spiritualist Association. At that time, a fundamentalist minister, one William T. Dwight, is preaching against Spiritualism; while Mathew, himself, is giving Spiritualist sermons, and arranging for Spiritualist speakers. The president of that organization (also an attorney, and president of a railroad), Jabez Woodman, gives a series of lectures to rebut Dr. Dwight. I am convinced that Mathew ghost-wrote, if not the lectures themselves (Mathew reported on them, and said they were extemporaneous and not well-organized), at least the published version of them. At the same time, he lampooned Dr. Dwight through his backwoods character, "Ethan Spike." Here's an example of the lampoon, which appeared in the Portland Transcript, followed by the ghost-written essay, which was also published in that paper and then printed as a booklet. Note that "Ethan Spike" speaks in a rural "Down East" (Maine) accent, so that, for example, "aoutbust" is pronounced exactly as you see, here:
Elder Phine-ass Fawsil preached agin it last sabberday. It was a great aoutbust of the Elder's, and gin comfort to many. I do suppose that Elder Fawsil, when he's fairly waked up, is about as tough a customer as the devil ever wrasled with. I don't raaly spose he'd be a bit more affeerd of Belzebub, or even the Old Boy himself, than I should be of a yerlin coalt. You orter hear him talk of the devil--jest as easy and familiyer as though he knew he'd got the critter under his thumb, an was sartin he had holt of him whar the hair was short. But I was goin to say suthin of this last sarmint of his’n.
The Elder laid daoun sevin pints and proved em all.
Fust, Speeritooalism is the works of Satin.
Second, Its the tow jints, worked by odd force an vitalized super carbonick eclectic fluid.
Third, (This pint I didn't get hold of egzactly, he not speakin very legibly--but it was ither Mesmerism or Mormonism, but it don't matter much, as which ever it was, he proved it.)
Fourth, Its Annymill magnitudes.
Fifth, (This pint, nyther, I can't give verbunkum; but it was some kind of a bug--saounded like a Jewn-bug.)
Sixth, Ef it war speerits, they war evil Speerits.
Seventh, Thar is no Speerits, no how.
The discoarse was chock full of scripter bearing on the several pints, an hysterical facks--for he's just as larned as he can be, an I do actooally bleve, ef by accident (he wouldn't do it noinly) he should get any more into him, he'd bust right up! Why he'd handle them great greek and lating words in sich a way that nobody can understand, just as easy as I kin say caow, or tater, or any other simple household word.
This piece was reprinted in newspapers across the country--but in all of them that I have seen, "Phine-ass" is edited to "Phine-as." It was only his editor, Edward Elwell of the Portland Transcript, who would put up with Mathew's off-color mischief. By the way, I don't get #5--some kind of naughty or period reference, no doubt. If anybody does get it, write me, please!
At roughly the same time he was putting out this lampoon, he was ghost-writing the following logical treatise:
Dr. Dwight next makes the following declarations:
"The state of the Invisible World is absolutely secret with God."--"The World of Spirits, and I include here Heaven and Hell, their respective localities--so far as they have locality, the actual condition of departed persons individually, and all intercommunication with such persons and with the dead generally;--all this, excepting the few and general revelations which are contained in the Scriptures, is entirely hidden from men."--"God has determined, that we should possess just so much knowledge of the World of Spirits, as can be acquired from His own announcements by inspired prophets and apostles and the Savior; and he has also determined that we should possess no other knowledge. The fact that he has revealed to us in the Bible, what we thus actually know respecting the invisible world and its inhabitants, is in itself decisive evidence, that He lias purposed we should know nothing additional. What we have there revealed to us, He has disclosed to us for our profit: what he has not there revealed, He has withheld for the same reason."--" We know that God, as the Infinite Ruler who has given the Bible to men, and Christ, as the crowned Mediator who now rules directly in the World of Spirits, will permit no such knowledge to be communicated from any other source."
All this is mere dogmatical assertion, and what is worse, it is directly contrary to the doctrines of the Bible. There is no book like the Bible, to prove the progressive nature of revelation, and the faith of Spiritualism. The revelations, that are therein recorded, were given from time to time, in a very gradual manner, and spread over a period of more than four thousand years. One revelation was given to Adam; another to Noah; and others still to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. One revelation was given to Moses at Sinai; another in the land of Moab; others still to the various Judges, and some very important ones to Samuel. Other revelations were given to David; many others, through many ages, by other prophets, whose writings have come down to us; others still, by other prophets, whose writings have been lost in the lapse of time; and doubtless, many more by seers and prophets, that were never committed to writing. In the fulness of time, Christ came, when higher and still more important revelations were made through him.
I could give plenty more examples--there is an earlier series defending Emanuel Swedenborg from similar attacks, and an anti-slavery booklet, evincing the same type of thorough analysis. But I wanted to conclude with something I ran across a couple of days ago, on my lunch hour. I watch videos on alternative history, these days, and found one about a old book called the "Voynich Manuscript." The documentary tells us that during WWII, William Friedrick Friedman, and his group, the research division of the Signal Intelligence Service, would practice on ancient manuscripts, and that this book was the only one they couldn't decode. You can download this thing in pdf form from the internet, so I won't provide any visuals, here, but there are copious illustrations. Basically, it starts off with botanicals, then moves into what looks like astrology, finishing up with scenes of naked ladies bathing together in some kind of flushing apparatus.
I thought, well, I know very little about cryptography (Mathew appears to have had an interest in it, and one of his close friends was an amateur expert); but I know mysticism. If this is, say, an exposition of Hermeticism, or Alchemy, I should be able to discern some relevant themes.
I studied and studied the drawings (though the naked ladies, however badly drawn, were somewhat distracting--they each seem to have distinct personalities, which is kind of unnerving); and I recognized a few themes, but basically it makes no sense as a coherent treatise on that subject. I'll tell you what I think it is--a madman, playing a joke. Someone knew just enough about these subjects to be dangerous, and created a nonsense book as a sort of insane hobby, imagining himself to be a great scholar. In short, there is no code, and there is no mystery.* The people who spent a lifetime trying to decipher this book, were fooled by one little mistaken assumption--that it was real.
Now, these code-breakers were probably of a very high intelligence. We're talking genius-level IQ's. But they were fooled because of a mistake in their unexamined assumption that it was real writing, real code, and real hidden knowledge. This, of course, supposing I'm right. But I have knowledge the code-breakers didn't have, i.e., over 40 years of studying mysticism. I know, just from the illustrations, this is not a real treatise on that subject. It's a horny madman who imagines he's a learned scholar of mysticism, that's all.
So what happens when a genius like, say, Stephen Hawking, assumes there is no God? A lifetime of gibberish. Another "penguin" (see previous entry). Imagine you have the fastest souped-up car in the world, and you are racing a guy driving a Volkswagen bus. But you take the wrong fork in the road. Who is going to get there, first?
You may be in Arizona about the time he has completed the 10-mile course, but he will still win. And you will be out of gas in the desert.
Well, I'm not quite sure how to tie these things together, but then, it doesn't matter because no-one will have read down this far;-). Here's the deal--if you really want to know about reincarnation, read Meher Baba's "Discourses." If you want an example of someone who uncovered his own past-life efforts to teach the public some of these truths, as he continues in the same effort, today, read my book. And if you can't abide either one, perhaps, however smart you may be--as smart as Dr. Digg, or Stephen Hawking--it is your unchallenged assumptions that are killing you.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Neither does it make sense as a medical text, upon close examination, as the documentary speculated.
Music opening this page: "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who,
from the album, "Who's Next"