I was just going through my digital archive of my past-life works, by Mathew Franklin Whittier, with the idea of pulling from them a "best of" compilation. At first, I thought I'd publish one now, in physical book form, as a way of calling attention to him (and hence, my study). Then again, I kept thinking about an email exchange I had, recently, with an expert in the field. I'm having to choose my words carefully, and I don't want to make this the sole topic of today's Update. But before I go into it, I want to mention that in the previous entry of 4/18, I shared one of Mathew's best pieces. So if you want to have an idea of how well he wrote, I'd suggest checking it out. The Archives link for this blog is at the bottom of the page.
Now, I'd been feeling like I'd been getting the polite brush-off from this person for a long time; and Abby, my wife in the astral, had likewise been giving me the guidance to just let him go, that he wasn't actually respectful towards my work, regardless of appearances. But you know when you admire someone, and you just can't quite admit such a thing? There must be some misunderstanding you could clear up.
So I finally thought I'd see just what this is made of, and I confronted him with his seeming lack of interest in what should (if he took it seriously) be extremely interesting to him. Long story short, what I found is that he pretends, apparently to himself, to be rigorous in his scientific evaluations, but actually, he is being as skeptical (read, cynical) as the very skeptics who dismiss his work. And using the exact same types of sophistry, including "straw man," which is a favorite of the anti-reincarnation skeptics. If you're not familiar with the "straw man" technique, it's depressingly simple--you pick your opponent's weakest point, and hammer away at it as though that's all he's got. And you misrepresent it in the bargain, if even that weak link is too strong.
The subjective effect on me is disheartening and disillusioning. I presented my strongest evidence, out of context, against my better judgment, and got dismissed. I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, which he already knows Lucy is probably going to pull away at the last minute.
One thing I know; when people claim to be "too busy," this is a value judgment. Someone recently wanted me to read and review their fantastical reincarnation novel. I was too busy, and I meant that sincerely, but still, it is a value judgment, and I freely admit it. There are too many fictional treatments of reincarnation--search on Amazon, and there are literally hundreds of them. It would have to be really exceptional--and extremely accurate in its portrayal of reincarnation principles--for me to set aside my work to read one. I object to the entire premise of enticing an audience to read about reincarnation by allowing them to "suspend disbelief." That's like crippled shareware, where you can edit the photograph but you can't save it.
Now, as I go back through MFW's work--comic and serious, prose and poetry--I realize again just how good it is. He should have been famous--if fame was a real vote for quality. Fame is a popularity contest; and society, as a whole, is abysmally ignorant.* The only way to win a popularity contest with an overwhelmingly ignorant audience is to dumb it down somehow. So wherever you see something popular, one of two things is happening: 1) he or she has created something ignorant, that society can resonate with, or 2) he or she has stolen something of genius, and watered it down in such a way as to make it palatable to the masses. (The third way is time--but we're talking hundreds of years for something that's really advanced.)
Mathew refused to water down his work. What he did, was to practice the time-honored technique of working in levels. The most superficial level appealed to the masses; and he did, in fact, achieve grass-roots fame with one character, a 19th-century predecessor of Archie Bunker. When he died, papers all over the world ran a brief notice that the "author of Ethan Spike has died." If you search online for Mathew's death date, Jan. 7, 1883, along with either "Whittier" or "Ethan Spike," you can probably come up with dozens of them, just on Google. Here, let me try it...
Actually, you have to put "Ethan Spike" in quotes, and then you get several, but I think they are all on "Newspapers.com" and you'd need a subscription.
So that's the extent of Mathew's fame; but it appears to me that very few people penetrated to the deeper layers of even that series--the only one he is historically known for--which I now realize was just his "literary toy." Nevermind his other work--around 650 published pieces total, at last count. Some of it is just topical, or mildly amusing. Much of it (like my evidence) doesn't make as much sense out of the context of its series, or the issue he was specifically addressing. On the other hand, some of it is brilliant, and can stand alone as individual pieces. I'm putting together a compilation of those--and already I have way too many, and will have to pare it down.
But I've decided against trying to publish this, now. Even though Mathew's work is incredibly good, I think I wouldn't be able to get anyone interested in it.
Denial fascinates me. It has nothing to do with intelligence. It brings to mind the story of my brilliant uncle, who, as a child, sat for two hours in front of a chess board, refusing to admit he was checkmated and the game was over. Or my father, also highly intelligent, who, while playing Scrabble, and proven wrong by the dictionary, would insist that the way he spelled it was the right way, and the dictionary was too modern. (And from what I see of 19th century spelling, he could have been right about that, on occasion.)
If I can show to anyone who cares to read these blogs, that I have the literary talents of a professional columnist, while having had no formal journalistic training--and yet, even though I am demonstrating my past-life skill right in front of them, they still can't get excited about the possibility that I may have stumbled upon a real past-life match; and if I can provide my best evidence for verified past-life memories to an expert, who then uses sophistry against me while pretending to be judging "scientifically"; then I'm wasting my breath.
And yet...the article I wrote some years ago, now, about my method, is getting quite a few hits. It's been read over 400/month the last three months now. I should get the exact figures, hold on a minute while I access my stats: okay, 296 in January, 414 in February, 526 in March, and 365 so far this month, as of the 21st. Let's total that up--and I think we can be fairly safe in assuming that no-one would read it twice--that's roughly 1,600 people so far this year. Who would read an article about a method for researching reincarnation? Presumably, reincarnation researchers, and anyone else philosophically passionate enough about reincarnation research to actually take time out to read an article about a research method.
These must be the colleagues of the man who so blithely dismissed my strongest results, presented to him out of context because he is too busy to read my entire study.
And yet, no-one will part with $12.00 to purchase the actual book, and read the actual study, which I have taken great pains to make enjoyable reading, being liberally peppered with Mathew's own work.
Let me give you an idea of how this recent e-mail exchange proceeded. One thing I have learned about people in denial, is that when you make a good point, they simply side-step it, as though it never existed. They just never get back around to it--or, as one ex-girlfriend used to do, the instant you make your strongest point, "We've been talking long enough."
I'll just summarize it with absurd brevity. He doesn't have time to read my book. I invoke William James' principle of the "white crow." He says James was referring to a particular case (i.e., medium Leonora Piper, whom he was studying), not evidence within a case. I say that James was also citing a principle, given that he was both philosopher and researcher. I say that if one "hit" in my study is exceptionally strong, then I have a genuine past-life match, and it should be respected and treated as such.
That point is ignored.
I say I have three such hits. He says he "doesn't remember, if I had shared them with him" (which of course I hadn't, since he was never interested enough to hear them). I tell him that against my better judgment, I had shared them with another prominent person, due to the same protest, "lack of time," and that person had blithely dismissed them. But once again, against my better judgment and out of respect for this person, I share them with him.
Charlie Brown and Lucy, Part II...
He dismisses the first two out-of-hand (even though they are logically quite strong), but admits the third one may be stronger. I try to defend the first two.
My points are ignored.
I then begin focusing on the third one. This is over a series of short, unilateral e-mails, which makes me look stupid and fanatical. But I am a full-time caretaker, rushing around all day. A thought comes to my mind, and I send it. Another thought comes, and I send it. I don't have more than 2-3 minutes to sit down during most of my day. I live, for myself, in the wee hours of the morning.
He ignores everything I say about the third one.
I charge sophistry, and he acts surprised that I would ever go there. I briefly make a logical case for it.
He ignores my logic as regards his use of sophistry.
Now, very, very briefly, this is the third piece of evidence. This weird bit of home-spun architecture exists, so far as I can tell, in only two houses. One was directly across the street from Abby's family home (Abby being Mathew's first wife); and the other is next-door, to the left as you are facing the first house. The realtor said he thought it was originally on Abby's family's property, as their barn. For several years after finding this picture online, I kept receiving realtors' notices of houses for sale in the area. Over all that time, I found perhaps three houses with somewhat similar features; but none that would have matched my past-life memory. I also found several local houses which hearken back to this era, which do not have this feature. Meanwhile, I had documented the past-life glimpse before I ever saw interior shots of these two houses. My documentation, including my own private journal and e-mail correspondence with my researcher, carries digital date-stamping, as do the photographs I downloaded. It's a done deal. I remembered something which is so rare that it only, seemingly, exists in connection with Abby's family home, before I ever saw that it is an actual, physical, historical thing. Not only did I see it in memory, but I knew there was a large storage closet behind it, which is also historically correct.
I sent him this photograph, and explained the digitally date-stamped documentation.
He didn't respond to it.
As regards the first piece of strong evidence, I stated, in an online interview, which is archived on Archive.org's "Wayback Machine," that I thought I had been one of the peripheral figures around the Romantic poets. I was dead-on. This was some years before I discovered the historical figure, Mathew Franklin Whittier. If the third piece of evidence is essentially irrefutable, and if it is, in fact, a philosophical "White Crow," then the first one stands, as well. In other words, if I can prove that I have Mathew Franklin Whittier's unique memories, with no normal explanation, then how I found the historical match is irrelevant. And I have so-proven, i.e., with the stairs memory, and also with dozens of other memories which, put together, have their own weight. So now, the fact that I described his relationship to the Romantic poets before I could ever have known about him by normal means, is very strong evidence. Unfortunately, my correspondent dismissed it out-of-hand as having no evidential weight. By way of attempting to emphasize how strong it is, I said that I could have remembered being anything, from a New York City plumber in the 1920's, to a Roman soldier, but I picked a peripheral figure around the Romantic poets.**
He didn't respond to this, either.
Let me just say, here, that there are two reasons for not responding to someone's points. The first is when you clearly know better than they do, and you are indulging them, like when a child brings his drawing to you and you say, "Oh, that's very nice!" The second is when you are pretending to yourself that's what you're doing, but really, the person has made points you can't answer, and it's making you too uncomfortable.
By the philosophical principle of William James' maxim, this is a real case, and an actual past-life match, to a very high, rigorous standard. Mere chance isn't a viable explanation--nor is false memory ("cryptomnesia"). Nor am I perpetrating a giant and elaborate hoax. Unless you want to charge me with having "Super ESP," this is a done deal. It would, therefore, be quite worthwhile immersing oneself in my study, if one wants to see an extraordinary past-life case.
Could my evidence be stronger? Of course, it can always be stronger. I could have remembered not only that I was on the periphery of the Romantic poets, but that my name was Mathew. In fact, the second psychic I used did get the name, "Mathew." But this kind of direct hit has the opposite effect from what you'd expect. Instead of confirming it in people's minds, it makes them suspicious. In the stairs memory, I could have remembered specifically that the event occurred in the house across the street from Abby's house; or, if it occurred in her family home, I could have found that architecture there, instead of across the street (it wasn't possible to confirm whether or not it was in her family home, because the older portion, which had been separated, wasn't accessible; and in the newer portion, the stairs had been remodeled twice). I could also have remembered the three little steps leading up to the door, rather than the subjective impression that the door was "half-way up the stairs." But the point, as in all science, is that the evidence is strong enough (normally, in science, this is quantified as statistical probability).
When I indicated to my correspondent (and all of this remained civil) that he was not really being discerning, out of scientific rigor, but actually being skeptical and using sophistry on me for reasons of his own, he protested that he wasn't questioning my motives, so why should I question his? But invoking reciprocity in a matter like this is a sign of trouble. I would interpret it means that at least on some level, he knows he is using sophistry, and he assumes that I am also using it--so here, he is protesting that I have "brought out the big guns" in the sophistry battle. But I am just calling it like I see it, regardless. Truth is never a matter of reciprocity. That's politics. Truth is non-negotiable. So he inadvertently gave himself away.
Well, I had the persistent feeling from Abby not to wait for this fellow to come around, but to let him be. And for years, now, I have had the persistent feeling from her that the reason people avoid my work, is fear, not so much disbelief, per se. It is not that they don't believe I could be right; it is that deep down, they are afraid I may, actually, be right.
And this brings us to the love of Truth. I have been in love with Truth since way before I was Stephen Sakellarios. My in-depth study of Mathew Franklin Whittier makes it abundantly clear that he, also, was in love with Truth. He says so, bluntly, several times, so I don't even have to extrapolate it. Let me see if I can find what I was reading, yesterday--this is from the conclusion of a series rebutting an anti-abolition writer. It is jointly signed by Mathew and Abby, under the pseudonym, "Kappa, Lambda & Mu" ("Mu" being their newborn):
Now let us for a moment look at the facts in the case. Abolitionists have undertaken to abolish a system of oppression; a system acknowledged by nine tenths of all the christians, and by four fifths of all the rest of the community, to be most iniquitous and horrid; a system which robs the hireling of his wages, annuls the ordinance of marriage, breaks up the family relations, makes merchandize of the souls for whom Christ died, and cuts men off from the consolations of religion and the hope of heaven. To attempt to do what in us lies to abolish such a system, must be not only right, but a solemn duty, binding upon all who fear God or regard man.
And how do they propose to do it?--Look at their explicit avowal in their declaration. We propose to abolish slavery say they, by the "opposition of moral purity to moral corruption." Our measures, say they, are "the destruction of error by the potency of truth, the overthrow of prejudice by the power of love, and the abolition of slavery by the spirit of repentance." Are these the principles and measures? are these the profession and designs of radicals in the modern sense? We leave our readers to judge--to judge too how much of candour and honesty is to be credited to A & B for their ungenerous and wicked attempts to render abolitionists odious, by endeavoring to fix upon them the charge of being radicals, in the assumed bad sense.
Does the mind behind these two paragraphs seem familiar to you? It is the same mind which is writing to you now. This is what you might call "incarnational literary nesting." But my point is, when so many people take the trouble to read an article about my method, they are in effect "sniffing around" my work. I don't have anything like a comments feature below that article, so I don't know how they are reacting. Clearly, they are not reacting in such a way as to want to read the study in which I actually applied my method. But is this snorting derision, or gentler dismissal (as with my recent correspondent), or fear? Abject terror, the ground opening up beneath one?
I think it may be the latter. And what I can say about this, is, we've all been there. It's the "Oh, shit, I think my girlfriend has been cheating on me all-along" feeling. Very, very uncomfortable. The article about my method is, then, tantamount to "Is it possible that your girlfriend could have been cheating on you?" That will get a lot of interest--you'll definitely read that. But not to agree with it--rather, for the purpose of dismissing it, so as to get back to feeling better again as quickly as possible! The book, on the other hand, is like the photographs showing her cheating on you. That is not something you'd be interested in seeing, no less paying money for. "It can't be, it isn't, and I have no interest in seeing it."
Except, here's the thing. That girl was never good for you. Looking back, how glad you are that you finally got away from her! Because if you hadn't, how could you have met your wife, and had all those wonderful years together?
My book is like the photographs that show you that your girlfriend is cheating on you, and then, it introduces you to your wife, who is loyal.
But there are only two forces in the world strong enough to make a man, or a woman, face that kind of fear: love, and truth. The sincere, burning passion for Truth above all else will do it. But there are relatively few people in the world who have it. Certainly, the masses, who have the collective power to make a work famous, do not have it. At least, not in the Kali Yuga, they don't. They certainly have the potential for it. The masses don't take in the truth until they are at the extreme point of suffering. When all that is false fails, as it inevitably does, then and only then is the truth palatable to them.
We, as a society, haven't gotten to that point, yet.
Not quite, I would say.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*I am speaking, here, of what I would term spiritual ignorance. There are many works which society takes to be very advanced, and which are very popular, but which I would consider to be spiritually ignorant.
**Even if I had gone online searching for a historical person who matched my earlier predictions--which I didn't--it's irrelevant, if I can prove I had his specific memories. There could have been a whole bio there when I felt I recognized him (which there wasn't), and it wouldn't make any difference. My correspondent didn't respond to that point, either.
Audio opening this page: excerpt from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"