This is an addendum to the previous Update, so if you are new here, I'd suggest reading that one, as well.
It occurred to me, as I wrap up some seven years of almost continuous research, to reflect on what, exactly, were the results of my reincarnation self-study? What, in short, did I learn? There are several layers to this question, going to what I learned about 19th century America; about this historical figure, Mathew Franklin Whittier; about reincarnation; and, about myself. I could write a long essay on any one of these topics, but I will eliminate the last one from consideration, here, because I have made the decision not to write in so personal a vein as I had previously, for lack of the right kind of audience. I can always write the one or two friends who check in here, personally, if I have any personal insights. At the time when more people take my work more seriously, I may start sharing at that level, again.
I learned a great deal about 19th century America; and the first thing I learned is that much of what is in the history books is wrong. I don't mean just philosophically wrong; I mean, flat-out incorrect. Charles Dickens plagiarized "A Christmas Carol" and, apparently, a number of other things, including portions of "American Notes," and "David Copperfield." He was a nasty piece of work, as near as I can tell, and if you dared try to expose him, he would sanctimoniously deny it and then ruin you.
Edgar Allan Poe plagiarized "The Raven." Charles Farrar Browne stole the story idea that launched his career; James Russell Lowell stole the idea for his "Biglow Papers." And this was the case with a whole universe of lesser lights, as well, who achieved some degree of commercial success stealing the ideas of Mathew Franklin Whittier, and, of course, other writers.
The second thing I learned about the 19th century is that progressive people were interested in science and spirituality. They were not, by-and-large, materialists. Materialism hijacked science, until today, we are taught that they are synomymous; and anyone who disagrees, is marginalized. They also understood that the answer to problems like slavery must lie deeper than violence and polarization. The efforts to overcome the social ignorance at the root of slavery was hijacked by violence and politics. President Lincoln didn't want to free the slaves--he was concerned about preserving the Union. It was people like William Lloyd Garrison and Mathew Franklin Whittier--one of Garrison's agents (as it appears)--who were not so much concerned about preserving the Union at the cost of dishonorable association with the slave states, but who wanted to end slavery immediately. They prevailed on Lincoln to add emancipation to the war agenda. I have one of Mathew's humorous articles--published in the conservative NY "Vanity Fair"--on precisely this topic, charging Lincoln with being afraid to do it.
So all these things were an eye-opener to me, as regards the 19th century. Society ignored the truly progressive people, and went its own way--in materialism, in polarization, in war, and in oppression. Slavery in the U.S., however, was officially outlawed, and had to more-or-less go underground, where it still has yet to be rooted out.
The overall impression I get is that there were some magnificent sages with powerful minds, a few of whom became public figures; then there were imitators, who were more likely to become famous, being embraced by those who could not really understand or accept the real thing; and then there was the vast sea of ignorant, polarized consciousness, which held large portions of the population in suffering. The same is true, today.
What I learned about Mathew Franklin Whittier, as a historical figure, is nothing short of astounding--and I would say this regardless of whether I believe I am his personal reincarnation, or not. He was an agent for William Lloyd Garrison, and hence a "disunionist." He took Garrison's motto, "No union with slaveholders." This was news to me--I ferreted it out, finally, after several years of research, from the historical record. Even now, that might brand him a traitor in many people's eyes. I didn't know this about Garrison prior to beginning this study, either. He wanted to cut off the Southern states from Northern support, and let slavery die of economic starvation. But of course, those Northern industrialists who were profiting by slavery, were part of the problem in the first place; and they had no stomach for taking the moral course of action, by definition.
The second thing I learned about Mathew Franklin Whittier, as a public figure (I'm not getting into his personal life, here), is that he was a literary genius, sparking fresh ideas at a fantastic rate, but keeping himself well-hidden. He did that partly because it was dangerous for a Garrisonian agent to reveal himself; and partly for personal reasons, which are revealed in the book. He used--I haven't counted them--something like 30 different pseudonyms, many of which were one-offs or short series, and as a result, he never built up a reputation except for one of his characters--"Ethan Spike," a biggot along the lines of Archie Bunker. Even this one was discovered by others, about ten years after he created it. James Russell Lowell became famous imitating that character, in response to Mathew's character. (This is not speculation, I can prove it.)
A great number of people--as I indicated in the previous Update--either imitated Mathew's work, claimed his pseudonyms, or stole his pieces outright. These, according to my best and most objective research efforts, include Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe, who stole "A Christmas Carol" and "The Raven," respectively. Actually, the "Carol" was written by Mathew in collaboration with his wife, Abby; or else, she wrote the first version, and he revised it after her passing. I have very strong evidence for this, also.
The third thing I learned about Mathew is that it was his creativity which launched and made successful two Boston newspapers: the "Weekly Museum" and the "Carpet-Bag." He did this in complete anonymity; and the trade-off was that while the owners and editors were building their paper on his contributions, he was embedding his radical ideas in his seemingly-innocuous humor. This was necessary because their management was conservative. He did not have that problem with a third Boston paper, the "Chronotype," where the editor, Elizur Wright, was a kindred spirit. It was a somewhat mixed picture with the Portland (Maine) "Transcript," where the editor, Edward Elwell, was liberal but more practical and cautious. In fact, it might be said that both the "Museum" and the "Carpet-Bag" died when Mathew pulled out; but that the "Chronotype's" demise was probably somewhat hastened by his radical contributions. It was only in the "Chronotype," for example, that Mathew was permitted to present his "disunionist" views, albeit under a pseudonym, and with a rejoinder by the editor. His scathing lampoon of pro-Mexican War politician Caleb Cushing caused one reader (and probably a number of others) to stop his subscription; whereupon Wright defended him and ridiculed the subscriber.
The fourth thing I learned about Mathew, is that in addition to Abolition, he championed two other social causes--world peace, and Spiritualism. He functioned as a reporter at the 1851 World Peace Congress in London; and he was a signer on the Spiritualist petition to Congress in 1854. Mathew's work for these causes was always as a facilitor, from behind the scenes. But it appears that his influence--once you get all his work properly attributed to him--was fairly substantial. If one attributes "A Christmas Carol" and "The Raven" to him, then clearly, it was more than "fairly substantial."
And this is the problem I have, today. No sooner do I make some of these claims, than (as I gather), people roll their eyes and change the channel. But I am not going to pad this down to be acceptable, or to prevent exceeding anyone's boggle threshold. This study is nothing if it isn't strictly honest--and strict honesty requires I report these findings.
There is a problem with the perception of greatness, and fame. I have addressed this issue numerous times in my earlier years of using this space as a personal blog. To put it succinctly, fame is a popularity contest, but society is largely ignorant. I am just pulling these figures out of the air, but suppose you have only 10% of the population with an advanced consciousness. A thinker or an artist who has an advanced consciousness, will appeal to that 10%. But now suppose that you want to be famous. That means you have to appeal to 80%, or so. That's 70% ignorant people. In order to appeal to that additional 70%, you are going to have to dumb down your presentation. Crucially, "dumb down," in this case, doesn't just mean intellectually--it means morally, spiritually, artistically. Therefore, by definition, in the majority of cases, if a person is popular, he or she has got something wrong. There are a few possibilities: first, it may be a progressive person, not dumbing down their presentation, whom that 70% doesn't really "get" the way they think they do. Probably 70% of the people who claim to love Ansel Adams' photography, secretly just see it as "scenery" and have no idea why his work is better than what you might see on a Dollar Store calendar.
The second case is where the person is imitating a truly progressive person. The imitation becomes popular with that 70%, and may briefly fool some of the 10%, as well. I won't give any examples. If you understand me, you can see them as well as I can.
The third case is someone who blatantly appeals to that 70% (and the rest, as well). Usually, this is a continuum, i.e., between imitators, and those who appeal to the lowest common denominator.
I am talking about a moral and intellectual elite--but I am not talking about Society's elite. There may be some cross-over; but very often, these are two separate groups. Mathew Franklin Whittier was among the real elite, and he privately associated with them; but he kept assiduously out of the limelight. Now that I am attempting to bring him out, and to reinstate his legacy, I find that no-one believes me. They don't believe me because they are not seeing with their direct intuition, against an inner compass of discernment. They are seeing with the eyes of "fashion." He and Abby obviously cannot be the original authors of "A Christmas Carol," because everybody knows that Dickens was a wonderful, famous man, and was the author of this work. Mathew cannot be the real author of "The Raven," because everybody knows that the famous Poe wrote it.
My book requires the ability to see directly; to get almost completely out of the box. And we haven't even discussed what I learned about reincarnation, through this study.
So normally I might end here, and take that up in a new Update. But I think I can summarize it quickly. I had studied reincarnation from excellent sources from age 19, or the early '70's. Still, I did learn some new principles. First of all, in normal waking consciousness, one can have a real past-life match right before one, and still not remember it. The barrier preventing past-life memory is a very, very profound amnesia. Without using past-life therapy techniques, there are, however, certain circumstances in which that amnesia barrier relaxes and becomes permeable. One of these is when there was very strong emotion attached to the past-life stimulus. My researcher had e-mailed me the question, "Do you remember anything about Abby's funeral?" I was in the process of writing her back, that I did not, when the memories started coming forward. I wrote her a description, and it eventually checked out as being at least plausible, based on the historical record. At least two such memories--one coming under hypnosis, and one not--were proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have been actual, historical events.
The second principle of reincarnation which emerged, is that an image relating to a past life must be a very accurate and precise portrayal, in order for the memory to be triggered. In other words, the more accurate it is, the more likely it is that the memory will be triggered. A photograph of a man at the wrong age, for example, may not trigger a sense of emotional recognition; but if it is at the same age as when one knew him, it will. Likewise an etching vs. a photograph; or the angle of view of a street scene.
The third thing I learned--or, rather, confirmed--is that reincarnation is intensely personal. Never mind the theory that reincarnation is a matter of souls extruding out of a "vat" or large "mass" of souls, and becoming individualized. This study (among others) proves individual reincarnation. In this wise, I can get a clear handle on what, precisely, it is that reincarnates, and how much of a person is retained from one incarnation to another, using myself as a representative example. I would say that I have precisely the same mind, but that my personality is, perhaps, about 85% similar (as are my facial features). Emotionally, I am very much the same person, except inasmuch as I have grown personally. In my adolescence, I was precisely the same person emotionally; as I have matured in this lifetime (I am now 62), I have knocked off some of the rough edges, as it were.
I also find that in certain respects, Mathew was more like his previous incaration--a happy-go-lucky sailor--while I am more like him (a talented person struggling with lack of success and recognition). Thus does the previous incarnation appear to color the next one in line.
There were no-doubt other principles of reincarnation that my study brought to light, but this entry is beginning to suffer from the same flaw that my book does, i.e., length, so I will leave the matter here.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. If the person who recently purchased "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words" from Amazon.com will contact me, I will be happy to send him or her a revised edition. I would do it directly through Amazon.com, but unfortunately one has to submit a special request, they conduct a review, etc. etc., so the red tape is prohibitive.
Music opening this page: "Brilliant Room" by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Up Close"