“The big attraction with Gordon—and the reason I’m tagging along with him on what is bound to be yet another crappy human adventure—is that he has a powerful daimon looking out for him. One of the very top guys. If you’ve never heard of them, daimons aren’t demons or devils—let’s get that straight right off. A daimon is sort of a spiritual mentor, a guide from the Other Side, who is there with you from birth onward to coax and shape your soul during your earthly life.” —from Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg
Okay, so this is a little weird… I’ve written myself into my own novel as a space- and time-transcendent embryo who can observe (and comment on) my brother Crash’s life from my perch inside our fictional mother’s womb. To make a crappy pun, it’s a womb with a view.
I figured I could get away with this literary conceit because, for the past fifteen or twenty years now, I’ve had the unshaken conviction that we’re all spiritual beings who only temporarily inhabit these lame-ass human bodies for reasons of spiritual education. Life on earth, in other words, is like a boot camp for the soul. And a lot of the time, just like at any regular boot camp, being there kind of sucks.
This essentially gnostic take on the human condition has led me along some incredibly strange paths of inquiry over the years. I’ve explored hypnosis, lucid dreaming, Tibetan Buddhism, shamanism, remote viewing, Jungian analysis, and so on. But before you go writing me off as some sort of tripped-out New Age hippie-dippy bliss bunny, consider this from pages 200-201:
Suffering is the existential manifestation of evil in the world. And suffering exists. We know that. But what we sometimes forget is that the world is also full of good. Which is kind of amazing when you think about it. If we’re all just a collection of soulless atoms—random bundles of self-serving biology—then we should always be running around trying to fulfill our own greedy desires while we screw over everyone else in the process. But that isn’t always what happens, is it? How do you explain giving to charity, or extreme acts of self-sacrifice? Some people have given up their lives for the sake of others. It’s a mixed-up, fucked-up, crazy-making world, but at least there’s love in it, and a certain amount of the True God’s benevolent influence.
But then why did the True God let this half-assed god, the demiurge, get away with making such a flawed universe in the first place? I think Gordon himself provides part of the answer (with a little coaching from his daimon) in a book he’s going to write in his early twenties called The Sensuous Hermit. Since that book is already written from the perspective of eternity, and I’m still able to skip around in the past and future, I’ll just quote from the relevant passage here:
“There’s a Yiddish saying that God made man because He loves stories. The Sensuous Hermit has a more refined version of that same essential idea. It’s his contention that before the universe began there was only God—the One, the Absolute, the Unknown and Unknowable. But even God couldn’t comprehend Himself in that condition. To be conscious of his Oneness, He had to be less than One. Thus was born two-ness, or duality, with all the attendant distractions of that condition: light and dark, life and death, good and evil, love and fear, oil and vinegar, and so on. The truth is, we’re all still One with God, but at the moment we happen to be functioning as a kind of enchanted mirror that tells God stories about his true nature. Or better yet, the universe is one huge roman à clef in which the secret identity of every character is none other than the Absolute Author.”
Like I said, that’s part of it. But here’s a more radical spin on that same basic idea: What if mankind was once a single angelic being that fell from grace and was transformed, during the Big Bang, into the material universe as a means of salvation? What if shards of that fallen angelic personality could be found everywhere—in every rock, dinosaur, shark, tree, rainbow, bear, and person? And what if the ultimate purpose of all those fragmented personalities was to spiritually evolve into wholeness, back into that original angelic being—with increased knowledge of its own good and evil—which would in turn allow it to merge once more with the loving grace of the True God. If all of that were true, then we’d finally have a reasonable theological explanation for all the suffering in the world:
Why does evil shit happen? Because we need to experience it. We need to know what evil is all about so we can strive to embody its opposite: spiritual good. But in a world like I’ve described, we could never be quite sure of our moral bearings. We’d be living under Kierkegaard’s dictum that when we’re feeling our most saintly, we could actually be working for the devil (Jerry Falwell and some of the more rabid popes come to mind…). Conversely, an act that seems evil might actually serve to nudge millions of souls toward salvation. Christ’s crucifixion would be the obvious example, but there are others. I’m not saying this is true, but what if I told you that every soul involved in the Holocaust actually volunteered for it?
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” That’s another of Kierkegaard’s dictums. It explains why we need to spend time on the Other Side between incarnations. We do it so we can kick back and take a long look at our lives and try to figure out what the hell has been going on.
There’s more, if you’re interested, starting here: