Marvels: Letters from an Elder, Part 1
From a forthcoming book:
These letters are purported to be from a father to a son, but it is unclear as to who the identities involved actually are. As one reads them, it quickly becomes apparent that they are not ordinary letters exchanged between a mortal father and his offspring, but that they contain material which suggests that the father is writing from beyond the grave to an understandably inquisitive son (the condition of whom is not certain, due to the fact that the son’s part of the conversation is unfortunately missing).
The remaining correspondence has been edited for clarity where we do not know about various specific events or details to which the father refers. Though we cannot read them, however, it is readily apparent that the son’s queries often lie along lines which any reader encountering missives from Beyond might possess: questions concerning the survivability of death, the nature of transiting between one state of existence and another, what the ‘Beyond’ is actually like, and so forth.
It is obviously up to each individual reader to come to terms with what is read: no attempt is made by the correspondent to proselytise or sway any views, though he appears occasionally forthright and short-tempered. The father merely writes what he seems to know or have experienced for himself; the son responds with what seem to be understandable questions and requests for elaboration, though they are unseen to us. As the letters go on, readers will discern a growing sophistication in the communication, as perhaps the son himself has experiences of his own, quite apart from what is recorded in the letters.
The correspondence eventually reaches a point where it ceases to be comprehensible or useful, and thus the editors present here only that part of the whole body of writings which might be of interest or essentially understandable to the general reader.
Letter # 1 16th February 1948
To answer your questions requires not that you be educated, but ‘uneducated’. At the moment, you resemble someone attempting to cross a crowded, darkened room while navigating using only a telescope strapped to his eye the wrong way round. You see things from an impractical perspective, in other words, and will constantly blunder into furniture and other people in the room — which may capture for you something of the essence of the life you are currently leading.
Perhaps we could begin by addressing what is commonly referred to as ‘extra-sensory perception’. The term first originated in a book written in 1934 by parapsychologist Joseph Banks Rhine, after experiments he had done at Duke University. But immediately, we run at speed into the brick wall of the materialist viewpoint: the only reason that Rhine (and many others before and since) were conducting experiments into such things was because of the powerful impression that only five senses existed.
Think of it like this: if you took a man who possessed all five senses and removed from him two of those senses — let’s say, sight and hearing — while also removing from him any memory of such a removal, would it not be difficult to convince such a man of the existence of those senses which had been removed? A blind man struggles to comprehend such notions as light and colour: he may feel sensations of heat, and could perhaps envisage that degrees of heat or kinds of heat might exist perceptible to the mind in some other, unfathomable way, but his conceptions of such a sense would be severely limited. Similarly, a deaf man might find the notion of sound to be incomprehensible. If he possessed sight, he might discern that other people had some means of communicating with each other that was unavailable to him; he might be able to tactilely feel vibrations, suggesting the possibility of finer levels of vibration which some functioning organ might detect — but his understanding of speech or music would be considerably restricted. Take away both senses and the man would find it almost impossible to conceive what it might be like to see or hear. Such a man might develop some idea that such senses existed, beyond his current conception, and thus might be born a set of experiments into what he might term ‘extra-sensory perception’ — but of course to anyone possessed of their faculties of vision and audio reception, such an investigation would seem both clumsy and unnecessary.
So it is with most of what I have to tell you: you are not aware of the senses that you once possessed; you have forgotten that you ever had such faculties; you are attempting to operate in a realm in which the vast majority of people are similarly suffering such severe afflictions. Naturally, you come to different sets of conclusions continually about the possibility of there even being such faculties. Sometimes you feel that there must be something beyond your five physical senses in order to explain certain phenomena or remove the core of particular mysteries; at other times you feel compelled to dismiss the whole idea as wishful thinking or imagination. The blind and deaf man would surely feel the same. But occasionally, using what senses remained to him, the afflicted man would encounter an experience which threw doubt upon his dismissive conclusions: he might physically feel someone he did not know was there, or sense a vibration that he wasn’t expecting, or even perhaps have a flash of memory of other senses, all of which might add up to an urge to investigate further.
Human beings are on the edge of this. Like the man without eyes or ears, they regularly blunder into experiences which cannot be explained except through the postulation of things outside their current understanding. You have only to regard modern physics to see that scientists are straining at the boundaries of language to explain their observed findings, findings which seem to reveal that the universe which they formerly might have felt that they could contact wholly with their existing senses is hardly ‘there’ at all; that matter and energy and light, which used to be such reliable quantities, are now ephemeral and fickle, and only apparently exist because they are being sensed, rather than the other way round.
So yes, ‘uneducating’ is the first task: like the blind and deaf man, you must ‘unlearn’ various limited paradigms which you have come to regard as sacrosanct. Your senses — if by ‘senses’ we mean channels through which to perceive what is ‘there’ — number far more than five. They always have. Why should you be confined to merely using five rather clumsy and raw channels to determine what is happening around you? With questions like that, you can truly begin your journey rather than going around in ever-decreasing circles, seeking to explain light and colour, sound and music in terms of smell or taste or touch instead of admitting the possibilities and potentialities of other channels of perception.