It’s funny what influences shape our lives. Although I was a sceptic about psychic ability & Energy Beings I’ve always been open-minded about what happens when we die. I’ve also been willing to step out of the heaven vs hell model, especially since the idea of a vengeful God doesn’t sit well with me. If we make mistakes or get it wrong surely the idea of eternal punishment is only going to make us think ‘so what … I’m headed to hell anyway. I might as well do what I want.’ And how does redemption work? Can we really write off all of our errors with prayer and then go off & do it all again? Now this isn’t a religious post – quite the opposite – but I want to share with you the questions I was asking through most of my teenage years.
At the same time I discovered science fiction. Whole worlds & events that were based on possible futures that we might be headed into. Let me clarify that science fantasy was a slow burner with me. I was interested in the future of mankind on this planet back then. Science fantasy only came along in my mid-thirtys when I wondered how it would be to have never lived a human life; about the time I gave up thinking that people could collaborate peacefully across the whole globe. So back to the hopes & fears for humankind that entertained my youth, lol. Alongside the love of science fiction I was busy growing a love of the science of the mind: telepathy, psychokinesis, abnormal psychology to name but a few strands of interest. Science fiction fascinated me as it seemed to divide into just 2 options: we kill ourselves with our technology; or, we use technology to save ourselves. It was at this time that I first read Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.
A great writer, Heinlein took the idea of how we might look from the outside & wove it into a compelling tale. His main character, Valentine Michael Smith, is raised on Mars by Martians after the ship carrying him & his parents is lost on Mars with all the crew. He is rescued from Mars at the age of 25 & brought back to Earth. I felt I could identify in many ways with the ideas in the book & read it quite a few times over the passing years. In 1992 I bought an updated version, published after Robert Heinlein’s death, which contained the full version of the story that in 1961 was considered really too far out. It became one of my favourite reads. And still is. I’m reading it again at the moment & still finding something new & fresh to think about. I’m also amazed by Heinlein’s vision of the future – the themes he draws out are still relevant even after 50 years. Here I need to add that I probably have all of his books on my bookshelf so perhaps I might be called a fan or at least possibly a bit biased.
So how does this link in with mediumship? This book really opened my mind. I didn’t understand or agree with all of it when I first read it. It has taken me many years & some maturity to understand & agree with some of the ideas in the book. Making me think every time I read it (as well as it being a really good story) has kept me open-minded. The courage to question the ‘natural’ order of things, the social conditioning & the implied expectations that govern my life stem from the influence of this book. I’ve always been curious but this book gave me permission to turn my world view inside out. If I hadn’t done that I’m not sure I would ever have accepted that I was psychic, let alone that I could communicate with energy beings.
One final observation. It’s interesting that science fiction, as a written form that we know today, only emerged fully formed in the 19th century (some suggest that Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is the first recognisable story in that a man of science plays God & creates a monster). By the middle of that century more & more work was emerging with futuristic themes. Of course, any good Spiritualist knows that the movement grew out of the rapings & tappings identified in 1948 by the Fox sisters in their home in Hydesville, New York. Perhaps the side effect of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the machine, created such social upheaval that the time and mindset was right both for science fiction & for people to look to those in the afterlife for explanation too.
Now I’ve come full circle. I know there is an afterlife – I interact with it every day. I also know that within us we have the capacity for great good. Our struggle is to rise above the tendency for destruction, to step outside the social conditioning and to achieve the peace, love & harmony that we talk so much about. Step out of the world for a while & look with a stranger’s eyes. Do you like what you see?