A Folded Dreams Primer (Part 2)

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In my previous post, Folded Dreams: A Primer – Part I (renamed “A Folded Dreams Primer”) I hinted at part of the basis for the novel’s main character, Ginevra’s, uncommon abilities of comprehension as though she was a ‘savant-in-the-making’…which she is, although not because of any bio-neurological anomaly. Her story touches on a number of sciences (always subject to poetic license because, after all, this is a work of fiction), including religion and philosophy, psi and physics and…well…”life out there”! In this post, I speak of a deeper understanding of the basic premise from which I weave my tale.

A Folded Dreams Primer – Part II

When I made the decision to expand the original story of Folded Dreams – the Beginning into novel form, it became incumbent upon me to do more than rely on my own beliefs. For lack of any truly honest guidance, I was presented with the opportunity for a fair bit of in-depth research into the witherto’s and whyfore’s of religion, theology and the sciences, beginning in childhood and continuing to this day.

It is somewhat fortuitous that my belief system – formed in the course of a lifetime of experience and ‘gut feelings’ – sprang from too many questions and not enough logical answers. As ‘the powers that be’ seemed to have their noses stuck pretty far up their own…self-importance….I was left with reliance on my own independent studies, discernment and intuition, so the idea of digging deep was not a new concept.

(Probably not the most notable of backgrounds upon which to base a book that I want to be taken seriously, fiction or not. Still, the older I’ve become, the more content I am with those beliefs.)

The Veil of Forgetfulness

In preparation for trying to shape a decent work, I decided to categorize the different elements that touched the protagonist, Ginevra’s, life. The first and main element is the timelessness of spirit and the so-called ‘Veil of Forgetfulness’, which is actually a term I learned via the Mormon† religion.

This same concept is referred within Judaism, relating to the fully aware state of Spirit in our pre-birth “life” – which state becomes hidden from us when we are born into this physical world and the ‘veil’ drops over us as a separation from ‘then’ and ‘now’.

Just a note: the whole “a baby having that level of cognizance is completely unbelievable” idea has apparently been the biggest sticking point regarding the preview chapters of the novel by enough readers, that I felt compelled to even tackle this so-called “Primer”.

A Foray into Judaism:

I have always enjoyed the blessing of a really good memory. In my later years, that memory has, unfortunately, been affected by a series of mini-strokes which were triggered by personal losses suffered over the course of a very short time. Now, while those strokes may have cost me no small amount of neurological function (at least as viewed within the context of my chosen ‘old age career’ as a writer), the need to continuously study and read in order to hang on to what is left of my ragged brain, has been a wonderful perquisite‡ (ha! how many of you knew?!! ). It is a ‘perk’ to have the need to study so that I might remember why I believe what I believe!

The idea of life in the pre-birth state has been with me since childhood. I can’t say what initiated that belief, but as an adult, the sheer logic of it seems immutable – at least to me – precisely because there are so many unknown quantities in the studies of neurological processes. Those unknowns prompt a plethora of questions regarding the so-called ‘Mysteries’ of life.

I recognized early on that certain books in the Old Testament (King James Version) which dealt with health, could be proven with today’s science, beginning with cautionaries about pork (I won’t go into it here, but I trust that everyone is familiar with what can happen if you eat under-cooked pork)! It took millennia for science to catch up to the reasoning behind all that. What’s to say the Bible has the answers (if not the explanations) behind other ‘theories’ as well?

With a background in Mormonism when I was a teenager, and a real thirst for finding the truths in the Bible, it was only a matter of time that I would look for the original texts from which this book is based: the Judaic sacred texts. And it was there that I came to a deeper perception of that spiritual existence.

Let me just share the notes that I made (copy/pasted from my text doc notes):

NOTE TO SELF: KEEP IT TECHNICAL AND VERIFIABLE

There is an article, What Happens After We Die?,  which explains the belief that (and this is found in the Talmud, Niddah 30b): “The fetus in its mother’s womb is taught the entire Torah . . . When its time comes to emerge into the atmosphere of the world, an angel comes and slaps it on its mouth, making it forget everything.” :O ).

(Sounds a bit mean, but hey, who am I to disagree with a multi-thousand year old text?)

The ‘person’ is more than just a physical body of flesh, blood and bone. It is within the fleshly body that is housed the spirit and that part which returns to The Source and The Creator, respectively, upon the death of the physical body. The fleshly body, the spirit and the soul…all connected, yet all separate.

We breathe, swallow, blink, maintain our standing, sitting, walking, running balance, our hearts beat…all as a matter of physiological instinct or neurological automation, so to speak. Synapses fire, triggering these automatic actions over which we have no conscious control, at least not in the long run. But none of this can explain thought. We can map the action of thought, but not the origin of thinking. Face it, one can be taught to analyze, but you cannot learn to think!

TRYING TO GET THESE TERMS STRAIGHT IN MY HEAD!

(nucleus: soul – – – – encased in moving parts: spirit – – – – encased in earth bound: body???? sheeesh!!!)

THE SOUL:

  • Neshamah – eternal soul which returns to G-d upon physical death?
  • Nefesh – physical, life-force? Body? Biological?
  • Ruach – self-awareness?
  • Yechidah connotes the essence of the soul–its unity with its source, the singular essence of G‑d. For the essence of the soul of man is “literally a part of G‑d above”–a piece of G‑d in us, so to speak.

(mercy…it’s confusing. contact rabbi b for clarification)

CROSS REF:  Upon death the “spirit returns back to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV)

* * * * * * *

There’s more, but that’s it in a nutshell.

My poetically licensed take on it all

So, this will be my take on all of this, after a good bit of poetic license has been taken, and this is only as I am applying it to the Folded Dreams novel:

  • Pre-birth, we exist on a spiritual level. Imagine, if you will, a massive beach (The Source) made up of every grain of silica that exists on every single shoreline…all the sands both above and beneath the waters. Each individual grain represents that spark of energy (life spark) that is distributed to every single person who has ever been or will ever be born into physical life…then, once that energy is no longer needed to animate the human husk, or body, it is gathered back and re-integrated into the whole. This spark is not just mindless energy, though. It’s that sentience that makes human-kind self-aware, with intellect, intelligence and deep knowledge.
  • The soul is what makes a person an individual. This is a completely different spark…it is that which consciously analyzes life and makes decisions. The personality. The ‘choice’. The ‘free will’. The Person…that part of us which is most closely attached to God.
  • The body is a husk – or a biological machine which relies on input, whether physical (tactile, environmental) or abstract (thought process whether purposeful or instinctual).

Both the body and the soul have a final destination: death and decay for the one, the end of opportunity to affect change on the physical plane for the other.

The spirit, however, is pure energy. It cannot be destroyed, only re-routed. It cannot ‘stop’, only be recycled.

In Folded Dreams, Ginevra is one of those for whom the Veil of Forgetfulness is only temporary. She is destined to ‘make a difference’ in life. She is empathetic. Her influence on the world around her is, to all outward appearance, of the subtlest nature. The impact she eventually has on those who know her, however, is tangible. In the end, they will be able to say, “If it wasn’t for her, there’s no telling where my life might have led.”

(Coming: “A Folded Dreams Primer – Part III)

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† Mormon: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)

‡ per·qui·site – /ˈpərkwəzət/ noun formal

  1. another term for perk2.
    • a thing regarded as a special right or privilege enjoyed as a result of one’s position.
      noun: perquisite; plural noun: perquisites
      “the wife of a president has all the perquisites of stardom”
    • historical
      a thing that has served its primary use and is then given to a subordinate or employee as a customary right.
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Folded Dreams: A Primer (Part 1)

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It has been pointed out to me that the nature of the mind of the protagonist in Folded Dreams (as pertaining to the novel), is at best the definition of improbability and, at worst, a ridiculous notion that isn’t even worthy of contemplation. In my own experiences of life – and that of an awful lot of other people – her mental comprehension from the beginning seems quite plausible. Granted, some of those people just want to believe it’s possible, without actually thinking deeply about it, but others have, like myself, searched through cultural, religious and esoteric texts to find the answer to, “What is the difference between spirit and soul – and what are their natures before birth, during life and after death?”

As there is at least another three months before Folded Dreams is anywhere near ready to publish (or is re-scheduled), I thought perhaps a ‘primer’ of sorts might be in order; just something to give an idea as to what this little girl is all about. And so I present:

“Folded Dreams – A Primer” – Part I

“Savant” (/French savɑ̃//ˈsav(ə)nt/):

  • n. a learned person, especially a distinguished scientist
  • synonyms: intellectual, scholar, sage, philosopher, thinker, wise/learned, guru, master, pundit, pandit
  • in context: “How out of place she was, a world-hungry young savant in a family of dull-witted couch potatoes”
  • origin: early 18th century: French, literally ‘knowing (person),’ present participle (used as a noun) of savoir .

While when referring to children, the term is generally understood to hold autistic or Asperger-ish connotations, in Folded Dreams, the main character, Ginevra Wahl, would be better described as the above definition states, albeit on a different level entirely. To clarify somewhat, there have been ‘savants-in-the-making’ who have displayed such cognitive abilities as early as age 2.

Ginevra is actually none of the above. Hers is cognition that has been described in a plethora of religious, cultural and esoteric texts which exist amongst such well known belief systems as Judaism, Hinduism, Sufiism and even some (off-shoot?) Christian beliefs. The questions arising from such a line of thought include the various beliefs regarding different types of incarnation. Folded Dreams does not suggest the most commonly understood forms of reincarnation, but looks at a rather different idea.

A word: While my first book, Folded Dreams – the Beginning, is a kind of ‘freaky, creepy tale’, it does not require any deep thought to enjoy. You can get delicious, Hallowe’en chills and shudders without delving into the deeper meanings which are intrinsic to the story.

But in the novel, in order to truly understand where Ginevra is at any given time of her life, one must have at least an inkling that, just because science cannot see the physical proof of it, cannot track or measure on a machine that such things exist, does not mean that spirit (or soul) is non-existent (pp.), and nor what are its characteristics pre-birth, during physical life or post-death. It is along this curious line that the story in Folded Dreams is built.

There have been a myriad of quotes that could illustrate the conceptual ideas behind Ginevra’s abilities. Heraclitus of Ephesus (530-470 BC) left us with one of the most well known: “‘We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not’. Or another by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890): “”plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (‘the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing’). I take these philosophies just a step further (with my proclivity for poetic license!) by turning those ideas inside-out and front-to-back.

Where Heraclitus says, in essence, that though a river may continue a relatively unchanged course (“…step…”), the water is never the same (…”do not step…”) – it forever flows toward the ocean while being replenished by the spring – – – and Karr may be referring to a play or book of a specific genre which remains the same genre (“…step…”), even while the words may change (“…do not step…”), I say, “Yes, but doesn’t the ocean evaporate and after a time become rain which feeds the spring? and doesn’t the genre feed the mind of the new story?”

In the novel, this is the way that I view spirit. It has a set origin from whence all spirit is derived. It returns to its origin to rejoin the whole. While it resides within the physical body, it is both the same, yet not the same.

Confused yet?

Stay tuned for Folded Dreams – A Primer (Part II)!!

 

Spirit…

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Spirit. One of the Great Mysteries…and a concept that seems often to be confused with that of ‘soul’.

As someone who has always had a thirst for knowledge, understanding the nature of “spirit” has been the cause of quite a few sleepless nights for me, for well over a half century. It took me fourteen years of living on this earth to even realize that there is a difference between spirit and soul. I thank my first ever Jewish friends in “The City of Angels”, for that startling revelation, by the way.

Here I must state that, while the compensation for gaining that knowledge was to help me focus my search for understanding somewhat, it certainly did not result in any real answers. If anything, it only made for double the study!

I did discover that one of the most enlightening explanations of the difference between spirit and soul is actually addressed in the Torah, if you can arrange your brain to understand it – and have a satisfactory translation (I had the reference written down somewhere…now where did I put it?😠).

Perhaps if I’d also had the acquaintance of a learned rabbi or other scholar, I would not have had to struggle so hard and long with grasping the spirit v. soul differences…

As an adult…

…with children…

…all 10+2 of whom have also had that same question at one time or another.

The problem dealing with a subject as deep and involved as this is the energy requirements of research – you had better have taken your gingko biloba and gotten a solid bit of rack time (sleep) under your belt, because your powers of concentration and analysis are going to be stretched to the max, while delving into all the religious tomes you’ll need to read.

There is, of course, the simple, basic statement that my old friends gave me, all those decades ago: “Soul and spirit are dependent upon, but separate from each other; they work together equally and share aspects, but are not interchangeable…sort of like your Christian ‘trinity’.”

Which is fine.

If you just want to know the basics.

Not enough, though, if you seek to understand…which I always did want, for knowledge by rote has never been enough for me.

Now, especially since writing the “Folded Dreams” books in which the spirit plays an intrinsic part, have I needed to really understand…for much of that story is played out in the spirit.

Kenning back to the friends of my youth, I knew that I was in for a lot of research because, paranormal or metaphysical fiction though Folded Dreams may be, I would not want to be guilty of misrepresenting any belief that I may reference in the story.

Take incarnations, for example; Jewish interpretations aside, the idea of different types of incarnation are part and parcel of a number of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufi and, in vague form (again, depending on interpretation), are even held by some Christians (“”).

And that, as well as the nature of spirit, as opposed to the measurable intelligence of natural man, is also something to be considered…but that is another post entirely!