It is amazing how frequently we are seeing people question the underpinnings of their beliefs in popular culture today – and never more prevalent than the fantasy genre. Fantasy is a place where cultural values can be removed from the immediacy of ‘real life’ and placed into a context where – hopefully – we can view them with less bias.
In most cultures the biggest determinant of a person’s beliefs comes through the auspices of religion. While much of what is espoused by organized religion provides a positive benefit to society, that is not its main purpose. It’s goal is to take control your rèsonce – your lifeforce or life energy – and utilize it primarily for the organization’s growth. Personal development or self improvement is only encouraged when it improves the lot of the group as a whole – and particularly its leaders.
The most insidious method used by most organized religions is delayed gratification. That is, live your life in a way that most benefits the church and in the afterlife you will have earned infinite happiness. Basically, you end up being enslaved to an organization that bases its power on fear rather than empowerment. It takes away choice, and the responsibility for choice, and replaces critical thinking with ‘faith’. Used this way – faith, a valuable tool to maintain hope in difficult situations, becomes ‘The Big Lie’.
One of the many incidents that disprove that form of hereafter is the recent story of six-year-old James Leininger who has past life memories of being being a Corsair pilot in the second world war. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailycourier/news/s_189477.html This is only one of many reported incidents of memory of previous lives.
It is not often we hear about these sorts of incidents in churches, schools, or political forums – but the ideas that break the back of mind-imprisoning dogma is the staple of fantasy literature and cinema. The very popular feature ‘Avatar’ explores the question of the connection to all life, and the continuity of life after death. It raises a potent question of the wisdom of living in current time, rather than sacrificing what is rare and precious simply to keep alive the ambitions of a dormant few.
I wonder how those who advocate ‘dominion over the earth’ will feel when they return as the children of their grandchildren – only to learn they must live in the world they have raped and destroyed with their greed. Too many are looking forward to some sort of ‘end times’ to solve their problems. At some point we need to stop and think about what we can each do to bring about what needs changing.
In my writing I explore the impact of patterns developed life after life as the same players assemble to attempt to resolve the issues they have inherited by their choices. As the stories unfold, I find myself understanding the concept of lifestrand and the impact that my decisions in this life will have on me in the future. I wish for all the chance to step back and imagine the present and future they long for in their hearts, and step forward to ‘seize the day’.