- Daniel Quinn Book Club — A Newcomer’s Guide to the Afterlife, session 3 reading: Appendixes (Introduction) through End
- Brené Brown Book Club — no current reading
(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)
Note: This “little book” may seem on the surface little more than a lark. It’s clearly far more obviously fictional than the Ishmael trilogy which is fictional only on the surface, not in its substance. Any fiction, though, speaks to an author’s larger view of people and the world, and both science fiction and speculative fiction have a long history of embedding social commentary, so I feel it’s fair game for seeking connections to real-world notions.
“‘An Admission of Error,’ written specifically for The Little Book by an unfortunately still crazed and unrepentant Adolf Hitler” See Brené’s Unlocking Us podcast episode with Harriet Lerner on “I’m Sorry: How To Apologize & Why It Matters.”
Appendix I: Two Crossing-Over Tracts
“9. If you try to flee without thinking, the Blood-draining deities will sing you into their skull-bowls. Pain pervades you wholly. Axes whistle through first the right wrist then the left. A polished bell is placed in the eastern hemisphere of your brain and will ring and ring — if you try to flee from this stage without thinking.
“10. If you no longer recognize yourself in the maelstrom, head for the Cave. Enter with no expectation, muttering thunderfist over and over. Here the great treasure lies Hidden.” Compare Brené on the courage to experience discomfort in order to reap rewards vs. resisting discomfort and therefore staying stuck.
“If you err at this stage, you will wander forever in ‘sangsara,’ so do not err, though your nerve endings are popping like balloons, like stars… Yes, it is difficult to put it out with your hands, but did you think your liberation would be easy?” Same as above re: discomfort.
“That’s right, the signs don’t lie. You are nearing the great symbol. Close your eyes and hang onto the body-aggregate. Whoever is to be freed from the ambuscades must offend the madmen with a like madness.” Compare what Brené refers to as braving the wilderness, necessarily including the courage to stand alone.
Appendix II: Two Spontaneous Religions
“On those trips she did not seek or find lasting serenity… No, I do not wish to attend your free intensive workshop wherein I might discover my hidden potential, improve my self-confidence and self-discipline, attain inner peace, achieve personal goals, learn to relax and be happy. Thank you, no.” Compare Brené talking about life remaining full of challenges, ups and downs even for Wholehearted people, and also talking about how there is no simple “how to” for Wholeheartedness.
“Is it true that help is on the way is a lie? Is it true that evacuation is really only a sham that has us going to point A to point B to point C to point D to point A?… When was the last time we looked into a mirror? Is the crisis to come or is it already here? Is it to come? Already here?… This service seems to provide its members only a brief relief from anxiety, for a few hours later they reassemble to await another.” Compare Brené on the exhaustion of productivity and the downsides of resisting crisis/awakening.
Appendix III: Two Theoretical Concerns
“Eventually, the runner tires, gives up, bewildered. The tortoise, who also has yet to achieve the finish line, appears bemused, then strolls off the track.” Compare Brené’s Guidepost critiquing productivity and exhaustion.
Further (And Highly Recommended) Reading
“A perennial favorite for several decades has been So Now You’re Dead! by the prolific Scots writer Margaret Oliphant (1828-97); this is a light-hearted but level-headed look at ‘starting over’ in the Afterlife, with particular attention given to breaking unfruitful behavior patterns acquired in life.” Compared The Gifts of Imperfection and its Guideposts for Wholehearted Living.
“Her My Death in Life, My Life in Death, is, among other things, a remarkably impassioned plea for the rights of women…” Compare the many threads in Brené’s work regarding women’s rights, feminism, and advocacy addressing all kinds of oppression.