- Daniel Quinn Book Club — A Newcomer’s Guide to the Afterlife, session 1 reading: Beginning through Chapter Two: A Few Do’s and Don’ts of the Afterlife
- 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.
Chapter One: Basic Questions Answered
“When in a few days or weeks you have recovered from the shock of ‘losing your head,’ it will be said that you ‘have your head on’ — in other words, are once again whole.” Compare Brené on spiritual awakening and pushing through discomfort.
“No one ‘owns’ the Afterlife or any part of it. On the other hand, people tend to make the space around them their own, and this is something you will want to respect.” Compare Brené on the importance of healthy boundaries.
“Desires come and go. Desire fade.” Compare the value of embracing change over rigidity.
“No one is in charge. There is no civil, moral, religious, or other authority. None is needed or would serve any purpose. This is a source of disappointment to those who arrive ready to demand special treatment, lodge a complaint, or petition for ‘another chance’ at life.” Compare again the value of healthy boundaries, which any of these expectations could be said to cross.
“The Enemy is the bugbear, bogey, and bugaboo of simple souls in the Afterlife. The Enemy is the ogre under the bed and the monster in the closet — in short, the product of superstition and fearful imagination.” Compare Brené on the importance of both/and thinking over either/or and us vs. them, and generally on the importance of empathy allowing us to understand pretty much any person as relatable instead of “other.”
“The Dark Brother is an archetypal figure of fantasy, mythology, or religion, depending on your point of view. He is dark because ‘the light does not shine upon him’ — that is, he is hidden. He is hidden (so goes the belief) in each one of us at some time or other — without our knowledge — perhaps for a moment, perhaps for a day, perhaps for a year. He is ‘the one we lost and that which we lost.’ If he were ever to be assuredly ‘found’ and revealed, he would lead us into a new era or state of existence.” Compare shame and the Jungian shadow.
“A: It would be difficult — as it was in life — to make a new version of Ben-Hur. Since no one needs to work in order to live, you would be unable to hire laborers to build sets, for example. You might have difficulty locating or constructing suitable optical equipment. People would work on the project only if you could make it seem worth doing in and of itself. Other difficulties would arise when it came to distributing and exhibiting your film.”
“Q: You mean there is no film industry.”
“A: There is no industry of any type or description.” Compare the Guidepost that asks us to cultivate play and rest and to let go of productivity.
Chapter Two: A Few Do’s and Don’ts of the Afterlife
“The social inhibitions you learned in life will not survive for long here.”