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88 Want to be a freshman again?
Intimations of Immortality the poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) tells us
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting … But trailing clouds
of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about
us in our infancy!” Does he suggest we come from a better place?
Is our object to be restored and return there?
In articles 52 definition of God and 54 anti-Christ I reject the theory of fallen man. Indeed,
human individuality has premortal origin, but birth is a
progression, not a descent, from a prior state. This article
teaches that death is also a progression, not a descent.
Following birth there is a long, slow
process of realizing existence of self and of a new place.
Awareness is achieved gradually with effort. There is more to
comprehend after birth than before.
Showing that birth is not a fall, articles 51 duality in
dreams, 52 definition of God, and 62 eternal life
describe a progression through a sequence of ever higher orders.
In this sequence, there is another progression at physical death.
Resurrection calls it an elevation. Reincarnation calls it
experiencing an additional perspective or incarnation.
There are stories of near-death
experiences that may be related to Lazarus syndrome. The subject
survives a nearly fatal medical condition and returns to
consciousness with vivid descriptions of other-worldly
experience. The descriptions typically include familiar
personages and conform to the subject’s concept of heaven. They
contribute heavily to expectations surrounding resurrection.
This article proposes a different
The stages we are discussing are
frequently compared to school grades or academic degrees. In
severely simplistic language one can roughly compare
reincarnation to sequentially beginning same-level degrees, while
comparing resurrection to starting a higher degree.
Law school provides an example of
potentially confusing terminology. My friends all agreed that I
was in graduate school while I earned by law degree. However, the
profession itself tells us that law reviews are written by the
undergraduates in the field. The JD (Juris Doctor) degree which I
hold is a kind of honorific that allows the holder to be
addressed as “Doctor.” Its other name is LLB, Bachelor of Law.
The next higher degree is sometimes called LLM, or Master of Law.
Following that is the degree that corresponds to a PhD, namely
LLD, Doctor of Law, sometimes designated SJD, Doctor of Juridical
I cite the legal language to represent
complexity. That is a necessary part of my spiritual discussion,
because the terminology surrounding life stages is far from
uniform. I excuse myself from arguing language and meaning. Here
my cosmology involves creating only enough clarity to indicate
that I am moving forward doing something eternal.
What is a restart?
Parallel or sequential
During our mortal period we may say that
we start careers from zero beginnings—that we are starting as
freshmen several times in our lives, in different pursuits.
Alternatively, we may say that we are adding experience and
acumen so that the trainings are cumulative. Finally, the degrees
themselves might be named so that they state clearly higher
My favorite story of clearing the pompous
bloat is President Harry S. Truman’s declaration that he was
about to accept promotion to the office of private citizen. After
all, the controlling voice belongs to the voters. His modesty and
penetrating wit fit perfectly in my attempt at simple
terminology. Whatever words we use, our quest is for personal
sense of moving forward.
It is time to examine why we start
and restart. There must be a reason for this behavior, and it
will serve my thesis to elaborate a bit.
Some students flee a sense of inadequacy
in one field. Some can be shuffled into an unwanted track by
promises of riches. Some are in a course because it was the only
one open at a given time. Some are enamored with public esteem.
Some are obeying domineering parents. Any of these goals may
eventually feel empty, giving a student hunger for career
Training might serve to overcome hardship
and imperfection. There are people who learn to excel where over
time they felt personal need for improvement. They might become
valuable teachers showing others how to succeed through
Each start can lead to the thrill of
fulfillment or completion. Starting often might reveal a desire
for frequent graduations, even though each start is a loss of
seniority. Even Michael Jordan tried being a rookie baseball
player. That did not fulfill; he returned to his position of
Making sense of it all
These examples of fresh
starts demonstrate a complex fabric of elements underlying any
change. We examine the thoughts and the circumstances involved.
Taking the long view contributes to understanding. Some changes
appear happy and others appear sad. When outcomes are known, we
trace progress. That includes accounting for learning from
failures that serve to teach us how to improve.
In support of my eternal
life theory, I am establishing a repetitive pattern. That does
not refer to repeating the same process many times. It refers to
being a freshman again and again, but in different circumstances
every time. We are always beginning something. Progress depends
on appreciating something we do not know and learning it. Without
the freshman experiences we lack the graduations.
Earlier I wrote to my
children that I appreciated having a full life and looked forward
to being a freshman again. They quickly inquired whether there
was something about my health they should know. No, I am still in
perfect health, albeit a bit older and weaker. I referred to the
spiritual capacity for new beginnings.
This long article is my
alternative view of reported near death experiences. I am looking
forward to something much different—not familiar messengers, but
a wholly new experience. It will be like being born into this
world, not in complete forgetfulness, but taking a long time to
realize where and what I am. I am willing to go where my present
skills are inadequate, where I will start by discovering and
learning the most ridiculously simple tasks that are new to me.
After a long time, I will realize a higher order of
personality, and as always, individuality. It will not be so
simple and inadequate as existing forever the way I am
It will be pleasant if I
meet my parents soon, but I expect them to be as far ahead of me
as they were when I was born helpless into my present life. My
humility will be my willingness to be a freshman again. That is a
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