I’m crazy. I have a whole history that says so. I’ve tried to escape reality on more than one occasion, and I think I succeeded to some degree, once or twice. And I have witnessed miracles. Or maybe not? Maybe it was all that crazy thing? Whatever you may think of my sight, I have definitely… seen things. Fantastic things. Silly things. Funny things. Terrifying things. Mundane things. Dreamy things. Sober things. Angry things. Joyful things. Dark things. Shining things. Simple things. Indecipherable things. Sad things. And these things I have seen, wondrous things—if I can see the pervading logic over them all, does that make me crazy? If I say to you that through all my experiences, what I know to be at the heart of it all: if I say to you, do everything out of love, for there is nothing else—what does that make me? Perhaps a fool? For I have seen what prophets see, when God spoke to them in riddles. Verily, I would hold none a fool who would believe in love.
Yes, I see things. And hear things. And I’ll be completely paranoid, sometimes, in wild spasms. I have believed many things, and I must admit that maybe I have been more wrong than right in what I have thought about the world, and my own situation within it. Delusions of grandeur, huge mood swings, death wishes and escape fantasies, signing things in blood (it’s a myth, by the way—you can’t actually sell your soul to the Devil), etc., etc. But you know, I have learned a few things along the way. Such as, I have observed it is always the case that the elements of a psychosis have their own logic to them, which they generally play by. But what if their particular logic differed none to the common logic we have in the “real world”? What if they make sense?
Imagine there is a Heaven. What do you think it would be like? I know I had some ideas on the matter; even atheists like to speculate. I have dreamt of being there. The first one I remember everything being white, and everything was like a cartoon that had not yet been colored. It was a bit more pleasant to be there, like things were cleaner, all throughout that reality. If I remember correctly, it was my first glimpse of that place: the new Heaven, called New Jerusalem, where everyone goes after they die and are judged. I think I was in a park in that vision, walking on a stone bridge over some body of water, strutting around like I owned the place. Then, I think I offended someone, and as I started feeling sorry for myself, the vision ended, and I woke up.
Did you miss it, just then? You can easily be forgiven for that, because probably that info dribbled past your own thoughts on the matter—without affecting anything—and we moved on. Thoughts on the subject like how I used to think about the hereafter. The plain fact of the matter: everyone gets to go to Heaven and live eternally. The Devil himself. All the worst of them, from the seen and unseen worlds. It’s called Universalism, that idea, and quite a few others have thought it. Early Christians were Universalist. The old spiel, that Our Lord died for the sins of all of us—not the elect, not the Christians, not even just for those who lived good lives—it turns out it only works this way, only if everyone lives. Not to say there’ll be no justice. On the contrary, in my understanding of things, there is an overarching streak of justice in the very structure of creation. And the bad guys get theirs, rest assured.
Perhaps, like most everything, someone or ones put that streak there? That’s something important that I learned: there is nothing that “automatically” happens; and nothing is “random”; and really, there is no such thing as “luck”. Everything is planned, out the wazoo. There are times when you ride the edge, where the forethought gives way to the deed, as things too rapidly fly by you to perceive, but if you keep to what is excellent and true, you become part of the divine. Not with pride, that you chose to go this way: knowing instead that this is why you were made at all. Is this madness, too?
I understand how psychologists theorize that the prophet Ezekiel was possibly schizophrenic. Yes, he had some wild visions, did some weird things. But thinking Joan of Arc was just another psychotic because she had visions of angels and saints—you do know she completed what she had set out to do, don’t you? What her visions gave to her as task, she was victorious in accomplishing? Oh, was she coincidentally correct? How naive do you have to be (in the other direction) to believe that? You do know she predicted things like the English being completely driven out of France, yes? Among other things. Which is, in fact, what the Bible said to do to test any would-be prophet: did they get the future right? Or would you say this, too, is coincidental madness?
Or how about this: be not but love, do not but love? I call it the bodhisattva’s enlightenment. Basically, it says that all we should be is love, and that we do nothing but love, too. Included in so doing is everything else we need to get done: just do it out of love. Everything. Write treatises out of love, every word. Ride a bike out of love. Wear deodorant out of love. Absolutely every action that you perform, do it out of love. Be not but love. There is no reason not to do this.
The justice that comes is that out of love. You will note that in every major religion, there is a common thread through all of them. Christians call it the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is everywhere. Is it an indication of that purportedly ubiquitous streak of justice? It is the name of my faith. I cannot believe, unless first I believe in such justice. Is that the faith of a madman? I think I know the answer to that question; I have not stepped over the line yet. Only when I tell you that I have seen Heaven—the real one, called New Jerusalem—that’s where nobody’s supposed to go. Science has no explanation for that kind of thing except to say that your mind makes it up, that there is too little evidence for that sort of proposition to be valid. You have not seen it, so it can’t be true.
I will tell you what I have seen. At the grand opening of New Jerusalem, I overheard this great thing. I believe it was one of the victims of the Holocaust, sounded like a middle aged woman, talking to someone she knew, and she really seemed to have a handle on the situation. She said, “Hitler’s here. This must be good.” Which, I might point out, would be the best test of whether it is actually true that absolutely everyone is saved. And what she said struck me as so… other. Like something that wouldn’t cross my mind in a million years. A billion. A googolplex number of years. The universe would end waiting for me to come up with that. And it didn’t resemble any kind of hazy dream. It was a sober, straightforward assessment—the real deal.
One thing: there is another state of being before one enters into Heaven or is sent first to the flames: in the Old Testament, it is called Sheol. It has its own rules, some mysterious; not a limbo, but a shadowy place. I saw Kurt Vonnegut awaken into the Paradise: I was talking to him about how he was my favorite author, when he spied someone behind me; he said, “Is that? Is that Philip K. Dick? Oh lordy, it’s him. Now I know I’m in Heaven.” Thus to awaken, to go from shadow into light… Imagine there is a Heaven. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
It’s not that different from living here on earth, I think at least to external observation, but the differences serve to make it somewhere… else. It’s a familiar strangeness, or a strange familiarity, or does it go from one to the other and can’t be both together for some reason? The place was like you went somewhere that was better prepped than you’d been used to. Where things aren’t all effortless, but indeed are worked on, worked after, for there is still a cost to things. The value of things being of the time, space, energy, matter, and meaning to them—and even love costs. And you know that love is always free?
(to be continued…)