Thursday, 13 April 2017

Hereafters

I thought of posting on hereafters in the works of Poul Anderson and related authors. However, searching the blog for "hereafters" reveals that I have done quite a lot of this already! I knew that I had posted about a vision or dream of Gratillonius' soldier, Budic, wandering in a hereafter but could not find that post by searching for "Budic." This is because Budic is not named in the post, which is here.

I will remark here only that every possible idea of a hereafter seems to have been imagined and believed by someone. In Indian religious philosophy, the soul is to be freed from reincarnation whereas, in Wicca, the Summerland is merely a respite before renewed incarnation: a complete reversal, and one with no reason whatsoever to accept it, as far as I can see.

That series of The King Of Ys covers is particularly attractive. If Dahut could just appreciate the beauty of the natural world around Ys, then she would not need to be ambitious, malicious or spiteful. I said just that about another female character in a Poul Anderson historical fantasy... See here.

11 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And of course the Christian belief is that we all have ONE bodily life, limited and time bound. But that our SOULS are immortal.

    And, I agree, the Wiccan "summerland" seems so narrow and impoverished.

    Sean
    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      Well, I think that the idea of resting and learning before living again sounds like a good one but I see no evidence that that is what happens.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Yes, but if Wiccans actually believe in reincarnation, it would seem to make more sense to think a deceased person is reincarnated right away, rather than "resting" in Summerland. To say nothing of how this "Summerland" is a very MODERN, rather sentimental neo-pagan invention. I don't think any actual pagans of the past had any such belief.

      Your comments about Dahut, the female villain of THE KING OF YS interested me. It reminded me of how, in one of my letters to Poul Anderson, I commented on how Dahut was his first really EVIL female character. And PA indicated in his reply that might have been true.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      Yes. Summerland is an invented idea. I do not understand how anyone can think it is legitimate to invent a hereafter or why anyone else should accept it.
      Paul.

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    4. Paul and Sean:
      With regard to inventing the hereafter, the person who did so MIGHT have honestly believed that what he/she did was not INVENT the idea but rather REALIZE that it was true. That applies not just to the Summerland but to Valhalla; Nirvana; the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim notions of Heaven; reincarnation; et cetera.

      About the "resting" period between reincarnations — I can imagine someone arguing that it's not to REST, but to WAIT: that there's a specific time DESTINED for each soul to be reborn, and he/she mustn't return to the world until his/her time. Not that I believe in reincarnation, but I throw this out as a possible explanation for what believers in Summerland think.

      Of course, anyone who disagrees with MY opinions on holy matters is WRONG [my tongue is firmly in cheek with THAT statement].

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    5. Kaor, Paul and DAVID!

      Paul: but I believe there is an afterlife and I think the arguments in favor of at least its possibility, putting aside for the moment evidence from divine revelation, more convincing than those against it. But I think you meant only the Wiccan views of the afterlife, as seen in Stirling's Change books.

      David: but on what BASIS or authority did the person who taught the ideas about Summerland have for justifying his/her action? Was he claiming a divine revelation? If not, then he had no authority to do so.

      Well, I can see a period of "waiting" as making more sense than a deceased soul going to school in Summerland.

      Tongue in cheek? Hahaha!!!

      Sean

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    6. Sean,
      I was referring specifically to the Wiccan view but I would need some convincing that there is any hereafter.
      Paul.

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    7. Sean:
      Well, yes, I was suggesting that the originator of the Summerland notion BELIEVED he/she either had experienced a divine revelation or had worked out from clues in divine revelations to others what MUST be the truth.

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    8. Kaor, Paul and DAVID!

      Paul: off the top of my head I was thinking of Plato's arguments for the immortality of the soul.

      David: well, aside from the extremely dubious (to put it mildly!) Gerald Gardner, we see no mention of any neo-pagan "prophets" or even "theologians" in the Emberverse books. We do see in Virgil's description of the Elysian Fields in the AENEID, something approaching the Wiccan "Summerland."

      Sean

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  2. Kaor, friends!

    I think Summerland was invented as a term for the afterlife by 19th century spiritualists, specifically a couple of girls who made noises by cracking their joints, and got attention by claiming that these noises were communications from Beyond. They finally admitted that they had been making it all up, and showed how they did their little tricks, but that wasn't enough to make Spiritualism with Ed away.

    Best Regards,
    Nicholas D. Rosen

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    1. Kaor, Nicholas!

      Yes, I have heard of "Spiritualist" frauds like that, in the 19th/20th centuries, who deceived many naive, trusting persons with false claims of being in communication with deceased persons. The well known stage magician, Harry Houdini, specialized in exposing such frauds.

      Regards! Sean

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