The Light of Their Lives by Boris Glikman

 

The Light of Their Lives by Boris Glikman

“Delighted by Light” by Michael Cheval

It was perhaps inevitable that some bright spark in the Research and Development Department of a certain, internationally famous company would, during a brainstorming session, come up with the idea of a beverage consisting solely of pure light. The essential concept behind it was simplicity itself: Why, in these modern, fast-paced times, go through the lengthy and convoluted process of needing the Sun’s light to be photosynthesized by plants into chemical energy, which then has to be converted into carbohydrate molecules, which we then have to consume and digest in order for us to finally incorporate the energy from the Sun into our systems? Why not bypass all the intervening stages and just capture, bottle and imbibe the sunlight energy directly?

The management loved the proposal and supported its realization by all means possible. Thus, less than a year after the go-ahead was given, the product appeared in the shops: a soothing, delightful elixir of natural sunshine, free of any preservatives, added sugar or artificial flavours.

The drink provided an instant energy boost, sating hunger without any necessity for digestion, as well as immediately quenching thirst and making one feel warm all over. And, of course, it was suitable for all types of diets including but not limited to kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, gluten-intolerant and fruitarian. No one could take any issue with it, for it was pure light straight from the Sun. And, fortuitously, it was also very suitable for those dieting, for according to the famous E = mc^2 equation, even a tiny amount of mass released a tremendous amount of energy and thus one could quaff great quantities of this potation with hardly any weight gain.

Amazingly enough, apart from satisfying the most basic physical needs (food, water, warmth) in the hierarchy of needs, this beverage also enabled the consumer, and this was a completely unforeseen consequence, to become instantly spiritually enlightened once they have drunk it and thus fulfil the highest need in the hierarchy of needs –  the yearning for self-actualisation. (Perhaps it should not have been so unexpected, for, by ingesting light one, ipso facto, became illuminated within, which is exactly what enlightenment is, and also as the very morphological structure of the word “enlightenment” indicated its intimate connection to light.)

This serendipitous effect was perfect for the contemporary society, for given that the online world now provided instant information, instant communication, instant entertainment and instant gratification of needs and desires, it was only natural there would also be a great demand for instant self-realisation. And with this product, one no longer had to spend countless hours meditating and repeating the mantra, or sit at the feet of a guru, or clamber up the Himalayan mountains in search of monasteries. Instead, there was the convenience of immediate spiritual awakening in a bottle, accessible to all.

The advertising campaign was built around the slogans “Instant EnLIGHTenment™ in a Bottle!”, “Fast Food for Body and Soul!”, and “Let the Light DeLIGHT You!”. For once the reality corresponded exactly to the promotional claims, as it truly was a unique kind of an invention the likes of which had never been seen before.

And so, as was to be expected, everyone flocked to buy the new drink, for, apart from its obvious appeal to the general public, its attraction was also irresistible to a diverse range of people with specific needs, such as the athletic types looking for an immediate energy fix, the spiritual seekers looking for the truth about themselves and the Universe, and the weight-conscious dieters, who immediately added it to their fastidious regiments. Of course, children loved it too, given its novelty value and its almost-magical properties.

This unqualified success gave the company the freedom and the impetus to experiment with new varieties of the product. The flavour of the original sunlight brand was a mixture of melon and orange. Later on, many more flavours became available, as the company’s researchers went about capturing and bottling light from other celestial objects, as well as from man-made sources.

It was discovered that each planet and star had its own unique taste: Moonlight was cooler on the palate than sunlight and had an indefinable element to it one couldn’t quite put a finger on; Mars tasted a bit like tomato juice; Venus was quite tart and almost vinegary, and thus was best drunk in combination with light from other sources; Jupiter and Saturn, as befitting their gaseous nature, were like the finest bubbly champagne; and supernovas had a mouth-exploding, extremely hot chilli flavour that only the very brave and the foolhardy dared to sample. It was also found that the illuminations of every city had their own particular flavour, although the health-conscious preferred only drinks made from natural sources and scorned the artificial flavours of light globes, fluorescent lights and neon signs, which invariably tasted like cheap wine.

With this product on the market, many believed the world was surely heading towards a utopian existence in which humanity would finally be liberated from its burdensome, imprisoning dependence upon plants and animals for nutrition; and the common man, having become instantly enlightened, would see beyond the constricting confines of self-interest and self-preservation and realise everything is inextricably connected and we are all one.

Yet, those who were optimistic that an idealistic state of being would, at last, be achieved had forgotten all about a deep-rooted and paradoxical aspect of human nature, namely that anything that brought pleasure and enjoyment was open to abuse, misuse, and overuse. Consequently, the very source of gratification and bliss, like for example alcohol, could and did mutate grotesquely into a dire threat to one’s very existence. Thus, obesity and all the maladies it caused was rife in those societies in which food was in ready supply; alcoholism was the scourge of many a land; addictions to both legal and illegal substances destroyed countless lives.

Given the way this beverage immediately satisfied, in one neat package, a person’s needs on so many levels, it was inevitable some would become hooked on it. As is often the case with addicts, they found ways to bypass the option of legally purchasing a limited quantity of the product, instead consuming for free limitless amounts by staring directly at the Sun and letting the light flow both into their open mouths, as well as into their eyes. Imbibing light through the eyes was something non-addicts would never do, and that particular experience was likened to mainlining heroin, giving an even greater kick.

These addicts quickly became known as “sunkies” (a portmanteau word blending “sun” and “junkie”), and this word coincidentally had the additional connotation of “sinking” which was very apt, for no drug addict had ever sunk as low as these sunkies. Most of those hooked on narcotics could be rehabilitated and again become respected members of a community. The Sun junkies however voluntarily gave up their sight and their mobility, two of the most precious and vital features a human being possesses, and assumed a static, plant-like existence, remaining rooted to one spot. They cared for nothing else but to follow with their turning heads the Sun’s daily progress across the sky, using their sense of warmth to locate it, their retinas having been burnt out, and to drink in the light.

“In Sol Veritas”, in Sun all Truths lie, was their motto and guiding principle, believing as they did that the Sun is the portal to the ultimate reality and the sole source of eternal, absolute truths. Their proselytising spiel to the non-addicts was quite persuasive, claiming that once you started staring at the Sun, you would quickly realise how petty and drab are the affairs of daily life, and how overflowing-with-meaning and magnificent are the inexhaustible revelations and infinite beauty emanating from the Sun, the place where perfection, transcendence, purity lies. The sunkies also extolled the stability and the security their lives now possessed, for the Sun’s motion, perfectly regular and unvarying each and every day, scorched away the unpredictability and the uncertainties of their previous everyday existence.

One saw these sunkies everywhere one went, sitting, standing or lying on the pavements, roads, grass, in the mud, in puddles, in gutters, totally oblivious to their surroundings. Their limbs became atrophied from complete lack of movement and turned into something resembling gruesome, withered tree branches, further accentuating their plant-like appearance. The sight of these addicts was both sickening and unspeakably sad, especially as many of them were young people who had sacrificed all the promises the future held out for them.

The greatest tragedy was that the sunkies denied their lives had turned into an irrevocable tragedy. Not only did they become physically blind, they also became blind to the reality of their situation, convincing themselves into believing they were the superior beings living superior lives, and the only ones in possession of the ultimate secrets of existence. They saw themselves as part of an elite caste, the vanguard of an egalitarian utopia to come, for, before the Sun everyone was equal. These Sun’s Sons (as they preferred to call themselves, in reference to their claimed filial kinship with the star, for they felt reborn through gazing unwaveringly at the Sun, and also in reference to the brotherhood they felt they had entered into) were totally untroubled by their loss of sight and mobility, for there was nothing down on Earth they wanted or needed to see or do. Indeed, they considered their blindness and immobility to be a godsend, for not only did it stop them from being distracted from giving all of their attentions to the Sun, but, even more importantly, it prevented their minds and souls from being contaminated by the imperfections and iniquities that so marked and defined earthly existence.

Thus, light in a bottle, previously the greatest blessing to mankind, became its greatest curse, causing a calamity the likes of which could not be imagined before its arrival on the market, for who could ever envision healthy people willingly becoming immobile vegetables, sacrificing their lives just so they could stare at the Sun and feel its warm smile upon their faces. The sunkies were now completely lost to society, both bodily and mentally, and no kind of rehabilitation was possible for them. In the bitterest of ironies that occur so often throughout the course of history, mankind, having liberated itself from its dependence upon plants, and thus attaining the greatest freedom it had ever possessed, now found an ever-growing proportion of its population choosing to lead a plant-like existence.

But this unfolding global tragedy was of little concern to the company that brought the beverage into the world, for its technicians were busily working on an even greater creation which would undoubtedly trump the bottled sunshine for popularity. Inspired by instant coffee, the new invention-in-the-making already had the brand name of Insta-Life, and, once completed, it would allow a person to experience their whole life in an instant. This surely was, or so the management thought, the ultimate desire and goal in this instantaneousness-obsessed era, for by condensing all of your life into one single moment, you no longer would have to trudge through decades of endless drudgeries and tediously repetitive routines of daily existence, through all the banal and boring stretches of life, and instead get it over and done with in a jiffy. Additionally, you would gain an unbeatable upper hand over your rivals in the field of fast living.

With the lure of holiday profits in their minds, the management kept prodding its engineers and scientists to work harder and harder, so that Insta-Life could appear on the market around Christmas time. And so, it was only a matter of time before this new invention swept the world, and people would begin to live and die faster than mayflies.

 

 

The Wizard Within (Gold Edition) by Albert Thor

Book Review
Title: The Wizard Within (Gold Edition)
Author: Albert Thor
Publisher: Soul Purpose
Re-released: 2008
Pages: 318
ISBN 10 – 0969587309
ISBN 13 – 978-0969587309
Stars: 4.5

Jay Wiles should be ecstatic, but he’s not. A 33-year-old advertising executive, who quit his M.B.A. program two months shy of graduating because he felt his mind could not process any more learning, lives with his bank manager wife of 9 years, Liz, in a state that can only be described to most people as “the Good Life.” Jay and Liz have already paid off the mortgage on their lovely home with an in-ground pool and they talk about having a baby, next year…possibly.

Jay has been having profoundly strange dreams of late, in which a wizard, dressed much like Merlin might have, inhabits his dreams and encourages him to ask himself why he is not ecstatic and what he has to do in order to slay the Serpentine Dragon that haunts his nightmares. The wizard continues to make guest appearances in Jay’s dreams and upon waking, leaves him in a confused and vulnerable state; questioning everything about the life he’s made for himself.

Why has sex with his wife lost most of its spontaneity and passion?

“All of my life something has bugged me about this world – nothing I’ve ever put my finger on but something that comes and goes like a cool pocket of air that causes me to stop and shiver. I mean just look around you, Liz, surely you must feel it, too…There’s something wrong with the government, with religion, with education, with our economy, with the very basis of our lives and yet I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly. It’s like there’s something evil about this world that we can’t ever escape…So we’re left fighting even our own sexual urges. And if you think about it the ultimate question is this: Why are we terrified of being who and what we really are, why are we so divided from our natural selves?”

And so begins the journey of enlightenment of Jay Wiles. And it just might be driving him stark raving mad.

In the meantime, we follow Gail, a 45-year-old therapist for Individual and Family Counseling Inc. and her most recent client, Vanesa, who is proving to be nothing like the person Gail initially thought she was. Vanesa is a tall, handsome woman with short, black hair who dresses conservatively and is an executive for her company. She makes important decisions and tells people what to do every day. However, she’s been having an incredibly intense, life-changing affair with a mystery married man who is taking her to the outer limits of everything she ever knew about herself and is changing her in overwhelming ways. Her mystery lover writes the most remarkable poems for her that she shares with Gail in therapy, as they both try to make some sense of where he’s coming from and what he’s all about.

“As long as people believe the lie that wisdom is outside of themselves and is acquired, they are forever lost…”

There are no chapters in The Wizard Within but at the beginning of each new section there is a thought-provoking and often profound introductory paragraph in bold and italics that challenges the reader to think.

“As long as we mistakenly externalize the source of the experience of wonderment we will always give false credit to things outside of ourselves like a person, place, object or activity. Once we have been removed from ourselves we move further and further from ourselves: we look for ourselves outside of ourselves.”

Jay Wiles undergoes the quintessential spiritual transformation in The Wizard Within against the background of training for running his first marathon, the 79th City Marathon, and while many of those around him think he’s lost his mind and should be contained within the walls of a psych ward, Jay is convinced that he’s discovered the Ultimate Truth of the Universe – “I am you and you are me because we are the Eternal me∞, the experiential part of the Universe which is Immortal.” We are all connected. We are God because God is within us. We cannot search for a higher meaning to life through a god outside of ourselves, all we have to do is be willing to take the risk of going deep within (into the belly of the Serpent) and realize that there is no fear, no anxiety, no risk in pure acceptance.

Jay is left in charge of Mindbenders ad agency while his boss Ted goes on a two month adventurous kayaking vacation in Peru. This is Jay’s chance to start changing the world with his new found wisdom and truth. He now knows that “Consumerism is the symbolic equivalent of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as our own fallible creation becomes the agent of our own untimely death.”

As synchronicity would have it, this philosophical thriller The Wizard Within (which was originally written in 1992) has at its core a very similar message as James Cameron’s current movie masterpiece, Avatar. Every single living thing on this planet is connected and if we realize this there is no need or room for life with fear, anxiety or hatred. Having faith in a Higher Power will ultimately save us from total annihilation and that Higher Power is within each and every one of us.

Albert Thor lives what he writes about and he may be a genius, or he might just be crazy. You will have to decide for yourself through reading his work. “Thor considers himself a ‘rational mystic’ in as much as he used his scientifically created tools to launch his Awareness into the mystical realm which blew the doors of his perception wide open, revealing the fundamental wisdom driving the entire Universal show.”

A lot of what he has written in this highly entertaining and often humour-filled book resonates with me, but it’s an intellectually and spiritually challenging novel that will make you think until your head aches. I haven’t quite decided whether Thor has managed to find a way to live in an ego-less state or whether he has the biggest ego in the Universe. This book was recommended to me by my cousin, Susan, who sells it at her book and gift store for the body, mind and spirit, The Purple Door, in Kingston, Ontario.

Thor, who survived a brain hemorrhage in November 2007, has a website at www.soulpurposepublishing.com and there states that “SoulPurpose Publishing is dedicated to contributing to the next evolution in human Awareness and to inspiring a new literature of hope from the perspective of Albert Thor’s brainchild, Reaction Manageme∞nt.” The Foundation for the Reaction Manageme∞nt System™ is developed across these three startling books: Flight Manual For The Soul (1997), The Wizard Within (1992), The Emotional Fitness Revolution (to be released in April 2010), as well as upcoming titles including The Good Shepherd.