“I cling like a miser to the freedom that disappears as soon as there is an excess of things.”
Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays.
Let me tell you a story about a haunted house and all the thoughts it evoked in me.
Do we believe we can save ourselves by saving things?
Or do our saved possessions come to possess their saviors?
Do those who save many things or hoard believe that there are pockets in shrouds? Or do they collect things as a magical protection against the shroud?
These are questions that have preoccupied me for weeks as my wife and I have spent long and exhausting days cleaning out a friend’s house. Many huge truckloads of possessions have been carted off to the dump. Thousands of documents have been shredded and thousands more taken to our house for further sorting. Other things have been donated to charity.
This is what happens to people’s things; they disappear, never to be seen again, just as we do, eventually.
Tolstoy wrote a story – “How Much Land Does A Man Need’’ – that ends with the answer: a piece six feet long, enough for your grave. As in this story, the devil always has the last laugh when your covetousness gets the best of you.
Yet so many people continue to collect in the vain hope that they are exceptions. Ask almost anyone and they will reluctantly admit that they hoard to some degree.
In capitalist consumer societies, getting and spending and hoarding not only lays waste our powers, but it is done on the backs of the poor and destitute around the world. It is a system built to inflame the worst human tendencies of acquisitiveness and indifference since it teaches that one never has enough of everything.
It denies the primal sympathy of human care for all humans as it teaches that if you surround yourself with enough things – have ten pair of shoes, twenty shirts, an attic filled with things in reserve – you will be safe from the fate of the majority of the world’s poor who have next to nothing.
It is an insidious form of soul murder wherein one pulls the shades on the prison-house, counts one’s possessions, and shakes hands with the Devil. And it is sadly common.
From attic to cellar to garage, every little cubbyhole, closet, and drawer in this relative’s house was filled with “saved” items. Nothing was ever thrown away. If you walked in the front door, you would never know that the occupants were compulsive keepers.
While there were plenty of knick-knacks in evidence like so many houses where the fear of emptiness rules (the emptiness that is the source of freedom and creativity), once you opened a drawer or closet, a secreted lunacy spilled out seriatim like circus clowns from a small car.
Like all clown shows, it was funny but far more frightening, as though all the saved objects were tinged with the fear of death and dissolution, were futile efforts to stop the flow of time and life by sticking a finger in a dike.
Let me begin with the bags. Hidden in every corner and closet, there were bags stuffed in bags. Big bags and little bags, hundreds if not thousands, used and unused, plastic, paper, cloth bags with price tags still on them.
The same was true for boxes, especially empty jewelry boxes. Cardboard boxes that once held a little something, wooden boxes, cigar boxes, large cartons, boxes from every device ever purchased – all seemingly being saved for some future use that would never come.
But the bags and boxes filled each other so that no emptiness could survive, although desolation seemed to cry out from within: “You can’t suffocate me.”
Tens of thousands of photographs and slides were squirreled into cabinets, closets, and their own file cabinets, each neatly marked with the date and place of their taking. Time in a “bottle” from which one would never drink again – possessing the past in a vain attempt to stop time. These photos were kept in places where their taker would never see them again but could find a weird comfort that they were saved somewhere in this vast collection. Cold comfort by embalming time.
It so happens that while emptying the house, I was rereading the wonderful novel, Zorba The Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis. There is a passage in it where a woman has died, and while her corpse lies in her house, the villagers descend on her possessions like shrieking vultures on a carcass.
Old women, men, children went rushing through the doors, jumped through the open windows, over the fences and off the balcony, each carrying whatever he had been able to snatch – sauce pans, frying pans, mattresses, rabbits …. Some of them had taken doors or windows off their hinges and had put them on their backs. Mimiko had seized the two court shoes, tied on a piece of string and hung them round his neck – it looked as though Dame Hortense were going off astraddle on his shoulders and only her shoes were visible….
The avidity for things drives many people mad, to get and to keep stuff, to build walls around life so as to protect themselves from death. To consume so as not to be consumed. Kazantzakis brilliantly makes this clear in the book. Zorba, the Greek physical laborer and wild man, is different, for he knows that salvation lies in dispossession.
One day he encounters five little children begging in a village. Their father has just been murdered. “I don’t know why, divine inspiration I suppose, but I went up to them.” He gives the children his basket of food and all his money.
He tells his interlocutor, a writer whom he calls “Boss,” a man whom Zorba accuses of not being able to cut the string that ties him to a life of living-death, that that was how he was rescued.
Rescued from my country, from priests, and from money. I began sifting things, sifting more and more things out. I lighten my burden that way. I – how shall I put it? – I find my own deliverance, I become a man.
In the jam-packed attic where there is little room to move with boxes and objects piled on top of each other, I found a large metal four-drawer file cabinet packed with files. In one file folder there was a small purse filled with the following: four very old unmarked keys, six paper clips, two old unworkable watches, a bobby pin, a circular case that contained what looked like a piece of a human bone, a few old medallions, tweezers, four buttons, an eye screw, a safety pin, a nail, a screw, two ancient tiny photos, and a lock of human hair.
Similar objects were stored throughout the house in various containers, bags, boxes, the pockets of clothes, in old ancient furniture in the basement, on shelves, in cigar boxes, in desks, etc.
Old receipts for purchases made forty years ago, airline baggage tags, ticket stubs, school papers, jewelry hidden everywhere, old foreign and domestic coins, perhaps twenty-five old unworkable watches, clocks, radios, clothes and more clothes, more than anyone could ever have worn, scores of old pens and pencils, hand-written notes with no dates or any semblance of order or meaning, chaos and obsessive account-keeping hiding everywhere in contradictory forms shared by two people: one the neat freak and the other disorganized.
One dead and the other forced by fate to let her stuff go, to stand naked in the wind.
How does it help a person to record that they bought a toaster for $6.98 in 1957 or a bracelet for $20 in 1970 or that they called so-and-so some undated time in the past? What good does it do to save vast correspondences documenting your complaints, bitterness, and quarrels? Or boxes upon boxes of Christmas cards received thirty years ago? Or brochures and receipts from a trip taken long ago? Old sports medals? Scrapbooks?
Photos of long dead relatives no one wants? Fashion designer shoes and coats and handbags hidden in a dusty attic where you don’t even know they are there. An immigrant mother’s ancient sewing machine weighing seventy-five pounds and gathering dust in the cellar?
Nothing I could tell you can come close to picturing what we saw in this house. It was overwhelming, horrifying, and weirdly fascinating. And aside from the useful things that were donated to charity and some that were taken to the woman’s next dwelling, ninety percent was dumped in a landfill, soon to be buried.
In his brilliant novel Underworld, Don DeLillo writes about a guy named Brian who goes to visit a collector of old baseball paraphernalia – bats, balls, an old scoreboard, tapes of games, etc. – in a house where “a mood of mausoleum gloom” fills the air. The man tells Brian:
There’s men in the coming years they’ll pay fortunes for these objects. Because this is desperation speaking …. Men come here to see my collection …. They come and they don’t want to leave. The phone rings, it’s the family – where is he? This is the fraternity of missing men.
Men and women hoarders, collectors, and keepers are lost children, trying desperately to secure themselves from death while losing themselves in the process. In my friend’s house I found huge amounts of string and rope waiting to tie something up neatly someday. That day never came.
Zorba tells the Boss, who insists he’s free, the following:
No, you’re not free. The string you’re tied to is perhaps no longer than other people’s. That’s all. You’re on a long piece of string, boss; you come and go and think you’re free, but you never cut the string in two. And when people don’t cut that string ….
It’s difficult, boss, very difficult. You need a touch of folly to do that; folly, d’you see? You have to risk everything! But you’ve got such a strong head, it’ll always get the better of you. A man’s head is like a grocer; it keeps accounts. I’ve paid so much and earned so much and that means a profit of this much or a loss of that much!
The head’s a careful little shopkeeper; it never risks all it has, always keeps something in reserve. It never breaks the string. Ah, no! It hangs on tight to it, the bastard! If the string slips out of its grasp, the head, poor devil, is lost, finished! But if a man doesn’t break the string, tell me what flavor is left in life? The flavor of camomile, weak camomile tea! Nothing like rum – that makes you see life inside out.
On the way out the door on our final day cleaning the house, I found a beautiful boxed fountain pen on a windowsill. I love pens since I am a writer. This one shone brightly and seemed to speak to me: think of what you could write with me, it said so seductively.
I was sorely tempted, but knowing that I didn’t need another pen, I left it there, thinking that perhaps the next occupants of this house would write a different story and embrace Camus’ advice about an excess of things.
Edward Curtin is an independent writer whose work has appeared widely over many years. His website is edwardcurtin.com and his new book is Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies.
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Hoarding is a mental illness associated with OCD, depression and loss, among others. It is not a debate over moral superiority. Only people who are medical specialists in that area are qualified to really address it and its roots.
Hoarding is horrible; mix of frugality and fear, it can also be a mix of hope and happiness. Books waiting to be read ,reread or bequeathed.
Apparently the secret is to be the owner of the things but not owned by them.
Nostalgia , comfort , the past, a life lived. Clutter.
Things do pile up but this article is a good reminder to never let a writer help you purge.
um; if you own nothing and are happy and live in a place that has winter, you might be really stupid.
So consigning your possessions to landfills is better than letting them clutter your dwelling ? A dubious proposition. And does it deserve a long article ?
I have had enough of your writings,
You don’t know the things you have lost (by throwing them away – or letting them go) until you do.
I think accumulating things is as much, if not more, a matter of space as it is of time. Yes, over a lifetime we can accumulate much.
But we also seem to have a compulsion to fill space. This may be the best reason one should not have a house too big or with too many storage spaces.
Perhaps it’s nothing more than associating empty space in a house with poverty that drives people to fill ‘er up.
I’m willing to bet that more people feel uncomfortable entering a living room which has empty wall space than entering one having too much furniture. Emptiness in a way frightens people: it’s like something’s not quite right.
I remember a documentary awhile back on Marilyn Monroe’s death. Much was made of the fact that her bedroom had nothing on the walls – no pictures nor anything else. Somehow that sealed the conclusion that her death was a suicide. Go figure.
To a certain extent I think it’s definitely a case of different strokes for different folks. Some people are adept at prettifying their homes and loving doing that but not being acquisitive hoarders, just enough but can still focus on other socially important aspects of life. Others prefer the minimal interference of objects in their lives and prefer a simpler approach, I don’t think one is better than the other it’s just what suits you. However, and what I think this article is getting at, is our consumerist society has really created somewhat of a “mental illness” among some people to acquire more and more stuff as this has been at the centre of the current phase of capitalism. Each bought item only offers temporary relief however until they require another fix and then what to do with all this stuff they’ve acquired? Our homes become our internal lives externalised. Some people feel they need to show who they are through their homes and for people to think well of them. Perhaps people who feel more comfortable in who they are don’t need to do this? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, I’m with Marilyn on this one 😂
I think the problem is that for many people stuff becomes emotional and they cannot reach a balance with the objects in their lives.
It reminds me of a commentary by a Zizek interviewer who went to his home and said something like – here is this great philosopher but you wouldn’t be able to tell by visiting his very ordinary flat with few books on display or tasteful cultured ornaments and pictures. Zizek is obviously too interested in ideas to bother but there are also people who are interested in ideas who do bother and don’t find it a chore. different strokes etc but people should definitely not look down on those who can’t be bothered or don’t want to or vice versa
but the issue really is the excess and that is driven by something else, although I do wonder what the end of this phase of capitalism will usher in? will we be sat in our pods eating insects or will we focus on ideas more, something that they can’t take away from us
Is there a vast surplus of insects we can subsist on ? Thanks to mobile phone radiation and pesticides there aren’t that many left. Eating insects would also mean eating insecticides. Perhaps that is the idea.
Nice points, Sofia. There are good ideas and bad ideas. Perhaps we can teach our children to acknowledge the difference in ideas and in the process learn to create them. Education should be fundamentally basic,
Me, I want to get rid of everything. My wife however …
Edward, I usually love your articles –and this one, also, is beautifully written — but I find I must disagree with you most strongly. iWhile it is very kind of you to sort through your friend’s possessions, the way you write about the experience, and about your friend is highly distressing to me on so many levels. I cannot hope to convey all of my distress here, but will give it a try. To differ in character from a person who saves things — or even hoards them — is quite all right, but to condemn them, and in such harsh language for doing so, is just plain wrong. It is beneath you.
Now, I don’t mean people who buy lots of expensive things, things to show off, those with half a dozen houses, 20 cars (maybe a Mazerati of two?). That, indeed, is “done on the backs of the poor and destitute around the world.” That aspect of your condemnation is generally valid.
But those who save and collect, even hoard, bits of “junk” do not deserve this sort of blanket attack! People save all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. They may just fear death, as you suggest (and don’t most of us?). They may find joy in some of these items. I collect rocks; I like to look at them. I like to hold the smooth ones in my palm. I have a rock garden I have built with them. Am I evil or stupid for doing this? Who are you to judge?
Things that have no meaning for you may have — or once have had — meaning for your friend. Memories have meaning. That receipt for a toaster may have been the first appliance he and his wife ever bought together; a memory of a special day. I also have Christmas cards from 30 years ago, and I wish I had more of them, for they are from people who have passed on or who live far away. I have 2 memory boxes (only 2!) filled with things I want to, or need to, occassionally remember. Among these items are the aforementioned Christmas cards, some poems I wrote as a teenager (very bad poems, I now realise, but I still love them), a ragged stuffed animal I slept with as a young child, the collar from a long-deceased beloved pet. I do look at them, not every day or even every month, but from time to time. Why? Well, why not? They are part of my life. You seem to say such things have no value. HOW DARE YOU!
To live totally in the past is not good for a person, I know, but to live totally without it is also a problem. My mother-in-law now has dementia. Her connection with “reality” is very tenuous. The present time has little meaning to her. She can’t remember where she is going when she leaves a room. But she likes to look at old photographs, and I regularly thank God that someone in her family had the foresight to collect them (she herself did not — like you, I guess, she was not a collector or hoarder) . Some of these photos are now mounted into a montage which hangs in her room, so she can reminisce about long gone people, places and things. Is this wrong? Maybe you think she is just taking up space on the earth, like her photos are. Is she just using up the world’s resources. I cannot see it that way.
Now, to move on to “hoarding” or just saving odd bits of things for the sake of saving them, things like bags, or rusty nails, or 10 year old cans of paint that have surely dried out beyond use … and these are some of the things my husband tends to save. I will admit, this to me makes no sense, and (don’t tell him this!) I do sometimes discreetly dispose of a few of these things so that the closet door in his office will shut properly. But the tools and other items in the garage are beyond sacred; I don’t even know what some of them are. Why does he save these things? I’m not sure. I think because he thinks they might one day come in handy, even though they rarely do. But, you see, that is the kind of person he is. That is how he has been since the day I met him. I no longer try to change him. His purpose in collecting/hoarding (call it what you will) is different from mine. And that is okay. It is not a sign of mental illness, or stupidity, or spiritual emptiness. He is the dearest, sweetest, kindest and most forgiving person I have ever known.
From your previous writings, Edward, I have thought of you, also, as dear, sweet, kind and forgiving. But this article makes me wonder. You don’t collect things. That is the sort of person YOU are; your way of life, your quality of mind, your traits. But don’t condemn those of us who do with your (sneering? or mourning?) comment that “hoarders, collectors, and keepers are lost children, trying desperately to secure themselves from death while losing themselves in the process.” I haven’t lost myself yet. Indeed, I am still finding myself. I see a bit of me over that, in that little enamel box or that perfectly shaped granite rock. You don’t see it, do you? But, Edward, I do. I do.
Amen to all of these things. Thank you.
“To differ in character from a person who saves things — or even hoards them — is quite all right, but to condemn them, and in such harsh language for doing so, is just plain wrong.”
“To live totally in the past is not good for a person, I know, but to live totally without it is also a problem.”
I come away with simply this: Curtin is, one, peeved at having to do a batch of unwelcome work, and sets about justifying his distaste for this not only philosophical but deeply physical clash with someone who lived differently; and two, how convenient, it triggers a writing topic to which he can apply his talents showing this distaste.
Thanks for your kind remarks. I felt driven to write them because it was really the first time I found myself in such profound disagreement with Mr Curtin’s ideas and the tone of his writing. I was, perhaps, a bit on the defensive, not just for myself but for others I know and care about. But I forgive Mr Curtin. I don’t have all the answers to life’s questions either.
there’s very little notion of true sacrifice here
As Mick Jagger said in a song, What a drag it is getting old.
Now I need a beer or two to cut through the anxiety.
Having ample storage space is a curse. You have two choices if your storage space is full; Expand your space or start tossing stuff.
I recommend tossing it. Don’t look back. Just toss it. All of it. I am there.
Somewhere between now and 20 years that will be my family.
After retirement 11 years ago my wife and I moved out of the home in which we had raised our kids. We made a plan and stuck with it. For two years I dragged stuff from our storage spaces to the street on garbage day for the junkers who would later sell it to other victims at flea markets and garage sales.
It did not take long for word to get around among the scavengers that there was a treasure trove in front of my house every week. I estimated the value and wrote it off on my taxes as donations to the poor, which it was.
I yelled at a few of my neighbors when I found them pilfering through my stuff before the junkers got to it. One of them had the nerve to ask if he come in to my home to take a look around. Unbelievable.
You would think that I would have learned my lesson after that experience. I am there again. I am ready to get the hell out of Dodge but I, once again, have all this stuff I don’t need and my kids don’t want.
Time to start dragging again.
What a drag…….
‘Underworld’ is a truly terrible book.
The mainstream media hyped it up as the book you had to read for the turn of the millenium. I remember going up a London tube escalator with every billboard being for the book. You think these people – the media, the publishers, the PR companies – have your welfare at heart?
His JFK book ‘Libra’ is also terrible. If you must read something by him, try ‘White Noise’ although nobody’s life is worse off from not having read a word by him.
Nothing good somehow sneaks through into mainstream culture, it’s all weaponised and toxic. They might drop the occasional revelation but only as attempts to steer people in wrong directions of for mockery.
I agree that Libra is a bad book, but not Underworld. It does have a certain USA flavor with its long opening about baseball and a famous game, yet it is prophetic about what was to follow, including the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001
So sad that the writer missed the most enlightening awareness that may be found upon clearing out our deceased relatives’ belongings. It’s the opportunity of discovering the things that made them. All those bits they hid from you provides one with a clearer understanding.
The question for me would have been who’s lock of hair? Why were those items kept with it? Was this the minutiae of that person? Why did they keep those long lost relatives’ photographs? Who were they for my loved ones? What is the link of them to me?
The papers and photographs of our relatives’ lives are OUR story. It’s our family history that with what’s left we can weave the narrative of who we are.
I found transit visas, and passports of my family’s flight from pogroms. Photographs of others on the boat to America. Found the death certificate of a Great Aunt I’d never known existed but having found it, discovered her death is linked to my medical condition. Finding birth certificates, details of their businesses, let me know that they travelled extensively living all along the Danube.
I kept most of the photographs, making a photo album that tells their life stories. I kept my mother’s favourite paintings even though they’re far too large for my walls. I kept all the scraps of newspaper clippings of my father’s. I kept his Korean War pictures and letters to his parents. I discovered he was heavily involved in politics and was a Naval Officer. Things I was never told.
I’ve kept them not only for me, but as a link for my grandchildren to their past.
I know of all the modern approaches of minimalism that supposedly clear one of distractions. But then I also know that in geriatric psychology they use those items from the past to help with memory retrieval. So if you have nothing left as the Resetters want, you only have the here and now. No memories make you docile. While I can still see those items from my family that remind me of the past – when they HAD to flee with only suitcases.
But then, knowing that those who remained perished in the Holocaust (except one with numbers on his forearm) reminds me that recognizing the signs of impended doom may save me. And my family. Would I take many of of those ancient photographs and papers with me?
I once bore the task of cleaning out the apartment of an uncle who died of a drug overdose. I was the only family member still speaking him to him after years of substance abuse and had the bonus of being unemployed and able to travel at the time.
After two days of sorting on site and many more sorting at home in my leisure, I came to realize that I had been given the profound gift of knowing my uncle perhaps more intimately than anyone else and a fuller appreciation for the uniqueness of his spirit and the pain he endured throughout his life for the differences he could not bridge to others.
I found, among other things, his collection of road reflectors, his mass of pennies collected since childhood; he sorted them by year and series, apparently weighing some of them to see if they met some vaunted numismatic criteria. His collection of name badges from dozens of shitty jobs over the years and his collection of the magazines he had proudly copy-edited during a brief window of sobriety in the 1980s. There were piles of medical reports for a cancer he had been diagnosed with but had not shared with the family, documentation of DWI arrests, rehab, repeat. Cuttings of hair from his prized dog who had died years earlier, and every card/letter/postcard that anyone had ever sent him going to back to his childhood some 50 years prior. He had compiled a long list of names scribbled in pencil on the backs of cardboard that had once comprised cigarette cartons; this appeared to be perhaps every person he had ever known. He saved every ticket stub from every event, every pay stub for over 30 years; a tarnished silver fork, knife, and spoon from his childhood (wrapped in a disintegrating rubber band). And there were at least three degrees, only one of which I was aware of.
At the end of it all, a picture emerged of a dangerously intelligent, sensitive, hurting, obsessive/compulsive man whom we might now refer to as neuro-atypical, perhaps somewhere along “the spectrum.” He was gifted with a mountain of IQ points and restrained from meeting his potential by a grievous childhood filled with alcoholism, abuse, and neglect. He was lonely and wanted so badly to connect, and he held these objects close, perhaps as the best approximation of relationship to people that he could manage.
My favorite thing out of all the mess in his tiny studio apartment is a single shaved mannequin head, sporting his favorite hat. It had greeted me as I cautiously opened the door to his apartment, ducking through crime scene tape from the coroner’s office and wondering what grim remains I may find. And second best, a correspondence from a credit card company asking him to confirm that he wanted to add Ernest B. Dancer to his account. Ernie Butt Dancer, the deceased chihuahua.
Thank you for sharing your touching story. It’s often seen as a chore to have to close down the deceased’ home but it can also be a blessing.
Your uncle’s life story is so sad: someone with so much potential to succeed in life if he’d had the chance to get adequate care/support. There’s always a greater demand for professional help then any health authority can provide.
It’s one of the thinks that upsets me so much from the Govn’t actions over the last 2.5 years. They induced anxiety and depression on the population without caring whether it might damage mental health. Children’s suicidal ideation and attempts have increased over 30%. I’ve no idea about adults but assume it’s the same, maybe more.
I offered a suicide ideation emergency call Centre my time as a retired psychologist but sadly they preferred younger people. Instead my adult child and I created a support group for the awake as so many have been cut off from old friends and family. So at least I did something to help.
Thank you for this. It’s as relevant as it is poignant.
Especially old photographs. A couple generations down the road, someone might start to throw an old photograph of some long ago forgotten relative away and just casually glance at it and exclaim “Oh my God, that’s me! I’m a spitting image of whomever that was!”
Things like that matter.
I didn’t miss all that. I kept such significant discoveries and documents, but not to share with the public. I know whose lock of hair it is. Essential things are essential to keep; it’s all the excessive and extraneous stuff that’s not.
TBH one of the benefits of considerations towards the retired downsizing is that they go through all their own rubbish.
I’m presently doing the essential clearing of crap that the entire family now grown up, have left behind. Often they’ll say ‘I don’t have the room but I want it’ Providing a double blind for patents stuck with what they want to get rid of!
Anyway, I’m being forced to downsize by circumstances. It costs too much to maintain and pay costs for a family home when the family now have their own families.
Glad you kept essential items. My grandchildren are too young to hear my departed relatives’ stories for now, but I’m hoping even when I’m gone, their parents will remember.
why would keeping things be on the back of poor people. that would be throwing away and getting new.
though giving away excess to a charity shop might help a local person in need.
minimalism is not helpful in a cold winter.
personally i go between abundance consciousness, and my need for prepping.
know the truth but respect the illusion.
i affirm that i have all that i need , and having clothes and blankets help there too.
You will own nothing and be happy
my exact thoughts…..The Transnational Capitalist Class has already begun to relieve us of any possessions that may give us comfort or security. We are being conditioned to rely on them for “everything”.
Therefore, we will all become dependents of the Global1 percent if we do not resist the “New Normal”.
There is only one possession that they will not be able to take away from us “unless we give them permission” to take that also and that one possession is…..our souls.
Just peeked in a drawer with seven pairs of sunglasses. Anyone out there need a pair of sunglasses?
I have over twenty pairs of sunglasses, I love and use them all. They all hang out there, waiting for me to use one of them. I love and take care all of my things, not seen this habit any around my family or friends.
10 years ago I moved from one place to another and gave away all my stuff. Not that I had much to start with but less is definitely more when it comes to stuff. A good bed is important and nice sheets. It’s not for everyone but I prefer it and it did feel liberating to me. Maybe I had a midlife crisis but I am more sociable these days and focus more on my friendships and going out. I like it that way.
You’re fortunate. It’s been my experience that whenever I get rid of something – mostly a piece of clothing – it comes back to haunt me. That is to say, a situation arises when that very shirt or sweater or pants would have been perfect.
That “perfect” item is all in the mind
“Tight Sheets”, my wife would say…….. Changing the sheets and flipping/turning the mattress was a ritual.
And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15J
Exodus 20:5-6 continues,
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
On the blameless fourth no less – if the Satan rebellion story has any truth it is of little wonder.
It’s a pharaonic thing. Possessions are needed for enjoyment of the afterlife. The more you’ve accumulated the more fun you’ll have.
Possessions can possess the majority of Homo sapiens in this life alas, even though in the back of their minds there is the fact that they can take $0 with them after death.
Originally, we stored up against want and uncertainty. Then, marketing took advantage of that.
(Note: I reply when I really like a comment because I refuse outright to use the “Up” and “Down” buttons.)
I’m very careful where I get my “things”, and other than myself, who else they benefit. From there on, it a fleeting connection, mostly.
I burnt all my belongings over ten years ago; after I left uni when I was shown we lived in a kingdom of lies; everything; 100’s of photographs of distant travels; childhood school books; comics; star wars monopoly; mobile phone; modern science documents and egyptian histories; video game consoles and cd’s; all went up in smoke; I lay the grass back over the top and vowed no-one will have to sort through my narcissism. Such a great release.
But; if I’d have lived in a society of integrity; with communial bonds, honest Godfilled relationships and a true brotherhood environment protecting our vulnerable; I wouldn’t have burned a thing accept incense. I was worried I’d miss stuff but what’s to miss; it was all fake and now its ash; it burned so hot the playstation literally turned to dust.
An admirable thing to do. But Ebay has made it more difficult than ever to dispose of mementoes.
I was really hard up financially a few years ago, so I sold a lot of stuff on Ebay. Say what you will about “junk,” it got me through some hard times.
I’ll admit that I can be something of a hoarder. But part of the reason why I do it is because I’m sickened by consumerist, disposable culture, so I do the opposite to that. I make do and mend, something that I was brought up to do. And it’s amazing how many times something I’ve kept hold of in spite of being told to throw it away ends up finding a use or a new home.
all that makes perfect sense.
Older things were many times better made as well. Perhaps that’s part of why our owners want us to own nothing – we could then compare the quality of things that lasted to the plastic shit we consume and then throw away now, can’t have that.
My mother was somewhat of a hoarder, although her real thing was paper – lots of printed emails of crap she never read. We got rid of dumpsters full of paper, and we were under a big time constraint when we moved her so lots of things got either sold or dumped. There are a few things now I wish I had not gotten rid of, and these would be the useful things, not her junk. Those useful things would have come in handy and they were made a lot better than the newer versions of them too. A rather nice sewing machine, some old Corning ware of a quality one cannot touch now, some old tools. Oh well, gone now, here’s hoping someone else is enjoying and using those things now.
My father always says ‘If you can’t carry it on your back at a dead run you don’t really own it’. I would say you don’t own it if it can be taken away, either by someone else or by time, and everything can be taken away, except the mind.
He predicts it all – in 2006.
“….Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ eft to lose
Nuthin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free
Buddy, that was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee…”
These days our hoarding is digital. We don’t have boxes and boxes of photos because we have countless gigabytes of images stored in various repositories. Same with music and books — we don’t hold the physical things because the essence of them is available at our fingertips. Digital repositories are often indexed so provided the correct tags are maintained and our ideas fit into the strait-jacket of the software designer’s devising we can always find what we’re looking for. (Until it disappears….)
The ‘stuff’ people collect is a record of their lives. Its proof to them, if nobody else, that they existed and as you’ve noted after they’re dead and forgotten its of no interest. Except to historians, people who piece together our collective existence from the leavings of innumerable individuals. The things they leave aren’t useless, though — I never buy anything new that I can find used.
Beware of the “own nothing” mindset. We don’t have to spend our lives aspiring to own more and more stuff but at the same time we don’t want to spend our lives renting everything we need to live. That’s slavery, not freedom. In our modern late stage capitalist society (known by some as “rentier capitalism”) making of physical things becomes passe, you extract a toll from each individual for everything they do — for where they sleep, what they eat, how they move, how the entertain themselves and so on. In some older sci-fi stories you typically see some incremental payment device like a ‘coin mechanism’ which segues to some kind of universal credit card. These days and forward into the future you won’t need physical ID, your identity, social standing and financial health will just be known, your value being your productive worth — think of “The Matrix” but with half decent technology (because, frankly, you’re not worth the vat of goop — you have to make your own).
That’s right, don’t get fundamentalist about things. It’s the ATTACHMENT to things that’s negative, not the things themselves.
This is of course true. However, there really is such a thing as sentimentality – specifically, a sentimental attachment to things.
There’s a kind of Pantheism wherein objects are assigned value almost as if they were “living” entities. It sounds stupid, or even crazy, I know.
But to simply throw something away (and I’m not talking about the kind of meaningless junk real true “hoarders” keep, like ads received in the mail) – to throw away a thing which once had meaning seems almost cruel in a way.
Yes you’re right. It’s very human, sentiment doesn’t have to be mawkish. I should have said- over-attachment. I’ve had shirts that I was very attached to and wore them until they almost fell apart. I’m not into Pantherism but I rather like domestic cats, each to his own I suppose.
And perhaps it might sometimes be relevant to pare one’s THOUGHTS down to the truly relevant in a time of great urgency.
Your alternative update on #COVID19 for 2022-10-22. Vaccine Repugnance, Government Revulsion, Doctor Aversion, Police Animosity – did this guy miss anything (blog, gab, tweet).
I always liked this passage from The Last Temptation:
“Hello, skinflint, venom nose, profit-mad immortal son of Abraham… And you, dare-devil, chatterbox, gobble-jaws… And you, pious milktoast: you don’t murder, steal or commit adultery-because you are afraid. All your virtues are daughters of fear… And you, simple donkey that they break with beating: you carry on, you carry on despite hunger, thirst, cold, and the whip. Laborious, careless of your self-respect, you lick the bottom of the saucepan. All your virtues are daughters of poverty…”
It warns against celebrating virtue (such celebration being a sin anyway) by mistaking the motive behind it.
Well, I would have taken the pen with me.
And maybe hoarded some other stuff too.
You can’t live in ‘freedom’
Here is a song that I hoarded when I was young. Not so sure about the sunscreen anymore. And I never cared about ‘philandering’ politicians (it’s an interesting word though, without a good Dutch translation, same goes for Ed’s word ‘interlocutor’)
Maybe I am a beachcomber (although I prefer the Dutch word ‘strandjutter’ there).
Newton (I know) said:
‘I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’
That is freedom to me.
So is this song
‘Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
A long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
Until they’ve faded, but trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back
At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now
How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine
Don’t worry about the future
Or worry, but know that worrying
Is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing Bubble gum
The real troubles in your life
Are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday
Do one thing every day that scares you
Saying, don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours
Don’t waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself
Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life
The most interesting people I know
Didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t
Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to your knees
You’ll miss them when they’re gone
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the ‘Funky Chicken’
On your 75th wedding anniversary
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much
Or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
Read the directions even if you don’t follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good
Be nice to your siblings, they’re your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future
Understand that friends come and go
But a precious few, who should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get
The more you need the people you knew when you were young
Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too, will get old
And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders
Respect your elders
Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out
Don’t mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85
Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
And recycling it for more than it’s worth
But trust me on the sunscreen
sunscreen is what gives you skin cancer imo
Well, it’s easy to criticize other people’s stuff. It’s also easy to idolize owning nothing as freedom.
I lost my stuff in a catastrophe. I was homeless for a while, living in a shelter, and all I had was the clothes I was wearing and my bag with the usual stuff. When I got an apartment, I bought a mattress, a pillow and linen. I can tell you I felt no freedom or creativity in an empty room. I felt cold.
Then I bought a chair and got a used laptop from relatives. I used the chair as a table for my laptop, sitting on the floor. I was poor. There’s no freedom in being poor. Relatives gave me stuff like towels, sheets, kitchen-ware, because they had so much extra. I was grateful for everything other people gave me.
But my apartment was very empty for a long time. I bought some small items with color to make myself happier. I’m sure those things mean nothing to other people, but to me, they mean a lot.
It’s been 16 years since that. Little by little I bought stuff like furniture and clothes. Now my apartment is filled with stuff. Life is so much easier, and I like it. Owning things is good.
Owning land is a whole different topic. Tolstoy’s story is about owning land. Nobody should own land. This land is my land, and it’s your land. It belongs to everybody, and it belongs to no-one.
I think you’ve missed the entire point of the essay, or perhaps avoided the point. It’s all about accumulation, the fetish of accumulation, what you’re talking about is deprivation.
Amazing piece of writing! RGB-Y2 out!!
I’ve been very busy these past couple years, typing. As time rushes toward some non-apotheosis, I want to get all my novels to the Copyright Office. I’ve never tried to get anything published; but I don’t want my life’s work destroyed completely some day.
My handwritten manuscripts (the creation of words on paper mirrors the creation of thoughts in the mind) will all go to the dump some day. I despair this inevitability.
I do not seek to “live” through my works. Rather, they are as close to real beings as things can be. I don’t want them to cease being entirely. Copyrighted, they will continue for 90 years after I’m no more. They will “live” to a ripe old age.
On another note, when “my generation” is gone, everything that went before us will be gone. All the family anecdotes handed down, sometimes several generations, will be forgotten because no one who remembers hearing about them will remain. I’m not at all sure this is as it should be.
Nothing is more important than life. The Neil Diamond song “Done Too Soon” is every human’s epitaph.
But the real you WILL survive your physical body’s death. Ie, there will never be a time when you are ‘no more’. We exchanged some posts, here on Off-G some months ago, in which I provided you with a summary of the facts re. the very real Afterlife! But you chose to ‘disbelieve’.
However, it’s a proven fact that we do all survive (in our eternal, immortal soul/spirit body form – that being the thing which literally animates our physical body, whilst we’re on Earth, and is what literally emerges from the physical body at the time of ‘death’) the death of our physical body ‘coat’.
As I told you in our exchanges some months ago, there are 20+ different categories of the multi-faceted evidences which together prove that the actual nature of ‘death’ is so very, very different to what it merely seems to be, when interpreted on its immensely illusory, face-value mere appearance.
I’ve been a properly-informed Spiritualist for 28 years. The information is there, for anyone who wants to acquire this life-changing knowledge.
One of the many thousands of excellent books which provide the data proving what I’ve just said is “Your eternal self: Science discovers the Afterlife”, by R Craig Hogan.
The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
To know each other we must reach beyond the sphere of our sense perceptions.
You are so, so right!
Already, some well-known uninformed materialists have returned to the Spirit dimension, and thus learnt (and had to face!) that their rabid materialism was incorrect. For eg, the Canadian, James Randi. And the British bloke, Professor Stephen Hawking.
Many other uninformed materialists will also, eventually, have their eyes well and truly opened. For eg, when the very closed-minded Dr Richard Dawkins returns to Spirit, he’ll get the biggest shock…! And will have to face that it was he who was wrong, all those years, in denouncing survival of ‘death’, and not we countless millions of properly-informed people around the world who possess the knowledge which proves that the actual nature of ‘death’ is so very different to what it merely seems to be! That the cosmos is in fact multi-dimensional in nature.
I recall our exchanges of awhile back – and I valued them at the time and still do. I think I had to leave off because – in those days – every article generated so many comments (hmm: are comments like accumulations also?) that it became like looking for a needle in a haystack to find one in particular.
You are correct: I continue to “disbelieve.” Or, more appropriately, I like this physical existence (even though, at 78, I’m showing signs of wear and tear) so much that I don’t really care what comes after.
The “me” that may live on in spirit is not the whole “me.” And nothing can change that. The part of “me” that I’ve known for all these years will one day cease to exist.
Though Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi” was written as satire, I find the central character’s plea more apropos than anything else I’ve ever read:
It’s actually the case that the ‘us’ that lives on in the very real Spirit dimension is a million times more than what we each are, when here on Earth.
Of course life on Earth is wonderful. No one is saying otherwise. But you will one day discover that when you do return to the Spirit realms, that you will ‘become’ far, far more than we each are, when here on Earth. And moreover, you will still have the individuality that you have now, as Howard. The illusory event that’s so very incorrectly termed ‘death’ causes us to lose only our [current] physical body ‘coat’; we each arrive back in Spirit with all our faculties intact: we will possess the thoughts, memories, feelings, attitudes, etc, that we each have right now. Plus we will be able to access memories of the many previous lifetimes that the eternal soul that we each are, has lived/experienced! And meet up with the souls with whom we shared those previous lifetimes (and that is a fact!).
Also, the eternal soul that we each are will live many, many more lifetimes (on Earth, and in other places in the cosmos). On returning to Spirit after each of those lifetimes (incarnations), you [the eternal soul which you are] will look back on previous lifetimes, and at that point, your current life as Howard will be one of those previous lifetimes! And you’ll then be able to meet up with (in the very real Spirit realms) people [souls] whom you have in your current lifetime.
Why would you not care what comes after this lifetime?!? As many spiritually-enlightened people around the world say, when one is going on holiday, somewhere on Earth, most [well, many… maybe not all…] people research (before the trip) re. the country, or place, to which they’ll be travelling. To know a bit about the place that one will be visiting.
So why would people not want to learn (at least a little…) about the ‘place’ to which we’ll all be returning, one day? (Ie, the very real Spirit dimension of this multi-dimensional cosmos) So as to be informed, at least to some degree, about its nature, etc etc, before we each arrive back there…
On the contrary, humans know nothing. We only believe (from sensing, thinking, hallucinating, etc.). Actual knowledge, of anything outside our current conscious thoughts, is simply not possible. To know something, one must literally be one with it. Never mind knowing the “spiritual” (whatever that is), we don’t even know the physical/sensible. History is littered with things that were once known but today completely disavowed. Need I really drag out examples?
Socrates at one point admitted it (“I neither know nor think I know”). His near-contemporary Protagoras (earlier) pointed out its mirror or complement, usually translated as (abbr.) “Man is the measure of all things”. I’m confident this was not out of hubris, but out of sad necessity. We are forever condemned to live in our own bubble, one of error and limitation.
Moreover, belief itself is involuntary. You think you know why you believe, but you don’t, because you have no idea how your mind actually works, and never can.
Of course, at the limits of our comprehension, all the above is so terrifying to most that we live in denial of it.
Do you think otherwise? Great! I’d love to be proved wrong here, and have the potential for that infinite happy future you promise! OK, so now, let’s see you transfer that “knowledge” to me… You know, so that I come to believe it (the way it’s done in mass-ed classrooms) because it’s, well … undeniable by any rational being…
I’ve only just seen your reply to my post of yesterday, so I hope that you’ll see it!
Well, what I stated in my three posts above (11.48am, 4.22pm & 4.39pm) happen to be the plain and simple absolute facts!! Ie, they’re not ‘mere beliefs’.
As I stated in the first one, there truly are 20+ [twenty+] different categories of the multi-faceted evidences which together absolutely prove that we do all survive (in our very real eternal, immortal soul/spirit body form) the immensely illusory event that’s wholly incorrectly termed ‘death’. This ultimate truth of existence is known about by [literally] countless millions of properly-informed people around the world. Moreover, those countless millions include many properly-informed scientists, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, lawyers, etc etc.
There are many thousands of excellent, scholarly books that have been written on the reality of everyone’s survival of the death of their physical body ‘coat’, and a large percentage of them have been written by those properly-informed scientists, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, lawyers, etc.
The survival of death truth has been known about for thousands of years! In modern times, it’s been known about, and written about, for approx. 200 years.
There are (as I stated above) many different categories of the evidences which demonstrate the veracity of what I say.
Firstly, the real us IS our immortal spirit body; this is what literally animates our physical body ‘coat’, and it [the spirit body] literally emerges from the physical body at the time of ‘death’. There are many people around the world who are lucky enough to possess the very real spiritual gift of what’s termed clairvoyant vision. Ie, they are able to see beyond this physical dimension.
And when they’re in the presence of someone who is about to do what is so very wrongly termed ‘die’, they are able to see [with their clairvoyant sight] that person’s [immortal] spirit body literally emerge from the dying physical form.
There are some doctors and nurses around the world who are also lucky enough to possess clairvoyant sight, and thus they, too, when present at people’s ‘deaths’, see that person’s spirit body depart from the physical.
It is, in fact, the literal departure of the spirit body (the thing which animates our physical body, whilst on Earth) that causes the physical body to become motionless, at ‘death’…! Ie, because the property which literally animated it is no longer there to do so…!
Contrary to what most (but not all… some scientists are spiritually-enlightened) present-day scientists merely think, consciousness is NOT ‘a mere by-product of the physical brain’. Consciousness and the brain are two separate things. Yes, the mind/consciousness operates/manifests through the brain, but it, consciousness, is most definitely not created by the physical brain.
It is due to the foregoing fact that we do all survive the death of our physical body ‘coat’…!
At ‘death’, the real us (ie, ‘contained in’ our eternal, immortal soul/spirit body form) literally emerges from the physical, and returns to the place from which we all originate: ie, the very real Spirit dimension of this in fact multi-dimensional cosmos.
Clairvoyantly-sighted people see the spirit body emerge from the physical body, at ‘death’, and then that still-existing (but incorrectly termed ‘dead’, by spiritually-unenlightened people) person returns to the Spirit realms. They retain all of their thoughts, memories, feelings, emotions, attitudes, knowledge. The ‘only’ thing which the hugely-misinterpreted ‘death’ causes us to lose is our physical body!
With regard to those people who are lucky enough to possess clairvoyant sight, when they’re present at someone’s ‘death’, not only do they see that person’s spirit body emerge from the ‘dying’ physical body, they also see one or more wrongly-termed ‘dead’/’deceased’ people (the latter being in their immortal spirit body form[s]) coming to literally collect their ‘dying’ relative/friend, and to escort them back to the Spirit dimension. There are very many documented examples of this phenomenon, around the world.
I’ll continue this in a second post, okay!
Thank you for your posts. I will review them, because what I will say now just below doesn’t diminish my curiosity about evidences…
You said up front: “Well, what I stated in my three posts above (11.48am, 4.22pm & 4.39pm) happen to be the plain and simple absolute facts!! Ie, they’re not ‘mere beliefs’.”
But you’re not getting my point. There is no such thing as an “absolute fact”, at least about the world external to one’s mind. Therefore, EVERYTHING is a “mere belief.” And as every specific claim to fact is actually belief, my more fundamental point is that that leads to (or should lead to!) an adoption of humility about it.
Human beings — and you’re a human, yes? — are not capable of guaranteeing knowledge of anything outside of their own thoughts. This includes not only all spiritual things, but all physical things as well. It’s just not possible, because every human is necessarily of limited capacities and abilities. (The problem is generally worse for spiritual things than physical ones, because knowledge is not near-universally transferable from one person to another, in the way knowledge of the physical is.)
You’ve got to disprove my claim about human abilities before you move on into any specifics about proofs about the spiritual world. It’s that simple.
– Most humans (even in the West) “knew” the earth was flat centuries ago. Some still do!
– Most physicists “knew” Newtonian mechanics was a completed (micro) description of how the physical world works until after Einstein and the physics of the 20th century came along.
– Most doctors “*knew” one had to bleed diseases out of people, and that the shape of one’s head determined mental characteristics, and that the races could be ranked…
… and on and on and on. Do you think all this has come to an end in the 21st century? No. And if that applies to the physical world, it certainly applies to the spiritual world, too.
Have just seen your further post, above.
In reply to your first comment to me [published @ 4.25am today], I’ve today sent you my response in three parts [published at 11.08am, 12.10pm, and 12.59pm]. I hope that you will read them in full! They include [in Part 3] the relating of two of my many personal proofs that yes, we do all survive the death of our physical body.
I think you are being rather… (what’s the word/term I want…? Can’t think of the most appropriate term…) unfair/rigid when you claim that there are no ‘absolute facts’.
The survival of ‘death’ evidences are so very specific, and are so multitudinous, that they provide overwhelming, incontrovertible proof that Survival is indeed a fact (N.B., the word Survival, written with a capital S, is the ‘official’ term for the survival of ‘death’ truth).
The fact that the examples of earlier centuries’ ‘knowledge’ which you cited are of course factually untrue (eg, ‘flat earth’ nonsense; doctors ‘bleeding’ and ‘leeching’ people, etc etc) does not equate to a right to be closed-minded re. the wholly real mountain-loads of incontrovertible Survival data!
I reiterate what I said in one of my earlier posts, above: ie, that people on Earth have known for thousands of years of the fact of survival of ‘death’. Ie, it’s not something that’s being ‘claimed’ only in this 21st century!!
By trying to deny that no one on Earth can claim knowledge that we survive the death of our physical body, you are trying to deny the importance of empirical data/evidences. When it’s empirical data/evidences which demonstrate what happens/does not happen [whatever the subject matter might be].
I think you need to open your mind a bit!
Please read my 3 further posts to you (as I said at the top of this response, they were published @ 11.08am, 12.10pm, and 12.59pm today).
I provided you (in Part 3 of my posts yesterday) with two of the many personal proofs of the fact of Survival of ‘death’ which I possess. And yet you have not commented on them… may I please ask why?
You asked me for evidences, and I provided you with two of the many personal proofs which I have (countless millions of other spiritually-enlightened people around the world also possess personal proofs (which take the form of many of the 20+ different categories of the evidences which exist). But you have not reacted to those evidences which I related to you.
Part 2: continued from my post to you of approx. 11.08am on 25th October.
(I’d typed all this, and posted it… then spotted that I’d typed a lower-case letter where a capital letter was required. So I amended it [within the five minutes allowed for editing!], only to see, to my horror, that that small amendment ’caused’ the post to be put into ‘pending – spam’! I recall seeing one of the editors of Off-G explain to someone, some time ago, that that does sometimes, unfortunately, happen… ie, that a small item of editing makes the post [nonsensically] go into ‘pending… spam’. How frustrating! I now have to type this Part 2 again, and then do the concluding Part 3)
N.B., in a 3rd post (Part 3!) I’ll relate a couple of the many personal proofs which I possess that my loved ones have survived the death of their physical body. A large percentage of the literally countless millions of spiritually-enlightened people around the world possess personal proofs that yes, we do all survive the death of our physical body ‘coat’. That our life continues, in the very real Spiritual dimension of this multi-dimensional cosmos.
The cosmos is multi-dimensional in nature. Ie, there exists far, far more to existence than ‘only’ this physical universe. This is merely the physical dimension. But there exist ‘non-physical’ (ie, what’s termed ‘spiritual’) dimensions, too.
(Let me here make it clear that I’m most definitely NOT any sort of a ‘christian’. I didn’t fall for that stuff. I’m very proud to be a properly-informed Spiritualist; I’ve been so for exactly 28 years. I first became spiritually-enlightened in October 1994, at the then age of 35)
Literally everything in existence is comprised of energy. Spiritual energy. Energy which ‘vibrates’ at differing frequencies. Energy which vibrates at a [relatively] slow frequency creates what we on Earth term ‘physical stuff’/’matter’. Energy which vibrates at a very rapid frequency creates the stuff of which the multi-dimensional cosmos is made: ie, ‘spirit energy’. This form of energy is what’s termed the basic substrate of the cosmos.
The latter is what comprises the very real Spirit dimension/Spirit world/Spirit realms: they being interchangeable terms for the same ‘place’: it’s where we (the eternal soul/spirit beings that we each are) all originate from.
People who possess the spiritual gift of clairvoyant vision (mentioned in my first post to you) are able to see people who now exist/live in their spirit body form. Simply because they, clairvoyantly-sighted people, can see those higher-vibrating frequencies of energy. And thus they are able to see people [wrongly-termed ‘dead’ people…] who now exist in their spirit form.
An analogy which spiritually-enlightened people often use, to try to enlighten spiritually-unenlightened people re. this aspect of the survival of ‘death’ truth, is this: imagine a bicycle wheel. When the bicycle is not being used, ie, at rest, the spokes of the wheel are very easily visible (stating the obvious). That is because the spokes are not moving. The energy of which they are comprised is thus vibrating at a very low frequency. Thus they can be seen, by everyone. When the wheel is spun, very slowly, the spokes can still be seen. Because the energy of which they’re comprised is still vibrating at a [relatively] low frequency [speed].
However, when the wheel is spun very rapidly, the underlying energy of which it is comprised is vibrating at a very high frequency. And hence the spokes cannot be seen… all that is seen is a blur. Put it this way, the spokes cannot be differentiated, in the way that they obviously can when the wheel is motionless, or is being spun very slowly.
But those spokes on the wheel do still exist!
That is an analogy, to illustrate why people who are oh so very incorrectly termed ‘dead’/’deceased’ DO still exist, but cannot be seen (unless one possesses clairvoyant vision).
Those who are referred to as ‘dead’ are NOT ‘dead’ in the way that spiritually-unenlightened people merely assume, due to their lack of spiritual enlightenment. They (the ‘dead’) are still literally alive, just as they were before their ‘death’, but they are now alive in their spirit body form, and not their physical body. They are the same as the spokes on a bicycle wheel which is being spun very rapidly. They cannot be seen, but they very much do still exist!!
In Part 3, I’ll relate to you a couple of the many personal proofs which I possess that oh yes, we most definitely do all survive (in our eternal, immortal soul/spirit body form) the immensely illusory, hugely-misinterpreted ‘death’.
I’ll here relate to you just a couple of the many personal proofs which I possess that yes, we do all survive (in our spirit body form) the death of our physical body…!
I don’t merely ‘think’ that we survive ‘death’, I know it!! As do the literally countless millions of other spiritually-enlightened people around the world also know it. Because there exists a veritable wealth of incontrovertible, multi-faceted evidences which emphatically demonstrates that this is the case!
As I mentioned in the first of these 3 posts to you, I first became spiritually-enlightened in October 1994. I came across (in my then local library in London, here in the UK [I think you may be American] a book which piqued my interest. And so I borrowed it from the library. And after I’d read it, I decided to initiate an extensive, in-depth, scholarly programme of research into whether there truly did exist any evidence that consciousness survives the death of the physical body.
In the intervening years, I’ve read more than 1500 [fifteen hundred+] excellent, scholarly books on this vital subject. Many of which have been written by the many spiritually-enlightened scientists, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, lawyers, etc, around the world who had themselves discovered the incontrovertible evidences which prove that we do all survive that immensely illusory event.
I’ve also had, since 1994, many [what are termed] ‘readings’ with [proven to be genuine] mediums. As also have a large percentage of the countless millions of other spiritually-enlightened people around the world.
So, here are two of the many personal proofs which I possess that yes, we do all survive the death of our physical body ‘coat’.
1) In July 2004 (please make a mental note of the year!), I had a reading with a medium who works for the local Spiritualist Church where I now live (mediums are not allowed to work for the Spiritualist Churches unless/until they have categorically proven that the information which they relay does originate from the Spirit dimension. The Spiritualists National Union [SNU] has a set of rules which they follow, in this regard, internationally).
In that reading, my dad communicated from the Spirit dimension (he’d done what’s wrongly termed ‘die’ in 1982, aged just 49).
The medium was able to relay to me what my dad said, due to her possessing the spiritual gift of what’s termed clairaudient hearing. Ie, people who possess this gift are able to hear what those in Spirit say to them, and then relay them to the intended recipient.
My dad gave the medium some specific information re. his son (ie, my younger brother; he’s now 56)’s then future wedding. My dad told me that my brother would marry in the Caribbean; that his wife would be called —–, and that she’d have a young daughter by a previous relationship, whose name was —–. My dad also told me that my brother’s then future step-daughter would, at some point in the future, wear her hair in plaits.
Well, the denouement of the above?!?
At the time of that reading, in July 2004, my brother was still living with his then longtime partner. However, in 2005, he and the lady split up [after 13 years together].
In 2007, he decided to go to Grenada, in the Caribbean, for a holiday. On the last day of that holiday, he met a young lady who came from Trinidad. She was 19 years younger than my brother, and had a then 3-year-old daughter by a previous relationship. And yes, you guessed it, she and her daughter had the exact names which my dad had given me, in 2004, as being the names of his son’s then future wife and step-daughter (N.B., both names are uncommon names; they’re in no way common female names).
My brother and the lady fell in love. Between then and 2008, he made several trips to the Caribbean. And in 2008, they married (on a beach in Grenada!). And they’ve lived here in the UK since then.
Moreover, when my brother’s stepdaughter was about eight, she did indeed begin wearing her hair in plaits (in the way in which Caribbean females often do)!.
My dad in the Spirit dimension was able to give me the above information in the reading in July 2004 precisely because the Spirit realms exist outside this physical space-time continuum. And hence (however it works), souls in the Spirit world are able to see, in advance of Earth-time, ALL events (major and minor; good and bad) that will take place in the lives of their loved ones on Earth.
2) In 2008, I had a reading with another Spiritualist Church medium (both this reading and the one above took place over the phone): a bloke called Stuart.
I’d never spoken to him before.
He relayed my dad in Spirit (due to his possession of clairaudient hearing, he was able to hear what my dad said), and told me that my dad was showing him, Stuart, an image (as I explained in the first post, people who possess the spiritual gift of clairvoyant vision are able to see things in the Spirit dimension. Souls in Spirit thus are able to show pictures/images, and a clairvoyantly-sighted person will be able to see those images).
He, Stuart, said that he was being shown an image of a mug (a drinking vessel!). That it was small, that it was narrow at the bottom, and tapered outwards to the top. That it was white, and had a large cerise-coloured heart on the front. And that in the middle of that heart were some words, in white script.
Well, the denouement?!? In February 2007, I’d bought (in a local shop) a mug for my longtime partner, for Valentine’s Day (he returned to the Spirit dimension in early 2019; he was 70). It was indeed small [about 3.75″ in height]. It was narrow at the bottom, and did indeed taper outwards to the top. It indeed was white, and had a large cerise-coloured heart shape on the front, in which was inscribed, in white print, some romantic words!
Souls in Spirit are able to see everything on Earth, including the inside of people’s homes. Thus my dad could see that mug which I’d bought for my partner. He chose to show the medium an image of that mug, to prove to me that he, my dad, knew of that particular mug’s existence!
Recall, my dad had returned to the Spirit dimension in 1982. Had death been what spiritually-unenlightened people merely assume it to be, he’d have been annihilated in 1982, no longer in existence, and thus would of course not have been aware of anything after that day. And thus would not have been able to know that I’d bought that particular mug for my partner in February 2007.
But ‘death’ is very much not what it merely seems to be! We truly all survive that event: in our eternal, immortal soul/spirit body form. We return to the Spirit dimension, from which vantage point we are able to watch our loved ones who are still on Earth, see into their homes, watch them in their everyday lives, see what they do, where they go on holiday, whom they meet, marry, etc etc!
There exist so many more evidences which prove that ‘death’ is categorically NOT what it merely seems to be, when interpreted on its immensely illusory, face-value mere appearance. That we do all survive that hugely-misinterpreted event.
(And that we each [as the eternal soul that we each are] live not just one life, but many, many different lifetimes. Ie, that reincarnation is also one of the spiritual truths of existence)
Some months ago, here on Off-G, I provided a short representative list of high-quality books on this subject for an American contributor who is a materialist, who thus [wrongly!] assumes that ‘death’ is the end of existence.
If you like, I can provide a similar list for you. Just let me know!
Timely article. It comes a day after visiting a friend over lunch who is dealing with her 94-year-old relative who has hung onto every scrap of evidence to chronicle her life.
Indeed, why does one record that it cost them $6.98 to buy a toaster in 1957? As proof that toasters cost less in 1957 than in 2022? But we can know that without writing it down. Some libraries house old magazines from 1957 and we can take a walk down memory lane visiting a library and thumb through old magazines.
The chaos and the order all side by side, and 90 percent of it headed to the dump, to be buried under more things that are taken to the dump.
I think of a line from The Whiffenpoof Song “Then we’ll pass and be forgotten with the rest.” On occasion, I’ve visited 19th century churches where there are photos of priests and the years they served (1885-1893). And perhaps I’ll look at the photo for a moment, remark on the sideburns or some other detail that interests me. But, the faces and the names mean nothing to me, and soon fade away.
Time to sort through our excess possessions to reduce the burden on others who will eventually have to attend to things once we’ve “passed on.”
Is that your view of all human history?
I got nothing to say I ain’t said before
I bled all I can, I won’t bleed no more
I don’t need no one to understand
Gimme the rain
Dream wars and a ticket to seem
Giving out and in
Selling the don’t belong
Well, what do you say
D’you have a word for giving away?
Got a song for me
the cult of materialism, possibly.
or over cluttered lives, by societal design. unfulfilled ?
(even worse: you go to the coup (municipal recycling centre) and see people throw their entire childrens childhood in it, or sundry other fads and fashions… and wonder why the fuck we rape the Earth, to throw it all away… wtf.)
unfortunately i dwell in such a mausoleum , and rejoice the day i can wipe it clean. . .
but i kept my mothers receipts, only those in the month prior to her demise, they remain an excellent snapshot of someone dedicated to her family, and fit in a small envelope.
i keep two drawers of knives, tools and talismen, directly useful or of some spirit strength, that fits in your hand (not the knives!), everything else is superfluous.
material sentimentality shows what a failed state of affairs we dwell within.
Sounds like the author would be delighted with “you’ll own nothing and be happy”.
Why do the elite want this? Because people with no resources of their own to fall back on must snap into line immediately. They want to pull their levers and have an immediate response, the dream of tyrants everywhere and everywhen.
Consumerism was never the permanent ideology of the elite although those socialisied during a certain epoch and whose brains have set in concrete mistakenly continue to believe that it is. It was a stage to generate more demand and enrich themselves but that stage is just about played out. Now we’re moving into left- and hippie-sounding nonsense designed as a cover for a massive resource grab. It plays on middle class guilt but comes from those who are truly guilty and have no guilt at all.
Like the elite didn’t wear masks, didn’t isolate and probably didn’t get jabbed, I don’t see the elite giving up their possessions. They’ll try to fake it when they go for the big paradigm-shift but we know who” really have control over the vital assets, however much they try to pass it off as “the common good”.
you miss the point wig,
I think you’re being a tad unfair. Hoarding is a real thing, perfectly described by Mr. Curtin. It’s symptomatic of something going on, or something lacking, in the human soul.
For what I’ve experienced, people who are hoarding have a personnality or mental disorder. It’s an illness and actually quite easy to explain.. extreme insecurities due to abuse and deprivation (?)… severe cases are spectacular. Now a stuffed storing room of any sort can be due to “too busy for years, in depression or ill for extended time, lazy, neatness not in your culture or upbringing… One look and you know.
I thought that too, about being in line with WEF ideology.
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. How would the author feel about some unsympathetic relative or other going through their most personal possessions and passing similar judgements?
Just another insult in the twilight of life, when all other autonomy and independence has been removed.
I can see what you’re saying too.
but that IS life,
you want a dedicated museum shelf all to yourself as you saw yourself, ffs?
? some curator of your especial life needs be at hand …?
yet failed to leave anyone, other than a mere “unsympathetic”, to deal with what you did not?
societal sickness, some form of greed, control and fundamental .. ? insecurity or lack of real purpose???
in a society of plenty.
I agree about the awful World Economic Forum ideology “You will own nothing and be happy” fitting the author to a tee.
There’s plenty of outlets for many of those possessions to move to others who can utilize them rather than rotting in a dump. The author has no concept of value in the marketplace.
Heartless, cruel, arrogant, disrespectful and ignorant writing. The author clearly should’ve had someone else handle the task who could do it correctly..
There are words; and there is an overall tenor to an article. You understood and responded to the words; but seem to have ignored or not noticed the tenor.
I didn’t at all get the impression that Mr. Curtin was criticizing his friend’s accumulation as if it were a character flaw. Rather, that he felt saddened that all these “things” that his friend seemed to have valued held so little value for anyone else and would inevitably end up in the dump – whether by his hand or some other later on.
Plus, as made clear in other writings, Mr. Curtin is a deeply religious man and, as such, is well aware of “God’s” view of accumulating these treasures of this earth – and make no mistake: these bits of things were on some level treasured by their possessor. Not their “owner” because no one can ever “own” anything, only possess it for awhile.
Amazing you recalled that scene from Zorba the Greek. I’ve not read the book but happened upon the movie flipping channels several years ago. That scene unfolded which has since haunted me. A few months ago I attended with my adult daughter an estate sale: walking through someone’s house to sift through their junk gave off that same creepy vibe which I shared with her to describe my discomfort with the whole thing.
Exquisite soulful abstraction.
Perfect Sunday, reflections . . .
Curtin covers Camus.
Very superb writing.
Wonderful story! Thanks