Challenging Destiny Challenging Destiny
New Fantasy & Science Fiction

Let's Start Our Own Cult

editorial by Robert P. Switzer

If I decided to start my own cult, here is what we (my followers and I) would believe:

Reincarnation happens. When your body dies, your soul will return in another body. Your soul, when selecting a new body to hop into, doesn't necessarily have to pick someone being born near the time of its previous body's death. It can skip into the future. Or it can leap into the past. Your soul doesn't need to follow any temporal restrictions.

Think about your soul bouncing around through time. Meanwhile, I'll think about my own soul bouncing around through time. Now let's think about the possibility that these two souls are actually the same soul. Either it went through my lifetime first, then through yours, or through yours first and then through mine. Perhaps it lived millions or billions of other lives in between, merrily leaping and skipping through time.

Now look at the people around you. Consider the possibility that your soul is the same soul that is inside them. All of them. Your soul has been into the future and into the past but has also existed in the present many separate times.

Now look at everyone on the planet. There is only one soul. There has always been only one soul. It makes its rounds and finds its way into all of us at one point or another, but it has always been the exact same soul. Everyone on the planet, and everyone who has ever existed, has known this soul.

Why not? Maybe you think that people are so different from one another that they can't possibly share the same soul. But keep in mind all of the other factors contributing to our differences -- hereditary and environmental factors. Your mind is understandably vastly different from other people's minds -- but your mind is just your mind. Dig a little deeper and you'll find your soul, and you'll discover that there's no reason that it can't be the same soul that's inside me and everybody else.

Sometimes this one soul of ours finds its way into a dolphin's body. Sometimes it lives out the life of a chimpanzee. You see, our soul doesn't see much difference between human beings and dolphins and chimpanzees. There are minor differences in our minds, of course, but again the soul doesn't place a lot of importance on the differences of the minds of the bodies that it inhabits.

From dolphins and chimpanzees, the soul gradually makes its way through all of the other animals. Of course, therefore, our soul is within every animal existing at the present time, and every animal that has ever existed.

Maybe you find it difficult to believe that the same soul that is inside you is also inside your pet dog or cat or hamster. You're a human being after all, and your pet is just an animal. But the differences between you and your pet have absolutely nothing to do with souls. You have a big human body, a big human brain, a big human mind, while your pet has a little animal body, a little animal brain, a little animal mind. Physically, mentally, hereditarily, environmentally, we human beings live different lives than the other animals. But the soul -- the infinitely harmonizing soul -- that's something we can share.

You know that big tree out in the backyard? Guess what -- it's got your soul. Every tree has our soul within it, and every other plant on the planet that has ever existed does too. Why not? Do you have something against plants?

If you're thinking that plants can't have souls because plants don't have minds, then you're forgetting that that's irrelevant. If you think that you can catch a glimpse of a soul when you look into the mirror, but you can't see any trace of a soul when you look at that big old tree, then you're confusing the soul with something else. A person's soul isn't the same as a person's intellect. A soul is a much more intangible, incorporeal thing.

You should keep in mind that the soul, being able to move back and forth through time, has more than an eternity to visit its bodies. It has an infinite number of eternities. So what does it do after it has been through the lives of every animal and plant that has ever existed? It moves on to inanimate objects. The soul is inside every pebble, every snowflake, every speck of dust. The soul is, and always has been, inside everything. It's in the air that we breathe. It's in the pages of this magazine. It's in your discarded fingernail clippings. Everything.

The soul, being completely nonmaterial, has a remarkable ability to expand spatially. Thus it can exist within a single drop of water, but can also swell to become the soul of an ocean. It can stay inside a single piece of dirt, or it can extend itself to fill a mountain. It might inhabit a single car part, or it may spread to become the soul of the whole car. The soul, you see, can go wherever it chooses, and it chooses to go everywhere.

We are connected to everything by this common soul. It certainly isn't always easy to see this connection, for our minds tend to find all of the ways that we are different from everything else in nature. You perhaps think that a rock can't have the same soul inside it that you have inside you, because there's no way for a human being to communicate with a rock. Well, maybe there isn't and maybe there is.

Maybe there's a way for one version of the soul to spiritually contact other versions. Maybe we haven't evolved far enough for this to happen yet.

We were all physically connected at one time, you realize, back before the big bang. The soul is what has kept everything connected since that time.

Let me try to anticipate your next complaint. You want your own soul. You don't want to have to share your soul with everyone and everything that exists. It's bad enough that you have to share the planet with all of this other garbage, but your soul too? Believe me, I know how you feel. So here's the thing. Through your lifetime, the soul really does belong solely to you. It's all yours. Only after you're gone will it travel back in time and enter someone or something else. The same soul exists inside others at the same time that it exists inside you, but it's not as though you're lending it out to others. At no time in your life will you be forced to part with your soul. In a way you have to share it, but in another way you don't.

If that's not good enough, then go start your own cult.

One thing that I suddenly realize I haven't done is define precisely what this soul thing is. The reason, probably, that I haven't done this is that I don't know exactly what it is. But who does? It's a mysterious, nonmaterial thing that is equally capable of existing within a human being as it is within a loaf of bread. It's something that roams everywhere but no one can see or pin down. It is distinct from all bodies, all brains, and even all minds, yet somehow connects everything, even the seemingly unconnectable.

That's a start. Other particular beliefs of this cult remain open to debate. In any event, choosing to believe in a common soul, we (my followers and I) would at least understand that all hatred is actually self-hatred, and all misunderstanding is in fact self-misunderstanding.

Robert P. Switzer spends most of his time writing, editing, and attempting to transcend primitive human thinking. He isn't afraid to admit that his favourite television programs are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ally McBeal.

Cover artist Chris Jouan has recently returned from a trip to Hollywood to attend the awards for L. Ron Hubbard's Writers and Illustrators of the Future. He spent a week with five other artist winners learning from illustrators Ron and Val Lakey Lindahn and rubbed elbows with Vincent Di Fate, Frank Kelly Freas, and Laura Freas. He also received recognition for winning the Second Quarter of 1997. Chris's story illustrations will appear in the 14th volume of L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future.

Last modified: January 11, 2009

Copyright © 1999 Robert P. Switzer

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