home bookshop feed the hungry   earthly pursuits logo
what's new old book library safe seed pledge  
contact about books about food & recipes  
links I  II   garden tips  
search flower language blether  
  alphabetized flowers     flowers by meaning companion planting  
 
bookcases     
  
 
    click here to make a
"free" contribution to earthly pursuits

     

e-book:


 

Letters from a Living Dead Man


LETTER

 

Introduction

I.

The Return

II.

Tell No Man

III.

Guarding the Door

IV.

A Cloud on the Mirror

V.

The Promise of Things Untold

VI.

The Wand of Will

VII.

A Light behind the Veil

VIII.

The Iron Grip of Matter

IX.

Where Souls go up and down.

X.

A Rendezvous in the Fourth Dimension

XI.

The Boy–Lionel

XII.

The Pattern World

XIII.

Forms Real and Unreal

XIV.

A Folio of Paracelsus

XV.

A Roman Toga

XVI.

A Thing to be forgotten

XVII.

The Second Wife over there

XVIII.

Individual Hells

XIX.

A little Home in Heaven

XX.

The Man who found God

XXI.

The Leisure of the Soul

XXII.

The Serpent of Eternity

XXIII.

A Brief for the Defendant

XXIV.

Forbidden Knowledge

XXV.

A Shadowless World

XXVI.

Circles in the Sand

XXVII.

The Magic Ring

XXVIII.

Except ye be as Little Children

XXIX.

An Unexpected Warning

XXX.

The Sylph and the Magician

XXXI.

A problem in Celestial Mathematics

.XXXII.

A Change of Focus

XXXIII.

Five Resolutions

XXXIV.

The Passing of Lionel

XXXV.

The Beautiful Being

XXXVI.

The Hollow Sphere

XXXVII.

An Empty China Cup

XXXVIII.

Where Time is not

XXXIX.

The Doctrine of Death

XL.

The Celestial Hierarchy

XLI.

The Darling of the Unseen

XLII.

A Victim of the Non-existent

XLIII.

A Cloud of Witnesses

XLIV.

The Kingdom Within

XLV.

The Game of Make-believe

XLVI.

Heirs of Hermes

XLVII.

Only a Song

XLVIII.

Invisible Gifts at Yuletide

XLIX.

The Greater Dreamland

L.

A Sermon and a Promise

LI.

The April of the World

LII.

A Happy Widower

LIII.

The Archives of the Soul

LIV.

A Formula for Mastership


 

 

LETTER XLV

THE GAME OF MAKE-BELIEVE

One day I met a man in doublet and hose, who announced to me that he was Shakespeare. Now I have become accustomed to such announcements, and they do not surprise me as they did six or eight months ago. (Yes, I still keep account of your months, for a purpose of my own.)
    I asked this man what proof he could adduce of his extraordinary claim, and he answered that it needed no proof.
    "That will not go down with me," I said, "for I am an old lawyer."
    Thereupon he laughed, and asked:
    "Why did you not join in the game?"
    I am telling you this rather senseless story, because it illustrates an interesting point in regard to our life here.

    In a former letter I wrote about my meeting with a newly arrived lady, who, finding me dressed in a Roman toga, thought that I might be Caesar; and that I told her we were all actors here. I meant that, like children, we "dress up" when we want to impress our own imagination, or to relive some scene in the past.
    This playing of a part is usually quite innocent, though sometimes the very ease with which it is done brings with it the temptation to deception, especially in dealings with the earth people.
    You see the point I wish to make. The "lying spirits," of which the frequenters of séance rooms so often make complaint, are these astral actors, who may even come to take a certain pride in the cleverness of their art.
    Be not too sure that the spirit who claims to be your deceased grandfather is that estimable old man himself. He may be merely an actor playing a part, for his own entertainment and yours.
    How is one to tell, you ask? One cannot always tell. I should say, however, that the surest test of all would be the deep and unemotional conviction that the veritable entity was in one’s presence. There is an instinct in the human heart which will never deceive us, if we without fear or bias will yield ourselves to its decision. How often in worldly matters have we all acted against this inner monitor, and been deceived and led astray!

    If you have an instinctive feeling that a certain invisible—or even visible—entity is not what it claims to be, it is better to discontinue the conference. If it is the real person, and if he has anything vital to say, he will come again and again; for the so-called dead are often very desirous to communicate with the living.
    As a rule, though, the play-acting over here is innocent of intent to deceive. Most men desire occasionally to be something which they are not. The poor man who, for one evening, dresses himself in his best clothes and squanders a week’s salary in playing the millionaire is moved by the same impulse which inspired the man in my story to assert that he was Shakespeare. The woman who always dresses beyond her means is playing the same little game with herself and with the world.
    All children know the game. They will tell you in a convinced tone that they are Napolean Bonaparte, or George Washington, and they feel hurt if you scoff.

    Perhaps my friend with the Shakespearean aspiration was an amateur dramatist when he was on earth. Had he been a professional dramatist, he would probably have stated his real name, more or less unknown, and followed it by the declaration that he was the well-known So-and-so.
    There is much pride out here in the accomplishments of the earth-life, especially among those who have recently come out. This lessens with time, and after one has been long here one’s interests are likely to be more general.
    Men and women do not cease to be human merely by crossing the frontier of what you call the invisible world. In fact, the human characteristics are often exaggerated, because the restraints are fewer. There are no penalties inflicted by the community for the personating of one man by another. It is not taken seriously, for to the clearer sight of this world the disguise is too transparent.

LETTER XLVI

LETTER XLIV