Still a long way from finished but that first paragraph triggered me. Apologies for running on.
First paragraph, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, by PKD:
Barefoot conducts his seminars on his houseboat in Sausalito. It costs a hundred dollars to find out why we are here on earth. You also get a sandwich but I wasn’t hungry that day. John Lennon had just been killed and I think I already knew why we are here on this Earth; it’s to find out that everything you love the most will be taken away from you, probably due to an error in high places rather than by design.
First off, I just dig his writing style, it’s very compact but nuanced. I feel like I know a lot about the narrator after just this short paragraph. I can feel my feet sliding into his or her shoes.
Ten years ago I would have delivered a sermon about how the writer had the wrong idea about what they can expect in life and whether it is by design. But Now I would only argue with the latter, at least in my own experience. I got what I loved the most taken away repeatedly, and I am certain it was by design.
I wrote last week in the 'What do you Worship' thread that I was a theist early on but had picked up the idol of 'Family' along the way, possibly because I didn’t really have one. I wanted one and society and religion fully approved of that goal so its no surprise that lots of people think of Family as the normal and proper goal in life. But I was probably more obsessed than most. I’m surprised I didn’t end up becoming a Mormon or a JW, they worship family with such devotion that they willingly and literally give up heaven in favor of 'Family forever'. The biggest TV preacher's organization name is “Family First”. They probably never thought about what they are doing as breaking the first commandment. I didn’t for a long time.
So yeah, I had what I loved the most taken away and it took many repetitions before I understood that it was by design and I needed to find out why.
In retrospect I am grateful, but there was a time that I hated the designer for it. I often wonder what it is in the short time following that crisis that determines which way a soul decides to go. It could so easily have gone the other way for me.
I generally hate that New Age koan ****, but this was true; I could not see what my inner most desire was until I what I loved here the most was taken away.