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WHAT IS ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE ABOUT?
I’m often asked what the Elysium’s Passage series is supposed to be about. Apart from giving away the intriguing plot, I sometimes find it difficult to provide a simple answer to this question. I supposed there are a variety of possible answers to what the central theme and supporiting themes might be.
Throughout the five novel sequels we find a range of implicit and explicit themes that are interwoven in the plot and subplots expressed in the various events and discussions. In this post I've outline what I consider to be the most obvious themes.
As I think about it, it seems that the overarching theme of the series would be immortality, or more specifically... the afterlife. In other words, presuming our life continues, what might it mean to exist as an immortal spirit after surviving the mortal death of the material body.
Out of this consideration several important topics emerge related to our spiritual essence such as, most obviously, the nature of love. In spite of countless books writtne on love, words fail to define the inward meaning of love. Perhaps we can only understand that which we experience while being engaged in its magic, just as we learn suffering from its absence, that being the contrast of fear.
Numerous expressions of love and fear occur throughout the series since these experiences are central to the condition of human existence. Within the narratives, the four major categories of love are considered, as described in ancient Greek philosophy, including Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. These expressions are referred to as Philia, Eros, Storge and Agape, broadly define as brotherly love, sexual love, parental love and divine love. Through the twists and turns of the various plots and subplots, each of these loves become graphically illustrated in the experiences of James, the narrator.
Since love is the essential expression of meaningful human existence, the narratives engage in various discussions of life’s meaning and purpose. Of course this must of necessarily lead to a thorough examination of the topic of relationships which, of course, is the only way love can exist since that is how it is manifested. James, the narrator, is not the most adept at relationships for reasons that are later unfolded in the storyline. His many frustrations with the women in his affairs are the most obvious illustration of an ongoing problems. Though in some ways he may be a genius, he is incompetent and dysfunction in his relations.
It’s inevitable therefore, that the ego be explored throughout the series where James finds his ego is constantly preventing him from participating in the kind of loving relationship that would give him meaning to his life. In particular, we find James’ inflated ego-mind has given him nothing but grief and insecurity in life, causing him to feel alienated and unfulfilled. As a result, the storyline also deals with these themes of loneliness and separation.
As the plot continues to unfold, we discover his troubles are a consequence of subordinating his heart almost exclusively to his mind’s dominance. Naturally, this leads to the major theme of inward spiritual transformation through discovering inward unity and wholeness. James is challenged to examine himself as admonished in the ancient Hermetic injunction to ‘KNOW THYSELF.’ This is the highest pursuit of humanity since it leads inward to larger questions of what constitutes reality and what that might mean for one’s existence.
Though he struggles with this, the answer remains elusive until he begins to discover the inward nature of spiritual love. Though he was a philosopher, he finds that throughout his life his detached intellect had disconnected him the greater wisdom of his heart, preventing him from understand wholeness of being, the meaning of life and his relationships with others.
In spite of this, his ascent towards his summit of enlightenment continues to progress through a seamless weave of ongoing twists and turns. With regard to this theme of spiritual ascension, much of the first part of the series is based on the allegory of the Lowlands, the Flatlands and The Summit.
Underling the series are questions about the nature of God’s existence and spiritual reality, since James is experiencing the spiritual dimension. The discussions, however, do not involve an examined of religious dogma so much as what may be extrapolated from theorems found in modern physics. Some of these might be interpreted as evidence for spirit-energy, not matter, being the prime substratum of reality.
Of course, and perhaps most importantly, there is the implicit theme of Elysium, or heaven, woven throughout the fabric of the series. Within each of these are several subthemes, just as there as several subplots throughout the series.
In sum, the major themes contained within the series would be:
· Spiritual immortality
· Spiritual Ascent/Transformation
· Love and Relationships
· Life’s Meaning and Purpose
· Know Thyself/Wholeness and Unity
· The Divine Self and the Ego
· Union of Mind and Heart
· Consciousness and Spiritual Transformation
· The Nature of Divine Reality
· The Nature of Elysium (Heaven)