ALTERNATIVE AFTERDEATH AND AFTERLIFE EXPERIENCES
1. I wrote in PART ONE about the distinction between a female afterdeath characterized by the return of soma to soma, or 'dust to dust', and a male afterlife characterized by the return of psyche to psyche, or 'ashes to ashes', since the precedence of psyche by soma in the one case, that of females, and the precedence of soma by psyche in the other case, that of males, inevitably led to the conclusion that 'as in the beginning, so in the end', that which was particle-hegemonic would duly return to soma and that, by contrast, which was wavicle-hegemonic duly return to psyche.
2. It is interesting that in Heaven and Hell, Aldous Huxley distinguishes between what he calls visionary and mystical afterlife experiences, the former being more earthly and the latter more heavenly, since in the one case one is dealing with the fruits of human knowledge and in the other case with pure truth, which is to say, unitive knowledge, as he puts it, of the Godhead rather than with visionary experience at one or other of the mind's antipodes.
3. Such visionary experience is, in a sense, less elevated or profound or pure than the mystical experience of unitive knowledge, and Huxley's contention here is certainly commensurate with my distinction between self-absorption in the brain stem at a sort of egocentric level of afterlife experience and self-absorption in the spinal cord at the deeper level of the soul, wherein one has passed beyond visionary symbolism into the pure light of inner truth or, rather, joy, as commensurate with Heaven, and thus the redemption of godly selfhood in the peace that surpasses all conscious understanding, the subconscious justification of God in heavenly bliss.
4. Huxley was, in a sense, crudely foreshadowing my own contentions and beliefs in relation to afterlife experience, with a distinction, rather more implicit in his case, between a masculine afterlife in visionary experience (wherein the brain stem, avowedly more physical than metaphysical, is virtually an end-in-itself) and a divine afterlife in mystical union with the Godhead; though, in fact, I tend to believe that, at the metaphysical level, the brain-stem self is the Godhead, is commensurate with God, and that such union with the deeper self, or spinal cord, as may occur is more to be conceived of in terms of heavenly redemption and fulfilment of the Godhead, viz. the metaphysical brain stem, than of unitive knowledge of God as such, so that truth leads to joy and is not an end-in-itself but, rather, the means whereby, through metaphysical self-knowledge, full soulfulness may be achieved.
5. Granted, then, a class distinction between physical and metaphysical males, the latter of whom have a capacity to pass joyfully beyond the brain stem into the spinal cord, Huxley further distinguishes positive afterlife experience from its negative counterpart, citing the possibility of a visionary hell for those who fall short, as it were, of positive visionary experience or who are unable to abide the purity of mystical union with the Godhead, meaning soul. That got me thinking again. For I had simply distinguished, in PART ONE, between the afterdeath experience of females in a return to soma, and the afterlife experience of males in a return to psyche, the former commensurate with either hell or purgatory, depending on the class of female, i.e. whether diabolic or feminine, devilish or womanly, metachemical or chemical, and the latter commensurate with either the earth or heaven, again depending on the class of male, i.e. whether masculine or divine, manly or godly, physical or metaphysical.
6. Huxley, of course, makes no such gender distinctions, but that is only to be expected from a major British author, since the British are among the most androgynous, if not gender-neutral, people on earth and rarely bother to consider things from a specific gender standpoint, least of all male. Also he is less than logically consistent in his equation of negative visionary experience with hell, since the visionary in general is less than that which transcends visions in unitive knowledge of the divine Ground and therefore cannot be other than purgatorial if negative or earthly if positive, which is to say, beneath either Hell or Heaven in the more mundane realms habitually frequented by masculine males and feminine females, viz. men and women.
7. However that may be, I was obliged to rethink my own position in relation to such afterlife contentions, and to see whether it wasn't possible to come to some kind of accommodation with the plurality of afterlife experiences outlined by Huxley in Heaven and Hell, barring those which suggested the continuation of normal consciousness in the Other World and the possibility of some ghost-like haunting of the world or susceptibility to being discovered or uncovered by mediums and the like. Frankly I have no desire to go down that road, unlike the poet W.B. Yeats, but I do think that the afterdeath/afterlife dichotomy between somatic nothingness for females on the one hand, and psychic somethingness for males on the other hand, affords a wider solution, as John Cowper Powys would say, than what I had offered myself to the vexing question of posthumous fate.
8. Now, in general, I stick by what I said in PART ONE, i.e. that hell and purgatory are to be conceived of in terms of different class approaches by females to somatic perdition, whereas their male counterparts would seem destined for either earthly or heavenly afterlife experiences on the basis of psychic redemption, and a return, in consequence, to either egocentric or soulful, visionary or unitive, manifestations of the self - a thing, incidentally, which Huxley failed, in his paradoxical obsession with the not-self, to grasp as that which is of the very essence of male psyche in relation to either the brain stem or the spinal cord.
9. But if there is also the possibility of negative afterlife experience, it must mean that males are the people who would suffer it, not, however, in terms of purgatory or hell, outright somatic perdition, but in terms of quasi-purgatorial or quasi-hellish experiences attendant upon the subversion of psyche, whether physical or metaphysical, egocentric or soulful, by soma, and not just by vegetative or airy, physical or metaphysical soma, which are germane to the male side of things anyway and would quickly be subordinated by psyche in the course of its return to source, but, rather, in gender-bender fashion, by either watery or fiery orders of somatic influence carried over, into posthumous experience, by dint of the extents to which, contrary to one's gender interests or norms as a male, they had obtained in life, and which now undermined such psychic positivity as should, by rights, accrue to what is properly male, whether from the standpoint of physical ego or, deeper and higher, the standpoint of metaphysical soul.
10. Thus the intrusion, if you will, of chemical soma into physical psyche on the one hand, that of a quasi-purgatorial negative afterlife experience, and of metachemical soma into metaphysical psyche on the other hand, that of a quasi-hellish negative afterlife experience, in both instances of which the light of male psyche, whether visionary or pure, egocentric or soulful, is eclipsed or, at the very least, undermined by the darkness of female soma, whether spiritual or wilful, chemical or metachemical, to extents which result in what I have described as either quasi-purgatorial or quasi-hellish subversions of afterlife experience.
11. Therefore if, as a male, whether manly or godly, lower class or upper class, one had been insufficiently true to one's self, or loyal to one's gender in life, one can expect to suffer consequences in an afterlife which will be less than either earthly or heavenly but quasi-purgatorial or quasi-hellish, as the elemental case may be! Consequently the sensual male, who is much the more likely than his sensible counterpart to be 'bent' from his gender position by dint, in sensuality, of the female hegemonies in chemistry and metachemistry over physics and metaphysics, can expect nothing less than the subversion of psychic predominance in the afterlife, as posthumous judgement goes against him in consequence of the extents to which he had lived life on the wrong side of the gender fence from that to which he was psychologically and physiologically entitled, as a male. For him, the crematorium may well be the solution, if rather paradoxically, to the likelihood of negative judgement in consequence of a consistently foolish life.
12. But if males can, contrary to their gender entitlements, experience negative afterlife experience, is it not likely that females can experience positive experiences if not in an afterlife then certainly, according to their gender predestination, in an afterdeath, so that we would have the logical right to speak of a positive afterdeath experience for those categories of female who, contrary to their somatic grain, had lived to a greater extent than the generality of females on the male side of the gender fence, as it were, and were accordingly more given to psyche of either a vegetative or an airy type than simply to the more prevalent somatic freedoms conditioning psychic determinism in relation to chemistry and metachemistry, water and fire, women and devils.
13. Therefore the heathenistic 'bent' male has to be contrasted, presumably as the exception to a general rule, with the christianly 'bent' female, whose sensible orientation, in living under the sway of a male hegemony in either physics or metaphysics, marks her out as a female exception with an entitlement to or, at the very least, likelihood of some kind of quasi-earthly or even quasi-heavenly afterdeath experience such that would logically follow from the informing of soma, whether chemical or metachemical, by the relevant kind of male psyche, be it physical and egocentric or metaphysical and soulful, in consequence of which the inevitable return by females to soma was, as it were, coloured by and infused with a lingering of male psyche to an extent whereby somatic perdition was nowhere near as categorical or swift as with un-Christian females, so to speak, but became subject to psychic intrusion to a degree which would permit us to speak, as above, of either quasi-earthly or quasi-heavenly afterdeath experience, thereby justifying the burial of such females in traditionally Christian fashion.
14. Yet both positive afterdeath experience for females and negative afterlife experience for males would, I maintain, be - and always have been to greater or lesser extents, depending on the age or society - more the exception than the rule, since females are by nature soma over psyche, 'matter over mind' in Oscar Wilde's proverbial phrase, and males, by contrast, mind over matter or, in more philosophical language, psyche over soma, given the physiological and psychological differences which indubitably characterize each gender, making for what I believe the Bible calls the 'friction of the seeds', or the virtual immutability of gender, and its principal role in historical change.