Monthly Archives: March 2021

AMAZING ADVENTURES IN AN UNSEEN WORLD, a review of “Souljourner” by Paul Steven Stone

Readers of Paul Steven Stone’s previous novel, “Or So It Seems,” will recognize many themes and eccentricities revisited to sophisticated and engaging purposes in “Souljourner.” Principal among them is the central Importance in both novels of each protagonist’s membership and life schooling in The Seekers For Truth, a school of self-development whose roots and bubbling font of wisdom go back to the tradition of ancient schools like that of Pythagoras, but whose spiritual understanding and practical perspectives can be traced to an eccentric, fully realized Hindu Holy Man whose honorific is The Bapucharya (but you can call him “Bapu”).

Souljourner’s spiritually-aware narrator is David Rockwood Worthington, whose life sentence for murder explains his presence in a Massachusetts prison, but leaves much unexplained as to how his life’s journey brought him to such a dismal fate. 

As David explains to his soul’s next incarnation, souls transit from one lifetime to the next in a grouping called a Karmic Pod. So an individual’s son in one life might become her mother in the next, one’s neighborhood priest might become a life-changing college professor in a subsequent incarnation, or your worst enemy could become your best friend. In David’s case, he is writing this letter to the next souljourner in his line to warn him against one specific hostile spirit. A spirit who travels with him from incarnation to incarnation with unflagging enmity and spite. A spirit incarnated in this current life as David’s second wife, Blossom, a Russian émigré who, once she secured her grip, squeezed the life out of David as if she were a serpent coiled around his existence.

David is able to warn the next incarnation of his soul through this letter—in the form of a novel—and expect it to reach its intended recipient because, as he explains, in this Karmically-controlled Universe we inhabit “everything is connected.” David only needs to set a strong enough intention for his warning to travel through time and space and eventually seek out his soul’s next souljourner. 

There is much more to this utterly unique and fantastic story, but I will only relate that Souljourner, like this book review itself, offers the reader a surprise ending. That is, assuming you would consider a book review written by a book’s author to be a surprise.


Trump’s Big Boy Rolls Into CPAC

As I watched CPAC convention workers roll in a life-sized golden statue of Donald J. Trump, I once again questioned how so many sane and sensible people could have closed their eyes to the events of the last four years and so eagerly swallowed the Trump Kool Aid? 

What is it they see that I cannot see? Why would a majority of those in attendance favor Trump for Republican presidential candidate in 2024? How can they so easily forget a Covid-19 death toll that saw hundreds of thousands of unnecessary American deaths? Or a foreign policy that embraced Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un at the expense of our best and most important allies? 

How can they forget the bottomless fount of lies with which the man drowned out the truth, and those voices that would speak the truth? 

And, more than anything, how can they forget—or forgive—Donald J Trump’s refusal to accept his election loss, and his ensuing attempt at the first coup d’etat in American history?

There is much Donald J. Trump has done for our country, I will admit that. I look upon our 45th president as a test pilot of sorts, the man we called upon to test our nation’s most important institutions to help identify its cracks, stress points and unmanifest weaknesses. Flaws that, if left undiscovered, could easily lead to system failure or total implosion under the rule of someone just like Donald J. Trump. 

Or someone worse. If that’s possible.

Now, thanks to Donald J. Trump, we know our democracy is more fragile than we ever thought. Its treasured institutions more subject to abuse and desecration than we ever believed possible. 

Yes, the founders’ vision remains intact, but at what cost? Their much-debated safeguards and power balancing act have proven a poor defense to an autocrat who holds a majority in the Senate. An autocrat with the political power of a demagogue and the non-existent conscience of a snake oil salesman. Yes, the Constitution still stands, even after Trump, but how close did we come to its collapse? 

How close did we come to a successful coup d’etat on January 6, 2021? How many more Republican lawmakers would the coup have required to successfully reject the certified and court-tested results of the 2020 election? How many more armed rioters would Trump’s coup have needed to more quickly breach the capital and thus more successfully catch or kill the leaders of our government? 

How much more vulnerable would our armed forces have been to being commandeered for a coup had Trump not signaled his malign intentions by installing lackeys in place of the civilian leadership of the Defense Department within days of his November defeat?

Yes, Donald J. Trump left much behind as he ended his muddy boot rampage across our nation’s capital and its 245 years of peaceful transitions and civil polity. In addition to testing the strength of our constitution, he dismantled or destabilized many functions of our Federal government. He left behind a $3.1 trillion deficit unparalleled in modern times. And he left behind a nation polarized and schism-cized like never before.

And, oh yes, now there’s a golden statue.