Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)
It appears at first glance, that The Celestine Prophecy is based on tricks that the human mind plays on itself; described best by illutionist Derren Brown in his book, "Tricks Of The Mind."...
Particularly worthy of note is the illusion of extraordinary coincidence which occurs when someone calls you on the telephone shortly after you've been thinking about them. How wonderful to think that we have achieved some sort of psychic communication with a friend! This illusion is particularly seductive as it allows us to feel that we have some sort of supernatural control over events, or perhaps that some sort of astral plane exists where our thoughts about a person remotely inspire the idea of contact. These are fun and appealing thoughts. Personally I find the wider and more honest picture very appealing, as it shows me what wonderful creatures we must be to interpret events in this way. In fact, we think about people all the time. How many people might go through our minds in a day? If not one of them ever called us a little while after we'd thought about them, then that would be truly extraordinary. Yet, true to our delightful form, we have no reason to remember all the times we thought of people and then didn't call; we only notice the co-incidences.
Brown is on a personal crusade. He states that he would dearly love to find genuine evidence of the other world, of something spiritual that is beyond our three dimensions. However, he sees no reason for con-artists to profit from the genuine pursuit of this goal, and investigates various claims. One classic was the voices from the dead captured on tape recorders. It was easily explained because when the, "ghost hunters," had announced their question to the dead and listened ... the tape recorder simply turned up it's automatic gain function (because there wasn't anything for it to record) and it resulted in the recording of, "hiss," in which people imagined speech from beyond our world!!!
It is this kind of thing that Redfield has chosen to prey on. Prey on? Well, the previous owners of this paperback have marked up various passages. What has been marked up, invites me to believe that the books past owners were, indeed, on a search for what might lie beyond this world, and were taking Redfield's book as some form of guidance to this. Perhaps the core message of his work being, not to be so selfish. I do find myself wondering whether, with the accounts of personal drama in the book, whether Redfield saw the Internet coming.
The book also reminds me some of Douglas Adams' writings in one of the Dirk Gently novels about the Zen method of navigating. (I believe it might have been, "The Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul") It doesn't take you where you wanted to be, but it did take you to where you needed to go.
For my taste, however, they marked all the other-worldly stuff and missed what I consider to be the more real aspects; like taking time over food and letting the taste fill your soul, as much as the matter fills your stomach ... but that's another story.
Anyway ... back to the book.
Overall, I'm not impressed.
Some of the motivations for people doing things are a bit dubious. "For a few moments, I leaned forward and rested my elbows on my knees, not looking at the translation. I continued to feel reluctant. The events of the last two days had dampened my enthusiasm and I preferred instead to think of how I might return to the United States. Then, in the wooded area across the way, I noticed the young priest stand up and walk slowly to another location about twenty feet from where he was. He turned toward me again and sat down. I was intrigued over what he might be doing. Then it dawned on me that he might be practicing something that was spelled out in the manuscript. I looked at the first page and began to read."
I mean ... the protagonist had an emotionally connected vision of the entire bloody universe for crying out loud, and ... oh, so help me. I mean ... after all that he'd gone through on the mountain, I'd have expected the protagonist to be in a seriously emotionally heightened state and to have strong feelings when he was presented with the fifth insight.
Redfield writes well. His diction is fluid and understandable. His words flow and they didn't jolt me. However, he failed to engage my emotions. I didn't feel connected with any of the characters and some of the descriptions felt out of pace with the action; particularly during chase or running scenes. In short, the story felt shallow and wanting.
I was also a little upset that this was the sixth edition of, "The No.1 American Sensation," and I was encountering typos. So many that by page 129 - '"We carry on his tradition of locking inward for the truth," Sanchez said.' - It was bad enough that I was driven to actually note the fact that I was encountering typos by that point. This isn't some self-pub, self-edited Indie work we're dealing with, here, guys.
I do believe that Redfield had this whole insight thing planned out, and I wonder at his background in order to create such insights as there was a message in their telling that I firmly recognised; that we are people first and a sex later ... that we can not look to another person to complete us ... we must be complete in ourselves first, before seeking the companionship of another. You don't use two halves to make a whole ... you use two wholes to make a double ... and I find it sad when people don't get what that's about. He also got the message in there about an objection to religion controlling with fear. There's quite a lot of core interpersonal relationship stuff in here.
I think it is a shame that he's put these concepts forward in a way which is actually contradictory with his own insights ... couching them in a story instead of dealing with them honestly! He could have done a lot better, I think, particularly with his writing skills, as this whole energy-swapping thing becomes difficult to follow at times and I don't think it does credit to the positive message about humanity that Redfield is putting forward. One might almost regard this as an attempt to start a new religion!