Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm)
Number 17 – 10 October 2003
Copyright 2003 Meru Foundation
Edited by Cynthia Tenen
As promised in Issue #16, below is a review of Peter Novak's new book,
"The Lost Secret of Death: Our Divided Souls and the Afterlife." Peter
is "a former psychological counselor [who] walked away from patient
care to devote himself to the full-time study of death and the
afterlife. He has since spent more than fifteen years researching
mankind's cultural legends and modern phenomenological reports of life
after death." (Quoted from the back inner cover). "The Lost Secret of
Death" is (c)2003 Peter Novak, and published by Hampton Roads,
Charlotesville, VA, ISBN 1-57174-324-3. We hope to make it available
soon on Meru's secure-server website, www.meetingtent.com.
Rob Nixon, who wrote the review below, is a man of many talents and
interests, whose professional career over the last 22 years has been in
the fields of Expert Systems, Distributed Processing, Machine
Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. Rob describes himself as "a systems
architect, writer, artist, composer, and martial artist who loves
We want to thank Rob for this insightful and thought-provoking review.
If you have comments for either Peter or Rob, please email them to me
at <email@example.com>, and I will forward them as appropriate. --Cynthia Tenen, Editor, eTORUS
"The Lost Secret of Death" by Peter Novak
Review written by Rob Nixon
Peter Novak's new book, "The Lost Secret of Death: Our Divided Souls
and the Afterlife" develops a strong case for the viability of the
ancient Binary Soul Doctrine (BSD). This ancient view, which appears to
be present at the foundations of a vast array of eastern and western
traditions, suggests that each human being consists of two
inter-operating / cohabiting parts; Spirit (which is what we associate
with the Conscious part of ourselves), and the Soul (which is
associated with the Subconscious).
In ancient Israel this was described as the 'ruah' and the 'nefesh'.
The 'ruah' which is translated as 'spirit', "…was active, strong,
conscious, intelligent, and communicated with words. It is this part
that was viewed as being immortal, pre-existing a person's birth and
surviving their death unharmed, always "returning to God who gave it."
The 'nefesh', on the other hand, "…embodied the emotions, memories, and
sense of self-identity, and was vulnerable and could be greatly harmed
by death, becoming trapped in a weak and feebleminded state in She'ol,
a dark, underground, dreamlike netherworld." It appears that there was
a third term; 'neshamah' which appears to overlap both concepts, and is
mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible, this word is usually
translated as "soul" and/or "spirit", suggesting that the ancient
Hebrews may have seen this rarely mentioned soul element as the union
of 'nefesh' and 'ruah'. This appears to mirror the ancient Egyptian
concepts of the union of the 'ba' (spirit) and 'ka' (soul) into an
integrated whole known as the 'ahk'.
It is interesting to note that ancient Islam called these two souls the
'ruh' and the 'nafs' (which is linguistically quite close to Israel's
'ruah' and 'nefesh'). It was the 'ruah' and the 'ruh' that carried the
life force, the freewill, the rational intellect, and the ability to
It appears that the 'neshamah' and the 'ahk' are the integrated
"whole", analogous to the "trinity" in Christian thought. Similarly,
the Yang and Yin, and the continuous cycling of the two (creating the
integrated whole), appear to share the same fundamental attributes as
that of the Hebrew and Egyptian counterparts. Additionally, a great
deal of Carl Jung's work dovetails elegantly with the BSD paradigm.
Peter also details BSD's many connections to far eastern, scientific,
neurophysiological, and paranormal thought and experiences in a very
convincing way. Toward the end of the book, he illustrates how BSD
integrates with Christian (and Gnostic) thought, and the role of Jesus.
The final goal from the author's perspective is for each of us to
"discover" and "integrate" our two halves prior to death, so that we
can continuing on our spiritual growth towards God, rather than getting
stuck in a cycle of lives. This he feels is where the concept of
"Integrity" originally came from, and what underpins the vast majority
of religious traditions. If we don't accomplish this prior to death,
then the two parts are likely to separate, the spirit continuing on to
re-incarnate (without memories of the previous life), and the soul
focusing in upon itself, reliving all of its previous memories and
creating a dreamworld of its own making. Since the soul no longer has
access to the "structuring and analysis" mechanism provided by the
"spirit" or rational portion, it has no way to reevaluate its current
condition, and usually becomes caught in its own dream worlds. Each of
our previous "souls" remain embedded in us (running as if in a parallel
process using a computational analogy), but inaccessible to our
current experience. He maintains that once we are successful at
integrating our current two halves (creating the third
wholeness), we need to find and reintegrate with all of the experience
and memories of our previous souls. It is only after accomplishing this
that we will be ready to grow beyond this existence towards God. He
believes that this process is extremely difficult to do, and rarely
happens without assistance. Those that have been able to accomplish
this are those that our history has come to recognize as great
spiritual teachers, such as Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha. And
it is the faith and trust in these teachers (active action) that can
assist with our integration process.
Peter Novak's very positive coverage of Stan Tenen's work
(approximately 4-5 pages) is quite welcome. I actually ran across the
book independently from any reference to it by Stan. As I've mentioned
to both Stan and Peter, from my perspective it appears that Stan's work
details the "how" it works, and Peter's, the "why".
There are additional areas where BSD can be integrated into modern
thinking, which the author has not touched on… but there's always
The author's efforts to create an elegant and simple framework within
which to house all of the desperate experiences of humankind has, in my
opinion, come quite close to the goal.
I can safely say that this is the most "dog-eared" and "margin noted"
book out of the thousands that I own.
HELPING MERU FOUNDATION WITH YOUR FEEDBACK
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