how we look from 3 million feet

Marshall Vian Summers challenges his readers to rethink our assumptions about our world among other worlds and about ourselves on an important threshold in our evolution. His vision of our world and our race comes from a perspective beyond our world; it is uncannily matter-of-fact and placidly imperturbable to argument–the main thrust being our extreme naiveté, in which we might disavow, ignore or simply deem preposterous his information, though we are ill-equipped to refute it. At the very least, he reminds us how little we do know.

Summers composed an afterword and his son Reed contributed the introduction; in between is the body of the message attributed to a source called the “Angelic Presence” and received in a process they describe as an event of revelation, a recurring event that has delivered thousands of pages over several decades to Marshall Summers, in total a “once-in-a-millennium event,” he says, in effect “a New Message from God.” He relates to us just how it happens to him and more to the point, why it has come, which is the subject of the book. It “is vital for humanity’s education and understanding of what must be done in the world … now it is time for humanity to emerge into a Greater Community.”

The “Greater Community” is located in the same universe we know about already; this work alerts us that it is highly inhabited. Even those who speculate about intelligent life in the universe will find this portrayal dismaying: it is a competitive environment driven by demand for essential resources, with technological innovation escalating rather than reducing need. We are hereby warned of substantial corrections needed for engagement on a hugely wider field of interaction.

Alongside that reality conveyed in the first part is the spirituality of the second, a matter of far greater practicality than what we usually consider as spiritual. The scope is wide, with an emphasis on the corporate development of spirituality among species rather than concern for the individual. To read how rare in the universe is the freedom we enjoy is to appreciate the achievement of the human race while at the same time recognizing our immaturity as a species. The discussion of “two overlapping realities,” the natural and the spiritual, exemplifies the subtle simplicity and logical clarity throughout the work; it might be tempting to see no more to it than echoes of popular themes in contemporary Western spirituality, except for glints of mysterious, not fully explained flashes from unplumbed depths and, in particular, the use of the term “Knowledge.” The terms “intelligent design” and “evolution” occur without the slightest acknowledgement of controversy.

Life in the Universe is a difficult and fascinating book. The language and concepts are not difficult, but the imperatives implicit within it are nearly beyond comprehension; to take it seriously calls for a dramatic and global reversal of our course. It is as if our race is about to be born in a breech position, and with this book and the others from Marshall Vian Summers, a mid-wife is present to reorient our position.

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