In this last instalment of the mini-series on Jakob Lorber I will, as anticipated, share some of my own reflections and – as ever – many doubts and question marks about things which I fell I do not understand.
I find Lorber’s case emblematic of my feeling lost when thinking about channelling. I feel lost because, first of all, my rational mind refuses to discount this as a case of fraud – just an invention. I simply cannot bring myself to believe that – in 1840 – a professional musician on the verge of making a prestigious and highly desirable career move all of a sudden reinvents himself as an automatic writer. For him, I believe, the very process of automatic writing would have been utterly unknown. It is true that Emmanuel Svedenborg, who died 70 years before Lorber’s “illumination”, could have provided perfect blueprint, but I ask myself – How likely it is that Lorber (whose only literary reference was the Bible) would have known about Swedenborg? Very, very unlikely, I believe. What would have been the incentive to Lorber to ditch his musical career and his rich social life to then spend the rest of his life basically as a recluse?
Furthermore, the hoax hypothesis is even less credible if one considers the modalities of Lorber’s writing. Perfectly aligned with the tradition of automatic writers, his writing pours out as a continuous flow, without interruptions, without ever pausing or making changes. As they come out, sentences are perfectly formed, as if they had been long thought over. The same happens when he dictates to friends, and this, my readers will agreed, is an even more difficult feat to achieve if one were to simulate it. “Thinking by writing” is a thing many people do – including myself – but in order to do so one needs time to pause, reflect, and very often what comes out in writing requires edits, alterations, deleting, re-writing. But Lorber does not only write in complete sentences without ever pausing: he speaks in a continuous flow, without pauses, edits or corrections. As a university lecturer I can tell you that that does not happen even on subjects that I have been teaching for 15 years. What appears as the lecturers continuous flow is actually full of such pauses, edits and corrections. And, if it was to be transcribed, it would appear as spoken language, and not the kind of “print ready” written sentences that Lorber dictated to his scribe friends in the later years of his life.
Finally, in order to be a hoax, this would have had to be an extremely elaborated one, involving not only Lorber himself but also a relatively large number of other people, none of whom would have had the faintest motive to engage in such a fraud. My uneasy conclusion, therefore, is that Lorber was “the real thing”.
What do I mean by that? Here come the real difficulties. By “the real thing” I mean that Lorber was actually accessing a source of knowledge and information other than his normal waking consciousness, writing and dictating with modalities other than the normal creative process known to man.
The big, big problem then is what this source of knowledge and information might be. A sub-personality which had remained hidden for most of his life? A discarnate personality? And if that, what kind of personality? A deceased human? A “superior being”? Or, as claimed by Lorber, God himself?
Let’s briefly discuss each of these alternatives. Beginning with the last one, I simply do not believe in a God that looks pretty much as a bigger version of ourselves. And, in fact, as we have seen in the last article, this is not the kind of God Lorber is talking about. Lorber’s God looks much more like the “ground of being”, that ultimate consciousness similarly described by mystics of all traditions, experiencers of spiritually transformative experiencers and contemporary physicists. Now, I reflect, how can such a God have the clear, definite intentionality that emerges from Lorber’s writings? One thing is a general, cosmic drive towards betterment, more complexity, refinement, perfecting. I can live with that as an essential trait of that ultimate consciousness – a force of the universe at the most fundamental level. But a specific plan for mankind, which existed for a fraction of a second (compared to the age of the universe) on one planet orbiting one of 100 billion stars in a galaxy, in a universe in which there are at least another 100 billion galaxies, each one with an average 100 billion stars? There are more stars in the visible universe than grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth, and “God” has a plan for man? A tells this to Lorber? Sorry, I’m no game for that.
A discarnate personality, then. If this is the case, I specifically use the term “personality” because, again, whoever was talking to Lorber had a clear intent, and this is a typical trait of a person – as far as we know, a very human person. Although highly likely, we don’t know for sure if other sentient beings exist in the universe. If they do, however, I find it weird that they would manifest such a human trait as the intention for betterment, and that they would communicate in perfect German to and through a carbon-based life form on 19th century planet Earth. A human, then. A discarnate human, possibly a human who had lived before and went on existing after the death of the physical body. By looking at 150 years of studies on mediumship, we see that many communicators from the so called afterlife have in fact delivered messages of moral and philosophical nature. What is different in Lorber’s case is that the communicating spirit, on top of delivering sanctimonious messages, knew and talked about the dual particle/wave nature of light, practical applications of electromagnetic waves in long-distance communications and subatomic elementary particles. How can one make sense of this? One cannot. At least, I cannot.
Finally, the same hurdles make the sub-personality explanation untenable. By a stretch of imagination, I can think that a sub-personality of Lorber’s, imbued with Christian values from his reading of the Bible, would emerge and, through a sort of “savant syndrome” effect, deliver over 10,000 pages of written material. But again, what of the visionary scientific and technological knowledge?
No – to me the automatic writing of Jakob Lorber continues to look as a Koan in Zen Buddhism, a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.
Only that, in my case, intuitive enlightenment hasn’t come yet.