Viruses and ghosts

In the movie The Rebirth of Buddha, hospitals are plagued by the ghosts of people who died there and refused to accept their fate.

Today, after eating a small piece of chocolate, my throat began to get irritated. I had to constantly cough and swallow just to keep breathing, or so it felt. I tried to wash it away with water and then eat something, but it just didn’t go away. I started to get really worried. At this point, other symptoms had already joined in: I was getting weak, my heart was beating fast, I was shaking and my face was flushed, my eyes were dry, I was queasy and my bowels were upset, I even developed a headache. It was like my body was breaking down all over, all of a sudden. I started to think: No! I don’t want to die! And then I remembered something.

The place I was when the symptoms began used to be a hospital, many years ago.

In the movie The Rebirth of Buddha, there is a memorable scene at the hospital, where Sayako (the main character, well, except for the Buddha) can see the ghosts of patients who walk around, bothering doctors and nurses and fellow patients in their attempt to get painkillers and other forms of comfort. They all don’t want to die, and being materialists in life could not accept the fact that they were dead. So even now they are haunting the hospital, thinking that they are patients there and it’s all about them.

Could it be? That some long dead patient had returned to its hospital and found some kind of resonance with me? Stray spirits are attracted to people who resonate at the same wavelength, so to speak: People with the same habits, viewpoints, attitudes, feelings and interests. Well, that’s what Happy Science says. That doesn’t sound very happy, but the happiness is that you can save yourself and sometimes even the stray spirits by reflecting on yourself and seek to live a life of selfless love. When the stray spirits notice this, they will either flee from the growing Light in you, or begin to reflect on themselves as well and be saved.

Christianity generally seems to assume that possessive spirits are all demons, not ghosts. This corresponds to the notion that the dead are sleeping, unaware of what goes on under the sun, as the Bible says. Of course, just because they are sleeping does not mean their dreams may not resonate with ours… if only in the form of a morphic field. Be that as it may, the New Testament certainly implies that not only mental illnesses but sometimes also physical may be created or made worse by the influence of spirits.

This may sound like pure superstition unless you consider that the mental equivalent to these stray spirits are complexes, or mind parasites: Essentially tiny split-off parts of the same stuff that personalities are made of. In some cases, people literally have multiple personalities, usually one more dominant than the rest but not always. In “healthy” people the other personalities never grow to more than a rudimentary level, but they can still mess up things pretty badly. This “complex” theory is a pretty respectable branch of psychology, first championed by C.G. Jung.

Consider the placebo effect, in which supposedly ineffective pills or injections cause substantial health benefits. And equally nocebo, where harmless treatments cause illness and in some cases death when people believe in them. A wrong diagnosis can sometimes become self-fulfilling, and the patient dies before the error is found and corrected. Likewise, someone may recover from a serious illness due to misdiagnosis, although this may be less common.

Even though I did not think about it at the time, I was aware that I was in an old hospital building. Judging from the symptoms, it seems likely that I have contracted the illness my coworker had last week (he has now returned). He is still not able to speak normally due to his vocal cords being  affected, and had various other symptoms including fever. So it could simply be that I have the same virus.

But in either case, body and soul are tightly integrated. In this life, they cannot be separated. In the next life, they probably can. But I am in no hurry to find out. Still, if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take: It certainly beats it wandering around bothering the living!

Actually, I should probably not bother the living even while I live. But at least reading my journal is voluntary!


(Incidentally, my throat is still irritated, but the other symptoms are gone for now.)

5 thoughts on “Viruses and ghosts

  1. I had a student (she is still fine, I just don’t teach her any more) who has a severe peanut allergy. She has to carry Epi-Pens around with her in case she even came in contact with the smallest scrap of peanut residue. She was even unable to eat . . . (dunh dunh dunh) . . . many CHOCOLATES, because many candy manufacturers use the same containers for various types of candies, many of which contain peanuts.

    Your symptoms sounded quite a lot like the onset of some sort of allergic reaction.

    Although your “pathogens of my co-worker” hypothesis sounds valid.

    Your “dead people are messing with me” hypothesis makes my skin crawl a little bit!

    • I ate half of that chocolate a few days ago and had no problems, so I doubt it is allergy. Also, I eat nuts pretty much every week as part of the Maryland cookies I sometimes eat before going to bed, to trick the stomach into not complaining.

      As for the ghosts, I assume lay members of Happy Science believe these are literal shadowy figures like in the movie, that they just happen to not be able to see. I think this is a bit simplistic. As I explained, the germ theory – for all that it is one of the best pieces of science ever to befall humankind – does not entirely cover the interaction between mind and body seen in placebo, nocebo and multiple personalities (who can have different allergies, one personality can have hypertension and the other not etc). Whether the over 2000 year old concepts of spirits is the best way to describe these influences is another matter, but ignoring that part completely is certainly not scientific. We need both the germ theory and a way to describe influences on the body through the mind. Both of them contribute to our day-to-day health, and the mind probably most.

      Agree about the skin crawl – when I watched the first half of the movie, there was rather a bit of skin crawling. Lost souls play a pretty big role in the first part.

  2. I wish I could remember the title of the “Christian Fiction” that was going around when I was a new teacher. There were several . . . one was The Archon Conspiracy, I think . . . one was [Something] the Darkness. They were well-intentioned, I guess, but they portrayed “spirits of darkness” as . . . well, they really reminded me of Pac-Man ghosts, for some reason. And people actually adopted this into their theology (although the particular people to whom I’m referring probably didn’t know the word “theology”) and really believed that there were these little dark things physically around, hiding in curtains, hovering in dark corners of the rooms, etc. I thought, “Wow. The people writing this stuff have NO IDEA that they’re not just using some kind of personification tactics here, that people are really BELIEVING them!” Then I began to wonder . . . as the market for the books grew along with the demand for them, they HAD to know, and had to be consciously shelling out fiction like that. It frightens me, because ordinary people take such stuff as (literal) Gospel, and it takes up room that could otherwise be filled with true contemplation of God and their relationship with Him.

    I am, quite frankly, afraid of such. My lack of understanding of the bible, and my confusion at all the apocrypha, heresies, and various interpretations of it makes me very nervous, and at least I try to look at it as both word and Word. But when people start adding to it? And because of somewhat questionably intentioned (or capable) authors? That frightens me. There will always be those who try to be cautious and careful in what they believe, but . . . those kind are nowhere near as commonly found as people who are NOT cautious or careful, who don’t take things with a grain of salt, who question and try to follow the Truth as best as they can. People who lead such crowds into questionable practices of faith are doing nobody any favors.

    Not sure how I got there from your reply. But I did. Eh. Sorry.

  3. Yeah. As I said, I am pretty sure there are lay members of Happy Science who think shadowy people are ambling around just out of the corner of their eye.

    I think of this a little when I write fiction, and that is one reason why I don’t write Christian fiction. If I as a a Christian writer were to write Christian fiction, people would reasonably think it was based on my own faith.

    On the other hand, I believe even good people have some mind parasites inside, and projecting them out of themselves and seeing them on the outside may well make these people feel less scared. What we need to tell in this case is that also the Kingdom of Heaven is near, so near that you can find it in your heart. There isn’t just darkness in there, but something bright and beautiful that was given to us for free.

  4. Your last two sentences are wonderful. They would have taken me pages and pages of rambling to even approach, but I believe that with every fiber of my being. There is that within us that yearns for God, and that, if we let it, will take us to a place that is near him.

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