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Record Type: Review   ID: 41

The Division of Consciousness: The Secret Afterlife of the Human Psyche

Novak, Pete

This is, in EHE terms, a partial EHE autobiography and decidedly one outcome of a project of transcendence. This book is the result of a 10-year search Novak began as a result of the death of his wife. He undertook to review the existing evidence for and against survival of death, but he did not limit himself to psychical research and other sciences. Instead he studied religious documents and phenomenological accounts of near-death and other death-related experiences. His thinking was also influenced by his work in a psychiatric hospital where the reality of the subconscious was unavoidable.

It was a dream EHE that made his effort to understand death strong enough to carry on the search. In the dream he met with his deceased wife and knew she was alive. He then set out to understand intellectually how this could be so. He was "consumed by the need to settle the matter in my own mind once and for all" (p. 12). He began a persistent search, consuming any and everything even remotely relevant.

It did not take long before he got into the EHE process in which "magical" things happen. Simply by asking the question about survival from the whole of himself, "something profound changed. A door opened; a new perspective dawned; an alternate possibility presented itself" (p. 13), and it held up through the 9 years of subsequent concentrated reading and study. At first he feared his insight was a delusion, but whereas the assumption that a person survives death whole did not lead anywhere, he noticed that "the psyche survives death in a divided state … this premise leads everywhere" (p. 13). As he continued his reading, he found that by working from that simple assumption, "all else-all our tradition, all our religion, even all of the findings of our most modern scientific afterlife research can be deduced" (p. 13). In essence, what he calls division theory holds that the conscious mind survives death and the subconscious mind (which must also survive therefore?) judges the surviving consciousness. The reader will be edified as he or she retraverses the maze Novak walked. I have little doubt that the philosophers will take apart division theory, but for Novak and probably many others who read the book it will be a path that genuinely moves them beyond the opposites of life and death, which is an EHE worth having in itself. The literature of survival is enriched by this fresh theory, though it may well already exist in the annals of psychical research under another name. If so, this does not detract from Novak's personal discovery.

Publisher Information:Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 1997. 258p. Appendix A: Fruit of the Division: 2006-215; Appendix B: Rapture by Death: 216-227; Appendix C: Nostradamus: 228-252; 13 figs; 81 refs
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