&The Story of Life©
The Story of Life is a labor of love written and illustrated by Jerry DeCaire and in loving memory and dedication to
Brandi Nichelle Hoffman.
“Master, what is the best way to meet the loss of one we love?”
“By knowing that when we truly love, it is never lost. It is only after death that the depth of the bond is truly felt, and our loved one becomes more a part of us than was possible in life.”
“Are we only able to feel this toward those whom we have known and loved a long time?”
“Sometimes a stranger known to us for moments can spark our souls to kinship for eternity.”
“How can strangers take on such importance to our souls?”
“Because our soul does not keep time. It merely records growth.”
Based on the Tao of Kung-Fu: “The Soul only Records Growth."
Cover for Continuing Consciousness & the Story of Life
BOOK FORMAT & PRESENTATION
The Story of Life is a highly illustrated coffee table style book that narratively and graphically frames and underscores the consciousness research of the most respected intellects in this field of inquiry. Some of these great minds include preeminent biologist Robert Lanza on his biocentric theories of consciousness along with theoretical physicist Peter Russell's analogy of brain as a film projector and consciousness as the light that filters through it. Dean Radin will contribute his research on the topic of psi and shows how the taboo surrounding psi phenomena is the farthest thing from pure science. Stuart Hameroff's work with Roger Penrose on the quantum implications of consciousness will be discussed and even the highly prolific Oxford Mathematician and Christian apologist Dr. John Lennox will give his insights on how science has never buried God but has, in fact, only served to reveal Him. One of the major NDE stories to be highlighted in The Story of Life include Mary Jo Rapini who was recently featured on ABC Nightlines Beyond Belief segment hosted by Bob Woodward. "M.J." allowed me, as author, to interview her with my own personal brand of questions that I felt reflected the curiosity of the general public. And, of course, where would NDE research be without the contributions of Dr. Bruce Greyson who has also graciously allowed me to include his thoughts on this important human topic? (See contributor link for a complete list).
This book is a hybrid of regular text and the sequential narrative typical of a graphic novel only told page-to-page rather than panel-to-panel (with the exception of the author's actual psi experiences and other's NDE's). We are taken from the origins of the universe to the natural evolution of all biological systems including man. We will then explore the biggest of questions: Is consciousness merely a by-product of organic mechanisms borne from star-stuff, or was consciousness there all along in our development as a key player from the very beginning and even before the Big Bang? Is consciousness one of the fundamental elements of the universe?
THE STORY OF LIFE IN A NUTSHELL
If you have lost someone very close to you, it doesn't matter if you are a Christian or of any other particular faith; The Story of Life will give you GOOD reasons to believe that our loved ones who have passed on are still a part of our lives. Physics experiments replicated for many decades seem to confirm that mind is not separate from matter. Our brains, enclosed by bone, are engulfed in shadow and yet we perceive both light and shadow and the associated emotional responses to each. As stated by the character Morpheus in the motion picture, The Matrix: "What is real is only electrical signals being interpreted by our brains." So what than is really "out there?" As observers caught up in the "phenomenon," will we ever really know the "noumenon?"
Many near death accounts give us a glimpse into this mystery where we see consciousness expanding and space and time are seen for what they really are: navigational tools for a limited and localized brain trapped within the constraints of linear time.
Are we souls inhabiting a body or merely an epiphenomenon of an unlikely arrangement of "dead matter?" What scientific support is there for consciousness being primal to reality and what are the implications for an afterlife? Is there a "god?" If so, is this a deistic god or a God that is personal or something in-between? Perhaps God's providence is reserved for the hereafter rather than the here-and-now hence resolving the problem of evil? Are we "god," or is this god what Max Planck once described as the mind that is the "matrix of all matter?"
Continuing Consciousness and The Story of Life will take you through a journey that describes my own transcendental accounts from childhood to the present day. My personal experiences which defy any concepts of a causal and linear world are what compel me to believe that consciousness is a fundamental and timeless element of the universe. I will also share with the reader what is referred to as "after-death communications" and sincerely believe that they are "gifts" that have allowed me to reconnect with a very special person who I have loved and lost but who struggled with a world that didn't understand life's deepest significance. These gifts of love have gotten me through the hardest times in my life and continue to do so.
The Story of Life will also take you through personal testimponies of others, and even celebrities who have had transendental experiences that have mustered much media attention due to their transformative power. The Story of Life gives us more than a convoluted rosy philosophy and the platitudes usually following loss in an effort to bring comfort to the grieving. There is solid scientific, experiential, and circumstantial evidence to more than suggest that there is, indeed, a Continuation of Consciousness In the ongoing Story of Life.
Continuing Consciousness and the Story of Life will make you believe...
“He has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion” (Einstein on the death of his friend, Michele Besso).
我第一次与布兰蒂·霍夫曼（Brandi Hoffman）的相遇是在2003 年，在我的夏季天文学课上。这是故事的开始。即便是在当时，当她穿着一身老式风格的半旧衣服，顶着一顶大太阳帽走进教室的那一刻，我就知道，她是特殊的。她身上散发出了一些独一无二的，超凡脱俗的东西。甚至她的脸都是那样的红润、光泽，就如同上帝亲自碰触了她一样。仅仅只是看着她，我就知道，她看待的这个世界是不同的，她的宁静、端庄、甚至她那敏感的性格都折射出不同的光辉，就如同被煤块所包围的钻石一样。她曾寻找过这个世界的意义，即便在很多时候看来这么做是毫无意义的。她是永远想要融于自然的自然之子，她觉得自己与森林或者落日之景之间并没有任何隔阂。她是真理的探索者，她是天然的、一个完全亲和于上帝本质的思考者，从不缺少深刻的见解。生活在田园中心密歇根州的她，通过她自己的视点和独特的洞察力，定义上帝是一个“世界意识”。她对上帝的思索要远远超越于我。在我小小的思维中，我给了上帝一幅面孔，但是布兰蒂则认为上帝是没有面孔的。我相信上帝是完美的，而布兰蒂则相信上帝是不断进化的。我把上帝视为一个拥有非凡意识的独立存在，而布兰蒂则认为上帝是由各种各样的意图一起构成的。我认识的上帝是一个极度拟人化的存在，而布兰蒂的上帝则可用马克斯·普朗克（Max Planck，量子力学创始人，编者注）的一句话来形容，“所有物质的基体”（The Matrix of All Matter）。我努力的去了解她，但我得到的只是她那高贵的心灵和如星空般深邃思维的一瞥。而后在经历了只能由天使来描述的近7 年时间，充满关切的友谊之后，她让我明白了如何才能让一个人爱他人胜过爱他自己。我永远感激她，是她帮我完成了这生命旅程上重要的一课：爱与被爱。我爱布兰蒂，无人能出其右。就像在弗兰克·泽菲雷利的电影《简爱》（1996）中罗切斯特先生所说的那样“简，你真是一个奇怪而神秘的存在……”（Jane, you’re a strange and unearthlything...），布兰蒂即是如此。在如今这个遍布竞争、贪婪和浮躁的世界中，“奇怪”无疑是一个褒义词。自年仅23 岁的布兰蒂于2009 年12 月12 日不幸去世以来，我更加努力的去了解上帝。而动力则来自于，也只可能来自于这巨大的遗失所带来的冲击，我把此文献于布兰蒂·尼奇尔·霍夫曼（Brandi Nichelle Hoffman），我的心上人。学的越多，我越能用她的视野来看待这个世界，你知道的“小熊”，不知怎么，你就是知道。“如果天谴是正义的报酬，你还会选择正义吗？”布兰蒂·尼奇尔·霍夫曼
I first met Brandi Hoffman in my summer astronomy class of 2003 when our story began. She walked into the room with her old-fashioned hand-me-downs and big sun hat and right away I knew there was something special about her. She radiated something other-worldly. Her face glowed with a sort of celestial endorsement signaling God’s approval of this beautiful soul that was meant to be in this particular space and at this particular time. She saw the world differently and was like a precious gem hidden amongst the quotidian rubble in her quiet, demure, and even vulnerable disposition. Brandi was kind.
Looking for meaning in a world that can seem so meaningless, she was a child of nature forever wanting to blend into it as she perceived there was no separation between her and the forest or a sunset’s vista. She was a seeker of truth and a genuine philosopher whose intimacy with the true nature of God was nothing less than profound. Brandi was thoughtful.
Living in rural Central Michigan, she independently defined God as “Universal Consciousness” as gleaned by her personal visions and unique insights. Her thoughts of God were larger than mine. My small mind gave God a face; Brandi insisted that God had no “face.” I believed in God’s “perfection;” Brandi would insist that God could learn—through us and our experiences. I saw God as a separate entity with a singular and petty purpose; Brandi saw God as something larger and the source of human intention. My notion of the infinite was an anthropomorphic one while Brandi embraced Max Planck’s more representational concept of God as “the Matrix of all Matter.” Brandi was smart.
I struggled to understand her and I had only a glimpse into her empathetic heart and stellar mind. After nearly seven years of an ineffable, loving friendship that only the angels can describe, she taught me how to love another person more than I could ever love myself. I am eternally indebted to her for helping me to fulfill life’s most important commission: to love and to be loved. I loved Brandi, and like no other. It’s like that line from the character Mr. Rochester in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996): “Jane, you’re a strange and unearthly thing…” and so was Brandi. And in a world where competition and greed and shallowness can be particularly common, “strange” can be good. Brandi was different. Her life had meaning, purpose, and significance.
Since Brandi’s passing hours removed from her birthday on December 12th, 2009, I have devoted my life to understanding God more. In that education, borne from a driving force that can come only from a sense of great loss, I dedicate this book to the one who was my very heart; Brandi Nichelle Hoffman. Brandi still inspires me as she has inspired others who were fortunate enough to have known her.
The more I learn, the more I am beginning to see things her way. You knew “Little Bear.” Somehow, you knew.
“If damnation were the reward for righteousness; would you still choose to be righteous?”
-Brandi Nichelle Hoffman