March 6, 2024

Life in the Wrong Place

Not to be born at all
Is best, far best that can befall,
Next best, when born, with least delay
To trace the backward way.
For when youth passes with its giddy train,
Troubles on troubles follow, toils on toils,
Pain, pain forever pain;
And none escapes life's coils.
Envy, sedition, strife,
Carnage and war, make up the tale of life.

“It’s just one part of nature eating another part of nature,” he said.

I was looking at a caterpillar munching on a leaf from a tree I had been gazing at in rapture for several minutes during my second LSD trip. My guide, an impish fellow professor with a devilish twinkle in his eye, was trying to reassure me that this was only “the way of the world,” and that I shouldn’t be upset. But I was. Somehow, I was horrified at the sight of nature’s rapacity

I was reminded of this incident the other night when I was watching a documentary about the violence of birds. We don’t usually think of these delightful winged creatures as aerial savages, but they certainly are, as this documentary makes clear. Of course, we already knew that some of the birds of Australia are legendary for their viciousness, but surely not the stately swan.  But, yes, even swans can attack unwanted interlopers with ferocity.

After seeing his documentary, I was led to reflect on the violence of nature generally, but particularly that concerning animals. Their world seems to be divided between predators and prey, and to see defenseless animals in the midst of being devoured by more powerful adversaries can turn one’s stomach, so, more often, we prefer to turn our eyes away from such a horrifying bloody spectacle. The old adage, “red in tooth and craw” comes readily to mind.  What a world we live in.

Of course, we humans are the alpha predator of the planet, and by now we are well on our way to causing the extinction of all the megafauna on the planet we have left.  We not only eat other animals, but we kill them with impunity. If we kill another human being and are apprehended, we can be tried for murder, but if we kill other animals, there is, with few exceptions, no court in the world where we can be brought to justice. Meanwhile, we are free to treat (or mistreat) the animals we like to eat by penning them up, confining them to cages where they can barely move, shooting them full of hormones, and then slaughtering them.  Pity the lot of such animals.  What a world we live in.

Naturally, we don’t limit our killing to animals. We humans have been in the business of killing other humans for many thousands of years, including bashing in the skulls of Neanderthals and sending them the way of 99.9% of all creatures that have ever walked or crawled on the earth – to extinction. And once we discovered the spear, we were on way to devising all sorts of weapons for torture and killing until we have reached the age of nuclear warfare.  Now, when we read history, doesn’t it seem that we are really reading about one battle after another, one war followed by the next, with no end in sight?  This history of our world is written in the color of blood. What a world we live in. 

Think about all the soldiers (and civilians) who, over the centuries, have been slaughtered or maimed for life because of our penchant for endless war-making.  Really, to try to imagine the scale of human suffering because of all the wars and other forms of savagery we have unleashed on one another is impossible. We are a violent and sick species.

And then I can scarcely fail to mention the truly monstruous villains responsible for the death of millions during warfare and instances of ethnic cleansing and genocide – vile men like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and now I suppose we need to add Vladmir Putin to this list given his cruel and heartless slaughter of so many innocent penned-up, starving Palestinians in Gaza.

And, of course, I haven’t space to mention other heinous monsters from the more distant past.

In this respect, we are more like chimpanzees than bononos.  Of course, chimps are very smart and we are fond of them since they “are so like us” in so many ways.  But as Jane Goodall pointed out years ago, they are also violent and warlike.  You don’t want to mess with chimps either.

Even the sports we enjoy watching like football, boxing, hockey and so forth are devoted to trying to hurt your opponents. Ever witness the spectators watching a boxing match?  Not a pretty sight, to say nothing of the pugilists involved in beating each other until one collapses on the canvas.  We love our blood sports, too.

And then I think of women – women who not only have often to endure the agony of giving birth, but then who may themselves die in childbirth.  Or even when they do survive may sometimes find that the baby they have struggled so to bring forth is horribly deformed, and now they have to deal with that, too.  Or even if the baby seems to be fine at birth, he or she may yet die when young, causing their parents untold grief.  To how many millions of women has this happened over the centuries! The numbers must be legion.

And I won’t do more than allude to other forms of suffering to which women are subjected by the violence of the men in their lives including their husbands. Men are cruel, and women often suffer from their cruelty. 

Then, we must not forget the future we all face when we get old and infirm and are often subject to years of intolerable pain before we are released into death.  To say nothing of the enormous expenses we can expect to incur in the last years of our lives.

I recently finished reading a very stimulating book called In Praise of Failure. In it, there is a story about a very unusual but brilliant Romanian writer by the name of E. M. Cioran.  He was famous not only for his books, but for his life a dedicated idler.  He felt that there was no point in working in a meaningless universe, so he never did.

But he could not escape a brutal end to his life.  It is a cautionary tale that I hope will never happen to you or me, but does to so many.

Toward the end of his life, Cioran developed Alzheimer’s and, though he loved to walk, he could no longer find his way home. Then he started to lose his memory, though not his sense of humor.  Someone asked him if he were Cioran.  He replied “I used to be.” When a friend read him passages from his book, The Trouble with Being Born, he listened carefully and then exclaimed, “This guy writes better than I do.” It was all downhill rapidly from there.  Cioran soon couldn’t name the most familiar things and then he forgot who he was altogether.

One reads this with a shudder.

I could go on for many pages with this litany of horrors, but I won’t.  Instead, I will just remind you of the diseases we are all subject to, thanks to the microbes and viruses of this world.  The Black Death that wiped out a third of the population of Europe in the middle of the 14th century and raged with periodic outbreaks for centuries afterward.  “The Spanish Flu” that killed millions at the end of the First World War and immediately afterward. And of course, COVID, in our own time.

Years ago, I read a popular novel by John Irving called “The World According to Garp.”  The theme and motto of that book was simple and devastating:  The world is not safe.” Indeed. It is an abattoir.  

What I have written so far, though disturbing and even frightening, is not exactly news. We all know this, though we prefer not to think about such horrors. But there is another one, potentially far worse, that you probably haven’t heard of, but you are about to.

Ever hear of solar winds?

These are storms that form in what we tend to call “outer space,” and they can be deadly in their consequences.

I’ve just read a truly frightening article about them in the latest issue of The New Yorker.  It was entitled: “What a Major Solar Storm Could Do to Our Planet.”

These storms are unpredictable and cannot be controlled.  They’ve been happening forever, but we mostly have been unaware of them because until recent times, we haven’t had thousands of satellites in the sky and become so dependent on a constant supply of electricity to power our computers and other such now indispensable technologies for modern life.

But now, suddenly, we have begun to realize our vulnerability.

To illustrate the potential dangers we face from this menace, here are a couple of quotes from the article:

The potential consequences are as sweeping as our technological dependence. In 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, surveying the landscape of possible disasters, concluded that only two natural hazards have the capacity to simultaneously affect the entire nation. One is a pandemic. The other is a severe solar storm.

Extensive damage to satellites would compromise everything from communications to national security, while extensive damage to the power grid would compromise everything: health care, transportation, agriculture, emergency response, water and sanitation, the financial industry, the continuity of government. The report estimated that recovery from a [severe] storm could take up to a decade and cost many trillions of dollars.

It could also result in the death of millions of people and usher in a new dark age, which would take years to recover from. Nothing would ever be the same.

“The world is not safe.” 

More than that, it seems to have been a mistake.


Of course, there are many wonderful things in our world – the beauties of nature (at least when the sun shines), the splendors of humanity’s achievements, many good and lots of great people, the elegance of Roger Federer on the tennis court, the leaps of Baryshnikov on the ballet stage, holding a newborn in one’s arms, Woody Allen’s latest film, and so forth.  The list of things to be grateful for could obviously go on for many pages.

We can also be thankful for saints, but as the great French aphorist, La Rochefoucauld, remarked, “For every saint, there are a thousand knaves” (Actually, that was me, not him).

But, still, there is no gainsaying that this is still a perilous world we live in, and no one lives in it without suffering and dying.  That’s obvious, too, of course. 

These considerations have led some people to conclude that this world of ours, as I suggested above, was a mistake and should never have been brought into existence.  And, more than that, that it was actually not created by God at all, but by a malevolent entity usually called “the demiurge,” which is usually said to be a warped god of “corruption, decay and darkness.”

People who take this view are called Gnostics, and in the history of religion, they have had a sizable and influential following, although orthodox Christianity did its best to wipe them out and was largely successful.

Nevertheless, many Gnostic gospels have survived, including the Gospel of Philip that holds “that the world came about through a mistake.” Further, the one that made it and botched it wanted to create an imperishable and immortal world, but failed miserably.  Instead, the Gnostics say, he was just a clumsy creator, “the originator of an embarrassment of cosmic proportions.” As a result, the world we find ourselves in is an unfortunate and misguided one, which the demiurge should never have attempted because such an undertaking was beyond his capacities.

According to the Gnostics, the demiurge was driven by “passion, ignorance, and recklessness.”  Flawed and limited as he was, he nevertheless was able to create “mankind and the universe that we all still inhabit.”   

Thus, if we follow the Gnostic view here, we are living in the wrong place, in a world that should never have been, and from which “the true God” was absent.

Such an interpretation of our “fallen world” helps to explain the so-called problem of evil (that Leibniz first called “theodicy”) in which a supposedly beneficent and omnipotent God was seemingly incapable of preventing bad things, like wars, volcanoes, earthquakes and floods, from happening. Well, according to the Gnostics, He couldn’t because the true God is not present in our world, which is ruled and was ruined by the demiurge.

Which leaves us with the obvious question:  Where, then, is the true God to be found?


I think by now, you must know the answer to this question. At least you should if you’ve been reading my blogs about NDEs all these years, especially my most recent ones.

How many times have you read the NDE accounts I have cited and quoted from in which an NDEr states that this is not the real world, but a kind of dream world from which they awaken to true reality once they enter the world of Light?  It’s there that they so often say that they are finally “home,” where they belong.  And it’s there that they encounter the Light, which they know intuitively is God, the true God, the God of infinite and unconditional Love, a Love so intense and overwhelming that their only desire is to merge with it and never leave its embrace.

In short, this world of Light is immediately recognized as our true home because it is only there that we encounter for the first time the God we had believed was in the physical world. 

Instead of citing some of these narratives again, I will simply quote a few from a recently published book by a Swedish author named Jens Amberts. He entitled his book Why an Afterlife Exists. These are some of the stories from the lips of NDErs that convinced him of his claim:

The minute I woke up on that hillside in heaven I knew that that was more real than any time I've ever spent here on Earth. And I knew instantly that my time here was really but a dream. It's real to us when we're in it, but once I was there in heaven I realized that's more real, that felt more real, and it made much more sense to me than anything here. In heaven, it's so clear, so real, so rational, so logical, but yet emotional and loving at the same time. Immediately I knew that was real. Immediately.
Now, what heaven looks like. ”OMG” doesn't even describe how beautiful this place is. Heaven is, there are no words. I mean, I could sit here and just not say anything and just cry, and that would be what heaven looks like. There are mountains of beauty, there are things in this realm, you can't even describe how beautiful this place is. There are colors you can't even imagine, there are sounds you can't even create. There are beauties upon this world that you think are beautiful here. Amplify it over there times a billion. it's incredibly beautiful, there are no words to describe how beautiful this place is, it's incredibly gorgeous. 

I went into the light, and as I was moving up into the light, I just started to feel so good. Like the higher that I went into the light, and the more that I moved up and further away from Earth, the better I felt. And the feeling of pleasure does not really apply to this Earth, like nothing can compare. Like if you took everything that you were in favor of, like maybe getting a massage, in a hot tub, your favorite music, your favorite food, your favorite drink, everything that you love, happening to you all at once, no matter what it is, all at once, it would not even closely compare to the pleasure that was just within that light. And as you moved further into [it], like further away from this Earth, the pleasure felt even better. 

You know how people say that it's like a dream? Like living life is like a dream and then the other realm is the real world? I wouldn't even say that that's even a remotely accurate description. It was just such a minute, insignificant little experience that I had on Earth, that was just so short and temporary, that I might as well just forgotten it. Yeah, it was just, it was nothing. It was like, yeah, he's back home” kind of a thing. You know how people say it feels like you're home? I would go further and say that it felt more like I was there forever. It's way beyond just a feeling of being at home, that doesn't describe it very well. It's like I never left there. To be honest, I think we're all kind of there, we’re just perceiving ourselves as being here at the moment. But we never actually completely leave that realm, I don't think. It's just a short little experience, that's all. That's all life is.

So, when you still find yourself suffering in this difficult and sorrowful world, be assured that as real as it seems, it’s not the real world at all.  One day you will wake up from this nightmare and find that you are home where you belong in the world of Light and in the presence of the true God.


  1. Kent Nerburn gave us this wisdom: Our heart is known by the path we walk.

    As a nurse, I have found one joy of life is discovering who we are. Another is to be happy with who we've become.

    Susan L. Schoenbeck, MSN, RN

  2. I would have never in my days thought Ken would bring up the Demiurge. Such a strange clash in my life! I used to fall into that way of thinking- that the world was awful, that it was a punishment to be here and the only reprieve was in death. And yes, while this life right now does have a lot of ups and downs, I understand that life itself is just a means of experience. That's all it is. It's a way for 'god' (Source, as I call it) to know what it means to live, breathe, have sex, give birth, worry, love, fear, stress, etc. When we are called back home we are relieved of ALL Of that and return to our normal state of bliss. But of course, Bliss 24/7 can get boring and you probably cant learn much from it, so we return (by choice) to come back here and live again with a different plan for our life than the last. Life is meant to be taken seriously by humans, but as souls, it's just a game. An experience. And we will return to that bliss once again.

    What sucks is that I am only 26. I'm just about to be married (yay!) to the love of my life. I know in a few years, I will probably have a child and with that will come worries and stress beyond what I can understand now. I have another 60 or so years of this before my time to return home has come. Yet I have this knowledge of my real home. It taunts me every day. I think about returning there, but I know that it's not my time. I need to wait. And I know when I do return, this life will feel like just seconds instead of years.

    Anyway, enough of my babble. A lovely blog as always, Ken, so nice to hear from you.
    With love,
    Kate K from CT.

  3. Brian Anthony KraemerMarch 6, 2024 at 2:09 PM


    I so enjoy reading everything you write. I read through this piece twice and feel as if I've been visiting you in person. Yes, life is such a mystery and God knows, I prefer it to be a mystery than a well-understood mathematical equation. Mysteries are fathomless. Mysteries are invitations. The embraces of a lover are mysteries. The ocean is a mystery. The night sky is a mystery.

    Perhaps I have lived sixty years of unusual bliss, but at age sixty, I am convinced that most of it was filled with pleasure: breathing, seeing, touching, being touched, smelling, tasting, thinking, not thinking, walking barefoot, looking into the eyes of praying mantises and ladybugs.

    My latest thought is that even "heaven" gets boring and in order to really appreciate such a state of bliss, we must take a "moment" to experience something far lesser than bliss in order to remember how good we have it. I have been joking with my friends that I grew tired of only 3,874 choices of breakfast in "heaven" and St. Peter said to God, "It's time for Brian to make another brief visit outside of our realm, just for a moment, not long at all, just briefly so he can once again enjoy our realm.

    A small council met to discuss where Brian should be sent. One member asked the question, "Where did we send Donald Trump?" to which another quickly responded, "Earth." "Then that is where we shall send Brian, even if just briefly. Brian is a quick learner and he will remember how good he has it hear and will experience the greatest joy and relief upon his return." And that's what happened. I got sent to planet Earth with Donald Trump.

    I love you, Ken. You are my friend, my fellow human being who has taken life by the horns and really enjoyed it while you were capable of enjoying it. I have seen a photo you shared with us of yourself at perhaps twelve years old and even then you were dashing, on your way to twenty-three. I have read your books. I have sat with you in your home. I have enjoyed the miracle of Kenneth Ring and I am still so grateful every single time we receive another blog from you rather than a announcement from Kevin Williams that you have made your transition.

    I know life is painful for you, but every moment of your pain is our pleasure in reading more of your thoughts and even more, the unappreciated and underestimated clairvoyant experience of your presence with us right here and right now. I suspect that I might still know your presence even after you depart this body. I still communicate with my father who you know preceded you in his transition even though he was only a three months older than you.

    Life is what it is and this has become good enough for me right now. There is always chocolate. There is always red wine. There is always my own body under warm blankets. There is always a hot shower. There is always music.

    One last thing. You mentioned the film, "Life According to Garp." I was eighteen when I saw that film and I took one lesson from it. Don't let someone fellate you in a car! I love you, my friend. :-)

    1. "
      My latest thought is that even "heaven" gets boring and in order to really appreciate such a state of bliss, we must take a "moment" to experience something far lesser than bliss in order to remember how good we have it. I have been joking with my friends that I grew tired of only 3,874 choices of breakfast in "heaven" and St. Peter said to God, "It's time for Brian to make another brief visit outside of our realm, just for a moment, not long at all, just briefly so he can once again enjoy our realm. "

      "Life is what it is and this has become good enough for me right now. There is always chocolate. There is always red wine. There is always my own body under warm blankets. There is always a hot shower. There is always music."

      Brian, this speaks to me on such an intense level. Thanks so much for your comment. You are making me re-evaluate how I see the world, especially as a young adult in such crazy times where any news is basically directed to cause chaos and hate. Thank you, peace and love

      Kate K from CT

  4. Sounds like some good evidence and advice that Heaven is our REAL reality and human life on earth is more of a dream, play, drama, game, virtual reality, or simulation for our souls in comparison.

    Here's another NDE account that reinforces it: “I now understood that I had left nothing behind on earth. All my loved ones from that life, as well as all other incarnations, were here to greet me. All I had left behind are characters, playing roles in a drama that we had chosen to play while our essence remained in the afterlife. Now; it all seems so simple.” Duane Smith

  5. Isn't this a terrific argument for suicide? I know the counter-arguments from some NDEs (spiritual development, universal consciousness coming to know itself, entertainment etc). But none of that's here. To the contrary: "It was just such a minute, insignificant little experience that I had on Earth ... that I might as well just forgotten it".

    If corporeal life is crap, afterlife is great, why bother living through it?

    Pain to loved ones doesn't enter as significant here, as *their* corporeal life (including their suffering over others' suicides) is also crap, so they would be wisest also to die.

    Should there be a global Jonestown?

  6. Brian Anthony KraemerMarch 6, 2024 at 11:44 PM

    I am responding to the suggestion that "corporeal life is crap." For some reason, I am reminded of my experience hatching chicken eggs in my second grade classroom. When the tiny chicks began pecking their way out of the shells, my precious seven and eight-year-olds wanted to "help" them in their journey. I explained that it would harm the tiny chicks to have us do the work for them and that it was important for the chicks to do their own pecking in much the same way that it is disastrous to rush a butterfly from its cocoon.

    Everything has a reason and rushing the process is often disastrous rather than helpful. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Is there anything at all that silences the tormenting question of why? Holding a baby? Walking along an ocean shoreline? Making love? Taking a bath? Hiking in the hills? Anything at all that silences the question may well-nigh be the answer.

  7. @Brian Anthony Kraemer - as I wrote, I'm aware of many generic arguments for putting up with the 'crap'.

    But I'm addressing this particular article's alternative vision, which is that the vale of tears predominates while here, and is invisible and significant when one reaches 'there'. The NDE account quoted doesn't remotely suggest anything useful happens in manifestation. It is 'minute' and 'insignificant'.

    So again: isn't *this* account an argument for universal suicide?