Sunday, July 22, 2007

One by Richard Bach

by Richard Bach
Publisher: Silver Arrow Books/1988
Pages: 284

What would happen if we come face-to-face with the person we were in the past? With the people we are, in parallel lifetimes, in alternate worlds. What would we tell them, and what would we ask? How would we change, if we knew what waits beyond space and time? Richard Bach, in a journey with his wife Leslie, travels to a realm where survival depends on discovering what the other aspects of themselves have learned on roads they never took; where imagination and fear are tools for saving worlds and/or destroying them; where dying is but one step to overcome death.

‘One’ explores some of the paradoxes of parallel universes and is all about choices - and the different turns that life can take depending on one key decision. Every choice you make in every moment of your life, whether to smile at a stranger in an elevator, your last-minute decision to eat a healthy meal, to read one book and not another, influences more than your next few seconds or minutes or hours. It can affect your whole future and the lives of others. To quote from the book: "A tiny change today brings us to a dramatically different tomorrow. There are striking rewards for those who pick the high hard roads, but those rewards are hidden by years. Every choice is made in the uncaring blind; no guarantees form the world around us."

As in ‘Illusions: The Tale of a Reluctant Messiah’ and ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’, Richard Bach uses flight as a possibility to learn without the restriction of earth, or reality.
Flight is freedom, freedom from time and space. As the plane he and his wife are flying in, disappears from radar and reality, they have the option to see the endless possibilities of their lives: past, present, and future. They learn finally that they are a part of each other, and that everyone is ONE. It is a simplified complex idea. It is an admirable accolade to those moments of joyful love for the world, the universe, humanity, and for the sheer rapture of existence.

"One" is not as orderly as "Illusions." It introduces many ideas but does not follow through on some of those. Although it is definitely an enjoyable read, and contains some wonderful passages and wisdom, it is somewhat sermonizing. Bach occasionally phrases questionable ideas as absolute fact, which does not gel with the reader. One tends to be boring too at places. I had to plod through those passages.

As in ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, this too speaks about choices we can make but in a wholly different manner. There ends the analogy.