Nathan Mathewson Shippee founder of the Human Being Foundation is an entrepreneurial banker inventor archeologist and author of philosophical essays. Born in 1919 the author has vast life experience making him one of the wise elders from whom one can glean wisdom regarding what it is that makes life meaningful. His reflections upon Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” led him beyond that statement to the realization that it is clarity of thought that is imperative to human development.
Applying this insight to his own life Shippee found answers to some of the questions that have challenged great minds through the centuries including the age-old evolution-versus-creation argument: “Are we descended from the apes or ascended from within?” He found that the search for wisdom entails asking questions that challenge the reigning status quo and that eventually this process will lead one to “sense the radiance of the Soul within you will open yourself to the power of the planets to the movements of the stars to the universal forces flowing through you to the host of angels hovering over you to your guides and to all of those who speak to you through others.”
The author avers that it is identification with one’s own “live-in Soul” that can provide the assurance that one is more than a body and thus will transcend death. “We are on the earth but not of it” he writes. “As souls we are visitors here…we have a mission here. For the first time evolution need not be primarily physical in nature; it may also be a transformation of consciousness.” Shippee asserts that human beings now have the ability to be conscious participants in the “unfolding and direction of the evolutionary process itself.” It is up to humanity to create the future if there is to be one and the thoughts one cultivates will shape one’s becoming. He believes that our species has the power to create this future but questions whether it has sufficient wisdom.
Shippee is the author of several other books that also address questions of being and becoming; his own search began at the age of forty-four when he had an out-of-body experience in a near-fatal plane crash. He describes his awareness of the burning wreck below him and of being alive in a “beautiful azure blue environment” which he found so “peaceful and right” as to be inexpressible. After this experience he found himself a “stranger” in the midst of his family and in the business world where he had been extremely successful by worldly standards. He wondered whether he could continue to live as he had before the accident.
BEING is the third book in Shippee’s spiritual and philosophical exploration trilogy. The author writes from sincere reflection about lived experiences but there are passages that would benefit from an objective copyediting enabling readers to follow his thoughts with greater ease; in other passages Shippee’s language is beautiful in the way that a poem is beautiful and touches as deeply.