Gary Zukav, whose book The Dancing Wu Li Masters brought him notoriety in 1979, has written a new best seller — The Seat of the Soul. In it he suggests that humanity is now evolving from a “five­sensory” species that pursues external power (i.e., domination over the environment and other people) into a “multisensory” species that pursues authentic power (based on the perceptions and values of the spirit, especially as related to the soul’s evolution through reincarna­tion and the law of karma).

Zukav seeks to help people on a practi­cal level. He argues that a multisensory out­look can help people understand and cope with their problems (we just need to remember that karma brings “healing” to the soul), revolutionize psychology (with an appreciation of how past lives can affect present living), develop a reverence for life (for all is sacred and divine), and make sense or the problem of evil.

Zukav is at his worst in dealing with the problem of evil. He says we must not pre­sume to judge when people suffer cruelly, for “we do not know what is being healed [via karma] in these sufferings…” (p. 45). “Non-judgmental justice” relieves us of having to be judge and jury regarding apparent evil; the law or karma will bring about justice in the end.

Would Zukav have us believe that when soldiers in Ceylon shot a nursing mother and then shot off the toes of her baby for target practice, this was somehow bringing “healing” to her and her child’s souls? When Shiites in the Soviet Union ripped open the womb of a pregnant Armenian woman and tore the limbs from the fetus, does Zukav really expect us to place our faith in “non-judgmental justice” instead of being morally outraged? Where is the divine and the sacred in this?

Moreover, if reincarnation and the law of karma are so beneficial on a practical level, as Zukav alleges, how does he explain the immense social and economic problems — including widespread poverty, starvation, disease, and horrible suffering — in India, where reincarnation has been systematical­ly taught throughout its history?

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