Books, movies and websites

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Books, movies and websites

Post22 Aug 2006

This topic is being started to documented recommended Books, Films, websites and other resources that might be of help or entertainment, to BKs, ex-BKs, those considering headed in either direction, and open-minded PBKs.

For the sake's of conciseness, please do not enter into discussion about the articles. Just give the details and reason for your recommendation. If you wish to discuss, please start another specific thread.

Links to websites can also be found and documented here ; Forum links page.

Thank you.
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ex-l

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Resources for ex-BKs

Post23 Aug 2006

Movie : This was made in 1987, and is the most amazing story of what it is like becoming an ex-BK. I have no idea on Earth how Handke and Wenders happened on this idea but it is so close to the experience. An angel wishes to become mortal after falling in love with a beautiful trapeze artist. Watch out for Peter Falk [Lieutenant Columbo], playing himself, as another previously fallen angel assisting in the transformation by explaining the simple joys of a human experience, such as hot fresh coffee on a cold day.

Told from the angel's [BKs] point of view, the film is shot in black and white, blossoming into color only when the fallen angel [ex-BK] perceive the realities of humankind, determining that he must experience humanity in full, and breaking through in to the real world. The "Angels" for all their empathy, divinity and witness of human suffering are seem fairly powerless in their cool detatchment but are portrayed well. Really reminded me of a bunch of sullen European BKs in their long coats and pony tails.

Movie :
    The Matrix by The Wachowski Brothers.
1999 on. There have been a couple of threads on The Matrix in this and the xBKChat forum. For a high budget Hollywood SCI-FI action picture, it is steeped in archetypal Gnostic mysticism to a surprising degree. Whether we have worked out that the BK experience is a Matrix, or a Matrix in The Matrix, or an escape from The Matrix, I do not know.

However, the scene of Neo "birth", where he wakens up from the induced sleep, and is spat out of his artifical womb and discarded by the Machine only to discover that he had been living a dream and is entirely weak and vulnerable, too much so to be even able to sustain himself, is a pretty close call on what it is like to pull out of Gyan. Its a great romp and not just one of the boys, thanks to love interest Keanu Reeves portrayal and a strong female lead from Carri-Anne Moss. Random website on philosophy of The Matrix. Just imagine all those mechanic bugs coming to get you to be negative BK mental programming and gun them down in your mind.

"Pay no attention to these hypocrites," Mouse tells Neo. "To deny our impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."
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bansy

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Post23 Aug 2006

Director Frank Capra's classic movies are nice and wholesome. Just a few of the most popular ;
    • You cannot Take It With You.
    A wealthy, stuffy family of great self-importance meet a collection of good-hearted lunatics. When the two families come together, lifestyle and philosophy collide head-on and the relation breaks up when during a dinner party the house is raided by the police, everyone being arrested on suspicion of anarchism.

    • Mr Smith Goes to Washington
    .
    Naive and idealistic leader of the Boy Rangers is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state but after discovers the shortcomings of politics his earnest goals leads to a conflict with the political bosses who first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy him through scandal.

    • It's a Wonderful Life.

    An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed.
When you've seen them, you'll walk away with a warm feeling in your heart.
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Post23 Aug 2006

I say Frank Capra was a genius. Try and catch also:

    Mr Deeds Goes to Town
    Meet John Doe
For more heart-warming feel good cinema :). And, for a laugh,

    Arsenic and Old Lace
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Books

Post25 Aug 2006

Book : A 1945 classic, Animal Farm was a satirical allegory of the Russian Revolution. Led by the pigs, the Animals on Mr Jones's farm revolt against their masters. After their victory they decide to run the farm themselves on egalitarian principles. Inspired by the example of Boxer, the hard-working horse, the cooperation prosper. The pigs become corrupted by power and a new tyranny is established. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Snowball, the idealist, is driven out. The final betrayal is made when the pigs engineer a rapproachement with the Farmer.

After moving into the farmer's house, learning to walk on two legs and wear human clothes, the pigs use a number of yuktis to get the animals to work for them including; the Sugarcandy Mountain, Ribbons & Sugar and Milk. The Sugarcandy Mountain to symbolize the concept of a Heaven to come that inspires the animals to work using lies and manipulation. A land where clover and sugar is unmeasured and free to everyone. Ribbons & Sugar symbolizes the luxuries of life enjoyed by the old middle class under the old government. Mollie, the capitalist, is particularly fond of ribbons and sugar so much so that she leaves the farm for them. Lastly, Orwell uses Milk to represent the care and love that mothers give to their children. When the pigs take the milk for themselves they are in essence, stealing the very life of the other animals turning the other farm animals into tools of the state. No longer is the power in the family, the cornerstone of civilization, but in the totalitarian New World government. As salient a read as when it was written and a warning to us all of how be become those we rebel against.

Boxer the horse, is a tragic avatar of the working class or proletariat; loyal, dedicated, and strong. His major flaw, however, is his blind trust of the leaders and his inability to see corruption. I suggest that he could easily represent the 100,000s of poor bharatwasi BKs hearded down at Abu Road.

Book :Woven around the premise of a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. The is one of the greatest Russian satires, directed against an otherwise immobile social order. A mysterious and psychically gifted gentleman "magician" of uncertain origin, arrives with a strange retinue, targets the elite and wreaks havoc amongst corrupt social-climbers, women, bureaucrats and profiteers.

In one of the major episodes where you will see my metaphor clearly, Satan holds a magic show at the Variety Theatre. Originally satirising vanity, greed and gullibility of the new rich, it has the self-proclaimed elite duped into believing that they are dressed in the most wonderous finer, everything is well and that the Magician is able to money fall from the ceiling. But when they walk out and wake up later, they find they are naked, the money just paper and everything is asa it was before.

As a spiritual counter point, there is also an interesting account of the meeting Pontius Pilate's meeting with Jesus, his recognition of an affinity with and spiritual need for the Messiah whilst also realising his role in his death. Witch-like flying figures a lot.

Book :
Lao Tzu wrote:Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.

As soon as the Silver Age is over, I am off to Yunnan to hang out with Lao Tzu and his mates. None of those Monkey gods, Elephant boys or caste system for me. One of the most popular translations of the Taoist classic illustrated by simple B&W photographs. A religion without religion and grounded common sense wisdom. A peaceful meditation without a god encroaching on your inner space. Universal stuff that the BKs have not laid claim to. Yet. 25 years old translation but timeless. [On a serious note, one thing I wish the BKs would wake up to and advertise is that the native Copper Aged religion was not Hindu and only Indian but widespread and universal. You would think that India had the trademark on enlightenment the way they go on, largely in their nationalistic way.]

Book :
    The Chasm of Fire, A Women's Experience of Liberation through the Teachings of a Sufi Master by Irina Tweedie.
Irina Tweedie, http://www.goldensufi.org/A-ChasmofFireInterview.html was a British woman who went to live and study in northwest India with a Naqshbandi Sufi teacher. Her book is written in the form of a spiritual diary - the sort of diary Brahma and Saraswati must have written but we do not see. She was the first Western woman to be trained in her yogic lineage.

During her training, her teacher did not give her any specific spiritual practice as he believed that while men required this kind of discipline, such things were not necessary for women to develop spiritually. The few years she spent near him consisted largely of sitting in his courtyard or house, observing his interaction with other disciples and family, with occasional terse conversations with him. The stress resulting from a combination of the heat, noise, smells, physical illness, and emotional deprivation seemed to cause a progressive emptying of her personality.

Her teacher described his method of instruction in the following way: "... we do not teach but quicken. I am stronger than you so your currents adjust themselves to mine" thus causing "the stronger magnetic field to affect, quicken the weaker". This combination of suffering so that she would "lose herself in every way", and the teacher's continued presence and influence resulted in different spiritual experiences.

It is an interesting and honest account of the sometimes harsh process and breakdowns one can experience on a true spiritual path. Not the pretty New Age - do it at the weekend - face.
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Post06 Sep 2006

This is from the BKs :

Google Videos Clips. Somebody plays the part of Lekhraj Kirpalani.
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Post25 Sep 2006

Two books both on the same subject;

A Riveting Investigation into Channeling and Spirit Guides. For five years, best-selling author and journalist Joe Fisher painstakingly investigated the claims of channelers and the mysterious voices that speak through them. The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts is his gripping journey into a realm of darkness and deception.

The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts is not a skeptic's dismissal of channeling. Deeply convinced of the reality of reincarnation after writing The Case For Reincarnation and Life Between Life, Joe Fisher ventured into the world of mediumship with every expectation of writing the definitive book on how to contact spirit guides. But what he encountered, while remarkable in many ways, turned his emotions inside out and left him questioning the faith of New Age believers. This book is required reading for anyone who has ever visited, or considered visiting, a deep-trance channeler. Joe gets sucked into a "relationship" with his own personal "guide" but being an investigative journalist, decides to take down details of four of them, including that of his own guide with a view to checking out just how true their claims are.

The claims don't check out. In fact each persona is an uneasy fit of good geographical and lousy genealogical research with some historical background thrown in for good measure. In short these are fictional characters inserted into believable contexts and comes to believe that the mediums are actually being taken over by malevolent "earthbound spirits", the tormented souls of those who had lived desolate and degenerate lives, who cannot accept they are dead and refuse to "move on". These souls find the openings that mediums provide excellent opportunities for mischief and worse. As such Fisher concludes that it is potentially dangerous to get involved with mediums claiming to channel "spirit guides" as they cannot be believed and are arch manipulators.

A remarkable book and well worth any seeker's time as it is a scientist taking an indepth and personal look at the dark side of spirituality, one that religion, New Age and "spirituality" seeks to ignore as it might reveal uncomfortable truths. It is a significant contribution to the dialogue between psychology and theology. Peck was a very successful psychiatrist who became very famous in the New Age circuit for his "Road Less Travelled" book who then went to examine the nature of evil and the phenomenon of possession starting from the position of not believing in it at all. In this I am not necessarily pointing a finger at Shiva and the BKWSU because I do not think that Peck has the whole picture and I think he came across as a little bit full of himself at the end. BUT. It is real, interesting and very well written.
M. Scott Peck wrote:Evil deeds do not make an evil person. Otherwise we would all be evil. If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have crossed over the line are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.

The poor in spirit do not commit evil. Evil is not committed by people who feel uncertain about their righteousness, who question their own motives, who worry about betraying themselves. The evil of this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisee's of our own day, the self-righteous who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination. It is out of their failure to put themselves on trial that their evil arises. They are, in my experience remarkably greedy people.

A predominant characteristic of the behavior that I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection.

Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them. They seem to live lives that are above reproach. The words image, appearance and outwardly are crucial to understanding the morality of 'the evil'. While they lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their goodness is all on a level of pretense. It is in effect a lie. Actually the lie is designed not so much to deceive others as to deceive themselves. We lie only when we are attempting to cover up something we know to be illicit. At one and the same time 'the evil' are aware of their evil and desperately trying to avoid the awareness. We become evil by attempting to hide from ourselves. The wickedness of 'the evil' is not committed directly, but indirectly as a part of this cover-up process. Evil originates not in the absence of guilt but in the effort to escape it.

It often happens then that 'the evil' may be recognized by its very disguise. Because they are such experts at disguise, it is seldom possible to pinpoint the maliciousness of 'the evil'. The disguise is usually impenetrable.

They are not pain avoiders or lazy people in general. To the contrary, they are likely to exert themselves more than most in their continuing effort to obtain and maintain an image of respectability. They may willingly, even eagerly, undergo great hardships in their search for status. It is only one particular pain they cannot tolerate: the pain of their own conscience, the pain of realization of their own sinfulness and imperfection.

They are men and women of obviously strong will, determined to have their own way. There is a remarkable power in the manner in which they attempt to control others.

Those who are evil are masters of disguise; they are not apt to wittingly disclose their true colors - either to others or to themselves. It is not without reason that the serpent is renowned for his subtlety. We therefore cannot pass judgment on a person for a single act. Instead judgment must be made on the basis of a whole pattern of acts as well as their manner and style.

Think of the psychic energy required for the continued maintenance of the pretense so characteristic of 'the evil'! They perhaps direct at least as much energy into their devious rationalizations and destructive compensations as the healthies do into loving behavior. Why? What possesses them, drives them? Basically, it is fear. They are terrified that the pretense will break down and they will be exposed to the world and to themselves.

Evil people would be distinguished by these traits:

    1.) Consistent destructive, scapegoating behavior, which may often be quite subtle.
    2.) Excessive, albeit usually covert, intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury.
    3.) Pronounced concern with a public image and self-image of respectability, contributing to a stability of lifestyle but also to pretentiousness and denial of hateful feelings or vengeful motives.
    4.) Intellectual deviousness, with an increased likelihood of a mild schizophrenic-like disturbance of thinking at times of stress."
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Post07 Oct 2006

From a post by primal.logic in the ex-BK forum;

Tolle is a German living in Canada who defines the relationship between time, ego and confusion. His point is that ego cannot exist without consciousness being trapped in past and future. This means that when we become fully aware of the present moment, of here and now, (soul conscious) we become free of the identity we have created through our relationship with the past. This in turn frees us from living for some future moment with the mistaken belief that it holds the solution to our unhappiness or problems. I don't want to make this book sound cliché, because it definitely is not. It is original and profound and has really had a deep impact on me.

I got this off Amazon.com and found it to much more profound than I anticipated. The guts of it is a definition of 13 ways in which we think that are guaranteed to make us unhappy - and I found myself prone to almost all of them at some point. That was depressing in itself, but I found that simply the awareness of these processes was enough to limit them. One point in particular that is raised in this book is just how much we use imagination to amplify the wrong thinking we are engaged in the first place - a kind of destructive thinking on steroids.

This is described as a 'rough guide to science' - it is hysterically funny at points and Bryson has a brilliant way of taking the reader through the history of science and scientists (an unusual collection of oddballs) and what they have found out along the way. It is easy to read, incredibly informative and all over very enjoyable - this is not a text book, but will leave you much wiser about everything from DNA to evolution to the theory of relativity to what the earth is made of to where humans fit in the grand scheme of things.
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Holy Smoke

Post15 Oct 2006

Movie :Starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, Holy Smoke centers on the efforts of an American to try to deprogram an Australian woman taken in by an Indian cult. There are other characters in Holy Smoke, but their roles are all inconsequential. Written as an absurdist comedy, a strange thing for such a serious matter, in truth it is an awful movie BUT I still think it will give most ex-BKs a bit of a laugh and those that had problems with their families when they took Gyan will recognize a lot of the characterizations. Interestingly, on the DVD the commentary between Winslet and Campion on cults, their experiences studying them, the reaction to their movie is worthwhile listening to.

On a trip to India, Winslet falls in with the cult, and refuses to come home. Barron's family hires Keitel, an American cult deprogrammer, to help bring her to her senses. Barron is lured back under the pretense that her Father is dying. Her family and friends then surprise her by telling her she must spend the next three days with Waters, who intends to 'cure' her.

I remember that this caused a little ripple in BK circles when it came out, all the Sisters in the cults wore white saris. Winslet reminds me of some of the young BK Sisters I knew but the character's behaviour is not convincing. Its interesting to see a film made about cults or spirituality that obviously had no real experience of it. The main problem with this movie is the cult deprogramming. Waters is said to be the best in his field, yet the Campions' portrayal of deprogramming is silly and irresponsible. Its ethics not questioned at all.

The beginning though is excellent. The guru opening the third eye scene is probably the best on celluloid and made me want to go sign up straight away. My sympathies lay with the cult members and it portrayal of India will bring back memories.
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movies

Post16 Oct 2006

Hi, ex-l

I've seen Holy Smokes years ago and of course I compared my BK life to it a lot ... anyway ... have you heard about movie everyone is talking about? It's interesting, all goes back to the basic stuff: our thoughts ...

The Secret is a feature length, historic and factually based account of an age old secret, said to be 4000 years in the making, and known only to a fortunate few. The Secret promises to reveal this great knowledge to the world - The Secret to wealth, The Secret to health, The Secret to love, relationships, happiness, eternal youth ... The Secret to life itself.

The Secret is a self-help film using a purported documentary format to present its "transforming" message—the "Law of Attraction". It opens with a long section expanding on its tagline, "The Secret has traveled through centuries to reach you". The bulk of the film features interviews of professionals (and dramatizations of those interviews) in the business of promoting, teaching, or writing about the concept of the "Law of Attraction". These people come from diverse backgrounds, ranging from business and science to theology and philosophy. Interspersed between the interviews are testimonials, real life stories, and what the filmmaker asserts as pertinent quotes from historical figures.
proy wrote:The people involved in the making of the film "The Secret" appeared in the USA on the Oprah Show recently. You can download the whole 45 minute show, which is entirely devoted to "The Secret" from - The Secret on Oprah.

It is a 96MB download so you will need a good internet connection. The show may be scheduled for UK TV sometime in the coming months. You will find a review of the film "The Secret" earlier in this thread.
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Post09 Dec 2006

Something lighter ;


The Monty Python team examines the meaning and purpose of life in a series of sketches from Creation to conception to death and beyond. In typical Monty Python fashion they satirize and humourize almost everyone.

Brian Cohen is born in the stable a few doors down from the one in which Jesus was born, a fact which initially confuses the three wise men who come to praise Him. Brian grows up to be an idealistic young man who resents the continuing Roman occupation of Judea. While attending Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he becomes infatuated with the attractive young woman who persuades him to join one of the many factious new religious movements plotting to strike at the Roman occupiers.

A series of coincidences and some meaningless babble Brian recites as an attempt to avoid the Romans leads a small army of people to come to regard Brian as the Messiah. Despite his best efforts to convince people that this is not the case, and his attempts to use his influence to get people to embrace their individuality and not rely on authority figures (advice which is merely parrotted back at him, reverentially), he is arrested, sentenced to death, crucified, and abandoned by anyone who could possibly help him. Still, by the closing credits, he is persuaded to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".

Very new film documentary. An interesting view of a growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America that requires Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement. Compare them with BK Youth camps.

Early Learning or Early Brainwashing ?
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Post16 Dec 2006

Book:An analysis of the clash of faith and reason in the modern world. The End of Faith is about the suspension of reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when these beliefs inspire the worst of human atrocities. Harris argues that in the presence of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer expect to survive our religious differences indefinitely. Most controversially, he maintains that “moderation” in religion poses considerable dangers of its own: as the accommodation we have made to religious faith in our society now blinds us to the role that faith plays in perpetuating human conflict. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris draws on insights from neuroscience, philosophy, and Eastern mysticism in an attempt to provide a truly modern foundation for our ethics and our search for spiritual experience.
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Post16 Dec 2006

Book :I am reading these. (Ah, to read again ... obviously wasn't allowed to read books or see television as a BK. You know, when it became clear to the Seniors that I was losing my faith Maureen actually asked me in one of her caring one to one meetings if I had been reading novels!!!!! She asked me in a loving sort of sympathetic way).

Generally, they are beautiful fable like tales with very moral type messages. Quite moving to read.
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Post25 Dec 2006

Movies : The following "New Age spirituality" movies are not really to everyone's taste, but are for entertainment viewing. All are a bit heavy going, something spiritually lighter such as Wallace and Gromit would be better :

Three parallel stories--about love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of existence--as told through the odyssey taken on by one man in his thousand-year struggle to save the woman he loves. His epic journey begins in 16th-century Spain, where, as conquistador Tomas Creo, he commences his search for the 'Tree of Life', the legendary entity believed to grant eternal life to those who drink of its sap. As modern-day scientist Tommy Creo, he desperately struggles to find a cure for the cancer that is killing his beloved wife Isabel. Traveling through deep space as a 26th-century astronaut, Tom begins to grasp the mysteries of life that have consumed him for more than a century.

"Celestine Prophecy", a movie and a book, is a pop-culture spiritual term derived from the book by the same name. Written by James Redfield, the novel has become a "spiritual guidebook" of sorts for the New Age movement. Its basic thesis -- the world is evolving into a new and profound plane of spiritual awareness. "For half a century now, a new consciousness has been entering the human world, a new awareness that can only be called transcendent, spiritual. If you find yourself reading this book, then perhaps you already sense what is happening, already feel it inside."
paulkershaw wrote:I saw the new Movie The Fountain this weekend on DVD, staring Hugh Jackman of X-Men fame and Oscar Winner Rachel Weisz. It takes a deep and different look at one man living many Parallel Lives and trying to save the same woman in all these lives. In one life, a Yogi searches for the healing ability (and Medicine of Life) in a tree and the comment made in Genesis (Bible) that there are two Trees, namely a Tree of Life and a Tree of Knowledge, which really struck home for me ... There is also a comment that ShiBaba or SheeBaba? (read ShivBaba?) is the Lord of the Underworld too. Deep stuff, especially as one realises what the underworld is ... Anyways, I recommend the scene where the Yogi character ascends into the Light and meets G-D (as Light) is awesome and inspiring and I really find myself seeing a deeper side to Life today ... some imagery and symbolism is incredible ... Hope you can all get hold of it, it teaches about Love and Light to me ...
ex-l wrote:... Xibalba, the Mayan underworld.
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Post26 Dec 2006

Play : Yes, I know it is a bit of a corny show off pseud thing to do ... recommend some Sartre ... but this recollection was inspired by Bansy's post about how this forum is a bit like a blog in that we write our posts to ourselves. The concept behind the play might as well apply to al of life. We think that others are there but are unable to make contact and be contacted ... it is all happening in our own head. Also known as "No Way Out"

The play begins with a Valet leading a man into a room that the audience soon realizes is in hell. The room has no windows, no mirrors and only one doorThe man is joined by one woman and then another. After their entry, the Valet leaves and the door is shut and locked. All expect to be tortured but no torturer arrives. Instead they realize they are there to torture each other, which they do effectively, by probing each other's sins, desires, and unpleasant memories. At first, the three see events concerning them that are happening on earth, though they can only observe and listen, but eventually as their connection to Earth dwindles and the living move on they are left with only their own thoughts and the company of the other two. Near the end of the play, the man demands he be let out; at his words the door flies open but he and the others refuse to leave.
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