Imagine having the opportunity to read a book that you had written seventy-five years previously and a biography of your own life as an author which had ended sixty-five years before! Then, imagine trying to improve upon that Book and that life. Could anyone possibly have such an experience?
Bellamy Writes Again is precisely the example of such an experience, in this author's opinion. Edward Bellamy's novel, Looking Backward, and its sequel, Equality, were written to offer a political philosophy which the author hoped would have a practical effect to improve the lot of posterity. In order to present his philosophy in a highly readable form, he wrote in the language and style to which he thought the public would respond. He gave it somewhat of a plot so that it could be classified as a Utopian romance, a work of fiction. But, behind it were years of thinking and concern with the problem of political inequality, injustice and poverty in America and throughout the world.
Bellamy's Looking Backward did not catch the public's attention until about a year after it was published, selling only ten thousand copies its first year. After that, it became the most popular new book in print and was the first work in America to equal the sales of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
In the year 1936, three outstanding personalities, Charles Beard, John Dewey, and Edward Weeks, independently making a list of the twenty-five most influential books published in the previous fifty years, all put Bellamy's work in first place for American authors and in second place internationally, Karl Marx's Das Kapital being first. A few years earlier, ideas from Bellamy's work were lifted directly by some of the New Deal administrators under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Because of the efforts and influence of Eleanor Roosevelt, they were crystallized into congressional acts in the depression years, one notable example being the Civilian Conservation Corps, the CCC camps.
This new work, Bellamy Writes Again, is an attempt to improve upon Looking Backward. In many ways, there will be only a slight resemblance between the two. Constructive influence though Bellamy's work has been (it is still in print), it seems now that key ideas were missing. Some of the thinking was impractical and hindered the work from accomplishing many things that Bellamy had hoped it might.
The objective of this new work is actually identical with Bellamy's. But, as a nation we are in a different stage of political development. We have proven to ourselves that the material circumstances of the common man, the rank and file of the nation, could be immeasurably improved and his level of education lifted far above what it was in Bellamy's time. Yet it has not altered the measure of disregard we have for our posterity. In fact, it has even hastened the destruction of our environment. Bellamy's dream of economic equality is even farther away with something in the neighborhood of fifty percent of our nation's wealth now being owned by less than one percent of our population.
In Bellamy's time, there was no Federal Reserve Law to control banking practices. The manipulation of the value of money enabled financial organizations to strip the farmers of their land and to acquire great wealth through loaning money against various securities, such as real estate property. The money would be loaned during a period of manipulated inflation and become due when its value had been increased several times over by a severe depression.
A different but equally dishonest and equally honored and legal method of stripping the wealth of the land was inaugurated in the 1920's. The originally honest and democratic Federal Reserve Bank Law was amended to create an astonishingly undemocratic system that precipitated the financial crash of 1929. With more amendments, the unbelievably dishonest system was created that has enabled a small handful of people to legally gain control of the wealth of a great nation and generated the ever increasing inflation which steals the life savings of the working man. The money system's functioning is again examined in Bellamy Writes Again, but not at such great length as Looking Backward and Equality.
However, the main thrust of this work is not so much to deal with such questions directly, but with the source of the problem at a deeper level. While the objective of these two books is the same, that is, to make a contribution toward the establishment of a Utopian form of government, their approach is quite different. Both are a philosophical work thinly disguised as a work of fiction in the form of a Utopian Romance. Bellamy deals with the idea that analyzing the problem and proposing practical solutions in the form of social and political action will bring improvements. Observing the failure of such an approach with the perspective of a man living almost a hundred years later has inspired a different approach to the whole question.
Our ancient struggle as a race has always been to create a better society, a society where each and every child is born into circumstances that offer an equal opportunity to develop its greatest potential in surroundings that are most conducive to such an achievement. This work is built upon the premise that first as individuals we must find the incentive to set the welfare of the whole race above our personal, family, community, and even national interests before we can hope to establish a Utopian society.
Bellamy Writes Again is a work of fiction; but, every facet of the philosophical views that are portrayed as the teachings of a wiser future generation have been researched in ancient mystical writings, and in modern works on the subject, and are a part of the personal experience of the author on some level of consciousness. In other words, the philosophical ideas to be found in this book concerning the origin of man, his destiny, his experiences in after death states, his relationship with astrological influences, with angels and the mythological spirits guiding various forces and life forms in the earth, are all based on some personal experience of the author's which has persuaded him that they are a true reflection of the natural order of things. While it may be only the author's opinion that he is describing realities, the point being made here is that these things are not presented as merely figments of a lively imagination.
The advantage of presenting philosophical ideas by incorporating them in a work of fiction is that it makes them easier to encounter and examine. Hopefully, this book can be enjoyed simply as an imaginative work of fiction with a hero with which the reader can identify. It is the author's belief that the greater adventure to be found in this work will be in the challenging experience of meeting with new ideas on a broad range of subjects. For example, the suggestion that for good reasons there inevitably shall be a Utopian society on earth and that everyone shall have the chance to experience it could hardly fail to be an exciting idea.
It is not intended that there should be suspense or fast moving action bridging from one chapter to the next. Each chapter presents a particular idea by incorporating it in the action of that chapter. There will not be found even a hint that immorality is other than destructive to the individual, but this view will not be tiresome because it will not come through as the usual sin and guilt approach.
It was a truly delightful adventure to write this book. Years of searching for answers, perhaps life times, have been summed up in its pages.