One of the singular features of Phil’s experience was this belief that the Roman Empire represented something supernaturally evil and that “The Empire Never Ended.” Time, he believed, stood still but was made to look as if time had passed through the accumulation of Platonic accidents in the form of entropy.
In his time, he believed that the Nixon White House represented the Empire and that the predictions of Valis had foretold of the Watergate scandal.
He also believed that a few souls were involved in fighting the empire, including himself. He believed that the self he saw in 1st Century Rome was in fact himself in an alternate phase of the same timeline, and not a past life.
Now supposing we add to this basic belief structure the thought that in 1214 and again in 1915, I was fighting the empire, and that this accounts for how all these weird coincidences fit together. There are some real problems with that idea.
First and foremost, am I to understand that King John, an amoral and opportunistic man with a penchant for stealing his barons’ wives under their noses and couldn’t keep anyone on his side in the end, was fighting the Empire when he tried to grab back large parts of France that Richard had lost? Yes, I know that France was on the side of the Church of Rome while John gave money to Raymond of Toulouse, but I have a hard time brushing off Catholicism as anything categorically evil since I honestly see a lot of good in it despite my disagreements on doctrine. King John, on the other hand, was pretty hard to love.
Second, am I to understand that the British Empire was fighting the supernatural Roman empire in WWI? We know that the Kaiser at the time was the ruler of the remains of the Holy Roman Empire but there are a few big problems: 701 years earlier I was fighting alongside the Holy Roman Empire. Also, a number of friends of mine who recall past lives in the German army in WWI would seriously object to the idea of Germany being “THE EMPIRE” and I would just come off as arrogant and a bit mad if I seriously pursued that line of thinking. I can’t defend it by anything but a supposition that Phil was right about unfalsifiable statements and even then, it’s shaky because it’s subject to a broad range of interpretations. I can’t ignore, either, that the British Empire was not exactly innocent in escalating the war and less than fair to a lot of people from the periphery and the lower classes.
I feel strongly that either my previous life’s interpretation is either wrong or profoundly incomplete, or my current life’s interpretation is based on illusions.