By David Spangler
Editor's Note: The following blog post is an excerpt from David's new book, Techno-Elementals.
When I was eighteen, my father bought me my first car so that I could drive back and forth from college. It was a four-year old, 1959 Chevy Impala that had belonged to my cousin. It was at the time one of the most popular cars in America, possessing a distinctive sleek look with tailfins that flared horizontally outward rather than upward. It had been a reluctant purchase, though.
My Dad was a protective father, and the idea of me behind the wheel out in traffic where anything might happen gave him nightmares. It wasn’t that he doubted my driving skills. It was all the other “damn fools on the highway” that gave him pause. Having lived through my two sons and two daughters becoming drivers, I can now understand the worries that can grip a father’s heart when his children first begin to navigate the highways, but at the time, his fears both amused and frustrated me.
Where Dad was concerned, my car had two strikes against it. The first was that it was my car, and I was driving it rather than being safe on a bus or with him behind the wheel. The second was that it wasn’t a Volkswagen Beetle. Dad had only owned Beetles since we returned from Morocco in 1957, and he thought this unique-looking German car was about the best in the world. However, Dad had gotten a very good deal on the Impala from my cousin who had practically given it to us as a favor to me; financially, he’d been unable to pass it up.
I loved my car. Frankly, at that point in my life, I would have loved any car that I could call my own, but the Impala with its impressive tailfins was, I felt, just about the coolest car on the road. It was my spaceship!
My Dad, though, disliked it thoroughly and saw it as a necessary evil. This led to an interesting turn of events. When I drove the car by myself, everything worked perfectly. I never had any trouble with it. That car and I had a love affair going, and the purr of its engine as I drove along the highway was like angels singing.
However, whenever my Dad got in the car with me, or, more rarely, attempted to drive it, something always went wrong. It was always a little thing, some rattling here or some knocking there; maybe a window didn’t work right, or the car would momentarily stall when he tried to start it up. It was never enough to put it in a garage, but it was something annoying. Dad concluded that the car was a piece of junk, which only increased his worrying when I drove it.
I was intrigued by this phenomenon and laughingly told Dad that the car didn’t like him because he was hurting its feelings. It was a joke, but the more it happened, the more convinced I became that something like that was going on. So, I investigated.
I have always been able to perceive beyond the range of the five senses into what I call the “subtle” dimensions of the world. Here I find a non-physical ecosystem every bit as diverse and rich as the one we see in the physical world around us. Further, this subtle ecosystem overlaps and integrates in a variety of ways with our material universe. Objects that appear inert and non-living to us with our physical senses may be filled with life in the subtle realm. The experience of the universe as fully and totally alive was well-known to our ancestors; it’s only within the past three hundred years or so, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, that our Western society has forgotten this in its exclusive focus upon material reality.
I think of this subtle world with all its diversity and interconnectedness as Earth’s “second ecology.” It’s deeply woven into and interdependent with the physical ecology with which we are familiar. We ignore this “second ecology” to our detriment, especially at a time when we need to find ways to reestablish and reaffirm our wholeness with our planet. To think and speak of the subtle realms merely as fantasy or folklore, as the supernatural or mystical, is to misunderstand its nature and to blind ourselves to the richness and gifts of life which it offers.
When I looked into the subtle energy fields around my car, I did find a being that had integrated itself into those fields. My car had become a link for it with the physical world and even more importantly, with the human world. At the time, I did not have enough experience to understand what this meant or why it might be important. I simply knew that there was a consciousness surrounding and permeating my car that responded in one way to my love and appreciation for it and another way to my Dad’s dislike. For me, it worked perfectly. For my Dad, it created problems. Not so different from how people react!
This was my introduction to the species of subtle beings I have come to call “techno-elementals.” These are subtle beings that align themselves with human technology and artifacts. Fifty years later, I decided to write about them.
By David Spangler