A significant, but unspoken, subtext of the book is that there was meaning behind the 9/11 attacks; that it was not a senseless tragedy, but part of a grand plan, greater, even, than the attackers who, depending on which conspiracy theory you embrace, were Saudi, Pakistani, Iraqi, CIA, Zionists, or Republicans. The meaning behind the tragedy is indecipherable. It is for this reason that I tend to reject conspiracy theories. From a supra-physical level, the villains of this tragedy were convenient actors in the drama. This does not negate their evil, but it does suggest that there was a "higher" (I don't care for that term but can't think of an equivalent) force involved that, for reasons unknown, allowed the event to transpire. The victims understood on an unconscious level what was about to happen; their premonitions suggest that they knew both the awfulness and importance of their participation. Their premonitions were of such specificity that one can't help but think that they were being given a choice. They could have opted out of the tragedy. Most did not.
This may be a difficult concept for many to swallow, but I have personally experienced it in miniature in my own life... A lifetime of hunches followed--and ignored--and numerous precognitive dreams that sought to warn me of impending tragedy. In one instance, it probably saved my life. Not too many years ago (around about the time of the 9/11 attacks), I was going through some extreme job stress brought on by a manager who I can only describe as evil... not only in what he was, but what he did. He literally drained the life from me, bit-by-bit, day-by-day. One night, I had an vivid and specific dream that warned me that I was about to be attacked , robbed, and killed by two men on the street. The dream was unusual in that it was quite specific: not only did I experience the attack, but the dream "narrator" specifically told me what was happening. I walk several miles a day, and back then, I was working in a bad area of town, with a couple of drug hangouts nearby. It was a credible possibility. I was concerned but not really alarmed. But what happened the next day stunned me. An elderly friend who considers herself "psychic" called with a warning: she had received a vivid impression of me being rushed by two men on the street, robbed, and killed. She was made to understand that in my daily, rambling walks, I was being watched and targeted. A dream is one thing; a warning by a self-described psychic is another; but the warning, following a dream and duplicating it, is quite another. The specific, credible nature of the warnings, from two sources (I had told no one about my dream) was enough to scare me into never walking those streets again. The sceptic might say, "The woman was simply picking up on your fear. Or maybe it was a coincidence." However, I choose to believe otherwise. In the depressing circumstances that I was in, I was unconsciously setting myself up for attack. And "someone," "somewhere" thought that I needed to be warned in a dramatic way. I was given a choice, and I chose.
As Seth argues extensively, we choose our experiences (or we allow others to choose them for us), and there is meaning and purpose behind all experiences, good and tragic. It took me most of my adult life to accept this. We instinctively want to believe that experiences are thrust upon us, that we are victims of events, that we are good people who do not deserve the the bad treatment that evil people inflict on us. While this belief might grant us many hours of moral superiority as we acquire stars in our heavenly crowns, the alternative argued by Seth--that our lives are woven from threads of cooperative and collaborative experiences of incalculable complexity--actually goes further to "explain" many of the strange, synchronistic and seemingly "supernatural" events that are sprinkled through our lives.
Postscript: One of the striking elements of "Messages" is the widespread appearance of butterflies in the individual stories. Their appearance is interpreted by mourners as "signs" from the deceased or as "spirits." There is even a mention of the sighting of thousands of butterflies over Ground Zero shortly after the towers fell. I remember hearing this briefly mentioned at the time on "Coast To Coast"--and I doubted then that it was true--so I was impressed that McEneaney included this account in her book, from a source likely more credible than a "Coast" guest. Personally, I don't think a whole lot about butterflies. They've never manifested to me in any supernatural way. But while driving home today, I caught the tail end of "Talk Of The Nation" on "Rebuilding Joplin, One Year After Tornadoes," where I heard this account:
"And I just - when I went back in September and was able to connect with a few people and heard some more stories. And I guess, one of the ones that I would really like to share is a lady had covered her children with a mattress and her body and when the tornado passed, that they all survived. Thank God. They had described seeing little white butterflies all around them. And there was more than one family member, or excuse me, more than one family that would - that talked about these white butterflies. And to this day, I don't think anybody can prove or unprove(ph) what they saw or what it was that they saw, but I don't know. My opinion, I think it was just little guardian angels watching over them."
To find this account in a mainstream news report is significant, I think.