The Boy who Saw True

The original publishing date of The Boy Who Saw True is 1953 and there is actually no author. What is the world am I doing reviewing such an old book? And by an anonymous author? And what does this have to do with medicine?

This book is being reviewed because I and my close friends keep returning to it over and over again when our faith and credulity is being stretched and when we need to recapture the freshness and non-judgmental innocence of youth. It is in this book that we find the discovery of the Three Princes of Serendip: we find the answers to questions we never even thought about.

This book is the story, actually the diary, of a "precocious young boy who was born with a talent for clairvoyance (as some children are born with a talent for music) and could see auras and spirits and who yet failed to realize that other people were not similarly gifted. In consequence, he was misunderstood and had to suffer many indignities." The diary is written in the 1880's or so during the height of the Victorian era. The anonymous author would not allow this diary to be published until after his death as he did not wish to cause any embarassment to surviving relatives and acquaintances. It is rumored that the author was a famous artist.

This is a great book to be able to read to your children when they come to you as my daughter did one day and asked. "Dad, there are some little green men visiting me: is it all right to talk to them?" If only we could allow ourselves permission to see what so many do see, especially children. You have not truly enjoyed the richness and complexity of our life until you have spoken to the Menehune, the little people of Hawaii, or watched the night walkers, King Kamehameha's deceased warriors, or talked to an old Fijian about the Vele, the little people of Fiji. Or perhaps being shoved at the edge of a cliff by a deceased Fijian shaman who felt you were a threat to his domain and to the Fijian princess that you were visiting. These are not the anonymous author's experiences, they are mine. Reading the book validates my own experiences, although I do even now feel the anxiety the boy who saw true did when all about him were denying his perceptions. If only I could have had the same clear eyes to look upon such experiences with the faith and the inherent humor of the boy who saw true.

Our young author reminds us of the need to make our children's educational experience free enough to experience those aspects of consciousness that are beyond the five senses. We need to find a teacher (Mr. Patmore) like this young boy finally found, who did not put him down, but was open to exploring our author's experiences. That the teacher found that the experiences were not explainable by the prevaling Victorian world view did not stop him from validating the experiences to his own satisfaction.

But aside from the many profound messages this disarming little book conveys, the book is written with delightful ingenuousness. It isn't until much later on in the diary, that he understands that he sees and experiences a world that is invisible to his parents and peers. Then the real humor in the situation becomes evident to him, such as when he is speaking to his deceased grandfather who periodically joins him. Prior to this understanding, he is repeatedly chastised and punished by his parents for"lying" to them.

The boy is not overwhelmed by his experience. There are those that come to him in spirit and in the flesh to answer his questions and validate his perceptions. In so doing they help him, and us, to better understand the worlds beyond the veil of maya (illusion). Perhaps the author finally did get his say, not only in his art, but in this little book that seems to keep on reincarnating.

From a strictly western, scientific point of view, this story is a fantasy, a fantasy spawned by the Victorian penchant for repression of all things emotional. What would Freud and Jung, contemporaries of the author, have said about this story? We have the same old drama being expressed today. If you can't see, hear,taste,smell, touch it, it doesn't exist. Who says? Not the boy who saw true. As the Buddhists know, everyone has a unique, version of reality. To me personally, this version of reality corresponds more closely to my own experience and is more inviting. Why? Because magic, unseen benefactors and miracles are as valid experientially to me as scientific, double blind controlled, statistically probable, experimental proof.

And what does this all have to do with medicine? First of all, none of us are healers in the sense that we can create or invoke the innate intelligence of the cells to heal themselves. What are we taught about that intelligence in our medical training? If mentioned at all, it is relegated to the realm of Philosophy or Religion or some other unscientific discipline. We ignore the true inner healer. No, ignore is not a strong enough word: we deny the inner healer. Why? Because of the same pervading blindness in most of medicine that the boy who saw true had to confront in his restricted Victorian world. This tale is an allegory for our own medical schools and our own practices. What would our medicines be like if we too saw true?

The book is still around: you may not find it in your local bookshop but it is available online.

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3 Responses to “The Boy who Saw True”

  1. With Eyes to See: A Journey from Religion to Spirituality | Healing Base on December 23rd, 2011 18:23

    […] the deceased – that they are even visible to some of these persons. (Note: see also the book review The Boy Who Saw True) One of the local chief priests advises him that this interacting with the local indigenous people […]

  2. Jeremy Corney on June 23rd, 2014 06:29

    I am currently reading this. Trying to decide is it a hoax, or genuine ? the diary starts in 1885 when, at a guess, the boy is about 10. With nothing else to go on, except a birthday of 7th October, I looked up 7th October 1875, which has Mercury conjunct Jupiter (in Scorpio) and opposite Neptune. Also, Saturn opposite Uranus. This would be quite appropriate for a natural psychic, I’d think.

  3. Michael on June 19th, 2015 19:44

    When I was a little boy, I saw small green glowing things in my bedroom. I woke my parents up to show them what I was seeing, but they couldn’t see them. To this day I don’t know what exactly happened, all I know is that I was really seeing it. A good friend of mine believes in the Menehune and attributes my experience to that legend. I never saw them again.

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