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Meet Jeremy R. Lent author of Requiem of the Human Soul
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

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By Norm Goldman
Published on July 13, 2009
 









Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Jeremy R. Lent Author of Requiem  of the Human Soul



 


Author: Jeremy R. Lent
ISBN: 978-0-9810735-0-7
Publisher: lilbros libertad

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is honored to have as our guest Jeremy R. Lent author of Requiem of the Human Soul.

Jeremy was born in London, England in 1960 and attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge University where he obtained his BA and MA degrees in English Literature.

In  1981 he moved to the USA and earned an MBA at the University of Chicago. In addition to being an author, Jeremy has spent several years in the business world where he founded an online financial services company called NextCard.

Good day Jeremy and thanks for participating in our interview

Norm:

What motivated you to write Requiem of the Human Soul and what do you hope readers will take away from it?

Jeremy:

Twenty-five years ago, I spent some time living in the Guatemalan highlands with the indigenous Mayans.  Then I joined “corporate America”, starting a business and raising a family.  All these years, I’ve been struck by the difference between those of us in “civilized society” and the indigenous Mayans.  It’s a difference in the human spirit, something you can’t easily name but you can feel it’s there.   Something profoundly human that’s gotten lost in our modern existence.  This is what I wanted to explore in Requiem of the Human Soul.

Looking forward to the end of the next century, I extrapolated that loss as our society becomes increasingly estranged from our natural origins.  The genetically enhanced d-humans of the future seem soulless compared to us – the Primals.  But how soulless do we appear to the indigenous people around the world who still live in the tattered remains of their ancestral cultures?

Norm:

I noticed upon reading your bio that you are interested in Dr. Julius Schumacher’s thesis of the “tyranny of the prefrontal cortex” which you have also incorporated into your novel. Why have you been drawn to this thesis and could you briefly and in simple language tell our readers what it is all about? 

Jeremy:

The prefrontal cortex (or “pfc”) is that part of our brain most responsible for the things that differentiate us from other animals: language, planning, self-awareness, conceptual thought, abstractions.  Julius Schumacher, a double Nobel Prize winner of the mid-21st century, who pioneered neurography – the imaging of human thoughts – came up with a thesis that, over the past ten thousand years, the pfc has gradually come to dominate our human consciousness, increasing its power through stages of human development such as agriculture, writing, monotheism, and the scientific revolution.  This is what has led to the sense of separation we feel in our modern society: separation of humanity from nature; of mind from body; separation from each other.  Dr. Schumacher’s solution – which he proposed in his book On Being Human - was to reach back to our indigenous roots, and get back in touch with the ancient cultures of our world formed when the pfc was still in harmony with the rest of human consciousness.  That’s why he founded the Humanist community, where the novel’s hero, Eusebio, comes from.

After finishing the novel, I started asking myself how valid this thesis really was.  I decided to start researching it, challenging myself to prove it wrong.  To my amazement, everything I read – in neuroscience, anthropology, history and philosophy – seemed to support it.  I became bewitched , and I’m now working on writing Dr. Schumacher’s book for him.  Only, I’m looking at a different solution.  Rather than reaching back to indigenous cultures, I’m beginning to believe that there are elements in Taoist, Buddhist and Neo-Confucian traditions that offer our modern society the means to bridge the chasm that currently exists between spirituality and science. 

Norm:

Was Requiem of the Human Soul improvisational or did you have a set plan? 

Jeremy:

I knew some things about where the novel was going right from the outset.  But there were huge blank spaces to be filled in.  That, for me, was the joy of writing it: filling in the blanks as I went along.

Norm:

Where do you get your information or ideas for your book?

Jeremy: 

The ideas just wafted up from mixing together the divergent themes of the book: genetic enhancement, theories of the human soul, the crimes committed by our Western societies over the past 500 hundred years.  Put these diverse themes together, and all kinds of interesting stuff emerge.  But I also wanted to get my facts right, so when I wanted to go deep on the technology of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or the Valladolid Controversy of 1550, I did some extensive research, mostly on the web.

Norm:

Do you worry about the human race?

Jeremy:

 Yes.  Terribly.  I think that we’re rapidly approaching a point of no return in multiple dimensions of our existence.  We’re continually accelerating the rate at which we’re using up our beautiful planet’s resources; the rate at which we’re re-engineering our own humanity; the rate at which the human race is diverging between the haves and the have-nots: the d-humans and the Primals.

One writer – I think it’s Thom Hartmann – gives the analogy of a blindfolded person jumping out of an 80-storey skyscraper.  For 79 floors, he’s convinced that he’s flying and there’s nothing to prove him wrong… until he goes splat when he hits the ground. 

I see us more like a satellite that’s been launched into orbit around the earth: if we keep rising too fast we’re in danger of going out of orbit and losing the earth forever: that’s the trajectory of the d-humans in my novel.  On the other hand, if we falter in mid-flight we’re in danger of crashing down in a fiery ball.  To find the right orbit, we have to do it just right.  I’m not sure if we’re going to get it right, but even if we do, I’m afraid we’ll suffer a lot of pain in the process.

Norm:

What do you see as the influences on your writing?

Jeremy:

Probably my most important influence was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.  He gave me the idea that it’s possible to write an engaging novel that also expresses philosophical ideas.  The two don’t have to counteract each other.

 Stylistically, I feel I owe a lot to Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger.  These writers instilled in me the confidence to give Eusebio his own voice.  From the outset, I decided I wasn’t trying to write flowery prose; I wasn’t trying to impress anyone with a particular style.  I was just giving voice to my hero, Eusebio.  There’s power in simplicity.

Finally, in terms of subject matter, I owe an obvious debt to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.  In some ways, I’d like to think of my novel as a Brave New World updated for the 21st. century.

Norm:

What has been your overall experience as a published author?

Jeremy:

 As a first-time novelist, I still haven’t gotten over the thrill of hearing what each reader thinks when they get into the book.  I’m gratified to have received a lot of positive feedback from people, but what’s amazing is how each person sees the novel in an entirely new light.  Hearing what different readers think about the novel has led me to see it from new perspectives that I hadn’t even imagined.

Norm:

If you could switch places with someone famous, who would it be and why?

 Jeremy:

I wouldn’t want to switch places with anyone – I’d rather be myself, warts and all.  But the famous person I most admire is Barack Obama.  I feel that for the first time in history we have something approaching a true “global leader”, someone who can give direction to the entire world on issues like global warming and living peacefully together in the 21st century.  I’d love to switch places with him for five minutes – but no more than that, I couldn’t stand the stress!

Norm: 

Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre owe something to readers, if not, why not, if so, why and what would that be?

 Jeremy:

I don’t know about other writers, but I know that, as a first-time writer, I felt an enormous obligation to my readers.  It went something like this: “I’m asking you to commit your time and energy to reading my book when you have no idea who I am and if it’s even worthwhile.  In response, I promise that I won’t bore you, I’ll keep you engaged, I won’t waste worthless sentences or descriptions on you… and above all I’ll try to make you feel like you gained something in the end for giving me your time.”

While I was writing the book – and even more as I was editing it – this sense of obligation was mercilessly running through my mind. I hope I kept promise. 

 Norm:

How can readers find out more about you and your endeavors? 

Jeremy:

I’ve recently completed the website for Requiem of the Human Soul at www.humansoul.com.  If people enjoy the novel, they can dig deeper into the themes on the website: there’s a lot more information about the Humanists and the world of the 22nd century than I could fit in the novel itself.  And there’s a lot of material probing how realistic the d-human scenario really is: what’s going on right now around the world as we start paving that yellow brick road to the d-humans of the late 22nd century.

Norm:

What is next for Jeremy Lent and is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered? 

Jeremy:

Once I get a little further on in my research on the “tyranny of the prefrontal cortex” as I described above, I’m planning to start expressing some of my ideas on the subject in a blog.  When the blog’s up and running, I’ll put a link to it on the www.humansoul.com website.

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

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