Opus Optimus Q&A
I. On the prospective Opus Optimus audience:
1. Who makes up the primary audience for Opus Optimus, including their ages?
Many educated and mature people would benefit from reading Opus Optimus because of the holistic insights it offers about life and death. Also, there are hidden messages in the book: While being very respectful of people’s beliefs, it is known that maybe two-thirds to three-quarters of the world’s population (four-to-five of seven billion souls) have very traditional belief systems—mostly based on thousands-of-years’ old constructions of reality and male-dominated and authoritarian ideologies. And, while the author would be the last person to proselytize others, there are distinct messages in the book that suggest: People need not be dominated by anyone or any belief system, individuals should come to their own conclusions about reality—particularly extra-corporal consciousness, the power of unconditional love including respectful intimacy, and the incredible influences of service to others not only to those served but also one’s creativity and sense of fulfillment. Another message that should be apparent through careful reading of Opus Optimus is that there have been revolutionary advances in our understanding of the universe during the past 100 years—advances that seminally challenge old belief systems. In short, it may be time for Opus Optimus readers to take stock of who they are, what they believe, and how they may live the rest of their lives.
Besides the levels of education and maturity, the book was originally intended for those who have reached an inflection point in their lives such as an impending retirement. Remembering the words of the philanthropic foundation director, Sam Smith: “As my professional career winds down—reaching perhaps a semicolon—I reflect on it as having been a profoundly enriching experience, one of rare and special privilege.” Might his “semicolon experience” include thoughtful reflection, a reaching out for insight, and a search for fulfillment in different directions?
And, of course, there are our younger—possibly more prescient—colleagues and friends who might like to peer into the future “before their time.” All of the above-noted souls might benefit from Opus Optimus.
2. Where do prospective readers live?
Almost anywhere—and everywhere including exotic places as suggested in Chapter 2 (Planning Life’s Days) and Chapter 6 under the heading “Love of Place,” but particularly for retiring professionals—whether they stay in a familiar location or venture off to a new place.
3. What will prospective readers look for in their PERUSAL of Opus Optimus?
While there is a demonstrable aversion among many to a discussion of end-of-life events, including death, there can also be a fascination with these topics. Moreover, as older people reflect on their lives—particularly when they experience the joys of being grandparents—they are bound to recall their own childhoods and those of their children. These reflections may inevitably lead to thoughts such as: What may I leave to my children and grandchildren, not only in possessions but also wisdom that I have gained throughout my live? Can some of the Opus Optimus lessons about living wills and memoirs be of help in passing along whatever wisdom I may have gained throughout life? Moreover, can I create a “living written and/or pictorial legacy” that will have a positive impact on my progeny and their off-springs?
4. Are there "pain points" that Opus Optimus will help readers address?
The most serious pain points will be a fear of death and aversions to thinking or reading about the subject. But, the topic of death couched in the illuminations of all we have learned about near death experiences (NDEs) and extra-corporal and parallel levels of consciousness offer tangible hope that there is likely to be much “beyond the grave.” Moreover, the understanding that positive NDEs offer us a model of unconditional love, altruism, and a loss of a fear of death that merit readers’ attention particularly during the last years of their lives.
5. What positive actions might readers take after reading Opus Optimus?
As author, I hope that thoughtful and introspective readers might take on a new set of perspectives during the last years of their lives. Perspectives that are reinvigorated by the words of Forrest Church: “To be fulfilled we need to recognize, all of us, that the world doesn’t owe us a living—rather we owe the world a living. And in the brief time that is given to us, we must somehow learn to give ourselves away.” Additionally, informed by the near death experience model, raising the very personal question: How can I incorporate the lessons of unconditional love, service, and a lack of fear into my life in meaningful ways?
II. On the purpose of Opus Optimus:
1. What tangible and intangible results might occur through a reading of Opus Optimus?
Opus Optimus could be an “eye-opener” for many readers. Through the author’s very varied career in higher education, he has had the privilege of meeting literally thousands of people in 36 countries internationally, 20 of which where he actually contributed to service projects funded from public and private sources. These experiences taught him that even some of the seemingly most educated people in the world may display somewhat simplistic and narrow views of life including its physical and spiritual components. Through Opus Optimus, perhaps readers may realize that there are alternative interpretations of existence and its possibilities—so much so that they will crave to read more—to learn more about how they can be the masters of their own lives through the adoption of new belief structures. And, that they can accomplish their goals in healthy and physically beneficial ways. Beyond individual benefits, the author hopes that an understanding of the Opus Optimus messages might lead to resolutions to create “living written legacies”—whether that be in the form of living wills, memoirs, or their equivalent to leave for those that we care for and love.
2. Does the author want to challenge or change beliefs or practices?
The literature indicates that a significant majority of people in the world have very traditional belief systems—mostly based on thousands-of-years’ old constructions of reality and male-dominated and authoritarian ideologies. Without being heavy handed, the author wishes that the majority of readers will have opportunities to broaden their views and seek a better understanding of life—its means and ends. But, the author wishes that whatever revisions of beliefs or practices come from the readers’ realizations, however that is accomplished.
3. What are the "core messages" embodied in Opus Optimus?
Opus Endus contains a new model for living based on what we have learned from millions of near death experiencers (NDErs) around the world—people of all belief systems, genders, racial identities, ethnic backgrounds and cultures, life styles, and political persuasions. And, from NDEs that have probably occurred over hundreds if not thousands of years (i.e., recalling the accounts of Zoroaster [c. 1000 BCE] and the artistic depictions of Hieronymus Bosch [1450-1516 CE] and others)—as documented and studied primarily during the past 50 years, a new model of living has been created based on love, service, and creativity. As suggested in Opus Optimus, adoption of the model can lead to changed, enriched, and more fulfilling lives. Moreover, the messages contained in the NDE model can serve in healing ways as we move beyond the very physically and culturally destructive period of recent events worldwide.
4. How can the "genre" of Opus Optimus be characterized?
Opus Optimus is at once monograph, personal narrative, and self-help “genre-wise,” and purposefully integrated in an attractive, inspiring, and helpful manner.