"Journey of Souls" by Michael Newton

Review by Borodutch

"The most insulting that in information war is always the loser is the one who is telling the truth. It is bounded by the truth, and the liar can bear anything." — Robert Sheckley.

I started this review with a quote on purpose. If one can make up any facts and proclaim them as the truth — there is no reason to fight this person. The main idea of the 2000 book by Newton is to document his psychological hypnosis sessions with the client, where they seem to all transcend to a higher plane of existence and explain what is going on — including previous lives the souls lived. Surprisingly (in fact, not surprisingly), all (in fact, not all) clients seem to describe similar (in fact, not similar) experiences.

I'm upset that this book is so old that 23 years have passed since the author published it, and probably thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people got scammed by Newton's "Ph.D." title. So many people now probably believe in ghosts, hauntings, exorcisms, etc. I'm not joking. Michael touches on this subject as it is a common fact that all these things exist and are proven. Then he tries to rationalize supernatural effects with the "knowledge" of higher planes of existence.

There are 267 ratings on Audible, with an overall rating of 4.8 stars. Most reviews praise the book. No one seems to question the validity of everything that Newton describes. However, here's what went wrong:

  • To prove a hypothesis, one must try to invalidate it instead — without a failure in this step, the hypothesis cannot be deemed proven. Unfortunately, the author doesn't even try to question his methods.
  • If there is a higher plane of existence, it should be somewhat similar across cultures and religions. However, Newton only examines Western patients of predominantly Christian beliefs. Imagine if he hypnotized an Asian person and suddenly there is no light, no tunnel, nothing is the same?
  • You don't have to imagine. It probably happened numerous times. The author doesn't talk about them because a pack of cognitive biases and logical fallacies work together, resulting in Newton only considering the evidence supporting his hypothesis and rejecting anything else as flukes.
  • Most of the things that the author proclaims can be put to the test in a scientific setting. However, Michael doesn't attempt this (at least, not publically) because he knows that none of it will pass any valid experiment.

Overall verdict? People are dumb and vulnerable enough to fall for charlatans like Newton and pay him money. Just like with astrology — all the constellations shifted over the last 2000 years, the zodiac signs are all wrong, but still, somehow work? But this is a topic for another day.

However, if one is still unconvinced and believes in Newton's tales, one should also believe in what I'll say in the following sentences — after all, all of Newton's evidence points to this fact. Newton himself should adopt my hypothesis below because it is as plausible as anything he writes.

The higher plane of existence is where agents in this simulation we call "Earth" are sent between the simulated lives. This is why we all have shared experiences — the simulation program is written for all of us. This is why agents (called "souls" by Newton) have purposes and get ready to enter the world. This is why the agents must be schooled before they enter Earth. This is why the agents "learn" from different lives — they must improve at simulation. This is why there are more advanced and less advanced agents — because some are further along in training.

So you either see how Newton's methods and hypotheses are a complete scam to grab money from clients — or you have to adopt my simulation hypothesis as it is as plausible (if not more believable) as whatever the author suggests. I will be happy with both outcomes. Cheers!