Score: 88+/100 (8.8+ out of 10)
My Autobiographies by John Koenig is a true mind trip!
My Autobiographies is a fascinating look at the concept of reincarnation and the existence of multiple lives over time, each one building on or influenced by the events and decisions in the others.
John Koenig is a specialist in the concept of other lives, an actual hypnotist who works to help clients to become in tune with their previous selves. If that sounds a little wacky and wild, well, you're in the majority. This type of hypnosis is not the normal fair for most people. However, let's be fair and not discredit it just because it sounds so different and unfamiliar.
The truth is, the concepts of reincarnation and multiple lives is actually a major aspect of some of the world's largest religions—Hinduism and Buddhism—with 1-2 billion followers, particularly in India and China.
However, even westerners are familiar with some of these concepts. For example, Americans will often cite “karma” as being the reason that a bad person finally gets punished. Indeed, “karma” and “karma debt” is a concept that gets explored in this book.
In this book, Koenig discusses many of his former selves that he discovered through his hypnotic practice. He admits that he isn't 100% sure if these were actual former lives he's lived or a figment of his imagination or his subconscious, but he reminds us that whether or not they're “real” isn't the point; the point is that you learn from and appreciate them.
Some of Koenig's most fascinating former selves are Corporal Riley/Private Reilly (of the First Continental Dragoons during the time of the American colonies and revolution), the ancient Egyptian cattle rancher who was betrayed by the Pharaoh and placed into slavery to build his monuments, a royal household guard, and Robbie (a black slave who is sadly exploited by his masters and has only one happy moment getting the attention of a fellow slave girl). You may have noticed that many of these are victims in their circumstances, people who were taken advantage of by the powers that be. However, they were good people overall.
However, not all of Koenig's former selves were good or admirable people. There's Ernst, the wannabe Nazi from Poland who worked in a concentration camp, helping to facilitate the Holocaust. There's the Sergeant, a white-supremacist British soldier actively working to take advantage of, exploit, and oppress Indians. There's a murderer sentenced to death by hanging who manages to get himself drunk beforehand due to a little gift from a friend. However, the person who troubled us the most was Zeke, the serial rapist and murderer. Zeke is objectively a terrible person who took advantage of and sexually assaulted women on a regular basis. During a struggle with one of them, his victim died. Zeke fled to the nearby county where he lived in fear of capture in the mountains, becoming a nigh-mythological figure as a mountain man. There are some strange statements in this section such as “inside many males beats the heart of a rapist” and that Zeke paid his debt for the rape and murder in that lifetime. Well, we don't particularly agree. What Zeke did to that girl not only ended her life, but it also affected her family—a mother and father without a daughter, and brothers without a sister. Also, Zeke ruined more lives than just the one of that girl. It is implied that he assaulted multiple girls and women. They lived their whole lives with that trauma.
Anyway, this book is incredibly compelling and fascinating. The writing and formatting are a bit on the rough side. There are no indentations. Tense changes frequently from present to past tense as if the author is just describing what's on their mind in the spur of the moment. In fact, he prefaces the book by saying that much of the book might sound like stream of consciousness. It does.
The poems are interesting, although somewhat simplistic. They generally state the gist of who the character/self is, what they think, and what they've done—almost like the song of a bard.
There are also times like when Corporal Reilly is spelled/referred to as “Private Riley.” Perhaps this book could've used one more edit/rewrite.
Still, it's incredibly interesting. Check it out on Amazon!