This is the second post regarding “the calling” which follows from the previous post. If you haven’t read the first post I suggest you go back there. This post is part of a series of posts, On Before the Cult, discussing the themes and various concepts related to the novel Before the Cult.
The calling isn’t a worldview, but it is responsible for a worldview the same way it is responsible for Macxermillio and Macfearson. Because of the alienation created by it and the suffering Sandy/the trio started to believe that he does not belong in this world, not even in heaven or hell. In fact, he/the trio strongly believed that they came to exist into this world by a mistake. They even had a name for who they were, deathlings. They even had a name for where they belonged, the crop or the fields. But what does all of this really mean? To answer this, I am going to reveal to you their entire worldview/theory.
It is important to understand realms of existence as Sandy/the trio understood them. When they refer to “this world”, “the universe” or “this existence” in the book what they are referring to is a realm of existence, they are not talking about earth, a country, a universe, a parallel universe or the town. What they are referring to is a concept that goes along the lines of a mode of existence.
What is a realm of existence?
The simplest way I can explain it is in this way. Think of all that exists or you know to exist as in our picture of cosmology today. Think of the universe, the parallel universes and multiverse. All of that, to Sandy/trio, belongs to this world. It is one mode of existence. What they have in mind is that our entire picture of cosmology is only one way that things could be or exist. Not only are there other universes(ways things could be) spatiotemporally separated from ours but they are made with a different kind of stuff altogether (not matter as we understand it but something completely alien and incomprehensible to us).
There is a finite number of these realms of existence, Sandy/trio believed, and they are thinly next to each other like slices in a loaf of bread except that in between these slices there are membranes separated the modes of existence. These membranes are where all things are formed in their pre-existing state and according to the essence of the entities formed they send the entities to their appropriate realm of existence/homes. Occasionally, a mistake happens and entities formed in the membranes are transported to realms of existences which aren’t appropriate to them. And that is precisely, they theorized, what happened to them as deathlings. The simple meaning behind the term, as they used it at the beginning of the novel, was that they belonged in a different realm of existence altogether and the name of every intelligent being from that realm of existence is a deathling.
They called that realm of existence the crop/the fields. They theorized that suicide done the right way might send them across into the membrane which might then direct them to their home where they belong instead of hell, heaven or the afterlife which still belongs in this realm of existence. That is what all the homicides(the sampling) were about in the novel, they were experimenting in hopes of finding the perfect suicide to transmit them to the crop/fields/home. Of course, they begin doubting and thinking their entire method is false, after killing Jay, and they regroup and try come up with an alternative while they figure things out, that is when the idea to see a therapist comes in.
They came to believe this because of the anguish that resulted from being depressed and mentally ill, and because of the delusions engendered by mental illness (the calling) they formed this worldview. In this worldview, their conception of death is transmittal unlike at the end of the book when this view is shattered and death is an annihilator and they conclude that they are inanimate entities trying to pass on as living things, therefore, explaining their discomfort and anguish.
If you haven’t read the book you can get it here.