Bester's God: The Anima Mundi

by Steven H. Cullinane on March 6, 2001

In The Deceivers, a 1981 novel by Alfred Bester, there appears a definition of God that may be acceptable to many who dislike the usual definitions based on Hebrew folk-tales.

The hero of Bester's novel, Rogue Winter, has an unusual sort of sixth sense that puts him in touch with what Bester calls Anima Mundi. Bester writes:

He resonated to the Anima Mundi which produced his extraordinary synergic pattern sense.... what I call a "Phane Sense," from the Greek, phanein, meaning to show. It was this phane sense that enabled him to be shown things from apparently unrelated facts and events and synergize them into a whole.

Anima Mundi is the fundamental "Soul of the World." Latinwise, Anima = soul, life. Mundi = the world. Anima Mundi is the cosmic spirit pervading all living things and, it is argued, even all inanimate things as well....

So many of us resonate to Anima and are powerfully influenced by it. We can recognize some obvious aspects: "soul," "vibes," "Psi," weather and night-and-day affects; but we don't realize that these are merely facets of the deep, underlying Anima Mundi which is the bedrock, so to speak, the bottom line of all existence.

-- Chapter Two, "The Sprite and the Synergist"

"Soul of the World. The bottom line that lets you hear things talking and lets you see what everybody's seeing but makes you think what nobody else has. You call it synergy. I call it Anima Mundi. Same thing.

"God, maybe?"

"Some people call it that. Why not? Same thing."

He nodded again. "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, no matter what you name it."

-- Chapter Eight, "The Search"

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