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A Key to the Enigmas of the World 



The Mystery of Space and Time. Shadows 
and Reality. Occultism and Love. Animated 
Nature. Voices of the Stones. Mathematics 
of the Infinite. The Logic of Ecstasy. 
Mystical Theosophy. Cosmic Consciousness. 
The New Morality. Birth of the Superman. 




Copyrighted in Great Britain 
and Colonies 


In the spring of 1918, a young Russian, Nicholas Bessaraboff, 
appeared at my door bearing in his hand Tertium Organum, a 
precious gift to the mind and to the spirit, but shrouded in the 
seven-fold veil of the to me incomprehensible Russian tongue. 
With ardent enthusiasm and admirable patience the young man 
outlined to me the nature and content of the book. I took fire at 
once, for I saw that the author, Ouspensky, was the Columbus of 
that uncharted ocean of thought in which I and others had indeed 
adventured, haunted by dreams of rich argosies from virgin con- 

Some authors gain only readers: others, more fortunate, win 
disciples, and Ouspensky is of this latter class. Bessaraboff was a 
disciple, and I found that I had become one without knowing it. 
So in a spirit of true discipleship we set to work to make Tertium 
Organum known to the English speaking world. The method we 
adopted was for him to make a somewhat rigidly literal transla- 
tion, into which I then infused only so much of literary form as 
seemed necessary for lucidity and ease. Faithfulness to the orig- 
inal was the aim held piously by both of us from beginning to end. 

The reader has the right to know something of our fitness for 
this service. For my own less arduous and important part in the 
translation, I can only say that Ouspensky 's thought is so curious- 
ly parallel to the movement of my own mind as expressed in Four 
Dimensional Vistas, that I could be accused of plagarism by any- 
one unaware of the fact that my book was published before I had 
read his. 

Mr. Bessaraboff studied mechanical engineering at the Petro- 
grad Polytechnic Institute, whose student body is composed of the 
honor men from various Russian schools. While a student, his 
absorption in mathematics and mechanics had been complete, but 
the reading of Tertium Organum so awakened his interest in gener- 
al science, philosophy and mysticism that he embarked upon a 
collateral course of study that made him familiar with practically 
every phase of thought, in its broad outlines, dealt with by Ous- 
pensky in his book. His knowledge of English, though it does not 
extend to all the niceties of construction and literary expression, 

20374 94 


is sufficient for him to read the language with perfect understand- 
ing, and to express himself with great precision; while his vocabu- 
lary, as so often is the case with foreigners who have learned Eng- 
lish out of books, is larger than that of the average American uni- 
versity graduate. 

As for Ouspensky himself he is an accomplished mathematician, 
magister of pure mathematics, and he holds the position of in- 
structor of mathematics in the Petrograd Institute of Engineers of 
Ways of Communication, one of the oldest of the Russian techni- 
cal schools. He is by now thirty-eight years old, has travelled ex- 
tensively, visiting England, Italy, Egypt and India; he has con- 
tributed to mathematical text-books, and is the author of several 
works other than Tertium Organum. This latter is now in its sec- 
ond edition in Russia. The present translation was made from 
this second edition, the date on the title page being 1916. 

In naming his book "Tertium Organum" Ouspensky reveals at a 
stroke that astounding audacity which characterizes his thought 
throughout — an audacity which we are accustomed to associate 
with the Russian mind in all its phases. Such a title says, in 
effect: "Here is a book which will reorganize all knowledge. The 
Organon of Aristotle formulated the laws under which the subject 
thinks; the Novum Organum of Bacon, the laws under which the 
object may be known. Behold! I give you a Third Organ which 
shall guide and govern human thought henceforth." 

How passing strange, in this era of negative thinking, of timid 
philosophizing, does such a challenge sound. And yet it has the 
echo in it of something heard before, — what but the title of an- 
other volume, Hinton's A New Era of Thought. 

Ouspensky's Tertium Organum, and Hinton's A New Era of 
Thought present substantially the same philosophy (though Hin- 
ton's book only sketchily), arrived at by the same route — mathe- 

Here is food for thought. In the words of Philip Henry Wynne, 
"Mathematics possesses the most potent and perfect symbolism 
the intellect knows; and this symbolism has offered for genera- 
tions certain concepts (of which hyper-dimensionality is only one) 
whose naming and envisagement by the human intellect is per- 
haps its loftiest achievement. Mathematics presents the highest 


certitudes known to the intellect, and is becoming more and more 
the final arbiter and interpreter in physics, chemistry and astron- 
omy. Like Aaron's rod it threatens to swallow all other know- 
ledges as fast as they assume organized form. Mathematics has 
already taken possession of great provinces of logic and psychol- 
ogy, — will it embrace ethics, religion and philosophy?" 

In Tertium Organum mathematics enters and pervades the 
field of philosophy; but so adroitly, so silently as it were, that one 
hardly knows that it is "there." It dwells more in Ouspensky's 
method than in his matter, because for the most part the math- 
ematical ideas necessary for an understanding of his thesis are 
such as any intelligent high school student can comprehend. The 
author puts to himself and to the reader certain questions, pro- 
pounds certain problems, which have baffled the human mind for 
thousands of years — the problems of space, time, motion, causal- 
ity, of free will and determination — and he deals with them ac- 
cording to the mathematical method : that is all. He has sensed 
the truth that the problem of mathematics is the problem of the 
world order, and as such must deal with every aspect of human life. 

Mathematics is a terrible word to those whose taste and train- 
ing have led them into other fields, so lest the non-mathematical 
reader should be turned back at the very threshold, deciding too 
hastily that the book is not for him, let me dwell rather on its 
richly humanistic aspect. 

To such as ask no "key to the enigmas of the world," but only 
some light to live by, some mitigation of the daily grind, some 
glimpse of some more enlightened polity than that which rules the 
world today, this book should have an appeal. The author has 
thrown overboard all the jargon of all the schools; he uses the 
language of common sense, and of every day; his illustrations and 
figures of speech are homely, taken from the life of every day. He 
simply says to the reader, "Come let us reason together," and 
leads him away from the haunted jungle of philosophical systems 
and metaphysical theories, out into the light of day, there to con- 
template and to endeavor to understand those primal mysteries 
which puzzle the mind of a child or of a savage no less than that 
of the sophisticated and super-subtle ponderer on the enigmas of 
the world. Not that Ouspensky is a trafficker in the obvious — far 
from it: those who know most, think most, feel most, will get most 
out of his book — but a great sanity pervades his pages, and he 


never leads away into labyrinths where guide and follower alike 
lose their way and fail to come to any end. 

Leaving the average reader out of account for the moment, 
there are certain others whom the book should particularly inter- 
est — if only in the way of repulsion. 

First of all come the mathematicians and the theoretical phys- 
icists, for they already, without knowing it, have invaded that 
"dark backward and abysm of time" which the Ouspenskian 
philosophy lights up — and are by way of losing themselves there. 

That is to say, in certain of their calculations they are em- 
ploying four mutually interchangeable co-ordinates, three of space 
and one of time. In other words, they use time as though it were 
a dimension of space. Ouspensky tells them the reason they are 
able to do this. — Time is the fourth dimension of space imper- 
fectly sensed — apprehended by consciousness successively, and 
thereby creating the temporal illusion. 

Moreover, mathematicians are perforce concerning themselves 
with magnitudes to which the ordinary logic no longer applies. 
Ouspensky presents a new logic — the logic of intuition — remov- 
ing at a stroke all of the nightmare aspects, the preposterous para- 
doxes of the new mathematics, which by reason of its extraordin- 
ary development has shattered the old logic, as a growing oak 
shatters the containing jar. 

It is from the philosophic camp, no doubt, that the book will 
receive its sharpest criticism, on account of the author's lese- 
majeste toward so many of the crowned kings of philosophic 
thought, and his devastating assault on positivism — that inevit- 
able by-product of our materialistic way of looking at the world. 
His attempt to prove the Kantian problem — the subjectivity of 
space and time — doubtless will be acutely challenged, and with 
some chance of success, because the two chapters devoted to this 
are the least convincing of the book. But no one heretofore has 
even attempted to absolutely demonstrate or successfully con- 
trovert the staggering proposition advanced by Kant regarding 
space and time as forms of consciousness. 

Whatever the verdict of the philosophical pundits of the day 
and hour, whether favorable or otherwise, Ouspensky is sure of a 
place in the hierarchy of philosophers, for he has essayed to solve 


the most profound problems of human existence by the aid of the 
binocular vision of a born mathematician and an intuitive mystic. 
Starting from the irreducible minimum of knowledge, he has car- 
ried philosophy into regions not hitherto explored. 

To persons of an artistic or devotional bent the book will be as 
water in the desert. These, always at a disadvantage among the 
purely practical-minded, by whom they are outnumbered twenty 
to one, will find in Ouspensky a champion whose weapon is math- 
ematical certitude, the very thing by which the practical minded 
swear. These, their enemies, he puts to rout, holds up to ridicule. 
He applauds their efforts to escape into the "world of the won- 
drous," and justifies the faith that is in them. 

But most of all, Ouspensky will be loved by all true lovers, for 
his chapter on the subject of love. We have had Schopenhauer on 
love, and Freud on love, but what dusty answers do they give to 
the soul of a lover! Edward Carpenter comes much nearer the 
mark, but Ouspensky penetrates to its very center. It is because 
our loves are so dampened by our egotisms, our cynicisms and our 
cowardices that we rot and smoulder instead of bursting into puri- 
fying flame. Just as Goethe's Werther, with its sex-sentimentality, 
is said to have provoked an epidemic of suicides, so may Tertium 
Organum — which restores love to that high heaven from whence 
descend every beauty and benison — inaugurate a renascence of 
love and joy. 

From one point of view this is a terrible book : there is a revolu- 
tion in it — a revolution of the very poles of thought. Some it will 
rob of their dearest illusions, it will cut the very ground from be- 
neath their feet, it will consign them to the Abyss. It is a great 
destroyer of complacency. Yes, this is a dangerous book — but 
then, life is like that. 

It is beyond the province of this Introduction either to outline 
the Ouspenskian philosophy at any length, or to discuss it criti- 
cally; but some slight indication of its drift may be of assistance to 
the reader. 

The book might have appropriately been called A Study of Con- 
sciousness, for Ouspensky comes early to the conclusion that all 
other methods of approach to an understanding of the "enigmas 
of the world" are vain. Chapters I to VII, inclusive, deal with the 


problem of the world-order by the objective method. The author 
erects an elaborate scaffolding for his future edifice, and after it 
has served its purpose, throws it down. Aware of the deficiencies 
of the objective method, and having made the reader conscious of 
them too, he suddenly alters his system of attack. From chap- 
ter VIII onward, he undertakes the study of the world order from 
the standpoint of subjectivity — of consciousness. 

By a method both ingenious and new, he correlates the different 
grades of consciousness observable in nature — those of vegetable- 
animal, animal and man — with the space sense, showing that as 
consciousness changes and develops, the sense of space changes 
and develops too. That is to say, the dimensionality of the world 
depends on the development of consciousness. Man, having 
reached the third stage in that development, has a sense of three- 
dimensional space — and for no other reason. 

Ouspensky concludes that nothing except consciousness unfolds, 
develops, and as there appears to be no limit to this development 
he conceives of space as the multi-dimensional mirror of con- 
sciousness and of time and motion as illusion — what appears to be 
time and motion being in reality only the movement of conscious- 
ness upon a higher space. 

The problem of superior states of consciousness in which "there 
shall be time no longer" is thus directly opened up, and in dis- 
cussing their nature and method of attainment, he quotes freely 
from the rich literature of mysticism. Instead of attempting to 
rationalize these higher states of consciousness, as some authors 
do, he applies to them the logic of intuition — "Tertium Organum" 
— paradoxical from the standpoint of ordinary reason, but true in 
relation to the noumenal world. 

Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Hueffer once wrote a novel 
called The Inheritors and by this they meant the people of the 
fourth dimension. Though there is small resemblance between 
Ouspensky 's "superman" and theirs, it is his idea also that those 
of this world who succeed in developing higher-dimensional, or 
"cosmic consciousness" will indeed inherit — will control and reg- 
ulate human affairs by reason of their superior wisdom and power. 
In this, and in this alone, dwells the "salvation"of the world. His 
superman is far removed from the "blond beast"of Nietzche: it is 
the "just man made perfect" of the Evangelist. This struggle for 
mastery between the blind and unconscious forces of materialism 


on the one hand, and the spiritually illumined on the other, is al- 
ready upon us, and all conflicts between nations, peoples and 
classes must now be interpreted in terms of this greater warfare 
between "two races" of men, in which the superior minority will 
either conquer or disappear. 

These people of the fourth dimension are in the world but not of 
it: their range is far wider than this slum of space. In them dor- 
mant faculties are alert. Like birds of the air, their fitting symbol, 
they are at home in realms which others cannot enter, even though 
already "there". Nor are these heavenly eagles confined to the 
narrow prison of the breast. Their bodies are as tools which they 
may take up or lay aside at will. This phenomenal world, which 
seems so real, is to them as insubstantial as the image of a land- 
scape in a lake. Such is the Ouspenskian superman. 

The entire book is founded upon a new generalization — new, 
that is, in philosophy, but already familiar to mathematicians 
and theoretical physicists. This generalization involves startling 
and revolutionary ideas in regard to space, time and motion, far 
removed from those of Euclidian geometry and classical physics. 

Ouspensky handles these new ideas in an absolutely original 
way, making them the basis of an entire philosophy of life. To 
the timid and purblind this philosophy will be nothing short of 
terrifying, but to the clear-eyed and steadfast watcher, shipwreck- 
ed on this shoal of time, these vistas, overflowing with beauty, 
strangeness, doubt, terror and divinity, will be more welcome 
than anything in life. 

"Fear not the new generalization" 

Ouspensky's clearness of thought is mirrored in a corresponding 
clarity of expression, with every aid to understanding of which his 
office of teacher of mathematics has given him command. He 
sometimes repeats the difficult and important passages in an al- 
tered form of words, he uses short sentences and short paragraphs, 
and italicizes significant phrases and significant words. He de- 
fines where definition is needed, and suggests collateral trains of 
thought with a skill which makes the reader who is intuitive a 
creator on his own account. Schopenhauer has said that it is al- 
ways a sign of genius to treat difficult matters simply, as it is a 
sign of dullness to make simple matters appear recondite. Ous- 


pensky exhibits this order of genius, and that other, mentioned by 
Schopenhauer, which consists in choosing always the apt illus- 
tration, the illuminating simile. 

The translators have tried to be rigidly true to the Russian or- 
iginal, as has been said, and they have been at great pains to verify 
every English quotation so far as has been possible. The only 
liberty they have taken with the text consists in the omission of 
a brief personal reference which might possibly give offense. 

Rochester, N. Y. Claude Bragdon 

August 1, 1919 



What do we know and what do we not know? Our data, and the things sought for. 
The unknown mistaken for the known. Matter and motion. What does positive 
philosophy come to? Identity of the unknown: x = y, y=x. What we really 
know. The existence of consciousness in us, and of the world outside of us. Dual- 
ism or monism? Subjective and objective knowledge. Where do the causes of the 
sensations lie? Kant's system. Time and space. Kant and the "ether." Mach's 
observation. With what does the physicist really deal? 1 


A new view of the Kantian problem. The ideas of Hinton. The "space sense" and its 
evolution. A system for the development of a sense of the fourth dimension by ex- 
ercises with colored cubes. The geometrical conception of space. Three perpen- 
diculars—why three? Can everything existing be measured by three perpendicu- 
lars? Facts physical and metaphysical. The indices of existence. Reality of ideas. 
Insufficient evidence of the existence of matter and motion. Matter and motion 
are only logical concepts, like "good" and "evil." 13 


What may we learn about the fourth dimension by a study of the geometrical relations 
within our space? What should be the relation between a three-dimensional body 
and one of four dimensions? The four-dimensional body as the tracing of the 
movement of a three-dimensional body in a direction which is not confined within 
it. A four-dimensional body as containing an infinite number of three-dimensional 
bodies. A three-dimensional body as a section of a four-dimensional one. Parts of 
bodies and entire bodies in three and in four dimensions. The incommensurability 
of a three-dimensional and a four-dimensional body. A material atom as a section 
of a four-dimensional line 25 


In what direction may the fourth dimension lie? What is motion? Two kinds of mo- 
tion—motion in space and motion in time— which are contained in every movement. 
What is time? Two ideas contained in the conception of time. The new dimension 
of space, and motion upon that dimension. Time as the fourth dimension of space. 
Impossibility of understanding the fourth dimension without the idea of motion. 
The idea of motion and the "time sense." The time sense as a limit (surface) of the 
space sense. Hinton on the law of surfaces. The "ether" as a surface. Riemann's 
idea concerning the translation of time into space in the fourth dimension. Pres- 
ent, past and future. Why we do not see the past and the future. Life as a feeling 
of one' sway. Wundt on the subject of our sensuous knowledge 29 


Four-dimensional space. "Temporal body" — Linga Sharira. The form of a human 
body from birth to death. Incommensurability of three-dimensional and four- 
dimensional bodies. Newton's fluents. The unreality of constant quantities in our 
world. The right and the left hands in three-dimensional and in four-dimensional 
space. Differences between three-dimensional and four-dimensional space. Not 
two different spaces, but two different methods of receptivity of one and the same 
world 43 



Methods of investigation of the problem of higher dimensions. The analogy between 
imaginary worlds of different dimensions. The one dimensional world on a line. 
"Space" and "time" of a one-dimensional being. The two-dimensional world on a 
plane. "Space" and "time," "ether," "matter" and "motion" of a two-dimension- 
al being. Reality and illusion on a plane. The impossibility of seeing an "angle." 
An angle as motion. The incomprehensibility to a two-dimensional being of the 
functions of things in our world. Phenomena and noumena of a two-dimensional 
being. How could a plane being comprehend the third dimension? .... 49 


The impossibility of the mathematical definition of dimensions. Why does not mathe- 
matics sense dimensions? The entire conditionality of the representation of dimen- 
sions by powers. The possibility of representing all powers on a line. Kant and 
Lobachevsky. The difference between non-Euclidian geometry and metageom- 
etry. Where shall we find the explanation of the three-dimensionality of the world 
if Kant's ideas are true? Are not the conditions of the three-dimensionality of the 
world confined to our receptive apparatus, in our psyche? 65 


Our receptive apparatus. Sensation. Perception. Conception. Intuition. Art as 
the language of the future. To what extent does the three-dimensionality of the 
world depend upon the properties of our receptive apparatus? What might prove 
this interdependence? Where may we find the real affirmation of this interdepen- 
dence? The animal psyche. In what does it differ from the human? Reflex ac- 
tion. The irritability of the cell. Instinct,., Pleasure-pain. Emotional thinking. 
Absence of concepts. Language oLanimals. Logic of animals. Different degrees 
of psychic development in animals. The goose, the cat, the dog and the monkey. 71 


The receptivity of the world by a man and by an animal. Illusions of the animal and 
its lack of control of the receptive faculties. The world of moving planes. Angles 
and curves considered as motion. The third dimension as motion. The animal's 
two-dimensional view of our three-dimensional world. The animal as a real two- 
dimensional being. Lower animals as one-dimensional beings. The time and space 
of a snail. The time sense as an imperfect space sense. The time and space of a 
dog. The change in the world coincident with a change in the psychic apparatus. 
The proof of Kant's problem. The three-dimensional world — an illusory percep- 
tion 89 


The spatial understanding of time. The angles and curves of the fourth dimension in 
our life. Does motion exist in the world or not? Mechanical motion and "life". 
Biological phenomena as the manifestation of motions going on in the higher di- 
mension. Evolution of the space sense. The growth of the space sense and the dim- 
inution of the time sense. The transformation of the time sense into the space 
sense. The difficulties of our language and of our concepts. The necessity for 
seeking a method of spatial expression for temporal concepts. Science in relation 
to the fourth dimension. The solid of four dimensions. The four-dimensional 
sphere 108 


Science and the problem of the fourth dimension. The address of Prof. N. A. Oumoff 
before the Mendeleevsky Convention in 1911 — "The Characteristic Traits and 
Problems of Contemporary Scientific Thought." The new physics. The electro- 


magnetic theory. The principle of relativity. The works of Einstein and Min- 
kowsky. Simultaneous existence of the past and the future. The Eternal Now. 
Van Manen's book about occult experiences. The drawing of a four-dimensional 



Analysis of phenomena. What defines different orders of phenomena for us? Methods 
and forms of the translation of one order of phenomena into another. Phenomena 
of motion. Phenomena of life. Phenomena of consciousness. The central ques- 
tion of our knowledge of the world : what order of phenomena is generic and pro- 
duces the others? Can the origin of everything lie in motion? The laws of the 
transformation of energy. Simple transformation and liberation of latent energy. 
Different liberating forces of the different orders of phenomena. The force of me- 
chanical energy, the force of a living cell, the force of an idea. Phenomena and nou- 
mena of our world !*• 


The apparent and the hidden side of life. Positivism as the study of the phenomenal 
side of life. Of what does the "two-dimensionality" of positive philosophy con- 
sist? The regarding of everything upon a single plane, in one physical sequence. 
The streams which flow underneath the earth. What can the study of life as a 
phenomenon yield? The artificial world which science erects for itself. The un- 
reality of finished and isolated phenomena. The new apprehension of the world. . 135 


The voices of stones. The wall of a church and the wall of a prison. The mast of a 
ship and a gallows. The shadow of a hangman and of an ascetic. The soul of a 
hangman and of an ascetic. The different combinations of known phenomena in 
higher space. The relationship of phenomena which appear unrelated, and the diff- 
erence between phenomena which appear similar. How shall we approach the nou- 
menal world? The understanding of things outside the categories of space and 
time. The reality of many "figures of speech." The occult understanding of 
energy. The letter of a Hindu-occultist. Art as the knowledge of the noumenal 
world. What we see and what we do not see. Plato's dialogue about the cavern. . 151 


Occultism and love. Love and death. Our different relation to the problems of death 
and to the problems of love. What is lacking in our understanding of love? Love 
as an every-day and merely psychological phenomenon. The possibility of a spiri- 
tual understanding of love. The creative force of love. The negation of love. Ma- 
terialism and asceticism. The flight from love. Love and mysticism. The "wond- 
rous" in love. Prof. Lutoslawsky. Leo Tolstoy. Nietzche and Edward Carpen- 
ter on love. "The Ocean of Sex." 161 


The phenomenal and the noumenal side of man. "Man-in-himself ." How do we know 
the inner side of man? Can we know of the existence of consciousness in condi- 
tions of space not analogical to ours? Brain and consciousness. Unity of the 
world. Logical impossibility of the simultaneous existence of spirit and matter. 
Either all spirit or all matter. Rational and irrational actions in nature and in the 
life of man. Can rational actions exist alongside of irrational? The world as an 
accidentally self-created mechanical toy. The impossibility of consciousness in a 
mechanical universe. The irreconcilability of mechanicalness with the existence of 
consciousness. The fact of human consciousness as destroying the mechanistic sys- 
tem. The consciousness of other sections of the world. How may we know about 
them? Kant concerning "ghosts." Spinoza on the knowledge of the invisible 
world. Necessity for the intellectual definition of that which can be, and that 
which cannot be in the noumenal world 17© 



A conscious universe. Different forms of consciousness. Different lines of conscious- 
ness. Animated nature. The souls of stones and the souls of trees. The soul of a 
forest. The human "I" as a collective consciousness. Man as a complex being. 
Humanity as a being. The world's consciousness. The face of Mahadeva. Prof. 
James on the consciousness of the universe. Fechner's ideas. "Zendavesta." 
A living Earth 203 


Consciousness and life. Life as knowledge. Consciousness as a realization of exist- 
ence. Intellect and emotions. Emotion as an organ of knowledge. The evolution 
of emotion from the standpoint of knowledge. Pure and impure emotions. Per- 
sonal and super-personal emotions. The elimination of self elements as a means of 
approach to true knowledge. "Be as little children." "Blessed are the pure in 
heart." The value of morals from the standpoint of knowledge. The defects of in- 
tellectualism. Dreadnaughts as the crown of intellectual culture. The dangers of 
morality. Moral esthetics. Religion and art as organized forms of emotional know- 
ledge. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of beauty 219 


The intellectual method. Objective and subjective knowledge. The study of the Not- 
I and the study of the I. Impossibility of the objective study of the I. The limits 
of objective knowledge. The possibility of the expansion of subjective knowledge. 
The absorption of all Not-I by the I. The ideas of Plotinus. Different forms of 
consciousness. Sleep (the potential state of consciousness). Dreams (conscious- 
ness enclosed in itself, reflected from itself). Waking consciousness (dualistic sen- 
sation of the world, the division of the I and the Not-I). Ecstasy (the liberation of 
theself). "Turiya" (the absolute consciousness of all, as of the self ) . "Thedewdrop 
slips into the shining sea." "Nirvana." 237 


The sense of infinity. The neophyte's first ordeal. An intolerable sadness. The loss 
of everything real. What would an animal feel on becoming a man? The transi- 
tion to the new logic. Our logic as founded on the observation of the laws of the 
phenomenal world. Its invalidity for the study of the world of noumena. The 
necessity for another logic. Analogy between the axioms of logic and of mathema- 
tics. Two mathematics. The mathematics of real magnitudes (infinite and vari- 
able) ; and the mathematics of unreal, imaginary magnitudes (finite and constant) . 
Transfinite numbers — numbers lying beyond infinity. The possibility of differ- 
ent infinities 251 


Man's transition to a higher logic. The necessity for rejecting everything "real." 
"Poverty of the spirit." The recognition of the infinite alone as real. Laws of the 
infinite. Logic of the finite — the "Organon" of Aristotle and the "Novum Organ- 
urn' of Bacon. Logic of the infinite — Teriium Organum. The higher logic as an 
instrument of thought, as a key to the mysteries of nature, to the hidden side of 
life, to the world of noumena. A definition of the world of noumena on the basis of 
all the foregoing. The impression of the noumenal world on an unprepared con- 
sciousness. "The thrice unknown darkness in the contemplation of which all 
knowledge is resolved into ignorance." 263 



«Theosophy'ofMaxMiiller. Ancient India. Philosophy of the Vedanta Tattwam 
^Knowledge by means of the expansion of ™ ousnes *^^^ 
cism of different ages and peoples. Unity of experiences. Tertium Organumasj. 
keTto mysScism. Signs of the noumenal world. Treatise о Plotinus On Intel- 
fi2b BeSy" as a misunderstood system of higher logic. Illuminations in Jacob 
Boehme "A harp of many strings, of which each string is a separate instrument, 
wht'he whole Гоп1у one W ? Mystics of "The Loveof*e ^J£$™ 
Dorotheus and others. Clement of Alexandria. Lao-Tzu and cnuang izu. 
"St on the Path." "The Voice of the Silence." Mohammedan mystics. Poet- 
r o( the Suffs. Mystical states under narcotics. The anaesthetic revelation^ Ex- 
S^nStaSftof^ames. Dostoyevsky on "time" (The Idiot). Influence of na- ^ 
ture on the soul of man 


"Cosmic Consciousness" of Dr. Bucke. The three forms of cons ^ io "^ff 4 acC g! ; f f ill g ^ 

Dr Bucke Simple consciousness, or the consciousness of animals belt con 
sc ousness?or the consciousness of man. Cosmic consciousness In what is t ex- 
pressed? Sensation, perception, concept, higher moral concept-creative intui- 
ST Men of cosmic consciousness. Adam's fall into sin. The ^edge оЩ 
and evil. Christ and the salvation of man. Commentary on Dr Bucke s book 
Srth of the new humanity. Two races. Superman. Table of the four forms of ^ 
the manifestation of consciousness 


. . 340 



"And swear . . . that there should be 



" . . . . That ye, being rooted and grounded 
in love may be able to comprehend with al! 
saints what is the breadth and length and 


Paul the Apostle 



What do we know and what do we not know? Our data, and the 
things for which we seek. The unknown mistaken for the known. 
Matter and motion. What does the positive philosophy come to/ 
Identity of the unknown: x = y. y = x. What we really know 
The existence of consciousness in us, and of the world outside ot 
us. Dualism or monism? Subjective and objective knowledge. 
Where do the causes of the sensations lie? Kant s system. lime 
and Space. Kant and the "ether." Mach's observation. With 
what does the physicist really deal? 

"Learn to discern the real from the false" 


H. P. B. 

HE most difficult thing is to know what we do know, 
and what we do not know. 

Therefore, desiring to know anything, we shall be- 
fore all else determine what we accept as given, and 
what as demanding definition and proof: that is, 
determine what we know already, and what we wish to know. 
In relation to the knowledge of the world and of ourselves, the 
conditions would be ideal could we venture to accept nothing as 
given, and count all as demanding definition and proof. In other 
words, it would be best to assume that we know nothing, and 
make this our point of departure. 

But unfortunately such conditions are impossible to create. 
Knowledge must start from some foundation, something must be 
recognized as known, or we shall be obliged always to define one 
unknown by means of another. 

Looking at the matter from another point of view, we shall 
hesitate to accept as the known things— as the given ones— those 
in the main completely unknown, only presupposed, and there- 
fore the things sought for. Should we do this, we are likely to fall 
into such a dilemma as that in which positive philosophy now 
finds itself. For a long time this was founded on the idea of the 
existence of matter (materialism), and now it is founded on the 
conception of the existence of energy: that is, of a force, or motion 


(energeticism) , though in reality matter and motion were always 
the unknown x and y, and were defined by means of one another. 

It must be perfectly clear to everyone that it is impossible to ac- 
cept the thing sought as the given; and impossible to define one un- 
known by means of another. The result is nothing but the iden- 
tity of the unknown : x = у , у = x. 

This identity of the unknown is the ultimate conclusion to which 
positive philosophy comes. 

Matter is that in which proceed the changes called motion: and 
motions are those changes which proceed in matter. 

But what do we know ? 

We know that with the very first awakening of self -conscious- 
ness, man is confronted with two obvious facts : 

The existence of the world in which he lives; and the existence of 
consciousness in himself. 

Neither of these can he prove or disprove, but they are facts: 
they constitute reality for him. 

It is possible to meditate upon the mutual correlation of these 
facts. It is possible to try to reduce them to one; that is, to re- 
gard consciousness as a part, or function of the world, or the 
world as a part, or function of consciousness. But such a pro- 
cedure constitutes a departure from facts, and all such considera- 
tions of the world and of the self, to the ordinary non-philosophical 
mind, will not have the character of obviousness. On the contrary 
the sole obvious fact remains the antithesis of / and Not-I — con- 
sciousness and the world. 

Further on we shall return to this fundamental thesis. But 
thus far we have no basis on which to found a contradiction of the 
obvious fact of the existence of ourselves — i. е., of our conscious- 
ness — and of the world in which we live. This we shall therefore 
accept as the given. 

This however is the only thing that we have the right to accept 
as given: all the rest demands proof and definition in terms of 
these two given data. 

Space, with its extension; time, with the idea of before, now, 
after; quantity, mass, substantiality; number, equality and in- 
equality; identity and difference; cause and effect, the ether, 
atoms, electrons, energy, life, death — all things that form the 


foundation of our so-called knowledge: these are the unknown 

The existence of consciousness in us, and the existence of the 
world outside of us — from these two fundamental data imme- 
diately proceed our common and clearly understood division of 
everything that we know into subjective and objective. 

Everything that we accept as a property of the world, we call 
objective; and everything that we accept as a property of con- 
sciousness, we call subjective. 

The subjective world we recognize directly: it is in ourselves — we 
are one with it. 

The objective world we picture to ourselves as existing some- 
where outside of us — we and it are different things. 

It seems to us that if we should close our eyes, then the objective 
world would continue to exist, such as we just saw it; and if con- 
sciousness were to cease, and our "I" to disappear, so would the 
subjective world disappear — yet the objective world would exist 
as before, as it existed at the time when we were not; when our 
subjective world was not. 

Our relation to the objective world is most exactly defined by 
the fact that we perceive it as existing in time and space; other- 
wise, out of these conditions, we can neither conceive nor imagine 
it. In general, we say that the objective world consists of things 
and phenomena, i. е., things and changes in states of things. The 
phenomena exist for us in time; the things, in space. 

But such a division of the subjective and objective world does 
not satisfy us. 

By means of reasoning we can establish the fact that in reality 
we know only our own sensations, perceptions and conceptions, 
and we cognize the objective world by projecting outside of our- 
selves the causes of our sensations, presupposing them to contain 
these causes. 

Then we find that our knowledge of the subjective and of the 
objective world as well, can be true and false, correct and incorrect. 

The criterion for the definition of correctness or incorrectness 
of our knowledge of the subjective world is the form of the rela- 
tions of one sensation to others, and the force and character of the 
sensation itself. In other words, the correctness of one sensation 
is verified by the comparison of it with another of which we are 
more sure, or by the intensity and "taste" of a given sensation. 


The criterion for the definition of correctness or incorrectness 
of our knowledge of the objective world is the very same. It seems 
to us that we define the things and phenomena of the objective 
world by means of comparing them among themselves; and we 
think we find the laws of their existence outside of us, and inde- 
pendent of our perception of them. But it is an illusion. We 
know nothing about things separately from us; and we have no 
other means of verifying the correctness of our knowledge of the 
objective world but by sensations. 

Since the remotest antiquity the question of our relation to 
the true causes of our sensations constituted the main subject of 
philosophical research. Men have always had some discussion 
of this question, some answer for it. And these answers have 
vacillated between two poles, from the full negation of the 
causes themselves, and the assertion that the causes of sensa- 
tions are contained within ourselves and not in anything outside 
of us — up to the recognition that we know these causes, that they 
are embodied in the phenomena of the outer world, that these 
phenomena constitute the cause of sensations; and that the cause 
of all observed phenomena lies in the movement of "atoms", and 
the oscillations of the "ether". It is believed that if we cannot 
observe these motions and oscillations it is only because we have 
not sufficiently powerful instruments, and that when such instru- 
ments are at our disposal we shall be able to see the movements 
of atoms as well as we see, through powerful telescopes, stars the 
very existence of which were never guessed. 

In modern philosophy Kant's system occupies a middle posi- 
tion in relation to this problem of the causes of sensations, not 
sharing either of these extreme views. Kant proved that the 
causes of our sensations are in the outside world, but that we can- 
not know these causes through any sensuous approach — that is, 
by such means as we know phenomena — and that we can not 
know these causes, and will never know them. 

Kant established the fact that everything that is known 
through the senses is known in terms of time and space, and that 
out of time and space we cannot know anything by way of the 


senses; that time and space are necessary conditions of sensuous 
receptivity (i. е., receptivity by means of the five organs of 
sense). Moreover, what is most important, he established the 
fact that extension in space and existence in time are not proper- 
ties appertaining to things, but just the properties of our sensuous 
receptivity; that in reality, apart from our sensuous knowledge 
of them, things exist independently of time and space, but we can 
never perceive them out of time and space, and perceiving things 
and phenomena thus sensuously, by virtue of it we impose upon 
them the conditions of time and space, as belonging to our form 
of perception. 

Thus space and time, defining everything that we cognize by 
sensuous means, are in themselves just forms of consciousness, 
categories of our intellect, the prism through which we regard 
the world — or in other words space and time do not represent 
properties of the world, but just properties of our knowledge of 
the world gained through our sensuous organism. Consequently 
the world, until by these means we come into relation to it, has 
neither extension in space nor existence in time; these are proper- 
ties which we add to it. 

Cognitions of space and time arise in our intellect during its 
touch with the external world by means of the organs of sense, 
and do not exist in the external world apart from our contact 

with it. . 

Space and time are categories of intellect, i. е., properties which 
are ascribed by us to the external world. They are signal posts, 
signs put up by ourselves because we cannot picture the external 
world without their help. They are graphics by which we repre- 
sent the world to ourselves. Projecting outside of ourselves the 
causes of our sensations, we are designing mentally (and only 
mentally) those causes in space, and we picture continuous 
reality to ourselves as a series of moments of time following one 
another. This is necessary for us because a thing having no 
definite extension in space, not occupying a certain part of space 
and not lasting a certain length of time does not exist for us at all. 
That is, a thing not in space, divorced from the idea of space, and 
not included in the category of space, will not differ from some 
other thing in any particular; it will occupy the very same place, 
will coincide with it. Also, all phenomena not in time, divorced 
from the idea of time, not taken in this or that fashion from the 


standpoint of before, now, after, would proceed for us as though 
they were simultaneously moving among themselves, and our 
weak intellect would not be able to distinguish one moment in the 
infinite variety. 

Therefore our consciousness segregates out of a chaos of im- 
pressions, separate groups, as we construct in space and time the 
perceptions of things according to these groups of impressions. 

It is necessary for us to divide things somehow, and we divide 
them into the categories of space and time. 

But we should remember that these divisions exist only in us, 
in our knowledge of things, and not in the things themselves; 
that we do not know the true relations of things among them- 
selves, and the real things we do not know, but only phantoms, 
visions of things — we do not know the relations existing among 
the things in reality. At the same time we quite definitely know 
that our division of things into the categories of space and time does 
not at all correspond to the division of things in themselves, inde- 
pendently of our receptivity of them; and we quite definitely know 
that if there exists any division at all among things in themselves, 
it will in no case be a division in terms of space and time, because 
these are not a property of things, but of our knowledge of things 
gained through the senses. Moreover, we do not know if it is 
even possible to distinguish those divisions which we see, i. е., in 
space and time, if things are looked at not through human eyes, 
not from the human standpoint. In point of fact we do not know 
but that our world would present an entirely different aspect for 
a differently built organism. 

We cannot perceive things as images outside of the categories of 
space and time, but we constantly think of them outside of space 
and time. 

When we say that table, we picture the table to ourselves in space 
and time; but when we say an object made of wood, not meaning 
any definite thing, but speaking generally, it will relate to all 
things made of wood throughout the world, and in all ages. An 
imaginative person could conceive that we are referring to some 
great thing made of wood, composed of all objects whenever and 
wherever wooden things existed, these forming its constituent 
atoms, as it were. 

We do not comprehend all these matters quite clearly, but in 
general it is plain that we think in space and time by perceptions 


only; but by concepts we think independently of space and 

Kant named his views critical idealism, in contradistinction to 
dogmatic idealism, of which Berkeley was a representative. 

According to dogmatic idealism, all the world, all things— i е., 
the true causes of our sensations— do not exist except in our con- 
sciousness: they exist only so far as we know them. The entire 
world perceived by us is just a reflection of ourselves. 

Kantian idealism recognizes a world of causes outside ot us, but 
asserts that we cannot know the world by means of sensuous per- 
ception, and everything that we perceive, generally speaking, is 
of our own creation— the product of a cognizing being. 

So, according to Kant, everything that we find in things is put 
in them by ourselves. Independently of ourselves, we do not 
know what the world is like. And our cognition of things has 
nothing in common with the things as they are outside of us— that 
is, in themselves. Furthermore, and most important, our ignor- 
ance of things in themselves does not depend upon our insufficient 
knowledge, but it is due to the fact that by means of sensuous 
perception we cannot know the world correctly at all. lnat is 
to say, we cannot truly declare that although now we perhaps 
know little, presently we shall know more, and at length shall 
come to a correct understanding of the world. It is not true be- 
cause our experimental knowledge is not a confused perception 
of a real world. It is a very acute perception of an entirely unreal 
world appearing round about us at the moment of our contact 
with the world of true causes, to which we cannot find the way 
because we are lost in an unreal "material" world.— For this 
reason the extension of the objective sciences does not brmg us 

any nearer to the knowledge of things in themselves, or ot true 

In "A Critique of Pure Reason" Kant affirms that: 
Nothing which is intuited in space is a thing in itself, and space is not 
a form which belongs as a property to things; but objects are quite un- 
known to us in themselves, and what we call outward objects are nothing 
else but mere representations of our sensibility, whose form is space, but 
whose real correlated thing in itself is not known by means of these 
representations, nor ever can be, but respecting which, in experience, 
no inquiry is ever made. 


The things which we intuit are not in themselves the same as our rep- 
resentation of them in intuition, nor are their relations in themselves 
so constituted as they appear to us; and if we take away the subject, or 
even only the subjective constitution of our senses in general, then not 
only the nature and relations of objects in space and time disappear, 
but even space and time themselves. 

What may be the nature of objects considered as things in themselves 
and without reference to the receptivity of our sensibility is quite un- 
known to us. We know nothing more than our own mode of perceiving 
them, which is peculiar to us and which though not of necessity pertain- 
ing to every animated being, is so to the whole human race. 

Supposing that we should carry our empirical intuition even to the 
very highest degree of clearness we should not thereby advance one step 
nearer to the constitution of objects as things in themselves. 

To say then that our sensibility is nothing but the confused repre- 
sentation of things containing exclusively that which belongs to them as 
things in themselves, and this under an accumulation of characteristic 
marks and partial representations which we cannot distinguish in con- 
sciousness, is a falsification of the conception of sensibility and phe- 
nominization, which renders our whole doctrine thereof empty and 
useless. The difference between a confused and clear representation is 
merely logical, and has nothing to do with content. 

Up to the present time Kant's propositions have remained in 
the very form that he left them. Despite the multiplicity of new 
philosophical systems which appeared during the nineteenth cen- 
tury, and despite the number of philosophers who have particu- 
larly studied, commented upon, and interpreted Kant's writings 
Kant's principal propositions have remained quite undeveloped 
primarily because most people do not know how to read Kant at 
all, and they therefore dwell upon the unimportant and non- 
essential, ignoring the substance. 

Yet really Kant only just put the question, threw to the world 
the problem, demanding the solution but not pointing the way 
toward it. 

This fact is usually omitted when speaking of Kant. He pro- 
pounded the riddle, but did not give the solution of it. 

And to the present day we repeat Kant's propositions, we con- 
sider them incontrovertible, but in the main we represent them 
to our understanding very badly, and they are not correlated with 
other departments of our knowledge. All our positive science — 
physics (with chemistry) and biology — is built upon hypotheses 
contradictory to Kant's propositions. 


Moreover, we do not realize how we ourselves impose upon the 
world the properties of space, i. е., extension; nor do we realize 
how the world — earth, sea, trees, men — cannot possess such ex- 

We do not understand how we can see and measure that exten- 
sion if it does not exist — nor what the world represents in itself, if 
it does not possess extension. 

But does the world really exist? — Or, as a logical conclusion 
from Kant's ideas, shall we recognize the validity of Berkeley's 
idea, and deny the existence of the world itself except in imagina- 

Positive philosophy stands in a very ambiguous relation to 
Kant's views. It accepts them and it does not accept them: it ac- 
cepts, and considers them correct in their relation to the direct 
experience of the organs of sense — what we see, hear, touch. That 
is, positive philosophy recognizes the subjectivity of our recep- 
tivity, and recognizes everything that we perceive in objects as 
imposed upon them by ourselves — but this in relation to the di- 
rect experience of the senses only. 

When it concerns itself with "scientific experience" however, in 
which precise instruments and calculations are used, positive 
philosophy evidently considers Kant's view in relation to that 
invalid, assuming that "scientific experience" makes known to us 
the very substance of things, the true causes of our sensations — or 
if it does not do so now, it brings us closer to the truth of things, 
and can inform us later. 

Such dualism in the fundamental ideas of knowledge moves the 
physicist, for example, to recognize the subjectivity of those color 
impressions by which we perceive the world by means of the eye — 
i. е., sensuously — at the same time that he attributes a real ex- 
istence to the vibrations of the ether, and calculates the number 
of vibrations corresponding to this or that color. The fact of eth- 
eric vibrations — a definite number of vibrations for every €0101* — 
seems to him as established quite independently of the sensuous 
receptivity of colors by means of the eye, its affiliated nerves, and 
so on. Consequently, green light, as it is perceived by the eye, is 
regarded as subjective, i. е., as the product of a perceiving person; 
but the very same green light, investigated by the physicist, who 
calculates the number of etheric vibrations corresponding to green 


light, is considered as existing really and objectively. The physi- 
cist is sure that a certain number of etheric vibrations produces 
the subjective sensation of the color green, and is entirely unwill- 
ing to allow that the sole reality in all this concatenation is that 
very subjective sensation of green color, and that the definition of 
green as an etheric vibration is nothing less than the solution of an 
equation containing two unknown quantities: color, and green, 
with the help of two other unknown quantities: ether, and vibra- 
tion. By such a method, of course, it is easliy possible to solve any 
equation whatsoever: but the method can only be called a change 
of variables. All "positivism" is in substance the substitution of 
one set of variables by another. 

Nevertheless, contrary to Kant, the positivists are sure that 
"more clear knowledge of phenomena makes them acquainted 
with things-in-themselves. ' ' They think that looking upon phys- 
ical phenomena as the motions of the ether, or electrons, and cal- 
culating their motions, they begin to know the very substance of 
things; that is, they believe exactly in the possibility of what Kant 
denied — the comprehension of the true substance of things by 
means of the investigation of phenomena. Moreover many 
physicists do not consider it necessary even to know Kant; and 
they could not themselves exactly define in what relation they 
stand toward him. Of course it is possible not to know Kant, but 
it is impossible to controvert him. Every description of physical 
phenomena, by its every word, is related to the problems set forth 
by Kant — remains in this or that relation to them. 

For to accept the theory of etheric vibration, or the activity of 
electrons, it is necessary to recognize space and time as existing 
outside of us, to recognize them as real properties of the world and 
not alone as properties of our sensuous receptivity; to assume that 
space and time are not imposed upon the world by us, but are per- 
ceived by us from without as something inherent in the world. 

In general, the position of "science" in regard to this question 
of "subjectively imposed" or "objectively cognized" is more than 
tottering, and in order to form its conclusions "science" is forced 
to accept many purely hypothetical suppositions as things known 
— as indubitable data, not demanding proof. 

This fact is usually lost sight of, and the definition of physical 
phenomena as the vibrations of the ether, or the development of 
electronic energy, has come into such universal use that we count 


it almost as a fact, and we forget that everything is just hypothesis 
all the way through. We are so used to the "ether" and its "vibra- 
tions" or oscillations; to "electrons" and their energy, that we 
cannot dispense with them, and even forget to examine into the 
relation these hypotheses bear to the problem of space and time as 
set forth by Kant. We are simply "not thinking" that one ex- 
cludes the other, and that these hypotheses— i. е., hypotheses of 
the "ether" or electrons — and Kant's hypothesis are impossible 
when taken in conjunction. 

Moreover, physicists forget one very significant fact: in his 
book, "Analysis of Sensations" Mach says: 

In the investigation of purely physical processes we generally employ 
concepts of so abstract a character that as a rule we think only cursorily, 
or not at all, of the sensations (elements) that lie at their base. . . 
The foundation of all purely physical operations is based upon an almost 
unending series of sensations, particularly if we take into consideration 
the adjustment of the apparatus which must precede the actual experi- 
ment. Now it can easily happen to the physicist who does not study 
the psychology of his operations, that he does not (to reverse a well-known 
saying) see the trees for the wood, that he overlooks the sensory ele- 
ment at the foundation of his work. . . Psychological analysis has 
taught us that this is not surprising, since the physicist is always oper- 
ating with sensations.* 

Mach here calls attention to a very important thing. Physi- 
cists do not consider it necessary to know psychology and to deal 
with it in their conclusions. 

But when they know psychology and take it into consideration, 
then they hold the most fantastic duality of opinion, as in the case 
of the man of orthodox belief who tries to reconcile the dogmas of 
faith with the arguments of reason, and who is obliged to believe 
simultaneously in the creation of the world in seven days, seven 
thousand years ago, and in geological periods hundreds of thous- 
ands of years long, and in the evolutionary theory. He is thus 
forced to resort to sophisms, and demonstrate that by seven days 
is meant seven periods. But why seven, exactly, he is unable to 
explain. For physicists the role of the "creation of the world" is 
played by the atomic theory and the ether, with its wave-like vi- 
brations, and further by the electrons, and the energetic, or 
electro-magnetic theory of the world. 

Or sometimes it is even worse, for the physicist in the depth of 
his soul knows where the truth lies — knows what all atomic and 

♦Open Court Publishing Co's edition of Mach'a work. 1914, pages 41, 42, and 43. 


energetic theories are worth in reality, but fears to hang in the air, 
as it were; to take refuge in mere negation. He has no definite 
system in place of that whose falsity he already knows; he is afraid 
to make a plunge into mere emptiness. Lacking sufficient cour- 
age to declare that he believes in nothing at all, he accoutres himself 
in all materialistic theories, as in an official uniform, only because 
with this uniform are bound up certain rights and priveleges, outer 
as well as inner, consisting of a certain confidence in himself and in 
his surroundings, to forego which he has no strength and deter- 
mination. The "unbelieving materialist" — this is the tragic fig- 
ure of our times, analogous to the "atheist" or "unbelieving 
priest" of the times of Voltaire. 

Out of this abhorrence of a vacuum come all dualistic theories 
which recognize "spirit" and "matter" existing simultaneously 
and independently of one another. 

In general, to a disinterested observer, the state of our con- 
temporary science should be of great psychological interest. In 
all branches of scientific knowledge we are absorbing an enormous 
number of facts destructive of the harmony of existing systems. 
And these systems can maintain themselves only by reason of the 
heroic attempts of scientific men who are trying to close their eyes 
to a long series of new facts which threatens to submerge every- 
thing in an irresistible stream. If in reality we were to collect 
these system-destroying facts they would be so numerous in every 
department of knowledge as to exceed those upon which existing 
systems are founded. The systematization of that which we do not 
know may yield us more for the true understanding of the world 
and the self than the systematization of that which in the opinion 
of "exact science" we do know. 


\ new view of the Kantian problem. The Ideas of Hinton. The"space 
Tense" and its evolution. A system for the development of a sense 
of the fourth dimension by exercises with colored cubes. The 
lometrkal conception of space. Three perpendiculars-why 
thrS Can everything existing be measured by three perpendicu- 
ars? Facts physical and metaphysical. The indices of existence^ 
Reality of ideas. Insufficient evidence of the existence of matter 
and motion. ^ Matter and motion are only logical concepts, like 
"good" and "evil." 

S already stated, Kant propounded the problem, but 
gave no solution of it, nor did he point the way to a 
solution. And not one of the known commenta- 
tors, interpreters, followers or adversaries of Kant 
has found a solution, nor the way to it. 
I find the first flashes of a right understanding of the Kantian 
problem, and the first suggestions in regard to a possible way 
toward its solution in the writings of С. H. Hinton, author of the 
books, "A New Era of Thought" and "The Fourth Dimension. 

These books contain interesting synopses of many things pre- 
viously written about problems of higher dimensions, together 
with ideas of the author's own which have a bearing upon the sub- 
ject under discussion here. m 

Hinton notes that in commenting upon Kantian ideas, only 
their negative side is usually insisted upon, namely, the fact that 
we can cognize things in a sensuous way, in terms of space 
and time only, is regarded as an obstacle, hindering us from seeing 
what things in themselves really are, preventing the possibility 
of cognizing them as they are, imposing upon them that which 
is not inherent in them, shutting them off from us. 

But [says Hinton] if we take Kant's statement simply as it is— not 
seeing in the spatial conception a hindrance to right receptivity— that we 
apprehend things by means of space— then it is equally allowable to con- 
sider our space sense not as a negative condition, hindering our percep- 
tion of the world, but as a positive means by which the mind grasps its 
experiences, i. е., by which we cognize the world. 



There is, in so many books in which the subject is treated, a certain 
air of despondency — as if this space apprehension were a kind of veil 
which shut us off from nature. But there is no need to adopt this feeling. 
The first postulate of this book is a full recognition of the fact that it is by 
means of space that we apprehend what is. 

Space is the instrument of the mind. 

Very often a statement which seems to be very deep and abstruse and 
hard to grasp, is simply the form into which deep thinkers have thrown 
a very simple and practical observation. And for the present let us look 
on Kant's great doctrine of space from a practical point of view, and it 
comes to this — it is important to develop the space sense, for it is the 
means by which we think about real things. 

Now according to Kant [Hinton goes on to say] the space sense, or 
the intuition of space, is the most fundamental power of the mind. But 
I do not find anywhere a systematic and thorough-going education of 
the space sense. It is left to be organized by accident. Yet the special 
development of the space sense makes us acquainted with a whole series 
of new conceptions. 

Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, have developed certain tendencies and have 
written remarkable books, but the true successors of Kant are Gauss and 

For if our intuition of space is the means whereby we apprehend, then 
it follows that there may be different kinds of intuitions of space. Who 
can tell what the absolute space intuition is? This intuition of space 
must be colored, so to speak, by the conditions (of psychical activity) of 
the being which uses it. 

By a remarkable analysis the great geometers above mentioned have 
shown that space is not limited as ordinary experience would seem to 
inform us, but that we are quite capable of conceiving different kinds of 

P ' Л New Era of Thought. 

Hinton invented a complicated system for the education and 
development of the space sense by means of exercises with groups 
of cubes of different colors. The books above mentioned are 
devoted to the exposition of this system. In my opinion Hinton's 
exercises are interesting from a theoretical standpoint, but they 
are practically valuable only for such as have the same turn of 
mind as Hinton's own. 

Exercises of the mind according to his system must first of all 
lead to the development of the ability to imagine objects, not as 
the eye sees them, i. е., in perspective, but as they are geometric- 
ally — to learn to imagine the cube, for example, simultaneously 
from all sides. Moreover, such a development of the imagination 

* Mr Ouspensky does not quote authors verbatim, aa a rule, but sometimes condenses, sometimes 
develops their thoughts. A comparison of pp. 2, 3, and 4 of Hinton's book with the quotation will 
indicate his method. Traml. 


as overcomes the illusions of perspective results in the expansion 
of the limits of consciousness, thus creating new conceptions and 
augmenting the faculty for perceiving analogies. 

Kant established the fact that the development of knowledge 
under the existing conditions of receptivity will not bring us any 
closer to things in themselves. But Hinton asserts that it is possi- 
ble, if desired, to change the very conditions of receptivity, and 
thus to approach the true substance of things. 

Our space as we ordinarily think of it is conceived as limited — not in 
extent, but in a certain way which can only be realized when we think 
of our ways of measuring space objects. It is found that there are only 
three independent directions in which a body can be measured — it must 
have height, length and breadth, but it has no more than these dimen- 
sions, if any other measurement be taken in it, this new measurement 
will be found to be compounded of the old measurements. 

It is impossible to find a point in the body which could not be arrived 
at by travelling in combinations of the three directions already taken. 

But why should space be limited to three independent directions? 

Geometers have found that there is no reason why bodies which we 
can measure should be thus limited. As a matter of fact all the bodies 
which we can measure are thus limited. So we come to this conclusion, 
that the space which we use for conceiving ordinary objects in the world 
is limited to three dimensions. But it might be possible for there to be 
beings living in a world such that they would conceive a space of four dimen- 

It is possible to say a great deal about space of higher dimensions than 
our own, and to work out analytically many problems which suggest 
themselves. But can we conceive four-dimensional space in the same 
way in which we can conceive our own space? Can we think of a body in 
four dimensions as a unit having properties in the same way as we think 
of a body having a definite shape in the space with which we are familiar? 

There is really no more difficulty in conceiving four-dimensional 
shapes, when we go about it in the right way, than in conceiving the idea 
of solid shapes, nor is there any mystery at all about it. 

When the faculty to apprehend in four dimensions is acquired — or 
rather when it is brought into consciousness, for it exists in every- 
one in imperfect form — a new horizon opens. The mind acquires a 
development of power, and in this use of ampler space as a mode of 
thought, a path is opened by using that very truth which, when first 
stated by Kant, seemed to close the mind within such fast limits. Our 
perception is subject to the condition of being in space. But space is not 
limited as we at first think. 

* Italics by P. D. Ouspensky. Transl. 


The next step after having formed this power of conception in ampler 
space, is to investigate nature and see what phenomena are to be ex- 
plained by four-dimensional relations. 

The thought of past ages has used the conception of a three-dimensional 
space, and by that means has classified many phenomena and has ob- 
tained rules for dealing with matters of great practical utility. The path 
which opens immediately before us in the future is that of applying the 
conception of four-dimensional space to the phenomena of nature, and 
of investigating what can be found out by this new means of apprehen- 
sion. . . 

For development of knowledge it is necessary to separate the self 
elements, i. е., the personal element which we put in everything cognized 
by us from that which is cognized, in order that our attention may not be 
distracted (upon ourselves) from the properties which we, in substance, 

Only by getting rid of the self elements in our receptivity do we put 
ourselves in a position in which we can propound sensible questions. 
Only by getting rid of the notion of a circular motion of the sun around 
the earth (i. е., around us — self-element) do we prepare our way to study 
the sun as it really is. 

But the worst about a self element is that its presence is never dreamed 
of till it is got rid of. 

In order to understand what the self element in our receptivity means, 
imagine ourselves to be translated suddenly to another part of the uni- 
verse, and to find there intelligent beings and to hold conversation with 
them. If we told them that we came from this world, and were to 
describe the sun to them, saying that it was a bright, hot body which 
moved around us, they would reply: "You have told us something 
about the sun, but you have also told us something about yourselves." 

Therefore, desiring to tell something about the sun, we shall first of 
all get rid of the self element which is introduced into our knowledge of 
the sun by the movement of the earth, upon which we are, round it. . . 

One of our serious pieces of work will be to get rid of the self elements 
in the knowledge of the arrangement of objects. 

The relations of our universe or our space with regard to the wider 
universe of four-dimensional space are altogether undetermined. The 
real relationship will require a great deal of study to apprehend, and 
when apprehended will seem as natural to us as the position of the earth 
among the other planets seems to us now. 

I would divide studies of arrangement into two classes: those which 
create the faculty of arrangement, and those which use it and exercise 
it. Mathematics exercises it, but I do not think it creates it; and un- 
fortunately, in mathematics as it is now often taught, the pupil is 
launched into a vast system of symbols: the whole use and meaning of 
symbols, (namely, as means to acquire a clear grasp of facts) is lost to 
him. . . 


Of the possible units which will serve for the study of arrangement, I 
take the cube; and I have found that whenever I took any other unit I 
got wrong, puzzled, and lost my way. With the cube one does not get 
along very fast, but everything is perfectly obvious and simple, and 
builds up into a whole of which every part is evident. . . 

Our work then will be this: a study, by means of cubes, of the facts of 
arrangement; and the process of learning will be an active one of actually 
putting up the cubes. Thus we will bring our minds into contact 
with nature.* A Ney) Em of Thought 

I shall return again to Hinton's books several times, but mean- 
while it is necessary to establish our relation to the ideas which 
Kant's problem touches. 

What is space? 

Taken as object, that is, perceived by our consciousness, space 
is for us the form of the universe or the form of the matter in the 

Space possesses an infinite extension in all directions. But it 
can be measured in only three directions independent of one 
another; in length, breadth, and height; these directions we call 
the dimensions of space, and we say that our space has three 
dimensions: it is three-dimensional. 

By independent direction we mean in this case a line at right 
angles to another line. 

Our geometry, (or the science of measurement of the earth, or 
matter in space) knows only three such lines, which are mutually 
at right angles to one another and not parallel among them- 

Should we mean by independent direction the line which is not 
at right angles, i. е., which does not form with the others an angle 
of 90 degrees, but an angle, say, of 30 degrees, then we would 
have the number of dimensions not three, but nine. 

It is seen from this that the three-dimensionality of our space is 
simply a geometrical condition, and depends upon the fact that 
we are using right angles as a unit of measurement. 

But at the same time, in our space and our universe we know 
only three perpendiculars, i. е., only three independent right 

But why three only, and not ten or fifteen? 

This we do not know. 

* The entire quotation ia compiled by Mr. Ouspensky, conveying Hinton's ideas and omitting all 
non-essentials. Transl. 


And here is another very significant fact: either because of some 
mysterious property of the universe, or because of some mental 
limitation, we cannot even imagine to ourselves more than three 
independent directions. 

But we speak of the universe as infinite, and because the first 
condition of infinity is infinity in all directions and in all possible 
relations, so we must presuppose in space an infinite number of 
dimensions: that is, we must presuppose an infinite number of 
lines perpendicular and not parallel to each other : and yet out of 
these lines we know, for some reason, only three. 

It is usually in some such guise that the question of higher 
dimensionality appears to normal human consciousness. 

Since we cannot construct more than three mutually inde- 
pendent perpendiculars, and if the three-dimensionality of our 
space is conditional upon this, we are forced to admit the indubit- 
able fact of the limitedness of our space in relation to geometrical 
possibilities : though of course if the properties of space are created 
by some limitation of consciousness, then the limitedness lies in 

No matter what this limitedness depends on, it is a fact that it 

A given point can be the vertex of only eight independent 
tetrahedrons. Through a given point it is possible to draw only 
three perpendicular and not parallel straight lines. 

Upon this as a basis, we define the dimensionality of space by 
the number of lines it is possible to draw in it which are mutually 
at right angles one with another. 

The line upon which there cannot be a perpendicular, that is, 
another line, constitutes linear, or one-dimensional space. 

Upon the surface two perpendiculars are possible. This is 
superficial, or two-dimensional space. 

In "space" three perpendiculars are possible. This is solid, or 
three-dimensional space. 

The idea of the fourth dimension arose from the assumption 
that in addition to the three dimensions known to our geometry 
there exists still a fourth, for some reason unknown and inaccessi- 
ble to us, i. е., that in addition to the three known to us, a mys- 
terious fourth perpendicular is possible. 

This assumption is practically founded on the consideration 
that there are things and phenomena in the world undoubtedly 


really existing, but quite incommensurable in terms of length, 
breadth and thickness, and lying as it were outside of three- 
dimensional space. 

By really existing we understand that which produces definite 
action, which possesses certain functions, which appears to be the 
cause of something else. 

That which does not exist cannot produce any action, has no 
function, cannot be a cause. 

But there are different modes of existence. There is physical 
existence, recognized by certain sorts of actions and functions, 
and there is metaphysical existence, recognized by its actions 
and its functions. 

A house exists, and the idea of good and evil exists. But they 
do not exist in like manner. One and the same method of proof of 
existence does not suffice for the proof of the existence of a house 
and for the proof of the existence of an idea. A house is a physical 
fact, an idea is a metaphysical fact. Physical and metaphysical 
facts exist, but they exist differently. 

In order to prove the idea of a divison into good and evil, i. е., 
a metaphysical fact, I have only to prove its possibility. This 
is already sufficiently established. But if I should prove that a 
house, i. е., a physical fact, may exist, it does not at all mean that 
it exists really. If I prove that a man may own the house it is no 
proof that he owns it. 

Our relation to an idea and to a house are quite different. It is 
possible by a certain effort to destroy a house — to burn, to wreck 
it. The house will cease to exist. But suppose you attempt to 
destroy, by an effort, an idea. The more you try to contest, argue, 
refute, ridicule, the more the idea is likely to spread, grow, 
strengthen. And contrary wise, silence, oblivion, non-action, " non- 
resistance" will exterminate, or in any case will weaken the idea. 
Silence, oblivion, will not wreck a house, will not hurt a stone. 
It is clear that the existence of a house and that of an idea are 
quite different existences. 

Of such different existences we know very many. A book exists, 
and also the contents of a book. Notes exist, and so does the music 
that the notes combine to make. A coin exists, and so does the pur- 
chasing value of a coin. A word exists, and the energy which it 


We discern on the one hand, a whole series of physical facts, and 
on the other hand, a series of metaphysical facts. 

As facts of the first kind exist, so also do facts of the second 
kind exist, but differently. 

From the usual positivist point of view it will seem naive in the 
highest degree to speak of the purchasing value of a coin separately 
from the coin: of the energy of a word separately from the word: 
of the contents of a booh separately from the book, and so 
on. We all know that these are only "what people say," 
that in reality purchasing value, energy of a word, and contents of a 
book do not exist, that by these conceptions we only denote a series 
of phenomena in some way linked with coin, word, book, but in 
substance quite separate from them. 

But is it so? 

We decided to accept nothing as given, consequently we shall 
not negate anything as given. 

We see in things, in addition to what is external, something in- 
ternal. We know that this internal element in things constitutes 
a continuous part of things, usually their principal substance. And 
quite naturally we ask ourselves, where is this internal element, 
and what does it represent in and by itself. We see that it is not 
embraced within our space. We begin to conceive of the idea of a 
"higher space" possessing more dimensions than ours. Our space 
then appears to be somehow a part of higher space, i. е., we begin 
to believe that we know, feel, and measure only part of space, that 
part which is measureable in terms of length, width and height. 

As was said before, we usually regard space as a form of the 
universe, or as a form of the matter of the universe. To make this 
clear it is possible to say that a "cube" is the form of the matter 
in a cube; a "sphere" is the form of the matter in a sphere; 
"space" — an infinite sphere — is the form of the entire matter of 
the universe. 

H. P. Blavatsky, in "The Secret Doctrine" has this to say 
about space: 

The superficial absurdity of assuming that Space itself is measurable 
in any direction is of little consequence. The familiar phrase (the 
fourth dimension of space) can only be an abbreviation of the fuller 
form— the "Fourth dimension of Matter in Space" . . The progress 


of evolution may be destined to introduce us to new characteristics of 
matter. . ." * 

But the formula defining "space" as "the form of matter in the 
universe" suffers from this deficiency, that there is introduced in 
it the concept of "matter," i. е., the unknown. 

I have already spoken of that "dead end siding," x =y, у =x, to 
which all attempts at the physical definition of matter inevitably 

Psychological definitions lead to the same thing. 

In a well known book, "The Physiology of the Soul," A. I. 
Gerzen says: 

We call matter everything which directly or indirectly offers resist- 
ance to motion, directly or indirectly produced by us, manifesting a 
remarkable analogy with our passive states. 

And we call force (motion) that which directly or indirectly com- 
municates movement to us or to other bodies, thus manifesting the 
greatest similitude to our active states. 

Consequently, "matter" and "motion" are something like pro- 
jections of our active and passive states. It is clear that it is 
possible to define the passive state only in terms of the active, 
and the active in terms of the passive — again two unknowns, de- 
fining one another. 

E. Douglas Fawcett, in an article entitled "Idealism and the 
Problem of Nature" in "The Quest" (April, 1910), discusses 
matter from this point of view. 

Matter (like force) does not give us any trouble. We know all about 
it, for the very good reason that we invented it. By "matter" we think of 
sensuous objects. It is mental change of concrete, but too complicated 
facts, which are difficult to deal with. 

Strictly speaking, matter exists only as a concept. Truth to tell, the 
character of matter, even when treated only as a conception, is so un- 
obvious that the majority of persons are unable to tell us exactly what 
they mean by it. 

An important fact is here brought to light : matter and force are 
just logical concepts, i. е., only words accepted for the designation 
of a lengthy series of complicated facts. It is difficult for us, edu- 
cated almost exclusively along physical lines, to understand this 
clearly, but in substance it may be stated as follows: Who has 
seen matter and force, and when? We see things, see phenomena. 
Matter, independently of the substance from which a given thing 
is made, or of which it consists, we have never seen and never 

* "The Secret Doctrine," The Theosophical Publishing Society. Third Edition, p. 271, vol. I. 


will see; but the given substance is not quite matter, this is wood, 
or iron or stone. Similarly, we shall never see force separately 
from motion. What does this mean? It means that "matter" 
and "force" are just such abstract conceptions, as "value" or 
"labor," as "the purchasing value of a coin" or the "contents" 
of a book; it means that matter is "such stuff as dreams are made 
of." And because we can never touch this "stuff" and can see it 
only in dreams, so we can never touch physical matter, nor see, 
nor hear, nor photograph it, separately from the object. We cognize 
things and phenomena which are bad or good, but we never 
cognize "matter" and "force" separately from things and phe- 

Matter is as much an abstract conception as are truth, good and 

It is as impossible to put matter or any part of matter into a 
chemical retort or crucible as it is impossible to sell "Egyptian 
darkness" in vials. However as it is said that "Egyptian darkness" 
is sold as a black powder in Athos, therefore perhaps even matter, 
somewhere, by some one, has been seen.* 

In order to discuss questions of this order a certain preparation 
is necessary, or a high degree of intuition; but unfortunately it is 
customary to consider fundamental questions of cosmogony very 

A man easily admits his incompetency in music, dancing, or 
higher mathematics, but he always maintains the privilege of 
having an opinion and being a judge of questions relating to "first 

It is difficult to discuss with such men. 

For how will you answer a man who looks at you in perplexity, 
knocks on the table with his finger and says, " This is matter. I 
know it ; feel ! How can it be an abstract conception ? " To answer 
this is as difficult as to answer the man who says: "I see that the 
sun rises and sets!" 

Returning to the consideration of space, we shall under no cir- 
cumstances introduce unknown quantities in the definition of it. 
We shall define it only in terms of those two data which we decided 
to accept at the very beginning. 

The world and consciousness are the facts which we decided to 
recognize as existing. 

* This is irony which the English speaking may easily fail to understand. Some unscrupulous 
monks of the monastery of Athos, famous throughout Greece and Russia, made a practice, it is said, 
of selling "Egyptian darkness" in little vials, thus making capital out of the credulity and piety of the 
illiterate Russian pilgrims who were wont to visit this monastery in great numbers. Transl. 


By the world we mean the combination of unknown causes of 
our sensations. 

By the material world we mean the combination of unknown 
causes of a definite series of sensations, those of sight, hearing, 
touch, smell, taste, sensations of weight, and so on. 

Space is either a property of the world or a property of our 
knowledge of the world. 

Three-dimensional space is either a property of the material 
world or a property of our receptivity of the material world. 

Our inquiry is confined to the problem : how shall we approach 
the study of space? 


What may we learn about the fourth dimension by a study of the geo- 
metrical relations within our space? What should be the relation 
between a three-dimensional body and one of four dimensions ? The 
four-dimensional body as the tracing of the movement of a three- 
dimensional body in the direction which is not confined within it. 
A four-dimensional body as containing an infinite number of three- 
dimensional bodies. A three-dimensional body as a section of a four- 
dimensional one. Parts of bodies and entire bodies in three and in 
four dimensions. The incommensurability of a three-dimensional 
and a four-dimensional body. A material atom as a section of a 
four-dimensional line. 

|N another of his books, "The Fourth Dimension," Hinton 
makes an interesting remark about the method by which 
we may approach the question of the higher dimensions. 
This is what he says : 

Our space itself bears within it relations through which we 
can establish relations to other (higher) spaces. 

For within space are given the conception of point and line, line and 
plane, which really involve the relation of space to a higher space. 

If we concentrate upon this thought, and consider the very 
great difference between the point and the line, between the line 
and the surface, surface and solid, we shall indeed come to under- 
stand how much of the new and inconceivable the fourth dimen- 
sion holds for us. 

As in the point it is impossible to imagine the line and the 
laws of the line; as in the line it is impossible to imagine the sur- 
face and the laws of the surface; as in the surface it is impossible 
to imagine the solid and the laws of the solid, so in our space 
it is impossible to imagine the body having more than three 
dimensions, and impossible to understand the laws of the exist- 
ence of such a body. 

But studying the mutual relations between the point, the line, 
the surface, the solid, we begin to learn something about the 
fourth dimension, i. е., of four-dimensional space. We begin to 



learn what it can be in comparison with our three-dimensional 
space, and what it cannot be. 

This last we learn first of all. And it is especially important, 
because it saves us from many deeply inculcated illusions, which 
are very detrimental to right knowledge. 

We learn what cannot be in four-dimensional space, and this 
permits us to set forth what can be there. 

Let us consider these relations within our space, and let us see 
what conclusions we can derive from their investigation. 

We know that our geometry regards the line as a tracing of the 
movement of a point; the surface as a tracing of the movement 
of a line; and the solid as a tracing of the movement of a surface. 
On these premises we put to ourselves this question: Is it not 
possible to regard the "four-dimensional body" as a tracing of the 
movement of a three-dimensional one? 

But what is this movement, and in what direction? 

The point, moving in space, and leaving the tracing of its move- 
ment, a line, moves in a direction not contained in it, because in a 
point there is no direction whatsoever. 

The line, moving in space, and leaving the tracing of its move- 
ment, the surface, moves in a direction not contained in it because, 
moving in a direction contained in it, a line will continue to be a 

The surface, moving in space, and leaving a tracing of its move- 
ment, the solid, moves also in a direction not contained in it. If 
it should move otherwise, it would remain always the surface. In 
order to leave a tracing of itself as a "solid," or three-dimensional 
figure, it must set off from itself, move in a direction which in itself 
it has not. 

In analogy with all this, the solid, in order to leave as the 
tracing of its movement, the four-dimensional figure (hypersolid) 
shall move in a direction not confined in it; or in other words it 
shall come out of itself, set off from itself, move in a direction which 
is not present in it. Later on it will be shown in what manner we 
shall understand this. 

But for the present we can say that the direction of the move- 
ment in the fourth dimension lies out of all those directions which 
are possible in a three-dimensional figure. 

We consider the line as an infinite number of points; the surface as 
an infinite number of lines; the solid as an infinite number of surfaces. 


In analogy with this it is possible to consider that it is necessary 
to regard a four-dimensional body as an infinite number of three- 
dimensional ones, and four-dimensional space as an infinite num- 
ber of three-dimensional spaces. 

Moreover, we know that the line is limited by points, that the 
surface is limited by lines, that the solid is limited by surfaces. 

It is possible that a four-dimensional body is limited by three- 
dimensional bodies. 

Or it is possible to say that the line is a distance between two 
points; the surface a distance between two lines; the solid — be- 
tween two surfaces. 

Or again, that the line separates two points or several points from 
one another (for the straight line is the shortest distance between 
two points) ; that the surface separates two or several lines from each 
other; that the solid separates several surfaces one from another; 
so the cube separates six flat surfaces one from another — its faces. 

The line binds several separate points into a certain whole (the 
straight, the curved, the broken line) ; the surface binds several 
lines into something whole (the quadrilateral, the triangle); the 
solid binds several surfaces into something whole (the cube, the 
pyramid) . 

, It is possible that four-dimensional space is the distance between a 
group of solids, separating these solids, yet at the same time binding 
them into some to us inconceivable whole, even though they seem to be 
separate from one another. 

Moreover, we regard the point as a section of a line; the line as a 
section of a surface; the surface as a section of a solid. 

By analogy, it is possible to regard the solid (the cube, sphere, 
pyramid) as a section of a four-dimensional body, and our entire 
three-dimensional space as a section of a four-dimensional space. 

If every three-dimensional body is the section of a four- dimen- 
sional one, then every point of a three-dimensional body is the 
section of a four-dimensional line. It is possible to regard an 
"atom" of a physical body, not as something material, but as an 
intersection of a four-dimensional line by the plane of our con- 

The view of a three-dimensional body as the section of a four- 
dimensional one leads to the thought that many (for us) separ- 
ate bodies may be the sections of parts of one four-dimensional 


A simple example will clarify this thought. If we imagine a 
horizontal plane, intersecting the top of a tree, and parallel to the 
surface of the earth, then upon this plane the sections of branches 
will seem separate, and not bound to one another. Yet in our 
space, from our standpoint, these are sections of branches of one 
tree, comprising together one top, nourished from one root, casting 
one shadow. 

Or here is another interesting example expressing the same idea, 
given by Mr. Leadbeater, the theosophical writer, in one of his 
books. If we touch the surface of a table with our finger tips, then 
upon the surface will be just five circles, and from this plane pre- 
sentment it is impossible to construe any idea of the hand, and of 
the man to whom this hand belongs. Upon the table's surface will 
be five separate circles. How from them is it possible to imagine 
a man, with all the richness of his physical and spiritual life? It is 
impossible. Our relation to the four-dimensional world will be 
analogous to the relation of that consciousness which sees five 
circles upon the table to a man. We see just "finger tips;" to us 
the fourth dimension is inconceivable. 

We know that it is possible to represent a three-dimensional body 
upon a plane, that it is possible to draw a cube, a polyhedron or 
a sphere. This will not be a real cube or a real sphere, but the pro- 
jection of a cube or of a sphere on a plane. We may conceive of 
the three-dimensional bodies of our space somewhat in the nature 
of images in our space of to us incomprehensible four-dimensional 


In what direction may the fourth dimension lie? What is motion? Two 
kinds of motion — motion in space and motion in time— ;which are 
contained in every movement. What is time? Two ideas con- 
tained in the conception of time. The new dimension of space, and 
motion upon that dimension. Time as the fourth dimension of 
space. Impossibility of understanding the fourth dimension with- 
out the idea of motion. The idea of motion and the "time sense." 
The time sense as a limit (surface) of the "space sense." Hinton on 
the law of surfaces. The "ether" as a surface. Riemann's idea 
concerning the translation of time into space in the fourth dimen- 
sion. Present, past, and future. Why we do not see the past and 
the future. Life as a feeling of one's way. Wundt on the sub- 
ject of our sensuous knowledge. 

E have established by a comparison of the relation 
of lower dimensional figures to higher dimensional 
ones that it is possible to regard a four-dimen- 
sional body as the tracing of the motion of a 
three-dimensional body upon the dimension not 
contained in it; i. е., that the direction of the 
motion upon the fourth dimension lies outside of all the directions 
which are possible in three-dimensional space. 
But in what direction is it? 

In order to answer this question it will be necessary to discover 
whether we do not know some motion not confined in three- 
dimensional space. 

We know that every motion in space is accompanied by that 
which we call motion in time. Moreover, we know that everything 
existing, even if not moving in space, moves eternally in time. 

And equally in all cases, whether speaking of motion or absence 
of motion, we have in mind an idea of what was before, what now 
becomes, and what will follow after. In other words, we have in 
mind the idea of time. The idea of motion of any kind, also the 
idea of absence of motion is indissolubly bound up with the idea 
of time. Any motion or absence of motion proceeds in time and 
cannot proceed out of time. Consequently, before speaking of 
what motion is, we must answer the question, what is time? 



Time is the most formidable and difficult problem which con- 
fronts humanity. 

Kant regards time as he does space: as a subjective form of our 
receptivity; i. е., he says that we create time ourselves, as a function 
of our receptive apparatus, for convenience in perceiving the out- 
side world. Reality is continuous and constant, but in order to 
make possible the perception of it, we must dissever it into sepa- 
rate moments ; imagine it as an infinite series of separate moments 
out of which there exists for us only one. In other words, we 
perceive reality as though through a narrow slit, and what we 
are seeing through this slit we call the present; what we did see 
and now do not see — the past, and what we do not quite see but 
are expecting — the future. 

Regarding each phenomenon as an effect of another, or others, 
and this in its turn as a cause of a third; that is, regarding all 
phenomena in functional interdependence one upon another, by 
this very act we are contemplating them in time, because we 
picture to ourselves quite clearly and precisely first a cause, then 
an effect; first an action, then its function, and cannot contem- 
plate them otherwise. Thus we may say that the idea of time is 
bound up with the idea of causation and functional interdepend- 
ence. Without time causation cannot exist, just as without time 
motion or the absence of motion cannot exist. 

But our perception concerning our "being in time" is entangled 
and misty up to improbability. 

First of all let us analyze our relation toward the past, present 
and future. Usually we think that the past already does not exist. 
It has passed, disappeared, altered, transformed itself into some- 
thing else. The future also does not exist — it does not exist yet. 
It has not arrived, has not formed. By the present we mean the 
moment of transition of the future into the past, i. е., the moment 
of transition of a phenomenon from one non-existence into another 
one. Only for that short moment does the phenomenon exist for 
us in reality; before, it existed in potentiality, afterward it will 
exist in remembrance. But this short moment is in substance only 
a fiction: it has no measurement. We have a full right to say that 
the present does not exist. We can never catch it. That which 
we did catch is always the past! 


If we are to stop at that we must admit that the world does not 
exist, or exists only in some phantasmagoria of illusions, flashing 

and disappearing. д , .i nt 

Usually we take no account of this, and do not reflect that 
our usual view of time leads to utter absurdity. 

Let us imagine a stupid traveller going from one city to another 
and half way between these two cities. A stupid traveller thinks 
that the city from which he has departed last week does not exist 
now only the memory of it is left; the walls are ruined, the 
towers fallen, the inhabitants have either died or gone away. Also 
that city at which he is destined to arrive in several days does not 
exist now either, but is being hurriedly built for his arrival, and 
on the day of that arrival will be ready, populated, and set in 
order, and on the day after his departure will be destroyed just as 

was the first one. 

We are thinking of things in time exactly m this way— every- 
thing passes away, nothing returns! The spring has passed, it 
does not exist still. The autumn has not come, it does not exist 


But what does exist? 

The present. . . . , 

But the present is not a seizable moment, it is continuously 

transitory into the past. 

So, strictly speaking, neither the past, nor the present, nor the 
future exists for us. Nothing exists! And yet we are living, teel- 
ing, thinking— and something surrounds us. Consequently, in 
our usual attitude toward time there exists some mistake. Inis 
error we shall endeavor to detect. 

We accepted in the very beginning that something exists. We 
called that something the world. How then can the world exist it 
it is not existing in the past, in the present, in the future.'' 

That conception of the world which we deduced from our usual 
view of time makes the world appear like a continuously gushing 
out igneous fountain of fireworks, each spark of which flashes lor 
a moment and disappears, never to appear any more. Flashes are 
going on continuously, following one after another, there are an 
infinite number of sparks, and everything together produces the 
impression of a flame, though it does not exist in reality. 

The autumn has not come yet. It will be, but it does not^ exist 
now And we give no thought to how that can appear which is not. 


We are moving upon a plane, and recognize as really existing 
only the small circle lighted by our consciousness. Every thing out 
of this circle, which we do not see, we negate, we do not like to 
admit that it exists. We are moving upon the plane in one direc- 
tion. This direction we consider as eternal and infinite. But the 
direction at right angles to it, those lines which we are intersecting, 
we do not like to recognize as eternal and infinite. We imagine 
them as going into non-existence at once, as soon as we have 
passed them, and that the lines before us have not yet risen out 
of non-existence. If, presupposing that we are moving upon a 
sphere, upon its equator or one of its parallels, then it will appear 
that we recognize as really existing only one meridian: those which 
are behind us have disappeared and those ahead of us have not 
appeared yet. 

We are going forward like a blind man, who feels paving stones 
and lanterns and walls of houses with his stick and believes in the 
real existence of only that which he touches now, which he feels 
now. That which has passed has disappeared and will never re- 
turn! That which has not yet been does not exist. The blind 
man remembers the route which he has traversed; he expects that 
ahead the way will continue, but he sees neither forward nor back- 
ward because he does not see anything, because his instrument of 
knowledge — the stick — has a definite, and not very great length, 
and beyond the reach of his stick non-existence begins. 

Wundt, in one of his books, called attention to the fact that 
our famous five organs of sense are in reality just feelers by which 
we feel the world around us. We live groping about. We never 
see anything. We are always just feeling everything. With the 
help of the microscope and the telescope, the telegraph and the 
telephone we are extending our feelers a little, so to speak, but we 
are not beginning to see. To say that we are seeing would be 
possible only in case we could know the past and the future. But 
we do not see, and because of this we can never assure ourselves of 
that which we cannot feel. 

This is the reason why we count as really existing only that 
circle which our feelers grasp at a given moment. Beyond that — 
darkness and non-existence. 

But have we any right to think in this way? 
Let us imagine a consciousness that is not bound by the condi- 
tions of sensuous receptivity. Such a consciousness can rise above 
the plane upon which we are moving; it can see far beyond the 


limits of the circle enlightened by our usual consciousness; it can 
see that not only does the line upon which we are moving exist, 
but also all lines perpendicular to it which we are intersecting, 
which we have ever intersected, and which we shall intersect. 
After rising above the plane this consciousness can see the plane, 
can convince itself that it is really a plane, and not a single line. 
Then it can see the past and the future, lying together and exist- 
ing simultaneously. 

That consciousness which is not bound by the conditions of 
sensuous receptivity can outrun the stupid traveler, ascend the 
mountain to see in the distance the town to which he is going, and 
be convinced that this town is not being built anew for his arrival, 
but exists quite independently of the stupid traveler. And that 
consciousness can look off and see on the horizon the towers of 
that city where that traveler had been, and be convinced that 
those towers have not fallen, that the city continues to stay and 
live just as it stayed and lived before the traveler's advent. 

It can rise above the plane of time and see the spring behind 
and the autumn ahead, see simultaneously the budding flowers 
and ripening fruits. It can make the blind man recover his sight 
and see the road along which he passed and that which still lies 
before him. 

The past and the future cannot not exist, because if they do not 
exist then neither does the present exist. Unquestionably they 
exist somewhere together, but we do not see them. 

The present, compared with the past and the future, is the 
most unreal of all unrealities. 

We are forced to admit that the past, the present and the 
future do not differ in anything, one from another: there exists 
just one 'present — the Eternal Now of Hindu philosophy. But we 
do not perceive this, because in every given moment we experi- 
ence just a little bit of that present, and this alone we count as 
existent, denying a real existence to everything else. 

If we admit this, then our view of everything with which we 
are surrounded will change very considerably. 

Usually we regard time as an abstraction, made by us during the 
observation of really existing motion. That is, we think that 
observing motion, or changes of relations between things and 
comparing the relations which existed before, which exist now, 


and which may exist in the future, that we are deducing the 
idea of time. We shall see later on how far this view is correct. 

Thus the idea of time is composed of the conception of the 
past, of that of the present, and of that of the future. 

Our conceptions of the past and present, though not very 
clear, are yet very much alike. As to the future there exists a great 
variety of views. 

It is necessary for us to analyze the theories of the future as they 
exist in the mind of contemporary man. 

There are in existence two theories — that of the preordained 
future, and that of the free future. 

Preordination is established in this way: we say that every 
future event is the result of those which happened before, and is 
created such as it will be and not otherwise as a consequence of a 
definite direction of forces which are contained in preceding events. 
This means, in other words, that future events are wholly con- 
tained in preceding ones, and if we could know the force and direc- 
tion of all events which have happened up to the present moment, 
i. е., if we knew all the past, by this we could know all the future. 
And sometimes, knowing the present moment thoroughly, in all its 
details, we may really foretell the future. If the prophecy is not 
fulfilled, we say that we did not know all that had been, and we dis- 
cover in the past some cause which had escaped our observation. 

The idea of the free future is founded upon the possibility of 
voluntary action and accidental new combinations of causes. The 
future is regarded as quite indefinite, or defined only in part, 
because in every given moment new forces, and new events and new 
phenomena are born which lie in a potential state, not causeless, 
but so incommensurable with causes — as the firing of a city from 
one spark — that it is impossible to detect or measure them. 

This theory affirms that one and the same action can have 
different results; one and the same cause, different effects; and it 
introduces the hypothesis of quite arbitrary volitional actions on 
the part of a man, bringing about profound changes in the subse- 
quent events of his own life and the lives of others. 

Supporters of the preordination theory contend on the con- 
trary that volitional, involuntary actions depend also upon causes, 
making them necessary and unavoidable at a given moment; that 
there is nothing accidental, and that there cannot be; that we call 
accidental only those things the causes of which we do not see by 


reason of our limitations; and that different effects of causes seem- 
ingly the same occur becauses the causes are different in reality 
and only seem similar for the reason that we do not understand 
them well enough nor see them sufficiently clear. 

The dispute between the theory of the preordained future and 
that of the free future is an infinite dispute. Neither of these 
theories can say anything decisive. This is so because both 
theories are too literal, too inflexible, too material, and one repu- 
diates the other: both say, "either this or the other." In the 
one case there results a complete cold predestination; that which 
will be, will be, nothing can be changed— that which will befall to- 
morrow was predestined tens of thousands of years ago. There 
results in the other case a life upon some sort of needle-point 
called the present, which is surrounded on all sides by an abyss of 
non-existence, a journey in a country which does not yet exist, a life 
in a world which is born and dies every moment, in which nothing 
ever returns. And both these opposite views are equally untrue, 
because the truth, in the given case, as in so many others, is con- 
tained in a union of two opposite understandings in one. 

In every given moment all the future of the world is predestined 
and is existing, but is predestined conditionally, i. е., it will be 
such or another future according to the direction of events at a 
given moment, unless there enters a new fact, and a new fact can 
enter only from the side of consciousness and the will resulting 
from it. It is necessary to understand this, and to master it. 

Besides this we are hindered from a right conception of the 
relation of the present toward the future by our misunderstand- 
ing of the relation of the present to the past. The difference of 
opinion exists only concerning the future; concerning the past all 
agree that it has passed, that it does not exist now — and that it 
was such as it has been. In this last lies the key to the under- 
standing of the incorrectness of our views of the future. As a 
matter of fact, in reality our relation both to the past and to the 
future is far more complicated than it seems to us. In the past, 
behind us, lies not only that which really happened, but that which 
could have been. In the same way, in the future lies not only that 
which will be, but everything that may be. 

The past and the future are equally undetermined, equally 
exist in all their possibilities, and equally exist simultaneously with 
the present. 


By time we mean the distance separating events in the order of 
their succession and binding them in different wholes. This dis- 
tance lies in a direction not contained in three-dimensional space, 
therefore it will be the new dimension of space. 

This new dimension satisfies all possible requirements of the 
fourth dimension on the ground of the preceding reasoning. 

It is incommensurable with the dimensions of three-dimensional 
space, as a year is incommensurable with St. Petersburg. It is 
perpendicular to all directions of three-dimensional space and is 
not parallel to any of them. 

As a deduction from all the preceding we may say that time (as 
it is usually understood) includes in itself two ideas : that of a cer- 
tain to us unknown space (the fourth dimension), and that of a 
motion upon this space. Our constant mistake consists in the 
fact that in time we never see two ideas, but see always only one. 
Usually we see in time the idea of motion, but cannot say from 
whence, where, whither, nor upon what space. Attempts have 
been made heretofore to unite the idea of the fourth dimension 
with the idea of time. But in those theories which have attempted 
to combine the idea of time with the idea of the fourth dimension 
appeared always the idea of some spatial element as existing in 
time, and along with it was admitted motion upon that space. 
Those who were constructing these theories evidently did not 
understand that leaving out the possibility of motion they were 
advancing the demand for a new time, because motion cannot 
proceed out of time. And as a result time goes ahead of us, like 
our shadow, receding according as we approach it. All our per- 
ceptions of motion have become confused. If we imagine the new 
dimension of space and the possibility of motion upon this new 
dimension, time will still elude us, and declare that it is unex- 
plained, exactly as it was unexplained before. 

It is necessary to admit that by one term, time, we designated, 
properly, two ideas — "a certain space" and "motion upon that 
space." This motion does not exist in reality, and it seems to us 
as existing only because we do not see the spatiality of time. That 
is, the sensation of motion in time, (and motion out of time does 
not exist) arises in us because we are looking at the world as 
though through a narrow slit, and are seeing the lines of in- 
tersection of the time-plane with our three-dimensional space 


Therefore it is necessary to declare how profoundly incorrect 
is our usual theory that the idea of time is deduced by us from 
the observation of motion, and is really nothing more than the 
idea of that succession which is observed by us in motion. 

It is necessary to recognize quite the reverse: that the idea of 
motion is deduced by us out of an incomplete sensation of time, or 
of the time-sense, i. е., out of a sense or sensation of the fourth 
dimension, but out of an incomplete sensation. This incomplete 
sensation of time (of the fourth dimension) — the sensation 
through the slit — gives us the sensation of motion, that is, creates 
an illusion of motion which does not exist in reality, but instead 
of which there exists in reality only the extension upon a direction 
inconceivable to us. 

One other aspect of the question has very great significance. 
The fourth dimension is bound up with the ideas of "time" and 
"motion." But up to this point we shall not be able to under- 
stand the fourth dimension unless we shall understand the fifth 

Attempting to look at time as at an object, Kant says that it 
has one dimension: i. е., he imagines time as a line extending 
from the infinite future into the infinite past. Of one point of this 
line we are conscious — always only one point. And this point 
has no dimension because that which in the usual sense we call 
the present, is the recent past, and sometimes also the near future. 

This would be true in relation to our illusory perception of time. 
But in reality eternity is not the infinite dimension of time, but the 
one perpendicular to time; because, if eternity exists, then every 
moment is eternal. We can discover in time two dimensions. The 
second dimension of time, i. е., eternity, will be the fifth dimen- 
sion of space. The line of the first dimension of time extends in 
that order of succession of phenomena which are in causal inter- 
dependence — first the cause, then the effect: before, now, after. 
The line of the second dimension of time — the line of eternity — ex- 
tends perpendicularly to that line. 

It is impossible to understand the idea of time without con- 
ceiving to ourselves the idea of eternity; it is likewise impossible 
to understand space if we have no idea of eternity. 

From the standpoint of eternity, time does not differ in any- 
thing from the other lines and dimensions of space — length, 


breadth, and height. This means that just as in space exist the 
things that we do not see, or speaking differently, not alone that 
which we see, so in time "events" exist before our consciousness 
has touched them, and they still exist after our consciousness has 
left them behind. Consequently, extension in time is extension 
into unknown space, and therefore time is the fourth dimension of 

But as has been shown already, time is not a simple, but a com- 
plex conception. And we shall have this in view — it consists of a 
conception of unknown space, vanishing in the past and future, and 
of illusory motion upon this space. 

It is necessary for us to regard time as a spatial conception con- 
sidered with relation to our two data — the universe and con- 

The idea of time appears when consciousness comes in contact 
with the world through sensuous receptivity. It has been already 
shown that because of the properties of sensuous receptivity, con- 
sciousness sees the world as through a narrow slit. 

Out of this the following questions arise: 

1. Why does there exist in the world illusionary motion? That 
is, why does not consciousness see through this slit the same thing 
at all times? Why, behind the slit, do changes proceed creating 
the illusion of motion, i. е., in what manner, and how does the 
focus of our consciousness run over the world of phenomena? In 
addition to all this it is necessary to remember that through the 
very same slit through which it sees the world, consciousness 
observes itself as part of the world, and sees in itself changes sim- 
ilar to the changes in the rest of things. 

2. Why cannot consciousness extend that slit? 
We shall endeavor to answer these questions. 

First of all we shall remark that within the limits of our usual 
observation consciousness is always in the same conditions and 
cannot escape these conditions. In other words, it is as it were 
chained to some plane above which it cannot rise. These condi- 
tions or that plane we call matter. Our consciousness lives, so to 
speak, upon the very plane, and never rises above it. If conscious- 
ness could rise above this plane, so undoubtedly it would see 
underneath itself simultaneously, a far greater number of events 


than it usually sees while on a plane. Just as a man, ascending a 
mountain, or going up in a balloon, begins to see simultaneously 
and at once many things which it is impossible to see simultaneous- 
ly and at once from below: the movement of two trains toward 
one another between which a collision will occur; the approach of 
an enemy detachment to a sleeping camp ; two cities divided by a 
ridge, etc. — so consciousness rising above the plane in which it 
usually functions, must see simultaneously the events divided for 
ordinary consciousness by periods of time. These will be the events 
which ordinary consciousness never sees together, as cause and 
effect: the work, and the payment; the crime and the punishment; 
the movement of trains toward one another and their collision; 
the approach of the enemy and the battle; the sunrise and the 
sunset; the morning and the evening; the day and the night; 
spring, autumn, summer and winter; the birth and the death of a 

The angle of vision will enlarge during such an ascent, the 
moment will expand. 

If we imagine a consciousness higher than our consciousness, 
possessing a broader angle of view, then this consciousness will be 
able to grasp, as something simultaneous, i. е., as a moment, all that 
is happening for us during a certain length of time — minutes, 
hours, a day, a month. Within the limits of its moment such a 
consciousness will not be in a position to discriminate between 
before, now, after, all this will be for it now. Now will expand. 

But in order for this to happen it would be necessary for us to 
liberate ourselves from matter, because matter is nothing more 
than the conditions of space and time in which we dwell. Thence 
arises the question: can consciousness leave the conditions of 
material existence without itself undergoing fundamental changes 
or without disappearing altogether, as men of positivistic views 
would affirm. 

This is a debatable question, and later I shall give examples and 
proofs, speaking on behalf of the idea that our consciousness can 
leave the conditions of materiality. For the present I wish to 
establish purely theoretically what must proceed during this 

There would ensue the expansion of the moment, i. е., all that we 
are apprehending in time would become something like a single 
moment, in which the past, the present, and the future would be 


seen at once. This shows the relativity of motion, as depending 
for us upon the limitation of the moment, which includes only a 
very small part of the moments of life perceived by us. 

We have a perfect right to say, not that "time" is deduced from 
"motion," but that motion is sensed because of the time-sense. 
We have that sense, therefore we sense motion. The time-sense 
is the sensation of changing moments. If we did not have this 
time-sense we could not feel motion. The "time-sense" is itself, 
in substance, the limit or the surface of our "space-sense." Where 
the "space-sense" ends, there the "time-sense" begins. It has 
been made clear that "time" is identical in its properties with 
"space," i. е., it has all the signs of space extension. However, 
we do not feel it as spatial extension, but we feel it as time, that 
is, as something specific, inexpressible, in other words, uninter- 
ruptedly bound up with "motion." This inability to sense time 
spatially has its origin in the fact that the time-sense is a misty 
space-sense; by means of our time-sense we feel obscurely the new 
characteristics of space, which emerge from the sphere of three 

But what is the time-sense and why does there arise the illusion 
of motion? 

To answer this question at all satisfactorily is possible only by 
studying our consciousness, our I. 

"I" is a complicated quantity, and within itself goes on a con- 
tinuous motion. About the nature of this motion we shall speak 
later, but this very motion inside of our I creates the illusion of 
motion around us, motion in the material world. 

The noted mathematician Riemann understood that when 
higher dimensions of space are in question time, by some means, 
translates itself into space, and he regarded the material atom as 
the entrance of the fourth dimension into three-dimensional space. 

In one of his books Hinton writes very interestingly about 
"surface tensions." 

The relationship of a surface to a solid or of a solid to a higher solid 
is one which we often find in nature. 

A surface is nothing more nor less than the relation between two 
things. Two bodies touch each other. The surface is the relationship 
of one to the other. 


If our space is in the same co-relation with higher space as is the 
surface to our space, then it may be that our space is really the surface, 
that is the place of contact, of two higher-dimensional spaces. 

It is a fact worthy of notice that in the surface of a fluid different 
laws obtain from those which hold throughout the mass. There are a 
whole series of facts which are grouped together under the name of 
surface tensions, which are of great importance in physics, and by which 
the behavior of the surfaces of liquids is governed. 

And it may well be that the laws of our universe are the surface ten- 
sions of a higher universe. 

If the surface be regarded as a medium lying between bodies, then 
indeed it will have no weight, but be a powerful means of transmitting 
vibrations. Moreover, it would be unlike any other substance, and it 
would be impossible to get rid of it. However perfect a vacuum be made, 
there would be in this vacuum just as much of this unknown medium 
(i. е., of that surface) as there was before. 

Matter would pass freely through this medium. . . vibrations of 
this medium would tear asunder portions of matter. And involun- 
tarily the conclusion would be drawn that this medium was unlike any 
ordinary matter. . . These would be very different properties to 
reconcile in one and the same substance. 

Now is there anything in our experience which corresponds to this 
medium? . . . 

Do we suppose the existence of any medium through which matter 
freely moves, which yet by its vibrations destroys the combinations of 
matter — some medium which is present in every vacuum however per- 
fect, which penetrates all bodies, is weightless, and yet can never be 
laid hold of. 

The "substance" which possesses all these qualities is called the 
"ether." . . 

The properties of the ether are a perpetual object of investigation in 
science. . . But taking into consideration the ideas expressed before 
it would be interesting to look at the world supposing that we are not in 
it but on the ether; where the "ether" is the surface of contact of two 
bodies of higher dimensions.* 

Hinton here expresses an unusually interesting thought, and 
brings the idea of the "ether" nearer to the idea of time. The 
materialistic, or even the energetic understanding of contemporary 
physics of the ether is perfectly fruitless — a dead-end siding. For 
Hinton the ether is not a substance but only a "surface," the 
"boundary" of something. But of what? Again not that of a 
substance, but the boundary, the surface, the limit of one form 
of receptivity and the beginning of another 

In one sentence the walls and fences of the materialistic dead- 
end siding are broken down and before our thought open wide 
horizons of regions unexplored. 

* Hinton, "A New Era of Thought," pp. 52, 56, 57. 

ч pfiT Ъооъ r o !*1 So ? A K 


Four-dimensional space. "Temporal body"— Linga Sharira. The 
form of a human body from birth to death. Incommensurabil- 
ity of three-dimensional and four-dimensional bodies. Newton s 
fluents. The unreality of constant quantities in our world. The 
right and the left hands in three-dimensional and in four-dimen- 
sional space. Difference between three-dimensional and four- 
dimensional space. Not two different spaces but different meth- 
ods of receptitivity of one and the same world. 

OUR-DIMENSIONAL space, if we try to imagine it to 
ourselves, will be the infinite repetition of our space, of 
our infinite three-dimensional sphere, as a line is the 
infinite repetition of a point. 

Many things that have been said before will become 
much clearer to us when we dwell on the fact that the 
fourth dimension must be sought for in time. 

It will become clear what is meant by the fact that it is possible 
to regard a four-dimensional body as the tracing of the movement 
in space of a three-dimensional body in a direction not confined 
within that space. Now the direction not confined in three- 
dimensional space in which any three-dimensional body moves— 
this is the direction of time. Any three-dimensional body, exist- 
ing, is at the same time moving in time and leaves as a tracing 
of its movement the temporal, or four-dimensional body. We 
never see nor feel this body, because of the limitations of our re- 
ceptive apparatus, but we see the section of it only, which section 
we call the three-dimensional body. Therefore we are in error in 
thinking that the three-dimensional body is in itself something 
real. It is the projection of the four-dimensional body — its pic- 
ture — the image of it on our plane. 

The four-dimensional body is the infinite number of three- 
dimensional ones. That is, the four-dimensional body is the in- 
finite number of moments of existence of the three-dimensional 
one— its states and positions. The three-dimensional body which 
we see appears as a single figure — one of a series of pictures on a 
cinematographic film as it were. 



Four-dimensional space — time — is really the distance between 
forms, states, and positions, of one and the same body (and 
different bodies, i. е., those seeming different to us). It separates 
those states, forms, and positions each from the other, and it 
binds them also into some to us incomprehensible whole. This 
incomprehensible whole can be formed in time out of one physical 
body — and out of different bodies. 

It is easier for us to imagine the temporal whole as related to one 
physical body. 

If we consider the physical body of a man, we will find in it 
besides its "matter" something, it is true, changing, but undoubt- 
edly one and the same from birth until death. 

This something is the Linga-Sharira of Hindu philosophy, i. е., 
the form on which our physical body is moulded. (H. P. Blavatsky : 
"The Secret Doctrine.") Eastern philosophy regards the phy- 
sical body as something impermanent, which is in a condition of 
perpetual interchange with its surroundings. The particles 
come and go. After one second the body is already not absolutely 
the same as it was one second before. To-day it is in a con- 
siderable degree not that which it was yesterday. After seven 
years it is a quite different body. But despite all this, something 
always persists from birth to death, changing its aspect a little, 
but remaining the same. This is the Linga-Sharira. 

The Linga-Sharira is the form, the image, it changes, but re- 
mains the same. That image of a man which we are able to repre- 
sent to ourselves is not the Linga-Sharira. But if we try to repre- 
sent to ourselves mentally the image of a man from birth to 
death, with all the particularities and traits of childhood, man- 
hood and senility, as though extended in time, then it will be the 

Form pertains to all things. We say that everything consists of 
matter and form. Under the category of "matter," as already 
stated, the cause of a lengthy series of mixed sensations is predi- 
cated, but matter without form is not comprehensible to us; we 
cannot even think of matter without form. But we can think and 
imagine form without matter. 

The thing, i. е., the union of form and matter, is never constant; 
it always changes in the course of time. This idea afforded 
Newton the possibility of building his theory of fluents and 


Newton came to the conclusion that constant quantities do not 
exist in Nature. Variables do exist — flowing, fluents only. 
The velocities with which different fluents change were called by 
Newton fluxions. 

From the standpoint of this theory all things known to us— 
men, plants, animals, planets— are fluents, and they differ by the 
magnitude of their fluxions. But the thing, changing continu- 
ously in time, sometimes very much, and quickly, as in 
the case of a living body for example, still remains one and the 
same. The body of a man in youth, the body of a man in senil- 
ity — these are one and the same, though we know that in the 
old body there is not one atom left that was in the young one. 
The matter changes, but something remains one under all changes, 
this something is the Linga-Sharira. Newton's theory is valid 
for the three-dimensional world existing in time. In this world 
there is nothing constant. All is variable because every consecu- 
tive moment the thing is already not that which it was before. 
We never see the Linga-Sharira, we see always its parts, and they 
appear to us variable. But if we observe more attentively we 
shall see that it is an illusion. Things of three dimensions are un- 
real and variable. They cannot be real because they do not exist 
in reality, just as the imaginary sections of a solid do not exist. 
Four-dimensional bodies alone are real. 

In one of the lectures contained in the book, "A Pluralistic 
Universe," Prof. James calls attention to Prof. Bergson's remark 
that science studies always the t of the universe only, i. е., not the 
universe in its entirety, but the moment, the "temporal section" 
of the universe. 

The properties of four-dimensional space will become clearer 
to us if we compare in detail three-dimensional space with the 
surface, and discover the difference existing between them. 

Hinton, in his book, "A New Era of Thought," examines these 
differences very attentively. He represents to himself, on a plane, 
two equal rectangular triangles, cut out of paper, the right angles 
of which are placed in opposite directions. These triangles will be 
equal, but for some reason quite different. The right angle of one 
is directed to the right, that of the other to the left. If anyone 
wants to make them quite similar, it is possible to do so only with 


the help of three-dimensional space. That is, it is necessary to 
take one triangle, turn it over, and put it back on the plane. Then 
they will be two equal, and exactly similar triangles. But in order 
to effect this, it was necessary to take one triangle from the plane 
into three-dimensional space, and turn it over in that space. 
If the triangle is left on the plane, then it will never be possible 
to make it identical with the other, keeping the same relation of 
angles of the one to those of the other. If the triangle is merely 
rotated in the plane this similarity will never be established. In 
our world there are figures quite analogous to these two triangles. 

We know certain shapes which are equal the one to the other, which 
are exactly similar, and yet which we cannot make fit into the same 
portion of space, either practically or by imagination. 

If we look at our two hands we see this clearly, though the two hands 
represent a complex case of a symmetrical similarity. Now there is one 
way in which the right hand and the left hand may practically be 
brought into likeness. If we take the right hand glove and the left hand 
glove, they will not fit any more than the right hand will coincide with 
the left hand; but if we turn one glove inside out, then it will fit. Now 
suppose the same thing done with the solid hand as is done with the 
glove when it is turned inside out, we must suppose it, so to speak, 
pulled through itself. . . If such an operation were possible, the 
right hand would be turned into an exact model of the left hand.* 

But such an operation would be possible in the higher dimen- 
sional space only, just as the overturning of the triangle is possible 
only in a space relatively higher than the plane. Even granting 
the existence of four-dimensional space it is possible that the 
turning of the hand inside out and the pulling of it through itself 
is a practical impossibility on account of causes independent of 
geometrical conditions. But this does not diminish its value as 
an example. Things like the turning of the hand inside out are 
possible theoretically in four-dimensional space because in this 
space different, and even distant points of our space and time 
touch, or have the possibility of contact. All points of a sheet of 
paper lying on a table are separated one from another, but by 
taking the sheet from the table it is possible to fold it in such a 
way as to bring together any given points. If on one corner is 
written St. Petersburg, and on another Madras, nothing prevents 
the putting together of these corners. And if on the third corner 
is written the year 1812, and on the fourth 1912, these corners can 
touch each other too. If on one corner the year is written in red 

* C. H. Hinton, "A New Era of Thought," p. 44. 


ink, and the ink has not yet dried, then the figures may imprint 
themselves on the other corner. And if afterwards the sheet is 
straightened out and laid on the table, it will be perfectly incom- 
prehensible, to a man who has not followed the operation, how 
the figure from one corner could transfer itself to another corner. 
For such a man the possibility of the contact of remote points 
of the sheet will be incomprehensible, and it will remain incom- 
prehensible so long as he thinks of the sheet in two-dimensional 
space only. The moment he imagines the sheet in three-dimen- 
sional space this possibility will become real and obvious to him. 

In considering the relation of the fourth dimension to the three 
known to us, we must conclude that our geometry is obviously 
insufficient for the investigation of higher space. 

As before stated, a four-dimensional body is as incommensur- 
able with a three-dimensional one as a year is incommensurable 
with St. Petersburg. 

It is quite clear why this is so. The four-dimensional body 
consists of an infinitely great number of three-dimensional ones; 
accordingly, there cannot be a common measure for them. The 
three-dimensional body, in comparison with the four-dimen- 
sional one is equivalent to the point in comparison with the line. 

And just as the point is incommensurable with the line, so is the 
line incommensurable with the surface; as the surface is incom- 
mensurable with the solid body, so is the three-dimensional body 
incommensurable with the four-dimensional one. 

It is clear also why the geometry of three dimensions is insuffi- 
cient for the definition of the position of the region of the fourth 
dimension in relation to three-dimensional space. 

Just as in the geometry of one dimension, that is, upon the line, 
it is impossible to define the position of the surface, the side of 
which constitutes the given line; just as in the geometry of two 
dimensions, i. е., upon the surface, it is impossible to define the 
position of the solid, the side of which constitutes the given sur- 
face, so in the geometry of three dimensions, in three-dimensional 
space, it is impossible to define a four-dimensional space. Briefly 
speaking, as planimetry is insufficient for the investigation of the 
problems of stereometry, so is stereometry insufficient for four- 
dimensional space. 

As a conclusion from all of the above we may repeat that every 
point of our space is the section of a line in higher space, or as 


В. Riemann expressed it: the material atom is the entrance of the 
fourth dimension into three-dimensional space. 

For a nearer approach to the problem of higher dimensions and 
of higher space it is necessary first of all to understand the consti- 
tion and properties of the higher dimensional region in comparison 
with the region of three dimensions. Then only will appear the 
possibility of a more exact investigation of this region, and a classi- 
fication of the laws governing it. 

What is it that it is necessary to understand? 

It seems to me that first of all it is necessary to understand that 
we are considering not two regions spatially different, and 
not two regions of which one (again spatially, "geometrically") 
constitutes a part of the other, but two methods of receptivity of 
one and the same unique world of a space which is unique. 

Furthermore it is necessary to understand that all objects 
known to us exist not only in those categories in which they are 
perceived by us, but in an infinite number of others in which we 
do not and cannot sense them. And we must learn first to think 
things in other categories, and then so far as we are able, to im- 
agine them therein. Only after doing this can we possibly develop 
the faculty to apprehend them in higher space — and to sense 
"higher" space itself. 

Or perhaps the first necessity is the direct perception of every- 
thing in the outside world which does not fit into the frame of 
three dimensions, which exists independently of the categories of 
time and space — everything that for this reason we are accustomed 
to consider as non-existent. If variability is an indication of the 
three-dimensional world, then let us search for the constant and there- 
by approach to an understanding of the four-dimensional world. 

We have become accustomed to count as really existing only 
that which is measurable in terms of length, breadth and height, 
but as has been shown it is necessary to expand the limits of the 
really existing. Mensurability is too rough an indication of exist- 
ence, because mensurability itself is too conditioned a concep- 
tion. We may say that for any approach to the exact investiga- 
tion of the higher dimensional region the certainty obtained by 
the immediate sensation is probably indispensable, that much 
that is immeasurable exists just as really as, and even more really 
than, much that is measurable. 


Methods of investigation of the problem of higher dimensions. The 
analogy between imaginary worlds of different dimensions. The 
one-dimensional world on a line. "Space" and "time" of a one- 
dimensional being. The two-dimensional world on a plane. 
"Space" and "time," "ether," "matter" and "motion" of a two- 
dimensional being. Reality and illusion on a plane. The impossi- 
bility of seeing an "angle." An angle as motion. The incompre- 
hensibility to a two-dimensional being of the functions of things in 
our world. Phenomena and noumena of a two-dimensional being. 
How could a plane being comprehend the third dimension? 

SERIES of analogies and comparisons are used for 
the definition of that which can be, and that which 
cannot be, in the region of the higher dimension. 
Fechner, Hinton, and many others employ this 
They imagine "worlds" of one, and of two dimensions, and out 
of the relations of lower-dimensional worlds to higher ones they 
deduce possible relations of our world to one of four dimen- 
sions; just as out of the relations of points to lines, of lines to 
surfaces, and of surfaces to solids we deduce the relations of our 
solids to four-dimensional ones. 

Let us try to investigate everything that this method of analogy 
can yield. 
^>G Let us imagine a world of one dimension. 

It will be a line. Upon this line let us imagine living beings. 
Upon this line, which represents the universe for them, they will 
be able to move forward and backward only, and these beings will 
be as the points, or segments of a line. Nothing will exist for them 
outside their line — and they will not be aware of the line upon 
which they are living and moving. For there will exist only two 
points, ahead and behind, or may be just one point ahead. 
Noticing the change in states of these points, the one-dimensional 
being will call these changes phenomena. If we suppose the line 
upon which the one-dimensional being lives to be passing through 
the different objects of our world, then of all these objects the 



one-dimensional being will perceive one point only; if different 
bodies intersect his line, the one-dimensional being will sense them 
only as the appearance, the more or less prolonged existence, and 
the disappearance of a point. This appearance, existence, and 
disappearance of a point will constitute a phenomenon. Phe- 
nomena, according to the character and properties of passing ob- 
jects and the velocity and properties of their motions, for the one- 
dimensional being will be constant or variable, long or short- 
timed, periodical or unperiodical. But the one-dimensional being 
will be absolutely unable to understand or explain the con- 
stancy or variability, the duration or brevity, the periodicity or 
unperiodicity of the phenomena of his world, and will regard 
them simply as properties pertaining to them. The solids inter- 
secting his line may be different, but for the one-dimensional being 
all phenomena will be absolutely identical — just the appearance or 
the disappearance of a point — and phenomena will differ only in 
duration and greater or less periodicity. 

Such strange monotony and similarity of the diverse and hetero- 
geneous phenomena of our world will be the characteristic pecu- 
liarity of the one-dimensional world. 

Moreover, if we assume that the one-dimensional being pos- 
sesses memory, it is clear that recalling all the points seen by him 
as phenomena, he will refer them to time. The point which was: 
this is the phenomenon already non-existent, and the point which 
may appear tomorrow: this is the phenomenon which does not 
exist yet. All of our space except one line will be in the category 
of time, i. е., something wherefrom phenomena come and into 
which they disappear. And the one-dimensional being will de- 
clare that the idea of time arises for him out of the observation of 
motion, that is to say, out of the appearance and disappearance 
of points. These will be considered as temporal phenomena, be- 
ginning at that moment when they become visible, and ending — 
ceasing to exist — at that moment when they become invisible. 
The one-dimensional being will not be in a position to imagine 
that the phenomenon goes on existing somewhere, though invisi- 
bly to him; or he will imagine it as existing somewhere on his line, 
far ahead of him. 

We can imagine this one-dimensional being more vividly. Let 
us take an atom, hovering in space, or simply a particle of dust, 
carried along by the air, and let us imagine that this atom or par- 


tide of dust possesses a consciousness, i. е., separates himself from 
the outside world, and is conscious only of that which lies in the 
line of his motion, and with which he himself comes in contact. He 
will then be a one-dimensional being in the full sense of the word. 
He can fly and move in all directions, but it will always seem to him 
that he is moving upon a single line; outside of this line will be for 
him only great Nothingness — the whole universe will appear to 
him as one line. He will feel none of the turns and angles of his 
line, for to feel an angle it is necessary to be conscious of that 
which lies to right or left, above or below. In all other respects 
such a being will be absolutely identical with the before-described 
imaginary being living upon the imaginary line. Everything that 
he comes in contact with, that is, everything that he is conscious 
of, will seem to him to be emerging from time, i. е., from nothing, 
and vanishing into time, i. е., into nothing. This nothing will be 
all our world. All our world except one line will be called time 
and will be counted as actually non-existent. 

Let us next consider the two-dimensional world, and the being 
living on a plane. The universe of this being will be one great 
plane. Let us imagine beings on this plane having the shape of 
points, lines, and flat geometrical figures. The objects and 
"solids" of that world will have the shape of flat geometrical 
figures too. 

In what manner will a being living on such a plane universe 
cognize his world? 

First of all we can affirm that he will not feel the plane upon 
which he lives. He will not do so because he will feel the objects, 
i. е., figures, which are on this plane. He will feel the lines which 
limit them, and for this reason he will not feel his plane, for in that 
case he would not be in a position to discern the lines. The lines 
will differ from the plane in that they produce sensations; there- 
fore they exist. The plane does not produce sensations; therefore 
it does not exist. Moving on the plane, the two-dimensional 
being, feeling no sensations, will declare that nothing now exists. 
After having encountered some figure, having sensed its lines, he 
will say that something appeared. But gradually, by a process of 
reasoning, the two-dimensional being will come to the conclusion 
that the figures he encounters exist on something, or in something. 


Thereupon he may name such a plane (he will not know, indeed, 
that it is a plane) the "ether." Accordingly he will declare that 
the "ether" fills all space, but differs in its qualities from "mat- 
ter." By "matter" he will mean lines. Having come to this con- 
clusion the two-dimensional being will regard all processes as 
happening in his "ether," i. е., in his space. He will not be in a 
position to imagine anything outside of this ether, that is, out of 
his plane. If anything, proceeding out of his plane, comes in con- 
tact with his consciousness, then he will either deny it, or regard it 
as something subjective, the creation of his own imagination, or 
else he will believe that it is proceeding right on the plane, in the 
ether, as are all other phenomena. 

Sensing lines only, the plane being will not sense them as we do. 
First of all, he will see no angle. It is extremely easy for us to 
verify this by experiment. If we will hold before our eyes two 
matches, inclined one to the other in a horizontal plane, then we 
shall see one line. To see the angle we shall have to look from above. 
The two-dimensional being cannot look from above and therefore 
cannot see the angle. But measuring the distance between the 
lines of different "solids" of his world, the two-dimensional being 
will come continually in contact with the angle, and he will regard 
it as a strange property of the line, which is sometimes manifest 
and sometimes is not. That is, he will refer the angle to time, 
he will regard it as a temporary, evanescent phenomenon, a change 
in the state of a "solid," or as motion. It is difficult for us to un- 
derstand this. It is difficult to imagine how the angle can be re- 
garded as motion. But it must be absolutely so, and cannot be 
otherwise. If we try to represent to ourselves how the plane 
being studies the square, then certainly we shall find that for the 
plane being the square will be a moving body. Let us imagine 
that the plane being is opposite one of the angles of the square. 
He does not see the angle — before him is a line, but a line possess- 
ing very curious properties. Approaching this line, the two- 
dimensional being observes that a strange thing is happening to 
the line. One point remains in the same position, and other 
points are withdrawing back from both sides. We repeat, that the 
two-dimensional being has no idea of an angle. Apparently the 
line remains the same as it was, yet something is happening to it, 
without a doubt. The plane being will say that the line is moving, 
but so rapidly as to be imperceptible to sight. If the plane being 


goes away from the angle and follows along a side of the square, 
then the side will become immobile. When he comes to the angle, 
he will notice the motion again. After going around the square 
several times, he will establish the fact of regular, periodical mo- 
tions of the line. Quite probably in the mind of the plane being 
the square will assume the form of a body possessing the property 
of periodical motions, invisible to the eye, but producing definite 
physical effects (molecular motion) — or it will remain there as a 
perception of periodical moments of rest and motion in one com- 
plex line, and still more probably it will seem to be a rotating 

Quite possibly the plane being will regard the angle as his own 
subjective perception, and will doubt whether any objective 
reality corresponds to this subjective perception. Nevertheless 
he will reflect that if there is action, yielding to measurement, so 
must there be the cause of it, consisting in the change of the state 
of the line, i. е., in motion. 

The lines visible to the plane being he may call matter, and the 
angles — motion. That is, he may call the broken line with an 
angle, moving matter. And truly to him such a line by reason of 
its properties will be quite analogous to matter in motion. 

If a cube were to rest upon the plane upon which the plane 
being lives, then this cube will not exist for the two-dimensional 
being, but only the square face of the cube in contact with the 
plane will exist for him — as a line, with periodical motions. Cor- 
respondingly, all other solids lying outside of his plane, in contact 
with it, or passing through it, will not exist for the plane being. 
The planes of contact or cross-sections of these bodies will alone 
be sensed. But if these planes or sections move or change, then 
the two-dimensional being will think, indeed, that the cause of 
the change or motion is in the bodies themselves, i.e., right there 
on his plane. 

As has been said, the two-dimensional being will regard the 
straight lines only as immobile matter; irregular lines and curves 
will seem to him as moving. So far as really moving lines are 
concerned, that is, lines limiting the cross sections or planes of 
contact passing through, or moving along the plane, these will be 
for the two-dimensional being something inconceivable and in- 
commensurable. It will be as though there were in them the 
presence of something independent, depending upon itself only, 


animated. This effect will proceed from two causes: He can 
measure the immobile angles and curves, the properties of which 
the two-dimensional being calls motion, for the reason that they 
are immobile; moving figures, on the contrary, he cannot measure, 
because the changes in them will be out of his control. These 
changes will depend upon the properties of the whole body and its 
motion, and of that whole body the two-dimensional being 
will know only one side or section. Not perceiving the existence of 
this body, and contemplating the motion pertaining to the sides 
and sections he probably will regard them as living beings. He will 
affirm that there is something in them which differentiates them 
from other bodies: vital energy, or even soul. That something 
will be regarded as inconceivable, and really will be inconceivable 
to the two-dimensional being, because to him it is the result of 
an incomprehensible motion of inconceivable solids. 

If we imagine an immobile circle upon the plane, then for the 
two-dimensional being it will appear as a moving line with some 
very strange and to him inconceivable motions. 

The two-dimensional being will never see that motion. Perhaps 
he will call such motion molecular motion, i.e., the movement of 
minutest invisible particles of "matter." 

Moreover, a circle rotating around an axis passing through its 
center for the two-dimensional being will differ in some incon- 
ceivable way from the immobile circle. Both will appear to be 
moving, but moving differently. 

For the two-dimensional being a circle or a square, rotating 
around its center, on account of its double motion will be an inex- 
plicable and incommensurable phenomenon, like a phenomenon 
of life for a modern physicist. 

Therefore, for a two-dimensional being, a straight line will be 
immobile matter; a broken or a curved line — matter in motion; 
and a moving line — living matter. 

The center of a circle or a square will be inaccessible to the 
plane being, just as the center of a sphere or of a cube made of 
solid matter is inaccessible to us — and for the two-dimensional 
being even the idea of a center will be incomprehensible, since he 
possesses no idea of a center. 

Having no idea of phenomena proceeding outside of the plane — 
that is, out of his "space" — the plane being will think of all phe- 
nomena as proceeding on his plane as has been stated. And all 


phenomena which he regards as proceeding on his plane, he will 
consider as being in causal interdependence one with another: 
that is, he will think that one phenomenon is the effect of another 
which has happened right there, and the cause of a third which will 
happen right on the same plane. 

If a multi-colored cube passes through the plane, the plane 
being will perceive the entire cube and its motion as a change in 
the color of lines lying in the plane. Thus, if a blue line replaces 
a red one, then the plane being will regard the red line as a past 
event. He will not be in a position to realize the idea that the red 
line is still existing somewhere. He will say that the line is single, 
but that it becomes blue as a consequence of certain causes of a 
physical character. If the cube moves backward so that the red 
line appears again after the blue one, then for the two-dimensional 
being this will constitute a new phenomenon. He will say that the 
line became red again. 

For the being living on a plane, everything above and below 
(if the plane be horizontal), and on the right or left (if the plane 
be vertical) will be existing in time, in the past and in the future : 
that which in reality is located outside of the plane will be re- 
garded as non-existent, either as that which is already past, i.e., as 
something which has disappeared, ceased to be, will never return, 
or as in the future, i. е., as not existent, not manifested, as a thing 
in potentiality. 

Let us imagine that a wheel with the spokes painted different 
colors is rotating through the plane upon which the plane-being 
lives. To such a being all the motion of the wheel will appear as 
a variation of the color of the line of intersection of the wheel and 
the plane. The plane being will call this variation of the color of 
the line a phenomenon, and observing these phenomena he will 
notice in them a certain succession. He will know that the black 
line is followed by the white one, the white by the blue, the 
blue by the red, and so on. If simultaneously with the appearance 
of the white line some other phenomenon occurs— say the ringing 
of a bell— the two-dimensional being will say that the white line 
is the cause of that ringing. The change of the color of the lines, 
in the opinion of the two-dimensional being, will depend on causes 
lying right in his plane. Any presupposition of the possibility of 
the existence of causes lying outside of the plane he will characterize 


as fantastic and entirely unscientific. It will seem so to him be- 
cause he will never be in a position to represent the wheel to 
himself, i. е., the parts of the wheel on both sides of the plane. 
After a rough study of the color of the lines, and knowing the 
order of their sequence, the plane being, perceiving one of them, 
say the blue one, will think that the black and the white ones have 
already passed, i. е., disappeared, ceased to exist, gone into the 
past; and that those lines which have not yet appeared — the yel- 
low, the green, and so on, and the new white and black ones still 
to come — do not yet exist, but lie in the future. 

Therefore, though not conceiving the form of his universe, and 
regarding it as infinite in all directions, the plane being will never- 
theless involuntarily think of the past as situated somewhere at 
one side of all, and of the future as somewhere at the other side of 
this totality. In such manner will the plane being conceive of the 
idea of time. We see that this idea arises because the two-dimen- 
sional being senses only two out of three dimensions of space; the 
third dimension he senses only after its effects become manifest 
upon the plane, and therefore he regards it as something different 
from the first two dimensions of space, calling it time. 

Now let us imagine that through the plane upon which the two- 
dimensional being lives, two wheels with multi-colored spokes are 
rotating and are rotating in opposite directions. The spokes of 
one wheel come from above and go below; the spokes of the other 
come from below and go above. 

The plane being will never notice it. 

He will never notice that where for one line (which he sees) 
there lies the past — for another line there lies the future. This 
thought will never even come into his head, because he will con- 
ceive of the past and the future very confusedly, regarding them 
as concepts, not as actual facts. But at the same time he will be 
firmly convinced that the past goes in one direction, and the future 
in another. Therefore it will seem to him a wild absurdity that on 
one side something past and something future can lie together, and 
on another side — and also beside these two — something future and 
something past. To the plane being the idea that some phenomena 
come whence others go, and vice versa, will seem equally absurd. 
He will tenaciously think that the future is that wherefrom every- 


thing comes, and the past is that whereto everything goes and 
wherefrom nothing returns. He will be totally unable to under- 
stand that events may arise from the past just as they do from the 

Thus we see that the plane being will regard the changes of 
color of the lines lying on the plane very naively. The appear- 
ance of different spokes he will regard as the change of color of one 
and the same line, and the repeated appearance of the same colored 
spoke he will regard every time as a new appearance of a given 

But nevertheless, having noticed periodicity in the change of 
the color of the lines upon the surface, having remembered the 
order of their appearance, and having learned to define the "time" 
of the appearance of certain spokes in relation to some other 
more constant phenomenon, the plane being will be in a posi- 
tion to foretell the change of the line from one color to another. 
Thereupon he will say that he has studied this phenomenon, that 
he can apply to it "the mathematical method" — can "calculate 

If we ourselves enter the world of plane-beings, then its in- 
habitants will sense the lines limiting the sections of our bodies. 
These sections will be for them living beings; they will not know 
from whence they appear, why they alter, or whither they disap- 
pear in such a miraculous manner. So also, the sections of all our in- 
animate but moving objects will seem independent living beings. 

If the consciousness of a plane being should suspect our exist- 
ence, and should come into some sort of communion with our con- 
sciousness, then to him we would appear as higher, omniscient, 
possibly omnipotent, but above all incomprehensible beings of a 
quite inconceivable category. 

We could see his world just as it is, and not as it seems to him. 
We could see the past and the future; could foretell, direct 
and even create events. 

We could know the very substance of things — could know what 
"matter" (the straight line) is, what "motion" (the broken 
line, the curve, the angle) is. We could see an angle, and we could 
see a center. All this would give us an enormous advantage over 
the two-dimensional being. 


In all of the phenomena of the world of the two-dimensional 
being we could see considerably more than he sees — or could see 
quite other things than he. 

And we could tell him very much that was new, amazing, and 
unexpected about the phenomena of his world — provided, indeed, 
that he could hear us and understand us. 

First of all we could tell him that what he regards as phe- 
nomena — angles and curves, for instance — are properties of higher 
figures; that other "phenomena" of his world are not phenomena, 
but only "parts" or "sections" of phenomena; that what he calls 
"solids" are only sections of solids, — and many more things be- 

We should be able to tell him that on both sides of his plane 
(i. е., of his space or ether) lies infinite space (which the plane 
being calls time) ; and that in this space lie the causes of all his 
phenomena, and the phenomena themselves, the past as well as 
the future ones; moreover, we might add that "phenomena" them- 
selves are not something happening and then ceasing to be, but 
combinations of properties of higher solids. 

But we should experience considerable difficulty in explaining 
anything to the plane being; and it would be very difficult for him 
to understand us. First of all it would be difficult because he 
would not have the concepts corresponding to our concepts. He 
would lack necessary "words." 

For instance, "section" — this would be for him a quite new 
and inconceivable word; then " angle"— again an inconceivable 
word; "center" — still more inconceivable; the third perpendicular 
— something incomprehensible, lying outside of his geometry. 

The fallacy of his conception of time would be the most difficult 
thing for the plane being to understand. He could never under- 
stand that that which has passed and that which is to be are ex- 
isting simultaneously on the lines perpendicular to his plane. And 
he could never conceive the idea that the past is identical with the 
future, because phenomena come from both sides and go in both 

But the most diflScult thing for the plane being would be to 
conceive the idea that "time" includes in itself two ideas: the idea 
of space, and the idea of motion upon this space. 

We have shown that what the two-dimensional being living on 
the plane calls motion has for us quite a different aspect. 


In his book "The Fourth Dimension," under the heading "The 
First Chapter in the History of Four-space," Hinton writes: 

Parmenides, and the Asiatic thinkers with whom he is in close 
affinity, propound a theory of existence which is in close accord with a 
conception of a possible relation between a higher and lower dimensional 
space. . . It is one which in all ages has had a strong attraction for 
pure intellect, and is the natural mode of thought for those who refrain 
from projecting their own volition into nature under the guise of causality. 

According to Parmenides of the school of Elea the all is one, unmov- 
ing and unchanging. The permanent amid the transient — that foothold 
for thought, that solid ground for feeling, on the discovery of which 
depends all our life — is no phantom; it is the image amidst deception of 
true being, the eternal, the unmoved, the one. Thus says Parmenides. 

But how is it possible to explain the shifting scene, these mutations of 

"Illusion," answers Parmenides. Distinguishing between truth and 
error, he tells of the true doctrine of the one — the false opinion of a 
changing world. He is no less memorable for the manner of his advo- 
cacy than for the cause he advocates. 

Can the mind conceive a more delightful intellectual picture than 
that of Parmenides pointing to the one, the true, the unchanging, and 
yet on the other hand ready to discuss all manner of false opinion ! . . 

In support of the true opinion he proceeded by the negative way of 
showing the self-contradictions in the ideas of change and motion. . . 
To express his doctrine in the ponderous modern way we must make 
the statement that motion is phenomenal, not real. 

Let us represent his doctrine. 

Imagine a sheet of still water into which a slanting stick is being 
lowered with a motion vertically downwards. Let 1, 2, 3, (Fig. 1), be 
three consecutive positions of the stick. А, В, С will be three con- 
nective positions of the meeting of the stick with the surface of the 
water. As the stick passes down, the meeting will move from A on to 
В and C. 

Suppose now all the water to be removed except a film. At the 
meeting of the film and the stick there will be an interruption of the 
film. If we suppose the film to have a property, like that of a soap bub- 
ble, of closing up round any penetrating object, then as the stick goes 
vertically downwards the interruption in the film will move on. If we 
pass a spiral through the film the intersection will give a point moving 
in a circle (shown by the dotted lines in Fig. 2). 

For the plane being such a point, moving in a circle in its plane, would 
probably constitute a cosmical phenomenon, something like the motion 
of a planet in its orbit. 

Suppose now the spiral to be still and the film to move vertically 
upward, the whole spiral will be represented in the film in the con- 
secutive positions of the point of intersection.* 

* С. H. Hinton, "The Fourth Dimension," pp. 23, 24 and 25. 
t Ibid. 



If instead of one spiral we take a complicated construction consisting 
of spirals, inclined, and straight lines, broken and curved lines, and 
if the film move vertically upwards we shall have an entire universe of 
moving points the movements of which will appear to the plane being 
as original. 

Fig. 1 

Fig. 2 

The plane being will explain these movements as depending one upon 
another, and indeed he will never happen to think that these move- 
ments are fictitious and are dependent upon the spirals and other lines 
lying outside his space.f 

Returning to the plane being and his perception of the world, 
and analyzing his relations to the three-dimensional world, we see 
that for the two-dimensional or plane being it will be very diffi- 
cult to understand all the complexity of the phenomena of our 
world, as it appears to us. He (the plane being) is accustomed to 
perceive the world as being too simple. 

Taking into consideration the sections of figures instead of the 
figures themselves, the plane being will compare them in relation 
to their length and their greater or lesser curvature, i. е., their for 
him more or less rapid motion. 

The differences between the objects of our world, as they exist 
for us he would not understand. The functions of the objects of 
our world would be completely mysterious to his mind — incom- 
prehensible, "supernatural." 

Let us imagine that a coin, and a candle the diameter of which 
is equal to that of the coin, are on the plane upon which the two- 
dimensional being lives. To the plane being they will seem two 
equal circles, i. е., two moving, and absolutely identical lines; he will 


never discover any difference between them. The functions of the 
coin and of the candle in our world — these are for him absolutely 
a terra incognita. If we try to imagine what an enormous evolu- 
tion the plane being must pass through in order to understand the 
function of the coin and of the candle and the difference between 
these functions, we will understand the nature of the division be- 
tween the plane world and the world of three dimensions, and the 
complete impossibility of even imagining, on the plane, anything 
at all like the three-dimensional world, with its manifoldness of 

The properties of the phenomena of the plane world will be 
extremely monotonous; they will differ by the order of their ap- 
pearance, their duration, and their periodicity. Solids, and the 
things of this world will be flat and uniform, like shadows, i. е., like 
the shadows of quite different solids, which seem to us uniform. 
Even if the plane being could come in contact with our conscious- 
ness, he would never be in a position to understand all the mani- 
foldness and richness of the phenomena of our world and the 
variety of function of the things of that world. 

Plane beings would not be in a position to master our most 
ordinary concepts. 

It would be extremely difficult for them to understand that 
phenomena, identical for them, are in reality different; and on the 
other hand, that phenomena quite separate for them are in reality 
parts of one great phenomenon, and even of one object or one 

This last will be one of the most difficult things for the plane 
being to understand. If we imagine our plane being to be inhabit- 
ing a horizontal plane, intersecting the top of a tree, and parallel 
to the surface of the earth, then for such a being each of the vari- 
ous sections of the branches will appear as a quite separate phe- 
nomenon or object. The idea of the tree and its branches will 
never occur to him. 

Generally speaking, the understanding of the most fundamental 
and simple things of our world will be infinitely long and difficult 
to the plane being. He would have to entirely reconstruct his 
concepts of space and time. This would be the first step. Unless 
it is taken, nothing is accomplished. Until the plane being will 
imagine all our universe as existing in time, i. е., until he refers to 
time everything lying on both sides of his plane, he will never 


understand anything. In order to begin to understand "the third 
dimension" the inhabitant of the plane must conceive of his time 
concepts spatially, that is, translate his time into space. 

To achieve even the spark of a true understanding of our world 
he will have to reconstruct completely all his ideas — to r evaluate all 
values, to revise all concepts, to dissever the uniting concepts, to 
unite those which are dissevered; and, what is most important, to 
create an infinite number of new ones. 

If we put down the five fingers of one hand on the plane of the 
two-dimensional being they will be for him five separate phe- 

Let us try to imagine what an enormous mental evolution he 
would have to undergo in order to understand that these five 
separate phenomena on his plane are the finger-tips of the hand of 
a large, active and intelligent being — man. 

To make out, step by step, how the plane being would attain 
to an understanding of our world, lying in the region of the to him 
mysterious third dimension — i. е., partly in the past, partly in the 
future — would be interesting in the highest degree. First of all, 
in order to understand the world of three dimensions, he must 
cease to be two dimensional — he must become three dimensional 
himself or, in other words, he must feel an interest in the life of 
three-dimensional space. After having felt the interest of this 
life, he will by so doing transcend his plane, and will never be in a 
position thereafter to return to it. Entering more and more within 
the circle of ideas and concepts which were entirely incomprehen- 
sible to him before, he will have already become, not two-dimen- 
sional, but three-dimensional. But all along the plane being will 
have been essentially three-dimensional, that is, he will have had 
the third dimension, without his being conscious of it himself. 
To become three-dimensional he must be three-dimensional. Then 
as the end of ends he can address himself to the self-liberation 
from the illusion of the two-dimensionality of himself and the 
world, and to the apprehension of the three-dimensional world. 


The imDOSsibility of the mathematical definition of dimensions. Why 
ТЬе К not mathematics sense dimensions? The entire cond^onahty 
of the representation of dimensions by powers The possibility of 
Representing all powers on a line. Kant and b°bachevAjN The 
difference between non-Euclidian geometry andmetageometry 
Where shall we find the explanation of the three-dimensionality of 
the world, if Kant's ideas are true? Are not the conditions of the 
three-dimensionality of the world confined to our receptive appa- 
ratus, to our psyche? 

'OW that we have studied those "relations which 
our space itself bears within it" we shall return to 
the questions: But what in reality do the dimensions 
of space represent? —and why are there three of them? _ 
The fact that it is impossible to define three-di- 
mensionality mathematically must appear most strange. 

We are little conscious of this, and it seems to us a paradox, 
because we speak of the dimensions of space, but it remains a fact 
that mathematics does not sense the dimensions of space. _ 

The question arises, how can such a fine instrument of analysis 
as mathematics not feel dimensions, if they represent some real 
properties of space. . 

Speaking of mathematics, it is necessary to recognize nrst of all, 
as a fundamental premise, that correspondent to each mathematical 
expression is always the relation of some realities. 

If there is no such a thing, if it be not true— then there is no 
mathematics. This is its principal substance, its principal con- 
tents. To express the correlations of magnitudes, such is the 
problem of mathematics. But these correlations shall be between 
something. Instead of algebraical a, b and с it must be possible 
to substitute some reality. This is the ABC of all mathematics; 
a, b and c— these are credit bills, they can be good ones only if 
behind them there is a real something, and they can be counter- 
feited if behind them there is no reality whatever. 



"Dimensions" play here a very strange role. If we designate 
them by the algebraic symbols a, b and c, they have the character 
of counterfeit credit bills. For this a, b and с it is impossible to 
substitute any real magnitudes which are capable of expressing 
the correlations of dimensions. 

Usually dimensions are represented by powers: the first, the 
second, the third; that is, if a line is called a, then a square, the 
sides of which are equal to this line, is called a 2 , and a cube, the 
face of which is equal to this square, is called a 3 . 

This among other things gave Hinton the foundation on which 
he constructed his theory of lesser acts, four-dimensional solids — a 4 . 
But this is "belles lettres" of the purest sort. First of all, because 
the representation of "dimensions" by powers is entirely condi- 
tional. It is possible to represent all powers on a line. For exam- 
ple, take the segment of a line equal to five millimeters; then a 
segment equal to twenty-five millimeters will be the square of it, 
i. е., a 2 ; and a segment of one hundred and twenty-five milli- 
meters will be the cube — a 3 . 

How shall we understand that mathematics does not feel dimen- 
sions — that it is impossible to express mathematically the differ- 
ence between dimensions? 

<It is possible to understand and explain it by one thing only — 
namely, that this difference does not exist. 
We really know that all three dimensions are in substance iden- 
tical, that it is possible to regard each of the three dimensions 
either as following the sequence, the first, the second, the third, or 
the other way about. This alone proves that dimensions are not 
mathematical magnitudes. All the real properties of a thing can 
be expressed mathematically as quantities, i. е., numbers, show- 
ing the relation of these properties to other properties. 

But in the matter of dimensions it is as though mathematics 
sees more than we do, or farther than we do, through some bound- 
aries which arrest us but not it— and sees that no realities what- 
ever correspond to our concepts of dimensions. 

If the three dimensions really corresponded to three powers, 
then we would have the right to say that only these three powers 
refer to geometry, and that all the other higher powers, beginning 
with the fourth, lie beyond geometry. 

But even this is denied us. The representation of dimensions by 
powers is perfectly arbitrary. 


More accurately, geometry, from the standpoint of mathe- 
matics, is an artificial system for the solving of problems based 
on conditional data, deduced, probably, from the properties of 
our psyche. 

The system of investigation of "higher space" Hinton calls 
metageometry, and with metageometry he connects the names of 
Lobachevsky, Gauss, and other investigators of non-Euclidian 

We shall now consider in what relation the questions touched 
upon by us stand to the theories of these scientists. 

Hinton deduces his ideas from Kant and Lobachevsky. 

Others, on the contrary, place Kant's ideas in opposition to 
those of Lobachevsky. Thus Roberto Bonola, in "Non-Euclidian 
Geometry," declares that Lobachevsky's conception of space is 
contrary to that of Kant. He says: 

The Kantian doctrine considered space as a subjective intuition, a 
necessary presupposition of every experience. Lobachevsky's doctrine 
was rather allied to sensualism and the current empiricism, and compelled 
geometry to take its place again among the experimental sciences.* 

Which of these views is true, and in what relation do Lobachev- 
sky's ideas stand to our problem? The correct answer to 
this question is: in no relation. Non-Euclidian geometry is not 
metageometry, and non-Euclidian geometry stands in the same 
relation to metageometry as Euclidian geometry itself. 

The results of non-Euclidian geometry, which have submitted 
the fundamental axioms of Euclid to a revaluation, and which 
have found the most complete expression in the works of Bolyai, 
Gauss, and Lobachevsky, are embraced in the formula : 

The axioms of a given geometry express the properties of a given 

Thus geometry on the plane accepts all three Euclidian axioms, 

1. A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. 

2. Any figure may be transferred into another position without 

changing its properties. 

3. Parallel lines do not meet. 

(This last axiom is formulated differently by Euclid.) 

In geometry on a sphere, or on a concave surface the first two 

axioms alone are true, because the meridians which are separated 

at the equator meet at the poles. 

♦Roberto Bonola: "Non-Euclidian Geometry." The Open Court Publishing Co., Chioago, 1912, 
pp. 92, 93. 


In geometry on the surface of irregular curvature only the 
first axiom is true — the second, regarding the transference of 
figures, is impossible because the figure taken in one part of an 
irregular surface can change when transferred into another place. 
Also, the sum of the angles of a triangle can be either more or less 
than two right angles. 

Therefore, axioms express the difference of properties of various 
kinds of surfaces. 

A geometrical axiom is a law of a given surface. 

But what is a surface? 

Lobachevsky's merit consists in that he found it necessary to 
revise the fundamental concepts of geometry. But he never 
went as far as to revalue these concepts from Kant's standpoint. 
At the same time he is in no sense contradictory to Kant. A 
surface in the mind of Lobachevsky, as a geometrician, was only 
a means for the generalization of certain properties on which this 
or that geometrical system was constructed, or the generalization 
of the properties of certain given lines. About the reality or the 
unreality of a surface, he probably never thought. 

Thus on the one hand, Bonola, who ascribed to Lobachevsky 
views opposite to Kant, and their nearness to "sensualism" and 
"current empiricism," is quite wrong, while on the other hand, 
it is not impossible to conceive that Hinton entirely subjectively 
ascribes to Gauss and Lobachevsky their inauguration of a new 
era in philosophy. 

Non-Euclidian geometry, including that of Lobachevsky, has 
no relation to metageometry whatever. 

Lobachevsky does not go outside of the three-dimensional 

Metageometry regards the three-dimensional sphere as a section 
of higher space. Among mathematicians, Riemann, who under- 
stood the relation of time to space, was nearest of all to this idea. 

The point of three-dimensional space is a section of a meta- 
geometrical line. It is impossible to generalize on any surface 
whatever the lines considered in metageometry. Perhaps this 
last is the most important for the definition of the difference be- 
tween geometries (Euclidian and non-Euclidian and metageom- 
etry). It is impossible to regard metageometrical lines as dis- 
tances between points in our space, and it is impossible to repre- 
sent them as forming any figures in our space. 


The consideration of the possible properties of lines lying out 
of our space, the relation of these lines and their angles to the 
lines, angles, surfaces and solids of our geometry, forms the sub- 
ject of metageometry. 

The investigators of non-Euclidian geometry could not bring 
themselves to reject the consideration of surfaces. There is some- 
thing almost tragic in this. See what surfaces Beltrami invented 
in his investigations of non-Euclidian geometry* — one of his 
surfaces resembles the surface of a ventilator, another, the surface 
of a funnel. But he could not decide to reject the surface, to cast 
it aside once and for all, to imagine that the line can be independent 
of the surface, i. е., a series of lines which are parallel or nearly par- 
allel cannot be generalized on any surface, or even in three- 
dimensional space. 

And because of this, both he and many other geometers, de- 
veloping non-Euclidian geometry, could not transcend the three- 
dimensional world. 

Mechanics recognizes the line in time, i. е., such a line as it is im- 
possible by any means to imagine upon the surface, or as the dis- 
tance between the two points of space. This line is taken into 
consideration in the calculations pertaining to machines. But 
geometry never touched this line, and dealt always with its sections 

Now it is possible to return to the question: what is space? and 
to discover if the answer to this question has been found. 

The answer would be the exact definition and explanation of 
the three-dimensionality of space as a property of the world. 

But this is not the answer. The three-dimensionality of space as 
an objective phenomenon remains just as enigmatical and incon- 
ceivable as before. In relation to three-dimensionality it is neces- 

Either to accept it as a thing given, and to add this to the two 
data which we established in the beginning: 

Or to recognize the fallacy of all objective methods of reason- 
ing, and return to another method, outlined in the beginning of 
the book. 

Then, on the basis of the two fundamental data, the world and 
consciousness, it is necessary to establish whether three-dimen- 

* In the Russian edition of Tertium Organum, Ouspenaky ascribed the surfaces shown on pp. 132 and 
133 of Bonola's Non-Enclidian Geometry to Lobachevsky, which is obviously a slip of the pen. These 
surfaces were discussed by Beltrami, who gave a new interpretation to Lobachevskian geometry. Transl. 


sional space is a property of the world, or a property of our knowledge 
of the world. 

Beginning with Kant, who affirms that space is a property of 
the receptivity of the world by our consciousness, I intentionally 
deviated far from this idea and regarded space as a property of the 

Along with Hinton, I postulated that our space itself bears 
within it the relations which permit us to establish its relations to 
higher space, and on the foundation of this postulate I built a 
whole series of analogies which somewhat clarified for us the 
problems of space and time and their mutual co-relations; but 
which, as was said, did not explain anything concerning the 
principal question of the causes of the three-dimensionality of space. 

The method of analogies is, generally speaking, a rather tor- 
menting thing. With it, you walk in a vicious circle. It helps you 
to elucidate certain things, and the relations of certain things, but 
in substance it never gives a direct answer to anything. After 
many and long attempts to analyze complex problems by the aid 
of the method of analogies, you feel the uselessness of all your 
efforts; you feel that you are walking alongside of a wall. And 
then you begin to experience simply a hatred and aversion for 
analogies, and you find it necessary to search in the direct way 
which leads where you need to go. 

The problem of higher dimensions has usually been analyzed 
by the method of analogies, and only very lately has science begun 
to elaborate that direct method, which will be shown later on. 

If we desire to go straight, without deviating, we shall keep 
strictly up to the fundamental propositions of Kant. But if we 
formulate Hinton's above mentioned thought from the point of 
view of these propositions, it will be as follows : We bear within our- 
selves the conditions of our space, and therefore within ourselves we 
shall find the conditions which will permit us to establish correlations 
between our space and higher space. 

In other words, we shall find the conditions of the three-dimen- 
sionality of the world in our psyche, in our receptive apparatus — 
and shall find exactly there the conditions of the possibility of the 
higher dimensional world. 

Propounding the problem in this way, we put ourselves upon 
the direct path, and we shall receive an answer to our question, 
what is space and its three-dimensionality? 


How may we approach the solution of this problem? 

Plainly, by studying our consciousness and its properties. 

We shall free ourselves from any analogies, and shall enter upon 
the correct and direct path toward the solution of the fundamental 
question about the objectivity or subjectivity of space, if we shall 
decide to study the psychical forms by which we perceive the 
world, and to discover if there does not exist a correspondence be- 
tween them and the three-dimensionality of the world — that is, if 
the three-dimensional extension of space, with its properties, does 
not result from properties of the psyche which are known to us. 


Our receptive apparatus. Sensation. Perception. Conception. In- 
tuition. Art as the language of the future. To what extent does 
the three-dimensionality of the world depend upon the properties 
of our receptive apparatus? What might prove this interdepend- 
ence? Where may we 6nd the real affirmation of this interdepend- 
ence? The animal psyche. In what does it differ from the human? 
ReBex action. The irritability of the cell. Instinct. Pleasure- 
pain. Emotional thinking. The absence of concepts. Language of 
animals. Logic of animals. Different degrees of psychic develop- 
ment in animals. The goose, the cat, the dog and the monkey. 

t N order exactly to define the relation of our I to the ex- 
ternal world, and to determine what, in our receptivity 
of the world, belongs to it, and what belongs to ourselves, 
let us turn to elementary psychology and examine the 
mechanism of our receptive apparatus. 
The fundamental unit of our receptivity is a sensation. 
This sensation is an elementary change in the state of conscious- 
ness, produced, as it seems to us, either by some change in the state 
of the external world in relation to our consciousness, or by a 
change in the state of our consciousness in relation to the external 
world. Such is the teaching of physics and psycho-physics. Into 
the consideration of the correctness or incorrectness of the con- 
struction of these sciences I shall not enter. Suffice it to define 
a sensation as an elementary change in the state of consciousness 
—as the element, that is, as the fundamental unit of this change. 
Feeling the sensation we assume that it appears, so to speak, as 
the reflection of some change in the external world. 

The sensations felt by us leave a certain trace in our memory. 
The accumulating memories of sensations begin to blend in con- 
sciousness into groups, and according to their similitude, tend to asso- 
ciate, to sum up, to be opposed; the sensations which are usually 
felt in close connection with one another will arise in memory in 
the same connection. Gradually, out of the memories of sensa- 
tions, perceptions are compounded. Perceptions — these are so to 
speak the group memories of sensations. During the compound- 



ing of perceptions, sensations are polarizing in two clearly defined 
directions. The first direction of this grouping will be according 
to the character of the sensations. (The sensations of a yellow color 
will combine with the sensations of a yellow color; sensations of a 
sour taste with those of a sour taste) . The second direction will 
be according to the time of the reception of sensations. When various 
sensations, constituting a single group, and compounding one 
perception, enter simultaneously, then the memory of this definite 
group of sensations is ascribed to a common cause. This " common 
cause" is projected into the outside world as the object, and it is 
assumed that the given perception itself reflects the real properties 
of this object. Such group remembrance constitutes perception, 
the perception, for example, of a tree — that tree. Into this group 
enter the green color of the leaves, their smell, their shadows, 
their rustle in the wind, etc. All these things taken together form 
as it were a focus of rays coming out of consciousness, gradually 
concentrated upon the outside object and coinciding with it either 
well or ill. 

In the further complication of the psychical life, the memories 
of perceptions proceed as with the memories of sensations. Min- 
gling together, the memories of perceptions, or the "images of 
perceptions," combine in various ways: they sum up, they stand 
opposed, they form groups, and in the end give rise to concepts. 

Thus out of various sensations, experienced (in groups) at 
different times, a child gets the perception of a tree (that tree), 
and afterwards, out of the images of perceptions of different 
trees there emerges the concept of a tree, i. е., not "that tree," 
but trees in general. 

The formation of perceptions leads to the formation of words, 
and the appearance of speech. 

The beginning of speech may appear on the lowest level of 
psychic life, during the period of living by sensations, and it 
will become more complex during the period of living by per- 
ceptions; but unless there be concepts it will not be speech in 
the true meaning of the word. 

On the lower levels of psychic life certain sensations can be 
expressed by certain sounds. Therefore it is possible to express 
common impressions of horror, anger, pleasure. These sounds 


may serve as signals of danger, as commands, demands, threats, 
etc, but it is impossible to say much by means of them. 

In the further development of speech, if words or sounds 
express perceptions, as in the case of children, this means that the 
given sound or the given word designates only that object to which 
it refers. For each new similar object must exist another new 
sound, or a new word. If the speaker designates different objects 
by one and the same sound or word, it means that in his opinion 
the objects are the same, or that knowingly he is calling different 
objects by the same name. In either case it will be difficult to 
understand him, and such speech cannot serve as an example of 
clear speech. For instance, if a child call a tree by a certain sound 
or word, having in view that tree only, and not knowing other 
trees at all, then any new tree which he may see he will call by a 
new word, or else he will take it for the same tree. The speech 
in which "words" correspond to perceptions is as it were made up 
of proper nouns. There are no appellative nouns; and not only 
substantives, but verbs, adjectives and adverbs; all have the 
character of "proper nouns;" that is, they apply to a given action, 
to a given quality, or to a given property. 

The appearance of words of a common meaning in human speech 
signifies the appearance of concepts in consciousness. 

Speech consists of words, each word expressing a concept. Con- 
cept and word are in substance one and the same thing; only the 
first (the concept) represents, so to speak, the inner side, and the 
second (the word) the outer side. Or, as says Dr. R. M. Bucke 
(the author of the book "Cosmic Consciousness," about which I 
shall have much to say later on), "A word (i. е., concept) is the 
algebraical sign of a thing." 

It has been noticed thousands of times that the brain of a thinking 
man does not exceed in size the brain of a non-thinking wild man in 
anything like the proportion in which the mind of the thinker exceeds 
the mind of the savage. The reason is that the brain of a Herbert Spencer 
has very little more work to do than has the brain of a native Australian, 
for this reason, that Spencer does all his characteristic mental work by 
signs or counters which stand for concepts, while the savage does all or 
nearly all his by means of cumbersome recepts. The savage is in a posi- 
tion comparable to that of the astronomer who makes his calculations 
by arithmetic, while Spencer is in the position of one who makes them 
by algebra. The first will fill many great sheets of paper with figures 
and go through immense labor; the other will make the same calcula- 
tions on an envelope and with comparatively little mental work.* 

* R. M. Bucke. "Cosmic Consciousness," p. 12. 


In our speech words express concepts or ideas. By ideas are 
meant broader concepts, not representing the group sign of sim- 
ilar perceptions, but embracing various groups of perceptions, or 
even groups of concepts. Therefore an idea is a complex or an 
abstract concept. 

In addition to the simple sensations of the sense organs (color, 
sound, touch, smell and taste) , in addition to the simple emotions 
of pleasure, pain, joy, anger, surprise, wonder, curiosity and many 
others, there is passing through our consciousness a series of com- 
plex sensations and higher (complex) emotions (moral, esthetic, 
religious) . The content of emotional feelings, even the simplest, 
not speaking indeed, of the complex, can never be wholly con- 
fined to concepts or ideas, and therefore can never be correctly or 
exactly expressed in words. Words can only allude to it, point to 
it. The interpretation of emotional feelings and emotional under- 
standing is the problem of art. In combinations of words, in their 
meaning, their rhythm, their music; in the combination of mean- 
ing, rhythm and music; in sounds, colors, lines, forms — men are 
creating a new world, and are attempting therein to express and 
transmit that which they feel, but which they are unable to ex- 
press and transmit simply in words, i. е., in concepts. The emo- 
tional tones of life, i. е., of "feelings," are best transmitted by 
music, but it cannot express concepts, i. е., thought. Poetry en- 
deavors to express both music and thought together. The com- 
bination of feeling and thought of high tension leads to intuition, 
i. е., to a higher form of consciousness. Thus in art we have 
already the first experiments in a language of intuition, or a lan- 
guage of the future. Art anticipates a psychic evolution, and 
divines its future forms. 

At the present time mankind has attained to three units of 
psychic life: sensation, perception, conception (and idea), and at- 
tains only rarely the fourth unit, higher intuition, which finds its 
expression in art. 

If Kant's ideas are correct, if space with its characteristics is a 
property of our consciousness, and not of the external world, then 
the three-dimensionality of the world must in this or some other 
manner depend upon the constitution of our psychic apparatus. 

It is possible to put the question concretely in the following 
manner: What bearing upon the three-dimensional extension of 
the world has the fact that in our psychical apparatus we discover 


the categories above described — sensations, perceptions, concepts 
and intuitions? 

We possess such a psychical apparatus, and the world is three- 
dimensional. How is it possible to establish the fact that the 
three-dimensionality of the world depends upon such a constitu- 
tion of our psychical apparatus? 

This could be proven or disproven undeniably only with the 
aid of experiments. 

If we could change our psychic apparatus and should then dis- 
cover that the world around us changed, this would constitute for 
us the proof of the dependence of the properties of space upon 
the properties of our consciousness. 

For example, if we could make the higher intuition, existing 
now only in the germ, just as definite, exact, and subject to our 
will as is the concept, and if the number of characteristics of 
space increased, i. е., if space became four-dimensional instead 
of being three-dimensional, this would affirm our presupposition, 
and would prove Kant's contention that space, with its properties, 
is a form of our sensuous receptivity. 

Or if we could diminish the number of units of our psychic life, 
and deprive ourselves or someone else of conceptions, leaving the 
psyche to act by perceptions and sensations only, and if by so 
doing the number of characteristics of the space surrounding us 
diminished; i. е., if for the person subjected to the test the world 
became two-dimensional instead of three-dimensional, and indeed 
one-dimensional as a result of a still greater limitation of the 
psychic apparatus, by depriving the person of perceptions — this 
would affirm our presupposition, and Kant's idea could be consid- 
ered proven. 

That is to say, Kant's idea would be proven experimentally if we 
could be convinced that for the being possessing sensations only, 
the world is one-dimensional; for the being possessing sensations 
and perceptions the world is two-dimensional; and for the being 
possessing, in addition to concepts and ideas, the higher forms of 
knowledge, the world is four-dimensional. 

Or, more exactly, Kant's thesis in regard to the subjectivity 
of space perception could be regarded as proven (a) if for the 
being possessing sensations only, our entire world, with all its 
variety of forms should seem a single line; if the universe of this 
being should possess but one dimension, i. е., should this being be 


one-dimensional in the properties of its receptivity; and (b) if for 
the being possessing, in addition to the faculty of feeling sensa- 
tions, the faculty of forming perceptions, the world should have 
a two-dimensional extension. If all our world with its blue sky, 
clouds, green trees, mountains and precipices, should seem to him 
one plane; if the universe of this being should have only two 
dimensions, i. е., should this being be two-dimensional in the 
properties of its receptivity. 

More briefly, Kant's thesis would be proven could we be made to 
see that for the conscious being the number of characteristics of the 
world changes in accordance with the changes of its psychic appar- 

To perform such an experiment, effecting the diminution of 
psychic characteristics is impossible — we cannot arbitrarily limit 
our own, or anyone else's psychic apparatus. 

Experiments with the augmentation of psychic characteristics 
have been made and are recorded, but in consequence of many 
diverse causes they are insufficiently convincing. The chief 
reason for this is that the augmentation of psychic faculties 
yields, first of all, so much of newness in the psychic realm that 
this newness obscures the changes proceeding simultaneously in the 
previous perception of the world. 

The entire body of teachings of religio-philosophic movements 
have as their avowed or hidden purpose, the expansion of con- 
sciousness. This also is the aim of mysticism of every age and of 
every faith, the aim of occultism, and of the Oriental yoga. But 
the problem of the expansion of consciousness demands special 
study; the final chapters of this book will be dedicated to it, and 
it will be the subject of detailed examination in the book, "The 
Wisdom of the Gods." 

For the present, in proof of the above stated propositions with 
regard to the change of the world in relation to psychic changes, 
it is sufficient to consider the question of the diminution of 
psychic characteristics. 

If experiments in this direction are impossible, perhaps observa- 
tion may furnish what we seek. 

Let us put the question: Are there not beings in the world 
standing toward us in the necessary relation, whose psyche is of a 
lower grade than ours? 


Such psychically inferior beings undoubtedly exist. These 
beings are animals. 

Of the difference between the psychical nature of an animal 
and of a man we know very little: the usual "conversational" 
psychology deals with it not at all. Usually we deny altogether 
that animals have minds, or else we ascribe to them our own psy- 
chology, but "limited" — though how and in what we do not 
know. Again, we say that animals do not possess reason, but 
are governed by instinct, as though they had no self-conscious- 
ness but were some sort of an automatic ^apparatus. As to what 
exactly we mean by instinct we do not ourselves know. I am 
speaking not alone of popular, but of so-called "scientific" 

Let us try to discover what instinct is, and learn something 
about animal psychology. First of all let us analyze the actions of 
animals, and see wherein they differ from ours. If these actions 
are instinctive, what inference is to be drawn from the fact? 

What are those actions in general, and how do they differ? 

In the actions of living beings we discriminate between those 
which are reflex, instinctive, conscious (and automatic), and 

Reflex actions are simply responses by motion, reactions upon 
external irritations, taking place always in the same way, regard- 
less of their utility or futility, expediency or inexpediency in any 
given case. Their origin and laws are due to the simple irritability 
of a cell. 

What is the irritability of a cell, and what are these laws? 

The irritability of a cell is defined as its faculty to respond to 
external irritation by a motion. Experiments with the simplest 
mono-cellar organisms have shown that this irritability acts ac- 
cording to definite laws. The cell responds by a motion to outside 
irritation. The force of the responsive motion increases as the 
force of the irritation is intensified, but in no definite proportion- 
ality. In order to provoke the responsive movement the irri- 
tation must be of a sufficient intensity. Each experienced irrita- 
tion leaves a certain trace in the cell, making it more receptive to 
the new irritations. In this we see that the cell responds to the 
repetitive irritation of an equal force by a more forceful motion than 
the first one. And if the irritations be repeated further the cell 
will respond to them by more and more forceful motions, up to a 


certain limit. Having reached this limit the cell experiences 
fatigue, and responds to the same irritation by more and more 
feeble reactions. It is as though the cell becomes accustomed to 
the irritation. It becomes for the cell part of a constant environ- 
ment, and it ceases to react, because it is reacting generally only 
to changes in conditions which are constant. If from the very 
beginning the irritation is so weak that it fails to provoke the 
responsive motion, it nevertheless leaves in the cell a certain 
invisible trace. This can be inferred from the fact that by re- 
peating these weak irritations, the cell finally begins to react to 

Thus in the laws of irritability we observe, as it were, the be- 
ginnings of memory, fatigue, and habit. The cell produces the 
illusion, if not of a conscious and reasoning being, at any rate 
of a remembering being, habit-forming, and susceptible to fa- 
tigue. If we can be thus deceived by a cell, how much more liable 
are we to be deceived by the greater complexity of animal life. 

But let us return to the analysis of actions. By the reflex ac- 
tions of an organism are meant actions in which either an entire 
organism or its separate parts act as a cell, i. е., within the limits 
of the law of variability. We observe such actions both in men 
and in animals. A man shudders all over from unexpected 
cold, or from a touch. His eyelids wink at the swift approach 
or touch of some object. The freely-hanging foot of a person 
in a sitting position moves forward if the leg be struck on the 
tendon below the knee. These movements proceed independently 
of consciousness, they may even proceed counter to conscious- 
ness. Usually consciousness registers them as accomplished 
facts. Moreover these movements are not at all governed by 
expediency. The foot moves forward in answer to the blow on 
the tendon even though a knife or a fire be in front of it. 

By instinctive actions are meant actions governed by expedi- 
ency, but made without conscious selection or without conscious aim. 

They appear with the appearance of a sensuous tincture to 
sensations, i. е., from that moment when the sensation begins to 
be associated with a conscious sense of pleasure or pain, and they 
are governed, according to the splendid expression of "Wells, by 
the "pleasure-pain guidance of the animal life." 

As a matter of fact, before the dawn of self-consciousness, i. е., 
of human intellect, throughout the entire animal kingdom "ac- 


tions" are governed by the tendency to receive or to retain 
pleasure, or to escape pain. Schopenhauer recognized no 
other pleasure than the cessation of pain, and declared that pain 
dominated all animal life. But this idea is too paradoxical, and 
in substance it is not true. Pleasure and pain are not different 
degrees of one and the same thing, and pleasure is not always and 
only the cessation of pain. In it there is not alone the cancellation 
of a minus, but there is an active plus element. The taste of 
pleasure consequent upon the sensation of pain, and the taste of 
pleasure itself are entirely different. 

We may declare with entire assurance that instinct is a pleasure- 
pain which, like the positive and negative poles of an electro- 
magnet, repels and attracts the animal in this or that 
direction, compelling it to perform whole series of complex ac- 
tions, sometimes expedient to such a degree that they appear to 
be sensible, and not only sensible, but founded upon foresight of 
the future, almost upon some clairvoyance, like the migration of 
birds, the building of nests for the young which have not yet ap- 
peared, the finding of the way south in the autumn, and north 
in the spring, etc. 

But all these actions are explained in reality by a single in- 
stinct, i. е., by the subservience to pleasure-pain. 

During periods in which milleniums may be regarded as days, 
by selection among all animals the types have been perfected, 
living along the lines of this subservience. This subservience 
is expedient, that is, the results of it lead to the desired goal. 
Why this is so is clear. Had the sense of pleasure arisen from 
that which is detrimental, the given species could not live, and 
would quickly die out. Instinct is the guide of its life, but only 
so long as instinct is expedient solely; just as soon as it ceases 
to be expedient it becomes the guide of death, and the species 
soon dies out. Normally "pleasure-pain" is pleasant or un- 
pleasant not for the usefulness or the harm which may result, 
but because of it. Those influences which proved to be bene- 
ficial for a given species during the vegetative life, with the 
transition to the more active and complex animal life begin to 
be sensed as pleasant, the detrimental influences as unpleasant. 
As regards two different species, one and the same influence — 
say a certain temperature — may be useful and pleasant for one, 
and for another detrimental and unpleasant. It is clear, there- 


fore, that the subservience to "pleasure-pain" must be governed 
by expediency. The pleasant is pleasant because it is beneficial, 
the unpleasant is unpleasant because it is harmful. 

Next after instinctive actions follow those actions which 
are conscious and automatic. 

By conscious action is meant such an action as is known to 
the acting subject before its execution; such an action as the 
acting subject can name, define, explain, can show its cause and 
purpose before its execution. Sometimes conscious actions are 
executed with such swiftness that they appear to be unconscious, 
but in spite of this it is a conscious action if the acting subject 
knows what it is doing. 

Automatic actions: these are actions which have been con- 
scious for a given subject, but because of frequent repetitions 
they have become habitual and are performed unconsciously. 
The acquired automatic actions of trained animals were pre- 
viously conscious not in the animal, but in the trainer. Such 
actions often appear as conscious, but this is a complete illusion. 
The animal remembers the sequence of actions, and therefore 
its actions appear to be considered and expedient. They really 
were considered, but not by it. Automatic actions are often 
confounded with instinctive ones — in reality they resemble in- 
stinctive ones, but there is an enormous difference between them. 
Automatic actions are developed by the subject during its own 
life, and for a long time before they become automatic it must 
be conscious of them. Instinctive actions, on the other hand, 
are developed during the life-periods of the species, and the 
aptitude for them is transmitted in a definite manner by hered- 
ity. It is possible to call automatic actions instinctive actions 
worked out for itself by a given subject. It is impossible, 
however, to call instinctive actions automatic actions worked 
out by a given species, because they never were conscious in 
different individuals of a given species, but were compounded 
out of a series of complex reflexes. 

Reflexes, instinctive and "conscious" actions, all may be re- 
garded as reflected, i. е., as not self-originated. Both these and 
others, and still a third class, come not from man himself, but 
from the outside world. Man is the transmitting or trans- 
forming station for certain forces: all of his actions in these three 
categories are created and determined by his impressions of the 


outside world. Man in these three species of actions is, in 
substance, an automaton, unsconscious or conscious of his 
actions. Nothing comes from him himself. 

Only the higher category of actions, i. е., the intuitive, appear 
not to depend upon the outside world. But the aptitude for such 
actions is seldom met with— only in some few persons whom it 
is possible to describe as men of a higher type. 

Having established the differences between various kinds of 
actions, let us return to the question propounded before: In 
what manner does the psyche of an animal differ from that of a 
human being? Out of the four categories of actions the two 
lower ones are accessible to animals (and in very rare cases 
the highest, the "intuitive"). The category of "conscious" 
actions is inaccessible to animals. This is proven first of all by 
the fact that animals have not the power of speech as we have it. 

As has been shown before, the possession of speech is in- 
dissolubly bound up with the possession of concepts. Therefore 
we may say that animals do not possess concepts. 

Is this true, and is it possible to possess the instinctive mind 
without possessing concepts? 

All that we know about the instinctive mind teaches us that 
it acts possessing sensations and perceptions only, and that in 
the lower grades it possesses sensation only. The consciousness 
which does its thinking by means of perceptions is the instinctive 
mind, i. е., that which depends upon its emotions. The emotions 
only give it the possibility of exercising that choice between the 
perceptions presented to it which produces the impression of 
judging and reasoning. In reality the animal does not reason 
its actions, but lives by its emotions, subject at every given 
moment to that emotion which happens to be strongest. Although 
indeed, in the life of the animal, acute moments sometimes occur 
when it is confronted with the necessity of choosing among a cer- 
tain series of perceptions. At such moments its actions may 
seem to be quite reasoned out. For example, the animal, being 
put in a situation of danger acts often very cautiously and wisely. 
But in reality its actions are directed by emotion only. It has 
been previously shown that emotions are expedient, and that the 
subjection to them in a normal being must be expedient. Any 
perception of an animal, any recollected image, is bound up 
with some emotional sensation or emotional remembrance — 


there are no non-emotional, cold thoughts in the animal soul, or 
even if there are, these are inactive, and incapable of becoming 
the springs of action. 

Thus all actions of animals, sometimes highly complex, 
expedient, and apparently reasoned, we can explain without 
attributing to them concepts, judgments, and the power of 
reasoning. Indeed, we must recognize that animals have no 
concepts, and the proof of this is that they have no speech. 

If we take two men of different nationalities, different races, 
each ignorant of the language of the other, and put them together, 
they will find a way to communicate at once. 

One perhaps draws a circle with his finger, the other draws 
another circle beside it. By these means they have already 
established that they can understand one another. If a thick 
wall were put between them it would not hamper them in the 
least — one of them knocks three times, and the other knocks 
three times in response. 

The communication is established. The idea of commu- 
nicating with the inhabitants of other planets is founded upon 
the idea of light signals. It is proposed to make on the earth 
an enormous lighted circle or a square to attract the attention 
of the inhabitants of Mars and to be answered by them by means 
of the same signal. We live side by side with animals and yet 
cannot establish such communication. Evidently the distance 
between us and them is greater, and the difference deeper, 
than between men divided by the ignorance of language, stone 
walls, and enormous distances. 

Another proof of the absence of concepts in the animal is its 
inability to use a lever, i. е., its incapacity to come independently 
to an understanding of the principle of the action of the lever. 
The usual objection that an animal cannot operate a lever be- 
cause its organs (paws and so forth) are not adapted to such 
actions does not hold for the reason that almost any animal 
can be taught to operate a lever. This shows that the difficulty 
is not in the organs. The animal simply cannot of itself come to 
a comprehension of the idea of a lever. 

The invention of the lever immediately divided primitive 
man from the animal, and it was inextricably bound up with 
the appearance of concepts. The psychic side of the understand- 
ing of the action of a lever consists in the construction of a 


correct syllogism. Without constructing the syllogism correctly 
it is impossible to understand the action of a lever. Having no 
concepts it is impossible to construct the syllogism. The syllogism 
in the psychic sphere is literally the same thing as the lever in 
the physical sphere. 

His mastery of the lever differentiates man as strongly from 
the animal as does speech. If some learned Martians were look- 
ing at the earth, and should study it objectively from afar by 
means of a telescope, not hearing speech, nor entering into the sub- 
jective world of the inhabitants of the earth, nor coming in contact 
with them, they would divide the beings living on the earth into 
two groups: those acquainted with the action of the lever, and 
those unacquainted with such action. 

The psychology of animals is in general very misty to us. 
The infinite number of observations made concerning all animals, 
from elephants to spiders, and the infinite number of anecdotes 
about the mind, spirit, and moral qualities of animals change 
nothing of all that. We represent animals to ourselves either 
as living automatons or as stupid men. 

We too much confine ourselves within the circle of our own 
psychology. We fail to imagine any other, and think invol- 
untarily that the only possible sort of soul is such as we ourselves 
possess. But it is this illusion which prevents us from under- 
standing life. If we could participate in the psychic life of an 
animal, understand how it perceives thinks and acts, we would 
find much of unusual interest. For example, could we represent 
to ourselves, and re-create mentally, the logic of an animal, it 
would greatly help us to understand our own logic and the laws 
of our own thinking. Before all else we would come to under- 
stand the conditionality and relativity of our own logical con- 
struction and with it the conditionality of our entire conception 
of the world. 

An animal would have a very peculiar logic. It indeed would 
not be logic in the true meaning of the word, because logic pre- 
supposes the existence of logos, i. е., of a word or concept. 

Our usual logic, by which we live, without which "the shoe- 
maker will not sew the boot," is deduced from the simple scheme 
formulated by Aristotle in those writings which were edited by 
his pupils under the common name of "Organon," i. е., the 
"Instrument" (of thought) . This scheme consists in the following : 


A is A. 

A is not A. 

Everything is either A or not A. 

It is possible to represent it more clearly in this way : 

I am I. 

I am not I. 

All that is in the world must be either I or not I. 

The logic embraced in this scheme — the logic of Aristotle — 
is quite sufficient for observation. But for experiment it is in- 
sufficient, because the experiment proceeds in time, and in the 
formulae of Aristotle time is not taken into consideration. This 
was observed at the very dawn of the establishment of our ex- 
perimental science — observed by Roger Bacon, and formulated 
several centuries later by his famous namesake, Francis Bacon, 
Lord Verulam, in the treatise "Novum Organum" — "The New 
Instrument" (of thought). Briefly, the formulation of Bacon 
may be reduced to the following: 

That which was A, will be A. 

That which was not A, will be not A. 

Everything was and will be, either A or not A. 

Upon these formulae, acknowledged or unacknowledged, all 
our scientific experience is built, and upon them, too, is shoe- 
making founded, because if a shoemaker could not be sure 
that the leather bought yesterday would be leather tomorrow, 
in all probability he would not venture to make a pair of shoes, 
but would find some other more profitable employment. 

The formulae of logic, such as those both of Aristotle and of 
Bacon, are themselves deduced from the observation of facts, and 
do not and cannot include anything except the contents of these 
facts. They are not the laws of reasoning, but the laws of the 
outer world as it is perceived by us, or the laws of our relation to 
the outer world. 

Could we represent to ourselves the "logic" of an animal we 
would understand its relation to the outer world. Our cardinal 
error concerning the psychology of animals consists in the fact 
that we ascribe to them our own logic. We assume that logic is 
one, that our logic is something absolute, existing outside and in- 


dependent of us, while as a matter of fact, logic but formulates 
the laws of the relations of our specific I to the outside world, or 
the laws which our specific I discovers in the outside world. 
Another I will discover other laws. 

The logic of animals will differ from ours, first of all, from the 
fact that it will not be general. It will exist separately for each 
case, for each perception. Common properties, class properties, 
and the generic and specific signs of categories will not exist for 
animals. Each object will exist in and by itself, and all its proper- 
ties will be the specific properties of it alone. 

This house and that house are entirely different objects for an 
animal, because one is its house and the other is a strange house. 
Generally speaking, we recognize objects by the signs of their 
similarity; the animal must recognize them by the signs of their 
difference. It remembers each object by that sign which had for 
it the greatest emotional meaning. In such a manner, i. е., by 
their emotional tones, preceptions are stored in the memory of an 
animal. It is clear that such perceptions are much more difficult 
to store up in the memory, and therefore the memory of an animal 
is more burdened than ours, although in the amount of knowl- 
edge and in the quantity of that which is preserved in the memory, 
it stands far below us. 

After seeing an object once, we refer it to a certain class, genus 
and species, place it under this or that concept, and fix it in the 
mind by means of some "word," i. е., algebraical symbol; then by 
another, defining it, and so on. 

The animal has no concepts; it has not that mental algebra by 
the help of which we think. It must know always a given object, 
and must remember it with all its signs and peculiarities. No 
forgotten sign will return. For us, on the other hand, the prin- 
cipal signs are contained in the concept with which we have cor- 
related that object, and we can find it in our memory by means 
of the sign for it. 

From this it is clear that the memory of an animal is more 
burdened than ours, and this is the principal hindering cause 
to the mental evolution of an animal. Its mind is too busy. It 
has no time to develop. The mental development of a child may 
be arrested by making it memorize a series of words or a series 


of figures. The animal is in just such a position. Herein lies the 
explanation of the strange fact that an animal is wiser when it is 

In man the flower of intellectual force fades at a mature age, 
often even in senility; in the animal, quite the reverse is true. 
It is receptive only while it is young. At maturity its development 
stops, and in old age it undoubtedly degenerates. 

The logic of animals, were we to attempt to express it by means 
of formulae similar to those employed by Aristotle and Bacon, 
would be as follows: 

The formula A, is A, the animal will undersand. It will say 
(as it were) I am I, etc. ; but the formula, A is not, A, it will be in- 
capable of understanding. Not A — this is indeed the concept. 
The animal will reason thus : 

This is this. 
That is that. 
This is not that. 


This man is this man. 
That man is that man. 
This man is not that man. 

I shall be obliged to return to the logic of animals later on; 
for the present it is only necessary to establish the fact that the 
psychology of animals is peculiar, and differs in a fundamental 
way from our own. And not only is it peculiar, but it is decidedly 

Among the animals known to us, even among domestic 
animals, the psychological differences are so great as to differ- 
entiate them into entirely separate planes. We ignore this, and 
place them all under a single rubric — "animals." 

A goose, having entangled its foot in a piece of watermelon rind, 
drags it along by the web and thus cannot get it out, but it never 
thinks of raising its foot. This indicates that its mind is so 
vague that it does not know its own body, scarcely distinguishing 
between it and other objects.* This would happen neither with 
a dog nor with a cat. They know their bodies very well. But 
in relation to outside objects the dog and the cat differ widely. 
I have observed a dog, a 'Very intelligent" setter. When the 

* Mr V A Daniloff (the investigator of religious questions, folk-lore, sectarianism, etc., who has 
also examined deeply into the comparative psychology and the psychology of animals) has called my 
attention to the fact that as an example of a "stupid" animal it is necessary to take the hen ana not 
the goose. Geese, according to him, possess well developed psyches, communicate among themselves, 
and so on In the case in question the goose might have tried to tear the piece of watermelon rind. 


little rug on which he slept got folded and was uncomfortable to 
sleep on, he understood that the nuisance was outside of him, 
that it was in the rug, and in a certain definite position of the rug. 
Therefore he caught the rug in his teeth, turned it and pushed it 
here and there, the while growling, sighing, and moaning until some- 
one came to his aid, for he was never able to rectify the difficulty. 
With the cat such a question could not even appear. The cat 
knows her body very well, but everything outside of herself she 
takes as her due, as given. To correct the outside world, to 
accommodate it to her own comfort, never comes into the cat s 
head. Perhaps this is because she lives more in another world, 
in the world of dreams and phantasies, than in this. Accordingly, 
if there were something wrong with her bed the cat would turn 
herself about repeatedly until she could lie down comfortably, or 
she would go and lie in another place. 

The monkey would spread the rug very easily indeed. 
Here we have four psychologies, all quite different; and this is 
only one example: it would be possible to collect others by the 
hundred. And meanwhile there is for us just one "animal." 
We mix together many things that are entirely different; our 
"divisions" are often incorrect, and this hinders us when it comes 
to the examination of ourselves. To declare that manifest 
differences determine the "evolutionary grade," that animals of 
one type are "higher" or "lower" than those of another, would be 
entirely false. The dog and the monkey by their intellect, their 
aptness to imitate, and by reason of the dog's fidelity to man, are 
as it were higher than the cat, but the cat is infinitely superior 
to them in intuition, esthetic sense, independence, and force of 
will. The dog and the monkey manifest themselves in toto: all 
that they have is seen. The cat, on the other hand, is not with- 
out reason regarded as a magical and occult animal. In her there 
is much hidden of which she herself does not know. If one speaks 
in terms of evolution, it is more correct to say that the cat and the 
dog are animals of different evolutions, just as in all probability, 
not one, but several evolutions are simultaneously going forward 
in humanity. 

The recognition of several independent and (mechanically) 
equivalent evolutions, developing entirely different properties, 
would lead us out of a labyrinth of endless contradictions in our 
understanding of man. 


The receptivity of the world by a man and by an animal. Illusions of 
the animal and its lack of control of the receptive faculties. The 
world of moving planes. Angles and curves considered as motion. 
The third dimension as motion. The animal's two-dimensional 
view of our three-dimensional world. The animal as a real two- 
dimensional being. Lower animals as one-dimensional beings. 
The time and space of a snail. The time sense as an imperfect 
space sense. The time and space of a dog. The change in the world 
coincident with a change in the psychic apparatus. The proof of 
Kant's problem. The three-dimensional world — an illusionary 

E have established the enormous difference exist- 
ing between the psychology of a man and of an 
animal. This difference undoubtedly profoundly 
affects the receptivity of the outer world by the 
animal. But how and in what? This is exactly 
what we do not know, and what we shall try to discover. 

To this end we shall return to our receptivity of the world, 
investigate in detail the nature of that receptivity, and then 
imagine how the animal, with its more limited psychic equipment, 
receives its impression of the world. 

Let us note first of all that we receive the most incorrect im- 
pressions of the world as regards its outer form and aspect. We 
know that the world consists of solids, but we see and touch only 
surfaces. We never see and touch a solid. The solid — this is 
indeed a concept, composed of a series of perceptions, the result 
of reasoning and experience. For immediate sensation, surfaces 
alone exist. Sensations of gravity, mass, volume, which we men- 
tally associate with the "solid," are in reality associated with 
the sensations of surfaces. We only know that the sensation 
comes from the solid, but the solid itself we never sense. Perhaps 
it would be possible to call the complex sensation of surfaces, 
weight, mass, density, resistance, "the sensation of a solid," but 
rather do we combine mentally all these sensations into one, and 
call that composite sensation a solid. We sense directly only 


surfaces; the weight and resistance of the solid, as such, we never 
separately sense. 

But we know that the world does not consist of surfaces: we 
know that we see the world incorrectly, and that we never see it 
as it is, not alone in the philosophical meaning of the expression, 
but in the most simple geometrical meaning. We have never 
seen a cube, a sphere, etc., but only their surfaces. Knowing this, 
we mentally correct that which we see. Behind the surfaces we 
think the solid. But we can never even represent the solid to our- 
selves. We cannot imagine the cube or the sphere seen, not in 
perspective, but simultaneously from all sides. 

It is clear that the world does not exist in perspective; never- 
theless we cannot see it otherwise. We see everything only in 
perspective; that is, in the very act of receptivity the world is 
distorted in our eye, and we know that it is distorted. We know 
that it is not such as it appears, and mentally we are continuously 
correcting that which the eye sees, substituting the real content 
for those symbols of things which sight reveals. 

Our sight is a complex faculty. It consists of visual sensations 
plus the memory of sensations of touch. The child tries to feel 
with its finger-tips everything that it sees — the nose of its nurse, 
the moon, the reflection of sun rays from the mirror on the wall. 
Only gradually does it learn to discern the near and the distant 
by means of sight alone. But we know that even in mature age we 
are easily subject to optical illusions. 

We see distant objects as flat, even more incorrectly, because 
relief is after all a symbol revealing a certain property of objects. 
A man at a long distance is pictured to us in silhouette. This 
happens because we never feel anything at a long distance, and 
the eye has not been taught to discern the difference in surfaces 
which at short distances are felt by the finger-tips.* 

* In this connection, there have been some interesting observations made upon the blind who are 
Just beginning to see. 

In the magazine Slepetz (The Blind, 1912) there is a description from direct observation of how 
those born blind learn to see after the operation which restored their sight. 

This is how a seventeen-year old youth, who recovered his sight after the removal of a cataract, 
describes his impressions. On the third day after the operation he was asked what he saw. He an- 
swered that he saw an enormous field of light and misty objects moving upon it. These objects he did 
not discern. Only after four days did he begin to discern them, and after an interval of two weeks, 
when his eyes were accustomed to the light, he started to use his sight practically, for the discernment 
of objects. He was shown all the colors of the spectrum and he learned to distinguish them very soon, 
except yellow and green, which he confused for a long time. The cube, sphere and pyramid, when 
placed before him seemed to him like the square, the flat disc, and the triangle. When the flat disc was 
put alongside the sphere he distinguished no difference between them. When asked what impression 
both kinds of figures produced on him just at first, he said that he noticed at once the difference between 
the oube and the sphere, and understood that they were not drawings, but was unable to deduce from 
them their relation to the square and to the oircle, until he felt in his fingertips the desire to touch these 
objects. When he was allowed to take the cube, sphere and pyramid in his hands he at once identified 


We can never see, even in the minute, any part of the outer 
world as it is, that is, as we know it. We can never see the desk 
or the wardrobe all at once, from all sides and inside. Our eye 
distorts the outside world in a certain way, in order that, looking 
about, we may be able to define the position of objects relatively 
to ourselves. But to look at the world from any other standpoint 
than our own is impossible for us, nor can we ever see it correctly, 
without distortion by our sight. 

Relief and perspective — these constitute the distortions of the 
object by our eye. They are optical illusions, delusions of sight. 
The cube in perspective is but a conventional sign of the three- 
dimensional cube, and all that we see is the conditional image 
of that conditionally real three-dimensional world with which 
our geometry deals, and not that world itself. On the basis of 
what we see we surmise that it exists in reality. We know that 
what we see is incorrect, and we think of the world as other 
than it appears. If we had no doubt about the correctness of 
our sight, if we knew that the world were such as it appears, 
then obviously we would think of the world in the manner in which 
we see it. In reality we are constantly engaged in making cor- 

It is clear that the ability to make corrections in that which 
the eye sees demands, undoubtedly, the possession of the con- 
cept, because the corrections are made by a process of reason- 
ing, which is impossible without concepts. Deprived of the faculty 
to make corrections in that which the eye sees we should have a 
different outlook on the world, i.e., much of that which is we should 
see incorrectly ; we should not see much of that which is, but we 
should see much of that which does not exist in reality at all. First of 
all, we should see an enormous number of non-existent motions. 
Every motion of ours in our direct sensation of it, is bound up with 
the motion of everything around us. We know that this motion is 
an illusory one, but we see it as real. Objects turn in front of us, 
run past us, overtake one another. If we are riding slowly past 
houses, these turn slowly, if we are riding fast they turn quickly; 
also, trees grow up before us unexpectedly, run away and disappear. 

these solids by the sense of touch, and wondered very much that he was unable to recognize them by 
sight. He lacked the perception of space, perspective. All objects seemed flat to him: though he knew 
that the nose protrudes, and that the eyes are located in cavities, the human face seemed flat to him. He 
was delighted with his recovered vision, but in the beginning it fatigued him to exercise it: the im- 
pressions oppressed and exhausted him. For this reason, though possessing perfect sight, he some- 
times turned to the sense of touch as to repose. 


This seeming animation of objects, coupled with dreams, has 
always inspired, and still inspires the fairy tale. 

The "motions" of objects, to a person in motion, are very 
complex indeed. Observe how strangely the field of wheat be- 
haves just beyond the window of the car in which you are riding. 
It runs to the very window, stops, turns slowly around itself 
and runs away. The trees of the forest run apparently at differ- 
ent speeds, overtaking one another. The entire landscape is one 
of illusory motion. Behold also the sun, which even up to the 
present time "rises" and "sets" in all languages — this "motion" 
having been in the past so passionately defended ! 

This is all seeming, and though we know that these motions 
are illusory, we see them nevertheless, and sometimes we are 
deluded. To how many more illusions should we be subject had 
we not the power of mentally analyzing their determining causes, 
but were obliged to believe that everything exists as it appears? 

I see it; therefore this exists. 

This affirmation is the principal source of all illusions. To be 
true, it is necessary to say: 

/ see it; therefore this does not exist — or at least I see it; therefore 
this is not so. 

Although we can say the last, the animal cannot, for to its ap- 
prehension things are as they appear. It must believe what it sees. 

How does the world appear to the animal? 

The world appears to it as a series of complicated moving 
surfaces. The animal lives in a world of two dimensions. Its universe 
has for it the properties and appearance of a surface. And upon 
this surface transpire an enormous number of different motions of 
a most fantastic character. 

Why should the world appear to the animal as a surface? 

First of all, because it appears as a surface to us. 

But we know that the world is not a surface, and the animal 
cannot know it. It accepts everything just as it appears. It is 
powerless to correct the testimony of its eyes — or it cannot do 
so to the same extent that we do. 

We are able to measure in three mutually independent direc- 
tions : the nature of our mind permits us to do this. The animal 
can measure simultaneously in two directions only — it can never 
measure in three directions at once. This is due to the fact 


that not possessing concepts, it is unable to retain in the mind the 
idea of the first two directions, for measuring the third. 

Let me explain this more exactly. 

Suppose we imagine that we are measuring the cube. 

In order to measure the cube in three directions, it is necessary 
while measuring in one direction, to keep in mind two others — 
to remember. But it is possible to keep them in mind as concepts 
only, that is, associating them with different concepts — pasting 
upon them different labels. So, pasting upon the first two 
directions the labels of length and breadth, it is possible to measure 
the height. It is impossible otherwise. As perceptions, the first 
two measurements of the cube are completely identical, and 
assuredly will mingle into one in the mind. The animal, without 
the aid of concepts, cannot paste upon the first two measurements 
the labels of length and breadth. Therefore, at the moment when 
it begins to measure the height of the cube, the first two measure- 
ments will be confused in one. The animal attempting to measure 
the cube by means of perceptions only without the aid of concepts, 
will be like a cat I once observed. Her kittens — five or six in 
number* — she dragged asunder into different rooms, and could 
not then collect them together. She seized one, put it beside 
another, ran for a third and brought it to the first two, but then 
she seized the first and carried it away to another room, putting 
it beside the fourth ; after that she ran back and seized the second 
and dragged it to the room containing the fifth, and so on. For 
a whole hour the cat had no rest with her kittens, she suffered 
severely, and could accomplish nothing. It is clear that she 
lacked the concepts which would enable her to remember how 
many kittens she had altogether. 

It is in the highest degree important to understand the relation 
of the animal consciousness to the measuring of bodies. 

The great point is that the animal sees surfaces only. (We 
may say this with complete assurance, because we ourselves 
see surfaces only). Thus seeing only surfaces the animal can 
imagine but two dimensions. The third dimension, in contra- 
distinction to the other two, can only be thought; that is, 
this dimension must be a concept; but animals do not possess 
concepts. The third dimension like the others appears as a per- 
ception. Therefore, at the moment of its appearance, the first 
two will inevitably mingle into one. The animal is capable of 


perceiving the difference between two dimensions: the difference 
between three it cannot perceive. This difference must be 
known beforehand, and to know it concepts are necessary. 

Identical perceptions mix into one for the animal, just as we 
ourselves confuse two simultaneous, similar phenomena proceed- 
ing from the same point. For the animal it will be one phenom- 
enon, just as for us all similar, simultaneous phenonena, 
proceeding from a single point will be one phenomenon. 

Therefore the animal will see the world as a surface, and will 
measure this surface in two directions only. 

But how is it possible to explain the fact that the animal, 
inhabiting a two-dimensional world, or rather, perceiving itself 
as in a two-dimensional world, is perfectly oriented in our three- 
dimensional world? How explain the fact that the bird flies up 
and down, sideways and straight ahead — in all three directions; 
that the horse jumps over ditches and barriers; that the dog and 
cat appear to understand the properties of depth and height 
simultaneously with those of length and breadth? 

In order to explain these things it is necessary to return to the 
fundamental principles of animal psychology. It has been pre- 
viously shown that many properties of objects remembered by 
us as general properties of genus, class, species, are remembered 
by animals as individual properties of objects. To orientate in 
this enormous reserve of individual properties preserved in the 
memory, animals are assisted by the emotional tone which is 
linked up in them with each perception and each remembered 

For example, an animal knows two roads as two entirely 
separate phenomena having nothing in common; that is, one road 
consists of a series of definite perceptions colored by definite 
emotional tones; the other phenomenon — the other road — 
consists of another series of definite perceptions colored with 
other tones. We say that this, that, and the other are roads. One 
leads to one place, a second to another. For an animal the two 
roads have nothing in common. But it remembers in their proper 
sequence all the emotional tones which are linked with the first 
road and with the second one, and it therefore remembers both 
roads with their turns, ditches, fences, etc. 

Thus the remembering of definite properties of observed objects 
helps the animal to orient itself in the world of phenonena. But 


as a rule before new phenomena an animal is much more helpless 
than a man. 

An animal sees two dimensions; the third dimension it senses 
constantly, but does not see. It senses the third dimension as 
something transient, just as we sense time. 

The surfaces which an animal sees possess for it many strange 
properties, first of all, numerous and various motions. 

As has been said already, all those illusory motions which seem 
to us real, but which we know to be illusory, are entirely real to 
the animal, the turning about of the houses as we ride past, the 
growth of a tree out of some corner, the passing of the moon be- 
tween clouds, etc., etc. 

But in addition to all this, many motions must exist for the 
animal of which we have no suspicion. The fact is that in- 
numerable objects quite immobile for us — properly all objects — 
must seem to the animal to be in motion. and the third- 

Let us try to imagine how the animal perceives the objects of 
the outer world. 

Suppose it is confronted with a large disc, and simultaneously 
with a large sphere of the same diameter. 

Standing directly opposite them at a certain distance, the 
animal will see two circles. Beginning to walk around them, 
it will observe that the sphere remains a circle, while the disc 
gradually narrows, transforming itself into a narrow strip. On 
moving farther around, the strip begins to expand and gradually 
transforms itself into a circle. The sphere will not change during 
this circumambulation. But when the animal approaches toward 
it certain strange phenomena ensue. 

Let us try to understand how the animal will perceive the surface 
of the sphere as contrasted with the surface of the disc. 

One thing is sure : it will perceive the spherical surface differently 
from us. We perceive convexity or sphericality as a common 
property of many surfaces. The animal, on the contrary, because 
of the very properties of its psychic apparatus, will perceive that 
sphericality as an individual property of a given sphere. Now 


how will this sphericality as an individual property of a given 
sphere appear to it? 

We may declare with complete assurance that the sphericality 
will appear to the animal as a movement on the surface which 
it sees. 

During the approach of the animal toward the sphere something 
like the following must happen: the surface which the animal 
sees starts to move quickly; its center spreads out, and all of the 
other points run away from the center with a velocity proportional 
to their distance from the center (or the square of their distance 
from the center). 

It is in this way that the animal senses the spherical surface — 
much as we sense sound. 

At a certain distance from the sphere the animal perceives it 
as a plane. Approaching or touching some point on the sphere 
it sees that all other points have changed with relation to this 
particular point, they have all altered their position on the 
plane — have moved to one side, as it were. Touching another 
point, it sees that all the rest have moved in similar fashion. 

This property of the sphere will appear as its motion, its 
"vibration." The sphere will actually resemble a vibrating, 
oscillating surface, in the same way that each angle of an immobile 
object will appear to the animal as a motion. 

The animal can see an angle of a three-dimensional object only 
while moving past it, and during the time it takes, the object 
will seem to the animal to have turned — a new side has appeared, 
and the side first seen has disappeared or moved away. The 
angle will be perceived as rotation, as the motion of the object, 
i. е., as something transient, temporal, as a change of state in 
the object. Remembering the angles which it has seen before — 
seen as the motion of bodies — the animal will consider that they 
have ceased, have ended, have disappeared — that they are in 
the past. 

Of course the animal cannot reason in this way, but it acts as 
though it had thus reasoned. 

Could the animal think about those phenomena which have 
not yet entered into its life (i. е., angles and curved surfaces) it 
would undoubtedly imagine them in time only: it could not pre- 
figure for them any real existence at the present moment when 
they have not yet appeared. And were it able to express an 


opinion on this subject, it would say that angles exist in poten- 
tiality, that they will be, but that for the present they do not exist. 

The angle of a house past which a horse runs every day is a 
phenomenon, repeating under certain circumstances, but nevetheless 
a phenomenon proceeding in time, and not a spatial and constant 
property of the house. 

For the animal an angle will be a temporal phenomenon and 
not a spatial one, as it is for us. 

Thus we see that the animal will perceive the properties of our 
third dimension as motions, and will refer these properties to 
time, i. е., to the past or future, or to the present — the moment 
of the transition of the future into the past. 

This circumstance is in the highest degree important, for there- 
in lies the key to our own receptivity of the world ; we shall there- 
fore examine into it more in detail. 

Up to the present time we have taken into consideration only the 
higher animals: the dog, the cat, the horse. Let us now try the 
lower: let us take the snail. We know nothing about its inner 
life, but undoubtedly its receptivity resembles ours scarely at all. 
In all probability the snail possesses some obscure sensations of 
its environments. Probably it feels heat, cold, light, darkness, 
hunger — and it instinctively (i. е., urged by pleasure-pain 
guidance) strives to reach the uneaten edge of the leaf on which it 
rests, and instinctively avoids the dead leaf. Its movements are 
guided by pleasure-pain : it constantly strives toward the one, and 
away from the other. It always moves upon a single line, from 
the unpleasant to the pleasant, and in all probability except for this 
line it is not conscious of anything and does not sense anything. 
This line is its entire world. All sensations, entering from the 
outside, the snail senses upon this line of its motion, and these 
come to it out of time — from the potential they become the 
present. For the snail our entire universe exists in the future and 
in the past — i. е., in time. In space only one line exists. All the 
rest is time. It is more than probable that the snail is not con- 
scious of its movements. Making efforts with its entire body it 
moves forward to the fresh edge of the leaf, but it seems as though 
the leaf were coming to it, appearing at that moment, coming 
out of time as the morning comes to us. 


The snail is a one-dimensional being. 

The higher animals — the dog, cat, and horse — are two-dimen- 
sional beings. To the higher animal all space appears as a 
surface, as a plane. Everything out of this plane lives for it in time. 

Thus we see that the higher animal — the two-dimensional 
being as compared with the one-dimensional — extracts or 
captures from time one more dimension. 

The world of a snail has one dimension; our second and third 
dimensions are for it in time. 

The world of a dog is two-dimensional; our third dimension 
is for it in time. 

An animal can remember all "phenomena" which it has ob- 
served, i. е., all properties of three-dimensional solids with which 
it has come in contact, but it cannot know that the (for it) re- 
curring phenomenon is a constant property of the three-dimen- 
sional solid — an angle, curvature, or convexity. 

Such is the psychology of the receptivity of the world by a 
two-dimensional being. 

For such a being a new sun will rise every day. Yesterday's 
sun is gone, and will not appear again; tomorrow's does not yet 

Rostand did not understand the psychology of "Chantecler." 
The cock could not think that he woke up the sun by his 
crowing. To him the sun does not go to sleep, it goes into the 
past, disappears, suffers annihilation, ceases to be. If it comes on 
the morrow it will be a new sun, just as for us with every new 
year comes a new spring. In order to be the sun shall not wake 
up, but arise, be born. The cock (if it could think without losing 
its characteristic psychology) could not believe in the appearance 
to-day of the same sun which was yesterday. This is purely 
human reasoning. 

For the animal a new sun rises every morning, just as for us 
a new morning comes with every day and a new spring with every 

The animal is not in a position to understand that the sun is 
the same yesterday and today, exactly in the same way that 


The motion of objects which is not illusory, even for us, but 
a real motion, like that of a revolving wheel, a passing carriage, 


and so on, will differ for the animal very much from that motion 
which it sees in all objects which are for us immobile — i. е., from 
that motion in which the third dimension of solids is as it were 
revealed to it. The first mentioned motion (real for us) will seem 
to the animal arbitrary, alive. 

And these two kinds of motion will be incommensurable for it. 

The animal will be in a position to measure an angle or a convex 
surface, though not understanding their true nature, and though 
regarding them as motion. But true motion, i. е., that which is 
true motion to us, it will never be in a position to measure, because 
for this it is necessary to possess our concept of time, and to measure 
all motions with reference to some one more constant motion, i. е., 
to compare all motions with some one. Without concepts the 
animal is powerless to do this. Therefore the (for us) real motions 
of objects will be incommensurable for it, and being incommen- 
surable, will be incommensurable with other motions which are 
real and measurable for it, but which are illusory for us — motions 
which in reality represent the third dimension of solids. 

This last conclusion is inevitable. If the animal apprehends 
and measures as motion that which is not motion, clearly it can- 
not measure by one and the same standard that which is motion, 
and that which is not motion. 

But this does not mean that it cannot know the character 
of motions going on in the world and cannot conform itself to 
them. On the contrary, we see that the animal orientates itself 
perfectly among the motions of the objects of our three-dimen- 
sional world. Here comes into play the aid of instinct, i. е., the 
ability, developed by millenniums of selection, to act expediently 
without consciousness of purpose. Moreover, the animal discerns 
perfectly the motions going on around it. 

But discerning two kinds of phenomena, two kinds of motion, 
the animal will explain one of them by means of some incomprehen- 
sible inner property of objects, i. е., in all probability it will regard 
this motion as the result of the animation of objects, and the 
moving objects as animated beings. 

The kitten plays with the ball or with its tail because ball and 
tail are running away from it. 

The bear will fight with the beam which threatens to throw 
him off the tree, because in the swinging beam he divines some- 
thing alive and hostile. 


The horse is frightened by the bush because the bush unexpect- 
edly turned and waved a branch. 

In the last case the bush need not even to have moved at all, for 
the horse was running, and it seemed therefore as though the 
bush moved, and consequently that it was animated. In all 
probability all movement is thus animated for the animal. Why 
does the dog bark so desperately at the passing carriage? This 
is not entirely clear to us for we do not realize that to the eyes of 
the dog the carriage is turning, twisting, grimacing all over. It is 
alive in every part — the wheels, the top, the mud-guards, seats, 
passengers — all these are moving, turning. 

Because of the same law an animal can never understand a 
picture. The picture is immobile, while for the animal the world 
is always moving, never coming to a state of rest and immobility. 

Now let us draw certain conclusions from all of the foregoing. 

We have established the fact that man possesses sensations, 
perceptions and concepts; that the higher animals possess sensation 
and perceptions, and the lower animals sensations only. The 
conclusion that animals have no concepts we deduced from the 
fact that they have no speech. Next we have established that 
having no concepts, animals cannot comprehend the third 
dimension, but see the world as a surface; i. е., they have no means 
— no instrument — for the correction of their incorrect sensations 
of the world. Furthermore, we have found that seeing the world 
as a surface, animals see upon this surface many motions which 
for us are non-existent. That is, all those properties of solids 
which we regard as the properties of three-dimensionality, animals 
represent to themselves as motions. Thus the angle and the 
spherical surface appear to them as the movements of a plane. 
After that we came to the conclusion that everything which we 
regard as constant in the region of the third dimension, animals 
regard as transient things which happen to objects — temporal 

Thus in all its relations to the world the animal is quite 
analogous to the imagined, unreal two-dimensional being living 
upon a plane. All our world appears to the animal as the plane 
through which phenomena are passing, moving upon time, or in 


And so we may say that we have established the following: 
that under certain limitations of the psychic apparatus for re- 
ceiving the outer world, for the subject possessing this apparatus, 
the entire aspect and all properties of the world will suffer change. 
And two subjects, living side by side, but possessing different 
psychic apparatus, will inhabit different worlds — the properties 
of the extension of the world will be different for them. And we 
observed the conditions, not invented for the purpose, not con- 
cocted in imagination, but really existing in nature; that is, the 
psychic conditions governing the lives of animals, under which the 
world appears as a plane or as a line. 

That is to say, we have established that the three-dimensional 
extension of the world depends upon the properties of our psychic 

Or, that the three-dimensionality of the world is not its property, 
but a property of our receptivity of the world. 

In other words, the three dimensionality of the world is a 
property of its reflection in our consciousness. 

If all this is so, then it is obvious that we have really proved 
the dependence of space upon the space-sense. And if we have 
proven the existence of a space-sense lower in comparison with 
ours, by this we have proven the possibility of a space-sense 
higher in comparison with ours. 

And we shall grant that if in us there develops the fourth unit 
of reasoning, as different from the concept as the concept is 
different from perception, so simultaneously with it will appear 
for us in the surrounding world a fourth characteristic which we 
may designate geometrically as the fourth direction or the fourth 
perpendicular, because in this characteristic will be included the 
properties of objects perpendicular to all properties known to us, 
and not parallel to any of them. In other words, we will see, or 
we will feel ourselves in a space not of three, but of four dimen- 
sions; and in the objects surrounding us, and in our own bodies, 
will appear common properties of the fourth dimension which we 
did not notice before, or which we regarded as individual proper- 
ties of objects (or their motion), just as animals regard the exten- 
sion of objects in the third dimension as their motion. 

And when we shall see or feel ourselves in the world of four 
dimensions we shall see that the world of three dimensions does 
not really exist and has never existed: that it was the creation 


of our own fantasy, a phantom host, an optical delusion, a 
delusion — anything one pleases excepting only reality. 

And all this is not an "hypothesis," not a supposition, but 
exact metaphysical fact, just such a fact as the existence of infinity. 
For positivism to insure its existence it was necessary to annihilate 
infinity somehow, or at least to call it an "hypothesis" which 
may or may not be true. Infinity however is not an hypothesis, 
but a fact and such a fact is the multi-dimensionality of space 
and all that it implies, namely, the unreality of everything three- 


The spatial understanding of time. The angles and curves of the fourth 
dimension in our life. Does motion exist in the world or noti* 
Mechanical motion and "life." Biological phenomena as the 
manifestation of motions going on in the higher dimension. Evolu- 
of the space-sense. The growth of the space-sense and the diminu- 
tion of the time-sense. The transformation of the time-sense into 
the space-sense. The difficulties of our language and of our con- 
cepts. The necessity for seeking a method of spatial expression for 
temporal concepts. Science in relation to the fourth dimension. 
The solid of four dimensions. The four-dimensional sphere. 

OW, from the basis of those conclusions already 
made, let us seek to define how we may dis- 
cover the real four-dimensional world obscured 
for us by the illusory three-dimensional world. 
"See" it we may by two methods — either by sens- 
ing it directly, by developing the "space-sense" and 
other higher faculties, which will be discussed later; or by un- 
derstanding it mentally by a perception of its possible properties 
through the exercise of the reason. 

By abstract reasoning, we have already come to the conclusions 
that the fourth dimension of space must lie in time, i. е., that 
time is the fourth dimension of space. We have discovered 
psychological proofs of this thesis. Comparing the receptivity 
of the world by living beings of different grades of consciousness- 
snail, dog and man — we have seen how different for them are the 
properties of one and the same world; namely, those properties 
which are expressed for us in the concepts of time and space. We 
have seen that time and space are sensed by each in a different 
manner: that what for the lower being (the snail) is time, for the 
being standing one degree higher (the dog) becomes space, and 
that the time of this being becomes space to a being standing 
still higher — man. 

This is a comfirmation of the supposition previously expressed, 
that our idea of time is complex in its substance, and that in it are 
properly included two ideas — that of a certain space and that of 



motion upon this space. Or to put the matter more exactly, the 
contact with a certain space of which we are not clearly conscious 
calls forth in us the sensation of motion upon that space; and all 
this taken together, i. е., the unclear consciousness of a certain 
space and the sensation of motion upon that space, we call time. 

This last confirms the conception that the idea of time has not 
arisen from the observation of motion existing in nature, but 
that the very sensation and idea of motion has arisen from a 
"time-sense" existing in ourselves, which is an imperfect sense of 
space: the fringe, or limit of our space-sense. 

The snail feels the line as space, i. е., as something constant. 
It feels the rest of the world as time, i. е., as something eternally 
moving. The horse feels the plane as space. It feels the rest of 
the world as time. 

We feel an infinite sphere as space; the rest of the world, 
that which was yesterday and that which will be tomorrow, we 
feel as time. 

In other words, every being feels as space that which is grasped 
by his space-sense: the rest he refers to time; i. е., the imperfectly felt 
is referred to time. Or it is possible to formulate the matter thus : 
every being feels as space that which, by the aid of his space-sense 
he is able to represent to himself in form, outside of himself; and 
that which he is not able thus to represent he feels as time, i. е., 
eternally moving, impermanent, so unstable that it is impossible 
to imagine it in terms of form. 

The sense of space (space-sense) is the power of repre- 
sentation BY MEANS of form. 

The "infinite sphere" by which we represent the universe to our- 
selves is constantly and continuously changing: in every con- 
secutive moment it is not that which it was before. A constant 
change of pictures, images, relations, is going on therein. It is 
for us as it were the screen of a cinematograph upon which the 
swiftly running images of pictures appear and disappear. 

But where are the pictures themselves? Where is the light 
throwing the image upon the screen? Whence do the pictures 
come, and where do they go? 

If the "infinite sphere" is the screen of the cinematograph so 
our consciousness is the light, penetrating through our psyche: i. е., 


through the stores of our impressions (pictures) it (the light) throws 
upon the screen their images which we call life. 

But where do the impressions come to us from? 

From the same screen. 

And herein dwells the most incomprehensible mystery of life 
as we see it. We are creating it and we are receiving everything 
from it. 

Imagine a man sitting in the ordinary moving picture theatre. 
Imagine that he knows nothing of the construction of the cinemat- 
ograph, nothing of the existence of the lantern behind his back, 
nor of the small transparent picture on the moving film. Let us 
imagine that he wants to study the cinematograph, and begins to 
study that which proceeds on the screen, to make notes, to take 
pictures, to observe the order, to calculate, to construct hypotheses, 
and so forth. 

At what will he arrive? 

Evidently at nothing at all, unless he will turn his back to the 
screen, and will begin to study the cause of the appearance of the 
pictures upon the screen. The cause is confined in the lantern 
(i. е., in consciousness) and in the moving films of pictures (in 
the psyche) . These it is necessary to study, desiring to understand 
the "cinematograph." 

Positive philosophy studies only the screen and the pictures pass- 
ing upon it. For this reason for it remains the eternal enigma — 
wherefrom are the pictures coming and where are they going, 
and why are they coming and going instead of remaining eternally 
the same? 

But it is necessary to study the cinematograph beginning with 
the source of light, i. е., with consciousness, then to pass on to the 
pictures on the moving film, and only after that to study the pro- 
jected image. 

We have established that the animal (the horse, the cat, the 
dog) must perceive the immobile angles and curves of the third 
dimension as motion, i. е., as temporal phenomena. 

The question arises: do not we perceive as motion, i. е., as 
temporal phenomena, the immobile angles and curves of the 
fourth dimension? We ordinarily say that our sensations are the 
moments of the apprehension of certain changes proceeding out- 
side of us; such are sound, light, etc., all "vibrations of the ether.'* 


But what are these "changes?" Perhaps in reality there are no 
changes at all. Perhaps the immobile sides and angles of certain 
things which exist outside of us — of certain things which we 
know nothing about — only appear to us as motions, i. е., as 

It may be that our consciousness, not being able to embrace 
these things with the aid of the organs of sense, and to represent 
them to itself in their entirety, just as they are, and grasping only 
the separate moments of its contact with them, is constructing 
the illusion of motion, and conceives that something is moving 
outside of it (of consciousness), i. е., that the "things" are them- 
selves moving. 

If such is the case, then "motion" must be in reality some- 
thing only "derived," arising in our intellect during its contact 
with things which it does not grasp in their totality. Let us 
imagine that we are approaching an unknown city, and that it is 
slowly "growing up" before us as we approach. It appears to us 
as though it is really growing up, i. е., as though it did not exist 
before. There disappeared the river, which was visible for so long 
a time; there appeared the bell-tower, which was invisible before. 
. .Such, exactly, is our relation to time, which is a continual 
coming — arising, as it were, from nothing and going into naught. 

Every thing lies for us in time, and only the section of the thing 
lies in space. Transferring our consciousness from the section of 
the thing to those parts of it which lie in time, we receive the illusion 
of motion on the part of the thing itself. 

It is possible to formulate the matter thus: the sensation of 
motion is the consciousness of the transition from space to time, 
i. е., from a clear space-sense to one which is unclear. With this 
in mind it is not difficult to realize that we are receiving as sen- 
sations, and projecting into the outside world as phenomena, 
the immobile angles and curves of the fourth dimension. 

On this account is it not necessary and possible to recognize 
that the world is immobile and constant, and that it seems to us 
to be moving and evolving simply becaue we are looking at it 
through the narrow slit of our sensuous receptivity? 

We are returning again to the question, what is the world and 
what is consciousness? But now the question concerning the 
relation of our consciousnss to the world is beginning to be for- 
mulated for us. 


If the world is a Great Something, possessing the consciousness 
of itself, so are we rays of that consciousness, self-conscious, but 
unconscious of the whole. 

If there be no motion, if it be an illusion, then we must search 
further — whence could this illusion have arisen? 

The phenomena of life — biological phenomena — much re- 
semble the transition through our space of certain four-dimensional 
circles, the circles being extremely complicated, every one consist- 
ing of a great number of interlaced lines. 

The life of a man or of any other living being suggests a compli- 
cated circle. It begins always at one point (birth) and ends always 
at one point (death) . We have complete justification for supposing 
that it is one and the same point. The circles are large and small, 
but they begin and end similarly, and they end at the same point 
where they began, i. е., at the point of non-existence, from the 
physico-biological standpoint, or of some existence other than the 
psychological one. 

What is the biological . phenomenon, the phenomenon of life? 
Our science does not answer this question. This is the enigma. 
In the living organism, in the living cell, in the living protoplasm 
there is something indefinable, differentiating living matter from 
dead matter. W T e recognize this something only by its functions. 
The chief of these functions is the power of self-reproduction — 
absent in the dead organism, the dead cell, dead matter. 

The living organism multiplies infinitely, incorporating and 
assimilating dead matter into itself. This ability to reproduce 
itself and to absorb dead matter with its mechanical laws is the 
inexplicable function of "life," showing that life is not simply a 
complex of mechanical forces, as the positivist philosophy attempts 
to prove. 

This thesis, that life is not a complex of mechanical forces, is 
corroborated also by the incommensurability of the phenomena 
of mechanical motion with the phenomena of life. Life phenomena 
cannot be expressed in terms of mechanical energy, calories of 
heat or units of horse power, Nor can the phenomena of life be 
artificially created by the physico-chemical method. 

If we shall regard every separate life as a circle of the fourth 
dimension, this will make clear to us why every circle is inevitably 


escaping from our space. This happens because the circle in- 
evitably ends in the same point at which it began, and the "life" 
of the separate being, beginning with birth, must end in death, 
which is the return to the point of departure. But during its 
transit through our space, the circle puts forth from itself certain 
lines, which, uniting with others, yield new circles. 

In reality of course all this proceeds quite otherwise: nothing 
is born and nothing dies ; it only so represents itself to us, because 
we see but the sections of things. In reality, the circle of life is 
only the section of something, and that something undoubtedly exists 
before birth, i. е., before the appearance of the circle in our space, 
and continues to exist after death, i. е., after the disappearance 
of the circle from the field of our vision. 

To our observation the phenomena of life are similar to the phe- 
nomena of motion as these appear to the two-dimensional being; 
and therefore it may be that this is "the motion in the fourth 

We have seen that the two-dimensional being is bound to re- 
gard the properties of the three-dimensionality of solids as motions, 
and the real motions of solids, going on in the higher space as 
the phenomena of life. 

In other words, that motion which remains a motion in the 
higher space appears to the lower being as a phenomenon of life, 
and that which disappears in the higher space, transforming its- 
self into the property of an immobile solid, appears to the lower 
being as mechanical motion. 

The phenomena of "life" and the phenomena of "motion" 
are just as incommensurable for us as are the two kinds of motion 
in its world for the two-dimensional being; one of these motions 
being real and the other illusory. 

Hinton says of this incommensurability: "There is something 
in life not included in our conceptions of mechanical movement. 
Is this something a four-dimensional movement? 

If we look at it from the broadest point of view there is something 
striking in the fact that where life comes in there arises an entirely 
different set of phenomena from those of the inorganic world."* 

Upon this basis it is justifiable to assume that those phenomena 
which we call the phenomena of life are movements in higher space. 
Those phenomena which we call mechanical motion become in 
turn the phenomena of life in a space lower relatively to ours, and 

* "The Fourth Dimension," p. 77. 


in one higher — simply the properties of immobile solids. This 
means that if we consider three kinds of existence — the two- 
dimensional, ours, and the higher dimensional— then it will 
appear that the "motion" which is observed by the two dimension- 
al being in two-dimensional space, is for us a property of immobile 
solids; "life" as it is apprehended in two-dimensional space, is 
"motion"as we observe it in our space. Moreover, motions in 
three-dimensional space, i. е., all our mechanical motions andthe 
manifestations of physico-chemical forces— light, sound, heat, etc., 
— are only our sensations of some to us incomprehensible prop- 
erties of four-dimensional solids; and our "phenomena of life" 
are the motions of solids of higher space which appear to us as the 
birth, growth, and life of living beings. But if we presuppose a 
space not of four, but of five dimensions, then in it the "phenomena 
of life" would probably appear as the properties of immobile 
solids — genus, species, families, peoples, races, and so forth — 
and motions would seem perhaps, only the phenomena of thought. 

We know that the phenomena of motion or the manifestations of 
energy are involved with the expenditure of time, and we see how, 
with the gradual transcendence of the lower space by the higher, 
motion disappears, being converted into the properties of 
immobile solids; i. е., the expenditure of time disappears — and 
the necessity for time. To the two-dimensional being time is 
necessary for the understanding of the most simple phenomena — 
an angle, a hill, a ditch. For us time is not necessary for the 
understanding of such phenomena, but it is necessary for the 
explanation of the phenomena of motion and physical phenomena. 
In a space still higher, our phenomena of motion and physical 
phenomena would probably be regarded independently of time, 
as properties of immobile solids; and biological . phenomena — 
birth, growth, reproduction, death — would be regarded as 
phenomena of motion. 

Thus we see how the idea of time recedes with the expansion of 

We see its complete conditionality. 

We see that by time are designated the characteristics of a 
space relatively higher than a given space — i. е., the character- 


istics of the perceptions of a consciousness relatively higher than 
a given consciousness. 

For the one-dimensional being all the indices of two, three, 
four-dimensional space and beyond, he in time — all this is time. 
For the two-dimensional being time embraces within itself the 
indices of three-dimensional space, four-dimensional space, and all 
spaces beyond. For man, i. е., the three-dimensional being, time 
contains the indices of four-dimensional space and all spaces beyond. 

Therefore, according to the degree of expansion and elevation 
of the consciousness and the forms of its receptivity the indices 
of space are augmented and the indices of time are diminished. 

In other words, the growth of the space sense is proceeding 
at the expense of the time-sense. Or one may say that the time- 
sense is an imperfect space-sense (i. е., an imperfect power of rep- 
resentation which, being perfected, translates itself into the space- 
sense, i. е., into the power of representation in forms. 

If, taking as a foundation the principles elucidated here, we 
attempt to represent to ourselves the universe very abstractly, 
it is clear that this will be quite other than the universe which we 
are accustomed to imagine to ourselves. Everything will exist in 
it always. 

This will be the universe of the Eternal Now of Hindu philos- 
ophy — a universe in which will be neither before nor after, in 
which will be just one present, known or unknown. 

Hinton feels that with the expansion of the space-sense our vision 
of the world will change completely, and he tells about this in 
his book, "A New Era of Thought." (p. 66.) 

The conception which we shall form of the universe will undoubtedly 
be as different from our present one, as the Copernican view differs from 
the more pleasant view of a wide, immovable earth beneath a vast 
vault. Indeed, any conception of our place in the universe will be more 
agreeable than the thought of being on a spinning ball, kicked into 
space without any means of communication with any other inhabitants 
of the universe. 

But what does the world of many dimensions represent in it- 
self—what are these solids of many dimensions the lines and 
boundaries of which we perceive as motion? 

A great power of imagination is necessary to transcend the 
limits of our perceptions and to mentally visualize the world in 
other categories even for a moment. 


Let us imagine some object, say a book outside of time and 
space What will this last mean? Were we to take the book out 
of time and space it would mean that all books which have existed, 
exist now, and will exist, exist together, i. е., occupy one and the 
same place and exist simultaneously, forming as it were one book 
which includes within itself the properties, characteristics and 
peculiarities of all books possible in the world. When we say simply, 
a book, we have in mind something possessing the common char- 
acteristics of all books-this is a concept. But that book about 
which we are talking now, possesses not only these common 
characteristics but the individual characteristics of all separate 

books. , T . 

Let us take other things— a table, a house, a tree, a man. Let 
us imagine them out of time and space. The mind will have to 
open its doors to objects each possessing such an enormous, such 
an infinite number of signs and characteristics that to comprehend 
them by means of the reason is absolutely impossible. And it one 
wants to comprehend them by his reason he will certainly be 
forced to dismember these objects somehow, to take them at 
first in some one sense, from one side, in one section oi their 
being What is "man" out of space and time? He is all humanity, 
man as the "species "-Homo Sapiens, but at the same time 
possessing the characteristics, peculiarities and individual ear- 
marks of all separate men. This is you, and I, and Julius Caesar 
and the conspirators who killed him, and the newsboy I pass 
every day— all kings, all slaves, all saints, all sinners— all taken 
together, fused into one indivisible being of a man, like a great 
living tree in which are bark, wood, and dry twigs; green leaves, 
flowers and fruit. Is it possible to conceive of and understand 
such a being by our reason? 

The idea of such a "great being" inspired the artist or artists 
who created the Sphinx. . , 

When I saw the great Sphinx adjacent to the pyramids tor the 
first time, not in a picture, but in reality, I felt that it represented 
"humanity," or the "human race" or "Man' in general-that 
being with the body of an animal and the face of a superman. 

But what is motion? Why do we feel it if it does not exist? 
About this last, Mabel Collins, a theosophical writer of the farst 

"" ^4a Search of the Wondrous," Vol. I., by P. D. Ouspensky (in Russian). 


period of modern theosophy, writes very beautifully in her poet- 
ical "Story of the Year." 

. . . The entire true meaning of the earthly life consists only in 
the mutual contact between personalities and in the efforts of growth. 
Those things which are called events and circumstances and which are 
regarded as the real contents of life — are in reality only the conditions 
which make these contacts and this growth possible. 

In these words there sounds already quite a new under- 
standing of the real. And truly the illusion of motion cannot arise 
out of nothing. When we are travelling by train, and the trees 
are running, overtaking one another, we know that this motion is 
an illusory one, that the trees are immobile, and that the illusion 
of their motion is created by our own. 

As in these particular cases, so also in general as regards all 
motion in the material world, the foundation of which the 
"positivists" consider to be motion in the finest particles of matter, 
we, recognizing this motion as an illusory one, shall ask : Is not an 
illusion of this motion created by some motion inside our con- 


So it shall be. 

And having established this, we shall endeavor to define what 
kind of motion is going on inside our consciousness, i. е., what is 
moving relatively to what? 

H. P. Blavatsky, in her first book, "Isis Unveiled", touched 
upon the same question concerning the relation of life to time and 
motion. She writes : 

As our planet revolves every year around the sun and at the same 
time turns once in every twenty-four hours upon its own axis, thus 
traversing minor cycles within a larger one, so is the work of the smaller 
cyclic periods accomplished and recommenced. 

The revolution of the physical world, according to the ancient doc- 
trine, is attended by a like revolution in the world of intellect — the 
spiritual evolution of the world proceeding in cycles, like the physical 

Thus we see in history a regular alternation of ebb and flow in the tide 
of human progress. The great kingdoms and empires of the world, after 
reaching the culmination of their greatness, descend again in accordance 
with the same law by which they ascended; till, having reached the low- 
est point, humanity reasserts itself and mounts up once more, the height 
of its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression by cycles, 
somewhat higher than the point from which it had before descended. 


The division of the history of mankind into Golden, Silver, Copper 
and Iron Ages, is not a fiction. We see the same thing in the literature 
of peoples. An age of great inspiration and unconscious productiveness 
is invariably followed by an age of criticism and consciousness. The 
one affords material for the analyzing and critical intellect of the other. 

Thus all those great characters who tower like giants in the history 
of mankind, like Buddha-Siddartha, and Jesus, in the realm of spiritual, 
and Alexander the Macedonian and Napoleon the Great, in the realm 
of physical conquests, were but reflexed images of human types which 
had existed ten thousand years before, in the preceding decimillennium, 
reproduced by the mysterious powers controlling the destinies of our 
world. There is no prominent character in all the annals of sacred or 
profane history whose prototype we cannot find in the half -fictitious and 
half -real traditions of bygone religions and mythologies. As the star, 
glimmering at an immeasurable distance above our heads, in the bound- 
less immensity of the sky, reflects itself in the smooth waters of a 
lake, so does the imagery of men of the antediluvian ages reflect itself 
in the periods we can embrace in an historical retrospect. 

As above, so below. That which has been will return again. As in 
heaven, so on earth. 

Anything that can be said about the understanding of tem- 
poral relations is inevitably extremely vague. This is because 
our language is absolutely inadequate to the spatial expression 
of temporal relations. We lack the necessary words for it, we have 
no verbal forms, strictly speaking, for the expression of these 
relations which are new to us, and some other quite new forms — 
not verbal — are indispensable. The language for the transmission 
of the new temporal relations must be a language without verbs. 
New parts of speech are necessary, an infinite number of new words. 
At present, in our human language, we can speak about "time" 
by hints only. Its true essence is inexpressible for us. 

We should never forget about this inexpressibility. This is the 
sign of the truth, the sign of reality. That which can be expressed, 
cannot be true. 

All systems dealing with the relation of the human soul to 
time — all ideas of post-mortem existence, the theory of re- 
incarnation, that of the transmigration of souls, that of karma — 
all these are symbols, trying to transmit relations which cannot 
be expressed directly because of the poverty and the weakness of 
our language. They should not be understood literally any more 
than it is possible to understand the symbols and allegories of 
art literally. It is necessary to search for their hidden meanings, 
that which cannot be expressed in words. 


The literal understanding of these symbolical forms in the 
latest theosophical literature, and the union with them of ideas 
of "evolution" and "morals" taken in the most narrow, dualistic 
meaning, completely disfigures the inner content of these forms, 
and deprives them of their value and meaning. 


Science and the problem of the fourth dimension. The address of Prof . 
N A. Oumoff before the Mendeleevsky Convention m 1911 - -The 
Characteristic Traits and Problems of Contemporary Science 
Thought." The new physics. The electro-magnetic theory. Ihe 
principle of relativity! The works of Extern and ^f °^y 
Simultaneous existence of the past and the future. The Eternal 
Now. Van Manen's book about occult experiences. Ihe drawing 

of a four-dimensional figure. 

PEAKING generally with regard to the problems 
propounded in the foregoing chapters— those of 
time, space, and the higher dimensions— it is im- 
possible not to dwell once more upon the relation 
of science to these problems. To many persons 
the relation of "exact science" to these questions which undoubt- 
edly constitute the most important problem now engaging human 
thought appears highly enigmatical. ,,1 

If it is important why does not science deal with it? And why, 
on the Ztrary, doe's science repeat the old, —cry 
affirmations, pretending not to know or not to notice an entire 
series of theories and hypotheses advanced:' 

Science should be the investigation of the unknown. Why, 
therefore, is it not anxious to investigate this unknown which 
has been in process of revelation for a long time-which soon 
will cease to be the unknown? n , ,•„, 

It is possible to answer this question only b J .acknowledging 
that unfortunately official, academic science is doing butae— 
part of what it should be doing in regard to the mvestigation of 
the new and unknown. For the most part it is on !y Reaching 
that which has already become the commonplace of the mdepend- 
ent thinker, or, still worse, has already become antiquated and 
rejected as valueless. . . 

So it is the more pleasant to remark that even in science 
may sometimes be discerned an aspiration toward the search of 
new horizons of thought; or, to put it differently, not always and 
not in all the academic routine, with its obligatory repetition of an 


endless number of commonplaces, has the love of knowledge and 
the power of independent thinking been crowded out. 

Although timidly and tentatively, science, through its boldest 
representatives, in the last few years has after all been touching 
upon the problems of higher dimensions, and in such cases has 
arrived at results almost identical with those propounded in the 
preceding chapters. 

In December, 1911, the second Mendeleevsky Convention* 
was opened by the address of Prof. N. A. Oumoff, dedicated to 
the problems of time and the higher dimensions under the title, 
"The Characteristic Traits and Problems of Contemporary 
Natural-Scientific Thought." 

The address of Prof. Oumoff, though not altogether out- 
spoken, was nevertheless an event of great importance in the 
history of the development of exact science, and some time it 
will doubtless be recognized as an unusually bold and brilliant 
attempt to come forward and proclaim absolutely new ideas 
which practically renounce all positivism : and in the very citadel 
of positivism which the Mendeleevsky Convention represents. 

But inertia and routine of course did their work. Prof. 
Oumoff's address was heard along with the other addresses, 
was printed in the Proceedings of the Convention, and there 
rested, without producing at all the impression of an exploded 
bomb which it should have produced had the listeners been more 
in a position to appreciate its true meaning and significance, 
and — more important — had they had the desire to do so. 

In this diminution of its significance the reserves and limitations 
which Prof. Oumoff himself made in his address assisted to a 
degree, as did the title, in failing to express its substance and 
general tendency, which was to show that science goes now in a 
new direction, and one which is not in reality — i. е., that the new 
direction goes against science. 

Professor Oumoff died several months ago, and I am unwilling 
to impose upon him thoughts which he did not share. I talked 
with him in January, 1912, and from our conversation I saw 
that he was stopping half way, as it were, between the ideas of the 
fourth dimension approximating those expressed by me in the 
first edition of Tertium Organum and those physical theories 
which still admit motion as an independent fact. What I wish 
to convey is that Prof. Oumoff, admitting time as being the 

* A convention of Russian scientists, named in honor of the famous Russian chemist, Prof. Men- 
deleeff. Transl. 


fourth dimension of space, did not regard motion as the illusion 
of our consciousness, but recognized the reality of motion in the 
world, as a fact independent of us and our psyche. 

I speak of this, because later I shall quote extracts from Prof. 
Oumoff's paper, choosing generally those places containing the 
ideas almost identical with the thoughts expressed in the pre- 
ceding chapters. 

That part of the address which pictures the evolution of modern 
physics from the atom to the electron I shall omit, because this 
seems to me somewhat artificially united to those ideas upon which 
I wish to dwell, and is not inwardly connected with them at all. 

From my standpoint it is immaterial whether we make the 
foundation of matter the atom or the electron. I believe that at 
the foundation of matter lies illusion. And the consistent develop- 
ment of those ideas of higher space which Prof. Oumoff made the 
basis of his address leads, in my opinion, to the negation of 
motion; just as the consistent development of the ideas of mathe- 
matical physics has led to the negation of matter as substance. 

Having mentioned electrons, I may add that there is a method 
whereby modern scientific ideas and the data of the psychological 
method may be reconciled; namely, by the aid of the very ancient 
systems of the Kabala, Alchemy and so forth, which establish 
the foundation of the material world in four principles or elements, 
of which the first two — fire and water — correspond to the positive 
and negative electrons of modern physics. 

But in such case the electrons must be regarded, not as electro- 
magnetic units, but as principles only, i. е., as two opposite aspects, 
phases of the world, or in other words, as metaphysical units. 
The transition of physics into metaphysics is inevitable if the 
physicists desire to be simply logical. 

Prof. Oumoff's address is interesting and remarkable in that 
it steps already on the very threshold of metaphysics, and he is 
perhaps hindered only by a lingering faith in the value of the 
positivistic method, which dies when the new watch-words of 
science are declared. 

The introductory word to our forthcoming labors [says Prof. Oumoff] 
it will be most proper to dedicate to the excursions of scientific thought 
in its search for the image of the world. The necessity for scientific re- 
search along this path will become clear if we will turn to the covenants 
of our high priests of science. These covenants convey the deep motives 


of active service to natural science and to men. It is useful to express 
them in our time, wherein thought is pre-eminently directed to the ques- 
tions of the organization of life. Let us remember the credo of the 
natural scientist: 

To establish the authority of man over energy, time and space: 

To know the architecture of the universe, and in this knowledge to 
find a basis of creative foresight: This foresight inspires confi- 
dence that natural science continuing the great and responsible work of 
creation in the fields of nature which it has already made its own, will 
not fail to enter a new field adapted to the enlarged necessities of man- 

This new nature has become a vital necessity of personal and public 
activity. But its grandeur and power summon the mind as it were to 

The demand for stability in the household and the brevity of the per- 
sonal experience in comparison with the evolution of the earth lead men 
to faith, and create in them an image of the durability of the surrounding 
order of things not for the present only, but for the future. The pioneers 
of natural science do not enjoy such a serene point of view, and to this 
circumstance the natural sciences are indebted for their continuous de- 
velopment. I venture to lift the brilliant and familiar veil and throw 
open the sanctuaries of scientific thought, now poised upon the summit 
of two contrasted contemplations of the world. 

The steersman of science shall be ceaselessly vigilant, despite the felic- 
ity of his voyage; above him shall invariably shine the stars by which he 
finds his way upon the ocean of the unknown. 

At the time in which we are living now the constellations in the skies 
of our science have changed, and a new star has flashed out, having no 
equal to itself in brightness. 

Persistent scientific investigation has expanded the volume of the 
knowable to dimensions which could scarcely be imagined only a short 
time — fifteen or twenty years — ago. Number remains, as before, the 
lawmaker of nature, but, being capable of representation, it has escaped 
from that mode of contemplating the world which regarded as possible 
its representation by mechanical models. 

This augmentation of knowledge gives a sufficient number of images 
for the construction of the world, but they destroy its architecture as that 
is known to us, and create as it were a new order, extending far, in its 
free lines, beyond the limits not only of the old visible world, but even 
beyond the fundamental forms of our thinking. 

I have now to lead you to the summits from which open the perspec- 
tives that are re-forming the very basis of our understanding of the 

The ascent to them amid the ruins of classical physics is attended 
with no small difficulty, and I ask in advance your indulgence and shall 
exercise all my efforts to simplify and shorten our path as far as pos- 


Prof. Oumoff proceeds to picture the evolution of form "from the atom 
to the electron," from materialistic and mechanistic ideas about the 
universe to the electro-magnetic theory. 

The axioms of mechanics are only fragments, and their application 
may be compared to the judgment concerning the contents of an entire 
chapter by means of a single sentence. 

Therefore it is not strange that the attempt of the mechanistic ex- 
planation of the properties of the electro-magnetic ether by the aid of 
axioms in which these properties were either denied or one-sidedly pre- 
determined was doomed to failure. 

The mechanistic contemplation of the world appeared as one- 
sided ... In the image of the world, unity was not in evidence. The 
electro-magnetic world could not remain as something quite alien, un- 
related to matter. The material mode of contemplating the world, with 
its fixed formulae, had no sufficient flexibility to bring about unification 
through it and its principles. There remained only one way out — to 
sacrifice one of the worlds — the material, the mechanistic, or the electro- 
magnetic. It was necessary to find sufficient foundations for decision on 
the one side or on the other. These were not slow to appear. 

The consequent development of physics is a process against matter, 
which ended with its expulsion. But along with this negative activity 
has gone the creative work of the reformation of electro-magnetic sym- 
bolics; it was forced to become adequate to express the properties of the 
material world, its atomic structure, inertia, radiation and absorption 
of energy, electro-magnetic phenomena. . . 

. . . On the horizon of scientific thought was arising the electronic 
theory of matter. 

Through electrical corpuscles was opening the connection between 
matter and vacuum. . . 

. . . The idea of a special substratum filling the vacuum — ether — 
became superfluous. 

. . . Light and heat are born by the motion of electrons. They 
are the suns of microcosms. 

. . . The universe consists of positive and negative corpuscles, 
bound by electro-magnetic fields. 

Matter disappeared; its variety was replaced by a system of mutually 
related electric corpuscles and instead of the accustomed material world 
one deeply different — the electro-magnetic world — is envisaging itself to 
us. . . 

But the recognition of the electro-magnetic world did not annihilate 
many unsolved problems and difficulties, and the necessity for a 
generalizing system was felt. 

In our difficult ascent we have reached the point, according to Prof. 
Oumoff, at which the road divides. One stretches horizontally to that 
plane which has been pictured, another goes to the high summit which 
is already visible, and the grade is not steep. 

Let us look about us at the point which we have reached. It is very 
dangerous; not one theory only has suffered wreck there. It is the more 


dangerous that its subtlety is covered by the mask of simplicity. Its 
basis is the experimental attempts which gave a negative answer to the 
researches of careful and skilled experimenters. 

Prof. Oumoff shows the contradictions which were the outcome of 
certain experiments. The necessity to explain these contradictions 
served as the incentive to the discovery of the unifying principle: this 
was the principle of relativity. 

The deductions of Lorentz, which were made in 1909, and which in 
general had in view electro-optical phenomena only, gave the impetus 
to the promulgation by Albert Einstein of a new principle and to its re- 
markable generalization by the recently deceased Hermann Minkowsky. 

We are approaching the summit of modern physics. It is occupied by 
the principle of relativity, the expression of which is so simple that it 
is difficult to discern its all-important significance. It asserts that the 
laws of phenomena in the system of bodies for the observer who is con- 
nected with it, will be the same, whether this system is at rest, or is 
moving uniformly and rectilinearly. 

Hence it follows that the observer cannot detect by the aid of the 
phenomena which are proceeding in the system of bodies with which he 
is connected, whether this system has a uniform translational motion 
or not. 

Thus we cannot detect from any phenomena proceeding on the earth, 
its translational motion in space. 

The principle of relativity includes the observing intellect within 
itself which is a circumstance of extraordinary significance. The intellect 
is connected with a complex physical instrument — the nervous system. 
This principle therefore gives directions concerning things proceeding 
in moving bodies, not only in relation to physical and chemical phe- 
nomena, but also in relation to the phenomena of life and therefore to 
the quests of man. It is remarkable as an example of a thesis, founded 
upon strictly scientific experiment, in a purely physical region, which 
erects a bridge between two worlds usually regarded as quite distinct. 

Prof. Oumoff gives examples of the explanation of complex phe- 
nomena by the aid of the principle of relativity. 

He shows further how the most enigmatical problems of life are ex- 
plained from the standpoint of the electro-magnetic theory and the 
principle of relativity, and he comes at last to that which is the most 
interesting to us. 

Time is involved in all spatial measurements * We cannot define the 
geometrical form of a solid moving in relation to us; we are always defining 
its kinematical form. Therefore our spatial measurements are in reality 
proceeding not in a three-dimensional manifold , i. е., having three dimen- 
sions, of height, length and width, like this hall, but in a four-dimensional 
manifold: the first three dimensions we can represent by the divisions of a 
tape-measure upon which are marked feel, yards, or some other measure 
of length; the fourth dimension we will represent by the film of a cinemato- 
graph upon which each point corresponds to a new phase of the world's 
phenomena. The distances between the points of this film are measured by 

* Italicized by me. P. Ouspensky. 


a clock going indifferently with this or that velocity. One observer will 
measure the distance between two points by a year — another by a hundred 
years. The transition from one point to another of this film corresponds 
to our concept of the flow of time. This fourth dimension we will call, 
therefore, time. The film of a cinematograph can replace the reel of any 
tape-measure, and contrariwise. The ingenious mathematician, Min- 
kowsky, who died too young, proved that all these four dimensions are 
equivalent. How shall we comprehend this? Persons who arrive in St. 
Petersburg from Moscow have passed through Tver. They are not at this 
station (Tver) any longer, but nevertheless it continues to exist. In the same 
manner, that moment of time corresponding to some event which has already 
passed — the beginning of life on earth, for example — has not disappeared, 
it exists still. It is not outlived by the universe, but only by the earth. 
The place of this event is defined by a certain point in the four -dimensional 
universe and this point existed, is existing, and will exist; now through it, 
through this station passed by the earth, passes another wanderer. Time 
does not flow, any more than space flows. It is we who arefl owing, wan- 
derers in a four-dimensional universe. Time is just the same measurement 
of space as is length, breadth and height. Having changed them in the 
expression of some law of nature we are returning to the identical law. 

These new concepts are embodied by Minkowsky in an elegant mathemat- 
ical theory; we shall not enter the magnificent temple erected by his genius, 
from which proceeds this voice: 

In nature all is given: for her the past and future do not exist; she is the 
eternal present; she has no limits, either of space or of time. Changes are 
proceeding in individuals and correspond to their displacements upon 
world-ways in a four-dimensional eternal and limitless manifold. 
These concepts in the region of philosophical thought will produce a revolu- 
tion considerably greater than that caused by the displacement of the earth 
from the center of the universe by Copernicus. From the times of Newton 
to those of natural science, more brilliant perspectives have never opened 
up. Is not the power of natural science proclaimed in the transition 
from the undoubted experimental fact — the impossibility of the absolute 
motion of the earth — to a problem of the soul! A contemporary 
philosopher exclaimed in his confusion, "beyond truth and falsehood." 

When the cult of a new God is born his word is not perfectly under- 
stood; the true meaning only becomes clear after the lapse of time. I 
think that this is true also as regards the principle of relativity. The 
elimination of anthropomorphism from scientific conceptions was of 
enormous service to science. On the same path stands the principle of 
relativity showing the dependence of our observations on general condi- 
tions of phenomena. 

The electro-magnetic theory of the world (and the principle of rela- 
tivity) explains only those phenomena the place of which is defined by 
that part of the universe which is occupied by matter; the rest of it, 
which presents itself to our senses as a vacuum remains as yet beyond 
the reach of science. But at the shores of the material world is change- 


lessly dashing the surf of new energy from that deep ocean empty for 
our senses, but not for our reason. 

Is not this dualism of matter and vacuum the anthropomorphism of 
science, and the last one? Let us put the fundamental question: 
What part of the universe is filled by matter? Let us surround our 
planetary system with a sphere the radius of which is equal to half of 
the distance from the sun to the nearest stars: the length of this radius 
is traversed by a light-ray in one and a half years. The volume of this 
sphere let us take as the volume of our world. Let us now describe, 
with the sun as a center, another, lesser sphere with a radius equal to 
the distance of our sun to the outermost planet. I admit that the matter 
of our world, collected in one place, will not take more than one-tenth 
of the volume of the planetary sphere: I think that this figure is con- 
siderably exaggerated. After calculations of volume it will appear that 
in our world the volume occupied by the matter will be related to the 
volume of the vacuum as the figure 1 to the number represented by the 
figure 3 with 13 zeros. This relation is equivalent to the relation of one 
second to one million years. 

According to the calculations of Lord Kelvin, the density of matter 
corresponding to such a relation would be less than the density of water 
by ten thousand million times, i. е., it would be in an extreme degree of 

Prof. Oumoff gives the example of such a number of balls as corre- 
spond to the number of seconds in one million years. Upon one of 
these balls (corresponding to the matter in the universe) is written all 
that we know, because all that we know is related to matter. And 
matter is only one ball among millions and millions of " balls of vacuum." 

Hence the conclusion, says he: 

Matter represents a highly improbable event in the universe. This 
event came into existence because small probability does not mean im- 
possibility. But where, and in what manner, are realized more probable 
events? Is it not in the domain of radiant energy? 

The theory of probability includes the immense part of the universe — 
the vacuum — in the world of becoming. We know that radiant energy 
possesses the preponderating mass. Among the different phenomena 
in the world of inter-crossing rays, out of elements attracting each other, 
are not the tiny fragments born which by their congregation compose 
our material world? Is not the vacuum the laboratory of matter? The 
material world corresponds to that limited horizon which is open to a 
man who has come out into a field. To his senses life is teeming only 
within the limits of this horizon; outside of it for the senses of man there 
is only a vacuum. 

I do not desire to start a polemic about those thoughts in Prof. 
Oumoff's address with which I do not agree. Yet I shall mention 
and enumerate the questions which in my opinion are raised by the 
incompatibility of certain principles. 


The contrast between the vacuum and the material world sounds 
almost naive after the just quoted words of Minkowsky concerning 
the necessity of a transfer of attention, on the part of science, 
from purely physical problems to questions of consciousness. 
Moreover I do not see any fundamental difference between the 
material, the mechanical, and the electro-magnetic universe. All 
this is three-dimensional. In the electro-magnetic universe there 
is yet no true transition to the fourth dimension. And Prof. 
Oumoff makes only one clear attempt to bind the electro-magnetic 
world with the higher dimensions . He says : 

That sheet of paper, written in electro-magnetic symbols, with 
which we covered the vacuum, it is possible to regard as billions of 
separate superimposed sheets, but of which each one represents the field 
of one small electric quantity or charge. 

But this is all. The rest is just as three-dimensional as the theory 
of atoms and the ether. 

"We are present at the funeral of the old physics," says Prof. 
Oumoff, and this is true. But the old physics is losing itself and 
disappears not in the electro-magnetic theory, but in the idea of 
a new dimension of space which up to the present has been called 
time and motion. 

Truly, the new physics will be that in which there will be no 
motion, i. е., there will be no dualism of rest and motion, nor any 
dualism of matter and vacuum. 

Understanding the universe as thought and consciousness we 
completely divorce ourselves from the idea of a vacuum. And 
from this standpoint is explained the small probability of matter 
to which Prof. Oumoff referred. Matter, i. е., every thing finite, is 
an illusion in an infinite world. 

Among many attempts at the investigation of the fourth dimen- 
sion I shall note one in the book by Johan Van Manen, "Some 
Occult Experiences." 

In this book is a remarkable drawing of a four-dimensional 
figure which the author "saw" by means of his inner vision. This 
interesting experience Van Manen describes in the following way : 

When residing and touring in the North of England, several years 
ago, I talked and lectured several times on the fourth dimension. One 
day after having retired to bed, I lay fully awake, thinking out some 
problems connected with this subject. I tried to visualize or think out 
the shape of a four-dimensional cube, which I imagined to be the simplest 


four-dimensional shape. To my great astonishment I saw plainly before 
me first a four-dimensional globe and afterwards a four-dimensional cube, 
and learned only then from this object-lesson that the globe is the sim- 
plest body, and not the cube, as the third dimensional analogy ought 
to have told me beforehand. The remarkable thing was that the definite 
endeavor to see the one thing made me see the other. I saw the forms as 
before me in the air (though the room was dark), and behind the forms 
I saw clearly a rift in the curtains through which a glimmer of light 
filtered into the room. This was a case in which I can clearly fix the 
impression that the objects seen were outside my head. In most 
of the other cases I could not say so definitely, as they partake 
of a dual character, being almost equally felt as outside and inside 
the brain. 

I forego the attempt to describe the fourth-dimensional cube as to 
its form. Mathematical description would be possible, but would 
at the same time disintegrate the real impression in its totality. The 
fourth-dimensional globe can be better described. It was an ordinary 
three-dimensional globe, out of which, on each side, beginning at its 
vertical circumference, bent, tapering horns proceeded, which, with a 
circular bend, united their points above the globe from which they 
started. The effect is best indicated by circumscribing the numeral 8 by 
a circle. So three circles are formed, the lower one representing the 
initial globe, the upper one representing empty space, and the greater 
circle circumscribing the whole. If it be now understood that the upper 
circle does not exist and the lower (small) circle is identical with the 
outer (large) circle, the impression will have been conveyed, at least to 
some extent. 

I have always been easily able to recall this globe; to recall the cube 
is far more difficult, and I have to concentrate to get it back. 

I have in a like manner had rare visions of fifth and sixth-dimensional 
figures. At least I have felt as if the figures I saw were fifth and sixth- 
dimensional. In these matters the greatest caution is necessary. I am 
aware that I have come into contact with these things as far as the physical 
brain allows it, without denying that beyond what the brain has caught 
there was something further, felt at the time which was not handed on. 
The sixth-dimensional figure I cannot describe. All I remember of it is 
that it gave me at the time an impression inform of what we might call 
diversity in unity, or synthesis in differentiation. The fifth dimensional 
vision is best described, or rather hinted at, by saying that it looked like 
an Alpine relief map, with the singularity that all mountain peaks and 
the whole landscape represented in the map were one mountain, or again 
in other words as if all the mountains had one single base. This was the 
difference between the fifth and the sixth, that in the fifth the excres- 
cences were in one sense exteriorized and yet rooted in the same unit; 
but in the sixth they were differentiated but not exteriorized; they were 
only in different ways identical with the same base, which was their 


С. W. Leadbeater on a note to these remarkable pages says: 

Striking as this drawing is, its value lies chiefly in its suggestiveness 
to those who have once seen that which it represents. One can hardly 
hope that it will convey a clear idea of the reality to those who have never 
seen it. It is difficult to get an animal to understand a picture — ap- 
parently because he is incapable of grasping the 
idea that perspective on a flat surface is in- 
tended to represent objects which he knows 
only as solid. The average man is in exactly 
the same position with regard to any drawing 
or model which is intended to suggest to him 
the idea of the fourth dimension; and so, clever 
and suggestive as this is, I doubt whether it 
will be of much help to the average reader. 

The man who has seen the reality might well 
be helped by this to bring into his ordinary life 
a flash of that higher consciousness; and in that 
case he might perhaps be able to supply, in his thought, what must 
necessarily be lacking in the physical-plane drawing. 

For my part, I may say that the true meaning of Van Manen's 
"vision" is difficult even to appreciate with the means at our 
disposal. After seeing the drawing in his book I at once felt and 
understood all that it means, but I disagree somewhat with the 
author in the interpretation of his drawing. He says, 

"We may also call the total impression that of a ring. I think 
it was then that I understood for the first time that so-called 
fourth-dimensional sight is sight with reference to a space-con- 
ception arising from the visual perception of density." 

This remark though very cautious seems to me dangerous, be- 
cause it creates the possibility of the same mistake which stopped 
Hinton in many things and which I partly repeated in the first 
edition of the book "The Fourth Dimension."* This mistake 
consists in the possibility of the construction of some pseudo 
fourth dimension, which lies in substance completely in three 
dimensions. In my opinion there is very much of motion in the figure. 
The entire figure appears to me as a moving one, continuously 
generating itself, as though it were at the point of contact of the 
acute ends, coming from there and involving back there. But I 
shall not analyze and comment upon Van Manen's experience 
now, leaving it to readers who have had similar experiences. 

So far as Van Manen's descriptions of his observations of the 
"fifth" and "sixth" dimensions are concerned, it seems to me that 

* One of P. D. Ouspensky's books in Russian. Transl. 


nothing in them warrants the supposition that they are related 
to any region higher or more complex than the four-dimensional 
world. In my opinion all these are just observations of the region 
of the fourth dimension. But the similarity to the experience of 
certain mystics is very remarkable in them, especially those of 
Jacob Boehme. Moreover the method of object lesson is very 
interesting — i. е., those two images which Van Manen saw and 
from the comparison of which he deduced his conclusions. To 
the psychology of this "object lesson" method which comes from 
the depths of consciousness, I hope to return in the book "The 
Wisdom of the Gods" in a chapter on experimental mysticism. 


Analysis of phenomena. What defines different orders of phenomena 
for us? Methods and forms of the transition of one order of phe- 
nomena into another. Phenomena of motion. Phenomena of life. 
Phenomena of consciousness. The central question of our knowl- 
edge of the world: what mode of phenomena is generic and pro- 
duces the others? Can the origin of everything lie in motion? The 
laws of transformation of energy. Simple transformation and 
liberation of latent energy. Different liberating forces of different 
orders of phenomena. The force of mechanical energy, the force 
of a living cell, the force of an idea. Phenomena and noumena of 
our world. 

HE order of phenomena is defined for us, first, by our 
method of apprehending them, and second, by the 
form of the transition of one order of phenomena into 

According to our method of apprehending them and 
by the form of their transition into one another we discern three 
orders of phenomena. 

Physical phenomena (i. е., all phenomena studied by physics 
and chemistry). Phenomena of life (all phenomena studied by 
biology and its subdivisions). Phenomena of consciousness (psychic 
and spiritual phenomena). 

We know physical phenomena by means of our sense organs or 
by the aid of apparatus. Many recogized physical phenomena are 
not observed directly; they are merely projections of the 
assumed causes of our sensations, or those of the causes of other 
phenomena. Physics recognizes the existence of many phenomena 
which have never been observed either by the sense organs or by 
means of apparatus (the temperature of absolute zero, for ex- 
ample etc.). 

The phenomena of life, as such, are not observed directly. 
We cannot project them as the cause of definite sensations. 
But certain groups of sensations force us to assume in certain 
groups of physical phenomena the presence of the phenomena of 
life. It may be said that a certain grouping of physical phenomena 



forces us to assume the presence of the phenomena of life. 
We define the cause of the phenomena of life as a something not 
capable of being grasped by the senses nor by apparatus, and 
incommensurable with the causes of physical sensations. The 
sign of the presence of the phenomena of life consists in the power 
of organisms to reproduce themselves, i. е., the multiplication of 
them in the same forms. 

The phenomena of consciousness are the feelings and the 
thoughts that we know in ourselves by direct sensation — sub- 
jectively. We assume their existence in others (1) from analogy 
with ourselves; (2) from their manifestation in actions and (3) 
from that which we gather by the aid of speech. But, as has been 
shown by certain philosophical theories, it is impossible to establish 
strictly objectively, the presence of consciousnesses other than our 
own. A man establishes this usually because of his inner assurance 
of its truth. 

Physical phenomena transform themselves into one another 
completely. It is possible to transform heat into light, pressure 
into motion, etc. It is possible to produce any physical 
phenomenon from other physical phenomena; to produce any 
chemical combination by the synthetic method, combining the 
composite parts in proper proportions and under proper physical 
conditions. Modern physics assumes electro-magnetic phenomena 
as the basis of all physical phenomena. But physical phenomena 
do not transform themselves into the phenomena of life. By no 
combination of physical conditions can science create life, just as 
by chemical synthesis it cannot create living matter — protoplasm. 
We can tell what amount of coal is necessary to generate the cer- 
tain amount of heat necessary to transform a given quantity of 
ice into water; but we cannot tell what amount of coal is necessary 
to create the vital energy with which one living cell forms another 
living cell. In similar manner physical, chemical and mechanical 
phenomena cannot themselves produce the phenomena of con- 
sciousness, i. е., of thought. Were it otherwise, a rotating wheel, 
after the expenditure of a certain amount of energy, or after the 
lapse of a certain time, could generate an idea. Yet we know 
perfectly well that the wheel can go on rotating for millions of 
years, and no single idea will be produced by it at all. Thus we 
see that the phenomena of motion differ in a fundamental way 
from the phenomena of life and of consciousness. 


The phenomena of life change into other phenomena of life, 
multiply infinitely, and transform themselves unto 'physical phe- 
nomena, generating whole series of mechanical and chemical 
combinations. The phenomena of life manifest themselves to us 
in physical phenomena, and in the existence of such phenomena. 

The phenomena of consciousness are sensed subjectively, and 
possessing enormous potential force, transform themselves into 
physical phenomena and into manifestations of life. We know 
that at the basis of our procreative force lies desire — that is, 
a psychical state, or a phenomenon of consciousness. Desire is 
possessed of enormous potential force. Out of the united desire 
of a man and of a woman, a whole nation may come into being. 
At the root of the active, constructive, creative force of man, 
that can change the course of rivers, unite oceans, cut through 
mountains, lies the will, i. е., again a psychical state, or a phe- 
nomenon of consciousness. Thus the phenomena of consciousness 
possess even greater unifying force with relation to physical 
phenomena than do the phenomena of life. 

Positive philosophy affirms that all three orders of phenomena 
proceed from one cause lying within the sphere of the study of 
physics. This cause is called by different names at different 
times, but it is assumed to be identical with physical energy in 

Seriously analyzing such an affirmation, it is easily seen to be 
absolutely arbitrary, and not founded upon anything. Physical 
phenomena of themselves, inside the limits of our existence and 
observation, never create the phenomena of life and the phenomena 
of consciousness. Consequently we may with greater right 
assume that in the phenomena of life and in the phenomena of 
consciousness there is something which does not exist in physical 

Moreover, we cannot measure physical, biological, and psychic 
(or spiritual) phenomena by the same unit of measurement. Or 
more correctly, we cannot measure the phenomena of life and the 
phenomena of consciousness at all. It is only the phenomena first 
mentioned, i. е., the physical, that we fancy we can measure, 
though this is very doubtful, too. 

In any case we undoubtedly know that we can expect neither 
the phenomena of life nor the phenomena of consciousness in 


the formulae of physical phenomena; and generally speaking we 
have for them no formulae at all. 

In order to clarify the relation between phenomena of different 
kinds, let us examine in detail the laws of their transformation 
one into another. 

First of all it is necessary to consider physical phenomena, and 
make a detailed study of the conditions and properties of their 
transformation one into another. 

In an essay on Wundt (The Northern Messenger, 1888) A. L. 
Volinsky, elucidating the principles of Wundt's physiological 
psychology, says: 

The actions of sensation are provoked by the actions of irritation. 
But both these actions need not be at all equal. It is possible to burn a 
whole city by a spark from a cigarette. It is necessary to understand 
why this is possible. Place a board upon the edge of some object scale- 
wise, so that it will balance. On both ends of the board put now an equal 
amount of weight. The weights will not fall : although both of them will 
tend to fall, they balance one another. If we lift the least weight from 
one end of the board, then the other end will overbalance, and the board 
will fall— i. е., the force of gravity which existed before as an invisible 
tendency, will have become a visible motive force. If we put the board 
and weights on the earth, the force of gravity will not produce any action, 
but it will not be eliminated: it will only transform itself into other 

Those forces which are only striving to produce motion are called con- 
strained, or dead, forces. The forces which are actually manifesting 
themselves in certain definite actions are called free, or live forces; but 
as regards free forces it is necessary to differentiate those forces which are 
liberating, setting free, from the forces which are liberated, or set free. 

An enormous difference exists between the liberation of force and its 
transformation into another. . 

When one kind of motion transforms itself into another kind, the 
amount of free force remains the same; and contrariwise, when one force 
liberates another, the amount of free force changes. The free force of an 
irritation liberates the tied-up forces of a nerve. And this liberation of 
tied-up forces is proceeding at each point of the nerve. The first mo- 
tion increases like a fire, like a snow-slide carrying along with it new and 
ever new snow drifts. It is for this reason that the action (phenomenon) 
of sensation need not be exactly equal to the action of irritation. 

Let us look more broadly at the relation between liberated and 
liberating forces in the different kinds of phenomena. 

We shall discover that sometimes an almost negligible amount 
of physical force may liberate an enormous, a colossal quantity of 
physical energy. But all that we can ever assemble of physical 


force is powerless to liberate a single iota of that vital energy 
necessary for the independent existence of a single microscopic 
living organism. 

The force contained in living organisms, the vital force, is ca- 
pable of liberating infinitely greater amounts of vital and also 
of physical energy than the force of motion. 

The microscopic living cell is capable of infinite dissemination, 
to evolve new species, to cover continents with vegetation, to 
fill the oceans with seaweed, to build islands out of coral, to deposit 
powerful layers of coal, etc., etc. 

Concerning the latent energy contained in the phenomena of 
consciousness, i. е., in thoughts, feelings, desires, and in will, we 
discover that its potentiality is even more immeasurable, more 
boundless. From personal experience, from observation, from 
history, we know that ideas, feelings, will, manifesting themselves, 
can liberate enormous quantities of energy, and create infinite 
series of .phenomena. An idea can act for centuries and millen- 
niums and only grow and deepen, evoking ever new series of phe- 
nomena, liberating ever fresh energy. We know that thoughts con- 
tinue to live and act when even the very name of the man who 
created them has been converted into a myth, like the names of 
the founders of ancient religions, the creators of the immortal 
poetical works of antiquity — heroes, leaders, prophets. Their 
words are repeated by innumerable lips, their ideas are studied 
and commented upon. Their preserved works are translated, 
printed, read, studied, staged, illustrated. And this is done not 
only with the masterpieces of men of genius, but some single little 
verse may live millenniums, making hundreds of men work for 
it, serve it, in order to transmit it further. 

Observe how much of potential energy there is in some little 
verse of Pushkin or Lermontoff: This energy acts not only 
upon the feelings of men, but by reason of its very existence it 
acts upon their will. See how vital and immortal are the words, 
thoughts and feelings of half -mythical Homer — how much 
of "motion" each word of his, during the time of its existence, 
has evoked. 

Undoubtedly each thought of a poet contains enormous 
potential force, like the power confined in a piece of coal or 
in a living cell, but infinitely more subtle, imponderable and 


This remarkable correlation of phenomena may be expressed 
in the following terms : the farther a given phenomenon is from the 
visible and sensed — from the physical — the farther it is from 
matter, the more there is in it of hidden force, the greater the quan- 
tity of phenomena it can produce, can leave in its wake, the 
greater amount of energy it can liberate, and so the less it is 
dependent upon time. 

If we would correlate all of the above with the principle of 
physics that the amount of energy is constant, then we must state 
more exactly that in the preceding discussion nothing has been 
said of the creation of new energy, but of the liberation of latent 
force. And we have found that the liberating force of life and 
thought is infinitely greater than the liberating force of mechanical 
motion and of chemical reactions. The microscopic living cell is 
more powerful than a volcano — the idea is more powerful than the 
geological cataclysm. 

Having established these differences between phenomena, let 
us endeavor to discover what phenomena themselves represent, 
taken by themselves, independently of our receptivity and sensa- 
tion of them. 

We at once discover that we know nothing about them. 

We know a phenomenon just as much and just as far as it is 
irritation, i. е., to the extent that it provokes sensation. 

The positivistic philosophy sees mechanical motion or electro- 
magnetic energy as the basis of all phenomena. But the 
hypothesis of vibrating atoms or of units of energy — electrons 
and cycles of motion, combinations of which create different 
"phenomena" — is only an hypothesis, built upon a perfectly 
arbitrary and artificial assumption concerning the existence of 
the world in time and space. Just as soon as we discover that 
the conditions of time and space are merely the properties 
of our sensuous receptivity, we absolutely destroy the validity of 
the hypothesis of "energy" as the foundation of everything; 
because time and space are necessary for energy, i. е., it is nec- 
essary for time and space to be properties of the world and not 
properties of consciousness. 

Thus in reality we know nothing about the causes of phenomena. 

We do know that some combinations of causes, acting through 
the organism upon our consciousness, produce the series of sen- 


sations which we recognize as a green tree. But we do not know if 
this perception of a tree corresponds to the real substance of the 
causes which evoked this sensation. 

The question concerning the relation of the phenomenon to 
the thing-in-itself, i. е., to the indwelling reality, has been from far 
back the chief and most difficult concern of philosophy. Can we, 
studying phenomena, get at the very cause of them, at the very 
substance of things? Kant has said definitely: No! — by studying 
phenomena we do not even approach to the understanding of 
things in themselves. Recognizing the correctness of Kant's view, 
if we desire to approach to an understanding of things in them- 
selves, we must seek an entirely different method, an utterly 
different path from that which positive science is treading, 
which studies phenomena. 


The apparent and the hiddej > side £ Ше *^£&£&1 
the phenomenal side of We. °^ w ™\^f ™^ пй Q f everything 
ity" of positive phdosophy consist? The regarding ° г e * ы £ 

SSH в S£5 fib Pbe -шепа. The „ew appre- 
hension of the world. 

IHERE exist visible and hidden causes of phenomena; 
' there exist also visible and hidden effects. 
Let us consider some one example. 
In all textbooks on the history of literature we are 
told that in its time Goethe's "Werther" provoked 
an epidemic of suicides. 

What did provoke these suicides? 

Let us imagine that some "scientist' appears, who, bang m 
terested in the fact of the increase of suicides, begins to study the 
first edition of "Werther" according to the me hod rf exact 
positive science. He weighs the book, measures it by the most 
precise instruments, notes the number of its page* «■*■£ 
chemical analysis of the paper and the ink, counts the number 
oHmes on cve'ry page, the number of letters, and even how m 
times the letter A is repeated, how many times the letter B, and 
how manv times the interrogation mark is used, and so on. in 
other words he does everything that the pious Mohammedan P- 
forms with relation to the Koran of Mohammed, and on the bam 
of his investigations writes a treatise on the relation of the letter A 
of the German alphabet to suicide. hktorv of 

Or let us imagine another scientist who studies the history ot 
painting, and deciding to put it on a scientific basis, starts a 
big hy series of analyses of the pigment used in Ше ^ * 
famous painters in order to discover the causes of the diffeient 
Sessions produced upon the beholder by different pictures. 



Imagine a savage studying a watch. Let us admit that he is a 
wise and crafty savage. He takes the watch apart and counts 
all its wheels and screws, counts the number of teeth in each gear, 
finds out its size and thickness. The only thing that he does not 
know is what all these things are for. He does not know that the 
hand completes the circuit of the dial in half of twenty -four hours, 
i. е., that it is possible to tell time by means of a watch. 

All this is "positivism." 

We are too familiar with "positivistic" methods, and so fail 
to realize that they end in absurdities and that if we are seeking 
to explain the meaning of anything, they do not lead to the goal at 

The difficulty is that for the explanation of the meaning posi- 
tivism is of no use. For it nature is a closed book of which it 
studies the appearance only. 

In the matter of the study of the operations of nature, the 
positive methods have achieved much, as is proven by the 
innumerable successes of modern technics, including the conquest 
of the air. But everything in the world has its own definite 
sphere of action. Positivism is very good when it seeks an 
answer to the question of how something operates under given 
conditions; but when it makes the attempt to get outside of its 
definite conditions (space, time, causation), or presumes to affirm 
that nothing exists outside of these given conditions, then it is 
transcending its own proper sphere. 

It is true that the more serious positive thinkers deny the possi- 
bility of including in "positive investigation" the question of why 
and what for. The search for meaning, and for that which is the 
aim and end of teleology, is regarded by the positive philosopher 
as little short of absurd. This is indeed the more true because 
from the positive standpoint teleology is indeed an absurdity. But, 
as a matter of fact, the positive standpoint is not the only possible 
one. The usual mistake of positivism consists in its not seeing 
anything except itself — it either considers everything as possible 
to it, or considers as generally impossible much that is entirely 
possible, but not for positive inquiry. 

Humanity will never cease to search, however, for answer to 
the questions why, and wherefore. 

The positivistic scientist finds himself in the presence of nature 
almost in the position of a savage in a library of rare and valuable 


books. For a savage a book is a thing of definite size and weight. 
However long he may ask himself what purpose this strange 
thing serves, he will never discover the truth from its appearance; 
and the contents of the book will remain for him the incomprehensi- 
ble noumenon. In like manner the contents of nature are incom- 
prehensible to the positivistic scientist. 

But if a man knows of the existence of the contents of the book — 
the noumenon of life — if he knows that a mysterious meaning is 
hidden under visible phenomena, there is the possibility that in 
the long run he will discover the contents. 

For success in this it is necessary to grasp the idea of the inner 
contents, i. е., the meaning of the thing in itself. 

The scientist who discovers little tablets with hieroglyphics or 
wedge-shaped inscriptions in an unknown language, deciphers 
and reads them after great labors. And in order to accomplish 
this he needs only one thing : it is necessary for him to know that 
these little signs represent an inscription. So long as he regards 
them simply as an ornament, as the outside embellishment of 
little tablets, or as an accidental tracing without meaning — up to 
that time their meaning and significance will be closed to him 
absolutely. But let him only assume the existence of that mean- 
ing and the possibility of its comprehension will be already within 

No secret cipher exists which cannot be solved without the aid 
of any key. But it is necessary to know that it is a cipher. This is 
the first and necessary condition. Lacking this it is impossible 
to accomplish anything. 

The idea of the existence of the visible and the hidden sides of 
life was known to philosophy long ago. Phenomena were regarded 
as only one aspect of the world — seeming, not existing really, aris- 
ing in consciousness at the moment of its contact with the real 
world. Another side, noumena, was recognized as really existing 
in itself, but inaccessible for our receptivity. 

But there is no greater error than to regard the world as divided 
into phenomena and noumena — to conceive of phenomena and 
noumena apart from one another, and susceptible of being sepa- 
rately known. This is philosophic illiteracy, which shows itself 
most clearly in the dualistic spiritistic theories. The division into 


phenomena and noumena exists only in our minds. The "phe- 
nomenal world" is simply our incorrect perception of the world. 

As Carl DuPrel has said, " The world beyond is this world, 
only perceived strangely :" It would be more accurate to say, that 
this world is the world beyond perceived strangely. 

Kant's idea is quite correct, that the study of the phenomenal 
side of the world will not bring us any nearer to the understanding 
of "things-in-themselves." The " thing-in-itself " — that is the 
thing as it exists in itself, independently of us. The "phenomenon 
of the thing" — that is the thing in such semblance as we perceive 

The example of a book in the hands of an illiterate savage shows 
us quite clearly that it is sufficient not to know about the existence 
of the noumenon of a thing (the contents of the book in this case) 
in order that it shall not manifest itself in phenomena. On the 
other hand, the knowledge of its existence is sufficient to make 
possible its discovery with the aid of the very phenomena which, 
without the knowledge of the noumena, would be perfectly use- 

Just as it is impossible for a savage to attain to an understand- 
ing of the nature of a watch by a study of its phenomenal side — 
the number of wheels, and the number of teeth in each gear — so 
also for the positivistic scientist, studying the external, manifest- 
ing side of life, its secret raison d'etre and the aim of separate 
manifestations will be forever hidden. 

To the savage the watch will be an extremely interesting, com- 
plicated, but entirely useless toy. Somewhat after this manner a 
man appears to the scientist-materialist — a mechanism infinitely 
more complex, but equally unknown as regards the purpose for 
which it exists and the manner of its creation. 

We pictured to ourselves how incomprehensible the functions 
of a candle and of a coin would be for a plane-man, studying two 
similar circles on his plane. In like manner the functions of a man 
are incomprehensible to the scientist, studying him as a mechan- 
ism. The reason for this is clear. It is because the coin and the 
candle are not two similar circles, but two quite different objects, 
having an entirely different use and meaning in that world which 
is relatively higher than the plane — and man is not a mechanism, 
but something having an aim and meaning in the world relatively 
higher than the visible one. 


The functions of a candle and of a coin in our world are for the 
imaginary plane-man an inaccessible noumenon. It is evident that 
the phenomenon of a circle cannot give any understanding of the 
function of a candle, and its difference from the function of a coin. 
But two-dimensional knowledge exists not alone on the plane. 
Materialistic thought tries to apply it to real life. A curious result 
follows, the true meaning of which is, unhappily, incompre- 
hensible to many people. One of such applications is "the 
economic man" — this is quite clearly the two-dimensional and 
flat being moving in two directions — those of production and 
consumption — i. е., living upon the plane of production-consump- 
tion. How is it possible to imagine man in general as such an 
obviously artificial being? And how is it possible to hope to 
understand the laws of the life of man, with his complex spiritual 
aspirations and his great impulse to know, to understand every- 
thing around about him and within himself — by studying the 
imaginary laws of the imaginary being upon an imaginary plane? 
The inventors of this theory alone possess the secret of the 
answer to this question. But the economic theory of human life 
attracts men as do all simple theories giving a short answer to a 
series of complicated questions. And we are ourselves too en- 
tangled in materialistic theories to see anything beyond them. 

Positivistic science in essence does not deny the theory of phe- 
nomena and noumena, it only affirms in opposition to Kant, 
that in studying phenomena we are gradually approaching to 
noumena. The noumena of phenomena science considers to be 
the motion of atoms and the ether, or the vibrations of electrons; 
it conceives of the universe as a whirl of mechanical motion or 
the field of manifestation of electro-magnetic energy taking on 
the "phenomenal tint" for us on their reception by the organs 
of sense. 

"Materialism" or "energetics" affirm that the phenomena 
of life and of consciousness are simply the functions of physical 
phenomena, that without physical phenomena the phenomena of 
life and of consciousness cannot exist and that they represent only 
certain complex combinations of the foregoing. Materialism af- 
firms that the phenomena of consciousness are created out of 
external irritations refracted in a living organism — that all 


psychic and spiritual life has evolved out of the simple irrita- 
bility of a cell, i. е., out of the faculty to respond by motion to 
extraneous irritation — that all these three kinds of phenomena are 
one and the same thing in substance — and the higher, i. е., the 
phenomena of life and of consciousness, are only different ex- 
pressions of the lower, i. е., of one and the same energy. 

But to all this it is possible to answer one thing. If it were true 
it would have been proven long ago. Nothing is easier than to 
prove the energetic hypothesis of life and consciousness. Just 
create life and consciousness by the mechanical method. Material- 
ism and energetics are those "obvious" theories which cannot be 
true without proofs, because they cannot not have proofs if they 
contain even a little grain of truth. 

But there are no proofs at the disposition of these theories; 
quite the reverse: the infinitely greater potentiality of the phe- 
nomena of life and of consciousness compared with physical phe- 
nomena assures us of the exact opposite. And we have a full right 
to declare that energetics is just as subjective a theory as any 
doctrine of dogmatic theology. 

The simple fact, above shown, of the enormous liberating, un- 
binding force of the phenomena of consciousness is sufficient to 
establish quite really and firmly the problem of the world of the 

And the world of the hidden cannot be the world of uncon- 
scious mechanical motion, of unconscious development of electro- 
magnetic forces. The positivistic theory admits the possibility of 
explaining the higher through the lower, the invisible through the 
visible. But it has been shown at the very beginning that this is 
the explanation of one unknown by another unknown. There is 
still less justification for explaining the known through the un- 
known. Yet that lower (matter and motion) through which the 
positivists strive to explain the "higher" (life and thought) is 
itself unknown. Consequently it is impossible to explain and 
define anything else in terms of it, while the higher, i. е., the 
thought, this is our sole known: it is this alone that we do know, 
that we are conscious of in ourselves, that we can neither mistake 
nor doubt. And if thought can evoke or unbind physical 
energy, and motion can never create or unbind thought (out of a 
revolving wheel no thought ever arose) so of course we shall strive 
to define, not the higher in terms of the lower, but the lower in 


terms of the higher. If the invisible, like the contents of a book 
or the purpose of a watch, defines by itself the visible, so also we 
shall endeavor to understand not the visible, but the invisible. 

Starting from a false assumption concerning the mechamcahty 
of the noumenal side of nature, positive science, upon which the 
view of the world of the intelligent majority of contemporary 
humanity is founded, makes still another mistake in regard to 
cause and effect, or the law of functions— that is, it mistakes what 
is cause, and what is effect. 

Just as the two-dimensional plane-man thinks of all phe- 
nomena touching his consciousness as lying on one plane, so the 
positivistic scientist strives to interpret upon one plane all phe- 
nomena of different orders, i. е., to interpret all visible phenomena 
as the effects of other visible phenomena, and as the inevitable 
cause of subsequent visible phenomena. In other words, he sees 
in causal and functional interdependence merely phenomena pro- 
ceeding upon the surface, and studies the visible world, or the 
phenomena of the visible world, not admitting that causes can 
enter into this world which are not contained in it or that the 
phenomena of this world can possess functions extending beyond it. 

But this could be true only in case there were no phenomena of 
life and of consciousness in the world, or if the phenomena of life 
and of consciousness were really derivatives from physical phe- 
nomena, and did not possess infinitely greater latent force than 
they. Then only would we have the right to consider the chains 
of phenomena in their physical or visible sequence alone, as posi- 
tivistic science does. But taking into consideration the phe- 
nomena of life and of consciousness we shall inevitably recognize 
that the chain of phenomena often translates itself from a sequence 
purely physical to a biological sequence, i. е., one in which there 
is much of the hidden and invisible to us — or to a psychological 
sequence where there is even more of the hidden; but during re- 
verse translations from biological and psychological spheres into 
physical sequences actions proceed often, if not always, from 
regions which are hidden from us; i. е., the cause of the visible is 
the invisible. In consequence of this we must admit that it is im- 
possible to consider the chains of sequences in the world of phys- 
ical phenomena only. When this sequence touches the life of a 


man or that of a human society, we perceive clearly that it escapes 
from the "physical sphere" and returns into it. Regarding the 
matter from this standpoint we see that, just as in the life of one 
man and in the life of a society, there are many streams, at times 
appearing on the surface and spouting up in boisterous torrents, 
and at other times disappearing deep underground, hidden from 
view, but only waiting for their moment to appear again on the 

We observe in the world continuous chains of phenomena and 
we perceive how these chains shift from one order of phenomena 
to another without a break. We observe how the phenomena of 
consciousness — thoughts, feelings, desires — are accompanied by 
physiological phenomena — creating them perhaps — and inaugurate 
a series of purely physical phenomena; and we see how physical 
phenomena, becoming the object of sensations of sight, hearing, 
touch, smell and the like, induce physiological phenomena, and 
then psychological. But looking at life from that side, we see only 
physical phenomena, and having assured ourselves that it is the 
only reality we may not notice the others at all. Herein appears 
the enormous power of suggestion in current ideas. To a sincere 
positivist any metaphysical argument proving the unreality of 
matter or energy seems sophistry. It strikes him as a thing un- 
necessary, disagreeable, hindering a logical train of thought, an 
assault without aim or meaning on that which in his opinion is 
firmly established, alone immutable, lying at the foundation of 
everything. He vexedly fans away from himself all "idealistic" 
or "mystical" theories as he would a buzzing mosquito. 

But the fact is that thought and energy are different in substance 
and cannot be one and the same thing, because thought is a sub- 
jective phenomenon and energy an objective one. For if we open 
the cranium of a living man in order to observe all the vibrations 
of the cells of the gray matter of the brain, and all the quivering 
white fibres, in spite of everything there will be merely motion, and 
thought will remain somewhere beyond the limits of investiga- 
tion, retreating like a shadow at every approach. The "posi- 
tivist," when he begins to realize this, feels that the ground is 
quaking underneath his feet, feels that by his method he will 
never approach to the thought. Then he sees clearly the necessity 
for a new method. As soon as he begins to think about it he begins 
quite unexpectedly to notice things around him which he did not 


see before. His eyes begin to open to that which he did not wish 
to see before. The walls which he had erected around himse f 
begin to fall one after another, and behind the falling walls 
infinite horizons of possible knowledge, hitherto undreamed of, 

unroll before him. 

Thereupon he completely alters his view of everything sur- 
rounding him. He understands that the visible is produced by the 
invisible; and that without understanding the invisible it is im- 
possible to understand the visible. His "positivism begins to 
totter and, if he is a man with a bold thought, then in some splendid 
moment he will perceive those things which he was wont to regard 
as real and true to be unreal and false, and those things regarded 
as false to be real and true. 

First of all he will see that manifested physical phenomena otten 
hide themselves, like a stream which has gone underground Yet 
they do not disappear altogether, but continue to exist in latent 
form in some consciousness, in someone's memory, in the words or 
books of someone, just as the future harvest is latent m the seeds. 
And thereafter they again burst into light, out of this latent state 
they come into an apparent one, making a roar, reverbation, mo- 

tl0 We observe such transitions of the invisible into the visible in 
the personal life of man, in the life of peoples, and in the history 
of humanity. These chains of events go on continuously, inter- 
weaving among themselves, entering one into another, sometimes 
hidden from our eyes, and sometimes visible. 

I find an artistic description of this idea in the chapter on 
"Karma" in "Light on the Path" by Mabel Collins.* 

Consider with me that the individual existence is a rope .which 
stretches from the infinite to the infinite, and has no end and no com- 
mencement^ neither is it capable of being broken. Tins rope is formed 
of innumerable fine threads, which lying closely togethe * *°^J™fc 
ness. . . . and remember that the threads are living— are like electric 
wires; more, are like quivering nerves. . . 

But eventually the long strands, the living threads which in their un- 
broken continue form the individual, pass out of the shadow into the 

5 This illustration presents but a small portion-a single side of the 
truth: it is less than a fragment. Yet dwell on it; by its aid you may he 
led to perceive more. What it is necessary first to understand is not that 
the future is formed by any separate acts of the present, but that the 

^Theosophical Publishing Co., London, 1912, pp. 96-98. 


whole of the future is in unbroken continuity with the present, as the 
present is with the past. In the plane, from one point of view, the 
illustration of the rope is correct. 

The passages quoted show us that the idea of karma, developed 
in remote antiquity by Hindu philosophy, embodies the idea of 
the unbroken consecutiveness of phenomena. Each phenomenon, 
no matter how insignificant, is a link of an infinite and unbroken 
chain, extending from the past into the future, passing from one 
sphere into another, sometimes manifesting as physical phe- 
nomena, sometimes hiding in the phenomena of consciousness. 

If we regard karma from the standpoint of our theory of time 
and space of many dimensions, then the connection between distant 
events will cease to be wonderful and incomprehensible. If events 
most distant from one another in relation to time touch one another 
in the fourth dimension, this means that they are proceeding sim- 
ultaneously as cause and effect, and the walls dividing them are 
just an illusion which our weak intellect cannot conquer. Things 
are united, not by time, but by an inner connection, an inner cor- 
relation. And time cannot separate those things which are in- 
wardly near, following one from another. Certain other proper- 
ties of these things force us to think of them as being separated 
by the ocean of time. But we know that this ocean does not 
exist in reality and we begin to understand how and why the 
events of one millennium can directly influence the events of 
another millennium. 

The hidden activity of events becomes comprehensible to us. 
We understand that the events must become hidden in order to 
preserve for us the illusion of time. 

We know this — know that the events of to-day were the ideas 
and feelings of yesterday — and that the events of tomorrow are 
lying in someone's irritation, in someone's hunger, in someone's 
suffering, and possibly still more in someone's imagination, in 
someone's fantasy, in someone's dreams. 

We know all this, yet nevertheless our "positive" science ob- 
stinately seeks to establish correlations between visible phe- 
nomena only, i. е., to regard each visible or physical phenomenon 
as the effect of some other physical phenomenon only, which is 
also visible. 

This tendency to regard everything upon one plane, the un- 
willingness to recognize anything outside of that plane, horribly 


narrows our view of life, prevents our grasping it in its entirety— 
and taken in conjunction with the materialistic attempts to ac- 
count for the higher as a function of the lower, appears as the prin- 
cipal impediment to the development of our knowledge, the chief 
cause of the dissatisfaction with science, the complaints about the 
bankruptcy of science, and its actual bankruptcy in many of its 

The dissatisfaction with science is perfectly well grounded, 
and the complaints about its insolvency are entirely just, because 
science has really entered a cut de sac out of which there is no 
escape, and the official recognition of the fact that the direction 
it has taken is entirely the wrong one, is only a question of time. 

Let us take some simple example which involves an interrela- 
tion between all three kinds of phenomena known to us — physical 
phenomena, the phenomena of life, and the phenomena of con- 
sciousness—and let us see how positivistic science regards them. 

Imagine that you are standing at a window and see a man 
on the street shooting a revolver at another man. 

The whole chain of events comes evidently from afar, proceed- 
ing from a past unknown to you, and going into an unknown 
future. The chain is quite continuous and indivisible. The 
" shot" is a link in this chain. 

But when science considers the shot, it takes it entirely out of 
that chain, a link of which constitutes this phenomenon, and con- 
structs its own chain of phenomena, in which, according to the 
view of science, the shot properly belongs; thus it places these 
phenomena in false relation one to another, because it will include 
in its chain physical phenomena only. 

The "shot" is a link in an infinite chain of phenomena. This 
much science admits : but as regards the shot, science considers it as 
something finite, having a beginning and an end, because it has 
neither means nor methods for dealing with an infinite series. It 
is true that mathematics, which positivistic science places as the 
very foundation of its edifice, establishes with the utmost exacti- 
tude that infinite magnitudes are subject to entirely different laws 
from finite ones, and that it is impossible to deal with infinite 
magnitudes as with finite ones. This fact science cannot deny 
in theory, but in practice, in its conclusions, science does not con- 


sider it at all, but obstinately endeavors to regard every phe- 
nomenon as finite. So it is also in this given case. 

What is the shot from the standpoint of science? The move- 
ment of the trigger and the spring, the impact of the hammer upon 
the cartridge, the explosion of gases, the expulsion of the bullet, 
the sound from the vibrations of the air, the flight of the bullet 
and its encounter with something in its path. 

That is all that is visible from the positivistic standpoint: but 
of what chain of phenomena will it be a link, if regarded in this 
manner? The phyiscist will say that the cause of the shot is in 
the explosive force contained in the powder, i. е., its ability to 
transform itself quickly into a gaseous state, giving an enormous 
amount of gas in comparison with the volume of the containing 
solid. He will explain why this happens thus, will give the con- 
stitution of powder, will tell from whence and in what manner the 
energy developed in the shot was accumulated into powder. Then 
he will investigate the primer, and in conclusion will establish that 
the impulse to the liberation of energy developed during the shot 
was the contraction of the muscles of the finger which pressed the 
trigger. The trifling amount of energy expended in this slight mo- 
tion was undoubtedly drawn from the world surrounding us, taken 
in with the food and air. Possibly at the pressing of the trigger by 
the finger that energy acted which was contained in a piece of meat 
eaten the day before. 

Regarding the consequences of the shot, science would say that 
the escape of gases produced the vibrations in the air, and the 
force put into the shot went into the rupturing of the flesh, bones 
and sinews of the body of another man. 

All this is not a caricature, but a perfectly exact description 
of the scientific method of investigating phenomena. Science, so 
long as it remains itself, cannot say anything more. 

But let us see how such an investigation of the shot corresponds 
with reality. Let us seek really the chains of which the shot is a 
link. Here we come to the recognition of a highly important fact: 
the shot is a link in very many chains. Positivistic science recog- 
nizes only one of them — the chain of physical consecutiveness— 
while in reality the shot is the point of intersection of many lines, 
a link belonging to many intercrossing chains. Let us examine these 
chains. First of all let us find out if we may regard it as a fact that 
the shot is a link in many chains, in many series of phenomena. 


The chain of physical sequence which science considers is not a 
causal chain, i. е., it is not the chain of precedent causes which led 
to the shot. It is the chain of means, which created the possi- 
bility of the phenomenon of the shot. This is the chain of the ac- 
cumulation of physical energy liberated during the shot. But this 
energy liberated something else. This energy liberated the feeling 
burning in the soul of the person who fired the shot at the moment 
of firing — his desire to shoot, his determination to shoot. The 
desire and the determination are phenomena of consciousness. 
They were engendered through the influence of many antecedent 
circumstances. And the series of these antecedent circumstances, 
into which entered both the phenomena of consciousness and 
physical phenomena, itself represents the causal chain of the shot, 
i. е., the chain of causes which engendered the phenomenon of the 
shot, which liberated all the latent energies (the muscular force of 
a finger and the explosive force of powder) acting at the moment 
of the shot. In that shot a series of obscure and hidden phe- 
nomena of consciousness — the desire for revenge, rage, hate, 
fear — found their expression as a physical phenomenon. 

A stream from underground burst through the surface. 

Unquestionably the shot is a link in many events. Possibly it 
is the result of a plot, perhaps it was provoked by passion and 
jealousy, perhaps the man shot to defend himself or another, 
perhaps he acted in obedience to his sense of honor, perhaps he 
was swayed by personal emotions — in any case the "shot" had its 
history in the past and will have an influence upon the future. 
After it direct and immediate results follow — the wound inflicted 
upon another, pain, suffering, perhaps death; the sorrow of his 
relatives, their anger against the assassin, the examination, the 
trial. All these are chains of events, one link of which is the shot. 

If we consider the shot divorced from these categories, we shall 
never understand what the shot, as a phenomenon, really is. 

Positivistic science, regarding itself as real and exact, is in 
truth studying an entirely artificial, fantastic world, having 
nothing in common with the real world. In the real world there is 
nothing separate, all is connected. There is nothing finite, fin- 
ished, defined. Science studies the "shot" taking it as a concept, 
i. е., taking the common properties of all — or nearly all — shots. 
But in the world of reality the shot as a concept does not exist. 
The logical concept of a shot is simply an artificial something 


created for ease and reasoning. To study that artificial some- 
thing, accepting it as real — this means to fall into the sin of ma- 
terialism, to accept the false for the real. Actually each shot is 
a link in its own quite special combination of causal chains. And 
it is impossible to select a single one, the external, out of this com- 
bination of chains. If we do not know or do not see anything 
except this external sequence, we know only the phenomena of that 
which has happened in reality, i. е., we know literally nothing. 
Two phenomena, seemingly exactly similar, may be links of such 
different causal chains that in reality these phenomena are not 
only not alike, but they are the direct opposites of one another. 

To positivistic thinking, all shots are similar; they differ only in 
their force. But to truly exact investigation there are no similar 

We may say — not as an assumption, but as an affirmation — that 
the world of physical phenomena in itself represents the section, 
as it were, of another world, existing right here, and the events of 
which are proceeding right here, but invisibly for us. There is 
nothing more miraculous nor supernatural than life. Consider 
the street of a great city, in all its details. An enormous diversity 
of facts will result. But how much is hidden underneath these 
facts of that which it is impossible to see at all! What desires, 
passions, thoughts, greed, covetousness ; how much of suffering 
both petty and great; how much of deceit, falsity; how much of 
lying; how many invisible threads — sympathies, antipathies, 
interests — bind this street with the entire world! If we realize 
this imaginatively, then it will become clear that it is impossible 
to study the street by that which is visible alone. It is necessary 
to plunge into the depths. The complex and enormous phe- 
nomena of the street will not reveal its infinite noumenon, which is 
bound up both with eternity and with time, with the past and 
with the future, and with the entire world. ~s 

Therefore we have a full right to regard the visible phenomenal 
world as a section of some other infinitely more complex world, 
manifesting itself at a given moment in the first one. 

And this world of noumena is infinite and incomprehensible 
for us, just as the three-dimensional world, in all its manifoldness 
of function, is incomprehensible to the two-dimensional being. 
The nearest approach to "truth" which is possible for man is con- 
tained in the saying: everything has an infinite variety of meanings, 


and to know them all is impossible. In other words, "truth," as we 
understand it, i. е., the finite definition is possible only in a finite 
series of phenomena. In an infinite series it will certainly become 
its own opposite. 

Hegel has given utterance to this last thought: "Every idea, 
extended into infinity, becomes its own opposite." 

In this change of meaning is contained the cause of the incom- 
prehensibility to man of the noumenal world. The noumenon of 
a thing, i. е., the thing-in-itself, contains an infinite quantity of 
meanings and functions of something which it is impossible to 
grasp with our mind. And in addition to this it involves a change 
of meaning of one and the same thing. In one meaning it repre- 
sents an enormous whole, including within itself a great number of 
things : in another meaning it is an insignificant part of a great whole. 
Our mind cannot bind all this into one; therefore, the noumenon of 
a thing recedes from us according to the measure of our knowledge, 
just as a shadow flees before us. "Light on the Path" says : 

"You will enter the light, but you will never touch the flame" 

This means, that all knowledge is relative. We can never grasp 
all the meanings of any one thing, because in order to grasp them 
all, it is necessary for us to grasp the whole world, with all the 
variety of meanings contained in it. 

The principal difference between the phenomenal and noumenal 
aspects of the world is contained in the fact that the first one is 
always limited, always finite; it includes those properties of a 
given thing which we can generally know as phenomena: the 
second, or noumenal aspect, is always unlimited, always infinite. 
And we can never say where the hidden functions and the hidden 
meaning of a given thing end. Properly speaking, they end no- 
where. They may vary infinitely, i. е., may seem various, ever 
new from some new standpoint, but they cannot utterly vanish, 
any more than they can cease, come to an end. 

All that is highest to which we shall come in the understanding 
of the meaning, the significance, of the soul of any phenomenon, 
will again have another meaning, from another, still higher stand- 
point, in still broader generalization — and there is no end to ill 
In this is the majesty and the horror of infinity. 

Let us also remember that the world as we know it does not 
represent anything stable. It must change with the slightest 


change in the forms of our knowledge. Phenomena which appear 
to us as unrelated can be seen by some other more inclusive con- 
sciousness as parts of a single whole. Phenomena which appear 
to us as similar may reveal themselves as entirely different. Phe- 
nomena which appear to us as complete and indivisible, may be 
in reality exceedingly complex, may include within themselves 
different elements, having nothing in common. And all these 
together may be one whole in a category quite incomprehensible 
to us. Therefore, beyond our view of things another view is 
possible — a view, as it were, from another world, from "over 
there," from "the other side." 

Now "over there" does not mean some other place, but a new 
method of knowledge, a new consciousness. And should we regard 
phenomena, not as isolated, but bound together with inter-cross- 
ing chains of things and events, we would begin to regard them 
not from over here, but from over there. 


categories of space and time, lhe reality 01 пмцу в 
^wTTeetd what we do not see. " Plato's oiaiogue about the 


T seems to us that we see something and understand some- 
thk£ But in reality all that proceeds around us we sense 
only very confusedly, just as a snail senses confusedly the 
sunlight, the darkness, and the rain. „..,.- 

Sometimes in things we sense confusedly their difference 
in function, i. е., their real difference. . 

On one occasion I was crossing the Neva with one о my friends, 
A ^th whom I happened to havehad many conversations upon the 
fhemes touched on in this book. We had been talking, but 

and making probably the same reflection: ****** ?V£ 
factory chimneys!" said A. Behind the walls of the fortress 
ndeed appeared some brick chimneys blackened by smoke. 

On his saying this, I too sensed the difference between the 
chimneys and the prison walls with unusual clearness and like an 
SI I realized * difference between the . ^ bno 
themselves, and it seemed to me that A realized this diflerence 

^tater in conversation with A, I recalled this episode and he 
told me that „ot only then, but always, he sensed these differences 
and ^deeply convinced of their reality. "*£%"£% 
itself that a stone is a stone and nothing more, he said, but any 
simple woman or child knows perfectly that a stone from the wall 
of a church and from a prison wall are different things. 


It seems to me also, that in considering a given phenomenon in 
connection with all the chains of sequences of which it is a link, 
we shall see that the subjective sensation of the difference between 
two physically similar objects — which we are accustomed to think 
of only as poetic expression, metaphor, and the reality of which 
we deny — is entirely real; we shall see that these objects are really 
different, just as different as the candle and the coin which appear 
as similar circles (moving lines) in the two-dimensional world of 
the plane-man. We shall see that things of the same material 
constitution but different in their functions are really different, 
and that this difference goes so deep as to make different the very 
material which is physically the same. There are differences in 
stone, in wood, in iron, in paper, which no chemistry will ever 
detect : but these differences exist, and there are men who feel and 
understand them. 

The mast of a ship, a gallows, a crucifix at a cross-roads on the 
steppes, — these may be made of the same kind of wood, but in 
reality they are different objects made of different material. That 
which we see, touch, investigate is nothing more than "the circles 
on the plane" made by the coin and the candle. They are only 
the shadows of real things, the substance of which is contained in 
their function. The shadow of a sailor, of a hangman, and of an 
ascetic may be quite similar — it is impossible to distinguish them 
by their shadows, just as it is impossible to find any difference be- 
tween the wood of a mast, of a gallows and of a cross by chemical 
analysis. But they are different men and different objects — their 
shadows only are equal and similar. 

And if we take men as we know them — the sailor, the hang- 
man, the ascetic: men who seem to us similar and equal — and 
consider them from the standpoint of their differences in function, 
we shall see that in reality they are entirely different and that 
there is nothing in common between them. They are quite 
different beings, belonging to different categories, to different 
planes of the world between which there are no bridges, no 
avenues at all. These men seem to us equal and similar because 
in most cases we see only the shadows of real facts. The "souls" 
of these men are actually quite different, different not only in their 
quality, their magnitude, their"age,"as some people like now to put 
it, but as different in the very nature, origin and purpose of their exis- 
tence as things belonging to entirely different categories can be. 


When we shall begin to understand this, the general concept 
man will take on a different meaning. 

And this relation holds in the observation of all phenomena. 
The mast, the gallows, the cross-these are things belonging to 
such different categories, the atoms of such different objects 
(known only by their functions), that there cannot be s a question 
of any similarity at all. Our misfortune consists in the fact that 
we regard the chemical constitution of a thing as its most real 
attribute, while as a matter of fact its true attributes must be 
sought for in its functions. Could we broaden and deepen our 
vision of the chains of causation the links of which are forged by 
our action and our conduct; could we learn to see them not only 
in their narrow relation to the life of man-to our personal life- 
hut in their broad cosmical meaning; should we succeed m finding 
and establishing a connection between the simple phenomena ot 
our life and the life of the cosmos; then without doubt in these 
"simplest" phenomena would be unveiled for us an infinity ot the 
new and the unexpected. 

For example, in this way we may come to know something 
entirely new about those simple physical phenomena which we are 
accustomed to regard as natural and obvious and about which we 
think we know something. Then, unexpectedly, we may find 
that we know nothing, that everything heretofore known about 
them is only an incorrect deduction from incorrect premises. 
There may be revealed to us something infinitely great and im- 
measurably important in such phenomena as the expansion and 
contraction of solids, electrical phenomena, heat, light, sound, 
the movements of the planets, the coming of day and ot night, the 
change of seasons, a thunderstorm, heat-lightnmg, etc., etc 
Generally speaking, we may find explained in the most unexpected 
manner the properties of phenomena which we used to accept as 
given things, as not containing anything within themselves that 
we could not see and understand. m 

The constancy, the time, the periodicity or unpenodicity ot 
phenomena may take on quite a new meaning and significance 
for us. The new and the unexpected may reveal itseli in the 
transition of some phenomena into others. Birth, death, the lite 
of a man, his relations with other men; love, enmity, sympathies, 
antipathies, desires, passions— these may unexpectedly receive 
illumination by an entirely new fight. It is impossible now to 


imagine the nature of this newness which we shall sense in familiar 
things, and once felt it will be difficult to understand. 

But it is really only our inaptitude to feel and understand this 
"newness" which divides us from it, because we are living in it 
and amidst it. Our senses, however, are too primitive, our con- 
cepts are too crude, for that fine differentiation of phenomena 
which must unfold itself to us in higher space. Our minds, our 
powers of correlation and association are insufficiently elastic for 
the grasping of new relations. Therefore, the first emotion at the 
rising of the curtain on "that world" — i. е., this our world, but 
free of those limitations under which we usually regard it — must 
be of wonderment, and this wonderment must grow greater and 
greater according to our better acquaintance with it. And the 
better we know a certain thing or a certain relation of things — the 
nearer, the more familiar they are to us — the greater will be our 
wonder at the new and the unexpected therein revealed. 

Desiring to understand the noumenal world we must search for 
the hidden meaning in everything. At present we are too heavily 
enchained by the habit of the positivistic method of searching 
always for the visible cause and the visible effect. Under this weight 
of positivistic habit it is extremely difficult for us to comprehend 
certain ideas. Among other things we have difficulty in under- 
standing the reality of the difference in the noumenal world between 
objects of our world which are similar, but different in function. 

But if we desire to approach to an understanding of the nou- 
menal world, we must try with all our might to notice all those 
seeming, "subjective" differences between objects which astonish 
us sometimes, of which we are often painfully aware — those 
differences which are expressed in artistic metaphors which are 
often revelations of the world of reality. Such differences are the 
realities of the noumenal world, far more real than all maya 
(illusion) of our phenomena. 

We should endeavor to notice these realities and to develop 
within ourselves the ability to feel them, because exactly in this 
manner and only by such a method do we put ourselves in contact 
with the noumenal world or the world of causes. 

I find an interesting example of the understanding of the hidden 
meaning of phenomena contained in "The Occult World" in the 


letter of a Hindu occultist to the author of the book, A. P. 


We see a vast difference [he writes] between the two qualities of two 
equal amounts of energy expended by two men, of whom one, let us 
suppose, is on his way to his daily quiet work, and another on his way to 
denounce a fellow creature at the police station, while the men of science 
see none; and we— not they— see a specific difference between the 
energy in the motion of the wind and that of a revolving wheel. 

Every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world, 
and becomes an active entity by associating itself, coalescing we might 
term it, with an elemental— that is to say, with one of the semi-intelh- 
gent forces of the kingdom. 

If we ignore the last part of this quotation for the moment, and 
consider only the first part, we shall easily see that the "man of 
science" does not recognize the difference in the quality of the 
energy spent by two men going, one to his work, and another to 
denounce someone. For the man of science this difference is 
negligible: science does not sense it and does not recognize it. 
But perhaps the difference is much deeper and consists not in the 
difference between modes of energy but in the difference between 
men, one of whom is able to develop energy of one sort and an- 
other that of a different sort. Now we have a form of knowledge 
which senses this difference perfectly, knows and understands 
it. I am speaking of art. The musician, the painter, the sculptor 
well understand that it is possible to walk differently— and even 
impossible not to walk differently: a workman and a spy can- 
not walk like one another. 

Better than all the actor understands this, or at least he should 
understand it better. 

The poet understands that the mast of a ship, the gallows, and 
the cross are made of different wood. He understands the differ- 
ence between the stone from a church wall and the stone from a 
prison wall. He hears "the voices of stones," understands the 
whisperings of ancient walls, of tumuli, of mountains, rivers, 
woods and plains. He hears "the voice of the silence," understands 
the psychological difference of silence, knows that one silence can 
differ from another. And this poetical understanding of the world 
should be developed, strengthened and fortified, because only by its 
aid do we come in contact with the true world of reality. In the 
real world, behind phenomena which appear to us similar, often 


stand noumena so different that only by our blindness is it possible 
to account for our idea of the similarity of those phemomena. 

Through such a false idea the current belief in the similarity 
and equality of men must have arisen. In reality the difference 
between a "hangman," a "sailor," and an "ascetic" is not an 
accidental difference of position, state and heredity, as material- 
ism tries to assure us; nor is it a difference between the stages of 
one and the same evolution, as theosophy affirms ; but it is a deep 
and impassable difference — such as exists between murder, work 
and prayer — involving entirely different worlds. The represent- 
atives of these worlds may seem to us to be similar men, only 
because we see not them, but their shadows only. 

It is necessary to accustom oneself to the thought that this 
difference is not metaphysical but entirely real, more real than 
many visible differences between things and between phenomena. 

All art, in essence, consists of the understanding and repre- 
sentation of these elusive differences. The phenomenal world is 
merely a means for the artist — just as colors are for the painter, 
and sounds for the musician — a means for the understanding 
of the noumenal world and for the expression of that understand- 
ing. At the present stage of our development we possess nothing 
so powerful, as an instrument of knowledge of the world of causes, 
as art. The mystery of life dwells in the fact that the noumenon, 
i. е., the hidden meaning and the hidden function of a thing, is re- 
flected in its phenomenon. A phenomenon is merely the reflection 
of a noumenon in our sphere. The phenomenon is the image 
of the noumenon. It is possible to know the noumenon by the 
phenomenon. But in this field the chemical reagents and spectro- 
scopes can acccomplish nothing. Only that fine apparatus which 
is called the soul of an artist can understand and feel the reflection 
of the noumenon in the phenomenon. In art it is necessary to 
study "occultism" — the hidden side of life. The artist must be a 
clairvoyant; he must see that which others do not see: he must be 
a magician, must possess the power to make others see that which 
they do not themselves see, but which he does see. 

Art sees more and farther than we do. As was said before we 
usually see nothing, we merely feel our way; therefore we do not 
notice those differences between things which cannot be expressed 
in terms of chemistry or physics. But art is the beginning of vision; 
it sees vastly more than the most perfect apparatus can discover; 


and it senses the infinite invisible facets of that crystal, one facet 
of which we call man. 

The truth is that this earth is the scene of a drama of which we only 
perceive scattered portions, and in which the greater number of the 
actors are invisible to us. 

Thus says the theosophical writer, Mabel Collins, the author of 
"Light on the Path," in a little book, "Illusions." And this is very 
true; we see only a little. 

But art sees farther than merely human sight, and therefore 
concerning certain sides of life art alone can speak, and has the 
right to speak. 

A remarkable attempt to portray our relation to the "noumenal 
world"— to that "great life"— is found in Book VII of Plato's 

Behold! human beings living in a sort of underground den; they have 
been there from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained— 
the chains are arranged in such a manner as to prevent them from 
turning round their heads. At a distance above and behind them 
the light of a fire is blazing, and between the fire and the prisoners there 
is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the 
way, like the screen which marionette players have before them, over 
which they show the puppets. Imagine men passing along the wall 
carrying vessels, which appear over the wall; also figures of men and 
animals, made of wood and stone and various materials; and some of the 
passengers, as you would expect, are talking, and some of them are 
silent ! 

That is a strange image, he said, and they are strange prisoners. 
Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or 
the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall 
of the cave? , 

True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows it they 
were never allowed to move their heads? 

And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would 
only see the shadows? 
Yes he said. 

And if they were able to talk with one another, would they not sup- 
pose that they were naming what was actually before them? 
Very true. 

And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came trom 
the other side, would they not be sure to fancy that the voice which they 
heard was that of a passing shadow? 
No question, he replied. 

"*"The Dialogues of Plato," Transl. by B. Jowett, Vol. II, pp. 341-345, Chas. Scribner's Sona, 

N. Y. 1911. 


There can be no question, I said that the truth would be to them just 
nothing but the shadows of the images. 

That is certain. 

And now look again and see how they are released and cured of their 
folly. At first, when any one of them is liberated and compelled sud- 
denly to go up and turn his neck round and walk and look at the light, 
he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him and he will be un- 
able to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; 
and then imagine someone saying to him, that what he saw before was 
an illusion, but that now he is approaching real being and has a truer 
sight and vision of more real things, — what will be his reply? And 
you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as 
they pass and requiring him to name them, — will he not be in a diffi- 
culty? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are 
truer than the objects which are now shown to him? 

Far truer. 

And if he is compelled to look at the light, will he not have a pain in 
his eyes which will make him turn away to take refuge in the object of 
vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be clearer than the 
things which are now being shown to him? 

True, he said. 

And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and 
rugged ascent, and held fast and forced into the presence of the sun him- 
self, do you not think that he will be pained and irritated, and when he 
approaches the light he will have his eyes dazzled, and will not be able to 
see any of the realities which are now affirmed to be the truth? 

Not all in a moment, he said. 

He will require to get accustomed to the sight of the upper world. 
And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and 
other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; next he will 
gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars; and he will see the sky 
and the stars by night, better than the sun, or the light of the sun, by 


And at last he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him 
in the water, but he will see him as he is in his own proper place, and not 
in another, and he will contemplate his nature. 


And after this he will reason that the sun is he who gives the seasons 
and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and 
in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been 
accustomed to behold? 

Clearly, he said, he would come to the other first and to this after- 

And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the 
den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate 
himself on the change, and pity them? 

Certainly, he would. 


And if they were in the habit of conferring honors on those who were 
quickest to observe and remember and foretell which of the shadows 
went before, and which followed after, and which were together, do you 
think that he would care for such honors and glories, or envy the pos- 
sessors of them? 

Would he not say with Homer, — 

"Better to be a poor man, and have a poor master," 
and endure anything, than to think and live after their manner? 

Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than live 
after their manner. 

Imagine once more, I said, that such an one coming suddenly out of 
the sun were to be replaced in his old situation, is he not certain to have 
his eyes full of darkness? 

Very true, he said. 

And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the 
shadows with the prisoners who have never moved out of the den, 
during the time that his sight is weak, and before his eyes are steady 
(and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight 
might be very considerable), would he not be ridiculous? Men would 
say of him that up he went and down he comes without his eyes; and 
that there was no use in even thinking of ascending : and if anyone tried 
to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the 
offender in the act, and they would put him to death. 

No question, he said. 

This allegory, I said, you may now append to the previous argument; 
the prison is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, the ascent 
and vision of the things above you may truly regard as the upward 
progress of the soul into the intellectual world. 

And you will understand that those who attain to this beatific vision 
are unwilling to descend to human affairs; but their souls are ever 
hastening into the upper world in which they desire to dwell. And is 
there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplations 
to human things, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous manner. 

There is nothing surprising in that, he replied. 

Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments 
of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from com- 
ing out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the 
mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers 
this when he sees the soul of any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, 
will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul has 
come out of the brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed 
to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by 
excess of light. And then he will count one happy in his condition and 
state of being. 


Occultism and love. Love and death. Our different relations to the 
problems of death and to the problems of love. What is lacking 
in our understanding of love? Love as an every-day and merely 
psychological phenomenon. The possibility of a spiritual under- 
standing of love. The creative force of love. The negation of love. 
Materialism and asceticism. The flight from love. Love and mys- 
ticism. The "wondrous" in love. Prof. Lutoslawsky, Leo Tolstoy, 
Nietzsche and Edward Carpenter on love. "The Ocean of Sex." 

HERE is not a single side of life which is not capable 
of revealing to us an infinity of the new and the unex- 
pected, if we approach it with the knowledge that it is 
not exhausted by its visibility, that beyond this visi- 
bility there is a whole "invisible world" — a world of to 
us new and incomprehensible forces and relations. The knowledge 
of the existence of this invisible world: this is the first key to it. 
A wealth of "newness" unfolds to us in the most mysterious 
sides of our existence, in those sides through which we come into 
direct contact with eternity — in love and in death. In Hindu 
mythology love and death are the two faces of one deity. Siva, 
god of the creative force of nature, who is worshipped in his symbol 
of the lingam, is at the same time the god of violent death, of 
murder and destruction. His wife is Parvati, goddess of beauty, 
love and happiness, and she is also Kali or Durga— goddess of evil, 
of misfortune, of sickness and of death. Together Siva and Kali 
are the gods of wisdom, the gods of the knowledge of good and 


In the beginning of his book, " The Drama of Love and Death"* 
Edward Carpenter very well defines our relation to these deeply 
incomprehensible and enigmatical sides of existence: 

Love and Death move through this world of ours like things apart — 
underrunning it truly, and everywhere present, yet seeming to belong 
to some other mode of existence. 

*Mitohell Kennerly, 1912, New York and London. 



And further: 

These figures, Love and Death, move through the world like closest 
friends indeed, never far separate, and together dominating it in a kind 
of triumphant superiority; and yet like bitterest enemies, dogging each 
other's footsteps, undoing each other's work, fighting for the bodies 
and souls of mankind. 

In these few words is shown the contents of the enigma which 
confronts us, encompasses us, creates and annihilates us. But 
man's relation to the two aspects of this enigma is not identical. 
Strange as it may seem, the face of death has ever been more at- 
tractive to the mystical imagination of men than the face of love. 
There have always been many attempts to understand and define 
the hidden meaning of death; all religions, all religious doctrines 
begin with giving to man this or that idea about death. It is 
impossible to construct any system of world-contemplation with- 
out some definition of death, and there are numerous systems 
such as contemporary spiritism which consist almost entirely of 
"views upon death," of doctrines about death and post-mortem 
existence. (In one of his articles, V. V. Rosanoff* observes that 
all religions consist in substance of teachings about death.) 

But the problem of love, in the contemporary way of looking at 
the world, is regarded as something given, as something already 
understood and known. Different systems contribute little that is 
enlightening to an understanding of love. So although in reality 
love is for us the same enigma as is death, yet for some strange 
reason we think about it less. We seem to have developed cer- 
tain cut and dried standards in regard to an understanding of love, 
and men thoughtlessly accept this or that standard. Art, 
which from its very nature should have much to say on this sub- 
ject, gives a great deal of attention to love; love ever has been, 
and perhaps still is, the principal theme of art. But even art 
chiefly confines itself merely to descriptions and to the psycholog- 
ical analysis of love, seldom touching those infinite and eternal 
depths which love contains for man. 

If, for convenience in reasoning, we shall accept the division of 
man and of the world into three planes: material, psychic and 
spiritual, then we may say that all the current understandings of 
love are confined to the material plane; art deals with love on the 
material and psychic planes, while only as a rare exception do 

• A Russian journalist and author. Transl. 


philosophy and art rise to the spiritual plane in the understanding 
of love. It is commonly assumed that love does not reach the spir- 
itual plane, and even hinders the spiritual evolution — it is regarded 
as an obstacle standing between man and his spiritual evolution. 

From this point of view the denial of love, and its repression, 
which is regarded as the overcoming of the flesh, conduces to 
spiritual development. 

Humanity has had far other understandings of love, but for the 
most part they are lost and forgotten, and contemporary thought 
of the most diverse shades does not comprehend, except by flashes, 
the most important aspect of love — its mystical and religious con- 
tent. The chief cause of this condition of things lies in the fact 
that the two great religions which embrace the majority of human- 
kind — Christianity and Buddhism — deal with love negatively, as 
a deplorable necessity of physical existence, and as a phenomenon 
of a lower order in comparison with spiritual aspirations, with 
which it is assumed to interfere. This view, millenniums old, 
has inevitably affected the most various modes of world-contem- 
plation. Moreover, during the last few centuries, a growing 
materialism has cheapened love in men's minds even more, 
degrading it to a material fact with material consequences, 
which fact is on a level with other physiological functions of the 
organism. As a result of such a direction of thought, of such a 
warped point of view, contemporary humanity has almost entirely 
lost the spiritual understanding of love. 

So that in our time men understand love as a common, every-day 
manner of life, they understand it as a psychological phenomenon, 
but all idea and sense of the cosmical content of love is atrophied 
in them. 

In the first mentioned case — in an every-day understanding of 
love — men strive to utilize love as an instrument or means for the 
settling of their lives; and in the second, they demand of love that 
it shall settle the affairs of their souls. But in both cases love is 
burdened by purposes and problems which do not belong to it at 
all. In reality love is a cosmic phenomenon, in which men, human- 
ity, are merely accidents : a cosmic phenomenon which has nothing 
to do with either the lives or the souls of men, any more than that 
the sun is shining, that by its light men may go about their 
little affairs, and that they may utilize it for their own purposes. 
If men would only understand this, even with a part of their 


consciousness, a new world would open, and to look on life from 
all our usual angles would become very strange. 

For then they would understand that love is something else, 
and of quite a different order from the petty phenomena of 
earthly life. 

Perhaps love is a world of strange spirits who at times take up 
their abode in men, subduing them to themselves, making them 
tools for the accomplishment of their inscrutable purposes. Per- 
haps it is some particular region of the inner world wherein the 
souls of men sometimes enter, and where they live according to 
the laws of that world, while their bodies remain on earth, bound 
by the laws of earth. Perhaps it is an alchemical work of some 
Great Master wherein the souls and bodies of men play the role of 
elements out of which is compounded a 'philosopher s stone, or an 
elixir of life, or some mysterious magnetic force necessary to some- 
one for some incomprehensible purpose. 

It is difficult to understand all this, and to make it seem rational. 
But by seeking to understand these mysterious purposes and by 
departing from mundane interpretations, man, without even being 
conscious of it at first, unites himself with the higher purposes and 
finds that thread which in the end of all ends will lead him out of 
the labyrinth of earthly contradictions. 

But this thread must be found first through the emotions, by 
direct feeling, and only afterwards by reason. And this thread 
will never reveal itself to a man who denies love and scorns it, 
because the denial of the importance and deep meaning of love 
always results from the materialistic view, and the materialistic 
view of love cannot be true. This view cannot be true because it 
considers love too narrowly, deduces general conclusions from 
premises of too negligible a percentage of data based on facts, sees 
only in a plane section a phenomenon of four-dimensional char- 
acter. Love is exactly as material a phenomenon as is the picture 
of a painter or the symphony of a musician. To analyze and 
evaluate love materialistically is precisely the same thing as try- 
ing to value a picture by its weight and a symphony by the volume 
of sound produced. 

What does the spiritual understanding of love mean? 

It means the understanding of the fact that love does not serve 
life, but serves the higher apprehension. If he is in right relation 
to it, love attunes man to the note of the "wondrous" strips off 


veils, opens closed doors. Both in the past, and perhaps in the 
present, there undoubtedly have been attempts at the understand- 
ing of love divorced from life, as a cult, as a magical ceremony, 
attuning body and soul to the reception of the wondrous. 

Love in relation to our life is a deity, sometimes terrible, some- 
times benevolent, but never subservient to us, never consenting to 
serve our purposes. Men strive to subordinate love to themselves, 
to warp it to the uses of their everyday mode of life, and to their 
souls' uses; but it is impossible to subordinate love to anything, and 
it mercilessly revenges itself upon these little mortals who would 
subordinate God to themselves and make Him serve them. It con- 
fuses all their calculations, and forces them to do things which con- 
found themselves, forcing them to serve itself, to do what it wants. 

Although our relation to love is so naive, there is no reason to 
suppose that men cannot take toward it an entirely different atti- 
tude, or that they always have been or always will be completely 
bound by materialism, without flashes of understanding of the 
wondrous in love. 

Somewhere, in the distant spaces of time, stand the magnificent 
temples of Love, there pass processions of priests and priestesses, 
and therein are performed the rituals of strange cults, full of deep 
mysticism, sometimes shot through by the flaming lightnings of 
revelations most profound. 

All this is too little understood by us ; we have wandered too far 
from the understanding of these mysteries, we have perverted 
them in our perception, lost the keys to their inner mystical sig- 
nificance. Only the religions of the Orient have preserved a living 
connection with the cosmical understanding of love. This re- 
ligious attitude toward love, which alone can reveal its inner 
content, may be seen in the phallic foundation of Hinduism, in 
the deities of Hindu mythology, in numerous still existing cere- 
monies, and particularly in those secret cults which still survive 
in many places in India. This idea is the principal content of the 
mysterious Kama-Yoga, to which are consecrated several temples 
in different parts of India (for example, the "temple of Raja from 
Nepal" at Bernares). In the "Western occultism", in alchemy, 
in magic, is also sometimes discernible a profound and fine un- 
derstanding of love, united with the search for the wonderous. 

But at the present time there is nothing so full of confusion as 
our understanding of love. We find no path among contradictions, 


and the age-long accumulation of lies and calumnies against love. 
Nor shall we understand it until we understand its great noumenal, 
transcendental meaning. 

The chief error that men make about love consists in the fact 
that they believe in its reality, and ascribe love to themselves; or, 
generally, to mankind. It seems to them that love begins in 
them, belongs to them, ends in them. And even when they ad- 
mit that everything in the world depends upon love and moves by 
love, they still seek in themselves the sources of love. 

Mistaken about the origin of love, men are mistaken about its 
result. Positivistic and spiritistic morality equally recognize in 
love only one possible result — children, the propagation of the 
species. But this objective result, which may or may not be, is in 
any case an effect of the outer, objective side of love, of the ma- 
terial fact of impregnation. If it is possible to see in love nothing 
more than this material fact and the desire for it, so be it; but in 
reality love consists not at all in a material fact, and the results 
of it — except material ones — may manifest themselves on quite 
another plane. This other plane, upon which love acts, and the 
ignored, hidden results of love, are not difficult to understand, 
even from the strictly positivistic, scientific standpoint. 

To science, which studies life from this side, the purpose of 
love is the continuation of life. More exactly, love is a link in the 
chain of facts supporting the continuation of life. The force 
which attracts the two sexes to one another is acting in the inter- 
ests of the continuation of the species, and is accordingly created 
by the forms of the continuation of the species. But if we regard 
love in this way, then it is impossible not to recognize that there is 
much more of this force than is necessary. Herein lies the key to the 
correct understanding of the true nature of love. There is more of 
this force than is necessary, infinitely more. In reality only an 
infinitesimal part of love's force incarnate in humanity is utilized 
for the purpose of the continuation of the species. But where 
does the major part of that force go? 

We know that nothing can be lost. If energy exists, then it 
must transform itself into something. Now if a merely negligible 
percentage of energy goes into the creation of the future by be- 
getting, then the remainder must go into the creation of the future 
also, but in another way. We have in the physical world many 
cases in which the direct function is effected by a very small per- 


centage of the consumed energy, and the greater part is spent 
without return, as it were. But of course this greater part of 
energy does not disappear, is not wasted, but accomplishes other 
results quite different from the direct function. 

Take the example of a common candle. It gives light, but it 
also gives considerably more heat than light. Light is the direct 
function of a candle, heat the indirect, but we get more heat than 
light. A candle is a furnace adapted to the purpose of lighting. 
In order to give light a candle must burn. Combustion is a neces- 
sary condition for the receiving of light from a candle; it is im- 
possible to ignore this combustion ; but the same combustion gives 
heat. At first thought it appears that the heat from a candle is 
spent unproductively ; sometimes it is superfluous, unpleasant, 
annoying; if a room is lighted by candles it will soon grow ex- 
cessively hot. But the fact remains that light is received from a 
candle only because of combustion — by the development of heat and 
the incandescence of volatilized gases. 

The same thing is true in the case of love. We may say that a 
merely negligible part of love's energy goes into posterity; the 
greater part is spent by the fathers and mothers on their personal 
emotions as it were. But this also is necessary. Without this ex- 
penditure the principal thing could not be achieved. Only because 
of these at first sight collateral results of love, only because of all 
this tempest of emotions, feelings, effervescences, desires, 
thoughts, dreams, fantasies, inner creation; only because of the 
beauty which it creates, can love fulfill its immediate function. 

Moreover — and this perhaps is the most important — the super- 
fluous energy is not wasted at all, but is transformed into other 
forms of energy, possible to discover. Generally speaking, the 
significance of the indirect results may very often be of more im- 
portance than the significance of direct ones. And since we are 
able to trace how the energy of love transforms itself into instincts, 
ideas, creative forces on different planes of life; into symbols of 
art, song, music, poetry; so can we easily imagine how the same 
energy may transform itself into a higher order of intuition, into a 
higher consciousness which will reveal to us a marvelous and 
mysterious world. 

In all living nature (and perhaps also in that which we consider 
as dead) love is the motive force which drives the creative activity 
in the most diverse directions. 


In springtime, with the first awakening of love's emotions, the 
birds begin to sing, and to build nests. 

Of course a positivist would strive to explain all this very 
simply: singing acts as an attraction between the females 
and the males, and so forth. But even a positivist will not be in a 
position to deny that there is a good deal more of this singing than 
is necessary for the "continuation of the species." For a posi- 
tivist, indeed, "singing" is merely "an accident," a "by-product." 
But in reality it may be that this singing is the principal function 
of a given species, the realization of its existence, the purpose pur- 
sued by nature in creating this species; and that this singing is 
necessary, not so much to attract the females, as for some gen- 
eral harmony of nature which we only rarely and imperfectly 

Thus in this case we observe that what appears to be a collateral 
function of love, from the standpoint of the individual, may serve 
as a principal function of the species. 

Furthermore, there are no fledglings yet: there is even no inti- 
mation of them, but "homes" are prepared for them nevertheless. 
Love inspires this orgy of activity, and instinct directs it, because 
it is expedient from the standpoint of the species. At the first 
awakening of love this work begins. One and the same desire 
creates a new generation and those conditions under which this 
new generation will live. One and the same desire urges forward 
creative activity in all directions, brings the pairs together for the 
birth of a new generation, and makes them build and create for this 
same future generation. 

We observe the same thing in the world of men : there too love 
is the creative force. And the creative activity of love does not 
manifest itself in one direction only, but in many ways. It is indeed 
probable that by the spur of love, Eros, humanity is aroused to the 
fulfillment of its principal function, of which we know nothing, but 
only at times by glimpses hazily perceive. 

But even without reference to the purpose of the existence of 
humanity, within the limits of the knowable we must recognize 
that all the creative activity of humanity results from love. Our 
entire world revolves around love as its center. Creation of every 
sort is necessarily the result of sex activity, the fruit of a conscious 
or unconscious union. One side of this fact we know very well: we 
know that woman alone, without man, cannot produce children. 


The creative force of man is necessary; impregnation is necessary. 
We know this, but we fail to recognize that all the creative activity 
of man comes from woman. Just as from the outer, physical side 
— for the purpose of the birth of children — man impregnates 
woman, communicates to her the beginnings of new life; so from 
the inner, spiritual side, woman, or the dreaming and romancing 
about woman, fecundates man, communicates to him the be- 
ginnings of new ideas, new intuitions. 

All ideal, all intuitive, creation of man, is the result of that 
energy which flows from "love," either secret or avowed. All 
creative activity is of necessity a conscious or unconscious inter- 
action between the two sexes. Without this interchange of emo- 
tion no creation is possible. For asexual human beings is possible 
only the " education of the children of others." Cherchez la femme! 
It is necessary to apply this principle, not alone to the detection of 
crimes, but to all culture created by man — and therefore by woman. 
In the creative activity of every epoch it is possible to find the 
traces of the influence of the women of that particular epoch. 
Moslem civilization lost its ascendency because it deprived its 
women of freedom. The history of culture — this is the history 
of love! 

It is quite immaterial, for the inspiration of creation, that 
woman should know what she gives to man. On the other hand, 
she may have no slightest comprehension of those ideas which 
she arouses, for she acts by her mere presence, by her beauty, 
by her infinite, illusive feminity, by her expressed or unexpressed 
desire. A woman may even neither see nor know a man, may pass 
him by, and nevertheless fecundate his fancy, his imagination, his 
creative energy. 

Infinitely various are the means of this fecundation of the 
spirit: sometimes pleasure is necessary, and all the beauty and 
fullness of love; sometimes suffering penetrating to the very 
depths of the soul; and sometimes crime is necessary for it, some- 
times heroism, self-abnegation, self-sacrifice. 

Love unfolds in a human being traits of his which he never 
knew in himself. In love there is much both of the Stone Age and 
of the Witches' Sabbath. By anything less than love many men 
cannot be induced to commit a crime, to be guilty of a treason, to 
reanimate in themselves such feelings as they thought to have 
killed out long ago. In love is hidden an infinity of egoism, van- 


ity and selfishness. Love is the potent force that tears off all 
masks, and men who run away from love do so in order that they 
may preserve their masks. 

If creation, the birth of ideas, is the light which comes from love, 
then this light comes from a great fire. In this eternally burning 
fire in which humanity and all the world are being incessantly 
purified, all the forces of the human spirit and of genius are 
being evolved and refined; and perhaps indeed, from this same 
fire or by its aid a new force will arise which shall deliver from 
the chains of matter all who follow where it leads. 

Speaking not figuratively, but literally, it may be said that 
love, being the most powerful of all emotions, unveils in the soul of 
man all its qualities patent and latent; and it may also unfold 
those new potencies which even now constitute the object of 
occultism and mysticism — the development of powers in the 
human soul so deeply hidden that by the majority of men their 
very existence is denied. 

But the obstacles to such an understanding of love are our 
materialism — unconscious and avowed — and those Christian- 
Buddhistic tendencies which during the lapse of ages have power- 
fully affected our attitude toward the whole problem of sex. 

I find a very characteristic opinion on this matter in the book 
"Liberie et Volonte'' by Prof. Lutoslawsky. He is endeavoring to 
prove that the solution of the problem of man, striving for spir- 
itual development, consists in the denial of love. 

The sexual act realizes a desire, the most turbulent and the most 
exalted of all desires of the body; that desire the satisfaction of which 
brings to a human being the most intense pleasure that he knows. 
In order to struggle against this desire, and to abstain from this pleasure, 
it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the incompatibility of 
these satisfactions with the most sublime aspirations of our being. 
The fact is established by observation that intensive aesthetic or intel- 
lectual activity weakens the sexual instinct, and sometimes eliminates 
it altogether, while on the other hand, satisfaction of this instinct 
quenches aesthetic and intellectual inspiration. 

Thus chastity is the natural regime of life which is full of inspiration, 
and men who cannot live without the usual sexual satisfactions deprive 
themselves of the intimate union with the world of the invisible from 
which inspirations flow. 

That creative force which manifests in its most perfect form in art 
differentiates man from all beings standing lower than he, and it is neces- 


sary to pay for this force by the abstention from the most powerful of all 
animal satisfactions. . . In giving birth to children, men and women 
lose a certain amount of their individual power, and sacrifice part of 
their vital forces in order to give birth to new organisms. . . So far 
as those who are striving toward the exalted ideals of creation are con- 
cerned, chastity is for them a prime condition. 

It is necessary to dispose of that superficial argument which is usually 
advanced when conversation touches the foregoing theme. To the 
propaganda of celibacy men retort that the accomplishment of the ideal 
of celibacy would threaten the very existence of humanity. But we do 
not know at all if a humanity composed of chaste individuals would be 
subject to senility and death as before, because neither senility nor death 
has ever been proven to be a necessity of organic life.* 

Prof. Lutoslawsky's book serves as a curious example of the 
manner in which the same arguments may be applied to the proof 
of diametrically opposite theses. Prof. Lutoslawsky is entirely 
dogmatical from beginning to end, and his whole book is a defense 
of predetermined dogmas. 

Prof. Lutoslawsky is defending celibacy and chastity because he 
needs thereby to establish the dogma of the celibacy of the 
Catholic priesthood, in the same way that he affirms elsewhere 
that the Poles are a nation and that the Hebrews are not a nation. 
In his opinion the Poles are a nation because they have a common 
language and a common land, for which they strive: and the 
Hebrews have not. He forgets to take into consideration one 
little circumstance, that a little over a century has passed from 
the time of the partition of Poland, but from the time of the dis- 
persion of the Hebrews almost two thousand years have elapsed. 
One may accuse the Hebrews of anything; but to try to prove that 
they have no nationality is just as ridiculous as to affirm that 
senility and death have not been proven to be necessities of life. 
Prof. Lutoslawsky's book is like this all the way through. He 
calls himself a "spiritualist," hurls his polemics against "pseudo- 
mystics;" but in reality he slips and falls on every step, displaying 
the most candid materialism and Polish-Catholic (i. е., more 
definitely, politico-clerical) propaganda which it would be possible 
to conduct, without any "spiritualism" whatsoever. 

Lutoslawsky's views on the subject of love are lower-dimen- 
sional and materialistic. Love to him is merely "satisfaction." 
In order to understand the extent of his narrowness it is in- 

* Translated from the Russian of P. D. Ouspensky. Transl. 


structive to take up, after Prof. Lutoslawsky's book, "The Drama 
of Love and Death" by Edward Carpenter, from which I have 
already quoted. Being himself half ascetic and half hermit, 
Carpenter sings of love as might an ancient Sufi. He tells truly 
about those sides of love which Prof. Lutoslawsky represents 
falsely : about that regeneration which love brings, about the influx 
of energy, about inspiration, which are inseparably linked with 
love; and he tells of the necessity of an "art of love" which shall 
bring about an attitude toward love infinitely removed from 
the rectilinear and primitive views of Lutoslawsky. 

Of course, if one were to agree with Prof. Lutoslawsky that senil- 
ity and death are not proven necessities of organic life, then it is 
possible to affirm anything. Prof. Lutoslawsky takes the same 
position in regard to this particular matter as does Tolstoy, 
namely, that if mankind denied sexual desire, nature might find 
some other means of continuing the species on earth. Further on 
he affirms that the propagation of posterity can be completely 
divorced from passion, from delight; and in this case he consciously 
or unconsciously repeats the words of the Judaic code of morality, 
which recognizes and admits the need of conjugation (in the interest 
of the species), but which prohibits delight, and with particular 
strictness prohibits a husband from experiencing delight with his 
own wife. This fanaticism of ultra-materialistic Judaism is held 
up by Lutoslawsky as the very crown of morality. 

That which humanity receives from love and through love 
seemingly does not exist for Prof. Lutoslawsky, just as it ceased 
to exist for Tolstoy, enfeebled by age. Love according to Lutos- 
lawsky's conception of it is merely "conjugation," it merely "uses 
up force." Wherever he derived the idea that realized love 
weakens the creative intuition is his secret; but he builds upon it 
and proves the necessity for asceticism, which is realized, well or 
ill, in the semi-monastical, but in substance political, order of 
"Elevsis"; founded by him. 

Generally speaking, there is nothing more "two-dimensional" 
or more cynical than the sort of moralization which perceives in 
love only sin and lust. In this consists one's inability to take the 
higher view-point, and to discover the true meaning of it all. 
For example, what a dark lie hides in all the moral discourses of 
"The Kreutzer Sonata" and "Afterward." All this description 
of love in anatomical and physiological terms is the same sort of 


false representation as would be a description of music by a deaf 
man. If a deaf man should describe a piano and should say that 
it is a black box on three feet, open on one side, and that people 
knock at it with their fingers, this would be quite an exact de- 
scription. But after all it will not explain why some weep and 
others laugh. 

In the first edition of this book, in those sketches which took the place 
of the present chapter, among other things I made the attempt to classify 
love, and to differentiate between "love" (individualized feeling) from 
"sexual emotion" (not individualized and undiscriminating in its long- 
ing for the satisfaction of the purely physical desire). But it seems to 
me now that this division, like all similar divisions, is unsatisfactory. 
The difference is not in facts but in men. 

There are men who are cynical, vulgar and two-dimensional in every- 
thing they do and feel, whether it be "love," " dissoluteness" or "asceti- 
cism." Love in such men is infallibly accompanied by jealousy; it 
degenerates into wickedness and hatred, it leads to murder, to the throw- 
ing of acid and so forth. 

These men cannot comprehend a love without jealousy. And jealousy 
is the slayer of the sense of the wondrous in love. But there are other men 
in whom even the general, and not the individualized sex attraction will 
be fine, full of thought, and of bright sparks of cosmical feeling. 

On earth there are living two entirely different races of men; and the 
difficulty of making psychological distinctions depends, in great measure, 
upon the fact that we endeavor to impose on all men common character- 
istics which they do not possess. 

For another reason it is impossible to divide love into two classes: 
(1) physical desire without personal attachment, and (2) physico- 
psychical love with personal attachment. There must be recognized also 
the possibility of a third type of relation, in which the principal element 
is a conscious search for the wondrous in love and through love. For 
the higher type of men love without this search for the wondrous becomes 
almost impossible. 

I have deliberately designated as cynical that moralism which 
sees in love merely one purpose — the propagation of posterity 
(or, subjectively, a physical satisfaction) — a purpose which should 
be achieved as quickly as possible, disregarding all the rest. Cyn- 
icism may be expressed not in dissoluteness only. There may be 
cynical moralism and even cynical asceticism, just as there is 
cynical dissoluteness. It all depends upon our point of view of 
things, upon our relation to them. Cynicism — this is the psy- 
chology of a two-dimensional being. The dog (kunos) is such a two- 
dimensional being. Two-dimensional morality will be inevitably 


a cynical morality. It will everywhere and in all things suspect its 
own tendencies, because it does not know the tendencies of others 
and does not understand them. 

V. V. RosanofT has interesting things to say in the book "Men 
of the Moonlight." In his opinion the idea of sinfulness, the idea 
of "abomination," the idea of asceticism, arose out of sexual 
perversion, out of hermaphrodism, out of "gynandria" and 
"androgynia." And this hermaphrodism can be expressed not in 
anything physical, but only psychically — it can be only a herma- 
phrodism of the soul. 

Sodomy gave birth to the idea that love is sin. In reality, what is 
hermaphrodism, psychologically? — The tortures of Tantalus — every- 
thing in himself and inaccessible. The next thing is the hatred of this 
inaccessible, terror before it, mystical horror, an abomination from which 
it is necessary to run away. 

All this is interesting although it sounds somewhat paradoxical. 
To regard love as an abomination undoubtedly implies some 
measure of perversion. But asceticism can be founded upon quite 
other motives. The fact is that in the majority of cases love, as it 
exists in modern life, has become a trifling away of feelings, of 
sensations. And asceticism may be an escape from all this trivial- 
ity. Moreover, mysticism demands solitude. It is difficult, in 
the conditions which govern life in the world, to imagine such a 
love as would not interfere with mystical aspirations. Temples of 
love and the mystical celebration of love's mysteries exist in 
reality no longer: there is the "every-day manner of life", and 
psychological labyrinths, from which those who rise a little above 
the ordinary level can only desire to run away. 

For this reason certain fine forms of asceticism are developing 
quite naturally. This asceticism does not slander love, does not 
blaspheme against it, does not try to convince itself that love is an 
abomination from which it is necessary to run away. It is Platon- 
ism rather than asceticism. It recognizes that love is the sun, but 
often does not see its way to live in the sunlight, and so considers it 
better not to see the sun at all, to divine it in the soul only, rather 
than receive its light through darkened or smoked glasses. 

In general, however, love represents for men too great an 
enigma; and often the denial of love and asceticism take on 
strange and unnatural forms, even with persons who are 


quite sincere, but unable to understand the great mystical aspect 
of love. When one encounters these perversions of love, one in- 
voluntarily calls to mind the words of Zarathustra* : 

Voluptuousness: unto all hair-shirted despisers of the body, a string 
and stake; and cursed as "the world" by all backworldsmen: for it 
mocketh and befooleth all erring, misinferring teachers. 

Voluptuousness: to the rabble the slow fire at which it is burnt: to 
all wormy wood, to all stinking rags, the prepared heat and stew 

Voluptuousness : to free hearts, a thing innocent and free, the garden- 
happiness of the earth, all the future's thanks-overflow to the present. 

Voluptuousness : only to the withered a sweet poison : to the lion-willed, 
however, the great cordial, and the reverently saved wine of wines. 

Voluptuousness: the great symbolic happiness of a higher happiness 
and highest hope. For to many is marriage promised and more than 
marriage — to many that are more unknown to each other than man and 
woman — and who hath fully understood how unknown to each other are 
man and woman. 

I have dwelt so long on the subject of the understanding of love 
because it has the most vital significance; because to the major- 
ity of men, approaching the threshold of the great mystery, much 
is closed or opened to them in this way, and because for many this 
question represents the greatest obstacle. It is almost naive to say 
so much in defense of love. Contemporary thought is not ex- 
hausted by such writers as Lutoslawsky and Tolstoy: there exist 
quite different paths of thought. But one thing remains invari- 
able in our relation to love — we are unable to reconcile a broad 
and free idea of love with the idea of morality and spiritual 
aspirations. The result of this is either the absence of any moral- 
ity whatsoever, or the limitation of love — morality hostile or sus- 
picious in its relation to love. 

I mean by morality not a code (no matter of what kind) of pre- 
determined rules, but the inner necessity for the appraisal of one's 
actions from the standpoint of the higher understanding, the 
inner necessity for the co-ordination of one's actions and one's life 
with those ideas to which thought has attained. 

And the power thus to coordinate love and thought can appear in 
men when — and only when — they have come to understand that 
love is not a phenomenon of this world, and that it does not belong 
to them, but is infinity itself, with which they sometimes come 
weakly in contact. 

*F. Nietzche: "Thus Spake Zarathustra." (New York, Boni and Liveright.) pp. 195, 196. 


To feel this infinity it is necessary to understand the unreality 
of everything material and factual, and the reality of fantasy and 
the world of the imagination. 

The material world does not exist. 

Any man who is able to sense and understand this will sense 
and understand it best of all and clearest of all in love, for that 
love is the most real which is the most fantastic. But it is neces- 
sary both to feel and to understand what all this means. 

In love the most important element is that which is not, which 
absolutely does not exist from the usual worldly, materialistic point 
of view. 

In this sensing of that which is not, and in the contact 
through it with the world of the wondrous, i. е., truly real, con- 
sists the principal element of love in human life. 

It is a well known psychological fact that in moments of power- 
ful emotion, of great joy or great suffering, everything happening 
round about a man seems to him unreal — a dream. This is the 
beginning of the soul's awakening. When a man in a dream 
begins to be conscious of the fact that he is asleep and that what 
he sees is a dream, then he is waking up; so also the soul, beginning 
to be conscious of the fact that all visible life is a dream, ap- 
proaches its awakening. And the more powerful, the brighter, the 
inner emotions are, so much the more quickly will the moment of 
consciousness of the unreality of life come. 

The purpose of love is the awakening of the soul. But to attain 
this purpose the love-flame must burn at the maximum of clear- 
ness and intensity. This is possible only when there are no false 
views upon the subject of love, and only for those who are not 
hopelessly sunk in materiality. 

Love sorts out and selects men. 

The fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge this floor, and 
gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with 
unquenchable fire. 

Love is this Great Sifter. Nature has many methods of "sift- 
ing," and love is one of the chief. Those who are able to feel that 
which is not, go in one direction, and those who are inapt, who 
know facts only — in another. In love, clearer than anywhere 
else, are manifest the differences between two fundamental types 
of men, the higher and the lower race — the "wheat" and "tares" 
of humanity. 


But that relation to love which characterizes the higher race 
arises spontaneously only in rare cases: it usually exists but in 
potentiality, and may be developed, or suppressed and replaced, by 
another and inferior type. And of course the gospel of men of 
materialistic views, with whatever words this materialism is dis- 
guised, interferes more than anything else with this cultivation 
of the higher understanding of love. 

The reasonings of Lutoslawsky and Tolstoy show how the ma- 
terialistic understanding of love may limit a man. Love cannot 
be measured by materialistic standards; and men fatally enmesh 
themselves in their own imaginings, and enmesh others. The 
question of love is too momentous, too complex and too mys- 
tically-elusive, to be considered as on one plane. 

It is very interesting to consider love and men's relation to love 
in the light of that method and those analogies which we have 
already applied to the comparative study of different dimensions. 

Again it is necessary to imagine a world of plane beings, ob- 
serving phenomena entering their plane from another unknowable 
world (such as the change of the color of lines on the plane, in 
reality depending upon the rotation through the plane of a wheel 
with many-colored spokes). The plane beings believe that the 
phenomena arise within the limits of their plane, from causes also 
belonging to the same plane, and that they are finished there. 
Also, all similar phenomena are to them identical, such as two 
circles, which in reality belong to two entirely different objects. 

On this foundation they erect their science and their morality. 
Yet if they would decide to discard their "two-dimensional" psy- 
chology and try to understand the true substance of these phe- 
nomena, then with the aid and by means of these phenomena they 
could sever their connection with their plane, arise, fly up above 
it, and discover a great unknown world. 

The question of love holds exactly the same place in our 

Only he who can see considerably beyond the facts discerns love's 
real meaning; and it is possible to illumine these very facts by the 
light of that which lies behind them. 

And he who is able to see beyond the "facts" begins to discern 
much of "newness" in love and through love. 

I shall quote in this connection a poem in prose by Edward 
Carpenter from the book "Towards Democracy." 



To hold in continence the great sea, the great ocean of Sex, within one, 

With flux and reflux pressing on the bounds of the body, the beloved 

Vibrating, swaying emotional to the star-glint of the eyes of all human 

Reflecting Heaven and all Creatures, 

How wonderful ! 

Scarcely a figure, male or female, approaches, but a tremor travels 
across it. 

As when on the cliff which bounds the edge of a pond someone moves, 
then in the bowels of the water also there is a mirrored movement, 

So on the edge of this Ocean. 

The glory of the human form, even faintly outlined under the trees 
or by the shore, convulses it with far reminiscences; 

(Yet strong and solid the sea-banks, not lightly overpassed) ; 

Till maybe to the touch, to the approach, to the incantation of the 
eyes of one, 

It bursts forth, uncontrollable. 

О wonderful ocean of Sex, 

Ocean of millions and millions of tiny seed-like human forms con- 
tained (if they be truly contained) within each person, 

Mirror of the very universe, 

Sacred temple and innermost shrine of each body, Ocean-river flowing 
ever on through the great trunk and branches of Humanity, 

From which after all the individual only springs like a leaf -bud! 

Ocean which we so wonderfully contain (if indeed we do not contain 
thee) , and yet who containest us ! 

Sometimes when I feel and know thee within, and identify myself 
with thee, 

Do I understand that I also am of the dateless brood of Heaven and 

Returning to that from which I started, the relation between 
the two fundamental laws of our existence, love and death, the 
true mutual correlation of which remains enigmatical and incom- 
prehensible to us, I shall merely recall Schopenhauer's words 
with which he ends his "Counsels and Maxims." 

. I should point out how Beginning and End meet together, and how 
closely and intimately Eros is connected with Death; how Orcus, or 
Amenthes, as the Egyptians called him, is not only the receiver but the 
giver of all things . . . Death is the great reservoir of Life. Every- 
thing comes from Orcus — everything that is alive now and was once 
there. Could we but understand the great trick by which that is done, 
all the world would be clear.* 

* Transl. by Т. B. Saunders, M. A. MacMillan Co., New York. 




The phenomenal and the noumenal side of man. "Man-in-himself". 
How do we know the inner side of man? Can we know of the exist- 
ence of consciousnesses in conditions of space not analogous to 
ours? Brain and consciousness. Unity of the world. Logical im- 
possibility of the simultaneous existence of spirit and matter. 
Either all spirit or all matter. Rational and irrational actions in 
nature and in the life of man. Can rational actions exist alongside 
irrational? The world as an accidentally self -created mechan- 
ical toy. The impossibility of consciousness in a mechanical uni- 
verse. The irreconcilability of mechanicalness with the existence 
of consciousness. The fact of human consciousness as de- 
stroying the mechanistic system. The consciousnesses of other 
sections of the world. How may we know about them? Kant con- 
cerning "hosts". Spinoza on the knowledge of the invisible world. 
Necessity for the intellectual definition of that which can be, and 
that which cannot be, in the noumenal world. 

ТЕ know what man is only imperfectly; our con- 
ceptions regarding him are extremely fallacious 
and easily create new illusions. First of all, we 
are inclined to regard man as a certain unity, and 
to regard the different parts and functions of 
man as being bound together, and dependent upon one another. 
Moreover, in the physical apparatus, in man visible, we see the 
cause of all his properties and actions. In reality, man is a very 
complicated something, and complicated in various meanings of 
the word. Many sides of the life of a man are not bound together 
among themselves at all, or are bound only by the fact that they 
belong to one man; but the life of man goes on simultaneously 
on different planes, as it were, while the phenomena of one plane 
only at times and partially touch those of another, and may not 
themselves touch at all. And the relations of the same man to the 
various sides of himself and to other men are entirely dissimilar. 
Man includes within himself all three of the above mentioned 
orders of phenomena, i. е., he represents in himself the combina- 
tion of physical phenomena with those of life and of consciousness. 
And the mutual relations between these three orders of phenomena 




are infinitely more complex than we are accustomed to think. 
The phenomena of consciousness we feel, sense and are conscious 
of in ourselves; physical phenomena and the phenomena of life 
we observe and make conclusions about on the basis of experience. 
We do not sense the phenomena of the consciousness of others, 
i. е., the thoughts, feelings and desires of another man; but the 
fact that they exist in him we conclude from what he says, and by 
analogy with ourselves. We know that in ourselves certain ac- 
tions, certain thoughts and feelings, proceed and when we observe 
the same actions in another man, we conclude that he has thought 
and felt like us. Analogy with ourselves — this is our sole cri- 
terion and method of reasoning and drawing conclusions about 
the phenomena of consciousness in other men if we cannot com- 
municate with them, or do not wish to believe in what they tell 
us about themselves. 

Suppose that I should live among men without the possibility 
of communicating with them and having no way to make con- 
clusions based upon analogy; in that case I should be surrounded 
by moving and acting automatons, the cause, purpose and mean- 
ing of whose actions would be perfectly incomprehensible to me. 
Perhaps I would explain their actions by "molecular motion", 
perhaps by the "influence of the planets", perhaps by " spiritism", 
i. е., by the influence of "spirits", possibly by "chance" or by a 
haphazard combination of causes — but in any case I should not and 
could not see the consciousness in the depth of these men's actions. 

Concerning the existence of consciousness I can usually only 
conclude by analogy with myself. I know that certain phenomena 
are connected in me with my possession of consciousness. When 
I see the same phenomena in another man I conclude that he also 
possesses consciousness. But I cannot convince myself directly 
of the existence of consciousness in another man. Studying man 
from one side only I should stand in the same position in relation 
to him as, according to Kant, we stand with relation to the world 
surrounding us. We know merely the form of our knowledge of 
it. The world-in-itself we do not know. 

Thus for the knowledge of man-in-himself (i. е., his conscious- 
ness) I have two methods — the analogy with myself, and the 
intercourse of my consciousness with the consciousness of another 
by the exchange of thoughts. Without this, man is for me a phe- 
nomenon merely, a moving automaton. 


The noumenon of a man is his consciousness together with 
everything his consciousness includes within itself and that with 
which it unites him. 

, In "man" are opened to us both worlds, though the noumenal 
world is open only slightly, because it is cognized by us through 
the phenomenal. 

Noumenal means apprehended by the mind; and the char- 
acteristic property of the things of the noumenal world is that 
they cannot be comprehended by the same method by which the 
things of the phenomenal world are comprehended. We may 
speculate about the things of the noumenal world; we may 
discover them by a process of reasoning, and by means of analogy ; 
we may feel them, and enter into some sort of communion with 
them; but we can neither see, hear, touch, weigh, measure them; 
nor can we photograph them or decompose them into chemical 
elements or number their vibrations. The noumenal world, or the 
world of causes, is for us the world of metaphysical facts. 

Thus consciousness, with all its functions and with all its con- 
tents — thoughts, feelings, desires, will — relates itself to the 
metaphysical world. We cannot know even a single element of 
consciousness objectively. Emotion as such is a thing which it is 
impossible to see, just as it is impossible to see the value of a coin. 
You can see the stamp upon a coin, but you will never see its 
value. It is just as impossible to photograph thought as it is to 
imagine "Egyptian darkness" in a vial. To think otherwise, to 
experiment with the photographing of thought, simply means to 
be unable to think logically. On a phonographic record are the 
tracings of the needle, elevations and depressions, but there is no 
sound. He who holds a phonographic record to his ear, hoping to 
hear something, will be sure to listen in vain. 

Including within himself two worlds, the phenomenal and the 
noumenal, man gives us the opportunity to understand in what 
relation these worlds stand to one another everywhere throughout 

We have already arrived at the conclusion that the noumenon 
of a thing consists in its function in another sphere — in its meaning 
which is incomprehensible in a given section of the world.* Next 

* The expression "section of the world" is taken as an indicator of the unreality of the forms of each 
section. The world is infinite, and all forms are infinite, but to grasp them with the finite brain-con- 
sciousness, i. е., by consciousness reflected in the brain, we must imagine the infinite forms аз being finite, 
and these are "sections of the world." The world is one, but the number of possible sections is infinite. 
Let us imagine an apple: it is one, but we may imagine an infinite number of sections in all directions and 
these sections will differ from one another. If instead of an apple we take a more complicated body, for 
instance the body of some animal: then the sections taken in different directions will be even more unlike 
one another. 


we came to the conclusion that the number of meanings of one 
and the same thing in different sections of the world must be in- 
finitely great and infinitely various, that it must become its own 
opposite, return again to the beginning (from our standpoint) 
etc., etc., infinitely expanding, contracting again, and so forth. 

It is necessary to remember that the noumenon and the phe- 
nomenon are not different things, but merely different aspects of 
one and the same thing. Thus the phenomenon is the finite expres- 
sion, in the sphere of our knowledge through the organs of sense, 
of the infinite noumenon. 

From our standpoint we can equally say that a certain phe- 
nomenon, or a certain group of phenomena, from the side of 
noumena, is expressed by the consciousness of some infinite and 
multifarious substance; or that an infinite and infinitely multi- 
farious consciousness is expressed to us by that or another definite 

A phenomenon is the three-dimensional expression of a given 

This three-dimensionality depends upon the three-dimensional 
forms of our knowledge, i. е., speaking simply, upon our brains, 
nerves, eyes, and finger-tips. 

In "man" we have found that his noumenon is consciousness, 
and that therefore in consciousness lies the solution of the riddle 
of the functions and meanings of man which are incomprehensible 
from an outside point of view. What is the consciousness of man 
if it is not his function— incomprehensible in the three-dimen- 
sional section of the world? Truly, if we shall study and observe 
man by all accessible means, objectively, from without, we shall 
never discover his consciousness and shall never define the func- 
tion of his consciousness. We must first of all become aware of our 
own consciousness, and then either begin a conversation (by signs, 
gestures, words) with another man, begin to exchange thoughts 
with him, and from his answers deduce the conclusion that he 
possesses consciousness — or come to the conclusion about it from 
external indications (actions similar to ours in similar circum- 
stances) . By the direct method of objective investigation, without 
the help of speech, or without the help of conclusions based upon 
analogy, we shall not discover consciousness in another man. 


That which is inaccessible to the direct method of investigation, 
but exists, is noumenal. Consequently we shall not be in a posi- 
tion to define the functions and meanings of man in another sec- 
tion of the world than that world of Euclidian geometry, solely 
accessible to the "direct methods of investigation." Therefore we 
have a perfect right to regard "the consciousness of man" as his 
function in some section of the world different from that three- 
dimensional section wherein "the body of man" functions. 

Having established this much we may ask ourselves the ques- 
tion: have we not the right to make a reverse conclusion, and 
regard as their consciousness the to us unknown function of the 
" world" and of " things" outside of their three-dimensional section. 

Our usual positivistic view regards consciousness as a function 
of the brain. Without a brain we cannot imagine consciousness. 

Max Nordau, when he wanted to imagine the world's conscious- 
ness (in "Paradoxes") was obliged to say that we cannot be cer- 
tain that somewhere in the infinite space of the universe is not re- 
peated on a grandiose scale the same combination of physical 
and chemical elements as constitutes our brains. This is very 
characteristic and typical of "positive science." Desiring to 
imagine the "world's consciousness" positivism is first of all 
forced to imagine a gigantic brain. Does not this at once savor of 
the two-dimensional or plane world? Surely the idea of a gigantic 
brain somewhere beyond the stars reveals the appalling poverty 
and impotence of positivistic thought. This thought cannot leave 
its usual grooves; it has no wings for a soaring flight. 

Let us imagine that some curious inhabitant of Europe in the 
seventeenth century should try to foresee the means of transpor- 
tation in the twentieth century, and should picture to himself an 
enormous stage coach, large as an hotel, harnessed to one thousand 
horses; he would be pretty near to the truth, but ... at the same 
time infinitely far from it. And yet even in his time some minds 
which foresaw along correct lines already existed : already the idea 
of the steam engine had been broached and models were appearing. 

The thought expressed by Nordau reminds one of a favorite 
concept of popular philosophy, that the planets and satellites of 
the solar system are merely molecules of some tremendous organ- 
ism, an insignificant part of which that system represents. 


"Perhaps the entire universe is located on the tip of the little 
finger of some great being", says such a philosophizer, "and per- 
haps our molecules are also worlds". The deuce! "Perhaps on 
my little finger there are several universes too!" And such a 
philosophizer gets frightened. But all such reasonings are merely 
the gigantic stage-coach over again. This is the way a little girl 
thought, about whom I was reading, if I mistake not, in "The 
Theosophical Review." The girl was sitting near the fireplace, 
and beside her slept a cat. "Well, the cat is sleeping", the girl 
reflected, "perhaps she sees in a dream that she is not a cat, but 
a little girl. And maybe / am not a little girl at all, but a cat, and 
only see in a dream that I am a little girl. . " The next moment 
the house resounds with a violent cry, and the parents of the little 
girl have a hard time to convince her that she is not a cat but 
really a little girl. 

All this shows that it is necessary to philosophize with a certain 
amount of skill. Our thought is encompassed by many blind 
alleys, and positivism in itself is such a blind alley. 

Our analysis of phenomena, the relation which we have shown 
to exist between physical phenomena and those of life and of con- 
sciousness, permits us to assert quite definitely that the phenomena 
of consciousness cannot be a function of the brain, i. е., a function 
of physiological and physical phenomena — or phenomena of a 
lower order. We established that the higher cannot be a function 
of the lower. And this division into higher and lower is also based 
upon the clear fact of the different potentialities of various orders 
of phenomena — of the different amount of latent force contained in 
them (or liberated by them). And of course we have the right to 
call those phenomena the higher which possess immeasurably 
greater potentiality, immeasurably more latent force; and to call 
those the lower which possess less potentiality, less latent force. 

The phenomena of life are the higher in comparison with phy- 
sical phenomena. 

The phenomena of consciousness are the higher, in comparison 
with the phenomena of life and physical phenomena. 

Which must be the function of which is clear. 

Without making a palpable logical mistake we cannot declare 
life and consciousness to be dependent functionally upon physical 


phenomena, i. е., to be a result of physical phenomena. The truth 
is quite the opposite of this: everything forces us to recognize 
physical phenomena as the result of life, and life as the result of 

But of which life, and of which consciousness? Here lies the 
question. Of course it would be absurd to regard our planetary 
sphere as a function of the vegetable and animal life proceeding 
upon it — and the visible stellar universe as a function of human 
consciousness. But nothing of this sort is meant. In the occult 
understanding of things we speak always of another life and 
another consciousness, the particular manifestation of which is our 
life and our consciousness. It is important to establish the general 
principle that physical phenomena, being the lower, depend 
upon the phenomena of life and of consciousness, which are 

If we admit this principle as established, then it is possible to 
proceed further. 

The first question which arises is this: In what relation does 
the consciousness of man stand to his body and his brain? 

This question has been answered differently in different times. 
Consciousness has been regarded as a direct function of the brain 
(" Thought is the motion of brain substance"), thus of course deny- 
ing any possibility of consciousness without the existence of a 
brain. Then followed an attempt to establish a parallelism be- 
tween the activity of consciousness and of the brain. But the 
nature of this parallelism has always remained obscure. Yes, 
evidently, the brain works parallel to consciousness : an arrestment 
or a disorder of the activity of the brain brings as a consequence 
a visible arrestment or disorder of the activity of consciousness. 
But after all, the activity of the brain is merely motion, i. е., an 
objective phenomenon, whereas the activity of consciousness is a 
phenomenon objectively undefinable: subjective, and at the 
same time more powerful than anything objective. How shall we 
reconcile all this? 

Let us endeavor to consider the activity of the brain and the 
activity of consciousness from the standpoint of the existence of 
those two data, the "world" and "consciousness," accepted by us 
at the very beginning. 

If we consider the brain from the standpoint of consciousness, 
then the brain will be part of the "world," i. е., part of the outer 


world lying outside of consciousness. Therefore consciousness 
and brain are different things. But consciousness, as experience 
and observation shows, can act only through the brain. The brain 
is that necessary prism, passing through which, consciousness 
manifests itself to us as intellect. Or to put it a little differently, 
the brain is a mirror, reflecting consciousness in our three-dimen- 
sional section of the world. This last means that in our three- 
dimensional section of the world not all of consciousness (the true 
dimensions of which we do not know) is acting, but only so much 
of it as can be reflected in a brain. It is clear that if the mirror 
be broken, then the image will be broken too, or if the mirror be 
injured or imperfect, then the reflection will be blurred or dis- 
torted. But there is absolutely no reason to believe that when 
the mirror is broken the object which it reflects is thereby destroy- 
ed, i. е., in the given case, consciousness. 

Consciousness cannot suffer from any disorder of the brain, but 
the manifestations of it may suffer very much or may even dis- 
appear from the field of our observation altogether. Therefore 
it is clear that a disorder in the activity of the brain causes an 
enfeeblement or a distortion, or even a complete disappearance of 
the faculties of consciousness manifesting in our sphere. 

The idea of the comparison between a three-dimensional body 
and a four-dimensional one enables us to affirm that not all the 
activity of consciousness goes through the brain, but a part of it 
only. The brain is clearly a three-dimensional body, and as such, 
unreal. Consciousness is something having no dimensions or 
many — real in any case. So how can the real disappear with the 
destruction of the unreal. 

Each of us is in reality an abiding psychical entity far more extensive 
than he knows — an individuality which can never express itself com- 
pletely through any corporeal manifestation. The self manifests 
through the organism ; but there is always some part of the self unmani- 

The "positivist" will remain unconvinced. He will say: prove 
to me that consciousness can act without a brain, then I will 
believe it. 

I shall answer him by the question: what, in the given case, 
will constitute a proof? 

♦Frederic Myers, "Essay on the Subliminal Consciousness" as quoted in William James' "The 
Varieties of Religious Experience," Longmans, Green & Co., New York, p. 512. 


There are no proofs and there cannot be any. The existence of 
consciousness without a brain, if that be possible, is for us a meta- 
physical fact, which cannot be proven, like a physical one. 

And if my opponent will reason sincerely, then he will be con- 
vinced there can be no proof, because he himself has no means of 
being convinced of the existence of consciousness acting independent 
of a brain. Let us assume that the consciousness of a dead man 
(i. е., of a man whose brain has ceased to act) continues to func- 
tion. How can we convince ourselves of this? By no possible 
means whatever. We have means of communication (speech, 
writing) with consciousnesses which are in conditions similar to 
our own — i. е., acting through brains; concerning the existence of 
those same consciousnesses we can conclude by analogy with our- 
selves; but concerning the existence of other consciousnesses, 
whether they do or they do not exist is immaterial, there are no means 
whereby we can convince ourselves that they exist. 

It is exactly this last that gives us a key to the understanding 
of the true relation of consciousness to the brain. Our conscious- 
ness being the reflection of consciousness from the brain, we can 
observe, as consciousness only those reflections which are sim- 
ilar to itself. We have before established that we can make con- 
clusions concerning consciousnesses other than our own from the 
exchange of thoughts with them and from analogies with ourselves. 
Now we may add to this, that for this very reason we can know 
only about the existence of consciousnesses similar to our own, and 
we cannot know any other consciousnesses at all, whether they 
exist or not, unless we ourselves enter their plane. 

Should we ever realize our consciousness, not only as it is re- 
flected from a brain, but in a condition more universal, simultane- 
ously with this the possibility would open up of discovering con- 
sciousnesses analogical to ours which are not reflected from a 
brain, if such exist in nature. 

But do such consciousnesses exist or not? How can we gain in- 
formation on this point with our consciousness such as it is now? 

Observing the world from our standpoint, we perceive in it 
actions proceeding from rational conscious causes, such as the 
work of a man; and other actions proceeding from the uncon- 
scious blind forces of nature, such as the movement of waves, the 
ebbing and flowing of the tide, the descent of great rivers, etc., 


In such a division of observed actions into rational and un- 
reasoned, there is something naive, even from the positivistic 
standpoint. For if we have learned anything from the study of 
nature, if the positivistic method has given us anything at all, 
then it is the assurance of the necessity for the uniformity of phe- 
nomena. We know, and with great certainty, that things basically 
similar cannot proceed from dissimilar causes. Positive philoso- 
phy knows this too. Therefore it also regards the foregoing divi- 
sion as naive, and conscious of the impossibility of such dualism — 
that one part of observed phenomena proceed from rational and 
conscious causes and another part from unreasoned and uncon- 
scious ones — positivistic philosophy strives to explain everything 
as proceeding from causes which are irrational and unconscious. 

Positivistic philosophy holds that the seeming rationality of 
human actions is a miserable illusion and a self -consolation. Man 
is a toy in the hands of elemental forces. He is merely a trans- 
forming station of forces. All that which as it seems to him, he 
is doing, is in reality done instead by external forces which enter 
him through air, food, sunlight. Man does not perform a single 
action by himself. He is merely a prism in which a line of action 
is refracted in a certain manner. But just as the beam of light 
does not proceed from the prism, so action does not proceed from 
the reason of man. 

The famous "theoretical experiment" of certain German 
psycho-physiologists is usually advanced in confirmation of this. 
They affirmed that if it were possible, from the time of his birth, to 
deprive a man of all external imphessions : light, sound, touch, 
heat, cold, etc., and at the same time preserve him alive, then 
such a man would not be able to perform even the most insig- 
nificant action. 

From this it follows that man is an automaton, like that auto- 
maton projected by the American inventor Tesla, which, obeying 
electric currents and vibrations coming from a great distance 
without wires, was calculated to execute a whole series of com- 
plicated movements. 

It follows from this that all the actions of a man depend upon 
outer impulses. For the smallest reflex, outer irration is necessary. 
For more complex action a whole series of preceding complex irra- 
tions is necessary. Sometimes between the irritation and the 
action a considerable time elapses, and a man does not feel any 


connection between the two. Therefore he regards his actions as 
voluntary, though in reality there are no voluntary actions at all — 
man cannot do anything by himself, just as a stone cannot jump 
voluntarily: it is necessary that something should throw it up. 
Man needs something to give him an impulse, and then he will 
develop exactly so much force as such an impulse (and all pre- 
ceding impulses) put into him and no trifle more. Such is the 
teaching of positivism. 

From the standpoint of logic such a theory is more correct 
than that theory of two classes of actions — reasoned and un- 
reasoned. It at least establishes the principle of necessary 
uniformity. It is really impossible to suppose that in an im- 
mense machine certain parts move according to their own desire 
and reasoning, there must be something uniform — either all parts 
of the machine possess a consciousness of their function and act 
according to this consciousness, or all are worked from one motor 
and are driven by one transmission. The enormous service per- 
formed by positivism is that it established this principle of 
uniformity. It is left to us to define in what this uniformity 

The positivistic hypothesis of the world considers that the basis 
of everything is unconscious energy, which arose from unknown 
causes at a time that is not known. This energy, after it has 
passed through a whole series of invisible electro-magnetic and 
physico-chemical processes, is expressed for us in visible and 
sensed motion, then in growth, i. е., in the phenomena of life, and 
at last in consciousness. 

This view has been already investigated and the conclusion 
reached that it is impossible to regard physical phenomena as the 
cause of the phenomena of consciousness, while on the other 
hand, the phenomena of consciousness serve as an undoubted 
cause for a great number of the physical phenomena observed by 
us. Then, from the very essence of the idea of motion — which is 
the foundation of the physico-mechanical world — was deduced 
the conclusion that motion is not an entirely obvious thing, that 
the idea of motion arose in us because of the limitation and in- 
completeness of our sense of space (a slit through which we ob- 
serve the world). And it was established, not that the idea of 
time is deduced from the observation of motion, but that the 
idea of motion results from our "time-sense" — and that the idea 


of motion is quite definitely the function of the "time-sense" which 
in itself is a limit or boundary of the space sense belonging to a 
being of a given psyche. It was also established that the idea of 
motion could arise out of a comparison between two different 
fields of consciousness. And in general, all analysis of the funda- 
mental categories of our knowledge of the world — space and time — 
showed that we have absolutely no data whatever for accepting 
motion as the fundamental principle of the world. 

And if this is so — if it is impossible to assume behind the 
scenes of the creation of the world the presence of an unconscious 
mechanical motor — then it is necessary to consider the cosmos as 
living and conscious. Because one or the other of two things must 
be true: either it is mechanical and dead — "accidental" — or it is 
living and conscious of itself. There can be nothing dead in living 
nature and there can be nothing living in dead nature. 

Nature exhibits a continual progress, starting from the mechanical 
and chemical activity of the inorganic world, proceeding to the vegetable, 
with its dull enjoyment of self, from that to the animal world, where in- 
telligence and consciousness began at first very weak, and only after 
many intermediate stages attaining its last great development in man, 
whose intellect is nature's crowning point, the goal of all her efforts, the 
most perfect and difficult of all her works. 

So writes Schopenhauer in his "Counsels and Maxims," and 
indeed it is very effectively expressed, but we have no foundation 
whatsoever for regarding man as the summit of that which nature 
has created. This is only the highest that we know. 

Schopenhauer's thought is doubtless very beautiful, but never- 
theless it is necessary to admit that in nature conscious and un- 
conscious cannot exist together. There must be something which 
is one. 

Positivism would be absolutely correct in its picture of the 
world, there would not be even the smallest deficiency, if there 
were no consciousness in the world. Then it would be necessary, 
nolens volens, to regard the universe as an accidentally self-created 
mechanical toy in space and nothing more. But the fact of the 
existence of consciousness "spoils all the statistics." It is impossible 
to exclude it. 

We are either forced to admit the existence of two principles — 
consciousness and motion, "spirit" and "matter" — or to select 
one of them. 


Then dualism annihilates itself, because if we admit the separate 
existence of spirit and matter, and reason further on this basis, it 
will be inevitably necessary to conclude, either that spirit is unreal 
and matter real; or that matter is unreal and spirit real — i. е., 
either that spirit is material or that matter is spiritual. Conse- 
quently it is necessary to select some one thing — spirit or matter. 

But to think really monistically is considerably more difficult 
than it seems. I have met many men who have called themselves 
"monists," and sincerely considered themselves as such, but in 
reality they never departed from the most naive dualism, and no 
spark of understanding of the world's unity ever flashed upon 

Materialism, regarded as the basis of everything, "motion," or 
"energy," can never be "monistic." It is not possible to anni- 
hilate consciousness. This is unfortunate for materialism. If it 
were able to annihilate consciousness completely, then everything 
would be splendid, and the universe could be something like an 
accidentally self-created mechanical toy. But to its sorrow, ma- 
terialism cannot deny consciousness. It can only try to degrade 
it as low as possible, calling it the reflection of reality, the sub- 
stance of which consists of motion. 

But how deal with the fact that the "reflection" possesses in this 
case an infinitely greater potentiality than the "reality"? How 
can this be? From what does this reality reflect, or what is it re- 
fracted in, that in its reflected state it possesses infinitely greater 
potentiality than in its original state? 

The consistent " materialist-monist" will be forced to say that 
"reality" reflects from itself, i. е., "one motion" reflects from 
another motion. But this is merely dialectics, and fails to make 
clear the nature of consciousness, for consciousness is something 
other than motion. 

No matter how hard we may try to define consciousness in terms 
of motion, we nevertheless know that they are two different things, 
different as regards our receptivity of them, belonging to different 
worlds, incommensurable, and which can exist simultaneously. 
Moreover, consciousness can exist without motion, but motion 
cannot exist without consciousness, because out of consciousness 
comes the necessary condition of motion — time. No conscious- 
ness — no time: no time — no motion. 


We cannot escape this fact, and thinking logically, we must inev- 
itably recognize two principles. But if we begin to consider the 
very recognition of two principles as illogical, then we must recog- 
nize consciousness as a single principle, and motion as an illu- 

But what does this mean? It means that there can be no 
"monistic materialism." Materialism can be only dualistic, i. е., 
it must recognize two principles: motion and consciousness. As 
soon as it comes to recognize one principle it becomes idealism, 

But in order to think idealistically it is necessary that idealism 
be not dualistic. Because just as "monistic materialism" is im- 
possible, so is "dualistic idealism" equally impossible. 

But in order to come to pure and strict monistic idealism a pro- 
found and fundamental reconstruction of all our concepts is neces- 
sary. Here a new difficulty arises. 

Our concepts are limited by language. Our language is deeply 
dualistic. This is indeed a terrible obstacle. I showed previously 
how language retards our thought, making it impossible to ex- 
press the relations of a being universe. In our language only an 
eternally becoming universe exists. The "Eternal Now" cannot 
be expressed in language. 

Thus our language pictures to us beforehand a false universe— 
dual, when in reality it is one; and eternally becoming when is it in 
reality eternally being. 

And if we come to realize the degree to which our language 
falsifies the real view of the world, then the understanding of 
this fact will enable us to see that it is not only difficult, but even 
absolutely impossible to express in language the correct relation of 
the things of the real world. 

This difficulty can be conquered only by the formation of new 
concepts and by extended analogies. 

Later on the principles and methods of this expansion of what 
we already have, and what we can extract from our stores of 
knowledge will be made clear. For the present it is only im- 
portant to establish one thing— the necessity for uniformity: 
the monism of the universe. 

As a matter of principle it is not important which one we regard 
as first cause, spirit or matter. It is essential to recognize their 


But it has been shown before that the materialistic conception 
of the universe leads to considerable inconveniences. These in- 
conveniences generally consist in the fact that regarding the 
spiritual world as material, man at the same time imagines it as 
three-dimensional. And the three-dimensional conception of 
the spiritual world — in various spiritistic and theosophical theories 
— this is clearly an absurdity, and leads in turn to other absurdities. 

Therefore in the interest of correct thinking, it is necessary 
once for all to recognize spirit, i. е., consciousness as the first cause. 
This will prevent many unnecessary wanderings in roundabout 
paths and blind alleys. For if we recognize the existence of con- 
sciousness in general, then it is necessary to recognize that there 
exists only one consciousness and nothing else. 

But the positivist will ask : what then is matter? 

From one point of view, it is a logical concept, i. е., a form of 
thinking — I shall answer. Nobody ever saw matter, nor will they 
ever — it is possible only to think matter. From another point of 
view it is an illusion accepted for reality. 

Even more truly, it is the incorrectly perceived form of that 
which exists in reality. Matter is a section of something: a non- 
existent, imaginary section. But that of which matter is a section, 
exists. This is the real, four-dimensional world. 

But this wood, the substance from which this table is made — 
does it exist? 

It exists, but the true nature of its existence we do not know. 
All that we know about it is just the form of our receptivity of it. 

But if we ceased to exist, would it continue to exist? 

Yes, for consciousnesses working in conditions of receptivity 
analogous to ours, it will exist in the same forms as for us. But 
in itself this substance exists in some other way — how, we do not 
know. Certainly not in space and time, for we ourselves impose 
these forms upon it. Probably all similar wood, of different cen- 
turies, and different parts of the world, constitutes one mass — one 
body — perhaps one being. Certainly that substance (or that part 
of it) of which this table is made, has no separate existence apart 
from our receptivity. We fail to understand that a particular 
thing is merely an artificial definition by our senses, of some inde- 
finable cause infinitely surpassing that thing. 


But a thing may acquire its own individual and unique soul; 
and in that case the thing exists quite independently of our re- 
ceptivity. Many things possess such souls, especially old things — 
old houses, old books, works of art, etc. 

We may consider the fact as established that we cannot know 
of the existence of another consciousness directly, except through 
communication with it by speech, or by conclusions based upon 

But what ground have we for thinking that there are con- 
sciousnesses in the world other than our human ones, the limited 
consciousnesses of animals and the semi-consciousness of plants? 

First of all, the circumstance that if such consciousnesses exist 
we, with our means, could not know anything about them. Of 
course this is no proof of their existence, but it explains why we do 
not know of them if they exist; also, the circumstance that we 
know of the existence of consciousnesses only in our section of the 
world and below (men, animals, plants). Indeed we have no 
reason whatever to think that in a higher section of the world, 
i. е., in four-dimensional space, there are no consciousnesses. On 
the contrary, everything logically points to the conclusion that 
they must exist and must be more powerful than ours. 

And last of all of these considerations, we know that the world 
is consciousness, that everything in it is conscious, and in general 
there is nothing unconscious in it, nor can there be. But when all 
is said, the most important thing is that we can have no reason to 
regard our consciousness as unique, and the highest form of con- 
sciousness in the universe. 

The question now stands in this way : how could we know about 
the existence of the consciousnesses of other sections of the 
world — of higher space — if they exist. 

By two methods: through communication with them, and 


For the first, it is necessary that our consciousness should be- 
come similar to theirs, should transcend the limits of the three- 
dimensional world, i. е., it is necessary to change the form of con- 

The second may result as a consequence of the gradual expan- 
sion of the faculty of drawing inferences by analogy. By trying 


to think out of the usual categories, by trying to look at things 
and at ourselves in a new light, by trying to liberate our conscious- 
ness from its accustomed chains of perception in space and time, 
little by little we begin to notice analogies between things which 
we did not notice before. Our mind grows, and with it grows the 
power to discover analogies. This ability, with each new step 
attained, expands and enriches the mind. Each minute we ad- 
vance more rapidly, each new step makes the next more easy. 
Our consciousness becomes different. Then, applying to itself its 
expanded ability to construct analogies, and looking about, con- 
sciousness suddenly perceives round about itself a series of con- 
sciousnesses of the existence of which it was previously unaware. 
And our consciousness understands the reason for this unaware- 
ness: these consciousnesses belong to another plane, and not to 
that to which our consciousness is native. Thus in this case, 
simply the ability to discover new analogies translates our con- 
sciousness into another plane of existence. 

The consciousness of a man begins to penetrate into the world 
of noumena, which is in affinity with it. Then his point of 
view changes likewise with regard to the things and events of the 
'phenomenal world. Phenomena may suddenly assume, to his eyes, 
quite different grouping. As already said, similar things may be 
different from one another in reality, different things may be 
similar; quite separate, disconnected things may be part of one 
great whole, of some entirely new category; and things which appear 
inextricably united into one, constituting one whole may in reality 
be manifestations of different consciousnesses having nothing in 
common among themselves, even knowing nothing whatever about 
the existence of one another. Such indeed may be any whole of 
our world — man, animal, planet, planetary system — i. е., con- 
sisting of different consciousnesses, a battle-field as it were of 
warring consciousnesses. 

In each whole of our world we perceive a multitude of opposing 
tendencies, aspirations, efforts. Each aggregate is as it were an 
arena of struggle for multitudes of opposing forces, each of which 
acts by itself, is directed to its own goal, usually to the disruption 
of the whole. But the interaction of these forces represents the 
life of the whole; and in everything something is always acting 
which limits the activity of separate tendencies. This something 
is the consciousness of the whole. We cannot establish the ex- 


istence of such a consciousness by analogy with ourselves, or by 
intercourse with it, or by exchange of thoughts, but a new path 
opens before us. We perceive a certain separate and quite 
definite function (the preservation of the whole). Behind this 
function we infer a certain separate something. A separate some- 
thing having a definite function is impossible without conscious- 
ness. If the whole possesses consciousness, then the separate 
tendencies or forces must also possess consciousness. A body or 
organism is the point of intersection of the lines of these conscious- 
nesses, a place of meeting, perhaps a battle-field. Our "I" is also 
that battle-field on which this or that emotion, this or that habit 
or inclination, gains an advantage, subjecting to itself all of the 
rest at every given moment, and identifying itself with the I. 
But also the I is a being, having its own life, imperfectly conscious 
of that of which it itself consists, and identifying itself with this 
or another portion of itself. Have we any warrant for supposing 
that the organs and members of a body, thoughts and emotions, are 
beings also? We have, because we know that there exists nothing 
unconscious; and any something, having a separate function, must 
have a separate consciousness and can be called a being. 

All the consciousnesses assumed by us to exist in the world of 
many dimensions, cannot know one another, i. е., cannot know that 
we are binding them together in different wholes in our phenom- 
enal world, just as in general they cannot know our phenomenal 
world and its relations. But they must be conscious of themselves, 
although it is impossible for us to define the degree of clearness of 
this consciousness. It may be clearer than ours, and it may be 
more vague — dreamlike, as it were. Between consciousnesses 
there may be a continuous but imperfectly perceived exchange of 
thoughts, analogous to the exchange of substance in a living or- 
ganism. They may experience certain feelings in common, certain 
thoughts may arise in them spontaneously as it were, under the 
influence of general causes. Upon the lines of this inner com- 
munion consciousnesses must divide themselves into different 
wholes of some categories to us entirely incomprehensible, or only 
guessed at. The essence of each such separate consciousness must 
consist in its knowledge of itself and its nearest functions and rela- 
tions; it must feel things analogous to itself, and must have the 
faculty of telling about itself and them, i. е., this consciousness 
must always behold a picture of itself and its conditioning rela- 


tions. It is eternally studying this picture and instantly communi- 
cating it to another consciousness coming into communion with it. 
Whether these consciousnesses in sections of the world other 
than ours exist or not, we, under the existing conditions of our re- 
ceptivity, cannot say. They can be sensed only by the developed 
intuition, i. е., by a different kind of consciousness. Our usual con- 
sciousness is too absorbed by the sensations of the phenomenal 
world, and by itself, and therefore does not reflect impressions 
coming to it from other consciousnesses, or reflects them so weakly 
that they are not fixed there in any intelligible form. Moreover 
our consciousness does not recognize the fact that it is in constant 
communion with the nouemna of all surrounding things, near and 
remote, and with consciousnesses like it and those entirely differ- 
ent, with the consciousness of everything in the world and of all 
the world. But if the impressions coming from other conscious- 
nesses are so forceful that the consciousness feels them, then it 
immediately projects them into the outer world of phenomena 
and seeks for their cause in the phenomenal world, exactly in the 
same manner that a two-dimensional being, inhabiting a plane, 
seeks in its plane for the causes of the impressions which come 
from a higher world. 

Our consciousness is limited by its phenomenal receptivity, 
i. е., it is surrounded by itself. The world of phenomena, i. е., 
the form of its own perception, surrounds it as a ring, or as a wall; 
and the ordinary consciousness sees nothing save this wall. 

But if consciousness succeeds in escaping out of this limiting 
circle, it will invariably see much that is new in the world. 

If we will separate self-elements in our perception, writes Hinton ("A 
New Era of Thought" p. 36, 37), then it will be found that the deadness 
which we ascribe to the external world is not really there, but is put in 
by us because of our own limitations. It is really the self elements in our 
knowledge which make us talk of mechanical necessity, dead matter. 
When our limitations fall, we behold the spirit of the world like we be- 
hold the spirit of a friend — something which is discerned in and through 
the material presentation of a body to us. 

Our thought means are sufficient at present to show us human souls; but 
all except human beings is, as far as science is concerned, inanimate. One 
self element must be got rid of from our perception, and this will be changed. 

But is the unknowableness of the noumenal world as absolute 
for us as it sometimes seems? 


In "The Critique of Pure Reason" and in other writings, Kant 
denied the possibility of "spiritual sight." But in "Dreams of 
a Ghost-seer" he not only admitted this possibility, but gave to 
it one of the best definitions which we have ever had up to now. 
He clearly affirms : 

I confess that I am very much inclined to assert the existence of im- 
material natures in the world, and to put my soul itself into that class 
of beings. These immaterial beings .... are immediately united 
with each other, they might form, perhaps, a great whole which might 
be called the immaterial world. Every man is a being of two worlds: of 
the incorporeal world and of the material world . . . and it will be proved 
I don't know where or when, that the human soul also in this life forms 
an indissoluble communion with all immaterial natures of the spirit- 
world, that, alternately, it acts upon and receives impressions from that 
world of which nevertheless it is not conscious while it is still man and 
as long as everything is in proper condition 

We should, therefore, have to regard the human soul as being conjoined 
in its present life with two worlds at the same time, of which it clearly 
perceives only the material world, in so far as it is conjoined with a body, 
and thus forms a personal unit. . . . 

It is therefore, indeed, one subject, which is thus at the same time a 
member of the visible and of the invisible world, but not one and the 
same person; for on account of their different quality, the conceptions of 
the one world are not ideas associated with those of the other world, 
thus, what I think as a spirit, is not remembered by me as a man, and, 
conversely, my state as a man does not at all enter into the conception 
of myself as a spirit. 

Birth, life, death are the states of soul only . . . . Consequently, 
our body only is perishable, the essence of us is not perishable, and must 
have been existent during that time, when our body had no existence. 
The life of the man is dual. It consists of two lives — one animal and 
one spiritual. The first life is the life of man and man needs a body to 
live this life. The second life is the life of spirit; his soul lives in that 
life separately from the body, and must live on in it after the separation 
from the body. 

In an essay on Kant in "The Northern Messenger" (1888, 
Russian), A. L. Volinsky says that both in Vorlesungen, and also 
in "Dreams of a Ghost-seer," Kant denied the possibility of one 
thing only — the possibility of the physical receptivity of spiritual 

Thus Kant admitted not only the possibility of the existence of 
a spiritual conscious world, but also the possibility of communion 
with it. 


Hegel built all his philosophy upon the possibility of a direct 
knowledge of truth, upon spiritual vision. 

Approaching the question of two worlds from the psychological 
standpoint, from the standpoint of the theory of knowledge, let 
us firmly establish the principle that before we can hope to com- 
prehend anything in the region of noumena, we must define every- 
thing that it is possible to define of the world of many dimensions 
by a purely intellectual method, by a process of reasoning. It is 
highly probable that by this method we cannot define very much. 
Perhaps our definitions will be too crude, will not quite correspond 
to the fine differentiation of relations in the noumenal world: 
all this is possible and must be taken into consideration. Never- 
theless we shall define what we can, and at the outset make as 
clear as possible what the noumenal world cannot be; then what it 
can be — show what relations are impossible in it, and what are 

This is necessary in order that our consciousness, coming in 
contact with the noumenal world, may discriminate between it 
and the phenomenal world, and what is more important, that it 
may not mistake simple reflections of the phenomenal world for 
the noumenal. We do not know the world of causes; we are con- 
fined in the jail of the phenomenal world simply because we do not 
know how to discern where one ends and where the other begins. 
We are in constant touch with the world of causes, we live in it, 
because our consciousness and our incomprehensible function in 
the world are part of it or a reflection of it. But we do not see nor 
know it because we either deny it— consider that everything exist- 
ing is phenomenal, and that nothing exists except the phenomenal 
— or we recognize it, but try to comprehend it in the forms of 
the three-dimensional phenomenal world; or lastly, we search for 
it and find it not, because we lose our way amid the deceits and 
illusions of the reflected phenomenal world which we mistakenly 
accept for the noumenal world. 

In this dwells the tragedy of our spiritual questings : we do not 
know what we are searching for. And the only method by which we 
can escape this tragedy consists in a preliminary intellectual defini- 
tion of the properties of that of which we are in search. Without 
such definitions, going merely by indefinite feelings, we shall not 
approach the world of causes or else we shall get lost on its border- 


Spinoza understood this, saying that he could not speak of God, 
not knowing his attributes. 

When I studied Euclid, I learned first of all that the sum of three 
angles of a triangle was equal to two right angles, and this property of a 
triangle was entirely comprehensible to me, although I did not know 
its many other properties. But so far as spirits and ghosts are con- 
cerned, I do not know even one of their attributes, but constantly 
hear different fantastic tales about them in which it is impossible to 
discover any truth. 

We have established certain criteria which permit us to deal 
with the world of noumena or the "world of spirits." These we 
shall make use of now. 

First of all we may say that the world of noumena cannot be 
three-dimensional and that there cannot be anything three- 
dimensional in it, i. е., commeasurable with physical objects, sim- 
ilar to them in outside appearance, having form — there cannot be 
anything having extension in space and changing in time. And 
most important, there cannot be anything unconscious. In the 
world of causes everything must be conscious, because it is con- 
sciousness itself: the soul of the world. 

Further on will be given the properties of the world of causes. 
For the present, using only those definitions which we have, let us 
seek for it in everything surrounding us, and in ourselves. 

Let us remember also that the world of causes is the world of the 
marvelous; that what appears simple to us can never be real. 
The real appears to us as the marvelous. We do not believe in it, 
we do not recognize it; and therefore we do not feel the mysteries 
of which life is so full. 

The simple is only that which is unreal. The real must seem 

The mystery of time penetrates all. It is felt in every stone, 
which perhaps might have witnessed the glacial period, seen the 
ichthyosaurus and the mammoth. It is felt in the approaching 
day, which we do not see, but which possibly sees us, which per- 
chance is our last day; or on the other hand is the day of some 
transformation the nature of which we do not ourselves now 

The mystery of thought creates all. As soon as we shall under- 
stand that thought is not a "function of motion," but that motion 


itself is only an "illusion of thought" — and shall begin to feel the 
depth of this mystery — we shall perceive that the entire phe- 
nomenal world is some gigantic hallucination, which fails to 
frighten us, and does not drive us to think that we are mad simply 
because we have become accustomed to it. 

The mystery of infinity — the greatest of all mysteries. It tells us 
that all the visible universe and its galaxies of stars have no dimen- 
sion — that in relation to infinity they are equal to a point, a mathe- 
matical point which has no extension whatever. 

But in "positive" thinking we make the effort то forget 


At some future time positivism will be defined as a system by 
the aid of which it was possible not to think of real things and to 
limit oneself to the region of the unreal and illusory. 


conscious universe. Different forms of consciousness. Different 
lines of consciousness. Animated nature. The souls of stones and 
the souls of trees. The soul of a forest. The human "I" as a 
collective consciousness. Man as a complex being. "Humanity" 
as a being. The world's consciousness. The face of Mahadeva. 
Prof. James on the consciousness of the universe. Fechner's ideas. 
"Zendavesta." A living Earth. 

.F consciousness exists in the world — then it must permeate 

We have accustomed ourselves to ascribe animism and 
consciousness in this or that form to those things only 
which we designate as "beings" i. е., to those whom we 
find analogous to ourselves in the functions which define 
animism in our eyes. 

Inanimate objects and mechanical phenomena are to us lifeless 
and unconscious. 

But this cannot be so. 

It is only for our limited mind, for our limited power of com- 
munion with other consciousnesses, for our limited skill in analogy 
that consciousness manifests only in certain classes of living 
creatures, alongside of which a long series of dead things and 
mechanical phenomena exist. 

But if we could not converse among ourselves, if every one of 
us could not infer the existence of consciousness in another by 
analogy with himself, then every one would consider himself alone 
to be conscious, and he would relegate all the rest of humankind to 
mechanical, "dead" nature. 

In other words, we recognize as conscious, only those beings 
which are perfectly or imperfectly conscious of themselves in their 
three-dimensional sections of the world, i. е., beings whose con- 
sciousnesses is analogous to ours. About other consciousnesses 
we do not and cannot know. All "beings," conscious of them- 
selves, not in the three-dimensional section of the world, are 



inaccessible to us. If they manifest at all in our life, then we 
necessarily regard their manifestations as those of dead and un- 
conscious nature. Our power of analogy is limited to this section. 
We cannot think logically outside of the conditions of the three- 
dimensional section. Therefore everything that both lives and is 
conscious of itself, though not analogous to us, must appear dead 
and mechanical. 

But sometimes we vaguely feel an intense life manifesting in the 
phenomena of nature, and sense a vivid emotionality the manifes- 
tations of which constitute the phenomena of (to us) inanimate na- 
ture. What I wish to convey is that behind the phenomena of 
visible manifestations is felt the noumenon of emotion. 

In electrical discharges, in thunder and lightning, are seen flashes 
of the sensuous-nervous shudderings of some gigantic organism. 
A strange individuality which is all their own is sensed in 
certain days. There are days brimming with the marvelous and 
the mystic, days having each its own individual and unique con- 
sciousness, its own emotions, its own thoughts. One may almost 
commune with these days. And they will tell you that they live 
a long, long time, perhaps eternally, and that they have known 
and seen many, many things. 

In the processional of the year; in the iridescent leaves of autumn, 
with their memory-laden smell; in the first snow, frosting the fields 
and communicating a strange freshness and sensitiveness to the 
air; in the spring freshets, in the warming sun, in the awakening 
but still naked branches through which gleams the turquoise sky; 
in the white nights of the north, and in the dark, humid, warm 
tropical nights spangled with stars — in all these are the thoughts, 
the emotions, the forms peculiar to itself alone, of some great con- 
sciousness; or better, all this is the expression of the emotions, 
thoughts and forms of consciousness of a mysterious being — Nature. 
There can be nothing dead or mechanical in nature. If in 
general life and consciousness exist, they must exist in all. Life 
and consciousness make up the world. 

If we consider nature from our side, from the side of phenomena, 
then it is necessary to say that each thing, each phenomenon, 
possesses consciousness. 


dew and rain, planet, fire — each separately must possess a 
consciousness of its own. 


If we consider nature from the other side, from the side of 
noumena, then it is necessary to say that each thing and each 
phenomenon of our world is a manifestation in our section of some 
consciousness, incomprehensible to us, belonging to another sec- 
tion, that consciousness having there functions incomprehensible 
to us. In that section of space, one consciousness is such and its 
function is such that it manifests itself here as a mountain, some 
other manifests as a tree, a third as a little fish, and so forth. 

The phenomena of our world are very different from one 
another. If there are nothing else but manifestations in our sec- 
tion of different consciousnesses, then these consciousnesses must 
be very different too. 

Between the consciousness of a mountain and the consciousness 
of a man there must be the same difference as between a mountain 
and a man. 

We have already admitted the possibility of different existences. 
We said that a house exists, and that a man exists, and that an 
idea exists also — but they all exist differently. If we pursue this 
thought, then we shall discover many kinds of different existences. 

The fantasy of fairy tales, making all the world animate, 
ascribes human consciousness to mountains, rivers, forests. But 
this is just as untrue as the complete denial of consciousness to 
inanimate nature. Noumena are as distinct and various as phe- 
nomena, which are their manifestation in our three-dimensional 

Each stone, each grain of sand, each planet has its noumenon, 
consisting of life and of consciousness, binding them into certain 
wholes incomprehensible to us. 

The activity of life of separate units may vary greatly. The 
degree of the activity of life can be determined from the stand- 
point of its power of reproducing itself. In inorganic, mineral 
nature, this activity is so insignificant that units of this nature 
accessible to our observation do not reproduce themselves, although 
it may only seem so to us because of the narrowness of our view 
in time and space. Perhaps if that view embraced hundreds of 
thousands of years and our entire planet simultaneously, we 
might then see the growth of minerals and metals. 

Were we to observe, from the inside, one cubic centimeter of the 
human body, knowing nothing of the existence of the entire body 
and of the man himself, then the phenomena going on in this little 


cube of flesh would seem like elemental phenomena in inanimate 

But in any case, for us phenomena are divided into living and 
mechanical, and visible objects are divided into organic and in- 
organic. The latter are partitioned without resistence, remaining 
as they were before. It is possible to break a stone in halves, and 
then there will be two stones. But if one were to cut a snail in two, 
then there would not be two snails. This means that the con- 
sciousness of the stone is very simple, primitive — so simple that 
it may be fractured without change of state. But a snail consists 
of living cells. Each living cell is a complex consciousness, con- 
siderably more intricate than that of a stone. The body of the 
snail possesses the power to move, to nourish itself, feel pleasure 
and pain, seek the first and avoid the last; and most important 
of all, it possesses the faculty to multiply, to create new forms 
similar to itself, to involve inorganic substance within these forms, 
subduing physical laws to its service. The snail is a complex 
center of transmutation of some physical energies into others. 
This center possesses a consciousness of its own. It is for this 
reason that the snail is indivisible. Its consciousness is infinitely 
higher than that of the stone. The snail has the consciousness of 
form, i. е., the form of a snail is conscious of itself, as it were. The 
form of a stone is not conscious of itself. 

In inorganic nature, where we see life, consciousness is much 
more easily discerned. In the snail, a living creature, we already 
admit consciousness without difficulty. But life belongs not alone 
to separate, individual organisms — anything indivisible is a living 
being. Each cell in an organism is a living being and it must be 
conscious up to a certain point. 

Each combination of cells having a definite function is a living 
being also. Another higher combination — the organ — is a living 
being no less, and possesses a consciousness of its own. 

Indivisibility in our sphere is the sign of a definite function. If 
a given phenomenon in our plane is a manifestation of that which 
on another plane is consciousness, then on our side evidently, indi- 
visibility corresponds to individuality of consciousness on that 
other side. Divisibility on our side shows divisibility on that 
side. The consciousness of the divisible can be a collective, non- 
individual consciousness only. We recognize consciousness in the 
whole organism only. 


But even a complete organism is merely a section of a certain 
magnitude, of what we may call the life of this organism from birth 
to death. We may imagine this life as a body of four dimensions ex- 
tended in time. The three-dimensional physical body is merely a 
section of the four-dimensional body, Linga Sharira. The image 
of the man which we know, his "personality," is also merely a 
section of his true personality, which undoubtedly has its own 
consciousness. Therefore we see in man quite clearly, three con- 
sciousnesses : first, the consciousness of the body, which manifests 
itself in instincts, and in the constant work of the body; second, 
his 'personality, I, which we know, and by which we are conscious 
of ourselves; third, the consciousness of all life — a greater and 
higher I. In our state of development these three consciousnesses 
know one another only very imperfectly, communicating under 
narcosis only, in trance, in ecstacy, in sleep, in hypnotic and 
mediumistic states. 

In addition to our own consciousness, to us unknown, with which 
we are indissolubly bound, we are surrounded by various other con- 
sciousnesses which we do not know either. These consciousnesses 
we often feel. Their lives are composed of our lives. We enter 
into these consciousnesses as their component parts, just as into 
our consciousness enter different I's. These consciousnesses are 
good or evil spirits, helping us or precipitating evil. Family, clan, 
nation, race — any aggregate to which we belong (such an ag- 
gregate undoubtedly possesses a consciousness of its own, just as 
it possesses a life of its own) , any group of men having its separate 
function and feeling its inner connection and unity, such as a 
philosophical school, a "church," a sect, a masonic order, a so- 
ciety, a party, etc., etc. — is undoubtedly a living and conscious 
being. A nation, a people, is a living being; humanity is a living 
being also. This is the Grand Man, Adam Kadmon of the Kabil- 
ists. Adam Kadmon is a being living in men, uniting in himself 
the lives of all men. Upon this subject, H. P. Blavatsky, in her 
great work," The Secret Doctrine," (Vol. Ill, p. 146), has this to say: 

. . . . "It is not the Adam of dust (of Chapter II) who is thus 
made in the divine image, but the Divine Androgyne (of Chapter I), or 
Adam Kadmon." 

Adam Kadmon — this is humanity, or humankind — Homo 
Sapiens — the Sphynx, i. е., "the being with the body of an animal 
and the face of a superman." 


Entering as a component part into different great and little 
I's, the first of which is his life throughout its entire cycle, man 
himself consists of an innumerable number of great and little I's. 
Many of the I's living in him, do not even know one another, just 
as men who live in the same house may not know one another. 
Expressed in terms of this analogy, it may be said that "man" has 
much in common with a house filled with inhabitants the most 
diverse. Or better, he is like a great ocean liner on which are 
many transient passengers, each going to his own place for his 
own purpose, each uniting in himself elements the most diverse. 
And each self-conscious unit in the population of this steamer 
orientates himself, involuntarily and unconsciously regards him- 
self as the very center of the steamer. This is a fairly true present- 
ment of a human being. 

Perhaps it would be more correct to compare a man with some 
little separated place on earth, living a life of its own; with a forest 
lake, full of the most diverse life, reflecting the sun and stars, and 
hiding in its depths some incomprehensible phantasm, perhaps 
an undine, or a water-sprite. 

If we abandon analogies and return to facts, so far as these are 
accessible to our observation, it then becomes necessary to begin 
with several somewhat artificial divisions of the human being. 
The old division into body, soul and spirit, has in itself a certain 
authenticity, but leads often to confusion, because when such a 
division is attempted disagreements immediately arise as to 
where the body ends and where the soul begins, where the soul 
ends and the spirit begins, and so forth. There are no strict 
limits at all, nor can there be. In addition to this, confusion 
enters in by reason of the opposition of body, soul and spirit, which 
are recognized in this case as inimical principles. This is entirely 
erroneous also, because the body is the expression of the soul, and 
the soul of the spirit. 

The very terms, body, soul and spirit need explanation. The 
"body" is the physical body with its (to us) subconscious mind, 
and the psyche studied by scientific psychology, i. е., the reflected 
activity which is guided by impressions received from the external 
world and from the body. The "soul" is the higher psychic life, 
guided by inner principles proceeding from itself as it were — not 
depending upon outer impressions and the outer world. The 
" spirit" comprises those higher principles which guide the soul-life. 


The inner being of man, his "lower psyche," his "soul" and 
his "spirit" are also divided according to the nature of conscious- 
ness into three categories which do not coincide with the previous 

First: the subconscious region — the region of instincts, and the 
inner "instinctive" consciousness of the different organs, parts of 
the body, and the entire organism. 

Second: the region of the so-called "clear consciousness" — 
here belong all the sensations and perceptions of the outer world 
and of the body itself, all perceptions, thoughts, concepts, ideas, 
feelings, emotions, desires, either conscious or unconscious at any 
given moment, but which may become conscious. 

Third: the region of the higher consciousness. The higher con- 
sciousness does not manifest in the majority of men at all, or does 
so only in confused intuitions and suggestions. This is the region 
of soul and spirit. But when man possesses higher consciousness, 
i. е., when he is conscious in these regions, then the higher con- 
sciousness (i. е., soul and spirit) includes the psyche (both subcon- 
sciousness and clear consciousness) within itself, and does not 
exclude it. 

But under the usual conditions of the average man the focus of 
his consciousness is confined to the psyche perpetually going from 
one object to another in the region of clear consciousness and 

/ wish to eat. 

I read a newspaper. 

I wait for a letter. 

and only very rarely touching the regions of the soul and spirit. 
But these regions of the soul and spirit are opening to the religious, 
esthetic, and moral emotions, also the higher intellect, which ex- 
presses itself in abstract thinking, united with the moral and 
esthetic sense, i. е., the sense of the necessity of the co-ordination 
of thought, feeling, word and action. 

But usually, in saying "I", a man means not the total com- 
plex of all these regions, but that which in a given moment is in 
the focus of his consciousness. / wish. These words, playing 
the most important role in the life of man, usually refer not at all 


to every side of his being simultaneously, but merely to some 
small and insignificant facet, which at a given moment holds the 
focus of consciousness and subjects to itself all the rest, until it in 
turn is forced out by another equally insignificant facet. 

In the self consciousness of man there occurs a continual shift- 
ing of view from one subject to another. Through the focus of con- 
sciousness runs a continuous cinematographical film of feelings 
and impressions, and each separate impression defines the I of a 
given moment. 

From this point of view the consciousness of man has often been 
compared to a dark, sleeping town, in the midst of which night- 
guards with lanterns slowly move about, each lighting up a little 
circle around himself. This is a true analogy. In each given mo- 
ment there are several such unsteadily lighted circles in the focus 
of consciousness, and all the rest is enveloped in darkness. 

Each such little lighted circle represents an I, living its own life, 
sometimes very short, sometimes outlasting the man himself 
for a long time. And there is continuous movement, either fast or 
slow, moving out into the light more of new and still new objects, 
or else old ones from the region of memory, or tormentingly re- 
volving in a circle of the same fixed ideas. 

This continuous motion going on in our consciousness, this un- 
interrupted running over of the light from one I to another, ex- 
plains the phenomenon of motion in the outer visible world. 

We know already by our intellect, that there is no such motion. 
We know that everything exists in infinite spaces of time, nothing 
is made, nothing becomes, all is. But we do not see everything 
at once, and therefore it seems to us that everything moves, grows, 
is becoming. We do not see everything at once, either in the 
outer world, nor in the inner world; thence arises the illusion of 
motion. For example, as we ride past a house the house turns 
behind us; but if we could see it, not with our eyes, not in per- 
spective, but by higher vision, simultaneously from all sides, 
from below and from above and from the inside, we would no 
longer see that illusory motion, but would see the house entirely 
immobile, just as it is in reality. Mentally, we know that the 
house did not move. 

It is just the same with everything else. The motion, growth, 
"becoming," which is going on all around us in the world is no 
more real than the motion of a house which we are riding by, or 


the motion of trees and fields relative to the windows of a rapidly 
moving railway car. 

Motion goes on inside of us, and it creates the illusion of 
motion round about us. The lighted circle runs quickly from 
one I to another— from one object, from one idea, from one 
perception or image to another: within the focus of consciousness 
rapidly changing I's succeed one another, a little of the light of 
consciousness going over from one I to another. This is the true 
motion which alone exists in the world. Should this motion stop, 
should all I's simultaneously enter the focus of consciousness, 
should the light so expand as to illumine all at once that which is 
usually lighted bit by bit and gradually, and could a man grasp 
simultaneously by his reason all that ever entered or will enter 
his consciousness and all that which is never clearly illumined by 
consciousness and lies in the subconscious (producing its action 
on the psyche nevertheless) — then would a man behold himself 
in the midst of an immobile universe, in which there would exist 
simultaneously everything that lies usually in the remote depths 
of memory, in the past; all that lies at a remote distance from 
him; all that lies in the future. 

С. H. Hinton very well says, in regard to higher conscious- 

By the same process by which we know about the existence of other 
men around us, we may know of the high intelligences by whom we are 
surrounded. We feel them but we do not realize them. 

To realize them it will be necessary to develop our power of perception. 

The power of seeing with our bodily eye is limited to the three- 
dimensional section. But the inner eye is not thus limited; we can or- 
ganize our power of seeing in higher space, and we can form concep- 
tions of realities in this higher space. 

And this affords the groundwork for the perception and study of 
these other beings than man. 

We are, with reference to the higher things of life, like blind and 
puzzled children. We know that we are members of one body, limbs of 
one vine; but we cannot discern, except by instinct and feeling, what 
that body is, what the vine is. 

Our problem consists in the diminution of the limitations of our per- 
ception. . 

Nature consists of many entities towards the apprehension of which 

we strive. 

For this purpose new conceptions have to be formed first, and vast 
fields of observation shall be unified under one common law. The real 
history of progress lies in the growth of new conceptions. 


When the new conception is formed it is found to be quite simple 
and natural. We ask ourselves what we have gained; and we answer: 
Nothing; we have simply removed an obvious limitation. 

The question may be put : in what way do we come into contact with 
these higher beings at present? And evidently the answer is: In those 
ways in which we tend to form organic unions — unions in which the activi- 
ties of individuals coalesce in a living way. 

The coherence of a military empire or of a subjugated population, 
presenting no natural nucleus of growth, is not one through which we 
should hope to grow into direct contact with our higher destinies. But 
in friendship, in voluntary associations, and above all, in the family, we 
tend towards our greater life. 

Just as, to explore the distant stars of the heavens, a particular 
material arrangement is necessary which a telescope, so to explore 
the nature of the beings who are higher than we, a mental arrangement is 
necessary. We must prepare a more extended power of looking. We 
want a structure developed inside the skull for the one purpose, which an 
exterior telescope will do for the other. 

This animism of nature takes the most diverse directions. 
This tree is a living being. The birch tree in general — the species 
is a living being. A birch tree forest is a living being also. A 
forest in which there are trees of different kinds, grass, flowers, 
ants, beetles, birds, beasts — this is a living being too, living by the 
life of everything composing it, conscious through all the con- 
sciousnesses of which it consists. 

This idea is very interestingly expressed in the essay of P. 
Florensky, "The Humanitarian Roots of Idealism." (The Theo- 
logical Messenger, 1909, II, p. 288. In Russian). 

Are there many people who regard a forest not merely as a collective 
proper noun and rhetorical embodiment, i. е., as a pure fiction, but as 
something unique, living? .... The real unity is a unity of self- 
consciousness. . . . Are there many who recognize unity in a forest, 
i. е., the living soul of a forest taken as a whole — voodoo, wood-demon, 
Old Nick? Do you consent to recognize undines and water sprites — 
those souls of the aquatic element? 

The activity of the life of such a composite being as a forest is 
not the same as the activity of different species of plants and ani- 
mals, and the activity of the life of a species is again different 
from the life of separate individuals. 

Moreover, the diversity of the functions expressed in different 
ife-activities, reveals the differences existing between the con- 


sciousnesses of different "organisms." The life-activity of a 
single leaf of a birch tree, is of course an infinitely lower form of 
activity than the life of the tree. The activity of the life of the 
tree is not such as the activity of the life of the species, and the 
life of the species is not such as the life of the forest. 

The functions of these four "lives" are entirely different, and 
their consciousnesses must be correspondingly different also. 

The consciousness of a single cell of the human body must be 
as much lower in comparison with the consciousness of the body — 
i. е., with the "physical consciousness of man" — as its life- 
activity is lower in comparison with the life-activity of the 
entire organism. 

Therefore we may regard the noumenon of a phenomenon as 
the soul of that phenomenon, i. е., the hidden soul of a phe- 
nomenon is its noumenon. The concept of the soul of a phenomenon 
or the noumenon of a phenomenon includes within itself both life and 
consciousness together with their functions in sections of the 
world incomprehensible to us; and the manifestation of those in 
our sphere constitutes a phenomenon. 

The idea of an animistic universe leads inevitably to the idea 
of a "World-Soul" — a "Being" whose manifestation is this visible 

The idea of the "World-Soul" was very picturesquely under- 
stood in the ancient religions of India. The mystical poem, The 
Bhagavad Gita gives a remarkable presentment of Mahadeva, 
i. е., the great Deva whose life is this world. 

Thus Krishna propounded his teaching to his disciples. . . . pre- 
paring them for an apprehension of those high spiritual truths which 
unfold before his inner sight in a moment of illumination. 

When he spoke of Mahadeva his voice became very deep, and his face 
was illuminated by an inner light. 

Once Arjuna, in an impulse of boldness, said to him: 

Let us see Mahadeva in his divine form. May we behold him? 

And then Krishna . . . began to speak of a being who breathes in 
every creature, has an hundred-fold and a thousand-fold forms, many- 
faced, many-eyed, facing everywhere, and who surpasses everything 
created by infinity, who envelopes in his body the whole world, things 
still and animate. If the radiance of a thousand suns should burst 
forth suddenly in the sky, it would not compare with the radiance of 
that Mighty Spirit. 

When Krishna spoke thus of Mahadeva, a beam of light of such tre- 
mendous force shone in his eyes, that his disciples could not endure 


the radiance of that light, and fell at Krishna's feet. From very fear the 
hair rose on Arjuna's head, and bowing low he said: Thy words are 
terrible, we cannot look upon such a being as Thou evokest before our 
eyes. His form makes us tremble.* 

In an interesting book of lectures by Prof. William James, 
"A Pluralistic Universe" there is a lecture on Fechner, devoted to 
"a conscious universe." 

Ordinary monistic idealism leaves everything intermediary out. It 
recognizes only extremes, as if, after the first rude face of the phenomenal 
world in all its particularity, nothing but the supreme in all its perfection 
could be found. First, you and I, just as we are in this room; and the 
moment we get below that surface, the unutterable itself ! Doesn't this 
show a singularly indigent imagination? Isn't this brave universe made 
on a richer pattern, with room in it for a long hierarchy of beings? 
Materialistic science makes it infinitely richer in terms, with its mole- 
cules, and ether, and electrons and what not. Absolute idealism, think- 
ing of reality only under intellectual forms, knows not what to do with 
bodies of any grade, and can make no use of any psycho-physical analogy 
or correspondence. 

Fechner, from whose writings Prof. James makes copious quo- 
tation, upheld quite a different view-point. Fechner's ideas are 
so near to those which have been presented in the previous chapters 
that we shall dwell upon them more extensively. 

I use the words of Prof. James: 

The original sin, according to Fechner, of both our popular and 
scientific thinking, is our inveterate habit of regarding the spiritual not 
as the rule but as an exception in the midst of nature. Instead of be- 
lieving our life to be fed at the breasts of the greater life, our individual- 
ity to be sustained by the greater individuality, which must necessarily 
have more consciousness and more independence than all that it brings 
forth, we habitually treat whatever lies outside of our life as so much 
slag and ashes of life only. 

Or if we believe in Divine Spirit, we fancy it on the one side as bodi- 
less, and nature as soulless on the other. 

What comfort, or peace, Fechner asks, can come from such a doc- 
trine? The flowers wither at its breath, the stars turn into stone; our 
own body grows unworthy of our spirit and sinks to a tenement for 
carnal senses only. The book of nature turns into a volume on mechan- 
ics, in which whatever has life is treated as a sort of anomaly; a great 
chasm of separation yawns between us and all that is higher than our- 
selves; and God becomes a thinnest of abstractions. 

Fechner's great instrument for verifying the daylight view is ana- 

* "The Great Initiates" by E. Schure. 


Bain defines genius as the power of seeing analogies. 

The number that Fechner could perceive was prodigious; but he in- 
sisted on the differences as well. Neglect to make allowance for these, he 
said, is the common fallacy in analogical reasoning. 

Most of us, for example, reasoning justly that, since all the minds we 
know are connected with bodies, therefore God's mind should be con- 
nected with a body, proceed to suppose that that body must be just an 
animal body over again, and paint an altogether human picture of God. 
But all that the analogy comports is a body — the particular features of 
our body are adaptations to a habitat so different from God's that if 
God have a physical body at all, it must be utterly different from ours 
in structure. 

The vaster orders of mind go with the vaster orders of body. The 
entire earth on which we live must have, according to Fechner, its own 
collective consciousness. So must each sun, moon, planet; so must the 
whole solar system have its own wider consciousness, on which the con- 
sciousness of our earth plays one part. So has the entire starry system 
as such its consciousness; and if that starry system be not the sum of 
all that IS, materially considered, then that whole system, along with 
whatever else may be, is the body of that absolutely totalized conscious- 
ness of the universe to which men give the name of God. Specula- 
tively Fechner is thus a monist in his theology; but there is room in his 
universe for every grade of spiritual being between man and the final all- 
inclusive God. 

The earth-soul he passionately believes in; he treats the earth as our 
special human guardian angel; we can pray to the earth as men pray to 
their saints. 

His most important conclusion is, that the constitution of the world 
is identical throughout. In ourselves, visual consciousness goes with 
our eyes, tactile consciousness with our skin. But altho neither 
skin nor eye knows aught of the sensations of the other, they come 
together and figure in some sort of relation and combination in the more 
inclusive consciousness which each of us names his self. Quite similarly, 
then, says Fechner, we must suppose that my consciousness of myself 
and yours of yourself, although in their immediacy they keep separate 
and know nothing of each other, are yet known and used together in a 
higher consciousness, that of the human race, say into which they enter 
as constituent parts. 

Similarly, the whole human and animal kingdoms come together as 
conditions of a consciousness of still wider scope. This combines in 
the soul of the earth with the consciousness of the vegetable kingdom, 
which in turn contributes its share of experience to that of the whole 
solar system etc. 

The supposition of an earth-consciousness meets a strong instinctive 
prejudice. All the consciousness we directly know seems told to brains. 
But our brain which primarily serves to correlate our muscular reactions 
with the external objects on which we depend, performs a function which 
the earth performs in an entirely different way. She has no proper 


muscles or limbs of her own, and the only objects external to her are the 
other stars. To these her whole mass reacts by most exquisite alter- 
ations in its total gait, and by still more exquisite vibratory responses in 
its substance. Her ocean reflects the lights of heaven as on a mighty 
mirror, her atmosphere refracts them like a monstrous lens, the clouds 
and snow-fields combine them into white, the woods and flowers disperse 
them into colors. Polarization, interference, absorption, awaken sensi- 
bilities in matter of which our senses are too coarse to take any note. 

For these cosmic relations of hers, then, she no more needs a special 
brain than she needs eyes or ears. Our brains do indeed unify and cor- 
relate innumerable functions. Our eyes know nothing of sound, our 
ears nothing of light, but having brains, we can feel sound and light 

together, and compare them Must every higher means 

of unification between things be a literal brain-fiber? Cannot the earth- 
mind know otherwise the contents of our minds together? 

In a striking page Fechner relates one of his moments of direct vision 
of truth. 

"On a certain morning I went out to walk. The fields were green, 
the birds sang, the dew glistened, the smoke was rising, here and there 
a man appeared, a light as of transfiguration lay on all things. It was 
only a little bit of earth; it was only one moment of her existence; and 
yet as my look embraced her more and more it seemed to me not only 
so beautiful an idea, but so true and clear a fact, that she is an angel, an 

angel carrying me along with her into Heaven 

I asked myself how the opinions of men could ever have so spun them- 
selves away from life so far as to deem the earth only a dry clod 

But such an experience as this passes for fantasy. 

The earth is a globular body, and what more she may be, one can find in 
mineralogical cabinets." 

The special thought of Fechner's — is his belief that the more in- 
clusive forms of consciousness are in part constituted by the more limited 
forms. Not that they are the mere sum of the more limited forms. As 
our mind is not the bare sum of our sights plus our sounds, plus our 
pains, but in adding these terms together it also finds relations among 
them and weaves them into schemes and forms and objects of which 
no one sense in its separate estate knows anything, so the earth-soul 
traces relations between the contents of my mind and the contents of 
yours of which neither of our separate minds is conscious. It has 
schemes, forms, and objects proportionate to its wider field, which our 
mental fields are far too narrow to cognize. By ourselves we are simply 
out of relation with each other, for we are both of us there, and different 
from each other, which is a positive relation. What we are without 
knowing, it knows that we are. It is as if the total universe of inner life 
had a sort of grain or direction, a sort of valvular structure, permitting 
knowledge to flow in one way only, so that the wider might always have 
the narrower under observation, but never the narrower the wider. 

Fechner likens our individual persons on the earth unto so many 
sense-organs of the earth-soul. We add to its perceptive life 


It absorbs our perceptions into its larger sphere of knowledge, and com- 
bines them with the other data there. The memories and conceptual 
relations that have spun themselves round the perceptions of a certain 
person remain in the larger earth-life as distinct as ever, and form new 
relations . . . ." 

Fechner's ideas are expounded in his book "Zendavesta." 

I have made such a lengthy quotation from Prof. James' book 
in order to show that the ideas of the animism and of the con- 
sciousness of the world are neither new nor paradoxical. It is a 
natural and logical necessity, resulting from a broader view of 
the world than that which we usually permit ourselves to hold. 

Logically we must either recognize life and consciousness in 
everything, in all "dead nature," or deny them completely, even 



Consciousness and life. Life as knowledge. Consciousness as a realiza- 
tion of existence. Intellect and emotions. Emotion as an organ of 
knowledge. The evolution of emotion from the standpoint of 
knowledge. Pure and impure emotions. Personal and impersonal 
emotions. Personal and super-personal emotions. The elimination 
of self elements as a means of approach to true knowledge. " Be as 
little children. ." " Blessed are the pure in heart. ." The value 
of morals from the standpoint of knowledge. The defects of in- 
tellectualism. Dreadnaughts as the crown of intellectual culture. 
The dangers of morality. Moral esthetics. Religion and art as or- 
organized forms of emotional knowledge. The knowledge of God 
and the knowledge of beauty. 

he meaning of life — this is the eternal theme of human 
meditation. All philosophical systems, all religious 
teachings strive to find and give to men the answer to 
this question. Some say that the meaning of life is in 
service, in the surrender of self, in self-sacrifice, in the 
sacrifice of everything, even life itself. Others declare that the 
meaning of life is in the delight of it, relieved against "the expecta- 
tion of the final horror of death." Some say that the meaning of 
life is perfection, and the creation of a better future beyond the 
grave, or in future lives for ourselves. Others say that the mean- 
ing of life is in the approach to non-existence: still others, that the 
meaning of life is in the perfection of the race, in the organization 
of life on earth; while there are those who deny the possibility of 
even attempting to know its meaning. 

The fault of all these explanations consists in the fact that they 
all attempt to discover the meaning of life outside of itself, either 
in the future of humanity, or in some problematical existence be- 
yond the grave, or again in the evolution of the Ego throughout 
many successive incarnations — always in something outside of the 
present life of man. But if instead of thus speculating about it, 
men would simply look within themselves, then they would see 
that in reality the meaning of life is not after all so obscure. It 
consists in knowledge. All life, through all its facts, events and 



incidents, excitements and attractions, inevitably leads us то the 
knowledge of something. All life-experience is knowledge. 
The most powerful emotion in man is his yearning toward the 
unknown. Even in love, the most powerful of all attractions, 
to which everything is sacrificed, is this yearning toward the un- 
known, toward the new — curiosity. 

The Persian poet-philosopher, Al-Ghazzali, says: " The highest 
function of mans soul is the perception of truth." * 

In the very beginning of this book consciousness and the 
world were recognized as existing: I and Not-I. The world is 
everything that exists. Consciousness may be defined as the 
realization of existence. 

The I realizes its existence and the existence of the world, a part 
of which it is. Its relation to itself and to the world is called 
knowledge. The expansion and deepening of its relation to itself 
and to the world is the expansion of knowledge. 

All of the soul-properties of man, all the elements of his con- 
sciousness — sensations, perceptions, conceptions, ideas, judg- 
ments, reasonings, feelings, emotions, even creation — all these are 
the instruments of knowledge which the I possesses. 

Feelings — from the simple emotions up to the most complex, 
such as esthetic, religious and moral emotion — and creation — 
from the creation of a savage making a stone hatchet for himself 
up to the creation of a Beethoven — these indeed are instruments 
of knowledge. 

Only to our narrow human view do they appear to serve other 
purposes — the preservation of life, the construction of something, 
or merely pleasure. In reality all this conduces to knowledge. 

Evolutionists, followers of Darwin, say that the struggle for 
existence and the selection of the fittest created the mind and 
feeling of contemporary man — that mind and feeling serve life, 
preserve the life of separate individuals and of the species — and 
that beyond this they have no meaning in themselves. But it is 
possible to answer this with the same arguments before advanced 
against the mechanicality of the universe; namely, that if con- 
sciousness exists, then nothing exists except consciousness. The 
struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest, if they truly 
play such a role in the creation of life are also not merely accidents, 
but products of consciousness, of which — we do not know; and 
they also conduce, like everything else, то knowledge. 

* Al-Ghazzali, "The Alchemy of Happiness." 


But we do not realize, do not discern the presence of con- 
sciousness in the laws of nature. This happens because we study 
always not the whole but the part, and we do not divine the con- 
sciousness belonging to the whole — by studying the little finger 
of a man we cannot discover his consciousness. It is the same 
way in our relation to nature : we study always the little finger of 
nature. When we come to realize this we shall understand that 


In order to comprehend the consciousness of the whole, it is 
necessary to understand the character of the whole. Conscious- 
ness is the function of the whole, thus the function of man is con- 
sciousness. But without understanding "man" as a whole, it is 
impossible to understand his consciousness. 

To understand what our consciousness is it is necessary to clear 
up our relation to life. 

In Chapter X an attempt was made — a very artificial one, 
founded upon the analogy with a world of two-dimensional beings 
— to define life as motion in a sphere higher in dimensionality in 
comparison with ours. From this standpoint every separate life 
is as it were the manifestation in our sphere of a part of one of the 
consciousness of another sphere. These consciousnesses look in 
upon us, as it were, in these lives which we see. When a man dies, 
one eye of the Universe closes, says Fechner. Every separate 
human life is a moment of consciousness of some great being, which 
lives in us. Every separate life of a tree is a moment of con- 
sciousness of a being, the life of which is composed of the lives of 
trees. The consciousnesses of these higher beings do not exist 
independently of these lower lives. They are two sides of one 
and the same thing. Every single human consciousness, in some 
other section of the world, may produce the illusion of many lives. 

This is difficult to illustrate by an example. But if we take 
Hinton's spiral, passing through a plane, and the point running in 
circles on the plane (see p. 60), and conceive of the spiral as 
consciousness, then the moving point of intersection of the spiral 
with the plane will be life. This example clearly illustrates the 
relation between consciousness and life. 

To us, life and consciousness are different and separate from 
one another, because we are inept at seeing, inept at looking at 
things. And this in turn depends upon the fact that it is very 


difficult for us to step outside the frames of our divisions. We 
see the life of a tree, of this tree; and if we are told that the life of 
a tree is a manifestation of consciousness, then we understand it 
in such a way that the life of this tree is the manifestation of the 
consciousness of this tree. But this is of course an absurdity re- 
sulting from "three-dimensional thinking," the "Euclidian 
mind. " The life of this tree is a manifestation of the consciousness 
of the species, or family, or perhaps of the consciousness of the 
entire vegetable kingdom. 

In exactly the same way, our separate lives are manifestations of 
some great consciousness. We find the proof of this in the fact 
that our lives have no other meaning at all aside from that process 
of acquiring knowledge performed by us. A thoughtful man ceases 
to feel painfully the absence of meaning in life only when he real- 
izes this, and begins to strive consciously for that for which he 
strove unconsciously before. 

This process of acquiring knowledge, representing our function 
in the world, is performed not by the intellect only, but by our 
entire organism, by all the body, by all the life, and by all the life 
of human society, its organizations, its institutions, by all culture 
and all civilization. And we acquire the knowledge of that which 
we deserve to know. 

If we declare in regard to the intellectual side of man that its 
purpose is knowledge this will evoke no doubts. All agree that 
the human intellect together with everything subjected to its 
functions is for the purpose of knowledge. But concerning the 
emotions: joy, sorrow, rage, fear, love, hatred, pride, compassion, 
jealousy; concerning the sense of beauty, esthetic pleasure and 
artistic creation; concerning the moral sense; concerning all re- 
ligious emotions: faith, hope, veneration, etc., etc., — concerning 
all human activity — things are not so clear. We usually do not 
see that all emotions, and all human activity serve knowledge. 
How do fear, or love, or work serve knowledge? It seems to us 
that by emotions we feel; by work — create. Feeling and creation 
seem to us as something different from knowledge. Concerning 
work, creative power, creation, we are rather inclined to think 
that they demand knowledge, and if they serve it, do so only indi- 
rectly. In the same way it is incomprehensible how religious 
emotions serve knowledge. 


Usually the emotional is opposed to the intellectual — "heart" to 
"mind." Some place "cold reason" or intellect over against 
feelings, emotions, esthetic pleasure; and from these they separate 
the moral sense, the religious sense, and "spirituality." 

The misunderstanding here lies in the interpretation of the 
words intellect and emotion. 

Between intellect and emotion there is no sharp distinction. 
Intellect, considered as a whole, is also emotion. But in every- 
day language, and in "conversational psychology" reason is con- 
trasted with feeling; will is considered as a separate and independ- 
ent faculty; moralists consider moral feeling as entirely distinct 
from all these; religionists consider separately spirituality, or 

One often hears such expressions as: reason mastered feeling; 
will mastered desire; the sense of duty mastered passion; spirit- 
uality mastered intellectuality; faith conquered reason. But all 
these are merely the incorrect expressions of conversational psy- 
chology; just as incorrect as are the expressions "sunrise" and 
"sunset." In reality in the soul of man nothing exists save emo- 
tions. And the soul life of man is either a struggle or an adjust- 
ment between different emotions. Spinoza saw this quite 
clearly when he said that emotion can be mastered only by an- 
other more powerful emotion, and by nothing else. Reason, will, 
feeling, duty, faith, spirituality, mastering some other emotion, 
can conquer only by force of the emotional element contained in 
them. The ascetic who kills all desires and passions in himself, 
kills them by the desire for salvation. A man renouncing all the 
pleasures of the world, renounces them because of the delight of 
sacrifice, of renunciation. A soldier dying at his post through 
sense of duty, does so because the emotion of devotion, or faithful- 
ness is more powerful in him than all others. A man whose moral 
sense prompts him to overcome passion in himself, does so because 
the moral sense (i. е., emotion) is more powerful than all his other 
feelings, other emotions. In substance all this is perfectly clear 
and simple, but it has become confused and confusing simply be- 
cause men, calling different degrees of one and the same thing by 
diverse names, began to see fundamental differences where there 
were only differences in degree. 

Will is the resultant of desires. We call that man strong-willed 
in whom the will proceeds on definite lines, without turning aside; 


and we call that man weak-willed in whom the line of the will 
takes a zig-zag course, turning aside here or there under the influ- 
ence of every new desire. But this does not mean that will and 
desire are something opposite; quite the reverse, they are one and 
the same, because the will is composed of desires. 

Reason cannot conquer feeling, because feeling can be con- 
quered only by feeling. Reason can only give thoughts and 
pictures, evoking feelings which will conquer the feeling of a given 
moment. Spirituality is not opposed to " intellectuality" or " emo- 
tionality." It is only their higher flight. Intellect has no 
limits: only the human "Euclidean" mind is limited. 

But what is "intellect?" 

Intellect is the active aspect of any given consciousness. In 
the earth's animal kingdom, in all animals lower than man, we see 
passive consciousness. But with the appearance of concepts con- 
sciousness becomes active, and its active part begins to work as 
intellect. The animal is conscious through his emotions. The 
intellect is present in the animal only in an embryonic state, as an 
emotion of curiosity. 

In man the growth of consciousness consists in the growth of 
the intellect and the accompanying growth of the higher emo- 
tions — esthetic, religious, moral — which according to the measure 
of their growth become more and more intellectualized, while 
simultaneously with this the intellect is assimilating emotion- 
ality, ceasing to be "cold." 

Thus "spirituality" is a fusion of the intellect with the higher 
emotions. The intellect is spiritualized from the emotions; the 
emotions are spiritualized from the intellect. 

The functions of the intellect are not limited, but not often does 
the human intellect rise to its highest form. It is incorrect to 
say that the highest form of human knowledge will not be in- 
tellectual, but of a different character, because the intuitive mind, 
from the human standpoint, is the higher intellect; and this higher 
intellect is entirely unrestricted by logical concepts and by Eu- 
clidean modes of thought. We are likely to hear a great deal con- 
cerning this from the standpoint of mathematics, which as a matter 
of fact transcended the reasoning of logic long ago. But it achieved 
this by the aid of the intellect. Intuition grows in the soil of the 
intellect and of the higher emotions, but it is not created by them. 
A tree grows in the earth, but it is not created by the earth. A 


seed is necessary. This seed may be in the soul, or absent from 
it When it is there it can be cultivated or it can be choked; when 
it is not there it is impossible to replace it with anything else. 
The soul (if a soul it may be called) lacking that seed, 1. е., in- 
ept to feel and reflect the world of the wondrous, will never put 
forth the living sprout of intuition, but will always reflect the 
phenomenal world, and that alone. 

At the present stage of his development man comprehends 
many things by means of his intellect, but at the same time he 
comprehends many things by means of his emotions. In no case 
are emotions merely organs of feeling for feeling' s sake: they are all 
organs of knowledge. In every emotion man knows something 
that he could not know without its aid— something that he could 
know by no other emotion, by no effort of the intellect. If we 
consider the emotional nature of man as self-contained, as serving 
life and not serving knowledge we shall never understand its true 
content and significance. Emotions serve knowledge. There are 
things and relations which can be known only emotionally, and 
only through a given emotion. 

To understand the psychology of play, it is necessary to experi- 
ence the emotions of the player; to understand the psychology of 
the hunt, it is necessary to experience the emotions of the hunter; 
the psychology of a man in love is incomprehensible to him who 
is cold and unfeeling; the state of mind of Archimedes when he 
jumped out of the bath tub is incomprehensible to the staid citizen, 
who would look on such a performance as a sign of insanity; the 
feelings of the globe-trotter, delightedly breathing in the sea air 
and sweeping with his eyes the wide horizon, is incomprehensible 
to the sedentary stay-at-home. The feeling of a believer is incom- 
prehensible to an unbeliever, and to a believer the f eelmg of an un- 
believer is quite as strange. Men understand one another so im- 
perfectly because they live always by different emotions. And 
when they feel similar emotions simultaneously, then and then 
only do they understand one another. The proverbial philosophy 
of the people knows this very well: "A full man does not 
understand a hungry one," it says: "A drunkard is no com- 
rade for a sober man." "One rogue recognizes another." 

In this mutual understanding, or in the illusion of mutual un- 
derstanding—in this immersion in similar emotions— lies one of 
the principal charms of love. The French novelist, de Mau- 


passant has written very delightfully about this in his little story 
" Solitude." The same illusion explains the secret power of alcohol 
over the human soul, for alcohol creates the illusion of a com- 
munion о souls, and induces similar fantasies simultaneously, in 
two or several men. 

Emotions are the stained glass windows of the soul; colored 
glasses through which the soul looks at the world. Each such 
glass assists in finding in the contemplated object the same or 
similar colors, but it also prevents the finding of opposite ones. 
Therefore it has been correctly said that a one-sided emotional 
illumination cannot give a correct perception of an object. Noth- 
ing gives one such a clear idea of things as the emotions, yet 
nothing deludes one so much. 

Every emotion has a meaning for its existence, although its 
value from the standpoint of knowledge varies. Certain emotions 
are important and necessary for the life of knowledge and certain 
emotions hinder rather than help one to understand. 

Theoretically all emotions are an aid to knowledge; all emo- 
tions arose because of the knowing of one or another thing. Let us 
consider one of the most elementary emotions — say the emotion 
of fear. Undoubtedly there are relations which can be known 
only through fear. The man who never experienced the sensation 
of fear will never understand many things in life and in nature; he 
will never understand many of the controlling motives in the life 
of man. (What else but the fear of hunger and cold forces the 
majority of men to work?) He will never understand many 
things in the animal world. For example, he will not understand 
the relation of mammals to reptiles. A snake excites a feeling of 
repulsion and fear in all mammals. By this repulsion and fear 
the mammal knows the nature of the snake and the relation of 
that nature to its own, and knows it correctly, but strictly per- 
sonally, and only from its own standpoint. But what the snake 
is in itself the animal never knows by the emotion of fear. What 
the snake is in itself — not in the philosophical meaning of the 
thing-in-itself (nor from the standpoint of the man or animal 
whom it has bitten or may bite) but simply from the standpoint of 


Emotions unite with the different I's of our consciousness. 
Emotions apparently the same may be united with the very small 
I's of the lowest planes of consciousness, and with the very great 


and lofty I's of the soul and spirit; and correspondingly the role 
and meaning of this emotion in life may be very different. The 
continual shifting of emotions, each of which calls itself I, and 
strives to establish power over man is the chief obstacle to the 
establishment of a constant I. And particularly does this inter- 
fere when the emotions are manifesting in and passing through 
the lowest regions of the psyche. These are the so-called personal 
emotions. This term is not quite accurate, because these emotions 
pertain more to the body and to the outer world than to the person- 
ality in the strict sense of this word. It would be more correct to 
call by the name of personal emotions the emotions of the soul and 
spirit, i. е., belonging to the true personality of the man. But 
ordinarily this name is given to the emotions of the lowest regions 
of the psyche. The matter may also be explained in this way: 
emotions on the higher planes know that they are not the per- 
sonality (although they are nearer to the personality), while on 
the lower planes they assume the appearance of the personality 
and impose themselves as such — create a pseudo-personality, as 
it were. 

The sign of the growth of the emotions — this is the liberation 
of them from the pseudo-personal element, and their sublimation 
on the higher planes. The liberation from pseudo-personal ele- 
ments augments the cognizing power of the emotions, because the 
more there are of pseudo-personal elements in emotion the greater 
the possibility of delusion. Pseudo-personal emotion is always 
partial, always unjust, by reason of the one fact that it opposes 
itself to all the rest. 

Thus the cognitive power of the emotions is greater in propor- 
tion as there is less of self-elements in a given emotion, i. е., more 
consciousness that this emotion is not the I. 

We have seen before, in studying space and its laws, that the 
evolution of knowledge consists in a gradual withdrawing from 
oneself. Hinton expresses this very well. He says that only by 
withdrawing from ourselves do we begin to comprehend the world 
as it is. The entire system of mental exercises with colored cubes 
invented by Hinton aims at the training of consciousness to look 
at things from other than the pseudo-personal standpoint. 

When we study a block of cubes, writes Hinton, (say a cube consisting 
of 27 lesser cubes) we first of all learn it by starting from a particular 
cube and axis, and learning how 26 others come with regard to that 


cube. . . We learn the block with regard to this axis, so that we can 
mentally conceive the disposition of every cube as it comes regarded 
from one point of view. Next we suppose ourselves to be in another 
cube at the extremity of another axis; and looking from this axis, we 
learn the aspect of all the cubes, and so on. 

Thus we impress on the feelings what the block of cubes is like from 
every axis. In this way we get a knowledge of the block of cubes. 

Now, to get the knowledge of humanity, we must study it from the 
standpoints of the individuals composing it. 

The egotist may be compared with the man who knows a cube from one 
standpoint only. 

Those who feel superficially with a great many people, are like those 
learners who have a slight acquaintance with a block of cubes from many 
points of view. 

Those who have a few deep attachments are like those who know 
them well from only one or two points of view. 

And after all, perhaps the difference between the good and the rest of 
us, lies rather in the former being aware. There is something outside 
them which draws them to it, which they see, while we do not* 

Just as it is incorrect in relation to oneself to evaluate every- 
thing from the standpoint of one emotion, contrasting it with all 
the rest, so is it correspondingly incorrect in relation to the 
world and men to evaluate everything from the standpoint of 
one's own I, contrasting oneself with the rest. 

Thus the problem of correct emotional knowledge consists in 
the fact that one shall feel in relation to the world and men from 
some standpoint other than the personal, shall feel not only for one- 
self, but also for others. And the broader the circle becomes for 
which a person feels, the deeper becomes the knowledge which his 
emotions yield. But not all emotions are of equal potency in 
liberating from self -elements. Certain emotions from their very 
nature are disruptive, separative, alienating, forcing man to feel 
himself as individualized and separate; such are hatred, fear, 
jealousy, pride, envy. These are emotions of a materialistic 
order, forcing a belief in matter. And there are emotions which 
are unitive, harmonizing, making man feel himself to be a part of 
some great whole; such are love, sympathy, friendship, com- 
passion, love of country, love of nature, love of humanity. These 
emotions lead man out of the material world and show him the 
truth of the world of the wondrous. Emotions of this character 
liberate him more easily from self-elements than those of the 
former class. Nevertheless there can be a quite impersonal pride — 

* С. H. Hinton, "A New Era of Thought." pp. 77, 78. 


the pride in an heroic deed accomplished by another man. There 
can even be impersonal envy, when we envy a man who has con- 
quered himself, conquered his personal desire to live, sacrificed 
himself for that which everyone considers to be right and just, but 
which we cannot bring ourselves to do, cannot even think of doing, 
because of weakness, of love of life. There can be impersonal hatred 
— of injustice, of brute force, anger against stupidity, dullness; 
aversion to nastiness, to hypocrisy. These feelings undoubtedly 
elevate and purify the soul of man and help him to see things 
which he would not otherwise see. 

Christ driving the money-changers out of the temple or ex- 
pressing his opinion about the Pharisees, was not entirely meek 
and mild; and there are cases wherein meekness and mildness are 
not virtues at all. Emotions of love, sympathy, pity, transform 
themselves very readily into sentimentality, into weakness; and 
thus transformed they contribute of course to nescience, i. е., 

There is a division of emotions into pure and impure. We all 
know this, we all use these words, but understand little of what 
they mean. Truly, what does "pure" and "dirty" or "impure" 
mean with reference to feeling? 

Common morality divides, a priori, all emotions into pure and 
impure according to certain outward signs, just as Noah divided 
the animals in his ark. All "fleshly desires" fall into the category 
of the "impure." But I have already presented the idea of V. V. 
Rosanoff about the latter, that in asceticism the idea of abomina- 
tion derives from sexual perversion. In reality indeed, "fleshly 
desires" are just as pure as is everything in nature. Nevertheless 
emotions are pure and impure. We know very well that there is 
truth in this classification. But where is it, and what does it mean? 

Only an analysis of emotions from the standpoint of knowledge 
can give the key to this. 

Impure emotion — this is quite the same thing as impure glass, 
impure water, or impure sound, i. е., emotion which is not pure, 
but containing sediments, deposits, or echoes of other emotions: 
impure — mixed. Impure emotion gives obscure, not pure knowl- 
edge, just as impure glass gives a confused image. Pure emotion 
gives a clear pure image of that for the knowledge of which it is 


This is the only possible decision of the question. The arrival 
at this conclusion saves us from the common mistake of moralists 
who divide arbitrarily all emotion into "moral" and "immoral." 
But if we try for a moment to separate emotions from their usual 
moral frames, then we see that matters are considerably simpler, 
that there are no in their nature pure emotions, nor impure in their 
nature, but that each emotion will be pure or impure according to 
whether or not there are admixtures of other emotions in it. 

There can be a pure sensuality, the sensuality of the "Song of 
Songs," which initiates into the sensation of cosmic life and gives 
the power to hear the beating pulse of nature. And there can be 
an impure sensuality — something useless and aimless, mixed with 
the sense of sin and shame, i. е., with a consciousness of its use- 

There can be pure sympathy, and there can be sympathy 
mixed with calculation to receive something for one's sympathy. 
There can be pure love of knowledge, a thirst for knowledge for 
its own sake, and there can be an inclination to knowledge wherein 
considerations of utility or profit assume the chief importance. 

In their outer manifestation pure and impure emotions may 
differ very little. Two men may be playing chess, acting out- 
wardly very similarly, but in one will burn self-love, desire of 
victory, and he will be full of different unpleasant feelings toward 
his rival — fear, envy of a clever move, spite, jealousy, animosity, 
or schemes to win; while the other will simply solve a complex 
mathematical problem which lies before him, not thinking about 
his rival at all. 

The emotion of the first man will be impure, if only because it 
contains much of the mixed. The emotion of the second will be 
pure. The meaning of this is of course perfectly clear. In the 
first case the emotion dwells on the lower psychical plane. In the 
second case it dwells on the intellectual, i. е., on the higher 
psychical plane wherefrom it is easily translated into the emotions 
of the soul, in the true sense of this word. 

Examples of a similar division of outwardly similar emotions 
may be constantly seen in the aesthetic, literary, scientific, public 
and even the spiritual and religious activities of men. In all 
regions of this activity only complete victory over the pseudo- 
personal element leads a man to the correct understanding of the 
world and of himself. All emotions colored by false self-ele- 


ments are like concave, convex, or otherwise curved glasses, 
which refract rays incorrectly and distort the image of the world. 
Therefore the problem of emotional knowledge consists in a 
corresponding preparation of the emotions which serve as organs 
of knowledge. 

Become as little children . . and 
Blessed are the pure in heart. . . 

In these evangelical words is expressed the idea of the purifica- 
tion of the emotions. It is impossible to know through impure 
emotions. Therefore in the interests of a correct understanding 
of the world and of the self, man should undertake the purifica- 
tion and the elevation of his emotions. 

This last leads to an entirely new view of morality. That 
morality the aim of which is to establish a system of correct rela- 
tions toward the emotions, and to assist in their purification and 
elevation, ceases in our eyes to be some wearisome and self- 
limiting exercise in virtue. Morality — this is a form of esthetics. 

That which is not moral is first of all not beautiful, because not 
concordant, not harmonious. 

We see all the enormous meaning that morality may have in 
our life; we see the meaning morality has for knowledge for the 
reason that there are emotions by which we know, and there are 
emotions by which we delude ourselves. If morality can actually 
help us to analyze these, then its value is indisputable from the 
standpoint of knowledge. 

Current popular psychology knows very well that malice, 
hatred, anger, jealousy blind a man, darken his reason; it knows 
that fear drives one insane, etc., etc. 

But we also know that every emotion may serve either to knowl- 
edge or to nescience. 

Let us consider such an emotion — valuable and capable of high 
development — as the pleasure of activity. This emotion is a power- 
ful motive force in culture, and of service in the perfection of life 
and in the evolution of all higher faculties of man. But it is also 
the cause of an infinite number of his delusions and faux pas 
for which he afterwards pays bitterly. In the passion of ac- 
tivity man is easily inclined to forget the aim that started him to 
act; to accept the activity itself for the aim, and even to sacrifice 
the aim in order to preserve the activity. This is seen with espe- 


cial clearness in the activity of various spiritual movements. 
Man, starting out in one direction, turns in the opposite one with- 
out himself noticing it, and often descends into the abyss thinking 
that he is scaling the heights. 

There is nothing more contradictory, more paradoxical than 
the man who is enticed away by activity. We have become so ac- 
customed to "man" that the strange perversions to which he is 
sometimes subject fail to startle us as curiosities. 

Violence in the name of freedom; violence in the name of love; 
the Gospel of Christianity with sword in hand; the stakes of the 
Inquisition for the glory of a God of Mercy; the oppression of 
thought and speech on the part of the ministers of religion — all 
these are incarnated absurdities of which humanity is capable by 
reason of its own strange duality* 

A correct understanding of morality can preserve us in some 
degree from such perversions of thought. In our life in general 
there is not much of morality. European culture has gone along 
the path of intellectual development. The intellect invented and 
organized without considering the moral meaning of its own ac- 
tivity. Out of this arose the situation that the crown of European 
culture is the "dreadnaught." 

Many people realize all this, and on account of it assume a 
negative attitude to all culture. But this is unjust. European 
culture created much besides dreadnaughts that is new and val- 
uable, facilitating life. The elaboration of the principles of free- 
dom and right; the abolition of slavery (though these are indeed 
nominal) ; the victory of man in many regions where nature pre- 
sented to him a hostile front; the methods for the distribution of 
thought, the press; the miracles of contemporary medicine and 
surgery — all these are indisputably real conquests, and it is im- 
possible not to take them into consideration. But there is no mor- 
ality in them. The man of European culture invents with equal 
readiness a machine gun and a new surgical apparatus. European 
culture began from the life of the savage, taking this life as an ex- 
ample as it were and starting to develop all its sides to the utter- 
most without thinking of their moral aspects. The savage crushed 
the head of his enemy with a simple club. We invented for this 
purpose complicated devices, making possible the crushing of 
hundreds and thousands of heads at once. Therefore such a thing 
as this happened: aerial navigation, toward which men had looked 

* Concerning this duality, see later in regard to the two races or species of "men." Chapter XXIII 
and the table of "Forms of Consciousness." 


forward for millenniums, finally achieved, is used first of all for 
purposes of war. 

Morality: this is the co-ordination and the necessity for co-or- 
dination of all sides of life with the higher emotions and the higher 
comprehensions of the intellect. From this point of view the 
statement previously made, that morality is a form of esthetics, 
becomes clear. Esthetics — the sense of beauty — is the sensation of 
the relation of parts to a whole, and the perception of the neces- 
sity for a certain harmonious relation. And morality is the same. 
Those actions, thoughts and feelings are not moral which are not 
co-ordinated, which are not harmonious with the higher under- 
standing and the higher sensations accessible to man. The intro- 
duction of morality into our life would make it less paradoxical, 
less contradictory, more logical and — most important — more 
civilized; because now our vaunted civilization is much compro- 
mised by "dreadnaughts," i. е., war and everything that goes with 
it, as well as many things of "peaceful" life such as the death 
penalty, prisons, etc. 

Morality, or moral esthetics in such a sense as is here shown, is 
necessary to us. "Without it we too easily forget that the word has 
after all a certain relation to the act. We are interested in many 
things, we enter into many things, but for some strange reason we 
fail to note the incongruity between our spiritual life and our life 
on earth. Thus we create two lives. In one we are preternat- 
urally strict with ourselves, analyze with great care every idea 
before we discuss it ; in the other we permit with extreme ease any 
compromises, and easily keep from seeing that which we do not 
care to see. Moreover, we reconcile ourselves to this division. 
We do not find it necessary seriously to introduce into our lives 
our higher ideals, and almost accept as a principle the division 
of the "real" from the "spiritual." All of the indecencies of 
our life have arisen as a result of this; all of those infinite falsifi- 
cations of our life — falsifications of the press, art, drama, science, 
politics — falsifications in which we suffocate as in a fetid swamp, 
but which we ourselves create, because we and none other are 
servants and ministers of those falsifications. We have no sense of 
the necessity to introduce our ideas into life, to introduce them 
into our daily activity, and we even admit the possibility that this 
activity may go counter to our spiritual quests, in accordance with 
one of those established standards the harm of which we recognize, 


but for which no one holds himself responsible because he did not 
create them himself. We have no sense of personal responsibility, 
no boldness, and we are even without the consciousness of their 
necessity. All this would be very sad and hopeless if the concept 
"we" were not so dubious. In reality, the correctness of the very 
expression "we" is subject to grave doubt. The enormous ma- 
jority of the population of this globe is engaged in effect in de- 
stroying, disfiguring, and falsifying the ideas of the minority. The 
majority is without ideas. It is incapable of understanding the 
ideas of the minority, and left to itself it must inevitably disfigure 
and destroy. Imagine a menagerie full of monkeys. In this 
menagerie a man is working. The monkeys observe his move- 
ments and try to imitate him but they can imitate only his visible 
movements, the meaning and aim of these movements are closed 
to them; therefore their actions will have quite another result. 
And should the monkeys escape from their cages and get hold of 
the man's tools, then perhaps they will destroy all his work, and 
inflict great damage on themselves as well. But they will never 
be able to create anything. Therefore a man would make a great 
mistake if he referred to their "work," and spoke of them as 

Creation and destruction — or more correctly, the ability to 
create or the ability only to destroy — these are the principal signs 
of the two types, or races of men. Morality is necessary to us. 
Only by regarding everything from the standpoint of morality is 
it possible to differentiate unmistakably the work of man from the 
activity of apes. But at the same time delusions are nowhere 
more easily created than in the region of morality. Allured by 
his own particular morality and moral gospel, a man forgets the 
aim of moral perfection, forgets that this aim consists in knowl- 
edge. He begins to see an aim in morality itself. Then occurs the 
a priori division of the emotions into good and bad, "moral" and 
"immoral." The correct understanding of the aim and meaning 
of the emotions is lost along with this. Man is charmed with his 
"niceness." He desires that everyone else should be just as nice 
as he, or as that remote ideal created by himself. Then appears 
delight in morality for morality's sake, a sort of moral sport — the 
exercise of morality for morality's sake. A man under these 
circumstances begins to be afraid of everything. Everywhere, in 
all manifestations of life, something "immoral" begins to appear 


to him, threatening to dethrone him or others from that height to 
which they have risen or may rise. This develops a preternat- 
urally suspicious attitude toward the morality of others. In an 
ardor of proselytism, desiring to popularize his moral views, he 
begins quite definitely to regard everything which is not in accord 
with his morality as hostile to it. All this becomes "black" in 
his eyes. Starting with the idea of utter freedom, by arguments, 
by compromises, he very easily convinces himself that it is 
necessary to fight freedom. He already begins to admit a certain 
censure of thought. The free expression of opinions contrary 
to his own seems to him inadmissible. All this may be done 
with the best intentions, but the results of it are very well known. 

There is no tyranny more ferocious than the tyranny of moral- 
ity. Everything is sacrificed to it. And of course there is nothing 
so blinding as such tyranny, as such "morality." 

Nevertheless humanity needs morality, but of a different kind — 
such as is founded on the real data of superior knowledge. Hu- 
manity is passionately seeking for this, and perhaps will find it. 
Then on the basis of this new morality will occur a great division, 
and those few who will be able to follow it will begin to rule others, 
or they will disappear altogether. In any case, because of this new 
morality and those forces which it will engender, the contradic- 
tions of life will disappear, and those biped animals which consti- 
tute the majority of humanity will have no opportunity to pose 
as men any longer. 

The organized forms of intellectual knowledge are: science, 
founded upon observation, calculation and experience; and 
philosophy, founded upon the speculative method of reasoning and 
drawing conclusions. 

The organized form of emotional knowledge are: religion and 
art. Religious teachings, taking on the character of different 
"cults" are founded entirely upon the emotional nature of man. 
Magnificent temples, the gorgeous vestments of priests and 
acolytes, the solemn ritual of worship, processions, sacrifices, 
singing, music — all these have as their aim the attuning of man in 
a certain way, the evoking in him of certain definite feelings. The 
same purpose is served by religious myths, legends, stories of the 
lives of heroes and saints, prophesies, apocalypses — these all act 
upon the imagination, upon the feelings. 


The aim of it is to give God to man, to give him morality, i. е., to 
give him a certain knowledge of the mysterious side of the world. 
Religion may deviate from its true aim, may serve earthly inter- 
ests and purposes, but its foundation is the search for truth, for 

Art serves beauty, i. е., emotional knowledge of its own kind. 
Art discovers beauty in everything, and compels man to feel it and 
therefore to know. Art is a powerful instrument of knowledge of 
the noumenal world : mysterious depths, each one more amazing 
than the last, open to the vision of man when he holds in his hands 
this magical key. But let him only think that this mystery is not 
for knowledge but for pleasure in it, and all the charm disappears 
at once. Just as soon as art begins to take delight in that beauty 
which is already found, instead of the search for new beauty an 
arrestment occurs and art becomes a superfluous estheticism, en- 
compassing man's vision like a wall. The aim of art is the search 
for beauty, just as the aim of religion is the search for God and 
truth. And exactly as art stops, so religion stops also as soon as 
it ceases to search for God and truth, thinking it has found them. 
This idea is expressed in the precept: Seek . . . the kingdom 
of God and his righteousness . . . 

Science, philosophy, religion, art — these are forms of knowl- 
edge. The method of science is experiment; the method of 
philosophy is speculation; the method of religion and art is moral 
or esthetic emotional inspiration. But both science and philos- 
ophy, religion and art, begin to serve true knowledge only when 
intuition commences to manifest in them, and by intuition is 
meant the sensing and finding of some inner property in things. 
In general it is quite possible to say — and perhaps it will be most 
true to fact — that the aim of even purely intellectual systems of 
philosophy and science consists not at all in the giving to man 
of certain data of knowledge, but in the raising of man to such a 
height of thinking and feeling as to enable him to pass to those new 
and higher forms of knowledge to which art and religion approach 
more nearly. 


The intellectual method. Objective and subjective knowledge. The 
study of the Not-I, and the study of the I. Impossibility of the ob- 
jective study of the I. The limits of objective knowledge. The 
possibility of the expansion of subjective knowledge. The absorp- 
tion of all Not-I by the I. The ideas of Plotinus. Different forms 
of consciousness. Sleep (the potential state of consciousness). 
Dreams (consciousness enclosed in itself, reflected from itself). 
Waking consciousness (dualistic sensation of the world, the divi- 
sion of the I and the Not-I). Ecstacy (the liberation of the Self) 
" Turiya" (the absolute consciousness of all, as of the self). "The 
dewdrop slips into the shining sea." "Nirvana." 

AVTNG established the principle of the possible unifi - 
cation of the forms of our knowledge in the intuition 
or by aid of the intuition, let us discover if this unifica- 
tion is not somewhere realized; how it may be realized; 
and whether it will be realized in a form entirely new, 
or in one of the existing forms which shall include all others in itself. 

For this we shall return to the fundamental principles of our 
knowledge, and compare the possible chances for the development 
of different paths, i. е., we shall try to find out as best we may 
that path which leads to intuition, and in the shortest time. 

Up to a certain point we have already established this regard- 
ing the emotional path; the growth of the emotions, their purifica- 
tion and their liberation from the materialistic elements of posses- 
sion and fear of loss, must lead to super-personal knowledge and 
to intuition. 

But how can the intellectual path lead to intuition? 

We realize that all we know intellectually we know either 
subjectively or objectively — subjectively as part of ourselves; ob- 
jectively as part of that which is not ourselves. 

Let us find out which knowledge, the subjective or the objective, 
contains the greater possibility of development, and which can 
lead the more quickly to intuition. 

First of all, what is intuition? 

Intuition is direct knowledge, by an inner sense, directly by 
consciousness. I feel my own pain directly; intuition can give me 



the power to sense, as mine, the pain of another man. Thus intui- 
tion is in itself the expansion of subjective knowledge. But perhaps 
the intuitive expansion of objective knowledge is possible also. 
Let us analyze the nature of objective knowledge. 

Our objective knowledge is contained in science and philosophy. 
Subjective experience science has always regarded as a thing given, 
which cannot be changed, but as something "doubtful," standing 
in need of verification and affirmation by the objective method. 
Science has studied the world as an objective phenomenon, and it 
has striven to study the I and its properties as such another ob- 
jective phenomenon. 

In another quarter, the study of the I from the inside, so to 
speak, was proceeding simultaneously with this, but to this study 
no great significance was ever attached. The limits of subjective 
knowledge, i. е., the limits of the I were considered to be strictly 
definite, established, and unchangeable. Only for objective 
knowledge was the possibility of expansion admitted. 

Let us discover if there is not some mistake here : is the expan- 
sion of objective knowledge really possible, and that of subjective 
knowledge really limited? 

Developing science, i. е., objective knowledge, is encountering 
obstacles everywhere. Science studies phenomena; just as soon as 
it attempts to discover causes, it is confronted with the wall of the 
unknown, and to it unknowable. The question narrows itself 
down to this: is this unknowable absolutely unknowable, or is it 
so only for the objective methods of our science? 

At the present time the situation is just this: the number of 
unknown facts in every region of scientific knowledge is rapidly 
increasing; and the unknown threatens to swallow the known — or 
the accepted as known. One might define the progress of science, 
especially latterly, as a very rapid growth of the regions of 

Nescience of course existed before, and not in less degree than 
at present, But before, it was not so clearly recognized — at that 
time science did not know what it does not know. Now it knows 
this more and more, and more and more knows its conditionality . 
A little more, and in every separate branch of science that which 
it does not know will become greater than that which it knows. 


In every department science itself is beginning to repudiate its 
own foundations. A little more, and science in its entirety will 
ask, "Where am I?" 

Positive thinking — which conceived of its problem as the 
deducing of general conclusions from the findings of each separate 
science and all of them combined — will feel itself compelled to 
deduce conclusions from that which science does not know. Then 
all the world will see before it the colossus with feet of clay, or 
rather without any feet at all, but with a formidable misty body, 
hanging in the air. 

For a long time philosophy has realized the lack of feet of this 
colossus, but the majority of cultivated mankind is still hypnotized 
by positivism, which sees something in place of those feet. How- 
ever it will be necessary to part company with this illusion very 
soon. Mathematics, lying at the very foundation of positive 
knowledge and to which exact science always pointed with pride, 
as to its subject and vassal, is in reality now denying all positiv- 
ism, and establishing idealism. Mathematics was included in the 
cycle of positive sciences only by mistake, and soon indeed mathe- 
matics will become the principal weapon against positivism. 

By positivism I mean, in this connection, that system which 
affirms, in contradiction to Kant, that the study of phenomena 
can bring us nearer to things-in-themselves, i. е., which affirms 
that by going along the path of the study of phenomena we can 
come to an understanding of causes. 

The usual positivistic view denies the existence of the hidden side 
of life, i. е., it finds that the hidden side opens to us only little by 
little — and that the progress of science consists in the gradual 
unveiling of the hidden. 

"This is not known yet" says the positivist, when his attention 
is called to something 'hidden,' "but it will be known. Science, 
going by the same path that it has gone up to now, will discover 
this also. Five hundred years ago, Europe did not know of the 
existence of America; fifty years ago we did not know of the 
existence of bacteria; fifteen years ago we did not know of the 
existence of radium. But America, bacteria and radium are all 
discovered now. Similarly and by the same methods, and by 
such methods only, will be discovered everything that is to be dis- 
covered. The apparatuses are being perfected, the methods, 
processes and observations are being refined. That which we did 


not even suspect a hundred years ago, has now become a generally 
known and generally understood fact. Everything that is possible 
to be known will become known after this manner." 

Thus do the adherents of the positivistic viewpoints speak, 
but at the foundation of these reasonings lies a deep delusion. 

The affirmation of positivism would be quite true did posi- 
tivism move uniformly in all directions of the unknown; if sealed 
doors did not exist for it; if in the multitude of questions the 
principal questions did not remain just as obscure as in those 
times when science did not exist at all. We see that enormous 
regions are closed utterly to science, that it never penetrated into 
them, and worst of all it made not a single step in the direction of 
these regions. 

There are multitudes of problems the solving of which science 
has not even attempted; problems in the presence of which the con- 
temporary scientist, armed with all his science, is as helpless as a 
savage, or a four-year-old child. 

Such are the problems of life and death, the problems of space 
and time, the mystery of consciousness, etc., etc. 

We all know this, and the only thing we can do is to try not to 
think about the existence of these problems, to forget about them. 
We do so as a rule, but this does not annihilate them. They con- 
tinue to exist, and at any given moment we may turn to them 
and try on them the rigidity and force of our scientific method. 
And every time, at such an attempt, we find that our scientific 
method is not equal to these problems. By its aid we can discover 
the chemical composition of remote stars; can photograph the 
skeleton within the human body, invisible to the human eye; 
can invent a floating mine which can be controlled from a dis- 
tance by means of electrical waves, and can in this way anni- 
hilate in a moment hundreds of lives; but by the aid of this 
method we cannot tell what the man standing beside us is think- 
ing about. No matter how much we may weigh, sound or photo- 
graph a man, we shall never know his thoughts at a given moment, 
unless he himself tells them to us. Вит this is truly quite a 


The sphere of action of the method of exact science is strictly 
limited. This sphere is the world of the objective. In the world 
of the subjective exact science has never penetrated and will never 


The expansion of objective knowledge at the expense of the 
subjective is impossible. In spite of all the growth of the objective 
sciences, the border line between them and the world of the sub- 
jective remains in the same place. Could science take a single step 
in this direction, were it able to explain something subjective in 
terms of the objective, then we might admit that it could take two, 
three, ten, and ten thousand steps. But it has taken not even one, 
and it is therefore reasonable to believe that it will never take it. 
The world of the subjective is closed to objective investigation, 
and for this quite definite causes exist. 

By no means everything that exists has an objective existence, 
i. е., not everything can be made objective. Negative quantities 
exist, but they do not exist objectively. Such logical concepts as 
good, evil, truth, beauty, matter, motion and so forth exist also, 
but they do not exist objectively in the sense that this inkstand, 
that table, yonder wall exist. All metaphysical facts exist, but they 
do not exist objectively. 

Objective existence is a very narrowly defined form of existence, 
and does not by any means exhaust or comprehend existence as a 
whole. The mistake of positivism consists in the fact that it has 
recognized as really existing only that which exists objectively, 
and it has even begun to deny the very existence of that which is not 

But what is objectivity? 

We can define it in this way: because of the properties of our 
consciousness, or because of the conditions under which our con- 
sciousness works, we segregate a small number of facts into a defi- 
nite group. This group of facts represents in itself the objective 
world, and is accessible to the investigation of science. But in no 
case does this group represent in itself everything that is 

Alongside of this group we may place another one : the group of 
the subjective. 

What is the subjective? 

That which we feel directly. My tooth-ache is for me a sub- 
jective phenomenon. Another's tooth-ache is for me a concept 
only. It is true that it is accompanied by, or has as its cause the 
objective phenomenon, a decayed tooth. But the pain itself, 
when it is someone else's pain, is only a concept. The subjective: 
this is what I feel myself, directly as part of me. 


The subjective constitutes its own separate group. In every 
man this group is different. In one it may be smaller, and in 
another greater. For one, a whole series of sensations (musical 
for instance) belongs to the region of the subjective, for another 
this entire series remains a concept. Undoubtedly however, the 
region of the subjective may expand considerably by the aid of 
special education and training. 

If we take a contemporary average man, we may say that 
everything existing is divided for him into three groups: the ob- 
jective, the subjective, and that which is neither objective nor 
subjective, such as a negative magnitude, and generally such facts 
as are known to him as concepts only. 

The question consists in this : by which path will the expansion 
of the sciences go, by the path of the objective, or by the path of 
the subjective? 

With regard to a very large class of facts, we may boldly declare 
that the expansion of objective science in their direction is impossi- 
ble. An abstract concept will never become an objective phe- 
nomenon; the thoughts of another man, and my own, will never 
become for me an objective phenomenon. 

The objective method is insufficient and unfit for the study of 
the phenomena of consciousness. Another method is necessary. 
Everything points to the fact that by the positive method it is 
possible to advance in definite conditional directions only. Science 
has not taken one step in the direction of the objective knowledge 
of the subjective, and evidently cannot take any step; moreover 
objective knowledge is founded upon subjective, and cannot exist 
without it, though subjective knowledge can exist perfectly with- 
out objective knowledge. If we strictly analyze the substance of 
objective knowledge, we shall see that it consists of subjective ele- 
ments. We have already made, in part, such an analysis in dis- 
cussing space and time. Extension in space and existence in time 
— this is the first condition of objective existence. And yet the 
forms of the extension of a thing in space, and those of its ex- 
istence in time are created by the cognizing subject, and do not 
belong to the thing itself. This last consideration permits us to 
part with all the hypotheses of the five states of matter, energetic 
and psycho-physical emanations, etc. All these hypotheses suffer 
from one common defect: they do not take into consideration the 
fact that materiality or energism is a complex property belonging 



Furthermore, they do not take into consideration that materiality 
cannot belong to those things that are not perceived by us as 
material things; just as certain properties of materiality can- 
not belong to a thing without certain others. Matter consists not 
of atoms, but of our sensations of it. If there are no sensations (or 
at least the possibility of them), then there is no matter. Matter 
which is imponderable у invisible, without mass, etc., is sheer non- 
sense, as is a carriage without wheels, without seats, without 
body, without floor, without top, without doors. It will be 
anything but a carriage. Matter is first of all three dimensional. 
This three-dimensionality is the form of our receptivity. Mat- 
ter of four dimensions is just as impossible a thing as a square 

In order to understand this, and not to be attracted by the naive 
spiritistic and theosophical theories about fine states of matter, it 
is necessary to understand that all these theories do not lead us 
out of the sphere of three dimensions and cannot lead us out. All 
these "finer matters" are entirely three-dimensional, and their 
materiality is not diminished by their fineness at all. 

What is materiality? 

Materiality — this is the condition of existence in space and 
time, i. е., a condition of existence under which" at one time, and 
in one place, two similar phenomena cannot occur." This is an 
exhaustive definition of materiality. It is clear that under the con- 
ditions known to us, two similar phenomena, occurring simul- 
taneously in one place, will compose one phenomenon. But this 
is obligatory for those conditions of existence which we know, 
i. е., for matter. For the universe it is absolutely not obligatory. 
We constantly observe the conditions of materiality in those 
cases in which we must create in our life a sequence of phenomena 
or are obliged to select, because matter does not permit us to 
juxtapose in a definite interval of time, more than a certain num- 
ber of phenomena. The necessity for selection is perhaps the chief 
visible sign of materiality. Outside of matter, the necessity for 
selection is done away with, and if we imagine the life of a feeling 
being independent of the conditions of materiality, such a being 
will be capable of possessing simultaneously such faculties as from 
our standpoint are incompatible, opposite, and eliminative of one 
another: the power of being in several places at the same time; to 


command different views; to perform opposite and mutually ex- 
clusive actions simultaneously. 

In speaking of matter it is necessary always to remember that 
matter is not a substance, but a condition. Suppose for example, 
that a man is blind. It is impossible to regard this blindness as a 
substance; it is a condition of the existence of a given man. 
Matter is some sort of blindness. 

For these reasons it is perfectly useless and naive to hope that 
such subjective phenomena as thoughts and feelings can by any 
possibility be shown to exist objectively, although only slightly 
material — thus reducing everything existing to the objectively 
existing. There is objective knowledge and there is subjective 
knowledge. Let us now investigate the possibilities of progress in 
the one and in the other. 

Objective knowledge can grow infinitely, its progress depending 
on the perfection of its instruments and the refinement of its 
methods of observation and experiment. One thing only it cannot 
transcend — the limits of the three-dimensional sphere, i. е., the 
conditions of space and time, for the reason that objective knowl- 
edge is created under these conditions, and the conditions of the 
existence of the three-dimensional world are the conditions of its 
existence. Objective knowledge will always be subject to these 
conditions, for otherwise it would cease to exist. No apparatus, 
no instrument, will ever conquer these conditions, for should they 
conquer they would destroy themselves first of all. Perpetual 
motion would be the only victory over the three-dimensional 
world in the three-dimensional world itself. 

Objective knowledge does not study facts, but only the percep- 
tion of facts. Subjective knowledge studies the facts — the facts of 
consciousness, which let us remember we have found out to be 
the only real facts. Thus objective knowledge has to do with the 
unreal, with the reflected, with the imaginary world: subjective 
knowledge has to do with the real world. 

In order that objective knowledge shall transcend the 
limits of the three-dimensional sphere, it is necessary 
that the conditions of subjective receptivity shall change. 

So long as this does not happen, our objective knowledge is con- 
fined within the limits of an infinite three-dimensional sphere. It 
can proceed infinitely upon the radii of that sphere, but it will 
never penetrate into that region a section of which constitutes our 


three-dimensional world. Moreover we know, from the preceding, 
that should our subjective receptivity become more limited, then 
objective knowledge would be correspondingly limited also. It is 
impossible to convey to a dog the idea of the sphericality of the 
earth; to make it remember the weight of the sun and the distances 
between the planets is equally impossible. Its objective knowl- 
edge is vastly more personal than ours; and the cause of it lies in 
the dog's more limited psyche. 

Thus we see that objective knowledge depends upon the prop- 
erties of subjective knowledge. Or to put it differently, the degree 
of subjective knowledge determines the degree of objective 

Indeed, between the objective knowledge of a savage and that 
of Herbert Spencer there is an enormous difference; but that of 
neither the one nor the other transcends the limits of the three- 
dimensional sphere, i. е., the limits of the "conditional" unreal. 
In order to transcend the three-dimensional sphere, it is necessary 
to expand subjective knowledge. The expansion of sub- 
jective knowledge is the expansion of the limits of the I, the ex- 
pansion of the focus of consciousness, the inclusion in it simul- 
taneously of many heterogeneous I's which usually tend to 
exclude one another. 

Is the expansion of the limits of the I possible? 

The study of complex forms of consciousness assures us that 
it is possible. The expansion of subjective knowledge — the ex- 
pansion of the limits of the I — means this : the inclusion in our I of 
that which usually is perceived as Not-I. The limits of the I are 
very conditional, and in general indefinite. Animals, though yet 
imperfectly conscious of their I, unite it with that towards which 
they are striving at a given moment. Man limits his I by his body. 
Studying the world, he refers his body to the region of the Not-I 
and accepts as the I the inner, the knowing center only. With 
the expansion of consciousness the expansion of the I proceeds 
further. Without defining the matter more exactly, we may say 
that our sense of our I changes with the changes of the forms of 

Plotinus, the famous Alexandrian philosopher (third century) 
affirmed that for perfect knowledge the subject and object must be 
united — that the rational agent and the thing being comprehended 
must not be separate. 


"For that which sees is itself the thing which is seen." — [Select 
Works of Plotinus. Bohn's Library, p. 271.] 

Here it is indeed necessary to understand "to see" in the sense 
of intuition. 

But what forms of consciousness exist? 

Hindu philosophy makes the division into four states of con- 
sciousness sleep, dream, waking, and the state of absolute con- 
sciousness — turiya* ( The Ancient Wisdom, Annie Besant.) 

According to our terminology these four states of consciousness 
will be: the potential state of consciousness, consciousness in 
potentiality (sleep) ; the illusory state of consciousness (the vision 
of dreams), i. е., no division into I and Not-I, the objectivisation 
of one's forms of perception; then, "clear consciousness" (the 
waking consciousness), the division into I and Not-I; and lastly, 
that unknown fourth state of consciousness about which our 
scientific psychology has only a very vague conception, ecstasy. 

G. R. S. Mead, in the preface to Taylor's translation of Plotinus 
(Bohn's Library) correlates the terminology of Shankaracharya — 
the leader of the Advaita- Vedanta school of ancient India — with 
that of Plotinus. 

The first or spiritual state was ecstasy ; from ecstasy it forgot itself into 
deep sleep; from profound sleep it awoke out of unconsciousness, but 
still within itself, into the internal world of dreams; from dreaming it 
passed finally into the thoroughly waking state, and the outer world of 
sense, f 

Ecstasy is the term used by Plotinus ; it is entirely identical with 
the term turiya of Hindu psychology. 

Under ordinary conditions the consciousness is surrounded by 
what constitutes its sense-organs and receptive apparatus in the 
phenomenal world; it differentiates the "subjective" from the 
"objective;" divides the world into I and Not-I, and discerns its 
forms of perception from "reality." It recognizes the phenom- 
enal objective world as reality, and dreams as unreality, and in- 
cludes along with it, as being unreal, the entire subjective world. 
Its vague sensation of real things, lying beyond that which is ap- 
prehended by the organs of sense, i. е., sensations of noumena, 
consciousness identifies as it were with dreams — with the unreal, 

* According to the interpretation of the Southern Hindu School of occultism, the four states of 
consciousness are understood in somewhat diffeient order. The most remoie from the True, the most 
illusory, is the waking state; the second — sleep — is already nearer to the True; the third — -deep sle'p 
without dreams — contact with the True; and the fourth, skm&dhi, or ecstasy — union with the True. 

t Ibid, p. xxvii. 


imaginary, abstract, subjective — and regards phenomena as the 
only reality. 

Gradually convinced by reason of the unreality of phenomena, 
or inwardly sensing this unreality and the reality which lies be- 
hind, consciousness frees itself from the mirage of phenomena, sees 
that all the phenomenal world is in substance subjective also, that 
the great realities lie deeper down. Then a complete change takes 
place in consciousness in all its concepts about reality. That which 
before was regarded as real becomes unreal, and that which was 
regarded as unreal becomes real. And the consciousness tran- 
scends, i. е., returns to that state of absolute consciousness out of 
which it came. 

This transition into the absolute state of consciousness is 
"union with Divinity," "vision of God," experiencing the 
"Kingdom of Heaven," "entering Nirvana." All these ex- 
pressions of mystical religions represent the psychological fact of 
the expansion of consciousness, such an expansion that the con- 
sciousness absorbs itself in the all. 

C. W. Leadbeater, in an essay, "Some Notes on the Higher 
Planes. Nirvana" {The Theosophist. July, 1910.) writes: 

Sir Edwin Arnold wrote of that beatific condition, that " the dewdrop 
slips into the shining sea." 

Those who have passed through that most marvelous of experiences 
know that, paradoxical as it may seem, the sensation is exactly the re- 
verse, and that a far closer description would be that the ocean had 


That consciousness, wide as the sea, with "its center everywhere and 
its circumference nowhere" is a great and glorious fact; but when a man 
attains it, it seems to him that his consciousness has widened to take in 
all that, not that he is merged into something else. 

This pouring of the ocean into the drop occurs because the con- 
sciousness never loses itself, i. е., does not disappear, does not ex- 
tinguish itself. When it seems to us that consciousness is ex- 
tinguished, in reality it is only changing its form, it ceases to be 
analogical to ours, and we lose the means of convincing ourselves 
of its existence. 

We have no definite data at all to think that it is dissipated. In 
order to escape from the field possible to our observation, it is 
sufficient for consciousness то change only a little. 


In the objective world indeed, this "slipping of the dewdrop 
into the sea" leads to the annihilation of the drop, to the absorp- 
tion of it by the sea. We have never observed another order of 
things in the objective world and therefore cannot imagine it. 
But in the real, i. е., the subjective world, of course another order 
must exist and operate. The drop of consciousness merging 
with the sea of consciousness knows it, but does not itself cease to 
exist because of that. Therefore undoubtedly, the sea is absorbed 
by the drop. 

In the "Letters to Flaccus" of Plotinus, we find a wonderful 
description of a psychology and theory of knowledge founded 
exactly upon the idea of the expansion of the I. 

External objects present us only with appearances. Concerning 
them, therefore, we may be said to possess opinion rather than knowl- 
edge. The distinctions in the actual world of appearance are of import 
only to ordinary and practical men. Our question lies with the ideal 
reality that exists behind appearacnce. How does the mind perceive 
these ideas? Are they without us, and is the reason, like sensation, occu- 
pied with objects external to itself? What certainty would we then 
have — what assurance that our perception was infallible? The object 
perceived would be a something different from the mind perceiving it. 
We should have then an image instead of reality. It would be mon- 
strous to believe for a moment that the mind was unable to perceive 
ideal truth exactly as it is, and that we had not certainty and real knowl- 
edge concerning the world of intelligence. It follows, therefore, that 
this region of truth is not to be investigated as a thing external to us, 
and so only imperfectly known. It is within us. Here the objects we 
contemplate and that which contemplates are identical — both are 
thought. The subject cannot surely know an object different from itself. 
The world of ideas lies within our intelligence. Truth, therefore, is not 
the agreement of our apprehension of an external object with the object 
itself. It is the agreement of the mind with itself. Consciousness, 
therefore, is the sole basis of certainty. The mind is its own witness. 
Reason sees in itself that which is above itself and its source; and again, 
that which is below itself as still itself once more. 

Knowledge has three degrees — opinion, science, illumination. The 
means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second dialectic; of the 
third intuition. To the last I subordinate reason. It is absolute knowl- 
edge founded on the identity of the mind knowing with the object known. 

There is a raying out of all orders of existence, an external emanation 
from the ineffable One. There is again a returning impulse, drawing 
all upwards and inwards toward the center from whence all came. 
The wise man recognizes the idea of the good within him. This he 
develops by withdrawal into the holy place of his own soul. He who 
does not understand how the soul contains the beautiful within itself, 


seeks to realize beauty without by laborious production. His aim should 
rather be to concentrate and simplify, and so to expand his being; instead 
of going out into the manifold, to forsake it for the One, and to float up- 
wards towards the divine fount of being whose stream flows within him. 

You ask, how can we know the Infinite? I answer, not by reason. It 
is the office of reason to distinguish and define. The infinite, therefore, 
cannot be ranked among its objects. You can only apprehend the 
infinite by a faculty superior to reason, by entering into a state in which 
you are your finite self no longer — in which the divine essence is com- 
municated to you. This is ecstacy. It is the liberation of your mind 
from its finite consciousness. Like can only apprehend like; when you 
thus cease to be finite, you become one with the infinite. In the reduc- 
tion of your soul to its simplest self, its divine essence, you realize this 
union — this identity. 

But this sublime condition is not of permanent duration. It is only 
now and then that we can enjoy this elevation above the limits of the 
body and the world. I myself have realized it but three times as yet, 
and Porphyry hitherto not once. 

All that tends to purify and elevate the mind will assist you in this at- 
tainment, and facilitate the approach and the recurrence of these happy 
intervals. There are, then, different roads by which this end may be 
reached. The love of beauty which exalts the poet; that devotion to 
the One and that ascent of science which makes the ambition of the 
philosopher, and that love and those prayers by which some devout and 
ardent soul tends in its moral purity towards perfection — these are the 
great highways conducting to that height above the actual and the par- 
ticular, where we stand in the immediate presence of the Infinite, who 
shines out as from the depths of the soul. 

In another place in his works, Plotinus defines the ecstatic 
knowledge more exactly, presenting such properties of it as to 
reveal to us quite clearly that the infinite expansion of subjective 
knowledge is there meant. 

When we see God, says Plotinus, we see him not by reason, but by 
something that is higher than reason. It is impossible however to say 
about him who sees that he sees, because he does not behold and discern 
two different things (the seer and the thing seen). He changes com- 
pletely, ceases to be himself, preserves nothing of his I. Immersed in 
God, he constitutes one whole with Him; like the center of a circle, 
which coincides with the center of another circle. 


The sense of infinity. The neophyte's first ordeal. An intolerable sad- 
ness. The loss of everything real. What would an animal feel on 
becoming a man? The transition to the new logic. Our logic as 
founded on the observation of the laws of the phenomenal world. 
Its invalidity for the study of the world of noumena. The necessity 
for another logic. Analogy between the axioms of logic and of 
mathematics. Two mathematics. The mathematics of real mag- 
nitudes (infinite and variable); and the mathematics of unreal, imag- 
inary magnitudes (finite and constant). Transfinite numbers- 
numbers lying beyond infinity. The possibility of different infini- 

N the book, "A New Era of Thought"— concerning which 
I have had already much to say— in the interesting chapter, 
"Space the Scientific Basis of Altruism and Religion,'* 
Hinton says: 

When we come upon infinity in any mode of our thought, it 
is a sign that that mode of thought is dealing with a higher reality than 
it is adapted for, and in struggling to represent it, can only do so by an 
infinite number of terms (of realities of a higher order). 

Truly what is infinity, as the ordinary mind represents it to 


This is the abyss, the bottomless pit into which the mind falls, 
after having risen to heights to which it is not native. 

Let us imagine for a moment that a man begins to feel infinity 
in everything: every thought, every idea leads him to the realiza- 
tion of infinity. 

This will inevitably happen to a man approaching an under- 
standing of a higher order of reality. 

But what will he feel under such circumstances? 

He will feel a precipice, an abyss everywhere, no matter where 
he looks; and experience indeed an incredible horror, fear and 

" . . . An intolerable sadness is the very first experience 
of the Neophyte in occultism. . . " says the author of 
"Light on the Path." 



We have already examined into the manner in which a two- 
dimensional being might approach to a comprehension of the third 
dimension. But we have never asked ourselves the question: 
what would it feel, beginning to sense the third dimension, begin- 
ning to be conscious of "a new world" environing it? 

First of all, it would feel astonishment and fright — fright ap- 
proaching horror; because in order to find the new world it must 
lose the old one. 

Let us imagine the predicament of an animal in which flashes 
of human consciousness have begun to appear. 

What will it be conscious of first of all? First of all, that its old 
world, the world of the animal, its comfortable, habitual world, the 
one in which it was born, to which it has become accustomed, and 
which it imagines to be the only real one, is crumbling away and 
falling all around it. Everything that before seemed real, becomes 
false, delusive, fantastic, unreal. The impression of the unreality 
of all its environment will be very strong. 

Until such a being shall learn to comprehend the reality of 
another, higher order, until it shall understand that behind the 
crumbling old world one infinitely more beautiful and new is 
opening up, considerable time will necessarily pass. And during 
all this time, a being in whom this new consciousness is in process 
of being born, must pass from one abyss of despair to another, 
from one negation to another. It must repudiate everything 
around itself. Only by the repudiation of everything will the 
possibility of entering into a new life be realized. 

With the beginning of the gradual loss of the old world, the 
logic of the two-dimensional being — or that which stood for it for 
logic — will suffer continual violation, and its strongest impression 
will be that there is no logic at all, that no laws of any sort even exist. 

Formerly, when it was an animal, it reasoned: 

This is this. This house is my own. 

That is that. That house is strange. 

This is not that. The strange house is not my own. 

The strange house and its own house the animal regards as 
different objects, having nothing in common, as a house and a tree. 
But now it will surprisedly understand that the strange house and 
its own house are equally houses. 


How will it express this in its language of perceptions? Strictly 
speaking, it will not be able to express this at all, because it is im- 
possible to express concepts in the language of an animal. The 
animal will simply mix up the sensations of the strange house and 
its own house. Confusedly, it will begin to feel some new proper- 
ties in houses, and along with this it will feel less clearly those 
properties which made the strange house strange. Simultane- 
ously with this, the animal will begin to sense new properties which 
it did not know before. As a result it will undoubtedly experience 
the necessity for a system of generalization of these new proper- 
ties — the necessity for a new logic expressing the relations of the 
new order of things. But having no concepts it will not be in a 
position to construe the axioms of Aristototelian logic, and will 
express its impression of the new order in the form of the entirely 
absurd proposition: 

This is that. 

Further, let us imagine that to the animal with the rudimentary 
logic expressing its sensations, 

This is this. 
That is that. 
This is not that. 

somebody tries to prove that two different objects, two houses — 
its own and a strange one — are similar, that they represent one and 
the same thing, that they are both houses. The animal will never 
credit this similarity. For it the two houses, its own, where it is fed, 
and the strange one, where it is beaten if it enters, will remain 
entirely different. There will be nothing in common in them for it, 
and the effort to prove to it the similarity of these two houses will 
lead to nothing until it senses this itself. Then, sensing confusedly 
the idea of the likeness of two different objects, and being without 
concepts, the animal will express this as something illogical from 
its own point of view. The idea, this and that are similar objects, 
the articulate two-dimensional being will translate into the lan- 
guage of its logic, in the shape of the formula : This is that; and of 
course will pronounce it an absurdity, and that the sensation of 
the new order of things leads to logical absurdities. But it will be 
unable to express that which it senses in any other way. 


We are in exactly the same position — when we dead awaken — 
i. е., when we, men, come to the realization of that other life, to 
the comprehension of higher things. 

The same fright, the same loss of the real, the same impression 
of utter and never-ending illogicality will afflict us. 

In order to realize the new world, we must understand the new 
logical order of things. 

Our usual logic assists us in the investigation of the relations of 
the phenomenal world only. Many attempts have been made to 
define what logic is. But logic is just as essentially undefinable 
as is mathematics. 

What is mathematics? The science of magnitudes. 

What is logic? The science of concepts. 

But these are not definitions, they are only the translation of 
the name. Mathematics, or the science of magnitudes, is that 
system which studies the quantitive relations between things ; logic, 
or the science of concepts, is that system which studies the 
qualititive (categorical) relations between things. 

Logic has been built up quite in the same way as mathematics. 
As with logic, so also with mathematics (at least the generally 
known mathematics of "finite" and "constant" numbers), both 
were deduced by us from the observation of the phemomena of 
our world. Generalizing our observations, we gradually discover- 
ed those relations which we called the fundamental laws of the 

In logic, these fundamental laws are included in the axioms of 
Aristotle and of Bacon. 

A is A. 

{That which was A, will be A.) 

A is not A. 

{That which was not A, will not be A.) 

{Everything is either A or not A.) 
{Everything will be either A or not A). 

The logic of Aristotle and Bacon, developed and supplemented 
by their many followers, deals with concepts only. 

The word, logos — this is the object of logic. An idea, in order 
to become the object of logical reasoning, in order to be subjected 


to the laws of logic, must be expressed in a word. That which 
cannot be expressed in a word cannot enter into a logical system. 
Moreover a word can enter into a logical system, can be subjected 
to logical laws, only as a concept. 

A word as such may have also another meaning in addition to 
the concept with which it is usually associated: a word may have 
a symbolical or allegorical meaning, may contain within itself a 
certain music, or a definite emotional tone. But all this cannot 
enter into a logical system. No matter what symbolical, alle- 
gorical, musical or emotional meaning a word may have, in a 
logical construction it will enter in its exact logical meaning, i. е., 
as a concept. 

At the same time we know very well that not everything can be 
expressed in words. In our life and in our feelings there is much 
that cannot be expressed in concepts. Thus it is clear that even at 
the present moment, at the present stage of our development, not 
everything can be entirely logical for us. There are many things 
which in their substance are outside of logic altogether. This in- 
cludes the entire region of feelings, emotions, religion. All art is 
just one entire illogicality; and as we shall presently see, mathe- 
matics, the most exact of sciences, is entirely illogical. 

If we compare the axioms of the logic of Aristotle and of Bacon 
with the axioms of mathematics as it is commonly known, we 
find between them complete similarity. 

The axioms of logic, 

A is A. Vo v- 

A is not, A. 

Everything is either A or not A. 

fully correspond to the fundamental axioms of mathematics, to the 
axioms of identity and difference. 

Every magnitude is equal to itself. 
The part is less than the whole. 

Two magnitudes, equal separately to a third, are equal to each 
other, etc. 

The similarity between the axioms of mathematics and those 
of logic extends very far, and this permits us to draw a conclusion 
about their similar origin. 


The laws of mathematics and the laws of logic — these are the 
laws of the reflection of the phenomenal world in our conscious- 

Just as the axioms of logic can deal with concepts only, and are 
related solely to them, so the axioms of mathematics apply to 
finite and constant magnitudes only, and are related solely to 


These axioms are untrue in relation to infinite and 
variable magnitudes, just as the axioms of logic are untrue in 
relation to emotions, to symbols, to the musicality and the hidden 
meaning of words. 

What does this mean? 

It means that the axioms of logic and of mathematics are de- 
duced by us from the observation of phenomena, i. е., of the phe- 
nomenal world, and represent in themselves a certain conditional 
incorrectness, which is necessary for the knowledge of the unreal 

As has been said before, we have in reality two mathematics. 
One, the mathematics of Unite and constant numbers, represents a 
quite artificial construction for the solution of problems based on 
conditional data. The chief of these conditional data consists in 
the fact that in problems of this mathematics there is always taken 
the t of the universe only, i. е., one section only of the universe is 
taken, which section is never taken in conjunction with another 
one. This mathematics of finite and constant magnitudes studies 
an artificial universe, and is in itself something especially created 
on the basis of our observation of phenomena, and serves for the 
simplification of these observations. Beyond phenomena the 
mathematics of finite and constant numbers cannot go. It is 
dealing with an imaginary world, with imaginary magnitudes. 
The other, the mathematics of infinite and variable magnitudes, 
represents something entirely real, built upon the reasonings in 
regard to a real world. 

The first is related to the world of phenomena, which repre- 
sents in itself nothing other than our incorrect apprehension and 
perception of the world. 

The second is related to the world of noumena, which repre- 
sents in itself the world as it is. 


The first is unreal, it exists in our consciousness, in our imagina- 

The second is real, it expresses the relations of a real world. 

Transfinite numbers, so called, may serve as an example of 
"real mathematics," violating the fundamental axioms of our 
mathematics (and logic). 

By transfinite numbers, as their name implies, is meant numbers 
beyond infinity. 

Infinity, as represented by the sign GO is the mathematical 
expression with which, as such, it is possible to perform all oper- 
ations : divide, multiply, raise to powers. It is possible to raise 
infinity to the power of infinity — it will be 00 °° . This magnitude is 
an infinite number of times greater than simple infinity. And at 
the same time they are both equal: GO = 00 °°. And this is 
the most remarkable property of transfinite numbers. You may 
perform with them any operations whatsoever, they will change 
in a corresponding manner, remaining at the same time equal. 
This violates the fundamental laws of mathematics accepted for 
finite numbers. After a change, the finite number cannot be equal 
to itself. But here we see how, changing, the transfinite number 
remains equal to itself. 

After all, transfinite numbers are entirely real. We can find 
examples corresponding to the expression GO and even GO 
and 00 °° °° in our world. 

Let us take a line — any segment of a line. We know that the 
number of points on this line is equal to infinity, for a point has 
no dimension. If our segment is equal to one inch, and beside it 
we shall imagine a segment a mile long, then in the little segment 
each point will correspond to a point in the large one. The num- 
ber of points in a segment one inch long is infinite. The number 
of points in a segment one mile long is also infinite. We get 
00 = GO. 

Let us now imagine a square, one side of which is a given seg- 
ment, a. The number of lines in a square is infinite. The number 
of points in each line is infinite. Consequently, the number of 
points in a square is equal to infinity multiplied by itself an infinite 
number of times 00 °°. This magnitude is undoubtedly in- 
finitely greater than the first one: GO, and at the same time 


they are equal, as all infinite magnitudes are equal, because, if 
there be an infinity, then it is one, and cannot change. 

Upon the square a 2 , let us construct a cube. This cube consists 
of an infinite number of squares, just as a square consists of an 
infinite number of lines, and a line of an infinite number of points. 
Consequently, the number of points in the cube, a 3 is equal to 
00 °° °° , this expression is equal to the expression 00 °° 
and QC , i. е., this means that an infinity continues to grow, re- 
maining at the same time unchanged* 

Thus in transfinite numbers, we see that two magnitudes equal 
separately to the third, can be not equal to each other. Generally 
speaking, we see that the fundamental axioms of our mathematics 
do not work there, are not there valid. We have therefore a full 
right to establish the law, that the fundamental axioms of mathe- 
matics enumerated above are not applicable to transfinite num- 
bers, but are applicable and valid only ior finite numbers. 

"We may also say that the fundamental axioms of our mathe- 
matics are valid for constant magnitudes only Or in other 
words, they demand unity of time and unity of acting agents. That 
is, each magnitude is equal to itself at a given moment. But if we 
take a magnitude which varies, and take it in different moments, 
then it will not be equal to itself. Of course, we may say that 
changing, it becomes another magnitude, that it is a given magni- 
tude only so long as it does not change. But this is precisely the 
thing that I am talking about. 

The axioms of our usual mathematics are applicable to finite 
and constant magnitudes only. 

Thus quite in opposition to the usual view, we must admit that 
the mathematics of finite and constant magnitudes is unreal, i. е., 
that it deals with the unreal relations of unreal magnitudes; while 
the mathematics of infinite and fluent magnitudes is real, i. е., 
that it deals with the real relations of real magnitudes. 

Truly the greatest magnitude of the first mathematics has no 
dimension whatever, it is equal to zero or a point, in comparison 
with any magnitude of the second mathematics, all magnitudes 


* This paragraph and the preceding are open to criticism from the technical standpoint. It is probable 
that the author sacrificed technical exactness in his desire to give those who are not initiated into the 
mysteries of mathematics a clear, and as it were tangible illustration of transfinite numbers. 

Those readers who are not professional mathematicians, and desire to know more about this sub- 
ject, may find a clear and simple exposition of the properties of transfinite numbers in Introduction 
to Mathematical Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell (Macmillan). Transl. 


Thus both here, as in logic, the axioms of a new mathematics ap- 
pear as absurdities. 

A magnitude can be not equal to itself. 

A part can be equal to the whole, or it can be greater than the 

One of two equal magnitudes can be infinitely greater than another. 
All different magnitudes are equal among themselves. 

A complete analogy is observed between the axioms of mathe- 
matics and those of logic. The logical unit — a concept — possesses 
all the properties of a finite and constant magnitude. The funda- 
mental axioms of mathematics and logic are essentially one and 
the same. They are correct under the same conditions, and under 
the same conditions they cease to be correct. 

Without any exaggeration we may say that the fundamental 
axioms of mathematics and of logic are correct only just so long as 
mathematics and logic deal with magnitudes which are artificial, 
conditional, and which do not exist in nature. 

The truth is that in nature there are no finite, constant magni- 
tudes, just as also there are no concepts. The finite, constant mag- 
nitude and the concept — these are conditional abstractions, not 
reality, but merely the sections of reality, so to speak. 

How shall we reconcile the idea of the absence of constant mag- 
nitudes with the idea of an immobile universe? At first sight one 
appears to contradict the other. But in reality this contradiction 
does not exist. Not this universe is immobile, but the greater uni- 
verse, the world of four dimensions, of which we know that per- 
petually moving section, called the three-dimensional infinite 

Already we have analyzed in detail how the idea of motion fol- 
lows from our time sense, i.e., from the imperefction of our space- 

Were our space sense more perfect in relation to any given ob- 
ject, say to the body of a given man, we could embrace all his life 
in time, from birth to death. Then within the limits of this em- 
brace that life would be for us a constant magnitude. But now, at 
every given moment of it, it is for us not a constant, but a variable 
magnitude. That which we call a body does not exist in reality. It 
is only the section of that four-dimensional body that we never 
see. We ought always to remember that our entire three-dimen- 


sional world does not exist in reality. It is a creation of our im- 
perfect senses, the result of their imperfection. This is not the 
world but merely that which we see of the world. The three- 
dimensional world — this is the four-dimensional world observed 
through the narrow slit of our senses. Therefore all magnitudes 
which we regard as such in the three-dimensional world are not 
real magnitudes, but merely artificially assumed. 

They do not exist really, in the same way that the present does 
not exist really. This has been dwelt upon before. By the present 
we designate the transition from the future into the past. But this 
transition has no extension. Therefore the present does not exist. 
Only the future and the past exist. 

Thus constant magnitudes in the three-dimensional world are 
only abstractions, just as motion in the three-dimensional world 
is, in substance, an abstraction. In the three-dimensional world 
there is no change, no motion. In order to think motion, we al- 
ready need the four-dimensional world. The three-dimensional 
world does not exist in reality, or it exists only during one ideal 
moment. In the next ideal moment there already exists another 
three-dimensional world. Therefore the magnitude A in the fol- 
lowing moment is already not A, but B, in the next C, and so 
forth to infinity. It is equal to itself in one ideal moment only. 
In other words, within the limits of each ideal moment the axioms 
of mathematics are true; for the comparison of two ideal moments 
they are merely conditional as the logic of Bacon is conditional in 
comparison with the logic of Aristotle. In time, i. е., in relation to 
variable magnitudes, from the standpoint of the ideal moment, 
they are untrue. 

The idea of constancy or variability emanates from the im- 
potence of our limited reason to comprehend a thing otherwise 
than by a section. If we would comprehend a thing in four 
dimensions, let us say a human body from birth to death, then it 
will be the whole and constant, the section of which we call 
a-changing -in-time human body. A moment of life, i. е., a body as 
we know it in the three-dimensional world, is a point on an infinite 
line. Could we comprehend this body as a whole, then we would 
know it as an absolutely constant magnitude, with all its multifari- 
ousness of forms, states and positions; but then to this constant 
magnitude the axioms of our mathematics and logic would be in- 
applicable, because it would be an infinite magnitude. 


We cannot comprehend this infinite magnitude. We compre- 
hend always its sections only. And our mathematics and logic are 
related to this imaginary section of the universe. 


Man's transition to a higher logic. The necessity for rejecting every- 
thing "real." "Poverty of the spirit." The recognition of the 
infinite alone as real. Laws of the infinite. Logic of the finite — 
the "Organon" of Aristotle and the "Novum Отдалит" of Bacon. 
Logic of the infinite — Tertium Organum. The higher logic as an 
instrument of thought, as a key to the mysteries of nature, to the 
hidden side of life, to the world of noumena. A definition of the 
world of noumena on the basis of all the foregoing. The impression 
of the noumenal world on an unprepared consciousness. "The 
thrice unknown darkness in the contemplation of which all knowl- 
edge is resolved into ignorance." 

VERYTHING that has been said about mathematical 
magnitudes is true also with regard to logical concepts. 
Finite mathematical magnitudes and logical concepts 
are subject to the same laws. 
We have now established that the laws discovered 
by us in a space of three dimensions, and operating in that space 
are inapplicable, incorrect and untrue in a space of a greater 
number of dimensions. 

And as this is true of mathematics, so is it true of logic. 
As soon as we begin to consider infinite and variable magnitudes 
instead of those which are finite and constant, we perceive that 
the fundamental axioms of our mathematics cannot be applied 
to the former class. 

And as soon as we begin to think in other terms than those of 
concepts, we must be prepared to encounter an enormous number 
of absurdities from the standpoint of existing logic. 

These absurdities seem to us such, because we approach the 
world of many dimensions with the logic of the three-dimensional 

It has been already proven that to an animal, i. е., to a two- 
dimensional being, thinking not by concepts, but by perceptions, 
our logical ideas must seem absurd. 

The logical relations in the world of many dimensions seem 
equally absurd to us. We have no reason whatsoever to hope that 



the relations of "the other world," or the world of causes can be 
logical from our point of view. On the contrary, it may be said 


noumenal, but phenomenal. Nothing can be logical, from our 
standpoint, there. All that is there must seem to us a logical ab- 
surdity, nonsense. We must remember that it is impossible to 
penetrate there with our logic. 

The relation of the general trend of the thought of humanity 
toward the other world has always been highly incorrect. 

In "positivism" men have denied that other world altogether. 
This was because, not admitting the possibility of relations other 
than those formulated by Aristotle and Bacon, men denied the 
very existence of that which seemed absurd and impossible from 
the standpoint of those formulae. Also, in dualistic spiritism 
they attempted to construct the noumenal world on the model of 
the phenomenal, that is, against reason, against nature, they 
wanted at all costs to prove that the other world is logical from 
our standpoint, that the same laws of casuality operate just as in 
our world, and that the other world is nothing more than the 
extension of ours. 

Modern theosophy, which began with the denial of dualistic 
theses as absurd, came finally to their affirmation. 

Positive philosophy perceived the absurdity of all dualistic 
theses, but having no power to expand the field of its activity, 
limited by "the infinite sphere," could think of nothing better 
than to DENY. 

Mystical philosophy alone felt the possibility of relations other 
than those of the phenomenal world, and to this we shall come at 
the end of all ends after long wanderings in materialistic, spirit- 
istic, and neo-theosophic labyrinths. 

Science must come to mysticism. 

Science cannot deny the fact that mathematics grows, expands, 
and escapes from the limits of the visible and measuable world. 
Entire departments of mathematics take into consideration quan- 
titive relations which did not exist in the real world of positivism, 
i. е., relations which have no correspondence to any realities in the 
visible, three-dimensional world. 

But there cannot be any mathematical relations to which the 
relation of some realities would not correspond. Therefore math- 
ematics transcends the limits of our world, and penetrates into a 


world unknown. This is the telescope, by the aid of which we 
begin to investigate the space of many dimensions with its worlds. 
Mathematics goes ahead of our thought, ahead of our power of 
imagination and perception. Even now it is engaged in calculating 
relations which we cannot imagine at all. 

It is impossible to deny all this, even from the strictly "posi- 
tivistic," i. е., positive standpoint. Thus science, having admitted 
the possibility of the expansion of mathematics beyond the limits 
of the sensuously perceived world — that is, beyond the limits of a 
world accessible (though theoretically) to the organs of sense and 
their mechanical aids — must thereby recognize the expansion of 
the real world far beyond the limits of any "infinite sphere," i. е., 
must recognize the reality of "the world of many dimensions." 

The recognition of the reality of the world of many dimensions 
is the already accomplished transition to, and understanding of, 
the world of the wondrous. And this transition to the wondrous 
is impossible without the recognition of the reality of new logical 
relations which are absurd from the standpoint of our logic. 

What are the laws of our logic? 

They are the laws of our receptivity of the three-dimensional 
world, or the laws of our three-dimensional receptivity of the world. 

If we desire to escape from the three-dimensional world and go 
farther, we must first of all work out the fundamental logical prin- 
ciples which would permit us to observe the relations of things in 
a world of many dimensions — seeing in them a certain reasonable- 
ness, and not complete absurdity. If we enter there armed only 
with the principles of the logic of the three-dimensional world, 
these principles will drag us back, will not give us a chance to rise 
from the earth. 

First of all we must throw off the chains of our logic. This is 
the first, the great, the chief liberation toward which humanity 
must strive. Man, throwing off the chains of " three-dimensional" 
logic, has already penetrated, in consciousness, into another 
world. And not only is this transition possible, but it is accom- 
plished constantly. Although unhappily we are not entirely con- 
scious of our rights in "another world," and often sacrifice these 
rights, regarding ourselves as limited to this earthly world, paths 
nevertheless exist. Poetry, mysticism, the idealistic philosophy 
of all ages and peoples preserve the traces of such transitions. 
Following these traces, we ourselves can find the path. Ancient 


and modern thinkers have given us many keys with which 
we may open mysterious doors; many magical formulae, before 
which these doors open of themselves. But we have not under- 
stood either the purpose of these keys, nor the meaning of the 
formulae. We have also lost the understanding of magical cere- 
monies and rites of initiation into mysteries which had a single 
purpose: to bring about this transformation in the soul of man. 

Therefore the doors remained closed, and we even denied that 
there was anything whatever behind them; or, suspecting the ex- 
istence of another world, we regarded it as similar to ours, and 
separate from ours, and tried to penetrate there unconscious of 
the fact that the chief obstacle in our path was our own division of 
the world into this world and that. 

The world is one, the ways of knowing it alone are different; 
and with imperfect methods of knowledge it is impossible to pene- 
trate into that which is accessible to perfect methods only. 

All attempts to penetrate mentally into that higher, noumenal 
world, or world of causes by means of the logic of the phenomenal 
world if they did not fail altogether, or did not lead to castles in the 
air, gave only one result : in becoming conscious of a new order of 
things, a man lost the sense of the reality of the old order. The 
visible world began to seem to him fantastic and unreal, every- 
thing all about him was disappearing, was vanishing like smoke, 
leaving a dreadful feeling of illusion. In everything he felt the 
abyss of infinity, and everything was plunging into the abyss. 

This sense of the infinite is the first and most terrible trial before 
initiation. Nothing exists ! A little miserable soul feels itself sus- 
pended in an infinite void. The mystical literature of all peoples 
abounds in references to this sensation of darkness and emptiness. 

Such was that mysterious deity of the ancient Egyptians, about 
which there exists a story in the Orpheus myth, in which it is de- 
scribed as a " Thrice-unknown darkness in contemplation of which 
all knowledge is resolved into ignorance."* 

This means that man must have felt horror transcending all 
limits as he approached the world of causes with the knowledge of 
the world of phenomena only, his instrument of logic having 
proved useless, because all the new eluded him. In the new as yet 
he sensed chaos only, the old had disappeared, gone away and 
become unreal. Horror and regret for the loss of the old mingled 
with horror of the new — unknown and terrible by its infinitude. 

* "Tbe Ancient Wisdom," by Annie Besant, Introd. p. 23, Theosophical Publishing Society, London. 


At this stage man must experience the same thing that an ani- 
mal, becoming a man, would feel. Having looked into a new world 
for an instant, it is attracted by the life left behind. The world 
which it saw only for an instant seems but a dream, a vision, the 
creation of imagination, but the familiar old world, too, is never 
thereafter the same, it is too narrow, in it there is not sufficient 
room. The awakening consciousness can no longer live the free 
life of the beast. Already it knows something different, it hears 
some voices, even though the body holds it. And the animal does 
not know where or how it can escape from the body or from itself. 

A man on the threshold of a new world experiences literally the 
same thing. He has heard celestial harmonies, and the weari- 
some songs of earth touch him no longer, nor do they move him — 
or if they touch and move him it is because they remind him of 
celestial harmonies, of the inaccessible, of the unknown. He has 
experienced the sensation of an unusual expansion of conscious- 
ness, when everything was clear to him for a moment, and he can- 
not reconcile himself to the sluggish earthly work of the brain. 

These moments of the "sensation of infinity" are accompanied 
by unusual emotions. 

In theosophical literature, and in books on occultism, it is often 
asserted that on entering into the "astral" world, man begins to 
see new colors, colors which are not in the solar spectrum. In this 
symbolism of the new colors of the "astral sphere" is conveyed the 
idea of those new emotions which man begins to feel along with 
the sensation of the expansion of consciousness — "of the sea pour- 
ing into the drop." This is the "strange bliss" of which mystics 
speak, the "heavenly light" which saints "see," the "new" sensa- 
tions experienced by poets. Even conversational psychology 
identifies "ecstasy" with entirely unusual sensations, inaccessible 
and unknown to man in the life of every day. 

This sensation of light and of unlimited joy is experienced at the 
moment of the expansion of consciousness (the unfoldment of the 
mystical lotus of the Hindu yogi), at the moment of the sensation of 
infinity, and it yields also the sensation of darkness and of unlim- 
ited horror. 

What does this mean? 

How shall we reconcile the sensation of light with the sensation 
of darkness, the sensation of joy with that of horror? Can these 
exist simultaneously? Does it occur simultaneously? 


It does so occur, and must be exactly thus. Mystical literature 
gives us examples of it. The simultaneous sensation of light and 
darkness, joy and horror, symbolize as it were the strange duality 
and contradiction of human life. It may happen to a man of 
dual nature, who, following one side of his nature has been led far 
into "spirit," and on the other side is deeply immersed in "mat- 
ter," i. е., in illusion, in unreality — to one who believes too much 
in the reality of the unreal. 

Generally speaking the sensation of light, of life of conscious- 
ness penetrating all, of happiness, gives a new world. But the 
same world to the unprepared mind will give the sensation of 
infinite darkness and horror. In this case the sensation of horror 
will arise from the loss of everything real, from the disappearance of 
this world. 

In order not to experience the horror of the new world, it is 
necessary to know it beforehand, either emotionally — by faith or 
love; or intellectually — by reason. 

And in order not to experience horror from the loss of the old 
world, it is necessary to have renounced it voluntarily either 
through faith or reason. 

One must renounce all the beautiful, bright world in which we 
are living, one must admit that it is ghostly, phantasmal, unreal, 
deceitful, illusory, mayavic. One must reconcile oneself to this un- 
reality, not be afraid of it, but rejoice at it. One must give up 
everything. One must become poor in spirit, i. е., make oneself 
poor by the effort of one's spirit. 

This most profound philosophical truth is expressed in the 
beautiful Evangelical symbol: 

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. 

These words become clear in the sense of a renouncement of the 
material world only. "Poor in spirit" does not mean poor mate- 
rially, in the worldly meaning of the word, and still less does it 
signify poverty of spirit. Spiritual poverty — this is the renounce- 
ment of matter; such "poverty" is his when a man has no earth 
under his feet, no sky above his head. 

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man 
hath not where to lay his head. 

This is the poverty of the man who is entirely alone, because 
father, mother, other men, even the nearest here on earth he re- 


gards as phantoms, illusions, and renounces them because beyond 
these phantoms he discerns the true substances that he is striving 
toward, just as, renouncing the phenomenal illusions of the world, 
he is approachng the truly real. 

The moment of transition — that terrible moment of the loss of 
the old and the unfoldment of the new — has been represented in 
innumerable allegories in ancient literature. To make this transi- 
tion easy was the purpose of the mysteries. In India, in 
Egypt, in Greece, special preparatory rituals existed, sometimes 
merely symbolical, sometimes real, which actually brought a soul 
to the very portals of the new world, and opened these portals at 
the moment of initiation. But no outward rituals and ceremonies 
could take the place of self -initiation. The great work must have 
been going on inside the soul and mind of man. 

But how can logic help a man to pass to the consciousness of a 
new and higher world? 

We have seen that mathematics has already found the path into 
that higher order of things. Penetrating there, it first of all re- 
nounces its fundamental axioms of identity and difference. 

In the world of infinite and fluent magnitudes, a magnitude may 
be not equal to itself; a part may be equal to the whole; and of two 
equal magnitudes one may be infinitely greater than the other. 

All this sounds like an absurdity from the standpoint of the 
mathematics of finite and constant numbers. But the mathe- 
matics of finite and constant numbers is itself the calculation of 
relations between non-existent magnitudes, i. е., an absurdity. 
And therefore only that which from the standpoint of this math- 
ematics seems an absurdity, can be the truth. 

Logic now goes along the same path. It must renounce itself, 
come to perceive the necessity for its own annihilation — then out 
of it a new and higher logic can arise. 

In his "Critique of Pure Reason" Kant proved the possibility 
of transcendental logic. 

Before Bacon and earlier than Aristotle, in the ancient Hindu 
scriptures, the formulae of this higher logic were given, opening 
the doors of mystery. But the meaning of these formulae was 
rapidly lost. They were preserved in ancient books, but remained 


there as some strange mummeries of extinguished thought, the 
words without real content. 

New thinkers again discovered these principles, and expressed 
them in new words, but again they remained incomprehensible, 
again they suffered transformation into some unnecessary orna- 
mental form of words. But the idea existed. A consciousness of 
the possbility of finding and establishing the laws of the higher 
world was never lost. Mystical philosophy never regarded the 
logic of Aristotle as all-embracing and all-powerful. It built 
its system outside of logic or above logic, unconsciously, going along 
those paths of thought paved in remote antiquity. 

The higher logic existed before deductive and inductive logic was 
formulated. This higher logic may be called intuitive logic — the 
logic of infinity, the logic of ecstasy. 

Not only is this logic possible, but it exists, and has existed from 
time immemorial; it has been formulated many times; it has 
entered into philosophical systems as their key — but for some 
strange reason has not been recognized as logic. 

It is possible to deduce the system of this logic from many 
philosophical systems. The most precise and complete formula- 
tion of the laws of higher logic I find in the writings of Plotinus, 
in his "On Intelligible Beauty." I shall quote this passage in the 
succeeding chapter. 

I have called this system of higher logic Tertium Organum be- 
cause for us it is the third organ of thought after those of Aristotle 
and Bacon. The first was the Organon, the second, Novum 
Organum. But the third existed earlier than the first. 

Man, master of this instrument, may open the door of the world 
of causes without fear. 

The axioms which Tertium Organum embrace cannot be for- 
mulated in our language. If we attempt to formulate them in 
spite of this, they will produce the impression of absurdities. 
Taking the axioms of Aristotle as a model, we may express the 
principal axiom of the new logic in our poor earthly language in 
the following manner: 

A is both A and not A. 

Everything is both A and not A. 

or > 

Everything is All. 


But these axioms are in effect absolutely impossible. They are 
not the axioms of higher logic, they are merely attempts to express 
the axioms of this logic in concepts. In reality the ideas of higher 
logic are inexpressible in concepts. When we encounter such an 
inexpressibility it means that we have touched the world of 

The logical formula: A is both A and not A, corresponds to the 
mathematical formula: A magnitude can be greater or less than 

The absurdity of both these propositions shows that they can- 
not refer to our world. Of course absurdity, as such, is indeed not 
an index of the attributes of noumena, but the attributes of 
noumena will certainly be expressed in what are absurdities to us. 
To hope to find in the world of causes anything logical from our 
standpoint is just as useless as to think that the real world can exist 
in accordance with the laws of a world of shadows. 

To master the fundamental principles of higher logic — this 
means to master the fundamentals of the understanding of a space 
of higher dimensions, or of the world of the wondrous. 

In order to approach to a clear understanding of the relations 
of the multi-dimensional world, we must free ourselves from all 
the "idols" of our world, as Bacon calls them, i. е., from all ob- 
stacles to correct receptivity and reasoning. Then we shall have 
taken the most important step toward an inner affinity with the 
world of the wondrous. 

A two-dimensional being, in order to approach to an under- 
standing of the three-dimensional world, first of all must become 
a three-dimensional being, and then rid itself of its "idols," i. е., of 
its conventional — converted into axiomatic — ways of feeling and 
thinking, which create for it the illusion of two-dimensionality. 

What is it exactly from which the two-dimensional being must 
liberate itself? 

First of all — and most important — from the assurance that 
that which it sees and senses really exists; from this will come the 
consciousness of the incorrectness of its perception of the world, 
and then the idea that the real, new world must exist in quite other 
forms — new, incomparable, incommeasurable with relation to the 
old ones. Then the two-dimensional being must overcome its 
sureness of the correctness of its categories. It must understand 
that things which seem to it different and separate from one 


another may be parts of some to it incomprehensible whole, or 
that they have much in common which it does not perceive; 
and that things which seem to it one and indivisible are in reality 
infinitely complex and multifarious. 

The mental growth of the two-dimensional being must proceed 
along the path of the recognition of those common properties of 
objects, unknown to it before, which are the result of their similar 
origin or similar functions, incomprehensible from the point of 
view of a plane. 

When once the two-dimensional being has admitted the possi- 
bility of the existence of hitherto unknown common properties of 
objects, which before seemed different, then it has already ap- 
proached to our own understanding of the world. It has approached 
to our logic, has begun to understand the collective name, i. е., a 
word used not as a proper noun, but as an appellate noun — a word 
expressing a concept. 

The "idols" of the two-dimensonal being, hindering the de- 
velopment of its consciousness, are those proper nouns, which it 
itself has given to all the objects surrounding it. For such a being 
each object has its own proper noun, corresponding to its percep- 
tion of the object; common names, corresponding to concepts, it 
knows not of. Only by getting rid of these idols, by understand- 
ing that the names of things can be not only proper, but common 
ones as well, will it be possible for it to advance further, to de- 
velop mentally, to approach the human understanding of the 
world. Take the most simple sentence: 

John and Peter are both men. 

For the two-dimensional being this will be an absurdity, and it 
will represent the idea to itself after this fashion : 

John and Peter are both Johns and Peters. 

In other words, every one of our logical propositions will be an 
absurdity to it. Why this is so, is clear. Such a being has no con- 
cepts; the proper nouns which constitute the speech of such a being 
have no plural. It is easy to understand that any plural of our 
speech will seem to it an absurdity. 

Where are our "idols"? From what shall we liberate ourselves 
in order to pass to an understanding of the multi-dimensional 


First of all, of course, we must not be three-dimensional. This 
is the prime condition. Then we must get rid of our assurance 
that we see and sense that which exists in reality, and that the 
real world is like the world which we see — i. е., we must rid our- 
selves of the illusion of the material world. We must understand 
mentally all the illusoriness of the world perceived by us in space 
and time, and know that the real world cannot have anything in 
common with it; to understand that it is impossible to imagine 
the real world in terms of form; and finally we must perceive the 
conditionality of the axioms of our mathematics and logic, related 
as they are to the unreal phenomenal world. 

In mathematics the idea of infinity will help us to do this. The 
unreality of finite magnitudes in comparison with infinite ones is 
obvious. In logic we may dwell upon the idea of monism, i. е., the 
fundamental unity of everything which exists. 

The logic of Aristotle and of Bacon is at bottom dualistic. If we 
shall really deeply assimilate the idea of monism, we shall dethrone 
the "idol" of this logic. 

The fundamental axioms of our logic reduce themselves to 
identity and contradiction, just as do the axioms of mathematics. 
At the bottom of them all lies the admission of our general axiom, 
namely, that every given something has something opposite to it; 
therefore every proposition has its anti-proposition, every thesis 
has its antithesis. To the existence of any thing is opposed the 
non-existence of that thing. To the existence of the world is op- 
posed the non-existence of the world. Object is opposed to sub- 
ject; the objective world to the subjective; the I is opposed to the 
Not-I; to motion — immobility; to variability — constancy; to unity 
— heterogeneity; to truth — falsehood; to good — evil. And in 
conclusion, to every A in general is opposed not A. 

The recognition of the reality of these divisions is necessary for 
the acceptance of the fundamental axioms of the logic of Aristotle 
and Bacon, i. е., the absolute and incontestable recognition of the 
duality of the world — of dualism. The recognition of the unreality 
of these divisions and that of the unity of all opposites, is necessary 
for the comprehension of higher logic. 

At the very beginning of this book the existence of the world 
and consciousness was admitted — the I and the Not-I, i. е., the 


reality of the dual division of everything existent, because all 
other opposites are derived from the opposition of the I and the 

Thereafter was elucidated the possibility of the expansion of 
consciousness up to the complete absorption by it of the whole 
world. We recognized that one I could include within itself 
everything Not-I; we recognized that the division into I and 
Not-I is conditional, that it is necessary with a certain degree of 
knowledge of the world, but that it denies itself when knowledge 
passes over to the higher degree. Duality is the condition of our 
knowledge of the phenomenal (three-dimensional) world; this is 
the instrument of our knowledge of phenomena. But when we 
come to the knowledge of the noumenal world (or the world of 
many dimensions), this duality begins to hinder us, appears as an 
obstacle to knowledge. 

Dualism is the chief "idol"; let us free ourselves from it. 

The two-dimensional being, in order to comprehend the rela- 
tions of things in three dimensions, and our logic, must renounce 
its "idol" — the absolute singularity of objects which permits it to 
call them solely by their proper names. 

We, in order to comprehend the world of many dimensions, 
must renounce the idol of duality. 

But the application of monism to practical thought meets the 
insurmountable obstacle of our language. Our language is incap- 
able of expressing the unity of opposites, just as it cannot express 
spatially the relation of cause to effect. Therefore we must recon- 
cile ourselves to the fact that all attempts to express super-logical 
relations in our language will seem absurdities, and really can only 
give hints at that which we wish to express. 

Thus the formula, 

A is both A and not A, 

Everything is both A and not A, 

representing the principal axioms of higher logic, expressed in our 
language of concepts, sounds absurd from the standpoint of our 
usual logic, and is not essentially true. 

Let us therefore reconcile ourselves to the fact that it is im- 
possible to express super-logical relations in our language as it is 
at present constituted. 


The formula, "A is both A and not A" is untrue because in the 
world of causes there exists no opposition between "A" and 
"not A." But we cannot express their real relation. It would be 
more correct to say: 

A is all. 

But this also would be untrue, because "A" is not only all, but 
also an arbitrary part of all. 

This is exactly the thing which our language cannot express. 
It is to this that we must accustom our thought, and train it along 
these lines. 

Thinking of our consciousness, we shall cease to regard it either 
as individual, or as a part of the world's consciousness. Conceiving 
of the possibility of the survival of consciousness after death, we 
shall not ask ourselves if the individuality of our consciousness will 
be preserved, or if it will merge into the infinite consciousness of 
the world and be lost in it. 

In the book, "L'Inde sans les Anglais," which I call to mind in 
this connection, Pierre Loti goes to India to get acquainted with 
Hindu wisdom, and more particularly with the ideas of Hindu 
philosophy on the subject of death. In his opinion European 
(Christian) thought cannot renounce the idea of the individual 
existence of consciousness after death, but the thought of the 
Orient renounces this idea completely, and reconciles itself to the 
thought that consciousness will diffuse itself throughout the 
world, ceasing to be as an individuality. Loti cannot reconcile 
himself to the idea of "the cessation of personality" and he strives 
to find an answer to the question: will he remain himself after 
death, for to the European mind only such a continuation of exist- 
ence appears valid. 

Loti's view is a typical one. It is the characteristic projection 
of the relations of our three-dimensional world into the world of 
causes. But our consciousness is not phenomenal but noumenal. 
It is not subject to the laws of the three-dimensional world. It 
must be neither individual nor a part of the world's consciousness; 
nor can it be one thing before the death of the body, and another 
thing after the death of the body. If it exists, then it exists inva- 
riably; its manifestation in our sphere alone varies. As noumenon 
it must embrace within itself all possibilities, be both A and not A, 



We must understand that it cannot be this от another, but must be 
both this and another. Every individual consciousness is the 
reflection of the whole world's consciousness, and it cannot be a 
part of anything. 

We must train our thought to the idea that separateness and 
inclusiveness are not opposed in the real world, but exist together 
and simultaneously without contradicting one another. Let us 
understand that in the real world one and the same thing can be 
both a part and the whole, i. е., that the whole, without changing, 
can be its own part; understand that there are no opposites in 
general, that everything is a certain image of all. 

And then, beginning to understand all this, we shall grasp the 
separate ideas concerning the essentials of the "noumenal world," 
or the world of many dimensions in which we really live. 

In such case the higher logic, even with its imperfect formulae, 
as they appear in our rough language of concepts, represents in 
spite of this a powerful instrument of knowledge of the world, our 
only means of preservation from deceptions. 

The application of this instrument of thought gives the key to 
the mysteries of nature, to the world as it is. 

Let us endeavor to enumerate those properties of the world of 
causes which result from all the foregoing. 

It is first of all necessary to reiterate that it is impossible to ex- 
press in words the properties of the world of causes. Every 
thought expressed about them will he false. That is, we may say 
in relation to the "ideal world" that "every spoken thought is a lie." 
It is possible to speak about it only conditionally, by hints, by 
symbols. And if one interprets literally anything said about it, 
nothing but absurdity results. Generally speaking, everything 
said in words regarding the world of causes is likely to seem absurd, 
and is in reality its mutilation. The truth it is impossible to ex- 
press; it is possible only to give a hint at it, to give an impulse to 
thought. But every one must discover the truth for himself. 
"Another's truth" is worse than a lie, because it is two lies. This 


explains why truth very often can be expressed only by means of 

What, then, are we able to say about the world of many dimen- 
sions, about the world of noumena, or world of causes? 

1. In that world "time" must exist spatially, i. е., temporal 
events must exist and not happen— exist before and after their 
manifestation, and be located in one section, as it were. Effects 
must exist simultaneously with causes. That which we name the 
law of causality cannot exist there, because time is a necessary con- 
dition for it. There cannot be anything which is measured by 
years, days, hours— there cannot be before, now, after. Moments 
of different epochs, divided by great intervals of time, exist sim- 
ultaneously, and may touch one another. Along with this, all the 
possibilities of a given moment, even those opposite to one another, 
and all their results up to infinity, must be actualized simultane- 
ously with a given moment. 

2. There is nothing measurable by our measures, nothing 
commensurable with our objects, nothing greater or /ess than our 
objects. There is nothing situated on the right or left side, above 
or below one of our objects. There is nothing similar to our ob- 
jects, lines or figures. Different points in our space, divided for 
us by enormous distances, may meet there. "Distance" or 
"proximity" are there defined by inner "aflBnity" or "remote- 
ness," by sympathy or antipathy, i. е., by properties which seem 
to us to be subjective. 

3. There is neither matter nor motion. There is nothing that 
could possibly be weighed, or photographed, or expressed in the 
formulas of physical energy. There is nothing which has form, 
color, or odor— nothing possessing the properties of physical bodies. 

4. There is nothing dead or unconscious. Everything lives, 
everything breathes, thinks, feels; everything is conscious, and 
everything speaks. 

5. In that world the axioms of our mathematics cannot be ap- 
plied, because there is nothing finite. Everything there is infinite 
and, from our standpoint, variable. 

6. The laws of our logic cannot act there. From the stand- 
point of our logic, that world is illogical This is the realm the 
laws of which are expressed in Tertium Organum. 

7. The separateness of our world does not exist there. Every- 
thing is the whole. And each particle of dust, without mentioning 


of course every life and every human consciousness, lives a life 
which is one with the whole and includes the whole within itself. 

8. In that world the duality of our world cannot exist. There 
being is not opposed to non-being. Life is not opposed to death. 
On the contrary, the one includes the other within itself. The 
unity and multiplicity of the I; the I and the Not-I, motion and 
immobility; union and separateness ; good and evil; truth and 
falsehood — all these divisions are impossible there. Everything 
subjective is objective, and everything objective is subjective. That 
world is the world of the unity of opposites. 

9. The sensation of the reality of that world must be accom- 
panied by the sensation of the unreality of this one. At the same 
time the difference between real and unreal cannot exist there, 
just as the difference between subjective and objective cannot 

10. That world and our world are not two different worlds. The 
world is one. That which we call our world is merely our incor- 
rect perception of the world: the world seen by us through a narrow 
slit. That world begins to be sensed by us as the wondrous, i. е., as 
something opposite to the reality of this world, and at the same 
time this, our earthly world, begins to seem unreal. The sense of 
the wondrous is the key to that world. 

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'Theosoohv" of Max Muller. Ancient India. Philosophy of the 
Vedanta Tattwamad. Knowledge by means of the expansion of 
lonscbusness as a reality. Mysticism of different ages ^and . peop e, 
TJnitv of experiences. Terhum Organum as a key to mysticism. 
Siens of th^noumenal world. Treatise of Plotmus " On Intelligible 
Beauty" as a misunderstood system of higher logic. lamina ion 
ш Jacob Boehme. "A harp of many strings, of which each string 
^a senate inurnment, while the whole is only one harp Mys- 
cs of ''The Love of the Good." St. Avva Dorotheus and others^ 
Sment of Alexandria. Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu. "Light on the 
Path'' "The Voice of the Silence." Mohammedan mystics. 
Poetrv of the Sufis. Mystical states under narcotics. The Anaes- 
KdS Experiments of Prof. James. Dostoyevsky on 
"time" (The Idiot). Influence of nature on the soul of man. 

О trace historically the process of the development of 
those ideas and systems founded upon higher logic or 
proceeding from it, would indeed be a matter of great 
interest and importance. But this would be difficult 
, and almost impossible of accomplishment because we 
lack definite knowledge of the time and origin, the means of 
transmitting, and the sequence of ideas in ancient phi osophical 
systems and religious teachings. There are innumerable guesses 
and speculations concerning the manner of this succession. Many 
of these guesses and speculations are accepted as unquestioned 
until new ones appear which controvert them. The opinions of 
different investigators in regard to these questions are very 
divergent, and the truth is of ten difficult to determine. Partic- 
ularly conducive to confusion are the so-called theosophical 
authors, as for example, Schure, С W. Leadbeater, Dr. Rudolph 
Steiner and others, who know everything. 

I shall not dwell at all on the question of the succession of ideas, 
either from the historical or any other point of view. 

The proposed outline of systems which refer to the ^ world of 
noumena is not intended to be complete. This is not the history 
of thought," but merely examples of movements of thought which 


led to the same conclusions as those at which I have arrived in 
this book. 

In the book "Theosophy" (or "Psychological Religion"), the 
noted scholar Max Muller gives an interesting analysis of mystical 
religions and mystical philosophical systems. He dwells much on 
India and her teachings. 

"That which we can study nowhere but in India is the all ab- 
sorbing influence which religion and philosophy may exercise on 
the human mind. So far as we can judge a large class of people in 
India, not only the priestly class, but the nobility also, not men 
only but women, never looked upon their life on earth as some- 
thing real. What was real to them was the invisible, the life to 
come. What formed the theme of their conversations, what 
formed the subject of their meditations, was the real that alone 
lent some kind of reality to this unreal phenomenal world. Who- 
ever was supposed to have caught a new ray of truth was visited 
by young and old, was honored by princes and by kings, was 
looked upon indeed as holding a position far above that of kings 
and princes. This is the side of life of ancient India which deserves 
our study, because there has been nothing like it in the whole 
world, not even in Greece or Palestine. 

"I know quite well, says Muller, that there never can be a whole 
nation of philosophers or metaphysical dreamers . and we 

must never forget that all through history, it is the few, not the 
many, who impress their character on a nation, and have a right 
to represent it as a whole. What do we know of Greece at the 
time of the Ionian and Eleatic philosophers, except the utterances 
of Seven Sages? What do we know of the Jews at the time of 
Moses, except the traditions preserved in the Laws and the 
Prophets? It is the prophets, the poets, the lawgivers and teach- 
ers, however small their number, who speak in the name of the 
people, and who alone stand out to represent the nondescript 
multitude behind them, to speak their thoughts and to express 
their sentiments. 

"Real Indian philosophy, even in that embryonic form in which 
we find it in the Upanishads, stands completely by itself. And if 
we ask what was the highest purpose of the teachings of the 
Upanishads we can state it in three words, as it has been stated 
by the greatest Veddnta* teachers themselves, namely Tat twam 

*Vedanta is the end of the Vedas, the abridgment and commentaries on the Vedas. P. Ouspensky . 


asi. This means Thou art That. That stands for That which is 
known to us under different names in different systems of ancient 
and modern philosophy. It is Zeus or the Eis Theos or to on 
in Greece; it is what Plato meant by the Eternal Idea, what Agnos- 
tics call the Unknowable, what I call the Infinite in Nature. This 
is what in India is called Brahman, the being behind all beings, 
the power that emits the universe, sustains it and draws it back 
again to itself. The Thou is what I called the Infinite in man, the 
Soul, the Self, the being behind every human Ego, free from all 
bodily fetters, free from passions, free from all attachments 
(Atman). The expression: Thou art That — means: thy soul is 
the Brahman; or in other words, the subject'and the object of all 
being and of all knowing are one and the same. 

"This is the gist of what I call Psychological Religion or 
Theosophy, the highest summit of thought which the human mind 
has reached, which has found different expressions in different 
religions and philosophies, but nowhere such a clear and powerful 
realization as in the ancient Upanishads of India. 

Max Miiller calls our attention to the fact that this recognition 
of the identity of the That and Thou, is not satisfied with mere 
poetical metaphor such as that the human soul emanated from the 
divine soul or was a portion of it; no, what is asserted is the sub- 
stantial identity of what had for a time been wrongly distinguished 
as the subject and object of the world. 

"For as long as the individual soul does not free itself from 
Nescience, or a belief in duality, it takes something else for itself. 
True knowledge of the Self or true self knowledge, expresses itself 
in the words, 'Thou art That' or '/ am Brahman/ the nature of 
Brahman being unchangeable eternal cognition. Until that stage 
has been reached, the individual soul is fettered by the body, by 
the organs of sense, nay even by the mind and its various func- 

"The Soul (The Self) says the Vedanta philosopher, cannot be 
different from the Brahman, because Brahman comprehends all 
reality and nothing that really is can therefore be different from 
Brahman. Secondly, the individual self cannot be conceived as a 
modification of Brahman, because Brahman by itself cannot be 
changed, whether by itself, because it is one and perfect in itself. 


or by anything outside of it (because there exists nothing outside 
of it). Here we see, says Miiller, the Vedantist moving on exactly 
the same stratum of thought in which the Eleatic philosophers 
moved in Greece. If there is one Infinite,' they said, 'there cannot 
be another, for the other would limit the one, and thus render it 
finite. So, as applied to God, the Eleatics argued, 'If God is to 
be the mightiest and the best, he must be one, for if there were 
two or more, he would not be the mightiest and best.' The 
Eleatics continued their monistic argument by showing that this 
One Infinite Being cannot be divided, so that anything could be 
called a portion of it, because there is no power that could separate 
anything from it. Nay, it cannot even have parts, for, as it has 
no beginning and no end, it can have no parts, for a part has a 
beginning and an end. 

"These Eleatic ideas — namely that there is and there can be 
only One Absolute Being, infinite, unchangeable, without a 
second, without parts and passions — are the same ideas which 
underlie the Upanishads and have been fully worked out in the 

"In most of the religions of the ancient world, says Miiller, the 
relation between the soul and God has been represented as a 
return of the soul to God. A yearning for God, a kind of divine 
home-sickness, finds expression in most religions, but the road 
that is to lead us home, and the reception which the soul may 
expect in the Father's house have been represented in very 
different ways in different religions. 

"According to some religious teachers, a return of the soul to 
God is possible after death only. . . 

"According to other religious teachers, the final beatitude of the 
soul can be achieved in this life. . . That beatitude requires 
knowledge only, knowledge of the necessary unity of what is divine 
in man with what is divine in God. The Brahmins call it self- 
knowledge, that is to say, the knowledge that our true self, if it 
is anything, can only be that Self which is All in All, and beside 
which there is nothing else. Sometimes this conception of the 
intimate relation between the human and the divine natures 
comes suddenly, as the result of an unexplained intuition or self- 
recollection. Sometimes, however, it seems as if the force of 
logic had driven the human mind to the same result. If God had 


once been recognized as the Infinite in nature and the soul as 
the Infinite in man, it seemed to follow that there could not be 
two Infinites. The Eleatics had clearly passed through a similar 
phase of thought in their own philosophy. If there is an Infinite, 
they said, it is one, for if there were two they could not be Infinite, 
but would be finite one towards the other. But that which 
exists is infinite, and there cannot be more such. Therefore that 
which exists is one. 

"Nothing can be more definite than this Eleatic Monism, and 
with it the admission of a soul, the Infinite in man, as different 
from God, the Infinite in nature, would have been inconceivable. 

"In India it was so expressed that Brahman and Atman (the 
spirit) were in their nature one. 

"The early Christians also, at least those who had been brought 
up in the schools of Neo-platonist philosophy had a clear percep- 
tion that if the soul is infinite and immortal in its nature, it cannot 
be anything beside God, but that it must be of God and in God. 
St. Paul gave but his own bold expression to the same faith or 
knowledge, when he uttered the words which have startled so 
many theologians : In Him we live and move and have our being. 
If anyone else had uttered these words they would at once have 
been condemned as pantheism. No doubt they are pantheism, 
and yet they express the very key-note of Christianity. The 
divine sonship of man is only a metaphorical expression but it 
was meant originally to embody the same idea. . . And when 
the question was asked how the consciousness of this divine son- 
ship could ever have been lost, the answer given by Christianity 
was, by sin, the answer given by the Upanishads was, by avidya, 
nescience. This marks the similarity, and at the same time the 
characteristic difference between these two religions. The ques- 
tion how nescience laid hold on the human soul, and made it imag- 
ine that it could live or move or have its true being anywhere 
but in Brahman, remains as unanswerable in Hindu philosophy 
as in Christianity the question how sin first came into the world. 

"Both philosophies, that of the East and that of the West, says 
Muller, start from a common point, namely from the conviction 
that our ordinary knowledge is uncertain, if not altogether wrong. 
This revolt of the human mind against itself is the first step in all 


"In our own philosophical language we may put the question 
thus: how did the real become phenomenal, and how can the 
phenomenal become real again? Or, in other words, how was the 
infinite changed into the finite, how was the eternal changed into 
the temporal, and how can the temporal regain its eternal nature? 
Or, to put it into more familiar language, how was this world 
created, and how can it be uncreated again? 

"Nescience or avidya is regarded as the cause of the phenomenal 

"In the Upanishads the meaning of Brahman changes. Some- 
times it is almost an objective God, existing separately from the 
world. But then we see Brahman as the essence of all things. . . 
and the soul knowing that it is no longer separated from that 
essence, learns the highest lesson of the whole Veddnta doctrine: 
Tat twam asi; 'Thou art That,' that is to say, 'Thou, who for a 
time didst seem to be something by thyself, art that, art really 
nothing apart from the divine essence.' To know Brahman is to 
be Brahman. . . . 

"Almost in the same words as the Eleatic philosophers and the 
German mystics of the fourteenth century, the Vendantists argue 
that it would be self-contradictory to admit that there could be 
anything besides the Infinite or Brahman, which is All in All and 
that therefore the soul also cannot be anything different from it, 
can never claim a separate and independent existence. 

"Brahman has to be conceived as perfect, and therefore un- 
changeable, the soul cannot be conceived as a real modification 
or deterioration of Brahman. 

"And as Brahman has neither beginning nor end, neither can 
it have any parts; therefore the soul cannot be a part of Brahman, 
but the whole of Brahman must be present in every individual 
soul. This is the same as the teaching of Plotinus, who held 
with equal consistency, that the True Being is totally present in 
every part of the Universe. 

" TheVedanta-philosophy rests on the fundamental thesis that the 
soul or the Absolute Being or Brahman, are one in their essence. . . 

"The fundamental principle of the Vedanta-philosophy is that in 
reality there exists and there can exist nothing but Brahman, that 
Brahman is everything. 

"In India, as anywhere else, man imagines at first that he, in 
his individual, bodily, and spiritual character, is something that 
exists, and that all the objects of the outer world also exist, as 


objects. Idealistic philosophy has swept away this world-old 
prejudice more thoroughly in India than anywhere else. 

"The nescience (which creates the separation between the indi- 
vidual soul and Brahman) can be removed by science or knowledge 
only. And this knowledge or vidya is imparted by the Veddnta, 
which shows that all our ordinary knowledge is simply the result of 
ignorance or nescience, is uncertain, deceitful, and perishable, or 
as we should say, is phenomenal, relative, and conditioned. The 
true knowledge or complete insight cannot be gained by sensuous 
perception nor by inference. According to the orthodox Vedantist, 
Sruti alone, or what is called revelation, can impart that knowl- 
edge and remove that nescience which is innate in human nature. 

"Of the Higher Brahman nothing can be predicated, but that it 
is, and that through our nescience, it appears to be this or that. 

"When a great Indian sage was asked to describe Brahman, he 
was simply silent — that was his answer. 

"When it is said that Brahman is, that means at the same time 
that Brahman is not; that is to say, that Brahman is nothing of 
what is supposed to exist in our sensuous perceptions. 

"Whatever we may think of this philosophy, we cannot deny 
its metaphysical boldness and its logical consistency. If Brahman 
is all in all, the One without a second, nothing can be said to exist 
that is not Brahman. There is no room for anything outside the 
infinite and Universal, nor is there room for two infinites, for the 
infinite in nature and the infinite in man. There is and there can 
be one infinite, one Brahman only. This is the beginning and the 
end of the Veddnta. 

"As the shortest summary of the ideas of the Veddnta two 
verses of Sankara, the commentator and interpreter of Veddnta 
are often quoted: 

'Brahma is true, the world is false. 
The soul is Brahma and is nothing else.' 
This is really a very perfect summary. What truly and really 
exists is Brahman, the One Absolute Being; the world is false, or 
rather is not what it seems to be; that is, everything which is pre- 
sented to us by means of senses is phenomenal and relative, and can 
be nothing else. The soul again, or rather every man's soul though 
it may seem to be this or that, is in reality nothing but Brahma. 

"In relation to the question of the origin of the world two 
famous commentators of the Veddnta, Sankara and Rdmdnuga 


differ. Rdmdnuga holds to the theory of evolution, Sankara — to 
the theory of illusion. 

"It is very important to observe that the Vedantist does not 
go so far as certain Buddhist philosophers who look upon the 
phenomenal world as simply nothing. No, their world is real, only 
it is not what it seems to be. Sankara claims for the phenomenal 
world a reality sufficient for all practical purposes, sufficient to 
determine our practical life, our moral obligations. 

"There is a veil. But the Vedanta-philosophy teaches us that 
the eternal light behind it can always be perceived more or less 
clearly through philosophical knowledge. It can be perceived, 
because in reality it is always there. 

"Though by a different way, the Vedantist arrived really in the 
end at the same result as Kant and more recent philosophers who 
hold with Kant that ' our experience supplies us only with modes 
of the Unconditioned as presented under the conditions of our 
consciousness.' It is these conditions or limitations of human 
consciousness which were called in India Avidyd; their result is 
Maya — the illusory world. 

" It may seem strange to find the results of the philosophy of Kant 
and his followers thus anticipated under varying expressions in 
the Upanishads and in the Vedanta-philosophy of ancient India." 

In the chapters about the Logos and about Christian Theosophy 
Max Muller says that religion is the bridge between the Visible 
and the Invisible, between Finite and Infinite. 

"It may be truly said that the founders of the religions of the 
world have all been bridge-builders. As soon as the existence of a 
Beyond, of a Heaven above the earth, of Powers above us and 
beneath us has been recognized, a great gulf seemed to be fixed 
between what was called by various names, the earthly and the 
heavenly, the material world and the spiritual, the phenomenal 
and noumenal, or best of all, the visible and the invisible world — 
and it was the chief object of religion to unite these two worlds, 
whether by the arches of hope and fear or by the iron chains of 
logical syllogisms. 

"The idea of the Logos represented such a bridge. It took many 
different forms, expressing the first Divine Thought and then de- 
veloped into the idea of the Son of God incarnated on the earth. 
Around this idea the mythological element of ancient religions 


Among contemporary thinkers the noted psychologist, Prof. 
William James (recently deceased) approached nearer than all 
others to the ideas of Max Muller's theosophy. 

In the last chapter of his book "The Varieties of Religious Ex- 
perience," Prof. James says: 

"The warring gods and formulas of the various religions do in- 
deed cancel each other, but there is a certain uniform deliverance 
in which religions all appear to meet — this is the liberation of the 
soul . . Man becomes conscious that if his higher part is 
conterminous and continuous with a more of the same quality, 
which is operative in the universe outside of him, and which he can 
keep in working touch with, and in a fashion get on board of and 
save himself when all his lower being has gone to pieces in the wreck. 

"What is the objective 'Truth' of contents of religious experi- 
ences? Is such a 'more' merely our own notion, or does it really 
exist? If so, in what shape does it exist? And in what form 
should we conceive of that 'union' with it of which religious 
geniuses are so convinced? 

"It is answering these questions that the various theologies 
perform their theoretic work, and that their divergencies most 
come to light. They all agree that the 'more' really exists; though 
some of them hold it to exist in the shape of a personal God or 
gods while others are satisfied to conceive it as a stream of ideal 
tendency. . . It is when they treat of the experience of 
'union' with it that their speculative differences appear most 
clearly. Over this point pantheism and theism, nature and second 
birth, works and grace and Karma, immortality and reincarnation, 
rationalism and mysticism, carry on inveterate disputes. 

"At the end of my lecture on Philosophy I held out the notion 
that an impartial science of religions might sift out from the midst 
of their discrepancies a common body of doctrine which she might 
also formulate on terms to which physical science need not ob- 
ject. This, I said, she might adopt as her own reconciling 
hypothesis, and recommend it for general belief. 

"Let me then propose as an hypothesis that whatever it may be 
on its farther side, the "more" with which in religious experience 
we feel ourselves connected is on its hither side the subconscious 
continuation of our conscious life. 

"The conscious person is continuous with a wider self. . . 

"The further limits of our being plunge, it seems to me, into 
an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and 
merely "understandable" world. 


"Name it the mystical region, or the super-natural region. . . 
We belong to it, in a more intimate sense than that in which we 
belong to the visible world, for we belong in the most intimate 
sense wherever our ideals belong. . . The communion with 
this invisible world is a real process with real results. . . . 

"This communion we see in mysticism. 

"... Personal religious experience has its roots and 
center in mystical states of consciousness" — says Prof. James. 

But what, after all, is mysticism? 

Returning to the terminology established in the foregoing 
chapters, we may say that mysticism is knowledge by means 


Until quite recently scientific psychology did not recognize the 
reality of the mystical experience and regarded all mystical states 
as pathological ones, — unhealthy conditions of the normal con- 
sciousness. Even now, many positivist-psychologists hold to this 
opinion, embracing in one common classification real mystical 
states, pseudo-mystical perversions of the usual consciousness, 
and purely psychopathic states. 

This of course can be of no assistance to a correct understanding 
of the question. Before going further let us therefore establish 
certain criteria for the identification of real mystical states: 

Prof. James enumerates the following: ineffability, noetic qual- 
ity, transiency, passivity. But some of these characteristics be- 
long also to simple emotional states, and he fails to exactly define 
how mystical states can be distinguished from emotional ones of 
analogous character. 

Considering mystical states as "knowledge by expanded con- 
sciousness," it is possible to give quite definite criteria for their 
discernment and their differentiation from the generality of 
psychic experiences. 

1. Mystical states give knowledge which nothing else can 


2. Mystical states give knowledge of the noumenal world with 
all its signs and characteristics. 

3. The mystical states of men of different ages and different 
peoples exhibit an astonishing similarity, sometimes amounting 
to complete identity. 

4. The results of the mystical experience are entirely illogical 
from our ordinary point of view. They are superlogical, i. е., 


Tertium Organum, which is the key to mystical experience, 
is applicable to them in all its entirety. 

The last named criterion is especially important — the illogical- 
ity of the data of mystical experience forced science to repudiate 
them. Now we have established that illogicality (from our stand- 
point) is the necessary condition of the world beyond, or noumenal 
world. This does not mean that everything that is illogical be- 
longs to that world, but it means absolutely, that everything 
which belongs to that world is illogical from our standpoint. 

We have established the fact that it is impossible to penetrate 
there with our logic, and we have also established the possibility 
of penetrating into these heretofore inaccessible regions by means 
of the new organ of thought. 

The consciousness of the necessity for such an instrument of 
thought undoubtedly existed from far back. For what, in sub- 
stance, does the formula Tat tuam asi represent if not the funda- 

That art Thou means: thou art both thou and not thou, and cor- 
responds to the super-logical formula, A is both A and not A. 

If we examine ancient writings from this standpoint, then we shall 
understand that their authors were searching for a new logic, and 
were not satisfied with the logic of the things of the phenomenal 
world. The seeming illogicality of ancient philosophical systems, 
which portrayed an ideal world, as it were, instead of an existing 
one, will then become comprehensible, for in these portrayals of 
an ideal world, systems of higher logic often lie concealed. 

One of such misunderstood attempts to construe a system of 
higher logic, to give a precise instrument of thought, penetrating 
beyond the limits of the visible world, is the treatise by Plotinus 
"On Intelligible Beauty." 

Describing heaven and the gods, Plotinus says: 

All the gods are venerable and beautiful, and their beauty is immense. 
What else however is it but intellect through which they are such? And 
because intellect energizes in them in so great a degree as to render them 
visible (by its light)? For it is not because their bodies are beautiful. 
For these gods that have bodies do not through this derive their subsist- 
ence as gods; but these also are gods through intellect. For they are not 
at one time wise, and at another destitute of wisdom; but they are 
always wise, in an impassive, stable and pure intellect. They likewise 
know all things, not human concerns (precedaneously) but their own, 


which are divine, and such as intellect sees. . . For all things there 
are heaven, and there the earth is heaven, as also are the sea, animals, 
plants, and men. The gods likewise that it contains do not think men 
undeserving of their regard, nor anything else that is there (because 
everything there is divine). And they occupy and pervade without 
ceasing the whole of that (blissful) region. For the life which is there is 
unattended with labour, and truth (as Plato says in the " Phsedrus"^ is 
their generator, and nutriment, their essence and nurse. They likewise 
see all things, not those with which generation, but those with which 
essence is present. And they perceive themselves in others. For all 
things there are diaphanous; and nothing is dark and resisting, but 
everything is apparent to everyone internally and throughout. For 
light everywhere meets with light; since everything contains all things 
in itself and again sees all things in another. So that all things are 
everywhere, and all is all. Each thing likewise is everything. _ And the 
splendour there is infinite. For everything there is great, since even 
that which is small is great. The sun too which is there is all the stars; 
and again each star is the sun and all the stars. In each however, a 
different property predominates, but at the same time all things are visible 
in each. Motion likewise there is pure; for the motion is not con- 
founded by a mover different from it. Permanency also suffers no 
change of its nature, because it is not mingled with the unstable. And 
the beautiful there is beautiful, because it does not subsist in beauty (as 
in a subject). Each thing too is there established, not as in a foreign 
land, but the seat of each thing is that which each thing is. . . Nor 
is the thing itself different from the place in which it subsists. For the 
subject of it is intellect, and it is itself intellect . . . There each part 
always proceeds from the whole, and is at the same time each part and the 
whole. For it appears indeed as a part; but by him whose sight is acute, it 
will be seen as a whole. . . There is likewise no weariness of the vision 
which is there, nor any plenitude of perception which can bring intui- 
tion to an end. For neither was there any vacuity, which when filled 
might cause the visive energy to cease; nor is this one thing, but that 
another, so as to occasion a part of one thing is not to be amicable with 
that of another. 

And the knowledge which is possible there is insatiable. . . For by 
seeing itself more abundantly it perceives both itself and the objects 
of its perception to be infinite, it follows its own nature (in unceasing 
contemplation). The life there is wisdom; a wisdom not obtained by a 
reasoning process, because the whole of it always was, and is not in any 
respect deficient, so as to be in want of investigation. But it is the first 
wisdom, and is not derived from another.* 

Closely akin to Plotinus is Jacob Boehme, who was a common 
shoemaker in the German town of Goerlitz (end of the XVI 
and the beginning of the XVII century), and has left a whole 
series of remarkable books. 

His first "illumination" occurred in 1600 A. D., when he was 
twenty-five years old.f 

♦Abridged quotation from "Select Works of Plotinus," transl. by Thomas Taylor. Bonn's 
Library, pp. lxxiii and lxxiiv. 

tAll the ensuing quotations are from the books of Prof. William James, and of Dr. R. M. Bucke. 


Sitting one day in his room his eyes fell upon a burnished pewter dish, 
which reflected the sunshine with such marvelous splendor that he fell into 
an inward ecstasy, and it seemed to him as if he could now look into the 
principles and deepest foundations of things. He believed that it was 
only a fancy, and in order to banish it from his mind he went out upon 
the green. But here he remarked that he gazed into the very heart of 
things, the very herbs and grass, and that actual nature harmonized with 
what he had inwardly seen. He said nothing of this to anyone, but 
praised and thanked God in silence. 

Of the first illumination Boehme's biographer says: "He 
learned to know the innermost foundation of nature, and acquired 
the capacity to see henceforth with the eyes of the soul into the 
heart of all things, a faculty which remained with him even in his 
normal condition." 

About the year 1600, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, he was again 
surrounded by the divine light and replenished with the heavenly knowl- 
edge; insomuch as going abroad in the fields to a green before Neys Gate, 
at Goerlitz, he there sat down and, viewing the herbs and grass of the 
field in his inward light, he saw into their essences, use and properties, 
which were discovered to him by their lineaments, figures and signa- 
tures. In like manner he beheld the whole creation, and from that 
foundation of revelation he afterwards wrote his book, " De Signature 
Rerum." In the unfolding of those mysteries before his understanding 
he had a great measure of joy, yet returned home and took care of his 
family and lived in great peace and silence, scarce intimating to any 
these wonderful things that had befallen him and in the year 1610, being 
again taken into this light, lest the mysteries revealed to him should pass 
through him as a stream, and rather for a memorial than intending any 
publication, he wrote his first book, called "Aurora, or the Morning 

The first illumination, in 1600, was not complete. Ten years 
later (1610) he had another remarkable inward experience. What 
he had previously seen only chaotically, fragmentarily, and in 
isolated glimpses, he now beheld as a coherent whole and in more 
definite outlines. 

When his third illumination took place, that which in former visions 
had appeared to him chaotic and multifarious was now recognized by 
by him as a unity, like a harp of many strings, of which each string is a 
separate instrument, while the whole is only one harp* 

He now recognized the divine order of nature, and how from the trunk 
of the tree of life spring different branches, bearing manifold leaves and 
flowers and fruits, and he became impressed with the necessity of writing 
down what he saw and preserved the record. 

He himself speaks of this final and complete illumination as 
follows : 

♦See quotation from Van Manen's book, Chap. xi. p. 125 


The gate was opened to me that in one quarter of an hour I saw and 
knew more than if I had been many years at a university, at which I ex- 
ceedingly admired and thereupon turned my praise to God for it. For 
I saw and knew the being of all beings, the byss and abyss and the eternal 
generation of the Holy Trinity, the descent and original of the world and 
of all creatures through divine wisdom. I knew and saw in myself all 
the three worlds, namely, (1) the divine (angelical and paradisical) 
(2) and the dark (the original of the nature to the fire) and (3) then the 
external and visible world (being a procreation or external birth from 
both the internal and spiritual worlds) . And I saw and knew the whole 
working essence in the evil and the good and the original and the exist- 
ence of each of them; and likewise how the fruitful — bearing — womb of 
eternity brought forth. So that I did not only greatly wonder at it but 
did also exceedingly rejoice. 

Describing "illuminations" Boehme writes, in one of his books: 

Suddenly . . . my spirit did break through . . . even into the 
innermost birth of Geniture of the Deity, and there I was embraced with 
love, as a bridegroom embraces his dearly beloved bride. But the great- 
ness of the triumphing that was in the spirit I cannot express either in 
speaking or writing; neither can it be compared to anything, but that 
wherein the life is generated in the midst of death, and it is like the 
resurrection from the dead. In this light my spirit suddenly saw through 
all, and in and by all creatures, even in herbs and grass, it knew God, who 
he is, and how he is, and what his work is; and suddenly in that light my 
will was set on, by a mighty impulse, to describe the being of God. But 
because I could not presently apprehend the deepest births of God in 
their being and comprehend them in my reason, there passed almost 
twelve years before the exact understanding thereof was given me. And 
it was with me as with a young tree which is planted on the ground, and 
at first is young and tender, and flourishing to the eye, especially if it 
comes on lustily in its growing. But it does not bear fruit presently; 
and, though it blossoms, they fall off; also many a cold wind, frost and 
snow, puff upon it, before it comes to any growth and bearing of fruit. 

Boehme's books are full of wonderment before these mysteries 
with which he was confronted, 

I was as simple concerning the hidden mysteries as the meanest of all; 
but my virgin of the wonders of God taught me, so that I must write of 
his wonders; though indeed my purpose is to write this for a memoran- 
dum for myself. . . . 

Not I, the I that I am, know these things: but God knows them in me. 

If you will behold your own self and the outer world, and what is 
taking place thereon, you will find that you, with regard to your external 
being, are that external world. 

The "Dialogues" between Disciple and Master are remarkable 
(Disciple and Master should be understood to refer to the lower 
and the higher consciousness of man). 


The Disciple said to his Master : 

How may I come to the supersensual life, that I may see God and hear 
him speak? 

His Master said : 

When thou canst throw thyself but for a moment into that where no 
creature dwelleth, then thou hearest what God speaketh. 

Disciple — Is that near at hand or far off? 

Master — It is in thee. And if thou canst for a while but cease from all 
thy thinking and willing, then thou shalt hear the unspeakable words of 

Disciple — How can I hear him speak, when I stand still from thinking 
and willing? 

Master — When thou standest still from the thinking of self, and the 
willing of self; "When both thy intellect and will are quiet, and passive 
to the impressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit; And when thy soul 
is winged up, and above that which is temporal, the outward senses, and 
the imagination being locked up by holy abstraction," then the Eternal 
hearing, seeing, and speaking, will be revealed in thee; and so God 
"heareth and seeth through thee," being now the organ of his spirit; 
and so God speaketh in thee, and whispereth to thy spirit, and thy spirit 
heareth his voice. Blessed art thou therefore if that thou canst stand still 
from self-thinking and self-willing, and canst stop the wheel of imagina- 
tion and senses; forasmuch as hereby thou may est arrive at length to see 
the great salvation of God, being made capable of all manner of Divine 
sensations and heavenly communications. Since it is naught indeed but 
thine own hearing and willing that do wonder thee, so that thou dost 
not see and hear God. 

Disciple — Loving Master, I can no more endure anything should divert 
me, how shall I find the nearest way to him? 

Master — Where the way is hardest there walk thou, and take up what 
the world rejecteth; and what the world doth, that do not thou. Walk 
contrary to the world in all things. And then thou comest the nearest 
way to him. 

Disciple — ... О how may I arrive at the unity of will, and how 
come into the unity of vision? 

Master — . . . Mark now what I say: The Right Eye looketh in 
thee into Eternity. The Left Eye looketh backward in thee into time. If 
now thou sufferest thyself to be always looking into nature, and the 
things of time, it will be impossible for thee ever to arrive at the unity, 
which thou wishest for. Remember this; and be upon thy watch. Give 
not thy mind leave to enter in, nor to fill itself with, that which is without 
thee; neither look thou backward upon thyself . . . Let not thy 
Left Eye deceive thee, by making continually one representation after 
another, and stirring up thereby an earnest longing in the self-propriety; 
but let thy Right Eye command back this Left . . . And only bring- 
ing the Eye of Time into the Eye of Eternity . . . and descending 
through the Light of God into the Light of Nature . . . shalt thou 
arrive at the Unity of Vision or Uniformity of Will. 


In another dialogue the Disciple and the Master converse about 
heaven and hell. 

The Disciple asked his Master: 

Whither go the souls when they leave these mortal bodies? 

His Master answered: 

The soul needeth no going forth anywhere. 

Disciple — Does it not enter into heaven or hell? 

Master — No, there is no such kind of entering. . . The soul hath 
heaven and hell in itself . . . and whether of the two states — either 
heaven or hell — shall be manifested in the soul, in that it standeth. 

The quotations given here are sufficient to indicate the char- 
acter of the writings of an unlearned shoemaker from a little 
provincial town in Germany of the XVI — XVII centuries. Boehme 
is remarkable for the bright intellectuality of his comprehensions, 
although there is in them a strong moral element also. 

In the book above mentioned ("The Varieties of Religious 
Experience") Prof. James dwells with great attention on Christian 
Mysticism, which afforded him much material for establishing the 
fact of the cognitive aspect of mysticism. 

I borrow from him the following description of the mystical 
experiences of certain Christian saints. 

St. Ignatius confessed one day to Father Laynez that a single hour 
of meditation at Manfesa had taught him more truths about heavenly 
things than all the teachings of all the doctors put together could have 
taught him. . . One day in orison, on the steps of the choir of the 
Dominican Church, he saw in a distinct manner the plan of divine 
wisdom in the creation of the world. On another oecasion, during a 
procession, his spirit was ravished on God, and it was given him to con- 
template, in a form and images fitted to the weak understanding of a 
dweller on earth, the deep mystery of the holy Trinity. This last vision 
flooded his heart with such sweetness, that mere memory of it in after 
times made him shed abundant tears. 

"One day, being in orison," Saint Teresa writes, "it was granted me to 
perceive in one instant how all things are seen and contained in God. 
I did not perceive them in their proper form, and nevertheless the view 
I had of them was of a sovereign clearness and has remained vividly im- 
pressed upon my soul. It is one of the most signal of all the graces 
which the Lord has granted me. . . The view was so subtle and deli- 
cate that the understanding cannot grasp it." 

She goes on to tell, Prof. James writes, how it was as if the Deity was 
an enormous and sovereignly limped diamond, in which all our actions 
were contained in such a way that their full sinfulness appeared evident 
as never before. 

"Our Lord made me comprehend," she writes, "in what way it is that 
one God can be in three Persons. He made me see it so clearly that I 


remained as extremely surprised as I was comforted . . . and now, 
when I think of the holy Trinity, or hear it spoken of, I understand how 
the three adorable Persons form only one God and I experienced an un- 
speakable happiness." 

Christian mysticism, as Prof. James shows, is very near to the 
Veddnta and the Upanishads. That fountain-head of Christian 
mysticism, Dionysius the Areopagite, tells about the absolute 
truth in negative formulcB only. 

"The cause of all things is neither soul or intellect; nor has it imagina- 
tion, opinion, or reason, or intelligence; nor is it reason or intelligence; 
nor is it spoken or thought. It is neither number, nor order, nor magni- 
tude, nor littleness, nor equality, nor inequality, nor similarity, nor dis- 
similarity. It neither stands, nor moves, nor rests. . . It is neither 
essence, nor eternity, nor time. Even intellectual contact does not belong 
to it. It is neither science nor truth. It is not even royalty or wisdom; not 
one; not unity; not divinity or goodness, nor even spirit as we know it." 

The writings of the mystics of the Greek Orthodox Church are 
collected in the books "The Love of the Good," comprising five 
large and formidable volumes. I select several examples of pro- 
found and fine mysticism from the book, " Superconsciousness and 
the Paths to its Attainment," by M. V. Lodijensky (In Russian) 
who studied these books and found therein remarkable examples 
of philosophical thought. 

Imagine a circle, says Avva Dorotheus (VII century) and in the middle 
of it a center; and from this center forthgoing radii-rays. The farther 
these radii go from the center, the more divergent and remote from 
one another they become; conversely, the nearer they approach to the 
center, the more they come together among themselves. Now suppose 
that this circle is the world: the very middle of it, God; and the straight 
line (radii) going from the center to the circumference, or from the cir- 
cumference to the center, are the paths of life of men. And in this case 
also, to the extent that the saints approach the middle of the circle, 
desiring to approach God, do they, by so doing, come nearer to God and 
to one another. . . Reason similarly with regard to their withdraw- 
ing — when they withdraw from God. . . they withdraw also from 
one another, and by so much as they withdraw from one another do they 
withdraw from God. Such is the attribute of love : to the extent that we 
are distant from God and do not love Him, each of us is far from his 
neighbor also. If we love God, then to the extent that we approach to 
Him through love of Him, do we unite in love with our neighbors; and 
the closer our union with them, the closer is our union with God also.* 

(Superconsciousness, p. 266) 

* The author of "Superconsciousness," M. V. Lodijensky, told me that in the summer of 1910 he 
was in "Yasnaya Poliana," the residence of L. Tolstoy, and he conversed with him about the mystioe 
and "The Love of the Good." Tolstoy was at first very skeptical about them, but when Mr. Lodijensky 
read to him the quotation, given here, about the circle, Tolstoy became very enthusiastic, and ran into 
another room and got a letter in which a triangle was drawn. It appeared that he had independently 
almost grasped the thought of Avva Dorotheus, and had written to someone that God was the apex of 
a triangle: men the points within the angles; approaching to one another they approach to God, approach- 
ing God, they do the same toward one another. Several days afterward Tolstoy rode over to Mr. 
Lodijensky's, near Tula, and read different parts of "The Love of the Good," much regretting that he 
had not known the books before. — P. D. Ouspensky. 


Hear now, says St. Isaac of Syria (VI century), how man becomes 
refined, acquires spirituality, and becomes like the invisible forces. . . 
When the vision soars above things earthly, and above all troubles over 
earthly doings, and begins to experience revelations concerning that 
which is within, hidden from sight, and when it will turn its gaze upward, 
and experience faith in the guidance of future ages, and the ardent desire 
for promised things, when it will search for hidden mysteries, then faith 
itself consumes this knowledge and so transforms and regenerates it that 
it becomes entirely spiritual. Then may the vision soar on pinions into 
regions incorporeal, may touch the depths of an inaccessible sea, par- 
ticipating in the mind Divine, and the miraculous acts of guidance in the 
hearts of thinking and feeling beings, discovering spiritual mysteries 
which become then comprehensible by the refined and simple mind. 
Then the inner senses are awakened to spirituality after the manner that 
they will be in the life immortal and incorruptible, for even here this 
redemption of the mind is a true symbol of the general redemption. 

(Super consciousness, p. 370). 

When the grace of the Holy Spirit, says Maxim Kapsokalivit, descends 
on anyone, there is shown to him nothing of the sensuous world, but 
that which he never saw or never imagined. Then the understanding of 
such a man receives from the Holy Spirit the highest and hidden mys- 
teries which according to the divine Paul, neither the human eye can 
understand nor the human reason comprehend unaided. (I Corinthians 
ii, 9). And that thou mayest understand how our reason sees them, 
try to apprehend that which I shall say to thee. Wax, when it is placed 
far from fire, is solid, and it is possible to take it and hold it, but as soon 
as it is thrown in fire it immediately melts, takes fire, burns, blazes and 
ends thus in the midst of flames. So also is human reason when it is 
alone by itself, ununited with God; then it comprehends in the usual way 
and according to its power all things surrounding it; but as it approaches 
the fire of Divinity and of the Holy Ghost, then is it entirely enveloped 
by that Divine fire, and immersed in Divine meditation, and then in that 
fire of Divinity it is impossible for it to think about its own affairs and 
about that which it desires. 

(Super consciousness, p. 370). 

St. Basil the Great says about the revelation of God: Absolutely un- 
utterable and indescribable are the lightning-like splendors of Divine 
beauty; neither can speech express nor hearing apprehend. Shall we 
name the brilliance of the morning star, the brightness of the moon, the 
radiance of the sun — the glory of all these is unworthy of being compared 
with the true light, standing farther from it than does the gloomiest night 
and the most terrible darkness from midday brightness. This beauty, 
invisible to bodily eyes, comprehensible to soul and mind only, if it 
illumines some of the saints leaves in them an unbearable wound through 
their desire that this vision of Divine beauty should extend over an 
eternity of life; disturbed by this earthly life, they loathe it as though it 
were a prison. 

(Super consciousness, p. 372). 


St. Theognis says : A strange word will I say to thee. There is some 
hidden mystery which proceeds between God and the soul. This is ex- 
perienced by those who achieve the highest heights of perfect purity 
of love and faith, when man, changing completely unites with God, as 
His own, through ceaseless prayer and contemplation. 

(Super consciousness, p. 381). 

Certain parts of the writings of Clement of Alexandria (second 
century) are remarkably interesting. 

It appears to us that painting appears to take in the whole field of 
view in the scenes represented. But it gives a false description of the 
view, according to the rules of the art, employing the signs that result 
from the incidents of the lines of vision. — By this means, the higher and 
the lower points in the view, and those between, are preserved; and some 
objects seem to appear in the foreground, and others in the background, 
and others to appear in some other way, on the smooth and level surface. 
So also philosophers copy the truth, after the manner of painting.* 

Clement of Alexandria here reveals one very important aspect 
of truth, namely, its inexpressibility in words and the entire con- 
ditionally of all philosophical systems and formulations. Dia- 
lectically truth is represented only in perspective — i. е., in an 
inevitably deformed shape — such is his idea. 

What time and labor would be saved, and from what enormous 
and unnecessary suffering would humanity save itself, could it 
but understand this one simple thing: that truth cannot be expressed 
in our language. Then would men cease to think that they 
possessed truth, would cease to force others to accept their truth at 
any cost, would see that others may approach truth from another 
direction, exactly as they themselves approach it, by a way of 
their own. How many arguments, how many religious struggles, 
how much of violence toward the thoughts of others would be 
rendered unnecessary and impossible if men would only under- 
stand that nobody possesses truth, but all are seeking for it, each 
in his own way. 

The ideas of Clement of Alexandria about God are highly inter- 
esting, and closely approximate to those of the Veddnta, and par- 
ticularly to the ideas of the Chinese philosophers. 

The discourse respecting God is the most difficult to handle. For 
since the first principle of everything is difficult to find out, the abso- 
lutely first and the oldest principle, which is the cause of all other things 
being and having been, is difficult to exhibit. For how can that be 
expressed which is neither genus, nor difference, nor species, nor indi- 
vidual, nor number; nay more, is neither an event, nor that to which 

* "The Ante-Nicene Fathers." Buffalo, The Christian Literature Pub. Co., 1885. Vol. II, 
pp. 463, 464. 


an event happens? No one can rightly express this wholly. For on ac- 
count of his greatness he is ranked as the All and is the Father of the 
universe. Nor are any parts to be predicted of them. For the one is 
indivisible, wherefore also it is infinite, not considered with reference to 
its being without dimensions, and not having a limit. And therefore it 
is without form and name. And if we name it, we do not do so properly, 
terming it either the one, or the good, or mind, or Absolute Being, or 
Father, or God, or Creator, or Lord. We speak not as supplying His 
name; but for want, we use good names, in order that the mind may 
have these as points of support, so as not to err in other respects.* 

Among Chinese mystical philosophers our attention is ar- 
rested by Lao-Tzu (VI cent. В. C), and Chuang-Tzu (IV cent. 
В. C.) by the cleanliness of thought and the unusual simplicity, 
with which they express the most profound doctrines of idealism. 

The Sayings of Lao-Tzu 

The Tao which can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao; the 
name which can be uttered is not its eternal name.f 

Tao eludes the sense of sight, and is therefore called colourless. It 
eludes the sense of hearing, and is therefore called soundless. It eludes 
the sense of touch, and is therefore called incorporeal. These three qual- 
ities cannot be apprehended, and hence they may be blended into unity. 

Ceaseless in action, it cannot be named, but returns again to nothing- 
ness. We may call it the form of the formless, the image of the image- 
less, the fleeting and the indeterminable. 

There is something chaotic, yet complete, which existed before heaven 
and Earth. , Oh, how still it is, and formless, standing alone without 
changing, reaching everywhere, without suffering harm! 

Its name I know not. To designate it I call it Tao. Endeavoring to 
describe it, I call it Great. 

Being Great, it passes on; passing on, it becomes remote; having be- 
come remote it returns. 

The law of Tao is its own spontaneity. 

Tao in its unchanging aspect has no name. 

The mightiest manifestations of active force flow from Tao. 

Tao as it exists in the world is like great rivers and seas which receive 
the streams from the valleys. 

All-prevading is the Great Tao. It can be at once on the right hand 
and on the left. 

Tao is a great square with no angles, a great sound which cannot be 
heard, a great image with no form. 

Tao produced Unity; Unity produced Duality; Duality produced 
Trinity; and Trinity produced all existing objects. 

He who acts in accordance with Tao, becomes one with Tao. 

All the world says that my Tao is great, but unlike other teachings. 
It is just because it is great that it appears unlike other teachings. If 
it had this likeness, long ago would its smallness have been known. 

* Ibid. p. 493. 

t Abridged quotation from "the sayings of Lao Tzu." Wisdom of the East Series. 


The sage attends to the inner and not to the outer; he puts away the 

«ЧЙ^о^ЙЕ^^ and conveys instructions 

^о'Леге that can make muddy water dear? But « allowed to 

°'тГь ctX d inacth"! e and yet it leaves nothing undone 

The nursuTt of book-lea ning brings about daily increase (l. e, the 
ine pursim 01 uuu „_.-.:„, f Tao brings about dady loss 

ГеТье1о" 8 Т^ »*>« V ^T' Г\£Х 

arrive at ■ Sonfpracttee inaction, and there is nothing which cannot 

^Practice inaction, occupy yourself with doing nothing. 

Leave all things to take their natural course, and do not interfere. 

All things in Nature work silently. , . , 

Among mankind, the recognition of beauty as such ^imphes the idea 
nfmmness and the recognition of good implies the idea of evil. 

Cast off your holiness, rid yourself of sagacity, and the people will 

^oL^ktw do d not speak; those who speak do not know. 

К^Ж^ув; he'who grasps, loses. Therefore the sage does 
nofact, and so he does not destroy; he does not grasp, and so he does 

n0 Thesoft overcomes the hard; the weak overcomes the strong There 
is no one in the world but knows this truth, and no one who can put it 
into practice. 

A Meditation of Chuang-Tzu 
You cannot speak of ocean to a well-frog -the creature of a narrower 
sphere You cannot speak of ice to a summer insect,-the creature of a 
season. You cannot speak of Tao to a pedagogue, his scope is too re- 

St But d now that you have emerged from your ^^^^^ 
seen the great ocean, you know your own insignificance, and 1 can 

^^JZ^^&^ isendless. Conditions are not invari- 

*%J^^3^ is not objective; there is nothing which is not 
subjective. Bu it is impossible to start from the objective Only from 
sub ective knowledge is it possible to proceed to objective knowledge 
When subjective and objective are both without their correlates, that 

18 Ta 6 o haTiLtaws 2d its evidences. It is devoid both of action and of 

It may be obtained but cannot be seen. 

Spiritual beings draw their spirituality from lao. 

To Tao no point in time is long ago. 


Tao cannot be existent. If it were existent, it could not be non- 
existent. The very name of Tao is only adapted for convenience' sake. 
Predestination and chance are limited to material existences. — How can 
they bear upon the infinite? 

Tao is something beyond material existences. It cannot be conveyed 
either by words or by silence. In that state which is neither speech nor 
silence, its transcendal nature may be apprehended.* 

In contemporary Theosophical literature, two little books stand 
out: "The Voice of the Silence" by H. P. Blavatsky, and "Light 
on the Path" by Mabel Collins. In both of them there is much of 
real mystical sentiment. 

The Voice of the Silence 

He who would hear the voice of the silence, the soundless sound, and 
comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of the perfect inward concen- 
tration of the mind, accompanied by complete abstraction from every- 
thing pertaining to the external Universe, or the world of senses. 

Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must 
seek out the Rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes 

The mind is the great slayer of the real. 

Let the Disciple slay the Slayer. 


When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the 
forms he sees in dreams; 

When he ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE — the 
inner sound which kills the outer. 

Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of ASAT, the 
false, to come into the realm of SAT, the true. 

Before the soul can see, the harmony within must be attained, and 
fleshly eyes be rendered blind to illusion. 

Before the soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to 
warnings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery 
buzzing of the golden firefly. 

And then to the inner ear will speak — 


And say: 

— If thy Soul smiles while bathing in the sunlight of thy life; if thy 
soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy soul weeps 
inside her castle of illusion; if thy soul struggles to break the silver 
thread that binds her to the MASTER (г. е., the higher self of man) — 
know, О Disciple, thy soul is of the earth. 

Give up thy life, if thou wouldst live. 

•"Musings of a Chinese Mystic." Wisdom of the East Series. 


Learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the ever- 
lasting. Learn above all to separate head-learning from soul-wisdom, the 
"Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine. 

"Light on the Path," like "The Voice of the Silence" is full of 
symbols, hints and hidden meanings. This is a little book which 
makes demands upon the reader. Its meaning is elusive, and it re- 
quires to be read in a fitting state of spirit. "Light on the Path" 
prepares the "disciple" to meet the "Master," i. е., the ordinary 
consciousness for communion with the higher consciousness. 
According to the author of "Light on the Path," the term "THE 
MASTERS" is a symbolical expression for the "Divine Life."* 

Light on the Path 
Before the eyes can see they must be incapable of tears. Before the ear 
can hear it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the voice can speak 
in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound. 
Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be 
washed in the blood of the heart. 

Kill out all sense of separateness. 

Desire only that which is within you. 

Desire only that which is beyond you. 

Desire only that which is unattainable. 

For within you is the light of the world. . . If you are unable to 
perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere. . . it is 
unattainable, because it forever recedes. You will enter the light, but you 
will never touch the Flame. . . 

Seek out the way. 

Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm: 
not till then. . . 

And on the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will 
prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it 
speaks in a voice that speaks where there is none to speak — it is a 
messenger that comes, a messenger without form or substance; or it is 
the flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any 

To hear the voice of the silence is to understand that from within 
comes the only true guidance. . . For when the disciple is ready, 
the Master is ready also. 

Hold fast to that which is neither substance or existence. 

Listen only to the voice which is soundless. 

Look only on that which is invisible. 

Prof. James calls attention in his book to the unusually vivid 
emotionality of mystic experiences, and to the quite unusual sen- 
sations felt by mystics. 

* "Light on the Path" p. 92. London, Theosophical Pub. Co. 


The deliciousness of some of these states seems to be beyond 
anything known in ordinary consciousness. It evidently involves 
organic sensibilities, for it is spoken of as something too extreme 
to be borne, and as verging on bodily pain. But it is too subtle and 
piercing a delight for ordinary words to denote. God's touches, 
the wounds of his spear, references to ebriety and to mystical union 
have to figure in the phraseology by which it is shadowed forth. 

The joy of communion with God, described by St. Simeon the 
New Theologian* (X century) may serve as an example of such an 

I am wounded by the arrow of His love (writes St. Simeon). He is 
Himself inside of me, in my heart; he embraces me, kisses me, fills me 
with light. . . A new flower grows in me, new because it is joyous. 
. . This flower is of an unutterable form, is seen when it grows merely, 
then suddenly disappears . . it is of indescribable appearance; attracts 
my mind to itself, causes forgetf ulness of everything to do with fear, and 
then flies suddenly away. Then does the tree of fear remain again 
lacking fruit; I moan in sorrow and pray to thee, my Christ; again I see 
the flower amid the branches, I chain my attention to it alone, and see 
not the tree alone, but the brilliant flower attracting me to itself irresisti- 
bly; this flower grows in the end into the fruit of love. . . Incom- 
prehensible is it how from fear grows love. 

Mysticism penetrates into all religions. 

"In India," Prof. James says, "training in mystical insight has 
been known from time immemorial under the name of yoga. 
Yoga means the experimental union of the individual with the 
divine. It is based on presevering exercise; and the diet, posture, 
breathing, intellectual concentration, and moral discipline vary 
slightly in the different systems which teach it. The yogi, or dis- 
ciple, who has by these means overcome the obscurations of his 
lower nature sufficiently, enters into the condition termed 
samadhi, 'and he comes face to face with facts which no instinct 
or reason can ever know.' 

. . . . "When a man comes out of samadhi Vedantists 
assure us that he remains ' enlightened, a sage, a prophet, a saint, 
his whole character changed, his life changed, illumined.' 

"The Buddists use the word ' samadhi' as well as the Hindus; but 
'dhyana' is their special word for higher states of contemplation. 

"Higher stages still of contemplation are mentioned — a region 
where there exists nothing, and where the meditator says : ' There 
exists absolutely nothing,' and stops. Then he reaches another 
region, he says: 'There are neither ideas nor absence of ideas,' 

♦Paul Anikieff. "Mysticism of St. Simeon the New Theologian". St. Petersburg, 1906. 


and stops again. Then another region where, 'having reached the 
end of both idea and perception, he stops finally. I his would 
seem to be, not yet Nirvana, but as close an approach to it as this 
life affords.* 

In Mohammedism there is much of mysticism also. The most 
characteristic expression of Moslem mysticism is Persian Sufism. 
This is at the same time a religious sect and a philosophical 
school of high idealistic character, which struggled against ma- 
terialism and against the narrow fanaticism and the literal under- 
standing of the Koran. The Sufis interpreted the Koran mysti- 
cally Sufism— this is the philosophical free-thinking of Moham- 
medanism, united with an entirely original symbolical and brightly 
sensuous poetry which has always a hidden mystical character. 
The blossoming of Sufism occurred in the early centuries ot the 
second millennium of the Christian era. 

Sufism remained for a long time incomprehensible to European 
thought. From the point of view of Christian theology and 
Christian morality the mixing up of sensuousness and religious 
ecstacy is incomprehensible, but in the Orient the two coexisted 
with perfect harmony. In the Christian world the flesh has 
always been regarded as inimical to "the spirit." In the Moslem 
world the fleshly and sensuous was accepted as a symbol of 
spiritual things. The expression of philosophical and religious 
truths "in the language of love" was a widely disseminated 
custom throughout the Orient. These things are "Oriental 
flowers of eloquence." All allegories, all metaphors were taken 
from "love." "Mohammed fell in love with God" the Arabs say, 
desiring to convey the brightness of the religious ardor of Mo- 
hammed. " Select for thyself a new wife every spring of the new year, 
because last year's calendar is no good"— says the Persian poet and 
philosopher Sadi. And in such curious form Sadi expresses the 
thought that Ibsen puts in the mouth of Dr. Stockmann : 1 ruths 
are not as many believe like long living Methuselas. Under normal 
conditions a truth may exist about seventeen or eighteen years, rarely 


The poetry of the Sufis will become clearer to us if we always 
keep in mind this general sensuous character of the literary lan- 
guage of the Orient, the heritage of profound antiquity. A classic 
example of this ancient literature is the "Song of Songs." 

Many parts of the Bible and all ancient myths and stories are 
distinguished by a sensuousness of form strange to us. 

*Prof. W. James. "The Varieties of Religous Experience." pp. 400, 401. 


"The Persian mystical poetical Sufis wrote about the love of 
God in expressions applicable to their beautiful women," says the 
translator of J ami and other poets, Davis — "because, as they ex- 
plained this, nobody can write in heavenly language and be under- 
stood." {Persian Mystics.) 

"The idea of Sufism," Max Muller says, "is a loving union of 
the soul with God." "The Sufi holds that there is nothing in human 
language that can express the love between the soul and God so 
well as the love between man and woman and that if he is to 
speak of the union between the two at all, he can only do so in the 
symbolic language of earthly love." "When we read some of the 
Sufi enraptured poetry, we must remember that the Sufi poets 
use a number of expressions which have a recognized meaning in 
their language. Their sleep means meditation; perfume — hope 
of divine favor; kisses and embraces — the raptures of piety; wine 
means spiritual knowledge, etc. 

The flowers which a lover of God had gathered in his rose-garden, 
and which he wished to give to his friends, so overpowered his mind by 
their fragrance that they fell out of his lap and withered, Sadi says. 
A poet desires to express by this, that the glory of ecstatic visions pales 
and fades away when it has to be put into human language.— (Max 
Muller— " Theosophy.") 

Generally speaking, never and nowhere has poetry been so 
blended with mysticism as in Sufism. The Sufi poets frequently 
lived the strange lives of hermits, anachorites and wanderers, at 
the same time singing of love, the beauty of women, the aroma 
of roses and wine. 

Jellal eddin describes as follows the communion of the soul with 

A loved one said to her lover to try him early one morning: "O such 
a one, son of such a one, I marvel whether you hold me more dear, or 
yourself; tell me truly, O, ardent lover!" He answered: "I am so en- 
tirely absorbed in you, that I am full of you from head to foot. Of my 
own existence nothing but the man remains, in my being is nothing 
beside you, О object of my desire. Therefore I am thus lost in you. As 
a stone which has been changed into a pure ruby, is filled with the 
bright light of the sun."— (Max Muller.) 

In two well known poems of J ami (XV century), " Salaman and 
Absal" and " Yusuf and Zulaikha" the "ascending of the soul," 
its purification and its union with God is represented in the most 
passionate forms. 


Prof. James pays great attention in his book to mystical states 
under narcosis. 

This is a realm that public opinion and ethical philosophy have 
long since branded as pathological, though private practice and 
certain lyric strains of poetry seem still to bear witness of its 

"Nitrous oxide and ether, especially nitrous oxide, when suffi- 
ciently diluted with air, stimulates the mystical consciousness in 
an extraordinary degree. Depth beyond depth of truth seems re- 
vealed to the inhaler. This truth fades out, however, or escapes, 
at the moment of coming to ; and if any words remain over in which 
it seemed to clothe itself, they prove to be the veriest nonsense. 
Nevertheless, the sense of a profound meaning having been there 
persists; and I know more than one person who is persuaded that 
in the nitrous oxide trance we have a genuine metaphysical reve- 

"Some years ago I myself made some observations on this 
aspect of nitrous oxide intoxication, and reported them in print. 
One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my 
impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is 
that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as 
we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about 
it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there are potential 
forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through 
life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite 
stimulus and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, 
definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their 
field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe 
in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of con- 
sciousness quite disregarded. At any rate, they forbid a pre- 
mature closing of our accounts with reality. 

"The whole drift of my education goes to persuade me that the 
world of our present consciousness is only one out of many worlds 
of consciousness that exist, and that those other worlds must con- 
tain experiences which have a meaning for our life also. 

"Looking back on my experiences, they all converge towards 
a kind of insight to which I cannot help ascribing some meta- 
physical significance. The keynote of it is invariably a recon- 
ciliation. It is as if the opposites of the world, whose contradic- 
tions and conflict make all our difficulties and troubles, were 
melted into unity. Not only do they, as contrasted species, be- 


long to one and the same genus, but one of the species the nobler 
and the better one — is itself the genus, so soaks up and absorbs its 
opposite into itself. This is a dark saying, I know, when thus ex- 
pressed in terms of common logic, but I cannot wholly escape 
from its authority. I feel as if it must mean something, something 
like what the Hegelian philosophy means, if one could only lay 
hold of it more clearly. Those who have ears to hear let them 
hear; to me the loving sense of its reality only comes in the arti- 
ficial mystic state of mind. 

"What reader of Hegel can doubt that sense of a perfected 
being with all its otherness soaked up in itself, which dominates 
his whole philosophy, must have come from the prominence in his 
consciousness of mystical moods like this, in most persons kept 
subliminal? The notion is thoroughly characteristic of the mys- 
tical level, and the Aufgabe (the problem) of making it articulate 
was surely set to Hegel's intellect by mystical feeling. 

"I have friends who believe in the anaesthetic revelation. For 
them too it is a monistic insight, in which the other in its various 
forms appears absorbed into the One.* 

"Into this pervading genus," writes one of them, "we pass, forgetting 
and forgotten, and thenceforth each is all, in God. There is no higher, 
no deeper, no other, than the life in which we are founded. The one 
remains, the many change and pass; and each and every one of us is the 
One that remains. . . This is the ultimatum. . . As sure as 
being — whence is all our care — so sure is content, beyond duplexity, 
antithesis, or trouble, where I have triumphed in a solitude that God 

is not above." - ™ -i 

(В. P. Blood: "The Anaesthetic Revelation and the Gist of Philoso- 
phy," Amsterdam, N. Y., 1874.) . , , , . 
Xenos Clark, a philosopher who died young (at Amherst in the 80 s) 
was also impressed by the revelation. 

"In the first place," he once wrote to me, "Mr. Blood and I agree that 
the revelation is, if anything, non-emotional. It is, as Mr. Blood says, 
"the one sole and sufficient insight why or not why, but how, the present 
is pushed on by the past, and sucked forward by the vacuity of the 
future. . It is an initiation of the past. The real secret would be the form- 
ula by which the "now" keeps exfoliating out of itself, yet never escapes. 
We simply fill the hole with the dirt we dug out. Ordinary philosophy 
is like a hound hunting its own tail. The more he hunts the farther he 
has to go, and his nose never catches up with his heels, because it is for- 
ever ahead of them. So the present is already a foregone conclusion, 
and I am ever too late to understand it. But at the moment of recovery 
from anaesthesis, then, before starting on life, I catch, so to speak, a glimpse 
of my heels, a glimpse of the eternal process just in the act of starting. The 
truth is that we travel on a journey that was accomplished before we 

*Prof. William James, "The Varieties of Religious Experience." Lectures XVI and XVII. 



set out; and the real end of philosophy is accomplished, not when we 
arrive at, but when we remain in, our destination (being already there), 
— which may occur vicariously in this life when we cease our intellectual 
questioning. That is why there is a smile upon the face of revelation, as 
we view it. It tells us that we are forever half a second too late — that's all . 

"You could kiss your own lips, and have all the fun to yourself," it 
says, if you only knew the trick. It would be perfectly easy if they would 
just stay there till you got around to them. Why don't you manage 
it somehow? 

In his latest pamphlet Mr. Blood describes the value of the anaesthetic 
revelation for life as follows : 

"The Anaesthetic Revelation is the initiation of man into the mystery 
of the open secret of Being, revealed as the inevitable vortex of con- 
tinuity. Inevitable is the word. Its motive is inherent — it is what has 
to be. It is not for any love or hate, nor for joy or sorrow, nor good 
nor ill. End, beginning, or purpose, it knows not of. 

"It affords no particular of the multiplicity and variety of things: 
but it fills appreciation of the historical and the sacred with a secular 
and intimately personal illumination of the nature and motive of exist- 
ence. . . 

"Although it is at first startling in its solemnity, it becomes directly 
such a matter of course — so old-fashioned, and so akin to proverbs, 
that it inspires exultation rather than fear, and the sense of safety, as 
identified with the aboriginal and the universal. But no words may 
express the surpassing certainty of the patient that he is realizing the 
primordial Adamic surprise of life. 

"Repetition of the experience finds it ever the same, and as if it could 
not possibly be otherwise. The subject resumes his normal conscious- 
ness only to partially and fitfully remember its occurrence, and to try 
to formulate its baffling import, — with only this consolatory after- 
thought : that he has known the oldest truth, and that he has done with 
human theories as to the origin, meaning, or destiny of the race. He is 
beyond instruction in "spiritual things." 

"The lesson is one of central safety; the kingdom is within. All days 
are judgment days : but there can be no climacteric purpose of eternity, 
nor any scheme of the whole. The astronomer abridges the row of be- 
wildering figures by increasing his unit of measurement: so may we 
reduce the distracting multiplicity of things to the unity for which each 
of us stands. 

"This has been my moral sustenance since I have known of it. In 
my first printed mention of it I declared: The world is no more the 
alien terror that was taught me. Spurning the cloud-grimed and still 
sultry battlements whence so lately Jehovan thunders boomed, my 
gray gull lifts her wings against the nightfall, and takes the dim leagues 
with a fearless eye. And now, after twenty-seven years of this experi- 
ence, the wing is grayer, but the eye is fearless still, while I renew and 
doubly emphasize that declaration. I know — as having known — the 
meaning of existence: the sane center of the universe — at once the 
wonder and the assurance of the soul — for which the speech of reason 
has as yet no name but the Anaesthetic Revelations. 


I subjoin, Prof. James says, another interesting anaesthetic 
revelation. This is what the subject, a gifted woman, writes 
about her experience, when she was taking ether for a surgical 

"I wondered if I was in a prison being tortured, and why I remem- 
bered, having heard it said that people 'learn through suffering,' and 
in view of what I was seeing, the inadequacy of this saying struck me so 
much that I said, aloud, 'to suffer is to learn.' With that I became un- 
conscious again, and my last dream immediately preceded my real 
coming to. It only lasted a few seconds and was most vivid and real 
to me, though it may not be clear in words. 

"A great Being or Power was traveling through the sky, his foot was 
on a kind of lightning as a wheel is on a rail, it was his pathway. The 
lightning was made of innumerable spirits close to one another, and I 
was one of them. He moved in a straight line, and each part of the 
streak or flash came into its short conscious existence only that he 
might travel. I seemed to be directly under the foot of God, and I 
thought he was grinding his own life up out of my pain. Then I saw 
that what he had been trying with all his might to do was to change his 
course, to bend the line of lightning to which he was tied, in the direction 
in which he wanted to go. I felt my flexibility and helplessness, and I 
knew that he would succeed. He bended me, turning his corner by 
means of my hurt, hurting me more than I had ever been hurt in my 
life, and at the acutest point of this, as he passed, I SAW. 

"I understood for a moment things that I have now forgotten, things 
that no one could remember while retaining sanity. The angle was an 
obtuse angle, and I remember thinking as I woke that had he made it 
a right or acute angle, I should have both suffered and 'seen' still more, 
and should probably have died. 

"He went on and I came to. In that moment the whole of my life 
passed before me, including each little meaningless piece of distress, and 
I understood them. This is what it had all meant, this was the piece of 
work it had all been contributing to do. 

"I did not see God's purpose. I only saw his intentness and his entire 
relentlessness towards his means. He thought no more of me than a man 
thinks of hurting a cartridge when he is firing. And yet, on waking, my 
first feeling was, and it came with tears, 'Domine non sum dogna,' for 
I had been lifted into a position for which I was too small. I realized 
that in that half hour under ether I had served God more distinctly and 
purely than I had ever done in my life before, or than I am capable of 
desiring to do. I was the means of his achieving and revealing something, 
I know not what or to whom, and that to the exact extent of my capac- 
ity for suffering. 

"While regaining consciousness I wondered why, since I had gone so 
deep, I had seen nothing of what saints call the love of God, nothing but 
his relentlessness. And then I heard an answer, which I could only just 
catch, saying, ' Knowledge and Love are One, and the measure is suffer- 
ing' — I give words as they came to me. With that I came finally to 


into what seemed a dream world compared with the reality of what I 
was leaving. . . " 

I. S. Symonds, whom Prof. James mentions tells of an interest- 
ing mystical experience with chloroform: 

"After the choking and stifling had passed away, I seemed at first 
in a state of utter blankness, then came flashes of intense light, alter- 
nating with blackness, and with a keen vision of what was going on in 
the room around me, but no sensation of touch. I thought that I was 
near death; when suddenly, my soul became aware of God, who was 
manifestly dealing with me, handling me, so to speak, in an intense 
personal present reality. I felt him streaming in like light upon me. 
I cannot describe the ecstasy I felt. Then as I gradually awoke from 
the influence of the anaesthetic, the old sense of my relation to the world 
began to return, and the new sense of my relation to God began to fade. 
I suddenly leapt to my feet on the chair where I was sitting, and 
shrieked out, 'It is too horrible, it is too horrible, it is too horrible,' 
meaning that I could not bear this disillusionment. At last I awoke 

. . . calling to the two surgeons (who were frightened) 'why did 
you not kill me? Why would you not let me die?' " 

Anaesthetic states are very similar to those strange moments 
experienced by epileptics during their fits of illness. An artistic 
description of epileptic states we find in Dostoyevsky's, "The 

He remembered among other things that he always had one minute 
just before the epileptic fit (if it came on while he was awake) when sud- 
denly in the midst of sadness, spiritual darkness and oppression, there 
seemed at moments a flash of light on his brain and with extraordinary 
impetus all his vital forces suddenly began working at their highest 
tension. The sense of life, the consciousness of self, were multiplied ten 
times at these moments which passed like a flash of lightning. His mind 
and his heart were flooded with extraordinary light; all his uneasiness, 
all his doubts, all his anxieties were relieved at once; they were all merged 
in a lofty calm, full of serene, harmonious joy and hope. 

Thinking of that moment later, when he was all right again, he often 
said to himself that all these gleams and flashes of the highest sensation 
of life and self -consciousness, and therefore also of the highest form of 
existence, were nothing but disease, the interruption of the normal con- 
dition. . . And yet he came at last to an extremely paradoxical con- 
clusion. What if it is disease? he decided, if the result, if the minute 
of sensation, remembered and analyzed afterwards in health, turns out 
to be the acme of harmony and beauty, and gives a feeling, unknown 
and undivined till then, of completeness, of proportion, of reconciliation, 
and of ecstatic devotional merging in the highest synthesis of life? 

These vague expressions seemed to him very comprehensible, though 
too weak. That it was "beauty and worship," that it really was the 
"highest synthesis of life" he could not doubt, and could not admit the 
possibility of doubt. . . He was quite capable of judging of that 


when the attack was over. These moments were only an extraordinary- 
quickening of self-consciousness — if the condition was to be expressed 
in one word — and at the same time of the direct sensation of existence 
in the most intense degree. Since at that second, that is at the very- 
last conscious moment before the fit, he had time to say to himself 
clearly and consciously, "Yet for this moment one might give one's 
whole life!" Then without doubt that moment was really worth the 
whole of life. . . For the very thing had happened ; he actually had 
said to himself at that second, that, for the infinite happiness he had felt 
in it, that second really might well be worth the whole of life. 

"At that moment," as he told Rogozhin one day in Moscow . . "at 
that moment I seemed somehow to understand the extraordinary say- 
ing that there shall be time no longer. Probably," he added, smiling, 
"this is the very second which was not long enough for the water to be 
spilt out of Mohammed's pitcher, though the epileptic prophet had time 
to gaze at all the habitations of Allah.* 

Narcosis or epilepsy are not at all necessary conditions to induce 
mystical states in ordinary men. 

"Certain aspects of nature appear to have the peculiar power 
of awakening such mystical moods," says James. 

It would be more correct to say that in all conditions of encom- 
passing nature this power lies concealed. The change of the 
seasons — the first snow, the awakening of spring, the summer 
days rainy and warm, the aroma of autumn — awake in us strange 
"moods" which we ourselves do not understand. Sometimes 
these moods intensify, and become the sensation of a complete 
oneness with nature. In the life of every man there are moments 
which act upon him more powerfully than others. Upon one a 
thunderstorm acts mystically, upon another, sunrise, a third is as it 
were hypnotized and attracted by the sea, a fourth is absorbed, 
filled and subjugated by the forest, a fifth is drawn and instructed 
by rocks, a sixth, by fire. The voice of sex, the influence on man 
of woman, and on woman of man embraces much of that same 
mystical sense of nature aroused by forest, prairie, sea. . . 

The voice of sex, the influence of the "eternal feminine" on 
man and the "eternal masculine" on woman includes within 
itself the most powerful and the most personal sensation of na- 
ture; in the sex impulse man puts himself in the most personal 
relation with nature. The comparison of the sensation of woman 
by man, or vice versa, with the feeling for nature is met with very 
often. And it is really the same sensation which is given by forest, 
prairie, sea, mountains, only in this case it is even more intense, 
awakens more inner voices, forces the sounding of more inner 

*"The Idiot" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, transl. of Constance Garnett, New York, the MacmillaD 


Animals often give the mystical sensation of nature to men. 
Almost everyone has his favorite animal, with which he has some 
inner affinity. In these animals, or through them, men sense 
nature intimately and personally. 

In Hindu magic there is the belief that every man has his cor- 
responding animal, through which it is possible to act upon him 
through which he himself can act upon others, and into which ne 
can transform himself or be by others transformed. 

Each Hindu deity has his own particular annua . 

Brahma has a goose; Vishnu an eagle; Siva a bull; Indra an 
elephant; Kali (Durga) a tiger; Rama a buffalo; Ganesha a rat 
Agni a ram; Kartikkeya (or Subrananyia) a peacock, and Kama 
(the god of love) a parrot. 

The same thing is true of Greece: all the deities of Olympus had 

their animals. , , 

In the religion of Egypt sacred animals played an enormous 
part, and in Egypt the cat, the most unique of all animals, was held 

np ЧЯОГСС1 • i 

The sense of nature sometimes unfolds something infinitely new 
and profound in things which seemed to have been known a long 
time and in themselves contained nothing mystical. 

The consciousness of God's nearness came to me «inefcnjes^ote. 
Prof James) ... a presence, I might say . . something in 
myself m"de me feel apart of something bigger than I, ^«con- 
trolling I felt myself one with the grass, the trees, birds, insects, 
eve ythmg in Nature. I exulted in the mere fact of existence, of being a 
plrtof it all-the drizzling rain, the shadow of the clouds, the tree- 
trunks, and so on. 

In my own note book I found a description of the same experi- 
enced state of consciousness. 

It was in the sea of Marmora, on a rainy day of winter, the far off high 
and rocL; shores were of a pronounced violet color of ev ery: shade in- 
cluding the most tender, fading into gray and lb ending with t he gray 
sky The sea was the color of lead mixed with silver I remember all 
?hese colors. The steamer was going north. I remained at the rail, look- 
in fat the waves. The white crests of waves were running toward us 
A g wavc wonld ™ at the ship, raised as though desiring to hurl Us crest 
uoonlt mshing up with a howl. The steamer heeled, shuddered, and 
Xwlv straightened back; then from afar a new wave came running. 
I watdfcd ffiay of the waves with the ship, and felt them draw me 
о themselves. Vwas not at all that desire to jump .down which one 
feels in mountains but something infinitely more subtle The waves 
were drawing my soul to themselves. And suddenly I felt that it went 
Го them It lasted an instant, perhaps less than an instant, but I entered 


into the waves and with them rushed with a howl at the ship. And in 
that instant I became all. The waves — they were myself: the far violet 
mountains, the wind, the clouds hurrying from the north, the great 
steamship, heeling and rushing irresistibly forward — all were my- 
self. I sensed the enormous heavy body — my body — all its motions, 
shudderings, waverings and vibrations, fire, pressure of steam and 
weight of engines were inside of me, the unmerciful and unyielding pro- 
pelling screw which pushed and pushed me forward, never for a moment 
releasing me, the rudder which determined all my motion — all this was 
myself: also two sailors. . . and the black snake of smoke coming 
in clouds out of the funnel . . all. 

It was an instant of unusual freedom, joy and expansion. A second — 
and the spell of charm disappeared. It passed like a dream when one 
tries to remember it. But the sensation was so powerful, so bright, and 
so unusual that I was afraid to move and waited for it to recur. But it 
did not return, and a moment later I could not say that it had been — 
could not say whether it was a reality or merely the thought that, looking 
at the waves, it might be so. 

Two years afterward the yellowish waves of the Finnish gulf and a 
green sky gave me a taste of the same sensation, but this time it was 
dissipated almost before it appeared. 

Similar experiences and the description of experiments of the 
artificial induction of them by the aid of narcotics or without that 
aid, will enter into the book, "The Wisdom of the Gods" in a 
chapter on experimental mysticism. 

The examples given in this chapter do not by any means exhaust 
the mystical experience of humanity. 

But what do we infer from them? 

First of all, unity of experience. In mystical sensations all men 
experience something in common, having a similar meaning and 
connection one with another. The mystics of many ages and 
many peoples speak the same language and use the same words. 
This is the first and most important thing that speaks for the re- 
ality of the mystical experience. Next is the complete harmony 
of data regarding such experience with the theoretically deduced 
conditions of the world of causes; the sensation of the unity of all, 
so characteristic of mysticism; a new sensation of time; the sense 
of infinity; joy or horror; knowledge of the whole in the part; 
infinite life and infinite consciousness. All these are real sensed 
facts in the mystical experience. And these facts are theoretically 
correct. They are such as they should be according to the con- 

higher logic. This is all that it is possible to say about them. 


'Cosmic Consciousness" of Dr. Bucke, The three forms of conscious- 
ness according to Dr. Bucke. Simple consciousness, or the con- 
sciousness of animals. Self-consciousness, or the consciousness 
of men. Cosmic consciousness. In what is it expressed? Sen- 
sation, perception, concept, higher moral concept-creative 
intuition. Men of cosmic consciousness. Adam s fall into sin 
The knowledge of good and evil Christ and. the salvation of 
man. Commentary on Dr. Bucke's book. Birth of the new 
humanity. Two races, superman. Table of the four forms 
of the manifestation of consciousness. 

"ERY many men believe that the fundamental prob- 
lems of life are absolutely unsolvable, that humanity 
will never know why it is striving, or for what it is striv- 
ing, for what it suffers, or whither it is bound. It is 
regarded as almost indecent even to raise these ques- 
ions It is decreed that we live "so"— that we "simply live." 
Men have despaired of finding answers to these questions and so 
have left them alone. 

Yet at the same time men are not in the least aware of what 
really created in them such a sense of insolubility and despair. 
Whence comes this feeling that it is better not to think about these 


In reality we feel this despair only when we begin to regard man 
as something "finite," finished; when we see nothing beyond man 
and think that we know already everything about him In such 
form the problem is truly a desperate one. A cold wind blows on 
us from all those social theories promising incalculable welfare 
on earth, leaving a sense of dissatisfaction and chill. 

Why? What is all this for? Well, everybody will be well fed 
and weil taken care of .—Splendid! But after that, what? 

Of course, until humanity shall free itself from hunger and need; 
so long as luxurious palaces and comfortable houses exist along- 
side of foul and sordid slums, so long as among us men drown and 
hang themselves from hunger and despair, so long as wars, 



prisons, violence exist we have no right to speak either of culture 
or of civilization. 

But let us suppose that nothing of this kind exists. Although 
it is difficult, almost impossible to imagine that materialistic cul- 
ture, of itself, could lead men to a fortunate state of existence, let 
us nevertheless assume that such is the case. On earth, then, 
there exists an unadulterated civilization and culture. Nobody 
throttles anybody else. All are permitted to draw their breath 
in peace. But after that, what? 

After that many resounding phrases of "incredible horizons" 
opening before science : " Communication with the planet Mars," 
"The chemical synthesis of protoplasm," "The utilization of the 
rotation of the earth around the sun," "Vaccine for all diseases," 
"Life to the length of a hundred years" — or even to one hundred and 
fifty! After that perhaps, "The artificial creation of men" — but 
beyond this imagination fails. 

It is possible to dig through the earth, but that would be en- 
tirely useless. 

Here indeed enters that feeling of the insolubility of the main 
questions concerning the aims of existence, and that feeling of 
despair on account of our lack of understanding. 

Truly, suppose that we have dug completely through the 
earth — what then? Shall we dig in another direction? But it is 
all very wearisome after all. Nevertheless the various positivistic 
social theories, "historical materialism" and so forth, promise 
nothing better, and can promise nothing. To get any answer at 
all to such tormenting questions we must turn in quite another 
direction: to the psychological method of study of man and of 
humanity. And here we see with amazement, that the psycholog- 
ical method gives an entirely satisfactory answer to those funda- 
mental questions which seem to us quite insoluble, and around 
about which we fruitlessly wander equipped with the defective 
instrument of the positivistic method. 

The psychological method gives a direct answer at least to the 
question of the immediate purpose of our existence. For some 
strange reason men do not care to accept this answer; and they 
desire at all costs to receive an answer in some form that they 
like, refusing to recognize anything that is different from that 
form. They require the solution of the destiny of man as they 
fancy him, and they do not want to recognize that man is some- 


thing entirely different. In him there are not yet manifest those 
faculties which will reveal his future to himself. Man must not 
and cannot remain such as he is now. To think of the future of 
this man is just as absurd as to think of the future of a child as 
though it were always going to remain a child. The analogy is not 
quite complete, for the reason that probably only a small part of 
humanity is capable of growth, but nevertheless this comparison 
paints a true picture of our usual attitude toward this question. 
And the fate of that greater part of humanity which will prove in- 
capable of growth, depends not upon itself, but upon that minor- 
ity which will progress. Only inner growth, the unfoldment of 
new forces, will give to man a correct understanding of himself, 
his ways, his future, and give him power to organize life on earth. 
At the present time man is a being too undifferentiated. The 
general concept "man" includes within itself types with entirely 
different futures, those capable of development and those incapable, 
and perhaps types of quite different origin. In men capable of 
development, many new faculties are stirring into life, though not 
yet manifest, because for their manifestation they require a special 
culture, a special education. The new conception of humanity 
disposes of the idea of equality, which after all does not exist, and 
it tries to establish the signs and facts of the differences between 
men, because humanity will need soon to divide the "progressing" 
from the "incapable of progress" — the wheat from the tares, for the 
tares are growing too fast, and choke the growth of the wheat. 

This is the key to the understanding of our life, and this key 
was found long ago! 

The enigma was solved long ago. But different thinkers, living 
in different epochs, finding the solution, called it by different 
names, and often, not knowing one another, trod the same path 
amid enormous difficulties, unaware of their predecessors and con- 
temporaries who had gone and were going along the selfsame path. 

In the world's literature there exist books, usually little known, 
which accidentally or by design may happen to be assembled on 
one shelf in one library. These, taken together, will yield so clear 
and complete a picture of the human being, that there will be no 
further doubts about the destiny of humanity (though only its 
minor part), but a destiny of quite a different sort from those hard 
labors of digging through the globe, which positive philosophy 
and "historical materialism" has in store for him. 


And if it seems to us that we do not yet know our destiny, if 
we still doubt, and do not dare to part with the hopeless "posi- 
tivistic" view of life, this is because, firstly, two human types, 
having quite different futures, are commingled into one in our 
perception; and secondly, the necessary ideas by means of which 
we might understand the true relation of forces, have not won 
for themselves their rightful place in official science, do not repre- 
sent any recognized division or branch of science; it is rarely possi- 
ble to find them all in one book and it is even rarely possible to 
find books expressing these ideas assembled together. 

We do not understand many things because we too easily and 
too arbitrarily specialize. Philosophy, religion, psychology, 
mathematics, the natural sciences, sociology, the history of cul- 
ture, art — each has its own separate literature. There is no com- 
plete whole at all. Even the little bridges between these separate 
literatures are built very badly and unsuccessfully, while they 
are often altogether absent. And this formation of special litera- 
tures is the chief evil and the chief obstacle to a correct under- 
standing of things. Each "literature" elaborates its own termi- 
nology, its own language, which is incomprehensible to the students 
of other literatures, and does not coincide with other languages ; by 
this it defines its own limits the more sharply, divides itself from 
others, and makes these limits impassable. 

What we have needed for a long time is synthesis. 

The word synthesis was emblazoned on the banner of the con- 
temporary theosophical movement started by H. P. Blavatsky. 
But this word remained a word only, because in reality a new 
specialization was created, and a theosophical literature of its own, 
separating, and striving even more to separate and fence itself 
off from the general movement of thought. 

But there are movements of thought which strive not in words, 
but in action, to fight this specialization. 

Books are appearing which it is impossible to refer to any 
accepted library classification, which it is impossible to "enroll" 
in any faculty. These books are the forerunners of a new liter- 
ture which will break down all fences built in the region of 
thought, and will clearly show to humanity where it is going. 

The names of the authors of these books yield the most unex- 
pected combinations. I shall not now mention the names of 
these authors, or the titles of these books, but shall dwell only 


upon the writings of Edward Carpenter and upon that American 
movement of thought, little known in Russia, of which the 
Canadian psychatrist, Dr. R. M. Bucke is a representative. 

Edward Carpenter, directly and without any allegories and sym- 
bols, formulated the thought that the existing consciousness by 
which contemporary man lives, is merely the transitory form of 
another higher consciousness, which even now is manifesting in 
certain men, after appropriate preparation and training. 

This higher consciousness Edward Carpenter names cosmic 

Carpenter travelled in the Orient, visited India and Ceylon, and 
there he found men, yogis and ascetics, striving to achieve cosmic 
consciousness, and he holds the opinion that the path to cosmic 
consciousness is already found in the Orient. 

In the book, "From Adam's Peak to Elephanta", he says: 

The West seeks the individual consciousness — the enriched mind, 
ready perceptions and memories, individual hopes and fears, ambitions, 
loves, conquests— the self, the local self, in all its phases and forms— and 
sorely doubts whether such a thing as an universal consciousness exists. 
The East seeks the universal consciousness, and in these cases where its 
quest succeeds individual self and life thin away to a mere film, and are 
only the shadows cast by the glory revealed beyond. 

The individual consciousness takes the form of TJwught, which is fluid 
and mobile like quicksilver, perpetually in a state of change and unrest, 
fraught with pain and effort; the other consciousness is not in the form of 
thought. It touches, sees, hears, and is those things which it perceives, 
without motion, without change, without effort, without distinction of 
subject and object, but with a vast and incredible joy. 

The individual consciousness is specially related to the body. The 
organs of the body are in some degree its organs. But the whole body is 
only as one organ of the cosmic consciousness. To attain this latter one 
must have the power of knowing one's self separate from the body — of 
passing into a state of ecstasy, in fact. Without this the cosmic conscious- 
ness cannot be experienced. 

All the subsequent writings of Carpenter, and especially his 
book of free verse, "Towards Democracy," deal with the psychol- 
ogy of ecstatic experiences and portray the path whereby man 
goes toward this principal aim of his existence. 

Only the attainment of this principal aim will illumine for 
man the past and the future; it will be a seership, an awakening — 
without this, with only earthly, "individual" consciousness, man 


is blind, and cannot hope to know anything that he cannot feel 
with his stick. 

Dr. Bucke, in his book "Cosmic Consciousness," gives the 
psychological view of this awakening of the new consciousness. 

I shall give, in abbreviated form, several quotations from his 

What is Cosmic Consciousness? 

Cosmic Consciousness is a higher form of consciousness than that 
possessed by the ordinary man. This last is called Self Consciousness 
and is that faculty upon which rests all of our life (both subjective and 
objective) which is not common to us and the higher animals, except 
that small part of it which is derived from the few individuals who have 
had the higher consciousness above named. To make the matter clear 
it must be understood that there are three forms or grades of conscious- 
ness. (1) Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by say the upper 
half of the animal kingdom. (2) Self-Consciousness possessed by man 
in addition to the simple consciousness, which is similar in man and in 
animals. (3) Cosmic Consciousness. By means of simple consciousness 
a dog or a horse is just as conscious of the things about him as a man is; 
he is also conscious of his own limbs and body and knows that these are 
a part of himself. By virtue of self -consciousness man is not only con- 
scious of trees, rocks, water, his own limbs and body, but he becomes 
conscious of himself as a distinct entity apart from all the rest of the 

It is as good as certain that no animal can realize himself in that 
way. Further, by means of self -consciousness, man becomes capable of 
treating his own mental states as objects of consciousness. The animal 
is, as it were, immersed in his consciousness as a fish in the sea; he can- 
not, even in imagination, get outside of it for one moment so as to realize 
it. But man by virtue of self-consciousness can step aside, as it were, 
from himself and think: " Yes, that thought that I had about that mat- 
ter is true; I know it is true and I know that I know it is true." There 
is no evidence that any animal can think, but if they could we should 
soon know it. Between two creatures living together, as dogs or horses 
and men, and each self-conscious, it would be the simplest matter in 
the world to open up communication. We do, by watching the dog's 
acts, enter into his mind pretty freely. If he was self-conscious, we must 
have learned it long ago. We have not learned it and it is as good as 
certain that no dog, horse, elephant or ape ever was self-conscious. 
Another thing: on man's self-consciousness is built everything in and 
about us distinctly human. Language is the objective of which self- 
consciousness is the subjective. Self-consciousness and language (two 
in one, for they are two halves of the same thing) are the sine qua non 
of human social life, of manners, of institutions, of industries of all 
kinds, of all arts useful and fine. If any animal possessed self -conscious- 
ness it would build a superstructure of language. . . But no animal 


has done this, therefore, we infer that no animal has subconsciousness^ 
The possession of self-consciousness and language (its other self ) by man 
creates an enormous gap between him and the highest creature possess- 
ing simple consciousness merely. . Q „ p 

Cosmic Consciousness is a third form, which is as far above Self Con- 
sciousness as is that above Simple Consciousness The prime character- 
ise o^ consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of 
the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe. Along with 
the copiousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enhghten- 
ment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new 
plane of existence-would make him almost a member of a new species 
To this is added a state of moral exaltation an mdescribable feeling of 
elevation, elation and joyousness, and a qmckening of the moral sense, 
which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and 
Го the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come 
what may be called, a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eterna 
life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that 

he OnTy a p^rstnll'experience of it, or a prolonged study of men who have 
passed into the new life, will enable us to realize what this actually is. 
The writer expects his work to be useful in two ways: First, in broaden- 
ing the general view of human life by comprehending m our mental 
vision this important phase of it, then by enabling us to realize, in some 
measure, the true status of certain men who, down to the P^en^e 
either exalted to the ranks of gods or are adjudged msane. The writer 
takes the view that our descendants will sooner or later reach, as a race, 
the condition of cosmic consciousness, just as long ago ™. ^^ 
passed from simple to self-consciousness. He believes that this step in 
evolution is even now being made, since it is clear to him both that men 
with the faculty in question are becoming more and more common and 
also that as a race we are approaching nearer and nearer to that stage 
of the self-conscious mind from which the transition to the cosmic con- 
scious is effected. He knows that intelligent contact with cosmic con- 
scious minds assists self-conscious individuals in the ascent to the higher 


The immediate future of our race, the writer thinks, is indescribably 
hopeful. There are at the present moment impending over us three 
revolutions, the least of which would dwarf the ordinary historic up- 
heaval called by that name into absolute insignificance.* lhey are: (1) 
the materia!, economic and social revolution which will depend upon 
and result from the establishment of aerial navigation (2) lhe 
economic and social revolution which will abohsh individual ownership 
and rid the earth at once of two immense evils— riches and poverty. 
And (3) The psychical revolution of which there is here question. 

Either of the first two would (and will) radically change the conditions 
of, and greatly uplift, human life; but the third will do more for human- 

♦See the comment 1, p. 327. 


ity than both of the former, were their importance multiplied by hun- 
dreds or even thousands. 

The three operating (as they will) together will literally create a new 
heaven and a new earth. Old things will be done away and all will be- 
come new. 

Before aerial navigation national boundaries, tariffs and perhaps des- 
stinctions of language will fade out. Great cities will no longer have 
reason for being and will melt away. The men who now dwell in cities 
will inhabit in summer the mountains and the seashores; building often 
in airy and beautiful spots, now almost or quite inaccessible, command- 
ing the most extensive and magnificent views. In the winter they will 
probably dwell in communities of moderate size. As herding together, 
as now, in great cities, so the isolation of the worker of the soil will be- 
come a thing of the past. Space will be practically annihilated, there will 
be no crowding together and no enforced solitude. 

Before socialism crushing toil, cruel anxiety, insulting and demoral- 
izing riches, poverty and its ills will become subjects for historical novels.* 

In contact with the flux of cosmic consciousness all religions known 
and named today will be melted down. The human soul will be revo- 
lutionized. Religion will absolutely dominate the race. It will not de- 
pend on traditions. It will not be believed and disbelieved. It will be 
part of life, not belonging to certain hours, times, occasions. It will not 
be in sacred books, nor in the mouths of priests. It will not dwell in 
churches and meetings and forms and days. Its life will not be in pray- 
ers, hymns nor discourses. It will not depend on special revelations, on 
the words of gods who came down to teach, nor on any bible or bibles. It 
will have no mission to save men from their sins or to secure their en- 
trance to heaven. It will not teach a future immortality nor future 
glories, for immortality and all glory will exist in the here and now. The 
evidence of immortality will live in every heart as sight in every eye. 
Doubt of God and of eternal fife will be as impossible as is now doubt of 
existence; the evidence of each will be the same. Religion will govern 
every minute of every day of all life. Churches, priests, forms, creeds, 
prayers, all agents, all intermediaries between the individual man and 
God will be permanently replaced by direct unmistakable intercourse. 
Sin will no longer exist nor will salvation be desired. Men will not worry 
about death or a future, about the kingdom of heaven, about what may 
come with and after the cessation of the life of the present body. 
Each soul will feel and know itself to be immortal, will feel and know 
that the entire universe with all its good and with all its beauty is for 
it and belongs to it forever. The world peopled by men possessing cosmic 
consciousness will be as far removed from the world of today as this is 
from the world as it was before the advent of self consciousness. 


There is a tradition, probably very old, to the effect that the first man 
was innocent and happy until he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge 

♦See the oomment 2, p. 328. 


of good and evil. That having eaten thereof he became aware that he 
was naked and was ashamed. Further, that there sin was born into the 
world, the miserable sense whereof replaced man's former feeling of inno- 
cency. That then and not till then man began to labor and to cover his 
body. Stranger than all, the story runs, that along with this change or 
immediately following upon it there came into man's mind the re- 
markable conviction which has never since left it, but which has been 
kept alive by its own inherent vitality and by the teaching of all true 
seers, prophets and poets that man will be saved by the rising up within 
him of a Savior — the Christ. 

Man's progenitor was a creature with simple consciousness 
merely. He was (as are today the animals) incapable of sin and equally 
incapable of shame (at least in the human sense). He had no feeling or 
knowledge of good and evil. He as yet knew nothing of what we call 
work and had never labored. From this state he fell (or rose) into self- 
consciousness, his eyes were opened, he knew he was naked, he felt 
shame, acquired the sense of sin (became in fact what is called a sinner) 
and learned to do certain things in order to encompass certain ends — 
that is, he learned to labor. 

For weary eons this condition has lasted — the sense of sin still haunts 
his pathway— by the sweat of his brow he still eats bread— he is still 
ashamed. Where is the deliverer, the Savior? Who or what? 

The Savior of man is Cosmic Consciousness— in Paul's language — the 
Christ. The cosmic sense (in whatever mind it appears) crushes the 
serpent's head — destroys sin, shame, the sense of good and evil, as con- 
trasted one with the other, and will annihilate labor, though not human 


A personal exposition of the writer's own experience of cosmic con- 
sciousness may help the reader to understand the meaning of the follow- 
ing facts: 

In childhood he was subject at times to a sort of ecstasy of curiosity 
and hope. As on one special occasion when about ten years old he earn- 
estly longed to die that the secrets of the beyond, if there was any be- 
yond, might be revealed to him. . . 

At the age of thirty he fell in with "Leaves of Grass," and at once 
saw that it contained, in greater measure than any book so far found, 
what he had so long been looking for. He read the "Leaves" eagerly, 
even passionately, but for several years derived little from them. At 
last light broke and there was revealed to him (as far perhaps as such 
things can be revealed) at least some of the meanings. Then occurred 
that to which the foregoing is the preface. 

It was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year. 
He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, 
Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight 
and he had a long drive in a hansom (it was in an English city). His 
mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions 


called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. 
He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment. All at once, with- 
out warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a 
flame-colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden 
conflagration in the great city; the next he knew the light was within 
himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of 
immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an 
intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain 
streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic splendor which 
has ever since lightened his life; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic 
Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an after taste of heaven. Among 
other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the cosmos 
is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, 
that the universe is so built and ordered that without peradventure all 
things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation 
principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of 
every one in the long run is absolutely certain. He claims he learned 
more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted than in 
previous months or even years of study and that he learned much that 
no study could ever have taught. 

The illumination itself continued not more than a few moments, but 
its effects proved ineffaceable; it was impossible for him ever to forget 
what he at that time saw and knew; neither did he, or could he, ever 
doubt the truth of what was then presented to his mind. There was no 
return that night or at any other time of the experience. 

The supreme occurrence of that night was his real and sole initiation 
to the new and higher order of ideas. But it was only an initiation. He 
saw the light but had no more idea whence it came and what it meant 
than had the first creature that saw the light of the sun. Years after- 
wards he met a man who had had a large experience in the higher life. 
His conversations with this man threw a flood of light upon the mean- 
ing of what he had himself experienced. 

Looking round then upon the world of man, he saw the significance 
of the subjective light in the case of Paul and in that of Mohammed. 
The secret of Whitman's transcendent greatness was revealed to him. 
Personal intercourse and conversations with men,* who had similar 
experiences assisted greatly in the broadening and clearing up of his 

After spending much time and labor in thinking he came to the 
conclusion that there exists a family sprung from, living among, but 
scarcely forming a part of ordinary humanity, whose members are spread 
abroad throughout the advanced races of mankind and throughout the 
last forty centuries of the world's history. 

The trait that distinguishes these people from other men is this: 
Their spiritual eyes have been opened and they have seen. The better 
known members of this group who, if they were collected together, could 
be accommodated all at one time in a modern drawing-room, have 
created all the great modern religions, beginning with Taoism and 

♦Among whom was Edward Carpenter. 


Buddhism, and speaking generally, have created, through religion and 
literature, modern civilization. Not that they have contributed any 
large numerical proportion of the books which have been written, but that 
they have produced the few books which have inspired the larger number 
of all that have been written in modern times. These men dominate the 
last twenty-five, especially the last five centuries as stars of the first 
magnitude dominate the midnight sky. 

It remains to say a few words upon the psychological origin of what 
is called in this book Cosmic Consciousness. 

Although in the birth of Cosmic Consciousness the moral nature plays 
an important part, it will be better for many reasons to confine our at- 
tention at present to the evolution of the intellect. In this evolution 
there are four distinct steps. The first of them was taken when upon 
the primary quality of excitability sensation was established. At this 
point began the acquisition and more or less perfect registration of sense 
impressions — that is, of percepts. A percept is of course a sense impres- 
sion. If we could go back far enough we should find among our ancestors 
a creature whose whole intellect was made up simply of these percepts. 
But this creature had in it what may be called an eligibility of growth, 
and what happened with it was something like this : Individually and 
from generation to generation it accumulated these percepts, the con- 
stant repetition of which, calling for further and further registration, 
led, in the struggle for existence and under the law of natural selection, 
to an accumulation, of cells in the central sense ganglia; at last a condi- 
tion was reached in which it became possible for our ancestor to combine 
groups of these percepts into what we today call a recept. This process 
is very similar to that of composite photography. Similar percepts (as 
of a tree) are registered one over the other until they are generalized 
into the percept of a tree. 

Now the work of accumulation begins again on a higher plane: the 
sensory organs keep steadily at work manufacturing percepts; the re- 
ceptual centers keep steadily at work manufacturing more and yet more 
recepts from the old and the new percepts; the capacity of the central 
ganglia are constantly taxed to do necessary registration of percepts, 
the necessary elaboration of these into recepts; then as the ganglia by use 
and selection are improved they constantly manufacture from percepts 
and from the initial simple recepts, more and more complex, that is, 
higher and higher recepts. 

At last, after many thousands of generations have lived and died, 
comes a time when the mind has reached the highest possible point of 
purely receptual intelligence; the accumulation of percepts and of re- 
cepts has gone on until no greater stores of impressions can be laid up 
and no further elaboration of these can be accomplished on the plane of 
receptual intelligence. Then another break is made and the higher re- 
cepts are replaced by concepts. The relation of a concept to a recept is 


somewhat similar to the relation of algebra to arithmetic. A recept is a 
composite image of hundreds, perhaps thousands of percepts; it is 
itself an image abstracted from many images; but a concept is that same 
composite image — that same recept — named, ticketed, and, as it were, 
dismissed. A concept is in fact neither more or less than a named 
recept — the name that is, the sign (as in algebra), standing henceforth 
for the thing itself, that is, for the recept. 

Now it is clear as day to any one who will give the least thought to 
the subject, that the revolution by which concepts are substituted for 
recepts increases the efficiency of the brain for thought as much as the 
introduction of machinery increased the capacity of the race for work — 
as much as the use of algebra increases the power of the mind in mathe- 
matical calculations. To replace a great cumbersome recept by a simple 
sign was almost like replacing actual goods — as wheat, fabrics and hard- 
ware — by entries in the ledger. 

But, as hinted above, in order that a recept may be replaced by a con- 
cept it must be named, or, in other words, marked with a sign which 
stands for it — just as a check stands for a piece of goods; in other words, 
the race that is in possession of concepts is also, and necessarily, in 
possession of language. Further, it should be noted, as the possession 
of concepts implies the possession of language, so the possession of con- 
cepts and language (which are in reality two aspects of the same thing) 
implies the possession of self consciousness. All this means that there is 
a moment in the evolution of mind when the receptual intellect, capable 
of simple consciousness only, becomes almost or quite instantaneously a 
conceptual intellect in possession of language and self consciousness. 

Our intellect, then, today is made up of a very complex mixture of 
percepts, recepts and concepts. 

The next chapter in the story is the accumulation of concepts. This 
is a double process, each individual accumulates a larger and larger 
number while the individual concepts are becoming constantly more and 
more complex. 

Is there to be any limit to this growth of concepts in number and com- 
plexity? Whoever will seriously consider that question will see that there 
must be a limit. No such process could go on to infinity. 

We have seen that the expansion of the perceptual mind had a neces- 
sary limit; that its continued life led inevitably up to and into the re- 
ceptual mind. That the receptual mind by its own growth was inevit- 
ably led up to and into the conceptual mind. A priori considerations 
make it certain that a corresponding outlet will be found for the con- 
ceptual mind. 

But we do not need to depend upon abstract reasoning to demonstrate 
the necessary existence of the supra conceptual mind, since it exists and 
can be studied with no more difficulty than other natural phenomena. 
The supra conceptual intellect the elements of which instead of being 
concepts are intuitions, is already (in small numbers it is true) an estab- 
lished fact, and the form of consciousness that belongs to that intellect 
may be called and has been called — Cosmic Consciousness. 


The basic fact in cosmic consciousness is implied in its name — that 
fact is consciousness of the cosmos — this is what is called in the East the 
"Brahmic Splendor," which is in Dante's phrase capable of transhuman- 
izing a man into a god. Whitman, who has an immense deal to say about 
it, speaks of it in one place as "ineffable light— light rare, untenable, 
lighting the very light— beyond all signs, description, languages." This 
consciousness shows the cosmos to consist not of dead matter governed 
by unconscious, rigid, and unintending law; it shows it on the contrary 
as entirely immaterial, entirely spiritual and entirely alive; it shows that 
death is an absurdity, that everyone and everything has eternal life; it 
shows that the universe is God and that God is the universe ... A 
great deal of this is, of course, from the point of view of self -conscious- 
ness, absurd; it is nevertheless undoubtedly true. Now all this does not 
mean that when a man has cosmic consciousness he knows everything 
about the universe. We all know that when at three years of age we 
acquired self -consciousness, we did not at once know all about our- 
selves. . . So neither does a man know all about the cosmos merely 
because he becomes conscious of it. . . 

If it has taken the race several thousand years to learn a smattering 
of the science of humanity since its acquisition of self consciousness, so 
it may take it millions of years to acquire cosmic consciousness. 

As on self -consciousness is based the human world as we see it with all 
its works and ways, so on cosmic consciousness is based the higher re- 
ligions and the higher philosophies and what comes from them, and on 
it will be based, when it becomes more general, a new world of which it 
would be idle to try to speak today. m 

The philosophy of the birth of cosmic consciousness in the individual 
is very similar to that of the birth of self -consciousness. The mind 
becomes overcrowded (as it were) with concepts and these are con- 
stantly becoming larger, more numerous and more and more complex; 
some day (the conditions being all favorable) the fusion, or what might 
be called the chemical union, of several of them and of certain moral ele- 
ments takes place; the result is an intuition and the establishment of the 
intuitional mind, or, in other words, cosmic consciousness.* 

The scheme by which the mind is built up is uniform from beginning 
to end: a recept is made of many percepts; a concept of many or several 
recepts and percepts, and an intuition is made of many concepts, recepts 
and percepts together with other elements belonging to and drawn from 
the moral nature. The cosmic vision or the cosmic intuition, from which 
what may be called the new mind takes its name, is thus seen to be 
simply the complex and union of all prior thought and experience — just 
as self -consciousness is the complex and union of all thought and experi- 
ence prior to it. 

Cosmic consciousness, like other forms of consciousness, is capable of 
growth, it may have different forms, different degrees. 

It must not be supposed that because a man has cosmic consciousness 
he is therefore omniscient or infallible. Men of cosmic consciousness 

♦See the comment 3, p. 329. 


have reached a higher level; but on that level there can be different de- 
grees of consciousness. And it must still be more evident that, however 
godlike the faculty may be, those who first acquire it, living in diverse 
ages and countries passing their life in different surroundings, brought 
up to view life and the interests of life from totally different points of 
view, must necessarily interpret somewhat differently those things 
which they see in the newjworld which they enter. 

Language corresponds to the intellect and is therefore capable of ex- 
pressing it perfectly and directly; on the other hand, the functions of the 
moral nature are not connected with language and are only capable of 
indirect and imperfect expression by its agency. Perhaps music, which 
certainly has its roots in the moral nature, is, as at present existing, 
the beginning of a language which will tally and express emotions as 
words tally and express ideas. . . 

Language is the exact tally of the intellect; for every concept there is 
a word or words and for every word there is a concept. . . No word 
can come into being except as the expression of a concept, neither can a 
new concept be formed without the formation (at the same time) of the 
new word which is its expression. But as a matter of fact ninety-nine 
out of every hundred of our sense impressions and emotions have never 
been represented in the intellect by concepts and therefore remain un- 
expressed and inexpressible except by roundabout description and sug- 

As the correspondence of words and concepts is not casual or tem- 
porary but resides in the nature of these and continues during all time 
and under all circumstances absolutely constant, so changes in one of 
the factors must correspond with changes in the other. So evolution of 
intellect must be accompanied by evolution of language. An evolution 
of language will be evidence of evolution of intellect. 

It seems that in every, or nearly every man who enters into cosmic 
consciousness apprehension is at first more or less excited, the person 
doubting whether the new sense may not be a symptom or form of insan- 
ity. Mohammed was greatly alarmed. The Apostle Paul was alarmed 
in the same manner. 

The first thing each person asks himself upon experiencing the new 
sense is: Does what I see and feel represent reality or am I suffering 
from a delusion? The fact that the new experience seems even more real 
than the old teachings of consciousness does not at first fully reassure 
him, because he knows the force of delusions. 

Simultaneously or instantly following the above sense and emotional 
experiences there comes to the person an intellectual illumination quite 
impossible to describe. Like a flash there is presented to his conscious- 
ness a clear conception (a vision) in outline of the meaning and drift of 


the universe. He does not come to believe merely; but he sees and 
knows that the cosmos, which to the self-conscious mind seems made up 
of dead matter, is in fact far otherwise — is in very truth a living presence. 
He sees that instead of men being, as it were, patches of life scattered 
through an infinite sea of non-living substance, they are in reality specks 
of relative death in an infinite ocean of life. He sees that the life which 
is in man is eternal, as all life is eternal, that the soul of man is as 
immortal as God is. . 

A man learns infinitely much of the new. Especially does he obtain 
such a conception of THE WHOLE or at least of an immense WHOLE, 
as dwarfs all conception, imagination or speculation, such a conception 
as makes the old attempts to mentally grasp the universe and its mean- 
ing petty and even ridiculous. 

This expansion of the intellect enormously increases the capacity both 
for learning and initiating. 

The history of the development and appearance of cosmic conscious- 
ness in humanity is the same as that of the development of all the various 
psychic faculties. These faculties appear first in certain exceptional 
individuals, then become more frequent, thereafter become susceptible 
of development in all, and at last begin to belong to all men from their 
birth. Rare, exceptional, unique abilities appear in man in mature age, 
sometimes even in senility. Becoming more common they manifest as 
"talents" in younger men. And then they appear as "abilities" even in 
children. At last they become the common property of all from their 
birth, and their absence is regarded as a monstrosity. 

Such is the faculty of speech (i. е., the faculty of making concepts). 
Probably in a distant past, at the beginning of the appearance of self- 
consciousness, this faculty was the gift of a few, exceptional individuals 
and it began then to appear perhaps in senility. After that it began to 
appear more frequently and to manifest itself earlier. Probably there 
was a period when speech was not a gift of all men just as are not now 
artistic talents, the musical sense, the sense of color and form. Grad- 
ually it became possible for all and then inevitable and necessary, if some 
physical defect did not prevent its manifestation. 


1. Though I am quoting this opinion regarding three coming 
revolutions, let me note that I do not at all share Dr. Bucke's 
optimism regarding the material life, which, as follows from what 
he says, can and must change by reason of material causes (the 
conquest of the air and social revolution). In my opinion the 


only possible ground for favorable changes in the outer life (pro- 
vided such changes are generally possible) must be changes in the 
inner life — i. е., those changes which Dr. Bucke calls the phychical 
revolution. This is the only thing that can create a better future 
for men. All cultural conquests in the realm of the material are 
double-edged, may equally serve for good or for evil. A change of 
consciousness can alone be a guarantee of the surcease of willful 
misuses of the powers given by culture, and only thus will culture 
cease to be a "growth of barbarity." Democratic organization 
and the rule of the majority (because of the present low level of 
human development) guarantee nothing: on the contrary, even 
now, where they are realized, they create without delay, and 
promise in future to create on a larger scale, violence toward the 
minority, the limitation of the individual, and the curtailment of 

2. Dr. Bucke says that once human consciousness is attained, 
then further evolution is inevitable. In this affirmation Dr. 
Bucke makes a mistake common to all men who dogmatize about 
evolution. Having painted a very true picture of the consecutive 
gradations of the forms of consciousness observed by us — of 
animal-vegetable, of animal, and of man — Dr. Bucke considers 
this gradation exclusively in the light of the evolution of one 
form from another, not at all admitting the possibility of other 
points of view: for example, the fact that each of the existing forms 
is a link of separate evolutionary chains, i. е., that the evolutions of 
animal-vegetables, of animals and of men are different, go by 
different routes, and do not impinge upon one another. And this 
standpoint is entirely justifiable when we take into consideration 
the fact that we never know transitional forms. Moreover Dr. 
Bucke makes an entirely arbitrary conclusion concerning the 
inevitability of the further evolution of man, because unconscious 
evolution (i. е., unconscious for the individual directed by the 
consciousness of the species) in the vegetable and animal kingdom 
must change greatly with the appearance of self-consciousness in 
man. It is necessary to recognize that the self-conscious mind 
of man depends upon itself to a considerably greater degree than 
the mind which is not self-conscious, i. е., the mind of an animal, 
and depends considerably less upon the laws of evolution (even 
if we shall accept them). The self-conscious mind has far more 
power over itself; it can assist in its own evolution greatly, and 


can also easily impede it. We are confronted with the general 
question : can unconscious evolution proceed with the appearance 
of self -consciousness? It is far more correct to suppose that the 
appearance of self-consciousness annihilates the possibility of 
unconscious evolution. Power over evolution passes from the 
group-soul (or from nature) to the individual itself. Further evo- 
lution, if it take place, cannot be an elemental and unconscious 
affair, but will result solely from conscious efforts toward growth* 
This is the most interesting point in the whole process, but Dr. 
В иске fails to bring it out. Man, not striving toward evolution, 
not conscious of its possibility, not helping it, will not evolve. 
And the individual who is not evolving does not remain in a static 
condition, but goes down, degenerates .(i. е., some of his elements 
begin their own evolution, inimical to the whole). This is the 
general law. And if we take into consideration what an infinitesi- 
mal percentage of men think and are capable of thinking of their 
evolution (or their emotional striving toward higher things) then 
we shall see that to talk about the inevitability of this evolution is 
at least naive. 

3. Speaking of the formation of intuition, Dr. Виске fails to 
take into consideration one very important circumstance. He 
himself previously remarks that the blending of concepts with 
moral elements proceeds in the mind, and as a result of this intui- 
tion appears, and then cosmic consciousness. Thus it follows from 
his own words that intuition or cosmic consciousness is not simply 
a blending of concepts with moral elements, or ideas with feelings, 
but is the result of this blending. Dr. Buck however does not 
dwell on this with sufficient attention. Moreover he further re- 
gards intuition (i. е., the fundamental element of cosmic con- 
sciousness) as the blending of sensation, perception, and con- 
cepts with elements properly belonging to the moral nature. This 
is a mistake, because intuition is not simply the blending of 
thought and feeling, but the result of this blending, or in other 
words: thought and feeling plus something else, plus something 
else that is absent either in the intellect or in the emotional nature. 

This is expressed objectively in the fact that intuition acts not 
through the brain and the nervous centers, but above them as it 
were. This would be proven could "clairvoyance," described so 
often, be proven. Subjectively it is expressed in the sense of the wond- 
rous, i. е., an unusual elevation and expansion of consciousness, 

♦See p. 298 quotation from Mabel Collins' book. 


and in the process of the real knowing of that which man did not know 
before, in the finding of new paths to knowledge, as in regions en- 
tirely inaccessible before (in the future, for example), and even 
in things which seemed quite well and familiarly known, yet 
which in the light of intuition unfold much which is infinitely new 
and unexpected. 

But Dr. Bucke regards intuition as a product of brain evolution, 
and this vitiates all his deductions greatly. Let us imagine that 
some scientist from another planet, not suspecting the existence 
of man, studies the horse, and its "evolution" from colt to saddle 
horse, and regards as its highest evolution the horse with the 
horseman in the saddle. From our standpoint it is clearly im- 
possible to regard a man sitting in the horse's saddle as a fact of 
horse evolution, but from the point of view of the scientist who 
knows nothing about man, this will be only logical. Dr. Bucke 
finds himself in exactly this position when he regards that which 
transcends the region of humanity altogether as a fact of human 
evolution. Man possessing cosmic consciousness, or approaching 
cosmic consciousness is not merely man, but man with something 
higher added. Dr. Bucke, like Edward Carpenter in many cases 
also, is handicapped by the desire not to go too strongly counter 
to positivistic views (although that is inevitable) ; by the desire to 
reconcile those views with the "new thought," to flatten out con- 
tradictions, to reduce everything to one thing, which is of course 
impossible — as is the reconciliation of correct and incorrect, true 
and false views upon one and the same thing. 

The greater part of Dr. Bucke's book consists of examples and 
quotations from the teachings and writings of men of "cosmic 
consciousness" in the history of the world. He draws parallels 
between these teachings, and establishes the unity of the forms of 
transition into the new state of consciousness in men of different 
centuries and of different peoples, and the unity of their sensations 
of the world and of the self, testifying more than anything else to 
the genuineness and reality of their experiences. 

The founders of world-religions, prophets, philosophers, poets — 
these are men of "cosmic consciousness" according to Dr. Bucke's 
book. He does not pretend to present a full list of them, and it 
is of course possible to add many names to his list. 


But after all, various little imperfections of Dr. Bucke's book 
are not important, nor additions which might possibly be made. 
What is important is the general conclusion to which Dr. Bucke 
comes — the possibility and the immanence of the new con- 

All this announces to us the nearness of the new humanity. 
We are building without taking into consideration the fact that 
a new master must come who may not at all like everything that 
we have built. Our " social sciences," sociology, and so forth have 
in view only man, while as I have several times shown before, 
the concept "man" is a complex one, and includes in itself two 
types going along different paths. The future belongs not to 
man, but to superman, who is already born, and lives among us. ^ 

A higher race is rapidly emerging among humanity, and it is 
emerging by reason of its quite remarkable understanding of the 
world and of life. The sign of the men of this new race is a new 
consciousness, a new conscience. We shall know them be- 
cause they will be conscious of more things, they will see more and 
know more than the ordinary man. They will not be able to 
close their eyes to what they see, and therefore will be able to see 
farther; they will not be able not to think about what they know, 
and therefore will know more; they will not be able to absolve 
themselves, and therefore will be more conscientious. These men 
will always see clearly their responsibility for that which they do, 
and will be unable to put this responsibility upon others. They 
will not be satisfied with a simple discharge of "duty" and will 
feel themselves obliged to know first before they do anything. 
They will not be able to evade the dictates of their conscience by 
any means whatever; their actions will be guided by it alone. They 
will be without cowardice, and will not default from that which 
they regard as due. They will never be irresponsible executors 
of someone else's will, because they will possess a will of their own. 
From themselves they will demand first of all a clear knowledge 
of what they are doing and why. Furthermore they will feel their 
responsibility to the very end toward everyone whom their activity 

It will be truly a higher race — and there will be no possibility 
of any falsification, any substitution, or any usurpation at all. It 
will be impossible for anything to be bought, or appropriated to oneself 
by deceit or by might. Not only will this race be, but it already is. 


The men of the new race begin already to know one another: 
already are established pass-words and countersigns. And per- 
haps those social and political questions so sharply put forward 
in our time may be solved on quite another plane and by quite 
a different method than we think — may be solved by the entrance 
into the arena of a new race conscious of itself which will judge 
the old races. 

In my remarks I called attention to certain imperfections in 
Dr. Bucke's book arising chiefly from a strange indecisiveness of 
his, from his timidity in asserting the dominant significance of the 
new consciousness. This results from the desire of Dr. Bucke 
to establish the future of humanity from a positivistic standpoint 
upon social and political revolutions. But we may regard this 
view as having lost all validity. The bankruptcy of materialism 
when it comes to organizing life on earth is now evident in the 
bloody epoch which we are undergoing, even to those men who 
but yesterday were prating of "culture" and civilization." It 
becomes clearer and clearer that the changes in our outer life, 
when they come, will come as a result of inner changes in man, 
and as a result of the consciousness in him of those faculties and 
aspects of his own being of which he was unconscious, which he 
did not recognize before, and without which he thought it possible 
to get along. 

We may say further with regard to Dr. Bucke's entire book, 
that touching the idea of the natural growth of consciousness, he 
does not notice this: namely, that perhaps the whole thing con- 
sists not in the growth, but in the development, or lack of de- 
velopment, of already existing faculties. These faculties do not 
unfold themselves perforce: conscious work on them is necessary. 
Moreover, even if the idea of growth be admitted, Dr. Bucke 
fails to note those changes which must be brought about in the 
natural process by reason of the appearance of self -consciousness. 
And he does not dwell at all on conscious efforts in this direction, 
on the idea of the culture of cosmic consciousness. Meanwhile 
there exists a whole series of psychological teachings (occultism, 
yoga, etc.) and a large literature having in view a systematic 
culture of the higher consciousness. Dr. Bucke does not remark 
this, and insists upon the idea of natural growth, although he 
himself several times touches upon the culture of consciousness. 


In one portion of his book he speaks very contemptuously regard- 
ing the use of narcotics for the creation of ecstatic states, not 
taking into consideration the fact that narcotics cannot give any- 
thing which man does not possess (this is the explanation of the 
different action of narcotics on different men), but can only in 
certain cases unfold that which is already in the soul of man. 
This entirely alters the point of view upon narcotics, as Prof. 
William James has shown in his book, "The Varieties of Religious 

In general, allured by the evolutionary point of view, and looking 
at the future, Dr. Bucke, like many others, does not pay sufficient 
attention to the present. That cosmic consciousness which men 
may discover or unfold in themselves now is indeed far more im- 
portant than that which may or may not appear in other men 
millenniums hence. 

Regarded from different standpoints the complex forms of the 
manifestation of spirit, and analyzing the views and opinions of 
various authors, we are always confronted with what seem to 
be consecutive phases or consecutive stages of the unfoldment of 
consciousness. And we find such phases or stages to be four in 
number. Further consideration of the living world known to us, 
from the lower animal organisms up to the highly developed body 
of man, reveals the simultaneous existence of all four forms of 
consciousness to which all other aspects of the inner life cor- 
respond: the sense of space and time, the form of activity, etc. 
Still further consideration of man of the higher type reveals the 
presence of all the four forms of consciousness which are in living 
nature, with forms corresponding to them. (See table, p. 334). 

The simultaneous co-existence of all four forms of consciousness 
at once, both in nature and in the higher type of man makes the 
exclusively evolutionary standpoint seem forced and arti- 
ficial. The evolutionary standpoint (though this is not gener- 
ally realized) is often made the means of escape from difficult 
problems, and from hard thinking. Many cases present them- 
selves which may be explained without any reference to "evolu- 
tion," but by linking them up with it they fall more readily within 
the limits of our usual concepts, they require less tension of mind, 
and do not demand the revision and revaluation of established 
values. Evolution — this is a very comfortable idea: therefore 



some people apply the evolutionary theory where there is no 
necessity for it whatever. In many cases this is a compromise of 
thought. Not understanding the existing variety of forms, and 
not possessing a sufficiently powerful intellect to think of all this as 
a unity, men have recourse to the evolutionary idea, and regard 
this great variety of forms as an ascending ladder — not because 
this conforms to facts, but from a desire to systematize at all costs, 
though on entirely artificial foundations. It appears to men 
that having built a system they already know something, whereas 
in reality the absence of a system is often much nearer to real 
knowledge than an artifical system. 

Forms of 

Living World 

Man of Higher 


Cells, groups of cells, 
plants, lower ani- 
mals, and organs 
and parts of body 
of higher animals 
and of man. 

Cells, groups of 
cells, tissues and 
organs of the body 


Animals possessing 
complex organ- 
isms. Absence of 
consciousness of 

Body, instincts, de- 
sires, voices of the 


Man (herd animal). 
Consciousness of 

Simple emotions. 
Logical reason, 


Man of higher type 
(isolated and inde- 
pendent being). 
Beginning of im- 

Higher emotions, 
higher intellect, in- 
tuition, mystical 


"Evolutionists," being incapable of understanding the whole, 
without representing it to themselves as a chain, one link of 
which is connected with another, are like the blind men in the 
Oriental fable, who feel of an elephant in different places, and one 
affirms that the elephant is like pillars, another that it is like a 
thick rope, and so forth. The evolutionists however, add to this 
that the trunk of the elephant must evolve from the feet, the ears 
from the trunk, and so on. But we after all know that this is an 
elephant, i. е., a single being, unknown to men who are blind. 
Such a being is the living world. And with regard to the forms of 
consciousness, it is far more correct to consider them not as con- 
secutive phases or steps of evolution which are separate from one 
another, but as different sides or parts of one whole which we 
do not know. 

In "man" this unity is apparent. All forms of consciousness 
in him are equally necessary ; the life of cells and organs, with their 
consciousnesses; the life of the entire body, taken as a whole; the 
life of the emotions and of the logical reason, and the life of the 

The higher intuitive form of consciousness is necessary first of 
all for life — for the organization of life on earth as we are 
already beginning to conceive it. Long under the domination of 
materialism and positive thinking, forgetting and perverting 
religious ideas, men thought that it was possible to live by the 
merely logical mind alone. But now, little by little, it is becoming 
quite evident to those who have eyes, that merely by the exercise 
of logical reason men will not be able to organize their life on 
earth, and if they do not finally exterminate themselves, as the 
tribes of Polynesia are doing, in any case they will create (and 
have already created) impossible conditions of life in which every- 
thing gained will be lost — i. е., everything that was given them in 
the past by men of cosmic consciousness. 

The living world of nature (including man) is analogous to 
man; and it is more correct and more convenient to regard the 
different forms of consciousness in different divisions and strata 
of living nature as belonging to one organism and performing 
different, but related functions, than as separate, and evolving 
from one another. Then the necessity disappears for all this 
naive theorizing on the subject of evolution. We do not regard 


the organs and members of the body of man as evolved 
one from another in a given individual and we should not be guilty 
of the same error with relation to the organs and members of the 
body of living nature. 

I do not deny the law of evolution, but the application of it to the 
explanation of many phenomena of life is in great need of correction. 

Firstly, if we accept the idea of one common evolution, after all 
it is necessary to remember that the types which develop slower, 
the remnants of evolution, may not continue to follow after, and 
at a slow pace the same evolution, but may begin an evolution of 
their own, developing in many cases exactly those properties on 
account of which they were thrown out from basic evolution. 

Secondly, though we accept the law of evolution, there is no 
necessity to regard all existing forms as having been developed 
one from another (like man from the ape, for example) . In such 
cases it is more correct to regard them all as the highest types in 
their own evolution. The absence of intermediate forms makes 
this view much more probable than that which is usually ac- 
cepted, and which gives such rich material for " theosophical" 
discussions about the obligatory and inevitable perfection of all. 

The views propounded here are indeed more difficult than the 
usual evolutionary point of view, just as the conception of the 
living world as an entire organism is more difficult; but this diffi- 
culty must be surmounted. I have said already that the real world 
must be illogical from the usual point of view, and by no means 
can it be made simple and comprehensible to one and all. The 
theory of evolution is in need of many corrections, additions, and 
much development. If we consider the existing forms on any 
given plane, it will be quite impossible to declare that all these 
forms evolved from the simplest forms on this plane. Some un- 
doubtedly evolved from the lowest ones; others resulted from the 
process of degeneration of the higher ones ; a third class developed 
from the remnants of some evolved form — while a fourth class 
resulted as a consequence of the incursion into the given plane of 
the properties and characteristics of some higher plane. It is cer- 
tainly impossible to regard these complex forms as developed by 
an evolutionary process upon the given plane. 

The below classification will show more clearly this correlation 
of forms of manifestation of consciousness, or of different states of 


First form. A sense of one-dimensional space. Everything 
transpires on a line, as it were. Sensations are not differentiated. 
This is the state of the cell, the group of cells, of plants, and the 
tissues and organs of the body of an animal. The consciousness 
is submerged in sleep, as it were. Confused shadows of sensa- 
tions compel it weakly and unconsciously to react to outer irrita- 
tions. Not being conscious of itself it feebly goes forth toward 
heat, toward light, toward food. 

Second form. A sense of two-dimensional space. This is the 
state of the animal. That which for us is the third dimension, for 
it is motion. It is conscious of only two dimensions simultane- 
ously. It already senses, feels, but does not think. Everything 
that it sees appears to it as real. For it the world is full of non- 
existing, illusory motion. 

Third form. A sense of three-dimensional space. Man a herd 
being. Self-consciousness and logical thinking. Division into 
I and Not-I. Dogmatic religions or dualistic spiritism and neo- 
theosophy. Codified morality. Division into spirit and matter, 
or materialistic monism. Positivistic science. The idea of evolu- 
tion. A mechanical universe. The understanding of cosmical 
ideas as metaphors. "Historical materialism," imperialism, and 
so forth. Subjection of the personality to society and law. Com- 
plex and conscious actions caused by instincts, outer impressions, 
or images of perception and remembrance. Conscious auto- 
matism. Death as the extinction of the personality. 

Fourth form. A sense of four-dimensional space. A new sense 
of time. Intuition. Cosmic consciousness. Mystical sensation of 
a living universe. Reality of the wondrous. Sensation of infinity. 
Manifestation of the "soul." Individual man as an independent 
unit. Morality as a sensation of a higher world. Man as a 
center of forces, and a center of forthgoing actions. Possibility 
of personal immortality. 

Thus the third form includes that "man" whom positivistic 
science studies; but the fourth form is characteristic of the man 
who has already passed out of the field of observation of posi- 

The table at the end of the book is a summing up of the con- 
tents of the entire book and shows more in detail the correlation 
of the observed forms of consciousness in the living world and in 



The most interesting and important question arising with 
regard to cosmic consciousness may be summed up as follows: 
Is the manifestation of cosmic consciousness a problem of the distant 
future, and of other generations — i. е., must cosmic consciousness 
appear as the result of an evolutionary process, after centuries and 
millenniums — or can it make its appearance now in contemporary 
man, as the result of a certain education and self-development 
which will aid the unfolding in him of dominant forces and capa- 
bilities, i. е., as the result of a certain culture? 

It seems to me that with regard to this, the following ideas are 
tenable : 

On earth there are living two different species of men. The 
possibility of the appearance or development of cosmic conscious- 
ness is the distinguishing mark of one of these species — numer- 
ically small. In the other, infinitely more numerous, cosmic con- 
sciousness does not appear, and can never appear. 

But even in the case of those men in whom cosmic conscious- 
ness may appear, certain quite definite inner and outer condi- 
tions are requisite for its manifestation — a certain culture, the 
education of those elements congenial to cosmic consciousness, 
and the elimination of those hostile to it. 

In other words, cosmic consciousness cannot be created in that 
man in whom it does not exist in embryo. But even in him this 
embryo may be developed or it may not be developed; it may be 
choked and destroyed. 

The distinguishing marks of those men in whom cosmic con- 
sciousness is likely to manifest, are not studied at all, though the 
idea of two races (in somewhat different form) has been in exist- 
ence a long time. This idea is expressed in Christianity* with 
greater clearness than anywhere else. 

The first of these signs is the constant or frequent sensation that 
the world is not at all as it appears; that what is most important 
in it is not at all what is considered most important. The quest 
of the wondrous, sensed as the only real and true, results from 
this impression of the unreality of the world and everything re- 
lated thereto. 

Another characteristic sign of men of cosmic consciousness is the 
absence in them of any inner division, and their inability to think 

*The Idea of Heaven and Hell — ("The Wiadom of the Gods"), by P. D. Ouspensky. 


one way and live another. Their outer and inner life are always 
connected, and the outer depends upon the inner. 

High mental culture, high intellectual attainments are not 
necessary conditions at all. The example of many saints, who 
were not intellectual, but who undoubtedly attained cosmic con- 
sciousness, shows that cosmic consciousness may develop in purely 
emotional soil, i. е., in the given case as a result of religious emo- 
tion. Cosmic consciousness is also possible of attainment through 
the emotion attendant upon creation — in painters, musicians and 
poets. Art in its highest manifestations is a path to cosmic con- 
sciousness. Very interesting also is the role of erotics in the ap- 
pearance and development of cosmic consciousness. 

But equally in all cases the unfoldment of cosmic consciousness 
demands a certain culture, a correspondent life. From all the 
examples cited by Dr. Bucke, and all others that one might add, 
it would not be possible to select a single case in which cosmic 
consciousness unfolded in conditions of inner life adverse to it, 
i. е., in moments of absorption by the outer life, with its struggles, 
its emotions and interests. 

For the manifestation of cosmic consciousness it is necessary 
that the center of gravity of everything shall lie for man in the 
inner world and not in the outer. And because conditions of life 
may exist which definitely interfere with the transfer of the 
center of gravity of man's interests to the inner world, con- 
sequently such conditions as shall not interfere with it are 

If we assume that Dr. Bucke himself had been surrounded by 
entirely different conditions than those in which he found himself 
at the moment of experiencing cosmic consciousness, then in all 
probability his illumination would not have come at all. 

He spent the evening reading poetry in the company of men of 
high intellectual and emotional development, and was returning 
home full of the thoughts and emotions of the evening. 

But if instead of this he had spent the evening playing cards in 
the society of men whose interests were common and whose con- 
versation was vulgar, or at a political meeting, or had he worked a 
night shift in a factory at a turning lathe or written a newspaper 
editorial in which he himself did not believe and nobody else 
would believe — then we may declare with certainty that no cosmic 
consciousness would have appeared in him at all. For it undoubt- 


edly demands a certain attunement, great freedom, and concentra- 
tion on the inner world. 

This conclusion in regard to the necessity for special culture and 
definitely favorable inner and outer conditions does not necessar- 
ily mean that cosmic consciousness is likely to manifest in every 
man who is put in these conditions. There are men, probably an 
enormous majority of contemporary humanity, in whom exists 
no such possibility at all. And in those who do not possess it in 
some sort already, it cannot be created by any culture whatever, 
in the same way that no kind or amount of culture will make an 
animal speak the language of man. The possibility of the mani- 
festation of cosmic consciousness cannot be inoculated artificially. 
A man is either born with it or without it. This possibility can be 
throttled or developed, but it cannot be created. And when it 
appears it indicates that a given man belongs to a special race, 
living in the midst of a humanity to which en masse this property 
is denied. 

Unaware that they possess this "gift of the gods," or not know- 
ing how to utilize it, men of this higher type often lose it, sinking 
into the material world with its interests and worries, and begin- 
ning to believe in the reality of this world, in the reality of illusion 
or Maya. 

Not all can learn to discern the real from the false; but he who 
can will not receive this gift of discernment free. This is a thing 
of labor, a thing of great work, which demands boldness of thought 
and boldness of feeling. 

In the book "The Wisdom of the Gods" I hope to describe the 
paths by which men have gone and are going to this goal. 


In conclusion I wish to speak of those wonderful words, full of 
profound mystery from the Apocalypse and the apostle Paul's 
Epistle to the Ephesians, which are placed as the epigraph of 
this book. 

The Apocalyptic angel swears that there shall be time no 


We know not what the author of the Apocalypse wanted to 
convey, but we do know those states of spirit when time dis- 
appears. We know that in this very thing, in the change of the 
time sense, the beginning of the fourth form of consciousness is 
expressed, the beginning of the transition to cosmic conscious- 

In this and in phrases similar to it, the profound philosophical 
content of the evangelical teaching sometimes flashes forth. And 
the understanding of the fact that the mystery of time is the 
first mystery to be revealed is the first step toward the develop- 
ment of cosmic consciousness along the intellectual path. 

But what did the Apocalyptic sentence mean? Did it mean 
precisely what we are now able to construe in it — or was it simply 
a bit of verbal art, a rhetorical figure of speech, the accidental 
harping of a string which has continued to sound up to our own 
time, through centuries and millenniums, with such a wonderfully 
powerful, true and beautiful tone of thought? We know not now, 
nor shall we ever: but the words are full of splendor, and we may 
accept them as a symbol of remote and inaccessible truth. 

The apostle Paul's words are even more strange, even more 
startling by reason of their mathematical exactness. (A friend 
showed me these words in A. Dubroluboff's "From the Book In- 
visible," who saw in them a direct reference to "the fourth 
measure of space." 

Truly, what does this mean? 

. . . That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to 
comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth 
and height. 



First of all, what does the comprehension of breadth and length 
and depth and height mean? What is it but the comprehension of 
space? And we now know that the comprehension of the mys- 
teries of space is the beginning of the higher comprehension. 

The apostle says that "being rooted and grounded in love, with 
all the saints" they may comprehend what space is. 

Here arises the question: why must love give comprehension? 
That love leads to sanctity — this is easily understood. Love in 
the sense that the apostle Paul understands it (Chapter XIII. of 
the First Epistle to the Corinthians) is the highest of all emotions, 
the synthesis, the blending of all highest emotions. Incontestably, 
this leads to sanctity. Sanctity: this is the state of the spirit 
liberated from the duality of man, from his eternal disharmony of 
soul and body. In the language of the apostle Paul sanctity meant 
even a little less than in our contemporary language. He called 
all members of his church saints; sancity meant to him righteous- 
ness, morality, religiosity. We say that all this is merely the path 
to sanctity. Sanctity is something more — something attained. 
But it is after all immaterial how we shall understand his words — 
in his meaning or in ours — sanctity is a superhuman quality. In 
the region of morality it corresponds to genius in the region of 
mind. Love is the path to sainthood. 

But with sanctity the apostle Paul unites knowledge. 
Saints comprehend what is the breadth and length and depth and 
height; and he says that all — through love — may comprehend this 
with them. But may comprehend what, exactly? Comprehend 
space. Because " breadth and length and depth and height" trans- 
lated into our language of shorter definitions actually means space. 

This last is the most strange. 

How could the apostle Paul know and think that sanctity gives 
a new understanding of space? We know that it must give it, but 
from what could he know that? 

None of his contemporaries ever united sanctity with the idea 
of the comprehension of space; and in general there was no dis- 
cussion at all about "space" at that time, at least among the 
Greeks and Romans. Only now, after Kant, and after we have had 
access to the treasures of thought of the Orient, do we understand 
that the transition into a new phase of consciousness is impossible 
without the expansion of the space sense. 

But we wonder if this is what the apostle Paul wanted to say — 


that strange man : Roman official, persecutor of the first Christian- 
t who became its preacher, philosopher, j^*™ ^o 
"saw God," the bold reformer and moralist of his time, who 
foujht for "the spirit" against "the letter" and was of course not 
respons Ь e for the fact that he himself was understood by others 
not L" the spirit," but in "the letter." Is it tbs that he wanted 
to sav ? We do not know. , , 

But let us look at these words of the Apocalypse jn& the 
EpUs from the standpoint of our usual '>» : thidong 
which sometimes condescendingly agrees to admit the meta 
phorical meaning" of mysticism. What shall we see? 

We shall see nothing! .... • .,.„„♦ „;n 

The flash of mystery, which appeared just for an instant w. 1 
immediately disappear. The words will be without any content 
uoXng In them will attract onr wearied attention, which will 
merely glide over them as it glides over everything. We will in- 
differently turn the page and indifferently close the book. 
An interesting metaphor, yes: But nothing else! 
And we fail to observe that we rob ourselves, deprive life of 
all beauly, all mystery, all contents; and wonder afterwards why 
everythmg is so uninteresting and detestable to us why we do 
uot desireto live, and why we do not understand «Д»^ 
us- we wonder why brute force wins, or deceit and falsification, 
though to these things we have nothing to oppose. 

The method is no good. . . 

In its time "positivism" appeared as something refreshing 
sober, healthy and progressive, which explored new avenues of 

th After'the sentimental speculations of naive dualism "positiv- 
ism" was indeed a great step forward. Positivism became a sym- 
bol of the progress of thought. , . 

But we see now that it inevitably leads to matenahsm. And in 
this form it arrests thought, which a long time ago it bound within 
the narrow limits of matter and motion. Г™™™^™*'?^ 
secuted, anarchistic free-thinking, positivism became the bass ol 
official science. It is decked-out in full dress. It is given medab. 
There are academies and universities dedicated to its service. It 
is recognized. It teaches. It tyrannizes over thought. 

But having attained to well-being and prosperity, P°ftivism 
immediately opposed obstacles to the forward march of thought. 


Everything transcending the scheme of energetics is declared to be 
superstition. Everything transcending the limits of ordinary con- 
sciousness is declared to be pathological. A Chinese wall of "posi- 
tivistic" sciences and methods is built up around free investiga- 
tion. Everything rising above this wall is condemned as un- 

And seen in this way positivism, which before was a symbol of 
progress, now appears as conservative, reactionary. 

The existing order is already established in the world of thought, 
and to fight against it is declared to be a crime. 

With astonishing rapidity those principles which only yester- 
day expressed the highest radicalism in the region of thought have 
become the basis of opportunism in the region of ideas and serve 
as blind alleys, stopping the progress of thought. In our eyes this 
occurred with the idea of evolution, on which it is now possible to 
build up anything, and with the help of which it is possible to 
tear down anything. 

The idea of evolution brings together "positivism" and "the- 

Theosophy is passing along the same path that many move- 
ments of thought have passed before. Beginning with a bold, 
revolutionary search for the wondrous, theosophy soon started to 
fall away from that and to stop at some "found" truths which are 
gradually converted into indisputable dogmas. 

But thought, which is free, cannot be bound by any limits. 
No one method, no one system, can ever satisfy it at all. It must 
take from all that which is precious in them. It must regard 
nothing as solved, and nothing as impossible. 

The true motion which lies at the foundation of everything, is 
motion of thought. True energy — this is the energy of consciousness. 
And truth itself is motion, and can never lead to arrestment, to 
the cessation of search. 

All that arrests the motion of thought — is false. 

Therefore the true and real progress of thought is only in the 
broadest striving toward knowledge, that does not recognize the 
possibility of arrestment in any found forms at all. The meaning 
of life is in eternal search. And only in that search can we find 
something truly new. 


(like the 
H. The 


lorals in 
ad tribal 


by in- 
ilw of the 
"pis a con- 
The un- 
to the 

)od and 
Is. At- 
aner law 
ured un- 
and of 
ility for 
^f actions 

Jpn only. 

-Г risibility 
my duty 
im not 
m to the 
the fam- 
tribe, of 

w inside 
: evasion 
f respon- 
:sults of 
will of 
4 without 
-py. The 
law and 
эп from 
шр -con- 
ation of 
;nt unit. 


The Sence op Space 
and Time 




Forms of Actions 


Forms of Consciousness 

Forms or Knowledge 

*—- — 

Different Beings 

The sense of one-dimen- 

Appearance of the first 

The absence of thinking 

The absence of numera- 

Reflex, unconscious, re- 

Unconscious actions (like tin- 

Potential consciousness. 

Unconscious receptivity 

An accumulation of 

The low "1С 

sional space. The world on 

sensation. Sensation a unit. 

or a confused thinking of the 

sponsive action to external 

actions of a man asleep). The 

Consciousness in a latent 

of the environment, and un- 

"traces" from the produced 

of the tissues and organs of 
the body. The one-dimen- 


the line. The line аз фасе. 

Its division into two. The 

2nd form. 

tion of the 2nd form. 

absence of morals. 

state — asleep. Conscious- 

i onsuous reaction to it. 

reflexes. The appearance of 


everything else as time. 

gradual evolution of sensa- 

ness as in sleep without 

instinct and the accumula- 

sional being. Vegetative or 
scmi-vtgetatite life. 

Everything except one im- 

tions and the accumulation 


tion of simple instincts. 

mobile line is in motion. 

of remembrances concern- 

The sense ot two-dimen- 

Perception. The expres- 

This is this. 

The comparison of sepa- 

Instinct. " Emotional" 

The beginnings of morals in 

Simple consciousness. 

The beginnings of atten- 

Personal knowledge. Im- 

The higher animal. The 
body of man. The two- 

sional space. The world on 

That is that. 

rate visible objects or sepa- 

and expedient action with- 

the maternal, family, and tribal 

"It pains me" but the im- 

tion. Observation. The 

potence to communicate ex- 

the plane. The plane as 

sounds, motions. The ab- 

This is not that. 

rate perceptions. 

out consciousness of results. 


possibility of saying, "I am 

beginnings of activity in 

perience. The beginnings of 

dimensional being. The ab- 
sence of duality, divisibility 
and disharmony. Animal 

space, everything else as 

sence of words and speech. 

The bfginnings of logic. 

The direct sensation of 

Seeming consciousness. 

An inner law directed by in- 

conscious of what it is that 

knowledge. The accumula- 

the communication of ex- 


time. Angles and curves as 

Were there speech it would 

The logic of the unique- 

quantity. Computation 

stincts. Morals as a law of the 

pains me." The reflected 

tion of instincts. The recog- 

perience in the training of 


motions. A world of mov- 

consist of substantives only. 

ness of each separate thing. 

within the limits of this sen- 

life of the species and as a con- 

state of consciousness. Vis- 

nition of everything sensed 

the young. 


ing planes. 

dition of evolution. The un- 

ion as in dreams. The con- 

as real The failure to dis- 

conscious submission to the 

fusion of the I and the Not- 

criminate between that 

"group soul" of the species. 

I. The passive state of 

which is illusory and that 
which is real. 

The sense of three-dimen- 


A is A. 

Every magnitude is equal 

The consciousness of ac- 

The division into good and 

Self-consciousness. The 

Experience. Experimen- 

Positive science. Posi- 

Man. A three-dimen- 

sional space. The world in 


А Ь not-A. 

to itself. The part is less 

tions performed for a defi- 

evil. Dualistic morals. At- 

ability to think of one's 

tal knowledge. Activity of 

tive philosophy. Material- 

sional being outwardly and 


Everything is either A or 

than the whole, etc. 

nite purpose. The possi- 

tempts to replace the inner law 

states of consciousness. 

the objective knowledge 

ism, Spiritualist ie philoso- 

dual inn-ardhj. Inner war- 

sphere as space. Everything 


Finite and constant num- 

bility of a consciousness of 

by tin-outer one. Obscured un- 

Waking, or clear conscious- 

under the conditions of the 

phy. Dogmatic theosophy. 

fare. The impossibility of 

else as time. Phenomena as 


Dualistic logic. 

bers. The geometry of 

results. Thecauseof actions 

derstanding of morals and of 

ness. The division of I and 

given subjective one. The 

Spiritism and pseudo-oc- 

attaining inner harmony. 

motions. Life a feeling 


A logic of antitheses. 


intheouterworld in impres- 

(lie /'iir/iose of morals. Con- 

Not-I. Active conscious- 

development of objective 

cultism. Sectarianism. 

The "soul" as the battle- 

one's way. Non-existence 

Written language. 

sions received from the outer 

sciousness of responsibility f...r 

ness. Consciousness able to 

knowledge up to the limits 

Dualism. Matter and 

field of the "spirit" and the 


of the "past" and of the 


world. The impossibility 

the immediate results of actions 

think about itself and about 

possible to it. The study of 

spirit. The sense of a dead 

"flesh." The kingdom of 

"future". A becoming uni- 

of independent actions with- 

only, and in one relation only 

its development. 

phenomena. The recogni- 

and mechanical universe. 

the personal. Conscious 


out impulses coming from 

The imposition of responsibility 

The moment when further 

tion of the reality of the 

Emotional art. Separation 

automatism. The absence 

the outside. 

upon others, or upon "institu- 
tions." "I am fulfilling my duty 
or the law aud I am not 
guilty." The submission to the 
group consciousness of the fam- 
ily, of the clan, of the tribe, of 
the nation, of humanity. 

evolution can be conscious 

phenomenal, objective end 
finite only — or contrariwise 
— the affirmation of con- 
structed sciences founded 
upon authorities. 

of different forms of science. 

of persona] immortality. 

The sense of four-dimen- 


A is both A and not-A. 

A magnitude can be not 

The certain consciousness 

The return to the law insid<- 

The appearance of cosmic 

The beginning of the de- 

Idealistic philosophy. 

The beginnings of the 

sional space. The sensation 

Direct communion of con- 

Tat tuam asi. Thou art 

equal to itself. The part 

of the results of action, and 

consciousness. Beginning 

velopment of subjective 

Mathematics of the infinite. 

transition to a new type and 

of the past and the future as 


can be equal to the whole, 

one's participation in them. 

The impossibility of the evasion 

of the sensation of con- 

knowledge. Intuition. Mys- 

Tertium Organum. Intui- 

a new sensation of space. 

the present. 

Direct knowledge. 

"Tertium Organum." 

The inevitable conscious- 

of morals. The sense of respon- 

sciousness in all and the con- 

tic knowledge. A new sen- 

tive art. Mystical religion. 

" Men of cosmical con- 

Spatial sensation of time. 


Logic of the unity of all. 

Transfinite numbers. 

sibility for all the results of 

sciousness of All. The ap- 

sation of time. Beginning of 

(lod and the cosmos — one. 

sciousness." Victory of the 

Existence of the past and 

Infinite and variable mag- 

of one's actions. The start- 

one's actions. The inipuM-ilnl- 

proach to absolute con- 

the knowledge of causes. 

Monism. One spirit. The 

spirit. Spiritual life. Tri- 

future together with the 

ing of actions with the un- 

ity of executing the will of 

sciousness. Samadhi. Ex- 

Beginning of the knowledge 

sensation of a living and 

umph of the super-personal 

present. A universe in 

M e tageom e t ry . 

derstanding of their co5- 

another, without the conscious- 

tasy. Turiya. Holiness. 

of the Not-I as the I. The 

principle. The attainment 


which the past and the fu- 

mical meaning and pur- 

ness of its purpose and u it hunt. 

Union with the One. Ab- 

sensation of infinity. The 

teric masonry. Mystical 

of inner unitvand harmony. 


ture exist simultaneously. 

poses. Intuitive actions. 

a sense of responsibility. The 

sorption of all Not-I in the 

sensation of the unreality 

theosophy. The union of 

The soul as the center of in- 

The commencement of in- 

impossibility of the imposition 

I. "The ocean flows into 

of the phenomenal, visible 

all sciences into one in the 

dependent actions. The be- 

dependent actions proceed- 

upon another of responsibility 

the drop." Possibility of 

world. The recognition of 

higher esotericism. Oc- 

ginnings of personal immor- 

ing from oneself. 

for one's actions. Insum'i ioncy 

the manifestation of con- 

the reality of the infinite 




of the fulfillment of the law and 
of duty. Emancipation from 
submission to the group-con- 
sciousness. The realization of 
oneself as an independent unit. 

sciousness independently of 
time and distance. Clair- 

only a knowledge of the 
hidden substance of things 
by their outer signs. Un- 
foldment of the "world of 

the wondrous." 


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