Jun 04 2012

Reading Ouspensky’s New Model of the Universe (part 2)

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“Years go by.

“Books, books, books. I read, I find, I lose, I find again, again I lose. At last a certain whole becomes formed in my mind. I see the unbroken line of thought and knowledge which passes from century to century, from age to age, from country to country, from one race to another; a line deeply hidden beneath layers of religions and philosophies which are, in fact, only distortions and perversions of the ideas belonging to the line. I see an extensive literature full of significance which was quite unknown to me until recently, but which, as now becomes quite clear to me, feeds the philosophy we know, although it is scarcely mentioned in the text-books on the history of philosophy. And I am amazed now that I did not know it before, that there are so few who have even heard about it. Who knows, for instance, that an ordinary pack of playing-cards contains a profound and harmonious philosophical system? This is so entirely forgotten that it seems almost new.

“I decide to write, to tell of all I have found. And at the same time I see that it is perfectly possible to make the ideas of this hidden thought agree with the data of exact knowledge, and I realise that the ‘fourth dimension’ is the bridge that can be thrown across between the old and the new knowledge. And I see and find ideas of the fourth dimension in ancient symbolism, in the Tarot cards, in the images of Indian gods, in the branches of a tree, and in the lins of the human body.

“I collect material, select quotations, prepare summaries, with the idea of showing the peculiar inner connection which I now see between methods of thinking that ordinarily appear separate and independent. But in the midst of this work, when everything is made ready, everything takes shape, I suddenly begin to feel a chill of doubt and weariness creeping over me. Well, one more book will be written, but even now, when I am only beginning to write it, I know how it will end. I know the limit beyond which it is impossible to go. The work stands still. I cannot make myself write about the limitless possibilities of knowledge when for myself I already see the limit. The old methods are no good; some other methods are necessary. People who think that something can be attained by their own efforts are as blind as those who are utterly ignorant of the possibilities of the new knowledge.

“Work on the book is abandoned.

“Months go by, and I become completely absorbed in strange experiments which carry me far beyond the limits of the known and possible.

“Frightening and fascinating sensations. Everything comes alive! There is nothing dead or inanimate. I fel the beating of the pulse of life. I ‘see’ Infinity. Then everything vanishes. But each time I say to myself afterwards that this has been and, therefore, things exist that are different from the ordinary…Thought does not grasp, does not convey, what is at times clearly felt. Thought is too slow, too short. There are no words and no forms to convey what one sees and knows in such moments. And it is impossible to fix these moments, to arrest them, to make them longer, more obedient to the will. There is no possibility of remembering what has ben found and understood, and later repeating it to oneself. It disappears as dreams disappear. Perhaps it is all nothing but a dream.

“Yet at the same time this is not so. I know it is not a dream. In these experiments and experiences there is a taste of reality which cannot be imitated and about which one cannot make a mistake. I know that all this is there. I have become convinced of it. Unity exists. And I know already that it is infinite, orderly, animated and conscious. But how to link ‘what is above’ with ‘what is below’?

“…The question of school and of a method acquires for me a predominant significance…And I decide to start on a long journey with the idea of searching for those schools or for the people who may show me the way to them….I was ready to accept whatever the facts which I hoped to find should show me….But a quite different and almost unexpected aim to my journey began to outline itself from the very first months of my travels.”

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