Fantasy & Imagination
Transcript of a talk by Eugene Halliday
Square brackets [ ] contain editors comments and guesses.
[There are many sounds on the audio tape of marker pens on paper but unfortunately E.H. original drawings and diagrams are not available].
[Audio tape recording starts:-]
We have a question here about religions, references in literature about evil, haunting, possession and other so called psychic phenomena. Imagination must count for ninety percent of such material. What factors, if any, are involved in the remaining ten percent?
There is a peculiar fear of such things which could inhibit the attention to certain exercises in connection with this work. Is this instinctive warning or morbid imagination?
The last part of this is a very good question because it gives us an opportunity to consider the sources of the imagination. Whether the imagination is just rubbish or whether it is something worthy of note.
If we take the materialistic psychologies like the Freudian psychology, where the contents of the imagination, whether conscious or sub-conscious, are considered to be ultimately of material origin. That is to say it is a question of a being receiving a stimulus from outside and the stimulus leaving a trace in the material of that being. And that trace later re-ecphorised, re-stimulated, can reach hallucination level.
Supposing we say this is a man, [E.H. presumably starts drawing a picture] and he has seen with his eyes (a nice pair of eyes to see with) [and] he has heard with his ears certain sounds then there will recorded on his (as far as the [????] is concerned) on his brain an image and a sound. Supposing we say this is the image of a box and this is the sound of the word 'box'. The two would then associate together in the brain so that on presentation of the sound or the visual image of the box the other one will be re-ecphorised in the brain. Now if that was the only source of imagination then the external material stimuli there wouldn't be much to be afraid of because all we would need then, when we had any memory stimulation at all or any mental content whatever, would be to say to ourselves this memory content derives from some external stimulus and therefore it cannot do us any harm unless the object itself is harmful and is present. So we will divide now the man into 'inside' man, the memory man, and 'outside' man, external sense organ man (smells, tastes, touches). Now if we take the whole of the external, the perimeter man, and consider that he has five orders of stimuli coming into him producing modifications of his substance. Which modifications, stored up, are called memory. And then we consider the memory itself as stored up and call that the 'inner' man that would be a materialistic interpretation of man. That is the way a Freudian would look at him, as a material substance capable of reacting to a stimulus.
Because it is able to react it would be called irritable. The irritability of substance is the ground of memory in the materialistic hypothesis. So if the box had contained sneezing powder which floated out and went up the nose, and we use the words 'sneezing powder' here, and stimulated simultaneously the ear with the sounds 'sneezing powder' and the eye with the box and the nose with the powder then there would arise in here the memory of an irritation in the nose, a visual image and the sound 'sneezing powder'.
These would assimilate together and form a complex subset. If we had the words 'sneezing powder' it would re-ecphorise the visual stimulus and the nasal irritation and the whole thing could be explained in materialistic terms. So unless the box of sneezing powder was actually present there would be no necessity to be afraid of it.
We know for a fact that many people are afraid of situations, material situations, that do not actually exist but the memories of them do exist and if we remember that the quality of the original stimulus is identical with the quality of the memory of the
stimulus and they differ only in intensity then we can see that if the irritation of the nose was unpleasant and was associated with the visual image of the box and the sound 'sneezing powder' there would arise a complex situation in which on the presentation of the words 'sneezing powder' or the visual image of the same box, would re-ecphorise the memory of a nasal irritation. And so produce an after motion and a fear reflex which would contract round the zone previously irritated, the tissues, and so tend to reproduce the form of the original stimulus situation.
This kind of thing actually does go on. Because it actually does go on and the Pavlov conditioned reflex theory can be applied to the man as a material being has led a lot of people into a purely materialistic explanation of a human being. But that kind of imagination isn't so very frightening and if that was the only kind of imagination we could train people fairly easily to say the external situation does not correspond with the situation in the memory and therefore we can detach ourselves from it. We can refuse to identify with the situation in the memory knowing that the external correspondent is not there.
But other theories of the psyche exist and the Jungian theory says that not only do we have images from the external material world but this being also has other parts and through the other parts [and] particularly through the genetic parts of the being there arise ancestral memories, ancestral images. And these images also under certain conditions may be ecphorised by the appropriate stimulus. Thus in free association exercises you could, in theory, re-stimulate ancestral experience such that it would appear in the memory of the individual and he would then have an imagination content with no external correspondence for him as an individual but there will be an ancestral external correspondence now no longer extant.
A typical example is the falling dream which quite a lot of people experience, you dream that you are falling from a great height you have never fallen from such a height in your individual life. And yet the dream is very widespread amongst human beings and one of the explanations is that some of your ancestors have fallen out of their dwellings, say out of trees or out of the lake dwellings on fronds of wood, the piles. So if a man fell out and killed himself he would not afterwards impregnate some woman and impart the memory of his experience to a child so that the memory if he were killed would stop with him in that hypothesis but if he fell out and was not killed then the fear of it may change his genetic constitution and pass on the memory of a fall that did not result in death. The fear would then tend to do what it actually does with those people who have it, to make them wake up in a terrible state of anxiety. That is one of the explanations.
Now the Jungian theory is obviously deeper than the Freudian theory about it. But there is another theory deeper still. According to Jung the collective subconscious of the human race is involved into the substance of a living being now. But he thinks as if, and we will take the earth now, as if a being on the earth had developed into the human kind perhaps from an animal kind, this is debatable, and certainly prior to that from the vegetable kind growing out of the mineral kind out of the earth itself. Now if the facts of the Jungian psychology are well grounded, and we have reason to believe they are, because of the recurrence of similar data in cases of large numbers and the cases in consideration not having been in communication with each other and yet producing the same data out of the subconscious suggests that there is a collective subconscious in his sense but he would tend to stop that subconscious at the biological level.
Now in the other theory, man contains inside himself an animal and a plan[t], the vegetative part of his own organism is actually doing the same kind of work in his body that a vegetable does on the earth. So man is man, animal, vegetable and mineral, thus the bones in his body can be considered to be mineral precipitates. Now instead of stopping his inheritance at the biological level of the animal or the man, to take it back into the vegetable which an Indian meta-physician would do and farther back still into the mineral and then to take the mineral......
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…...that will place in a different kind of consciousness. The real meaning of the un-consciousness, remember that we said that the real meaning of the 'un', the Egyptian 'unut' means a hare, the animal that jumps, which symbolises fecundity and intuitive power. The unconscious is that kind of consciousness that is without a circumscribed object. We have to find the origin of the mineral world. The moment [????] we do here is the world or any material part whatever and it is, as we know not theoretically but factually now, it is a rotation of force. It is an energy quantum, and it has appeared within the field by a force which previously did not rotate and here begins to rotate and constitute, in the act of rotating, a being. A material substance which can offer a resistance to a stimulus. Which is how we know what are called tangibles, they are capable of resisting when we exert a pressure. And whatever there is in the finite we know for a fact that the energies involved in it derive from the infinite.
This is a very important point, there is no material particle in the universe which is not a rotating force and there is no rotating force other than that force which has closed, which prior to its closure was unclosed and in its unclosed essence. We cannot say state because the word state won't do because the 't's tell us that it won't do.
And the idea of a state is a static relation which implies opposition of forces and therefore we cannot apply the word state to that which is beyond the finite or circumscribed being. So when we are talking about consciousness with an object this constitutes the object. But when we are talking about the unconscious in its highest significance, this is external to any finite object and the object is internal to the 'un'. And because the force, the 'unu' or translating energy, remember the letter 'n' is originally simply a drawing and the Egyptian hieroglyph of a wave motion which is the way you write 'n' in the Egyptian hieroglyph and you get fed up with doing that so you cut it off and say I'll just write that and that will do for 'n' and 'n' means continuous motion which is why it is used in the terminations of verbs in the progressive form, running, jumping and so on. You will find it in English, French, German and so on. Wherever that 'n' occurs it means continuity of motion and where the motion turns upon itself and makes a rotation it is then not called 'un' but 'on'. That is in the word [?barrier-on and on-heliopolis?] the closure of the motion is the occasion of the utilising of the symbol of the circle 'o'. So 'on' symbolises a serpent with his tail in his mouth continuing to rotate and constituting by that fact a closed system.
The question is, how much is valid......
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…...a type of substance and those ancestors experience can be re-stimulated in an individual today. Which would then account for dreadful forms of fears that attack us in nightmares. But it does not go back into the origin of the universe and it stops at the biological level. If we remember that there is no material in the universe other than a rotation of a force which prior to rotation is translating, we will use the 'n' glyph for translating, and let it go about, this is a translating force creating a maze and it is not going to meet itself and make a circle and therefore it is not called 'on', 'o' 'n', it is called 'un', 'u' 'n', 'u' means to go, it is the energy pushed, the oos poos whenever it [d]oos, oh I have made a little error there, there is a little 'b' there because I have crossed it.
Now all the translating energy, as opposed to the rotating energy, is producing, by its continuous wigglings, suggestions of forms. If you look very carefully here at these wiggles, I'll do a few more and then you might be able to see, and you can do this sort of thing, now that top bit there might be a fantasy of a dyoplosaurus brontosaurus, you see this form here, it is suggesting a sort of trunk-like creature or a long necked creature, a four legged creature with one leg hiding behind the other. Now this kind of suggestion is what we mean by fantasy and simply because the material world is a precipitate by rotation inside an absolute field of force which is translating, the absolute force being infinite and wiggling in infinite numbers of ways contains in itself all possible forms which may be precipitated at any subsequent time. This means then if we take the Jungian hypothesis further than he intended we will come back to some deep Indian metaphysics about it and discover that there is no form that can appear in a closed system, whatever it is, that has not already appeared in an unclosed system. So that all that appears in the finite world is in eternity as a continuous fantastic presentation. This means that the absolute is full of all the forms that have appeared and may appear at any subsequent time in the material world.
Consequently, all that we call objects of consciousness, remember ob, 'o' 'b', an object, an ob, put an equator on it and let it spin a bit, is an object thrown into consciousness and the object then produces something in consciousness which, without that object, without that notation, would not exist.
And the thing we call inertia, mass inertia, or objectivity and mass inertia, the fact that it keeps rotating, is the ground on which a being stands when he wants security.
In other words if we remove all the objective content of consciousness absolutely, there is no security. We are now in a sea absolute of fantasy.
Now we are going to show in a minute this fantasy absolute is still contactable by a finite individual being, and that this is the injection of so called [?spiritistic?] or extra sensory phenomena.
When any rotation whatever is made and this constitutes a being, an object, the internal of the object is not thereby put out of contact with the motions which are beyond the rotation. Because all the motions that come round here and impinge against it stimulate it. And consequently some of the mental content of every conscious finite being is determined by an infinite fantasy impinging on the being.
Whatever the frequency is out here [?prayed be?] to harmonic there must be, because of the diameter of that finite, some harmonic along that diameter capable of responding to the extra objective environment. and that harmonic will cause the appearance inside the finite of a fantastic form which is really extra objective.
Lets have a look at this. Supposing we take this as a diameter of one of these things and say it is a string and when the whole string vibrates we call that the fundamental. If half of it were to vibrate, from there to there, that would be the octave above and the half of a half, the octave above that. And if we go on dividing this thing we will get a series of harmonics and you can see a peculiar thing about it that the lowest note is the longest one and the highest note is the shortest one. So if we take the internal of this and cut it, there is the so called fret of the thirds, cutting it in thirds, and we keep cutting this down in this manner you can see what will happen. We are going to get a frequency here which corresponds with the frequency outside that objective being.
This is the meaning of 'the kingdom of heaven is within' that is the perimeter here of this being. We will draw him in perspective [a] moment and this thing looked at from here for the moment. We are pretending its a circle, although its actually a sphere, in order to analyse the harmonics. As we are going inside, deeper and deeper and deeper we are going higher and higher in frequency, the harmonic is becoming higher. And at a certain level the harmonic internal to that is the same as the frequency outside it. And at that point therefore, a resonance factor is induced such that the inner harmonic responds to and reproduces, resonates with, the external fantasy.
Now I am going to find the fantasy a little more clearly. We have said that objective reality requires circumscription of the force and we have drawn a nice wiggle to represent a fantasy. Now the reason we have drawn a wiggle to represent the fantasy is because the amount we want this force continuously to become other than it is at the moment whereas in the case of a simple rotation the force continuously restates itself. In the case of fantasy it starts to close and then changes its mind. It starts to close this way now but it decided not to so it goes away and starts to close this way. It changes its mind. Every time it threatens to close it refuses to close. And it is this refusal to close itself, to objectify itself, that we mean by fantasy.
Now when the force is translating about it is doing it in three dimensions and sometimes it flows in such a way (we can't adequately represent this) the top line must be considered to be some distance from this line but nevertheless when we look at it from here, straight through, we can see a closure of a being possibility there and we can see the closure of another being possibility here and the closure of another one here. Now as soon as those closures become apparent, and apparent means from the [?pera?] we see the possibility of a rotation. In other words we create an island which is fundamentally simply one of those, distorted. So every [islanded] energy can be represented by a circle and in 3D by a sphere but the moment it is [islanded] and the force begins to confine itself to that island then it becomes an object of consciousness.
Now if the object were stable and did not change its character we would get used to it and once we had got used to it we would categorise it and, placing it in a category, we would lose fear of it.
If we saw a tyrannosaurus running about the garden as we were coming in here we would probably be rather nervous because they don't belong in the twentieth century. But if we heard that somebody had found one in a South American back water and brought it over here we would say “Oh, it is only a tyrannosaurus so throw an atom bomb at it.” We would put it in a category and then deal with it.
Now the thing about fantasy is this, that it defies classification. It threatens to look like something and then doesn't. That it threatens to look like something gives us the feeling that if we could place it, if we could place it in a category, we would gain security. That it continuously changes its form means that it continuously breaks the categories and induces in us a feeling of insecurity.
Now this 'cure' in the insecure, this part is from the same root [kra] which means create, and which, you remember that the Greeks write both ways, this 'ark' means rotation, circumscription. So there is no 'cure' 'se'curity unless there is a closure and the closure must be repeated sufficiently long for us to recognise it and place it in a category.
Now when we have placed all the ordinary physical activities in their various categories we feel secure and then some person comes along and says that a poltergeist has been discovered. That coal is flying about the room without visible agency, that [a] vase is rising off the mantelpiece and crashing on the floor, and so on. These things are not within the usual behaviour systems of material objects and immediately induce fear because we cannot rely on a vase that flies about under its own momentum. We can't guarantee that it won't hit us. So the moment that we introduce into our closed conceptual system of what the world is, any idea that we cannot immediately place in a category, a subdivision of being, then we become afraid. What we are afraid of is the undoing of our closed circle.
Now there is an individual and every individual is a serpent with his tail in his mouth, and when a poltergeist comes and throws the vase and the vase hits the snake, a sharp bang on the back of the neck, the snake for one brief second lets go of the tail to turn round and look at the vase. And at that moment the snake himself, this self stimulating being, this individual, has lost his individuality because his individuality depends upon him keeping his tail in his mouth. So as soon as the stimulus from outside hits him a smart bang such that he temporarily lets hold, lets go, of the hold on his own tail for that brief moment is reduced, there is a gap in him, here. And the moment that happens he really belongs to this fantastic absolute again.
Now that is the ground of fear that an individual discovers in himself when he practices any form of spiritual exercise and in so doing comes across levels of being that, as an individual, he had not previously experienced. At each level of being he must be afraid of losing himself as an individual.
Thus the more materialistic a man is the more he must be afraid of losing himself if we hit him on the physical body. But if a man is not a materialist and actually believes that the soul is a real being and that the soul is continuous and not made of parts and therefore unbreakable, he cannot worry so much about the breaking of his physical body.
Now we are talking about the gaining of reflexive self-consciousness and we will say that the man at the lowest level, that is the belly level, where the material urge comes in; the man who is identified with the belly level only, panics if you steal his dinner, because it is him, his being, his life. If you continue to steal his dinner you will destroy his nervous stability.
As a matter of fact, in the case of a pig, as we mentioned before, if you take the dinner off the pig every time you feed it and offer it to the pig again and when it goes to eat you take it away and when it gets a bit fed up you put it back again and you keep doing this, in a fortnight under test conditions, a pig becomes neurotic and it manifests this neurosis by suddenly attacking all the other pigs and banging them about and trying to kill them. This is because the [essence] with which the pig is identified, namely food, is taken away from it.
But supposing we give the same kind of situational stimulus to a man who has practised fasting and so he knows that if he misses dinner for a fortnight it won't bother him over much. And he also knows, because he is that kind of man, that the man taking his dinner away is trying to initiate a response from him and so he is determined not to give it.
So we can say that, for the being identified with the belly, the removal of the food or the beating of the belly with sticks, would be equivalent of beating the being only on the belly because of the identification.
But for another being of liking and disliking, of emotional attachment to and revulsion from other beings even if you presented the dinner to that being, if you sent it along with an Irish maid that he did not like, he might find that he could not eat his dinner because his centre of identification would be in the feeling department.
And with another being his centre of identification would be in his reason and so if he had a concept at dinner time or seven o'clock in the evening and somebody brought it to him at five o'clock he would tend to reject it because it came at the wrong time and he is identified with himself as a rationalised being, a being of rational feeding times.
So identification with the given level of being determines the response.
Now the stimulus coming from outside to any level is always a potential threat to the serpent with his tail in his mouth. That is to the reflexive beingness at that level. If the blow given to the belly is hard enough it can destroy it. If a blow is given hard enough to the feeling centres it can destroy those. If a blow is given to the materialistic brain of a materialist, he would consider himself non [est?] and stop thinking. But if there is a man who believes that these three are merely being level aspects and are all the product of an infinite force which is coming in and developing through different levels and then going out again, and if he identifies with the transcendent force then he doesn't bother over much if you break down that given material form.
Thus we will say that Christ crucified was not greatly concerned with the fact of the crucifixion considering the job he had committed himself to. To demonstrate to people that they don't have to identify with the gross material body.
Now we can see that, apart from the rotation system here, the rotating force, there is no security because of the 'cure' 'kra' root and practically all the people we meet are security minded and therefore to offer them insecurity, notice the non negative prefix there, the insecurity, which you can only get by being 'out'secure. If you want insecurity, if you affirm insecurity as a value, instead of wanting security and you place yourself outside any finite system whatever then you don't care if it is fantastic outside because fantasy to you is the substance of art.
So before Beethoven wrote a symphony it did not exist in this material world and it did not exist in him as a finite. But feeling in the realms of musical possibilities he saw certain pattern possibilities and out of those he selected a particular one which, out of its own peculiar type of unity, he considered worthy of recording as a symphony.
When we can abandon the idea of security, resting on a finite, and place ourselves in another viewpoint and say we would rather be insecure than secure, because secure means bound, finited. We can do so by saying 'in'secure means we are secure inside so that we don't need the external security. If we have this inner principle inside the finite there is some white paper like there is outside. If we identify with the consciousness which is symbolised by the white paper instead of with the boundary of the object then we are 'in'secure and we like it.
Now the more pleased we can be with insecurity in that sense the greater our artistic possibilities. What we call a plagiarist in any art is a man who is deriving his [????] impulse from the objective world. He is taking some actual extant creations of art and borrowing bits from them. He sees a particular symphony or a particular cantata of something and he likes a bit of it so he steals it and incorporates it in another bit. Now we know that this is the history of most composers, in their youth they are what we call influenced by people. That is to say they heard something they liked but if they are developing musicians they reach a point where they are fed up with reproducing bits of other peoples works and at that point they have to take the plunge into fantasy. That is outside the already objectified temporal situation. They must dare to plunge into the insecure. Now this insecure, this 'un'consciousness is the absolute prolific, it is [?sud?], being, and [?chid?], consciousness and motion. It is [?thereswing?]. It is itself the filler of infinity. It is itself the awareness of infinity. It is itself the motion of infinity. So it is [?suchidanama?] and we assert that the some'what' that we refer to, not the thin'g', not any finite, the some'what' to which we refer when [we] indicate the white paper as symbol, is [?suchidanama?]. It is filling infinity, it is aware that it is filling infinity and it is moving infinitely within infinity.
Consequently that which we symbolise by the white paper, the pure consciousness, the absolute potential or will, and the beingness of it are all simultaneous because they are all merely [?aspectual?] differences of an absolute identity. And they or it, that which has these three aspects, is that which creates the finite system. And there is nothing inside any finite system other than that which, prior to the rotation was translating or moving consciously feeling itself infinitely.
So all figments whatever, all figures, all identities, all finites, all finite phenomena of poltergeists or [?mesolect? plasma] or whatever it is, all those things, from whatever sources, are simply in-breaks into a closed system of the unclosed absolute.
We can see that the fear that arises in us as individuals therefore, so when we practice certain yoga exercises and become aware that as a materialist, as a man who put his eyes in the belly, there is a man who does not know that he has feeling and reason. He is a belly man. Now supposing that that man practices yoga, the yoga he practices must be Hatha yoga. It must be a physical yoga and he must do funny things, he must put a leg on top of his head or something. And in so doing he can produce new sensations. He can produce strange phenomena internal to himself by using his physical body in unaccustomed ways. And when he does use his body in this unaccustomed way he will produce inside himself sensations that he cannot categorise. And at the moment that he cannot place them in a category he must become afraid because his concept of himself as an individual must break when any new sensation arises.
So this is the meaning of Hatha yoga. We do certain physical practices in order to frighten ourselves. We know that if we do certain things, new contents of consciousness will appear. And these new contents will have to [be] accounted for by constructing another hypothesis. And the new hypothesis is the evidence of a new body.
Now supposing that we now find that we are full of likings and dis-likings, or hopes and fears. By pressing into the hopes and fears and examining them, and we have to press harder into the fears than into the hopes, we would then, eventually by doing the [?Batha?] yoga, that is the yoga of the affections, of the emotional life, deliberately putting ourselves in emotional relations with other people. Then there would arise some new emotional experience and again this would threaten the emotional individual, the emotional being. It would threaten to take the tail out of the mouth and at that moment, the fear arising again breeds a new concept. The idea of a logman, a Logos man, a man of reason able to control these things.
When then he categorises himself as a rational being, he proceeds to, if he wants to develop, to do the practices of [?Nama?] yoga, which is the yoga of the intellect. And in so doing he reaches a point where a force comes into him that his intellect cannot account for, and this threatens to take the tail out of the mouth of the intellectual serpent. It threatens to break his individual mind and at that moment he is forced to postulate either another being, super intellectual, or the infinite. Now the infinite is very very frightening and therefore he tends to postulate another being. Which he would call some super intellectual sphere. We could say that the brain here, with its little root, its spinal cord and its ramifications, is a seed here with its roots, and it might branch out here into another world and blossom. In a world called 'spiritual world' and this would give rise to another kind of being.
Now if we close this other kind of being we will actually construct for ourselves a spiritual body. That is a body of necessary truths as opposed to a body of contingent truths. The difference is that the contingent ones depend on the five senses operating and the, remember the glyph for the contingent one is the five pointed star symbolising the five sense activities coordinated and the common sense or sense common to the five in the centre, and the truths at that level are simply the truths of contingency. Thus in a contingent relation I can say that if I place this chalk on the tape recorder it is correct to say that the tape recorder is supporting the chalk. That is a contingent relation, it is touching on it.
But there is no necessity about that relation but there is a necessity about another kind of relation. There is a necessity about the relation of the diameter to the circumference of a circle. Now this faculty which deals with necessary relations as opposed to contingent relations is the one that starts here above the empirical brain. It is the [?sara sahara?] of the yogis, the thousand petalled lotus. It is, if you like, an intermediary sphere before you cross off all spheres and plunge yourself into the absolute.
Now this is the sphere of necessary relations which the great geometrical philosophers, Plato, Proclus, people like that knew existed and yet Plotinus said about it “and when you have completed this sphere, of the necessary relations, you have to throw it away otherwise you will still be circumscribed”.
You are still formed and the absolute is not formed because formed, as we have said before, (fr) (pr) implies rotation and the formed therefore......
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…...it is the ground of those people who need security. But those who know that the form is only a rotation of the translating Absolute and who prefer the Absolute because they grasp that if it can rotate and also can not then it is superior to that merely which can. There is no mass inertia in the Absolute, it is free. There is mass inertia in any closed system, it is bound. So the Absolute is superior even to this necessary sphere of [?loggic?] knowledge.
Therefore Plotinus says when you have completed this spiritual body here, throw it away. It won't cease to exist when you have thrown it away because it already was, from eternity, a formal actuality of the absolute. What has happened is that when you were a baby and suckling and needing feeding, you were a belly being and when your belly was full you became an emotional being and liked your Mummy because she fed you. And you disliked your Daddy because he shouted at her. And after a time you became a rational being and discovered that your Mummy needed shouting at sometimes. And then gradually there arises the idea of necessary relations as opposed to contingent ones.
And finally the Absolute as being beyond all finite relations whatever and yet being the source of those very relationships so when that is solved the boundary is rubbed out. We rub it all out because we see that that boundary is a figment of this translating force. There are an infinite number of them. You could identify with any one if you know you are Absolute. You could take sides with the Liberals or the Conservatives or any other party that may appear, at will if you are free.
So we see that the origin of the fear is the fact that the external stimulus can break down your individual conceptual self and plunge you into infinity which from the point of view of the individual is fantasy. Now the fantasy, deliberately sought by an artist, is the very substance of his work. But the same fantasy invading some individual without the individual being aware of its origin must constitute, for the individual, insanity. Sanity means wholeness.
To be sane one must be a closed system. One must be whole. And if there is something coming into you and going out of you without your control and determining, by resonance, responses in the body so that this whole being cannot control those forces which are appearing, then that being would constitute, in a society of other beings not suffering in the same way, from antisocial tendencies.
When we become aware that every force that manifests in a so called insane person is simply a force of the Absolute operating without the permission of the individual. We can understand then that, to the insane person, there is a peculiar validity about that experience. He believes it because it happens to be true. It just happens that it has no mode of stopping the body responding to it in a closed situation like a society. And consequently he is defined by them, with their need for security, as an insane person. And he himself may consider, because he also has a concept of the ideal social relation there, that he is insane. He may accept the definition and go for treatment.
Recently I saw a play of Priestley's in which a bank clerk gets fed up and decides to leave the bank and go for a world tour and enjoy himself. And immediately the bank officials sent a psychiatrist down, who put him on a couch and restored him back to his proper level. And if it hadn't been for some other forces he might have been reduced to what the bank called a norm for a bank clerk. The point is that the socially minded beings, namely the security loving beings, define anybody with an idea which comes transcendently from without as unsocial, as insane. And he, because he has a concept from his training, tends to accept the definition. Whereas if he accepted the fact of the fantasy as being a fan, because that word fantasy means that, it is from the straw that they used to make their brushes out of and spread out, fan, to display potentials. So fantasy simply means the displaying of more potentials than the individual has normally been led to expect are possible.
But if we assert that any idea whatever may occur in our minds and we understand that, no matter how fantastic it may be, it is absolutely justified. Then it doesn't matter at all how strange it is providing we can inhibit the antisocial body behaviour which would necessarily produce a reaction from all security minded people and cause us to be put under restraint. You know Shaw once said that sanity is sharing the aberrations of the monarchy. And in that sense, the social concept being defined as sanity, anybody not subjected to it must be defined as insane.
In all psychic phenomena there is an in-break into a finite situation of a force previously not placed in a category. But in fact if we get enough poltergeist phenomena examined, categorised and statistics made of them they will then appear in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the appropriate figures to cover their appearance and they will be accepted as poltergeist phenomena [????] and the [?same?] ones every five hundred million children, one of them is a girl who, about puberty, discovers that she can drag in from the Absolute certain destructive forces and break her Grandmothers spectacles because she does not like her.
So now we have got down to a hypothesis deeper than the [umium?] one and more helpful to us from the point of view of our development. People are afraid only of the breaking, by some force, of their individuality. They are not afraid of anything else whatever.
The serpent with his tail in his mouth hanging on to his own dear little self, determined not to let go. That serpent as she would call it, that free thinker, self stimulating with a concept of self, closed, as opposed to the other kind of serpent who is open, the simple 's', this serpent must be afraid of every force that comes to it from outside when that force reaches such an intensity that it can cause 'letting go of the tail' which means loss of individuality.
Now, unless we can lose all our individualities, I am saying that plurally, advisably, because we have many such closed systems within our organism, unless we can lose that serpent with tail in the mouth, as a necessity of our security, we cannot develop onto higher planes. Which is why Christ says “he who tries to preserve his life must lose it, but he who is prepared to lose his life will gain it”.
In losing the finite we gain the Absolute and the Absolute is absolutely transcendent of all the limitations of the finite.
In the Greek we have the two Ss. This one is an initial one and this one is a final one. So we start by closing the circle and at the end of a word we put this S, the open one which signifies that the purpose for which we closed the circle has now been completed. And we don't need to carry on with that finite system any longer so we open up and spit at the next word, the next job we are going to do.
If you look in the Greek letters you can see quite easily that they are originally [????] the serpent. It isn't obscured even in modern typography.
So the individual as a finite system has to be broken. But we don't have to break the material body up with hammers, what we have to break up is an erroneous concept that it is finite.
It is not finite. A man with his three parts cannot develop unless he puts food through a hole in the face and assimilates it and by means of the energy from that body, which he has swallowed and broken down, develops his being. So the food which maintains him comes from outside so that as a material individual he is not a finite closed system. He is a finite system apparently but he has a mouth and he has a terminal for excreting. Energy comes in and goes out at the gross material level.
Likewise he has an emotional nature. Energy comes in and goes out, and the rest [????] nature, energy comes in and goes out.
At no level is an individual really finite. If all the incoming forces were cut off he would immediately disintegrate. If the sun, which supplies the greatest percentage of energy to earth beings, were suddenly to be extinguished all the life on the earth would just wilt because it depends on solar energy as its main supply.
So there is no such thing as an individual who is really finite and self-contained. So the closed serpent is really a misrepresentation if you accept it as an actual fact at the individual level.
Nevertheless it has a meaning and the meaning of it is, positively, it is a self stimulating consciousness. And it then represents the macro cosmic, the greatest circle, the circle [????] who are not really individuals because they do not derive their energies from themselves. Their energies always come from outside. And only this greatest of all beings has closed the system. Remember in Gurdjieff's view a continuous wastage was going on of energy prior to the generation of the process of reciprocal feeding of beings, the closed system.
The closed system is an essential of objective existence but only the macro cosmic being is a true individual only he sustains himself. The parts individuals we call humans and so on are pseudo individuals because their energies are derived from outside themselves as [?depart?] to outside themselves.
So we have to let go of the concept of the individual, finite, by realising that there isn't one. That we never have been finite and closed in that sense. So we are not afraid of losing that which we have because we have not got it.
This is the meaning of the statement, theologically, that no human being has anything whatever of his own in his own right. His physical body is from material forces of a certain order. His emotional and his rational bodies are from sources external to himself. So really he has nothing to lose but his chains. And the chains that he has to lose are the chains of the concept that he is an individual in his own right. When he is prepared to let go of the idea that he is an individual in his own right and see that all the forces constituting the macro cosmic being are continuously going in and out of him and that without them he would not exist, he can afford to stop identifying with that individual. That will not cause that individual to cease to be because the individual did not bring itself into existence. It was brought into existence by the macro cosmic being so the non identification with it won't cause its disappearance. So we need not be afraid of losing our physical body if we actually practice non identification. But we will actually find through the [?ineverture?] of previous conceptual training that if we start to understand that the body is not a finite closed system and it is open to influences, there will arise from the mass inertia of previous education a fear from the erroneous concepts that the thing is a closed system.
A fear therefore when you get it, and you must get it when you do yoga exercises, must be recognised for what it is; it is a fear of the dissolution possibilities of the individual and that that dissolution cannot occur because it was not created by the individual and is kept in being by the macro cosmic being.
[Tape ends here]