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Four-Dimensional Vistas by Claude Fayette Bragdon

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trance we have an augmented freedom of movement and so are able to
travel here and there, backward and forward, not only among our own
"disassociated memories" but in that greater and more mysterious
demesne which comprehends what we call the future, as well as the
present and the past.

The profound significance of the disassociation and sublimation of
memory by hypnotism, or by whatever other means the train of
personal experience and recollection can be thrown off the track,
appears to have been ignored on its theoretical side--that is, as
establishing the return of time. It has cleverly been turned to
practical account, however, in the treatment of disease. By a series
of painstaking and brilliant experiments, the demonstration of the
role played by "disassociated memories" in causing certain
functional nervous and mental troubles has been achieved. It has
been shown that severe emotional shocks, frights, griefs, worries,
may be--and frequently are--completely effaced from conscious
recollection, while continuing to be vividly remembered in the
depths of the subconscious. It has been shown that thence they may,
and frequently do, exercise a baleful effect upon the whole organism,
giving rise to disease symptoms, the particular type of which were
determined by the victim's self-suggestion. As a preliminary to
effecting a permanent cure to such disorders, it is necessary to get
at these disassociated memories and drag them back into the full
light of conscious recollection. To get at them, medical
psychologists make use of hypnotism, automatic writing,
crystal-gazing--in short, of any method which will force an entrance
into that higher time-world, whereby the forgotten past may become
the present. This accomplished, and the crucial moment recovered and
transfixed, the victim of the aborted opportunity is led to deal
with it as one may deal with the fluid, and may not deal with the
fixed. Again his past is plastic to the operation of his
intelligence and his will. Here is glad news for mortals: the past
recoverable and in a manner revocable!

Buddha taught that all sin is ignorance, and this teaching has
escaped oblivion because its truth has echoed in so many human hearts.
We find that it is possible to deal with our old ignorances in the
light of later knowledge. What is this but the self-forgiveness of
sins? Subconsciously we may be always at work, mending the past.
Repentance is the conscious recognition of some culmination of this
obscure process, when the heart is suffused with the inner gladness
of liberation from the payment of old karmic debts. Christ's words,
"Thy sins are forgiven," spoken to the woman who washed his feet
with her tears, sanctions this idea--that the past is remediable by
knowledge and by love.

Conceding this much, we must equally admit the possibility of
moulding the future, of adjusting the will to the event which shall
befall. If the present moment can again intersect the stream of past
conscious experience, it may equally do so with regard to the future.
This brings up the tremendous questions of free-will and
fore-ordination. Upon these the Oriental doctrines of karma and
reincarnation cast the only light by which the reason consents to be
guided. As these doctrines are intimately related both to higher
time and to trance revelations, some consideration of karma and
reincarnation may appropriately find place here.


Karma is that self-adjusting force in human affairs which restores
harmony disturbed by action. It is the moral law of compensation,
and by its operation produces all conditions of life, misery and
happiness, birth, death, and re-birth; itself being both the cause
and the effect of action. Its operation is indicated in the phrase,
"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

The essential idea of reincarnation is indicated in the following
quotation from the Upanishads: "And as a goldsmith, taking a piece
of gold, turns it into another, newer, and more beautiful shape, so
does this Self, having thrown off this body and dispelled all
ignorance, make unto himself another and more beautiful shape."

Reincarnation is the periodic "dip" of an immortal individual into
materiality for the working out of karma, after an interval, long or
short, spent under other conditions of existence. These alternations
constitute the broader and deeper diapason of human life, of which
the change from waking to sleeping represents the lesser, and the
momentary awareness and unawareness of the sense mechanism to
stimulation, the least.

Thus a physical incarnation, in the broadest sense of the term, is
the interval, long or short, of the immersion of consciousness in
materiality. Under fatigue, the cell life withdraws; that is, it
ceases to respond to physical stimuli, and so passes out of
incarnation. When this occurs _en masse_ there transpires that
hiatus of the personal consciousness called sleep, and while sleep
lasts the personality is out of incarnation. After death--in the
interval between one life and the next--the specific memories of the
personality fade out as in sleep, or rather, become latent, leaving
the soul, the permanent life-center, clear and colorless, a
mysterious focus of spiritual forces and affinities (the seeds of
karma) ready for another sowing in the world of men. This center
of consciousness is thereupon drawn to the newly forming body,
the life environment of which will rightly and justly--perhaps
retributively--bring the tendencies and characteristics of the
conscious center into objectivity again. Character is destiny, and
character is self-created. "All that we are is the result of what we
have thought." But in the vast complexity and volume of human life
there is a constant production of forms, with all the varieties of
characteristics and capacities requisite to meet the needs of every
soul, thirsty for the destiny that awaits it; and here heredity
plays its part. Beyond the individual soul is the world-soul, which
periodically incarnates in the humanity of a planet, and beyond the
worlds of a single system, suns and congeries of suns.

The profound and pregnant doctrines of karma and reincarnation, here
so sketchily outlined, are but expansions of one of the fundamental
propositions of all Eastern philosophical systems, that the effect is
the unfolding of the cause in time.

To omit a consideration of karma and reincarnation in connection
with higher time would be to force a passage and then not follow
where it leads. The idea of time curvature is implicit in the ideas
of karma and reincarnation. For what is karma but the return of time,
the flowering in the present of some seed sown elsewhere and long ago?
And what is reincarnation but the major cycle of that sweep into
objective existence and out again, of which the alternation between
waking and sleeping is the lesser counterpart?


During the past few years evidence has been accumulating that we
never really forget anything. We have rediscovered the memory of the
subconscious mind. It is generally known that in the mesmeric or
somnambulistic sleep things hopelessly beyond recall for the
habitual mind come to the surface, in fragments, or in whole series,
as the case may be. It is perhaps news to some readers, however,
that the memory of past lives has been recovered in this way. This
but confirms the Eastern secret teaching that could we remember our
dream experiences we should recover the knowledge of our past

Among the achievements of Eastern hypnotism is the recovery of the
memory of past births. Colonel de Rochas appears to have paralleled
this achievement in the West. Certain of his experiments have been
admirably reported by Maurice Maeterlinck in the eighth chapter of
_Our Eternity_. Maeterlinck's account, somewhat condensed, is
given here, because it so well illustrates the liberation of
consciousness from the tyranny of time as we conceive it. He says:

"First of all, it is only right to say that Colonel de Rochas is a
savant who seeks nothing but objective truth and does so with a
scientific strictness and integrity that have never been questioned.
He puts certain exceptional subjects into a hypnotic sleep and, by
means of downward passes, makes them trace back the whole course of
their existence. He thus takes them successively to their youth,
their adolescence and down to the extreme limits of their childhood.
At each of these hypnotic stages, the subject reassumes the
consciousness, the character and the state of mind which he
possessed at the corresponding stage in his life. He goes over the
same events, with their joys and their sorrows. If he has been ill,
he once more passes through his illness, his convalescence and his

"Let us, to come to details, take one of the simplest cases. The
subject is a girl of eighteen, called Josephine. She lives at Voiron,
in the department of Isere. By means of downward passes she is
brought back to the condition of a baby at its mother's breast The
passes continue and the wonder-tale runs its course. Josephine can
no longer speak; and we have the great silence of infancy, which
seems to be followed by a silence more mysterious still. Josephine
no longer answers except by signs: _she is not yet born_. 'She is
floating in darkness.' They persist; the sleep becomes heavier; and
suddenly, from the depths of that sleep, rises the voice of another
being, a voice unexpected and unknown, the voice of a churlish,
distrustful and discontented old man. They question him. At first he
refuses to answer, saying that 'of course he's there, and he's
speaking;' that 'he sees nothing;' and 'he's in the dark.' They
increase the number of passes and gradually gain his confidence. His
name is Jean Claude Bourdon; he is an old man; he has long been
ailing and bedridden. He tells the story of his life. He was born at
Champvent, in the parish of Polliat, in 1812. He went to school
until he was eighteen and served his time in the army with the
Seventh Artillery at Besancon; and he describes his gay time there,
while the sleeping girl makes gestures of twirling an imaginary
moustache. When he goes back to his native place, he does not marry,
but he has a mistress. He leads a solitary life (I omit all but the
essential facts), and dies at the age of seventy, after a long

"We now hear the dead man speak; and his posthumous revelations are
not sensational, which, however, is not an adequate reason for
doubting their genuineness. He feels himself growing out of his body;
but he remains attached to it for a fairly long time. His fluidic
body, which is at first diffused, takes a more concentrated form. He
lives in darkness, which he finds disagreeable; but he does not
suffer. At last, the night in which he is plunged is streaked with a
few flashes of light. The idea comes to reincarnate himself and he
draws near to her who is to be his mother (that is, the mother of
Josephine). He encircles her until the child is born, whereupon he
gradually enters the child's body. Until about the seventh year, his
body is surrounded by a sort of floating mist, in which he used to
see many things which he has not seen since.

"The next thing to be done is to go back beyond Jean Claude. A
mesmerization lasting nearly three-quarters of an hour, without
lingering at any intermediate stage, brings the old man back to
babyhood. A fresh silence, a new limbo; and then, suddenly, another
voice and an unexpected individual. This time it is an old woman who
has been very wicked; and so she is in great torment (she is dead,
at the actual instant; for, in this inverted world, lives go
backward and of course begin at the end). She is in deep darkness,
surrounded by evil spirits. She speaks at first in a faint voice,
but always gives definite replies to the questions put to her,
instead of cavilling at every moment, as Jean Claude did. Her name
is Philomene Carteron.

"'By intensifying the sleep,' adds Colonel de Rochas, whom I will
now quote, 'I induce the manifestations of a living Philomene. She
no longer suffers, seems very calm and always answers coldly and
distinctly. She knows that she is unpopular in the neighborhood, but
no one is a penny the worse and she will be even with them yet. She
was born in 1702; her maiden name was Philomene Cherpigny; her
grandfather on the mother's side was called Pierre Machon and lived
in Ozan. In 1732 she married, at Chevroux, a man named Carterton, by
whom she had two children, both of whom she lost.'"

Before her incarnation, Philomene had been a little girl who died in
infancy. Previous to that, she was a man who committed murder, and
it was to expiate this crime that she endured such suffering in the
darkness, and after her life as a little girl, when she had no time
to do wrong. Colonel de Rochas did not think it wise to carry the
hypnosis further, because the subject appeared exhausted and her
paroxysms were painful to watch. He obtained analogous and even more
surprising results with other subjects.

Maeterlinck's comments upon all this are of negligible value. He
pays a fine tribute to the theory of reincarnation. "There was never
a more beautiful, a juster, a purer, a more moral, fruitful and
probable creed," he says: yet for all that, it is clear that he has
not been at pains fully to inform himself of the Eastern teaching.

Colonel de Rochas' success, and that of all other experimenters
along these lines, is due to their unconscious following of the
Eastern method. He himself says that he "avoided everything that
should put the subject on a definite tack,"--that is, he refrained
from voluntary suggestion.

Having referred so frequently and so familiarly to the Eastern
belief in reincarnation, and hinted at a more solid foundation for
that belief than the single series of experiments above referred to,
it would be unfair to the reader not to gratify his curiosity more
fully in regard to these matters. In the light of our hypothesis
they take on an importance which justifies their further
consideration here.



Western physical science, pursued with ardor and devotion for the
past hundred years, has attained to a control over physical phenomena
little short of magical, but in our understanding and mastery of
subjective phenomena we are far behind those Eastern peoples who
have made these matters the subject of study and experiment for
thousands of years. The informed Hindu, rightly or wrongly, regards
the Western practice of hypnotism, both in its methods and in its
results, with mingled horror and contempt. To him it is not
different from Black Magic, pernicious to operator and subject alike,
since it involves an unwarrantable tyranny of the will on the part
of the operator, and a dangerous submission to the obsession of an
invading will on the part of the subject. Eastern hypnotism--at its
highest and best--is profoundly different from Western, in that the
sanctity of the individual is respected. Its aim is not to enslave
the will, but temporarily to emancipate consciousness, under
favorable circumstances, from its physical limitation.

Eastern practical psychology and metaphysics can be understood only
through a knowledge of Eastern physics. These we would call
transcendental, since they recognize not one theatre of consciousness,
but three: the gross, the subtle, and the pure. These correspond to
the material, the etherial, and the empyreal worlds of Greek
philosophy, and to the physical, astral, and mental planes of modern
Theosophy. They may be thought of as universal substance in three
different octaves of vibration. Upon this, the trained will of man
is able to act directly, for the reason that--as claimed by
Balzac--it is a _living_ force.

In Eastern hypnotism the gross vibrations of the physical vehicle
are inhibited by the will of the operator, putting the body of the
subject to sleep, whereat the consciousness, free in its subtle body,
awakens to a dimensionally higher world. The operator, by means of
questions, reaps such profit as he may by following the "true dreams"
of the entranced subject, scrupulously refraining from imposing his
own will further than is necessary to obtain the information which he
seeks. The higher power of Eastern hypnotism, totally unknown in the
West, consists of inhibiting the subtle vibrations of the astral
vehicle also, permitting the consciousness to revert to its
"pure" condition. In these deep states of trance the subject is able
to communicate knowledges shut away from the generality of
men--among them the knowledge of past births.


The strength of will necessary to accomplish this higher power of
hypnotism is achieved by arduous and long-continued exercises in
concentration, by the practice of a strict morality, and by
submission to a physical regimen which few Occidentals would care to
undergo. Severe as is this training, it is less so than that which
the true Yogi imposes upon himself, and its fruits are less. The
achievement to which he addresses himself is far beyond that of the
most accomplished hypnotist. The Yogi scorns all supernormal powers,
even while possessing them. The Yogi, as the word implies--it means
literally union--seeks to unite himself with his own higher self, the
eternal and immortal part of his own nature, and the achievement of
this brings with it the freedom of the three worlds at all times,
and in full consciousness. As this involves an inward turning of the
mind and will, and the withdrawal from the ordinary active life of
average humanity, he alone is witness of his own success. "The rest
is silence."

The knowledge of past births which may be obtained by the
questionable and cumbersome method of hypnotism is one of the
wayside flowers which the Yogi may pluck, if he will, on his path
towards perfection. There are definite rules for the attainment of
this knowledge, and they conform so closely to Colonel de Rochas'
method--save for the fact that operator and subject are one and not
twain--that it will be interesting to give them here. The ensuing
passage is from the _Vishuddhi Marga_, or _Path of Purity_, a work
written some sixteen hundred years ago by the famous sage,
Buddhaghosha, whose name signifies the Voice of Buddha, the revealer
of Buddha's teachings. It is quoted in Charles Johnston's _The
Memory of Past Births_.

"The devotee, then, who tries for the first time to call to mind
former states of existence, should choose a time after breakfast,
when he has returned from collecting alms, and is alone and plunged
in meditation, and has been absorbed in the four trances in
succession. On rising from the fourth trance, which leads to the
higher powers, he should consider the event which last took place,
namely, his sitting down; next, the spreading of the mat; the
entering of the room; the putting away of bowl and robe; his eating;
his leaving the village; his going the rounds of the village for alms;
his entering the village for alms; his departure from the monastery;
his offering adoration in the courts of the shrine and of the Bodhi
tree; his washing the bowl; what he did between taking the bowl and
rinsing his mouth; what he did at dawn; what he did in the middle
watch of the night; what he did in the first watch of the night.
Thus he must consider what he did for a whole day and night, going
backwards over it in reverse order.

"In the same reverse order he must consider what he did the day
before, the day before that, up to the fifth day, the tenth day, a
fortnight ago, a month ago, a year ago; and having in the same
manner considered the previous ten and twenty years, and so on up to
the time of his conception in this birth, he must then consider the
name and form which he had at the moment of death in his last birth.
But since the name and form of the last birth came quite to an end,
and were replaced by others, this point of time is like thick
darkness, and difficult to be made out by the mind of any person
still deluded. But even such a one should not despair nor say: 'I
shall never be able to penetrate beyond conception, or take as the
object of my thought the name and form which I had in my last birth,
at the moment of death,' but he should again and again enter the
trance which leads to the higher powers, and each time he rises from
the trance, he should again intend his mind upon that point of time.

"Just as a strong man in cutting down a mighty tree to be used as
the peaked roof of a pagoda, if the edge of his axe be turned in
lopping off the branches and twigs, will not despair of cutting down
the tree, but will go to an iron-worker's shop, have his axe
sharpened, return, and go on with his cutting; and if the edge of
his axe be turned a second time, he will a second time have it
sharpened, and return, and go on with his cutting; and since nothing
that he chopped once needs to be chopped again, he will in no long
time, when there is nothing left to chop, fell that mighty tree. In
the same way the devotee rising from the trance which leads to the
higher powers, without considering what he has considered once, and
considering only the moment of conception, in no long time will
penetrate beyond the moment of conception, and take as his object
the name and form which he had at the moment of death, in his last

"His alert attention having become possessed of this knowledge, he
can call to mind many former states of existence, as, one birth, two
births, three births, four births, five births, and so on, in the
words of the text."

This quotation casts an interesting light upon Eastern monasticism.
The Buddhist monasteries are here revealed as schools of practical
psychology, the life of the monk a life of arduous and unceasing
labor, but labor of a sort which seems but idleness. The successive
"initiations" which are the milestones on the "Path of Perfection"
upon which the devotee has set his feet represent successive
emancipations of consciousness gained through work and knowledge.
Their nature may best be understood by means of a fanciful analogy.


If we assume that all life is conscious life, as much aware of its
environment as the freedom of movement of its life vehicle in that
environment permits, a corpuscle vibrating in a solid would have a
certain sense of space and of movement in space gained from its own
experience. Now imagine the solid, which is its world, to be
subjected to the influence of heat. When the temperature reached a
certain point the solid would transform itself into a liquid. To the
corpuscle all the old barriers would seem to be broken down; space
would be different, time would be different, and its world a
different place. Again, at another increase of temperature, when the
liquid became a gas, the corpuscle would experience a further
emancipation: it would possess a further freedom, with all the facts
of its universe to learn anew.

Each of these successive crises would constitute for it an initiation,
and since the heat has acted upon it from within, causing an
expansion of its life vehicle, it would seem to itself to have
attained to these new freedoms through self-development.

The parallel is now plain to the reader: the corpuscle is the Yogi,
bent on liberation: the heat which warms him is the Divine Love,
centered in his heart, his initiations are the successive
emancipations into higher and higher spaces, till he attains
Nirvana--inherits the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation
of the world. As latent heat resides in the corpuscle, so is _Release_
hidden in the heart--release from time and space. The perception of
this prompted the exultant apostrophe of Buddha, "Looking for the
maker of this tabernacle, I have run through a course of many births,
not finding him; and painful is birth again and again. But now,
maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make up
this tabernacle again. All thy rafters are broken, thy ridge-pole is
sundered; the mind, approaching the Eternal, has attained the
extinction of all desires."

Upon the mystery of Nirvana the Higher Space Hypothesis casts not a
little light. To "approach the Eternal" can only be to approach a
condition where time is not. Because there is an escape from time in
proportion as space dimensions are added to, and assimilated by,
consciousness, any development involving this element of space
conquest (and evolution is itself such a development) involves time
annihilation also. To be in a state of desire is to be conditioned
by a limitation, because one can desire only that which one has not
or is not. The extinction of a desire is only another name for the
transcending of a limitation--of all desires, of all limitations. If
these limitations are of space they are of time also; therefore is
the "approach to the Eternal" through the "extinction of all desire."
Christ said, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar of the temple
of my God, and he shall go no more out"--go out, that is, into
incarnation--into "time, besprent with seven-hued circumstance."

Such are the testimonies of the world-saviors regarding the means
and end of liberation. Below them on the evolutionary ladder stand
the mystics, earth-bound, but soul-free; below them, in turn, yet
far above common humanity, stand the men of genius, caught still in
the net of passion, but able, in their work, to reflect something of
the glory of the supernal world. Let us consider, in the next two
chapters, each of these in turn.



The mystic, however far removed he may be from Nietzsche's ideal of
the Superman, nevertheless represents superhumanity in the domain of
consciousness. By means of quotations, taken almost at random from
the rich literature of mysticism, the author will attempt to show
that the consciousness of the mystic involves the awareness of
dimensionally higher worlds. The first group of quotations is culled
from certain of the Sacred Books of Hermes Trismegistus.

"_Comprehend clearly_" (says Hermes to Asclepios) "_that this
sensible world is enfolded, as in a garment, by the supernal world_."

We think of our three dimensional space, "the sensible world," as
_immersed_ in higher space; "enfolded as in a garment," therefore.
And we think of the objects of our world as having extension in a
dimensionally higher region, that "supernal world" in which the
phenomena of this sensible world arise. For:

"_Celestial order reigns over terrestrial order: all that is done
and said upon earth has its origin in the heights, from which all
essences are dispensed with measure and equilibrium: nor is there
anything which does not emanate from one above and return thither_"


The idea of an all-embracing unity within and behind the seeming
manifoldness of life forms the ground rhythm of all inspired
literature, sacred and profane alike. For clarity and conciseness it
would be difficult to improve upon the formulation of this idea
contained in the following fragment:

"_In the manifold unity of universal life the innumerable
individualities distinguished by their variations are, nevertheless,
united in such a manner that the whole is one, and that everything
proceeds from unity_.

"_For all things depend upon unity, or develop from it, and because
they appear distant from one another it is believed that they are
many, whereas in their collectivity they form but one_."

Now nothing so successfully resolves this paradox of the one and the
many as the concept that the things of this world are embraced and
united in a dimensionally higher world in a manner analogous to that
in which all conic sections are embraced and united within the cone.
A more elaborate and fanciful figure may serve to make this clearer
to the mind.

Conceive of this printed page as a plane world in which every letter
is a person; every word a family; phrases and sentences, larger
communities and groups. These "innumerable individualities,
distinguished by their variations" must needs seem to themselves as
"distant from one another," their very differences of form and
arrangement a barrier to any superior unity. Yet all the while,
solely by reason of this diversity, they are co-operating towards an
end of which they cannot be aware. The mind of the reader unites and
interprets the letters into continuous thought, though they be
voiceless as stones to one another. Even so may our sad and stony
identities spell out a world's word which we know not of, by reason
of our singularity and isolation. Moreover, in the electrotype block,
the solid of which the printed page constitutes a plane presentment,
all the letters are actually "united in such a manner that the whole
is one." The metal that has moulded each into its significant form
amalgamates them into a higher unity. So also the power that makes
us separate is the same power that makes us one.


Here follows the lament of the souls awaiting incarnation:

"_Behold the sad future in store for us--to minister to the wants of
a fluctuating and dissoluble body! No more may our eyes distinguish
the souls divine! Hardly through these watery spheres shall we
perceive, with sighs, our ancestral heaven: at intervals even we
shall cease altogether to behold it. By this disastrous sentence
direct vision is denied to us; we can see only by the aid of the
outer light; these are but windows that we possess--not eyes. Nor
will our pain be less when we hear in the fraternal breathing of the
winds with which no longer can we mingle our own, since ours will
have for its dwelling, instead of the sublime and open world, the
narrow prison of the breast_!"

That the soul--the so-called subliminal self--draws from a broader,
deeper experience than the purely rational consciousness is a
commonplace of modern psychology. Hinton conceives of the soul as
_higher-dimensional_ with relation to the body, but so concerned
with the management and direction of its lower-dimensional vehicle
as to have lost, for the time being, its orientation, thinking and
moving only in those ways of which the body is capable. The analogy
he uses, of a ship and its captain, is so happy, and the whole
passage has so direct a bearing upon the Hermetic fragment quoted,
that it is given here entire.

"I adopt the hypothesis that that which thinks in us has an ample
experience, of which the intuitions we use in dealing with the world
of real objects are a part; of which experience, the intuition of
four-dimensional forms and motions is also a part. The process we
are engaged in intellectually is the reading of the obscure signals
of our nerves into a world of reality, by means of intuitions
derived from the inner experience.

"The image I form is as follows: Imagine the captain of a modern
battleship directing its course. He has his charts before him; he is
in communication with his associates and subordinates; can convey his
messages and commands to every part of the ship, and receive
information from the conning tower and the engine room. Now suppose
the captain, immersed in the problem of the navigation of his ship
over the ocean, to have so absorbed himself in the problem of the
direction of the craft over the plane surface of the sea that he
forgets himself. All that occupies his attention is the kind of
movement that his ship makes. The operations by which that movement
is produced have sunk below the threshold of his consciousness; his
own actions, by which he pushes the buttons, gives the orders, are
so familiar as to be automatic; his mind is on the motion of the
ship as a whole. In such a case we can imagine that he identifies
himself with the ship; all that enters his conscious thought is the
direction of its movement over the plane surface of the ocean.

"Such is the relation, as I imagine it, of the soul to the body. A
relation which we can imagine as existing momentarily in the case of
the captain is the normal one in the case of the soul with its craft.
As the captain is capable of a kind of movement, an amplitude of
motion, which does not enter into his thoughts with regard to the
directing of the ship over the plane surface of the ocean, so the
soul is capable of a kind of movement, has an amplitude of motion,
which is not used in its task of directing the body in the
three-dimensional region in which the body's activity lies. If for
any reason it becomes necessary for the captain to consider
three-dimensional motions with regard to his ship, it would not be
difficult for him to gain the materials for thinking about such
motions; all he has to do is to call experience into play. As far as
the navigation of the ship is concerned, however, he is not obliged
to call on such experience. The ship as a whole simply moves on a
surface. The problem of three-dimensional movement does not
ordinarily concern its steering. And thus with regard to ourselves
all those movements and activities which characterize our bodily
organs are three-dimensional; we never need to consider the ampler
movements. But we do more than use these movements of our body to
effect our aims by direct means; we have now come to the pass when
we act indirectly on nature, when we call processes into play which
lie beyond the reach of any explanation we can give by the kind of
thought which has been sufficient for the steering of our craft as a

"When we come to the problem of what goes on in the minute and apply
ourselves to the mechanism of the minute, we find our habitual
conceptions inadequate. The captain in us must wake up to his own
intimate nature, realize those functions of movement which are his
own, and in the virtue of his knowledge of them apprehend how to
deal with the problems he has come to."

_The Fourth Dimension_.

How more accurately and eloquently could "the captain in us,"
momentarily aroused, give voice to his predicament, than in the words,
"_Instead of the sublime and open world, the narrow prison of the


The "watery spheres" in the Hermetic fragment are of course the eyes,
a mechanism inferior in many ways to the camera of man's own devising.
The phenomena of clairvoyance make known a mode of vision which is
confined to no specific sense organ, approximating much more closely
to true perception than does physical sight. Mr. C.W. Leadbeater in
_Clairvoyance_ specifically affirms that this higher power of
sight is four-dimensional. He says: "The idea of the fourth
dimension as expounded by Mr. Hinton is the only one which gives any
kind of explanation down here of astral vision ... which lays every
point in the interior of a solid body absolutely open to the gaze of
the seer, just as every point of the interior of a circle lies open
to the gaze of a man looking down upon it." "I can see all around and
every way," exclaims one of the psychometers reported in William
Denton's _The Soul of Things_.

The "outer light" by which the physical eye is able to see objects
is sunlight. Upon this clairvoyant vision in no wise depends,
involving, as it does, other octaves of vibration. We should be able
to receive ideas of this order without incredulity since the advent
of "dark" photography and the ultra-violet microscope. By aid of the
latter, photographs are taken in absolute darkness, the lenses used
being transparent to light rays invisible to the eye, but active

The foregoing passages from _The Virgin of the World_ show a
remarkable resemblance between the Hermetic philosophy and modern
higher-space thought. The parallelism is not less striking in the
case of certain other mystic philosophers of the East.


"Parmenides," says Hinton, "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
a lower-dimensional space." He concludes, "Either one of two things
must be true, that four-dimensional conceptions give a wonderful
power of representing the thought of the East, or that the thinkers
of the East must have been looking at and regarding four-dimensional

It would not be difficult to re-state, in terms of our hypothesis,
Plato's doctrine of an enduring archetypal world of ideas reflected
in a world of transitory images and appearances. Fortunately, Plato
has relieved the author of that necessity by doing it himself in his
wonderful allegory of the shadow-watchers in _The Republic_. The
trend of his argument is clear; as its shadow is to a solid object,
so is the object itself to its archetypal idea. This is the manner
in which he presents this thought:

"Imagine a number of men living in an underground cavernous chamber,
with an entrance open to the light, extending along the entire
length of the cavern, in which they have been confined, from their
childhood, with their legs and neck so shackled, that they are
obliged to sit still and look straight forwards, because their
chains render it impossible for them to turn their heads round: and
imagine a bright fire burning some way off, above and behind them,
and an elevated roadway passing between the fire and the prisoners,
with a low wall built along it, like the screens which conjurors put
up in front of their audience, and above which they exhibit their

"I have it," he replied.

"Also, figure to yourself a number of persons walking behind this
wall, and carrying with them statues of men, and images of other
animals, wrought in wood, stone, and all kinds of materials, together
with various other articles, which overtop the wall; and, as you
might expect, let some of the passers-by be talking, and others

"You are describing a strange scene, and strange prisoners."

"They resemble us," I replied. "For let me ask you, in the first
place, whether persons so confined could have seen anything of
themselves or of each other, beyond the shadows thrown by the fire
upon the part of the cavern facing them."

"Certainly not, if you suppose them to have been compelled all their
lifetime to keep their heads unmoved."

"And is not their knowledge of the things carried past them equally

"Unquestionably it is."

"And if they were able to converse with one another, do you not
think that they would be in the habit of giving names to the objects
which they saw before them?"

"Doubtless they would."

"Again: if their prison house returned an echo from the part facing
them, whenever one of the passers-by opened his lips, to what, let
me ask you, could they refer the voice, if not to the shadow which
was passing?"

"Unquestionably they would refer it to that."

"Then surely such persons would hold the shadows of the manufactured
articles to be the only realities."

"Without a doubt they would."

Plato (in the person of Socrates) then considers what would happen
if the course of nature brought to the prisoners a release from
their fetters and a remedy for their foolishness, and concludes as

"Now this imaginary case, my dear Glaucon, you must apply in all its
parts to our former statements, by comparing the region which the
eye reveals, to the prison-house, and the light of the fire therein
to the power of the sun; and if, by the upward ascent and the
contemplation of the upper world, you understand the mounting of the
soul in the intellectual region, you will hit the tendency of my own
surmises ... the view which I take of the subject is to the
following effect."

Briefly, the view taken is that the "Form of Good" perceived by the
mind is the source of everything that is perceived by the senses.
This is equivalent to saying that the objects of our three-space
world are projections of higher-dimensional realities--that there is
a supernal world related to this world as a body is related to the
shadow which it casts.


Emerson, in his _Representative Men_, chose Swedenborg as the
representative mystic. He accepted Swedenborg's way of looking at
the world as universally characteristic of the mystical temperament.
The Higher Space Theory was unheard of in Swedenborg's day,
nevertheless in his religious writings--thick clouds shot with
lightning--the idea is implicit and sometimes even expressed, though
in a terminology all his own.

To Swedenborg's vision, as to Plato's, this physical world is a
world of ultimates, in all things correspondent to the casual world,
which he names "heaven." "_It is to be observed_," he says,
"_that the natural world exists and subsists from the spiritual world,
just as an effect exists from its efficient cause_."

According to Swedenborg, conditions in "heaven" are different from
those in the world: space is different: distance is different He says,
"_Space in heaven is not like space in the world, for space in the
world is fixed, and therefore measurable: but in heaven it is not
fixed and therefore cannot be measured_."

Herein is suggested a _fluidic_ condition, singularly in accord with
certain modern conceptions in theoretical physics. Commenting upon
the significance of Lobatchewsky's and Bolyai's work along the lines
of non-Euclidian geometry, Hinton says, "By immersing the conception
of distance in matter, to which it properly belongs, it promises to
be of the greatest aid in analysis, for the effective distance of
any two particles is the result of complex material conditions, and
cannot be measured by hard and fast rules."

The higher correlative of physical distance is a difference of state
or condition, according to the Norwegian seer. "_Those are far apart
who differ much_," he says "_and those are near who differ little_."
Distance in the spiritual world, he declares, originates solely
"_in the difference in the state of their minds, and in the heavenly
world, from the difference in the state of their loves_." This
immediately suggests the Oriental teaching that the place and human
environment into which a man is born have been determined by his own
thoughts, desires, and affections in anterior existences, and that
instant by instant all are determining their future births. The
reader to whom the idea of reincarnation is repellent or unfamiliar
may not be prepared to go this length, but he must at least grant
that in the span of a single lifetime thought and desire determine
action, and consequently, position in space. The ambitious man goes
from the village to the city; the lover of nature seeks the wilds;
the misanthrope avoids his fellowmen, the gregarious man gravitates
to crowds. We seek out those whom we love, we avoid those whom we
dislike; everywhere the forces of attraction and repulsion play
their part in determining the tangled orbits of our every-day lives.
In other words, the subjective, and (hypothetically) higher activity
in every man records itself in a world of three dimensions as action
upon an environment. Thought expresses itself in action, and so
flows outward into space.

Observe how perfectly this fits in with Swedenborg's contention that
physical remoteness has for its higher correspondence a difference
of love and of interest; and physical juxtaposition, a similarity of
these. In heaven, he says, "Angels of similar character are as it
were spontaneously drawn together." So would it be on earth, but for
impediments inherent in our terrestrial space. Swedenborg's angels
are men freed from these limitations. We suffer because the free
thing in us is hampered by the restrictions of a space to which it
is not native. Reason sufficient for such restriction is apparent in
the success that crowns every effort at the annihilation of space,
and the augmentation of power and knowledge that such effort brings.
It would appear that a narrowing of interest and endeavor is always
the price of efficiency. The angel is confined to "the narrow prison
of the breast" that it may react upon matter just as an axe is
narrowed to an edge that it may cleave.


Man has been called the thinking animal. _Space-eater_ would be a
more appropriate title, since he so dauntlessly and persistently
addresses himself to overcoming the limitations of his space. To
realize his success in this, compare, for example, the voyage of
Columbus' caravels with that of an ocean liner; or traveling by
stage coach with _train de luxe_. Consider the telephone,
the phonograph, the cinematograph, from the standpoint of
space-conquest--and wireless telegraphy which sends forth messages
in every direction, over sea and land. Most impressive of all are
the achievements in the domain of astronomy. One by one the sky has
yielded its amazing secrets, till the mind roams free among the stars.
The reason why there are to-day so many men braving death in the air
is because the conquest of the third dimension is the task to which
the Zeit-Geist has for the moment addressed itself, and these
intrepid aviators are its chosen instruments--sacrificial pawns in
the dimension-gaining game.

All these things are only the outward and visible signs of the angel,
incarnate in a world of three dimensions, striving to realize higher
spatial, or heavenly, conditions. This spectacle, for example, of a
millionaire hurled across a continent in a special train to be
present at the bedside of a stricken dear one, may be interpreted as
the endeavor of an incarnate soul to achieve, with the aid of human
ingenuity applied to space annihilation, that which, discarnate, it
could compass without delay or effort.


In Swedenborg's heaven "_all communicate by the extension of the
sphere which goes forth from the life_ _of every one. The sphere of
their life is the sphere of their affections of love and hate_."

This is as fair a description of thought transference and its
necessary condition as could well be devised, for as in wireless
telegraphy, its mechanical counterpart, it depends upon synchronism
of vibration in a "sphere which goes forth from the life of every one."
Thought transference and kindred phenomena in which all categories
of space and time lose their significance baffle our understanding
because they appear to involve the idea of being in two places--in
many places--at once, a thing manifestly at variance with our own
conscious experience. It is as though the pen point should suddenly
become the sheet of paper. But strange as are these matters and
mysterious as are their method, no other hypothesis so well explains
them as that they are higher-dimensional experiences of the self. We
have the universal testimony of all mystics that the attainment of
mystical consciousness is by inward contemplation--turning the mind
back upon itself. Swedenborg says, "_It can in no case be said that
heaven is outside of any one, but it is within him for every angel
participates in the heaven around him by virtue of the heaven which
is within him_." Christ said, "_The Kingdom of Heaven is within you_,"
and there is a saying attributed to Him to the effect that "_When
the outside becomes the inside, then the Kingdom of Heaven is come_."
These and such arcane sayings as "_Know Thyself_" engraved upon the
lintels of ancient temples of initiation, powerfully suggest the
possibility that by penetrating to the center of our individual
consciousness we expand outwardly into the cosmic consciousness as
though _in_ and _out_ were the positive and negative of a new
dimension. By exerting a force in the negative direction upon a
slender column of water in a hydraulic press, it is possible to
raise in the positive direction a vast bulk of water with which that
column, through the mechanism of the press, is connected. This is
because both columns, the little and the big, enclose one body of
fluid. The attainment of higher states of consciousness is potential
in every one, for the reason that the consciousness of a greater
being flows through each individual.


There is the utmost unanimity in the testimony of the mystics that
the world without and the world within are but different aspects of
the same reality--"_The eye with which I see God is the same eye with
which He sees me_." They never weary of the telling of the
solidarity and invisible continuity of life, the inclusion not only
of the minute in the vast, but of the vast in the minute. We may
accept this form of perception as characteristic of consciousness in
its free state. Its instrument is the _intuition_, which divines
relations between diverse things through a perception of unity. The
instrument of the purely mundane consciousness, on the other hand,
is the _reason_, which dissevers and dissects phenomena, divining
unity through correlation. Now if physical phenomena, in all their
manifoldness, are lower-dimensional projections, upon a
lower-dimensional space, of a higher unity, then reason and
intuition are seen to be two modes of one intelligence, engaged in
apprehending life from below (by means of the reason) through its
diversity, and from above (by means of intuition) through its unity.

Those who recognize in the intuition a valid organ of knowledge, are
disposed to exalt it above the reason, but at our present state of
evolution, and given our environment, it would seem that the reason
is the more generally useful faculty of the two. In that unfolding,
that manifesting of the higher in the lower--which is the idea the
four-dimensionalist has of the world--the painstaking, minute,
methodical action of the reasoning mind applied to phenomena
achieves results impossible to Pisgah-sighted intuition. The power,
peculiar to the reason, of isolating part after part from the whole
to which it belongs, and considering them thus isolated, makes
possible in the end a synthesis in which the whole is not merely
glimpsed, but known to the last detail.

The method of the reason is symbolized in so trifling a thing as the
dealing out one by one of a pack of cards and their reassembling.
The pack has been made to show forth its content by a process of
disruption--of slicing. Similarly, if a scientist wants to gain a
thorough comprehension of a complicated organism, he dissects it, or
submits it to a process of slicing, studying each slice separately
under the microscope while keeping constantly in mind the relation
of one slice to another. This amounts to nothing less than reducing
a thing from three dimensions to two, in order to know it thoroughly.
Now the flux of things corresponds to the four-dimensional aspect of
the world, and with this the reason finds it impossible to deal. As
Bergson has so well shown, the reason cuts life into countless
cross-sections: a thing must be dead before it can be dissected.
This is why the higher-dimensional aspect of life, divined by the
intuition, escapes rational analysis.


Swedenborg's description of "the ascent and descent of forms" and
the "forces and powers" which flow therefrom, suggests, by reason of
the increasing amplitude and variety of form and motion, a
progression from space to space. This description is too long and
involved to find place here, but its conclusion is as follows:

"_Such now is the ascent and descent of forms or substances in the
greatest, and in our least universe: similar also is the descent of
all forces and powers which flow from them. But all their perfection
consists in the possibility and virtue of varying themselves, or of
changing states, which possibility increases with their elevations,
so that in number it exceeds all the series of calculations unfolded
by human minds, and still inwardly involved by them: which
infinities finally become what is finite in the Supreme. Our ideas
are merely progressions by variations of form, and thus by actual
changes of state_."

His sense of the beauty and orderliness of the whole process, and
his despair of communicating it, find characteristic utterance in
the following passage:

"_If thou could'st discern, my beloved, how distinctly and
ordinately these forms are arranged and connected with each other,
from the mere aspect and infinity of so many wonderful things
connected with each other, from the mere aspect and infinity of so
many wonderful things conspiring into one, thou would'st fall down,
from an inmost impulse, with sacred astonishment, and at the same
time pious joy, to perform an act of worship and of love before such
an architect_."

In his description of the manner in which these forms cohere and
successively unfold, he introduces one of the basic concepts of
higher space thought; namely, that in the "descent of forms" from
space to space, that which in the higher exists all together--that
is, _simultaneously_--can only manifest itself in the lower
piecemeal--that is, _successively_. He says:

"_Nothing is together in any texture or effect which was not
successively introduced; and everything is therein, according as
order itself introduces it: wherefore simultaneous order derives its
birth, nature and perfection from successive orders, and the former
is only rendered perspicuous and plain by the latter.... What is
supreme in things successive takes the inmost place in things
simultaneous: thus things superior in order super-involve things
inferior and wrap them together, that these latter may become
exterior in the same order: by this method first principles, which
are also called simple, unfold themselves, and involve themselves in
things posterior or compound: wherefore every perfection of what is
outermost flows forth from inmost principles by their series: hence
thy beauty, my daughter, the only parent of which is order itself_."

This passage, like a proffered dish full of rare fruit, tempts the
metaphysical appetite by the wealth and variety of its appeal; but
not to weary the reader, the author will content himself by the
abstraction of a single plum. The plum in question is simply this
(and the reader is asked to read the quotation carefully again): may
not every act, incident, circumstance in a human life be the
"uncoiling" of a karmic aggregate? This coil of life may be thought
of most conveniently in this connection as the _character_ of the
person, a character built up, or "successively introduced" in
antecedent lives. The sequence of events resultant on its "unwinding"
would be the destiny of the person--a destiny determined, necessarily,
by past action. This concept gives a new and more eloquent meaning
to the phrase "Character is destiny." If we carry our thought no
further, we are plunged into the slough of determinism--sheer
fatality. But in each reincarnation, however predetermined every act
and event, their reaction upon consciousness remains a matter of
determination--is therefore _self_-determined. We may not control
the event, but our acceptance of it we may control. Moreover, each
"unwinding" of the karmic coil takes place in a new environment, in a
world more highly organized by reason of the play upon it of the
collective consciousness of mankind. Though the same individual
again and again intersects the stream of mundane experience, it is an
evolving ego and an augmenting stream. Therefore each life of a
given series forms a different, a more intricate, and a more amazing
pattern: in each the thread is drawn from nearer the central energy,
which is divine, and so shows forth more of the coiled power within
the soul.



The greatest largess to the mind which higher thought brings is the
conviction of a transcendent existence. Though we do not know the
nature of this existence, except obscurely, we are assured of its
reality and of its immanence, through a growing sense that all that
happens to us is simply our relation to it.

In our ant-like efforts to attain to some idea of the nature of this
transcendent reality, let us next avail ourselves of the help
afforded by the artist and the man of genius, too troubled by the
flesh for perfect clarity of vision, too troubled by the spirit not
to attempt to render or record the Pisgah-glimpses of the
world-order now and then vouchsafed. For the genius stands midway
between man and Beyond-man: in Nietzsche's phrase, "Man is a bridge
and not a goal."

Of all the writers on the subject of genius, Schopenhauer is the
most illuminating, perhaps because he suffered from it so. According
to him, the essence of genius lies in the perfection and energy of
its _perceptions_. Schopenhauer says, "He who is endowed with talent
thinks more quickly and more correctly than others; but the genius
beholds another world from them all, although only because he has a
more profound perception of the world which lies before them also,
in that it presents itself in his mind more objectively, and
consequently in greater purity and distinctness." This profounder
perception arises from his detachment: his intellect has to a
certain extent freed itself from the service of his will, and leads
an independent life. So long as the intellect is in the service of
the will, that which has no relation to the will does not exist for
the intellect; but along with this partial severance of the two
there comes a new power of perception, synthetic in its nature, a
complex of relationships not reproducible in _linear_ thought, for
the mind is oriented simultaneously in _many_ different directions.
Of this order of perception the well-known case of Mozart is a
classic example. He is reported to have said of his manner of
composing, "I can see the whole of it in my mind at a single glance ...
in which way I do not hear it in my imagination at all as
succession--the way it comes later--but all at once, as it were. It
is a rare feast! all the inventing and making goes on in me as in a
beautiful strong dream."


The inspirations of genius come from a failure of attention to life,
which, all paradoxically, brings vision--the power to see life
clearly and "see it whole." Consciousness, unconditioned by time,
"in a beautiful strong dream," awakens to the perception of a world
that is timeless. It brings thence some immortelle whose power of
survival establishes the authenticity of the inspiration. However
local and personal any masterpiece may be, it escapes by some potent
magic all geographical and temporal categories, and appears always
new-born from a sphere in which such categories do not exist.

No writer was more of his period than Shakespeare, yet how
contemporary he seems to each succeeding generation. Leonardo, in a
perfect portrait, showed forth the face of a subtle, sensuous, and
mocking spirit, against a background of wild rocks. It represents
not alone the soul-phase of the later Renaissance, but of every
individual and of every civilization which on life's dangerous and
orgiastic substratum has reared a mere garden of delight. Living
hearts throb to the music penned by the dead hand of Mozart and of
Beethoven; the clownings of Aristophanes arouse laughter in our
music halls; Euripides is as subtle and world-weary as any modern;
the philosophies of Parminides and Heraclitus are recrudescent in that
of Bergson; and Plato discusses higher space under a different name.


The second characteristic of works of genius is their indifference
to all man-made moral standards. They are beyond all that goes by
the name of good and evil, in that the two are used indifferently
for the furtherance of a purely aesthetic end. The Beyond-man
discovers beauty in the abyss, and ugliness in mere worldly rectitude.
Leonardo painted the Medusa head, with its charnel pallor and its
crown of writhing snakes, no less lovingly than the sweet-tender
face of the Christ of the Cenacolo, and the beauty is not less,
though of an opposite sort. Shakespeare's most profound sayings and
most magical poetry are as often as not put in the mouths of his
villains and his clowns. To genius, pain is purgation; ugliness,
beauty in disturbance. It injects the acid of irony into success,
and distils the attar of felicity from failure. It teaches that the
blows of fate are aimed, not at us, but at our fetters; that death
is swallowed up in victory, that the Hound of Heaven is none other
than the Love of God.

Though genius rebels at our moralities, it always submits itself to
beauty. Emerson says, "Goethe and Carlyle, and perhaps Novalis, have
an undisguised dislike or contempt for common virtue standing on
common principles. Meantime they are dear lovers, steadfast
maintainers of the pure, ideal morality. But they worship it as the
highest beauty, their love is artistic." And so it is throughout the
whole hierarchy of men of genius. "Beauty is Truth: Truth, Beauty,"
is the motto which guides their far-faring feet, as they lead us
wheresoever they will. With Victor Hugo, we follow, undisgusted,
through the sewers of old Paris: his sense of beauty disinfects them
for us. With Balzac and Tolstoy we gaze unrevolted upon the
nethermost depths of human depravity, discerning moral beauty even
there; while with Virgil, Dante and Milton, we walk unscathed in
Hell itself. The _terribilita_ of Michaelangelo, the chaos and
anarchy of Shakespeare at his greatest, as in Lear--these find
expression in perfect rhythms, so potent that we recognize them as
proceeding from a supernal beauty, the beauty of that soul "from
which also cometh the life of man and of beast, and of the birds of
the air and of the fishes of the sea."


"Unknown,--albeit lying near,--
To men the path to the Daemon sphere."

But to men of genius--"Minions of the Morning Star"--the path is not
unknown, and for this reason the daemonic element constantly shows
itself in their works and in their lives. Dante, Cellini, Goethe,
three men as unlike in the nature of their several gifts and in
their temperaments as could easily be named together, are drawn to a
common likeness through the daemonic gleam which plays and hovers
over them at times. With William Blake it was a flame that wrapped
him round. Today no one knows how Brunelleschi was able to construct
his great dome without centering, nor how Michaelangelo could limn
his terrible figures on the wet plaster of the Sistine vault with
such extraordinary swiftness and skill; but we have their testimony
that they invoked and received divine aid. Shakespeare, the
master-magician, is silent on this point of supernatural
assistance--as on all points--except as his plays speak for him;
but how eloquently they speak! "The Tempest" is made up of the
daemonic; the murky tragedy of "Macbeth" unfolds under the guidance
of incarnate forces of evil which drive the hero to his doom and
final deliverance in death: Hamlet sees and communes with the ghost
of his father; in short, the supernatural is as much a part of these
plays as salt is part of the ocean. If from any masterpiece we could
abstract everything not strictly rational--every element of wonder,
mystery, and enchantment--it would be like taking all of the unknown
quantities out of an equation: there would be nothing left to solve.
The mind of genius is a wireless station attuned to the vibrations
from the daemonic sphere; the works of genius fascinate and delight
us largely for this reason: we, too, respond to these vibrations and
are demonologists in our secret hearts.

For the interest which we take in genius has its root in the
interest which we take in ourselves. Genius but utters experiences
common to us all, records perceptions of a world-order which we too
have glimpsed. Love, hope, pain, sorrow, disappointment, often
effect that momentary purgation which enables consciousness to
function independently of the tyrant will. These hours have for us a
noetic value--"some veil did fall"--revealing visions remembered
even unto the hour of death.


That "failure of attention to life" which begets inspiration in the
man of genius comes, indeed, daily to every one, but without his
being able to profit by it. For what is sleep but a failure of
attention to life--so complete a failure that memory brings back
nothing save that little caught in the net of dreams--yet even this
little is so charged with creative energy as to give rise to the
saying that every man is a genius in his dreams.

Death also is a failure of attention to life, the greatest that we
know, and poorest therefore in plunder from supernatural realms.
Nevertheless reports of persons who have narrowly escaped death give
evidence at least that to those emancipated by death, life, viewed
from some higher region of space, is perceived as a unity. When a
man is brought face to face with death, the events of life pass
before the mind's eye in an instant, and he comes from such an
experience not only with deeper insight into himself, but into the
meaning and purpose of life also. The faces of the dead, those
parchments where are written the last testament of the departed
spirit, bear an expression of solemn peace, sometimes of joy,
sometimes of wonder: terror and agony are seldom written there, save
when the fatal change comes in some painful or unnatural way.


Inspiration, dreams, visions at the moment of death--these things we
say are _irrational_, and so in a sense they are. Bergson has
compared the play of reason upon phenomena to the action of a
cinematograph machine which reproduces the effect of motion by
flashing upon the screen a correlated series of _fixed_ images. In
like manner the reason dissects the flux of life and presents it to
consciousness part by part, but never as a whole. In supernormal
states however we may assume that with the breakdown of some barrier
life flows in like a tidal wave, paralyzing the reason, and
therefore presenting itself in an irrational manner to consciousness.
Were reason equal to the strain put upon it under these circumstances,
in what light might the phantasmagoria of human life appear? Might
it not be perceived as a representation, merely, of a supernal world,
higher-dimensional in relation to our own? Just as a moving picture
shows us the round and living bodies of men and women as flat
images on a plane, enacting there some mimic drama, so on the
three-dimensional screen of the world men and women engaged in
unfolding the drama of personal life may be but the images of souls
enacting, on higher planes of being, the drama of their own salvation.
The reluctance of the American aborigine to be photographed is said
to have been due to his belief that something of his personality,
his human potency, went into the image, leaving him by so much the
poorer from that time forth. Suppose such indeed to be the case:
that the flat-man on the moving picture screen leads his little life
of thought and emotion, related to the mental and emotional life of
the living original as the body is related to its photographic
counterpart. In similar manner the potencies of the higher self, the
dweller in higher spaces, may flow into and express themselves in and
through us. We may be images in a world of images; our thoughts
shadows of archetypal ideas, our acts a shadow-play upon the
luminous screen of material existence, revealing there, however
imperfectly, the moods and movements of a higher self in a higher

The saying, "All the world's a stage," may be true in a sense
Shakespeare never intended. It formulates, in effect, the oldest of
all philosophical doctrines, that contained in the Upanishads of
Brahma, the Enjoyer, who takes the form of a mechanically perfect
universe in order to read his own law with eyes of his own creation.
"He thought: 'Shall I send forth worlds?' He sent forth these worlds."
To the question, "What worlds?" the Higher Space Hypothesis makes
answer, "Dimensional systems, from lowest to highest, each one a
_representation_ of the one next above, where it stands _dramatized_,
as it were. This is the play of Brahm; endlessly to dissever, in
time and space, and to unite in consciousness, like the geometrician
who discovers every ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola, in the cone
where all inhere."

The particular act of the drama of unfolding consciousness upon
which the curtain is now upfurled is that wherein we discover the
world to be indeed a stage, a playground for forces masquerading as
forms: "they have their exits and their entrances," or, as expressed
in the Upanishads, "All that goes hence (dies on earth) heaven
consumes it all; and all that goes thence (returns from heaven to a
new life) the earth consumes it all."



A surgeon once remarked to the author that among his professional
associates he had noticed an increasing awareness of the invisible.
This he claimed was manifest in the fact that the young men educated
since the rise of bacteriological science were more punctilious in
the matter of extreme personal cleanliness and the sterilization of
their instruments than the older and often more accomplished
surgeons whose habits in these matters had been formed before the
general sense of an _invisible_ menace had become acute.

This anecdote well illustrates the unconscious reaction of new
concepts upon conduct. Preoccupation with the problems of space
hyper-dimensionality cannot fail to produce profound changes in our
ethical outlook upon life and in our attitude towards our fellow
beings. The nature of these changes it is not difficult to forecast.

Although higher-space thought makes painfully clear our limitations,
it nevertheless leads to the perception that these very limitations
are inhibited powers. In this way it supplies us with a workable
method whereby we may enter that transcendental world of which we
glimpse so many vistas. This method consists in first becoming aware
of a limitation, and then in forcing ourselves to dramatize the
experience that would be ours if the limitation did not affect us.
We then discover in ourselves a power for transcending the limitation,
and presently we come to live in the new mode as easily as in the old.
Thought, conscious of its own limitations, leads to the New Freedom.
"Become what thou art!" is the maxim engraved upon the lintel of
this new Temple of Initiation.


Higher-space speculation is an education in _selflessness_, for it
demands the elimination of what Hinton calls _self-elements_ of
observation. The diurnal motion of the sun is an example of a
self-element: it has nothing to do with the sun but everything to do
with the observer. The Ptolemaic system founded on this illusion
tyrannized over the human mind for centuries, but who knows of how
many other illusions we continue to be victims--for the worst of a
self-element is that its presence is never dreamed of until it is
done away with. The Theory of Relativity presents us with an effort
to get rid of the self-element in regard to space and time. A
self-centered man cannot do full justice to this theory: it requires
of the mind a certain detachment, and the idea becomes clear in
proportion as this detachment, this selflessness, is attained.

So while it would be too much to claim that higher thought makes men
unselfish, it at least cracks the hard shell in which their
selfishness abides. If a man disciplines himself to abdicate his
personal point of view in thinking about the world he lives in, it
makes easier a similar attitude in relation to his fellow men.


One of the earliest effects of selfless thought is the exorcism of
all arrogance. The effort to dramatize the relation of an earthworm
to its environment makes us recognize that its predicament is our own,
different only in degree. We are exercising ourselves in humility
and meekness, but of a sort leading to a mastery that may well make
the meek the inheritors of the earth. Hinton was himself so meek a
man that his desire did not rise to the height of expecting or
looking for the beautiful or the good: he simply asked for something
to know. He despaired of knowing anything definitely and certainly
except arrangements in space. We have his testimony as to how
abundantly this hunger and thirst after that right knowledge which
is righteousness was gratified. "All I want to do," he says,
"is to make this humble beginning of knowledge and show how
inevitably, by devotion to it, it leads to marvellous and
far-distant truths, and how, by strange paths, it leads directly
into the presence of some of the highest conceptions which great
minds have given us."

Here speaks the blessed man referred to by the psalmist, "Whose
delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate
day and night." Abandoning a vain search after abstractions, and
applying his simple formula to life, Hinton found that it enabled
him to express the faith in his heart in terms conformable to reason;
that it led back to, and illumined the teachings of every spiritual
instructor and inspirer of mankind.


That we are all members of one body, branches of one vine, is a
matter of faith and of feeling; but with the first use of the weapon
of higher thought the paradox of the one and the many is capable of
so clear and simple a resolution that the sublime idea of human
solidarity is brought down from the nebulous heaven of the mystic to
the earth of every day life. To our ordinary space-thought, men are
isolated, distinct, each "an infinitely repellent particle," but we
conceive of space too narrowly. The broader view admits the idea
that men are related by reason of a superior union, that their
isolation is but an affair of limited consciousness. Applying this
concept to conduct, we come to discern a literal truth in the words
of the Master, "He who hath done it unto the least of these my
children, hath done it unto me," and "Where two or three are
gathered together in my name." If we conceive of each individual as a
"slice" or cross-section of a higher being, each fragment isolated
by an inhibition of consciousness which it is moment by moment
engaged in transcending, the sacrifice of the Logos takes on a new
meaning. This disseverance into millions of human beings is that
each may realize God in himself. Conceiving of humanity as God's
broken body, we are driven to make peace among its members, and by
realization we become the Children of God.


"_Blessed are the meek," "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst
after righteousness." "Blessed are the peacemakers_." It would not
be impossible to trace a relation between higher space thought and
the other beatitudes also, but it will suffice simply to note the
fact that the central and essential teaching of the Sermon on the
Mount, "Let your light shine before men" is implicit in the
conviction of every one who thinks on higher space: he must _live
openly_. By continual dwelling upon the predicament of the flat-man,
naked, as it were, to observation from an eye which looks down upon
his plane, we come to realize our own exposure. In that large world
all that we think, or do, or imagine, lies open, palpable; there is
no such thing as secrecy. Imbued with this idea, we begin to live
openly because we must; but soon we come to do so because we desire
it. In making toward one another our limited lives open and manifest,
we treat each other in the service of truth as though we were all
members of that higher world. We imitate, in our world, our true
existence in a higher world, and so help to establish heavenly
conditions upon earth.


The problem of ugliness and evil would seem at first thought to be
totally unrelated to the subject of space hyperdimensionality, but
there is at least a symbolical relation. This was suggested to the
author by the endeavor of two friends whose interests were
pre-eminently mathematical to discover what certain four-dimensional
figures would look like in three-dimensional space. They found
that in a great number of cases these cross-sections, when
thus isolated, revealed little of the symmetry and beauty of their
higher-dimensional archetypes. It is clear that a beautiful form of
our world, traversing a plane, would show nothing of its beauty to
the planeman, who lacked the power of perceiving it entire; for the
sense of beauty is largely a matter of co-ordination. We give the
names of evil, chance, fate, ugliness, to those aspects of life and
of the world that we fail to perceive in their true relations, in
regard to which our power of correlation breaks down. Yet we often
find that in the light of fuller knowledge or subsequent experience,
the fortune which seemed evil was really good fortune in the making,
that the chance act or encounter was too momentous in its
consequences to be regarded as other than ordained.

The self-element plays a large part in our idea of good and evil,
ugliness and beauty. "All things are as they seem to all." Desire of
her will make any woman beautiful, and fear will exercise an absolute
inhibition upon the aesthetic sense. As we recede in time from events,
they more and more emancipate themselves from the tyranny of our
personal prejudices and predilections, and we are able to perceive
them with greater clarity, more as they appear from the standpoint
of higher time and higher space. "Old, unhappy, far-off things, and
battles long ago" lose their poignancy of pain and take on the
poignancy of beauty. The memory of suffering endured is often the
last thing from which we would be parted, while humdrum happiness we
are quite willing to forget. Because we realize completely only in
retrospect, it may well be that the present exists chiefly for the
sake of the future. Then let the days come with veiled faces, accept
their gifts whose value we are so little able to appraise! There is
a profound and practical truth in Christ's saying, "Resist not evil."
Honor this truth by use, and welcome destiny in however sinister a


In the fact of the limited nature of our space perceptions is found
a connecting link between materialism and idealism. For, passing
deeper and deeper in our observation of the material world, that
which we at first felt as real passes away to become but the outward
sign of a reality infinitely greater, of which our realities are
appearances only, and we become convinced of the existence of
_an immanent divine._ "In Him we live and move and have our being."
Our space is but a limitation of infinite "room to move about":
"_In my Father's house are many mansions_." Our time is but a
limitation of infinite duration: "_Before Abraham was, I am_." Our
sense of space is the consciousness that we abide in Him; our sense
of time is the consciousness that He abides in us. Both are modes of
apprehension of divinity--growing, expanding modes. In conceiving of
a space of more than three dimensions we prove that our relation to
God is not static, but dynamic. Christ said to the man who was sick
of the palsy, "Rise, take up thy bed and walk." The narrow concept
of three-dimensional space is a bed in which the human mind has lain
so long as to become at last inanimate. The divine voice calls to us
again to demonstrate that we are alive. Thinking in terms of the
higher we issue from the tomb of materialism into the sunlight of
that sane and life-giving idealism which is Christ's.

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