Thursday, July 27, 2006

#56



Hold on to your hats with this one. P. D. Ouspensky begins with a problem proposed by Kant--that 'space' and 'time' are simply constructs of consciousness--and runs with it. Boiled down to its barest argument, Tertium Organum suggests that the world we perceive is an artificiality; we cannot perceive the world as it is because our perception is self-limited. Lots of analogies about how two-dimensional beings would perceive three-dimensional objects passing through planes lead Ouspensky to suggest that we fail to understand what we see. His answer? What we perceive as 'time' is actually the movement of fourth-dimensional objects through our plane of existence. It is possible according to Ouspensky to achieve the consciousness required to understand the 'realm of causes,' because the technology exists in our mystical traditions going back millenia. The Fall of Adam and Eve actually marked the imprisonment in Matter of Spirit. We can liberate ourselves with proper training and devotion.

Elaborate bullshit or the key to higher consciousness? Doesn't matter to me so long as it entertains. I loved it. Any book capable of rationally marshalling disparate figures like Hegel, William James, Lao Tzu, Madame Blavatsky, Jacob Boehme, Sufi mystics, the Mahabarata, Plato, and Plotinus can't help but challenge a three-brained being.

7 comments:

Nick said...

This looks great. Foucault's Pendulum was a very nice read--thanks for that idea. Now on American Prometheus and Food We Eat. Castle Waiting and My Uncle Oswald were known quantities but still great to read. Later!

geoff said...

Liked the Lovecraftian devolution at the end of FP. That book is a lotta fun.

I read a review of American Prometheus recently--in the NYRB perhaps? Sounds excellent.

Still a Dahl virgin...

Nick said...

But the Lovecraftian elements were minor and the book did not end there. It had me fooled and the sentiment was righteous!

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