Maurice Nicoll - Living Time

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<ul><li><p>1 __ -</p><p>'...containingsomeof the mostsignificantwritingof OUrtime...'</p><p>DIOGENES in TimeandTide</p><p>'It is a work in which intellect and emotionarejustlybalanced.'</p><p>SPECTATOR</p><p>'This book is throughouta triumph of clarityandgoodwriting.'</p><p>TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT</p><p>'This is oneof thoserarebookswhichmayhavea lastingeffecton the reader'sthinking andgivenewmeaningtotheuniverse,to himselfandto humanlifein general.'</p><p>KENNETH WALKER in SundayTimes</p><p>"'"</p><p>One of the leading British psychologistsof his time,MauriceNicoll (1884-1953)wasa studentofC.G.]ung,G.I.Gurdjieff and P.D.Ouspensky. At Ouspensky'srequest,he devotedthe last twenty yearsof his life topassingon the ideashe had receivedfrom his teachers.This devotion culminated in a five-volume work,</p><p>PsychologicalCommentariesontheTeachingofG.I.Gurdjieff andP'D.Ouspensky.</p><p>Also by MauriceNicoll: The New Man andTheMarkavailablefromEurekaEditions --</p><p>FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1952- REPUBLISHED IN 1998EUREKA EDITIONS - THE NETHERLANDS</p><p>AND THE INTEGRATIONOF THE LIFE</p><p>MauriceNicoll</p></li><li><p>I "~" .</p><p>FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1952BY VINCENT STUART PUBLISHERS LTD</p><p>REPUBLISHED IN 1998BY EUREKA EDITIONS</p><p>bythesameauthor</p><p>DreamPsychology</p><p>TheNewMan</p><p>TheMark</p><p>PsychologicalCommentariesontheTeachingof</p><p>GurdjieffandOuspensky</p><p>SelectionsfromMeetingsin 1953</p><p>SimpleExplanationofWorkIdeas</p><p>COPYRlGHT 1998EUREKA EDITIONS /ISOBEL SALOLE</p><p>ISBN 9072395166</p><p>All rightsreserved.No partof thispublicationmaybe repro-duced,storedin a retrievalsystem,ortransmittedin anyformorby anymeans,electronic,mechanical,photo-copying,recordingorotherwise,withoutthepriorpermissionofEurekaEditions.</p><p>CONTENTS</p><p>IntroductoryNote</p><p>1</p><p>I</p><p>INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF 3</p><p>II</p><p>QUALITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS 27</p><p>III</p><p>DIFFERENT LEVELS OF REALITY IN MANAND THE UNIVERSE</p><p>58</p><p>IV</p><p>PASSING-TIME AND TIME ITSELF 90</p><p>V</p><p>THE LIFE IN LIVING-TIME 116</p><p>VI</p><p>AEON 139</p><p>VII</p><p>ETERNITY AND THE RECURRENCE OF LIFE 165</p><p>VIII</p><p>RECURRENCE IN THE SAME TIME 185</p><p>IX</p><p>TWO PSYCHOLOGICAL SYSTEMS IN MAN 214</p><p>X</p><p>CREATION OF NOW 252</p><p>XI</p><p>RELATIONSHIP 266</p><p>XII</p><p>THE INTEGRATION OF THE LIFE 277</p><p>Bibliography</p><p>287</p><p>Index</p><p>289</p><p>ThedrawingofApophisin themysticcelestialoceanbetweenthegoddessesIsis and Nephthys,on thetitlepage,is reproducedfrom The journal of The Transactionsof THE VICTORlAINSTITUTE, vol.vi, 1873.</p></li><li><p>GivemeNepentheWith thelullingeyes</p><p>Toshutawaytheworld!Tosleep,todream,</p><p>And in thisclover-scentedairSlipthroughimprisoningTime</p><p>And findmySpiritfree!Alas,notthus</p><p>ShaltthouescapefromTime.Thou wilt returnagain</p><p>And yetagainTill thouhastpaid</p><p>Theuttermostfarthing.Didst thounotknow</p><p>Timeisadebtor'sprison?Whom dostthouowe?</p><p>OwenotNepenthe.</p><p>INTRODUCTORY NOTE</p><p>PLATO SAYS thattobecomeaspectatorofTimeisacureformeannessof soul. We live in a narrow reality,partlyconditionedby our form of perceptionandpartly madeby opinionsthat we haveborrowed,to which our self-esteemisfastened.Wefight forouropinions,notbecausewe believethem but becausetheyinvolvethe ordinaryfeelingof oneselfThough we arecontinuallybeinghurtowingto thenarrownessoftherealityin whichwedwell,we blamelife, and do not seethe necessityof findingabsolutelynewstandpoints.</p><p>All ideasthathavea transformingpowerchangeoursense of reality. They act like ferments. But theynecessarilyleadus in thedirectionof affirmation.To seemorewholly,morecomprehensively,requiresaffirmation,anassentto theexistenceof newtruth. If thereis buriedin us the senseof truth, we must admit that thereis agreat deal superficialto it that fights againstit. It isalwaysmucheasiertodenythantoaffirm.</p><p>One reasonfor this is that thesoul is turnedtowardsthesenses,whileideasareinternallyperceivedasdistinctfromtheinrushof outerthings,andif thereis no feelingof theseparatenessof one'sexistence,nosenseof essentialinvisibility,and no effort madein this direction,it isunlikely that we will ever be aware of them. Platodescribedtwo godsor rulingpowers,oneouterandoneinner.Under the powerof the outer,the soul is tossedaboutin everydirectionand is like a drunkard.Turnedtowardstheworldofideas,shebeginstobecomesaneandtoremember.</p><p>In the followingpagesa numberof quotations,notes,andobservationshavebeenbroughttogetherthatreferinthemainto theinvisiblesideof things.How canwebegin</p><p>1</p></li><li><p>I F</p><p>LIVING TIME</p><p>to understandthe'invisible'?The invisiblenatureofmanandthecorrespondinginvisiblesideof theworldareheredealtwith from the standpointof dimensions(not takenmathematically)andalsofrom therelatedstandpointofhigher levels of consciousness.The question of a newunderstandingofTime,andof whatthelife meansin thelightof thisunderstanding,isdiscussed.Thepossibilityofa changein the time-sense,with a changedfeelingofoneself,entersintothisquestion.</p><p>The meaningof eternity,aboutwhich we havereallyerroneousnotions,comesunderconsideration,andfinallytheideaoftherecurrenceofthelifeisreviewed.</p><p>It is necessaryto beginwith a generalapproachwhichtakesinto reviewsomeofourordinary'notionsofthings',as derivedfrom the world that is shownto us by oursenses.In this connectionsomereflectionsabout thevisibleandinvisiblesideofpeoplemustbefirstmade.</p><p>2</p><p>J _</p><p>Cl</p></li><li><p>~T1</p><p>CHAPTER ONE</p><p>INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF</p><p>WE CAN ALL SEEanotherperson'sbodydirectly.Weseethelipsmoving,theeyesopeningandshutting,thelinesof themouthandfacechanging,andthebodyexpressingitselfasawholein action.Thepersonhimselfisinvisible.</p><p>We seetheoutsideof apersonmuchmorecomprehen-sively than the personcan himself.He does not seehimselfin action,andif he looksin a mirrorhechangespsychologicallyandbeginsto inventhimself.He appearsverydistinctandvisible,verydefiniteandcleartoeyeandtouch,althoughhe is not so to himself.We aredistinctandclearto him, appearingto haveaveryrealandsolidexistence,but to ourselvesit doesnot seemthatwe havethisrealandsolidexistence.</p><p>Becauseweseethevisiblesideofpeopleplainlyandtheyseeoursplainly,we all appearmuchmoredefiniteto oneanotherthan we do to ourselves.If the invisiblesideofpeoplewerediscernedaseasilyasthevisibleside,wewouldlivein a newhumanity.As weare,we liveinvisiblehuma-nity,ahumanityof appearances.In consequence,anextra-ordinarynumberofmisunderstandingsinevitablyexist.</p><p>Let usconsiderourmeansof communicationwith oneanother.They are limited to muscles,mainly to thesmallest.We signalby meansofmuscles,eitherin speechor gesture.To reach anotherperson, every thought,feeling,emotion,mustbetransmittedthroughmuscularmovementsandrenderedvisibleoraudibleor tangibleinthisway.Wecommunicatebadly,partlybecausewenevernoticehow we aredoing it, and partly becauseit is anextremelydifficultmatterto communicateanythingsavethe simplestobservations,without the dangerof our</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>LIVING TIME</p><p>signalsbeingmisinterpreted.Also, asoftenasnot,wedonot exactly know what it is we are trying tocommunicate.Finally,nearlyeverythingof importancecannotbeexpressed.</p><p>But in ageneralsenseit is becausewecommunicatesobadlyandbecauseotherpeopleunderstandoursignalsintheir way, adding their own thoughtsand feelingstothem,thataninexhaustiblesupplyof misunderstandingsand unhappinessesarise.This is seeingthematterfromonepointofview,for if ourinvisiblesideweremoreeasilydemonstratedtoothers,newdifficultieswouldarise.</p><p>Now allourthoughts,emotions,feelings,imaginations,reveries,dreams,fantasies,areinvisible.All thatbelongstoourscheming,planning,secrets,ambitions,allourhopes,fears,doubts,perplexities,all ouraffections,speculations,ponderings, vacuities, uncertainties,all our desires,longings, appetites, sensations,our likes, dislikes,aversions,attractions,lovesandhates- all arethemselvesinvisible.Theyconstitute'oneself</p><p>They mayor may not betray their existence.Theyusuallydosomuchmorethanwebelieveforwearebothmuch more and much lessobviousto othersthan wesuppose.But all theseinnerstates,moods,thoughts,ete.,arein themselvesinvisibleandall thatweseeof theminanotheristhroughtheirexpressioninmuscularmovement.</p><p>No oneeverseesthought.No oneknowswhatwe arethinking. We imaginewe know other people,and alltheseimaginationswehaveof eachotherformaworldoffictitiouspeople,thatloveandhate.</p><p>It is impossibleformeto saythatI knowanybody,andit isequallyimpossibletosaythatanybodyknowsme.Forwhile I see all your bodily movementsand outwardappearancessoeasilyandhaveahundredthousandvisualimpressionsof you that do not existin your mind, and</p><p>4</p><p>INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF</p><p>haveseenyouaspartof thelandscape,partof thehouse,partof thestreet,andhavea knowledgeof youthatyoualwayswishtoknowabout- whatimpressionyoumake,howyoulook- yetI cannotseeintoyouanddonotknowwhatyouare,andcanneverknow.And whileI havethisdir'ectaccessto yourvisibleside,to all your life asseen,you havedirectaccessto your invisibility- and to yourinvisibilityonlyyouhavethisdirectaccess,if youlearntouseit. I andeveryoneelsecanseeandhearyou.Thewholeworld might seeand hear you. But onlyyou can knowyourself</p><p>We arethus like two systemsof levers,oneworkingwith all theadvantagein onedirection,theotherwith alltheadvantagein theotherdirection.</p><p>Now to thereaderall this mayappearobvious,but Imust assurehim that it is not at all obvious.It is anextremelydifficultthingto graspandI will endeavourtoexplainwhy this is so. We do not grasp that we areinvisible.We do not realisethat we live in a world ofinvisiblepeople.We do notunderstandthat life, beforeallotherdefinitionsofit, isa dramaofthevisibleandinvisible.</p><p>The reasonwhy we do not graspit is becauseit is anidea.In thisbook,whichisaboutoneor two ideas,I meanby the termsomethingwhich hasthepowerof alteringourstandpointandchangingoursenseof things.An ideais,of course,invisibleandwemayneverhaveanyideasinthe sensethat I mean,throughoutour entireexistence.We think that only the visible world has reality andstructureand do not conceivethe possibilitythat thepsychologicalworld,or innerworld thatweknow asourthought,feeling,andimagination,mayhavealsoa realstructureandexistin its own 'space',althoughnot thatspacethatwearein touchwith throughoursense-organs.</p><p>5</p><p>~</p></li><li><p>~""""""~,"'i""""""---"""''''''~'''~~''_'h'''''''''''''''''''~''~'',J.""'.,".""' ...""""~,,,',,, .,.,'." .",.~,""="-" _</p><p>LIVING TIME</p><p>Into this innerspacemaycomeideas.They mayvisitthe mind. What we seethroughthe powerof an ideacannotbeseenwhenweareno longerin contactwith it.We know theexperienceof suddenlyseeingthe truth ofsomethingfor the first time. At suchmomentswe arealteredand if theypersistedwe would be permanentlyaltered.But they comeas flasheswith tracesof directknowledge,directcognition.</p><p>The descriptionof an idea is quitedifferentfrom thedirect cognitionof it. The one takestime, the other isinstantaneous.The descriptionof the ideathat we areinvisibleisquitedifferentfromtherealisationofit: onlyinthinking in different ways about this invisibility ofeverybodyandourselveswemayattracttheideasothatitilluminatesusdirectly.</p><p>Suchideasactdirectlyon thesubstanceof our livesasby achemicalcombination,andtheshockofcontactmaybesometimessogreatasactuallyto changea man'slifeandnot merelyalterhis understandingfor themoment.The preparationof ourselvesfor thepossibilitiesof newmeaning,which is more desirablethan anythingelse,sincemeaninglessnessis a disease,cannotbe separatedfromcontactwith ideasthathavetransformingpower.</p><p>Wecanthinkofanidea,in thissense,assomethingthatputsusin contactwith anotherdegreeof understandingandtakesusoutof innerroutineandthehabitualstateofindolenceof our consciousness- our usual 'reality'.'Wecannotunderstanddifferentlywithoutideas.</p><p>It iseasyenoughtosayinwordsthatweareinvisible,butjustaswesometimescatchthemeaning,forthefirsttime,ofacommonphrasethatwehaveoftenused,wemaycatchthemeaningof our invisibility,suddenly,if we repeatoftenenoughthesentence:I aminvisible.The realisationof one'sownseparateexistencebeginsatthispoint.</p><p>6</p><p>INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF</p><p>It is nota 'natural'idea,becauseit is not derivedfromsensoryexperienceorperceptiblefact.While weknow itin onesensealready,it is not distinct.We know a greatdeal,onlynotdistinctly,not authoritatively,throughtheinner perception of its truth. This half-discernedknowledgeatthebackofuscannot,I believe,bebroughtintofocussavethroughthepowerof ideas.For,ordinarily,what influencesus aboveeverythingis theouter,sense-given,visibleworldofappearances.</p><p>This great sensoryworld with its noise,colour andmovement,rushing in through the open channelsofsightandhearing,overwhelmsthe faintunderstanding.If I realisemy owninvisibility,andreachfora momentanewsenseof my own existence,I amthenextmomentlost in theeffectsof outerthings.I amawareonlyof thenoisesin the street,and I cannotreachthe experienceagain. I return again to my 'natural'mind to whicheverything perceptibleappeals, and for which theevidenceof the sensesis mainly the criterionof truth.Having experiencedsomething 'inner', I find myselfbackin the'outer',andthetruth thatwasdemonstratedto me directly, as internal truth, I can no longerdemonstrateto myselfwith my naturalreason,saveasatheoryorconception.</p><p>Now I would saythat all ideasthathavethepowerofalteringus andletting new meaninginto our lives areabout the invisible side of things and cannot bedemonstrateddirectly or reachedby reasoningalone.Becausethey relateto the invisiblesideof things theyare not approachedby reasoningaccording to theevidenceof the senses.Before coming to the idea ofTime with which this book is chiefly concernedandwhich can only be understoodby getting away fromappearancesandby thinking aboutthe 'invisibleworld'</p><p>7</p><p>J</p></li><li><p>~ .--., -</p><p>LIVING TIME</p><p>fromthestandpointof dimensions,we mustmakesomeeffortto graspthe invisibilityof ourselves.For I believethat we neverunderstandanythingaboutthe 'invisible'worldifwedonotgraspourowninvisibilityfirst.</p><p>This demandsa certainkind of effort,the natureofwhich is similar to the effort requiredto get somerealisationof the essentialinvisibilityand unknowable-nessof anotherperson.In thisconnectionI believethatwecanneverrealisetheexistenceofanotherpersonin anyreal way unless we realise our own existence.Therealisationof one'sown existence,asa realexperience,istherealisationofone'sessentialinvisibility.</p><p>Our usualsenseof existenceis derivedfrom external</p><p>things. We try to pressinto the visibleworld, to feelourselvesin somethingoutsideus,in money,possessions,clothes,position;togetoutofourselves.Wefeelthatwhatwe lack liesoutsideus, in theworld that our organsofsensedelineateto us.This is naturalbecausetheworldofsenseis obvious.We think, asit were,in termsof it, andtowardsit. Thesolutionofourdifficultiesseemsto liein it- in gettingsomething,in beinghonoured.Moreover,wedonotsupportevenahintofourinvisibilityeasilyanddonot reflectthatwhilewearerelatedtooneobviousworld,on one side,throughthe senses,we may be relatedtoanotherworld,onanotherside,notatallobvious,through'understanding'- to aworldwhichis justascomplexanddiverseastheworldgivenby sense,andwhichhasjustasmanydesirableandundesirableplacesin it.</p><p>Our bodiesstandin thevisibleworld. They standinthespaceofthreedimensions,accessibleto thesenseof sight</p><p>8</p><p>-</p><p>INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF</p><p>and of touch. Our bodies are themselvesthree-dimensional.They have length, height, and breadth.They are'solids'in space.But we ourselvesare not in thisworldofthreedimensions.</p><p>Our thoughts,for instance,arenot three-dimensionalsolids.One thoughtis not to the right or leftof anot...</p></li></ul>