maurice nicoll - living time

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  • 1 __ -

    '...containingsomeof the mostsignificantwritingof OUrtime...'

    DIOGENES in TimeandTide

    'It is a work in which intellect and emotionarejustlybalanced.'

    SPECTATOR

    'This book is throughouta triumph of clarityandgoodwriting.'

    TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

    'This is oneof thoserarebookswhichmayhavea lastingeffecton the reader'sthinking andgivenewmeaningtotheuniverse,to himselfandto humanlifein general.'

    KENNETH WALKER in SundayTimes

    "'"

    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,

    PsychologicalCommentariesontheTeachingofG.I.Gurdjieff andP'D.Ouspensky.

    Also by MauriceNicoll: The New Man andTheMarkavailablefromEurekaEditions --

    FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1952- REPUBLISHED IN 1998EUREKA EDITIONS - THE NETHERLANDS

    AND THE INTEGRATIONOF THE LIFE

    MauriceNicoll

  • I "~" .

    FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1952BY VINCENT STUART PUBLISHERS LTD

    REPUBLISHED IN 1998BY EUREKA EDITIONS

    bythesameauthor

    DreamPsychology

    TheNewMan

    TheMark

    PsychologicalCommentariesontheTeachingof

    GurdjieffandOuspensky

    SelectionsfromMeetingsin 1953

    SimpleExplanationofWorkIdeas

    COPYRlGHT 1998EUREKA EDITIONS /ISOBEL SALOLE

    ISBN 9072395166

    All rightsreserved.No partof thispublicationmaybe repro-duced,storedin a retrievalsystem,ortransmittedin anyformorby anymeans,electronic,mechanical,photo-copying,recordingorotherwise,withoutthepriorpermissionofEurekaEditions.

    CONTENTS

    IntroductoryNote

    1

    I

    INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF 3

    II

    QUALITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS 27

    III

    DIFFERENT LEVELS OF REALITY IN MANAND THE UNIVERSE

    58

    IV

    PASSING-TIME AND TIME ITSELF 90

    V

    THE LIFE IN LIVING-TIME 116

    VI

    AEON 139

    VII

    ETERNITY AND THE RECURRENCE OF LIFE 165

    VIII

    RECURRENCE IN THE SAME TIME 185

    IX

    TWO PSYCHOLOGICAL SYSTEMS IN MAN 214

    X

    CREATION OF NOW 252

    XI

    RELATIONSHIP 266

    XII

    THE INTEGRATION OF THE LIFE 277

    Bibliography

    287

    Index

    289

    ThedrawingofApophisin themysticcelestialoceanbetweenthegoddessesIsis and Nephthys,on thetitlepage,is reproducedfrom The journal of The Transactionsof THE VICTORlAINSTITUTE, vol.vi, 1873.

  • GivemeNepentheWith thelullingeyes

    Toshutawaytheworld!Tosleep,todream,

    And in thisclover-scentedairSlipthroughimprisoningTime

    And findmySpiritfree!Alas,notthus

    ShaltthouescapefromTime.Thou wilt returnagain

    And yetagainTill thouhastpaid

    Theuttermostfarthing.Didst thounotknow

    Timeisadebtor'sprison?Whom dostthouowe?

    OwenotNepenthe.

    INTRODUCTORY NOTE

    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.

    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.

    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.

    In the followingpagesa numberof quotations,notes,andobservationshavebeenbroughttogetherthatreferinthemainto theinvisiblesideof things.How canwebegin

    1

  • I F

    LIVING TIME

    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.

    The meaningof eternity,aboutwhich we havereallyerroneousnotions,comesunderconsideration,andfinallytheideaoftherecurrenceofthelifeisreviewed.

    It is necessaryto beginwith a generalapproachwhichtakesinto reviewsomeofourordinary'notionsofthings',as derivedfrom the world that is shownto us by oursenses.In this connectionsomereflectionsabout thevisibleandinvisiblesideofpeoplemustbefirstmade.

    2

    J _

    Cl

  • ~T1

    CHAPTER ONE

    INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF

    WE CAN ALL SEEanotherperson'sbodydirectly.Weseethelipsmoving,theeyesopeningandshutting,thelinesof themouthandfacechanging,andthebodyexpressingitselfasawholein action.Thepersonhimselfisinvisible.

    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.

    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.

    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

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  • LIVING TIME

    signalsbeingmisinterpreted.Also, asoftenasnot,wedonot exactly know what it is we are trying tocommunicate.Finally,nearlyeverythingof importancecannotbeexpressed.

    But in ageneralsenseit is becausewecommunicatesobadlyandbecauseotherpeopleunderstandoursignalsintheir way, adding their own thoughtsand feelingstothem,thataninexhaustiblesupplyof misunderstandingsand unhappinessesarise.This is seeingthematterfromonepointofview,for if ourinvisiblesideweremoreeasilydemonstratedtoothers,newdifficultieswouldarise.

    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

    They mayor may not betray their existence.Theyusuallydosomuchmorethanwebelieveforwearebothmuch more and much lessobviousto othersthan wesuppose.But all theseinnerstates,moods,thoughts,ete.,arein themselvesinvisibleandall thatweseeof theminanotheristhroughtheirexpressioninmuscularmovement.

    No oneeverseesthought.No oneknowswhatwe arethinking. We imaginewe know other people,and alltheseimaginationswehaveof eachotherformaworldoffictitiouspeople,thatloveandhate.

    It is impossibleformeto saythatI knowanybody,andit isequallyimpossibletosaythatanybodyknowsme.Forwhile I see all your bodily movementsand outwardappearancessoeasilyandhaveahundredthousandvisualimpressionsof you that do not existin your mind, and

    4

    INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF

    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

    We arethus like two systemsof levers,oneworkingwith all theadvantagein onedirection,theotherwith alltheadvantagein theotherdirection.

    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.

    The reasonwhy we do not graspit is becauseit is anidea.In thisbook,whichisaboutoneor two ideas,I meanby the termsomethingwhich hasthepowerof alteringourstandpointandchangingoursenseof

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