maurice nicoll - living time
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DESCRIPTIONfour chapter from this book
1 __ -
'...containingsomeof the mostsignificantwritingof OUrtime...'
DIOGENES in TimeandTide
'It is a work in which intellect and emotionarejustlybalanced.'
'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,
Also by MauriceNicoll: The New Man andTheMarkavailablefromEurekaEditions --
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1952- REPUBLISHED IN 1998EUREKA EDITIONS - THE NETHERLANDS
AND THE INTEGRATIONOF THE LIFE
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FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1952BY VINCENT STUART PUBLISHERS LTD
REPUBLISHED IN 1998BY EUREKA EDITIONS
COPYRlGHT 1998EUREKA EDITIONS /ISOBEL SALOLE
All rightsreserved.No partof thispublicationmaybe repro-duced,storedin a retrievalsystem,ortransmittedin anyformorby anymeans,electronic,mechanical,photo-copying,recordingorotherwise,withoutthepriorpermissionofEurekaEditions.
INVISIBILITY OF ONESELF 3
QUALITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS 27
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF REALITY IN MANAND THE UNIVERSE
PASSING-TIME AND TIME ITSELF 90
THE LIFE IN LIVING-TIME 116
ETERNITY AND THE RECURRENCE OF LIFE 165
RECURRENCE IN THE SAME TIME 185
TWO PSYCHOLOGICAL SYSTEMS IN MAN 214
CREATION OF NOW 252
THE INTEGRATION OF THE LIFE 277
ThedrawingofApophisin themysticcelestialoceanbetweenthegoddessesIsis and Nephthys,on thetitlepage,is reproducedfrom The journal of The Transactionsof THE VICTORlAINSTITUTE, vol.vi, 1873.
And in thisclover-scentedairSlipthroughimprisoningTime
ShaltthouescapefromTime.Thou wilt returnagain
And yetagainTill thouhastpaid
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
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.
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
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
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