Past and Future

A phenomenon is something that occurs in three-dimensional space interpreted with the fourth dimension seen serially as time.

Reality (noumenon) is motionless, ubiquitous, and permanent.

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If there were no memory there would be no Past. If there were no desire or fear there would be no Future. The Present, renewed every instant, alone would remain, and it would be eternity for there could be no Time.

In our existing condition we only know the Past and imagine the Future; the Present never exists for us - for it is always a memory before we are able to conceive it.

Have the Past and the Future any reality? We have every reason to ask. May the Past not be merely a trick of memory? May the Future not be only a fabrication for the fulfilment of desire? Can there be anything but an eternal Present?

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Our concept of Time, but not our percept, as of something in flux, is probably mistaken. Besides, if we were in it we could not be aware that it was flowing; at least the 'I' that perceives would have to be on the bank of the river, and would therefore be intemporal (outside time). It is much more probable, and others have realised it, that we ourselves are in movement and that what we observe is immobile. Like planets circling round the sun, like electrons round the nuclei of the atom, our 'life' should be an orbit round reality. But our perceptions wear blinkers - they can only perceive one segment at a time, a split-second vision of a slice of reality, which we build up into a continuity, like a cinema-film made up of 'stills'. Unfortunately we take each slice as a thing-in-itself whereas it is merely a segment, the relative reality being the totality. But the totality is not the totalisation of fragments which only represent a fraction - for we only perceive one aspect, what we know as the outside (and only one, or, at most, three sides of that) of anything whatsoever.

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Differentiation may be a property of the Time-dimension as experienced by us.

Seen (by Observer 2 in Time 2) at right angles to the three dimensions of Space, Past and Future become Present, and (by Observer 3 in Time 3) the manifold becomes unicity.

The fourth-dimension, when seen by us serially as time (as opposed to its total aspect which is eternity) produces the illusion of phenomena. (If passing-time is illusory, i.e. is the fourth dimension of Space seen by us in a distorted form, which is serially, it is merely seen as one-damn-thing-after-another - for, not being able to see it at right-angles to our own dimensions we see it as a line parallel to one of them - in reality it must be at right-angles to our tridimensional world, and what seems to us to be serial is really in eternity, fixed and 'permanent'.)

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'We create Time ourselves, as a function of our receptive apparatus,' as Kant told us. Time is an imperfect sense of Space. Time is (1) Motion in (2) the Fourth Dimension.

'Time is the fourth dimension of Space,' as Relativity tells us, a dimension at right-angles perceived in succession.

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The dynamism we know as 'Life', and consciousness thereof, are and remain four-dimensional.

Science is built on the arbitrary assumption that the universe exists in Time and Space.

There is no becoming. ALL IS.

The illusion of Motion is due to our inability to see every thing at once, to the fact that we see one thing after another. The motion is in our psyche.

Rhythms, undulations, are perhaps the curvature of Time.

Time is the measure of Motion. (Is Motion the interpretation of an angle in the fourth dimension?)

Three-dimensionality is a function of our senses. Time is the boundary of our senses.

What we know as birth and death are an effect of Time - and, as such, necessarily illusory.

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The Dimensions of Space

Time is the fourth dimension perceived serially, i.e. as a succession of phenomena.

We live in the fourth dimension without perceiving it sensorially, but it is evident everywhere by inference when we know where to look for signs of it.

Duplication, the development of snow-flakes, window-frost, the symmetry of branches of trees, growth of all kinds, radiation, electro-magnetism, motion, light, perhaps undulation, are all probably manifestations of the fourth dimension.

Our psyche exists in the fourth dimension, and our 'linga sharira' (composite body which we can only see sectionally). What we see of one another are three-dimensional segments of a four-dimensional totality.

The next dimension is Eternity (in its time-aspect) and Infinity (in its space-aspect) in which everything exists immutably or is infinite variation at one point. This is the fifth dimension or the second dimension of Time, but Ouspensky states that each higher dimension is infinity for the dimension immediately below it.

The sixth dimension is that in which every possibility exists.

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Eternity and Passing Time

Duration (or Eternity) is the necessary point of Immobility from which Passing-time is seen as such.

We could not be aware of Passing-time if an element of us were not situated in Duration.

Duration (Eternity seen as such) is not so much what Time becomes when it is seen at right-angles as it is the point from which Time is seen at right-angles.

Duration is the Eiffel Tower from which is seen the plane surface of the Champ de Mars with its moving figures. Seen from the top of the Eiffel Tower, from a motionless point, from one of an infinite number of motionless points, the plane surface of the Champs de Mars beneath is covered with moving objects. They move at approximately the same speed, with reference to the top of the Eiffel Tower, whether they are approaching its base or going away from it - just as light travels at approximately the same speed with reference to an observer whether the observer is moving towards or away from the source of the light (the Michelson-Morley experiment corrected by Adams). Light, therefore, would seem to be using a dimension at right-angles to those of the observer. (The fact that light is found to be two separate and incompatible things - an undulation and photons - might mean that its four-dimensional form is undulatory whereas it manifests tridimensionally as a shower of particles.)

But perhaps we should take the lift in the Eiffel Tower if we wish the light-analogy to be correct, for the speed of the lift will be unchanged with reference to observers moving towards the Eiffel Tower or away from it.

If Passing-time be represented by the two-dimensional movement of the Champ de Mars, and Duration by the Eiffel Tower itself, whatever three-dimensional (vertical) movement there may be within it (that of the lift for example), such movement, being in another dimension, and so at right-angles to all others, will be constant in reference to all movement on the plane surface of the Champ de Mars.

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Revaluation of Values. I

That part of the universe which our senses allow us to perceive is the tridimensional part, and is seen in slices.

The illusory character of Time appears to have been evident to the Greek philosophers, in particular to Heraclitus. However, such a concept proved too radical for Science and Religion, though it remained implicit in philosophy and metaphysics and became explicit once more in the words of Kant: 'We create Time ourselves, as a function of our receptive apparatus.' The evidence of philosophy is insufficient for Science, but in recent years Relativity has established it in the formulae 'Time is the fourth dimension of Space', and 'The universe is a Space-Time continuum.' The ground was thereby cut from under the feet of positivist scientists, though only the great men realised it at once, or have yet realised it.

Nevertheless Time (and Space) are so fundamental to our outlook that most of our conceptions remain based upon a proven illusion.

How, for instance, can we 'survive' death if death implies the disintegration of the 'receptive apparatus' which fabricates Time? Any concept, survival, reincarnation, or other, that implies the notion that Time is something outside ourselves, something that goes on whether we are here or not, is evidently absurd.

Should not all our ideas be subjected immediately to this test and discarded if our notion of Time is found to be implicit in them? Is not this the initial revaluation to which all our values should be submitted?

It seems clear that the invisible aspects of ourselves must lie in a further dimension, and the next higher dimension to the three that we know is the Fourth.

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Reincarnation and Recurrence. I

The only form of Reincarnation that seems to be compatible with what we are able to understand of the universe is better termed Recurrence.

It could, in fact, be supposed that our lives recur eternally, and it might be that such was the sense in which what became the popular doctrine of Reincarnation was understood and admitted by the Masters and by the Lord Buddha himself. (If the popular doctrine antedates the Masters, as is probable, then in appearing to endorse it they intended the sense of Recurrence to be understood by those few who might be capable of grasping such an esoteric concept. Evidence, real or imaginary, for this interpretation, can be found in the sutras.)

But Recurrence involves a time-factor, a repetition of the film which constitutes our life, a reliving of each one of the innumerable 'stills' or slices (segments) which make up our totality (in so far as we know it), the re-experiencing of that totality serially or as one-damn-thing-after-another, and for that a receptive-apparatus (as Kant described us) with sense perceptions to recreate time would be necessary. In fact such a receptive-apparatus, i.e. every human being, having materialised tridimensionally, must exist eternally in the dimension at right-angles in every moment of its materialisation. (The intersection of Time and of Eternity being the Moment, that of the Moment and of Eternity must be Time, and that of Time and the Moment must be Eternity.)

The receptive-apparatus, therefore, exists in Eternity and so operates therein, so that the illusion of a consecutive 'life' should be eternal also.

The concept of Time as a curvature - and how could it be otherwise? - makes each 'life' a complete circle, self-created as an inherent characteristic of Time, and necessarily such. A circle, having neither beginning nor end, extended in two dimensions, must continue indefinitely, repeating itself as an aspect of eternity. But if it be extended in three dimensions it becomes automatically capable of infinite variations.

In both concepts, which are different aspects of the same relative truth, eternal Recurrence appears to be not merely possible but quite inevitable.

(© RKP, 1958)

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