The House of Cards


Ouspensky demonstrated that an angle in any direction of measurement beyond those that are accessible to living creatures is inevitably interpreted as Movement. It follows from this that movement is the interpretation of a spatial concept.

But Time is the measure of movement; that is its function, and to that end we imagined it. It has acquired the status of a fundamental principle - but it is only the measurement of the interpretation of an idea.

From the idea of Time, of duration, springs Memory, which consists of images of what the senses have perceived, ranged in series like books on a shelf, as a direct result of this notion of Time according to which we see in succession its interpretation of a spatial concept.

From Memory springs the notion of a self, a notion which depends on memories, and which also depends on Time, on duration, in order that it may be conceived. Accordingly the self is a notion which depends on a notion which itself is the interpretation of an idea.

The whole of this 'house of cards' is an imaginary structure, a tower of notions, ideas, concepts, that is, of thoughts. Its only reality lies in the fact that the sensation of an 'I' is, derived in this manner, the I-Reality, the 'I am', interpreted under the influence of the idea of succession - which is Time. If we follow it, trace it back through its derivations to its origin, we find ourselves in our own origin, in Reality.

Just as the Maharshi told us, again and again, to do in all circumstances.

Note: The concept of an angle in a further dimension, seen as movement, may seem difficult but only demands consideration. A dog in a motor-car is believed to see trees and houses, habitually stationary in his experience, turning as he approaches and passes them. Hence his peculiar excitement and delight.
But someone may say 'Even so, why an angle?'. Look about you; what do you see? Circles?


Is it not comforting to think that our dear self - and how dear! - is our reality after all, regarded serially, in succession, by temporal vision which so conceives all movement which, itself, is only an interpretation of the immutable seen as an angle! But, alas, it is only a question of the I-concept. That which people call the 'self', the 'ego', etc., is an aggregation of emotional forces, passions, desires, avidities, etc., all dualistic, which attach themselves to the personal notion and which thereby appear to form an entity, or even several entities - the 'me's, as some people prefer to call them. But there can be no such entity, or entities; these affective concepts are dualistic, each one half of a pair of opposites, or complementaries, each a scissor, and thereby entirely deprived of reality. This aggregation around the personal concept does not constitute anything whatsoever; it is just composed of thoughts without substance, vapours dissolving in the air.

Let us not forget, either, that the 'self', the 'ego', so conceived, being illusory - a thought, based on a thought, which is based on a thought, itself based on a thought, there cannot be such a thing as our sacrosanct Free-will, no, not the slightest trace of it, as far as our actions are concerned, in view of the fact that there is no 'self' to exercise it! That is the pill that sticks in the throat of nearly everybody. Nevertheless, once swallowed it stays down. What a comic notion, after all, that a perfectly illusory self, which is only an idea, could be possessed of a will and know how to direct its destiny in the face of and against everybody by means of another imaginary concept known by the name of 'free-will'! And all the others, with their imaginary 'selves', each with his imaginary 'free-will'? What a traffic-jam! The so-called 'will' itself is only, as most of us are aware, the emotive impulsion of desire.

Overboard with these absurdities! Let us grow up even if we cannot wake up! We have seen that those who are awake, the sages who have spoken to us from that condition, knew what they were talking about, spoke the truth, and told us what they knew and all they could, particularly in trying to get us to understand that none of these notions exist.

Reality alone exists - and that we are. All the rest is only a dream, a dream of the One Mind, which is our mind without the 'our'. Is it so hard to accept? Is it so difficult to assimilate and to live?

(© RKP, 1960)

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