THE THIRD CANON OF THOUGHT
A KEY TO THE ENIGMAS OF THE WORLD
In conclusion I would like to mention the wonderful and mysterious words of the Apocalypse and the apostle Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians which are put as the epigraph to this book.
The Apocalyptic Angel swears that THERE SHALL BE TIME NO LONGER.
We do not know what the author of the Apocalypse meant, but we do know those STATES OF THE SPIRIT, when time disappears. We know that it is precisely in this, in the change of the time-sense that the beginning of the fourth form of consciousness is expressed, the beginning of the transition to COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS.
This and similar phrases give us a glimpse of the profound philosophical content of the Gospel teaching. And the understanding of the fact that the MYSTERY OF TIME is the FIRST mystery to be revealed, is the first step towards the development of cosmic consciousness by intellectual means.
What was the meaning of this Apocalyptic phrase? Did it have the meaning we can attribute to it now - or was it simply an artistic rhetorical figure of speech, a chord accidentally sounded and continuing to sound for us through centuries and millenniums with such wonderfully strong and true tones? -we do not know, and we shall never know. But the words are beautiful. And we can accept them as a symbol of a remote and inaccessible truth.
The apostle Paul's words are still more strange, still more striking in their mathematical exactness. (These words were pointed out to me in a book byA. Dobrotoluboff, From the Invisible Book. The author sees in them a direct indication of the 'fourth measurement of space'.)
Indeed, what can it mean?
That ye, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the BREADTH and LENGTH and
DEPTH and HEIGHT.'
First of all what does the comprehension of breadth and length and depth and height mean? What could it be but the comprehension of space? And we know already that the comprehension of the mysteries of space is the beginning of higher comprehension.
The apostle says that those 'rooted and grounded in love' will comprehend with all saints what space is.
The question arises here: why should love give comprehension? That love leads to sanctity is clear. Love as the apostle Paul understands it (Chapter 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians) is the highest of all emotions, the synthesis, the merging together of all higher emotions. There can be no doubt that it leads to sanctity. Sanctity is the state of the spirit freed from the dualityof man with its eternal disharmony of soul and body. In the language of the apostle Paul sanctity means even a little less than in our present language. He called all members of his church saints. In his language being a saint meant being righteous, moral, religious. We say that this is only the way to sanctity.Sanctity is something different -something attained. But no matter whether we take it in his language or ours, sanctity is a superhuman quality. In the sphere of morality it corresponds to genius in the sphere of intellect. Love is the way to sanctity.
But the apostle Paul connects sanctity with KNOWLEDGE. The saints comprehend what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and he says that all -through love -can comprehend this with them. But what are they to comprehend? COMPREHEND SPACE. Because 'breadth and length and depth and height', translated into our language of shorter definitions, means space.
And this last is strangest of all.
How could the apostle Paul know and think that sanctity gives a new understanding of space? We know that it should give it, but HOW could he know this?
None of his contemporaries connected the ideas of comprehension of space with sanctity. And there was as yet no question of 'space' at that time, at least not among the Romans and Greeks. Only now, after Kant and after having had access to the treasure-house of Eastern thought, we understand that it is impossible to pass to a new degree of consciousness without an expansion of the space-sense.
But is this what the apostle Paul wanted to say - that strange man, a Roman official, persecutor of early Christianity who became its preacher,philosopher, mystic, a man who 'saw God', a daring reformer and moralist of his time, who fought for the 'spirit' against the 'letter' and who was certainly not responsible for the fact that later he himself was understood not in the 'spirit' but in the 'letter'. What did he want to say? -We do not know.
But let us look at these words of the Apocalypse and the Epistles from the point of view of our ordinary 'positivist thinking' which at times graciously consents to admit the 'metaphorical meaning' of mysticism. What shall we see?
WE SHALL SEE NOTHING.
The glimpse of mystery, revealed for a moment, will immediately vanish. It will be nothing but words without any meaning, with nothing in them to attract our weary attention which will flicker over them as it flickers over everything else. Indifferently we will turn the page and indifferently close the book. Yes, an interesting metaphor. But nothing more! And we do not realize that we rob ourselves, deprive our life of all beauty, all mystery, all meaning, andthen wonder why we are so bored and disgusted, why we have no wish to live; we do not see that we understand nothing around us; that brute force or deceit and falsification always win, and we have nothing with which to oppose them.
THE METHOD IS NO GOOD.
In its time 'positivism' came as something refreshing, sober, healthy and progressive, blazing new trails for thought.
After the sentimental constructions of naive dualism it certainly was a big step forward. Positivism became a symbol of the progress of thought.
But now we see that it inevitably leads to materialism. And in this form it arrests thought. From being revolutionary, persecuted, anarchistic, freethinking, positivism has become the basis of official science. It wears a uniform. Decorations have been bestowed upon it. Universities and academies have been placed at its disposal. It is recognized. It teaches. It rules over thought.
But, having attained prosperity and success, positivism put an obstacle to the further development of thought. A Chinese wall of 'positivist' sciences and methods confronts free investigation. Everything rising above this wall is declared to be 'unscientific'.
And in this form positivism, which before was a symbol of progress, has become conservative, reactionary.
In the realm of thought the existing order has become established, and struggle against it is already declared a crime.
With surprising rapidity principles which only yesterday were the highest expression of radicalism in the realm of thought, are becoming props for opportunism in ideas, serve as blind-alleys arresting the progress of thought. Before our very eyes this is happening to the idea of evolution, upon which it is now possible to build anything one wants, and with the help of which one can refute everything.
But free thought cannot be confined within any limits.
The true motion which lies at the basis of everything is the motion of thought. True energy is the energy of consciousness. And truth itself is motion and can never come to rest, to the end of seeking.
EVERYTHING THAT ARRESTS THE MOVEMENT OF THOUGHT IS FALSE.
Consequently the real, true progress of thought exists only in the widest possible striving towards knowledge, a striving which does not admit the possibility of resting on any forms of knowledge already found. The meaning of life lies in eternal seeking, and only by seeking shall we ever find new reality.