Russian Esoteric Philosopher
P.D. Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky
Russian Esoteric Philosopher
Catch a moment when you are particularly far from remembering yourself?at this moment you will remember yourself.
If organic life on earth disappears or dies the whole branch will immediately wither. The same thing must happen, only more slowly, if organic life is arrested in its development, in its evolution, and fails to respond to the demands made upon it. The branch may wither...
Our search is not for miraculous results, not to achieve a result, but to learn a process.
The problem of Eternity, of which the face of the Sphinx speaks, takes us into the realm of the impossible. Even the problem of Time is simple in comparison with the problem of Eternity.
We are all members of the human race in a bigger way. All this is common to us. If you see this enough you can?t even hate Hitler. He was just a biological mutation of the wrong sort.
Discipline is good if it is discipline. But if it is just an arbitrary invention, then it can give no result. The most important aspect of discipline is not expressing negative emotions and not indulging in negative emotions. Mechanical tasks cannot give any result, but if you catch yourself at a moment of negative emotion and stop it?this is discipline.
If wish doesn?t exist, the wish to wish does exist.
Philosophy is based on speculation, on logic, on thought, on the synthesis of what we know and on the analysis of what we do not know. Philosophy must include within its confines the whole content of science, religion and art. But where can such a philosophy be found? All that we know in our times by the name of philosophy is not philosophy, but merely "critical literature" or the expression of personal opinions, mainly with the aim of overthrowing and destroying other personal opinions. Or, which is still worse, philosophy is nothing but self-satisfied dialetic surrounding itself with an impenetrable barrier of terminology unintelligible to the uninitiated and solving for itself all the problems of the universe without any possibliity of proving these explanations or making them intelligible to ordinary mortals.
The process of evolution which is possible for humanity as a whole, is completely analogous to the process of evolution possible for the individual man. And it begins with the same thing, namely, a certain group of cells gradually becomes conscious; then it attracts to itself other cells, subordinates others, and gradually makes the whole organism serve its aims and not merely eat, drink, and sleep. This is evolution and there can be no other kind of evolution. In humanity as in individual man everything begins with the formation of a conscious nucleus. All the mechanical forces of life fight against the formation of this conscious nucleus in humanity, in just the same way as all mechanical habits, tastes and weaknesses fight against conscious self-remembering in man.
We begin with our plurality. When I first spoke of the many 'I's in us, I said that new 'I's jump up every moment, control things for a brief time and disappear, and many of them never meet. When you realize that you are not one, that you are many, that you may know something for certain in the morning and know nothing about it in the afternoon, then this realization is the beginning. I do not mean that if we realize this plurality we can change it and become different; but this realization is the first step.
Everything in nature has its aim and its purpose, both the inequality of man and his suffering. To destroy inequality would mean destroying the possibility of evolution. To destroy suffering would mean, first, destroying a whole series of perceptions for which man exists, and thus it is with all intellectual theories.
If you want to remember yourself, the best thing is not to think about yourself. As long as you think about yourself, you will not remember yourself.
Study of false personality is one of the quickest methods for self-remembering. The more you understand your false personality, the more you will remember yourself. What prevents self-remembering is, first of all, false personality. It cannot and does not wish to remember itself, and it does not wish to let any other personality remember. It tries in every possible way to stop self-remembering, takes some form of sleep and calls it self-remembering. Then it is quite happy. You must not trust your false personality?its ideas, its words, its actions. You cannot destroy it, but you can make it passive for some time and then, little by little, you can make it weaker.
The second way is the way of the Monk. This way is shorter, more sure and definite. It requires certain conditions, but above all it requires faith, for if there is no faith a man cannot be a true monk.
We know that 'war', and 'politics', and 'economic life'?in a word, all those things about which one reads in the papers, and in which those big two-dimensional creatures called Nations and States live and move and have their being?we know that all this is one thing, but that the life of individual men and women is quite another thing, having no points of contact with the former, except when it does not allow the latter to live. We know now that the whole life of individual men and women is a struggle against these big creatures. We are able to understand without difficulty that a Nation is a creature standing on a far lower stage of development than individual men and women; it is about on the level of zoophytes, slowly moving in one direction or the other and consuming one another.
Examining the life of humanity as we know it historically we are bound to acknowledge that humanity is moving in a circle. In one century it destroys everything it creates in another and the progress in mechanical things of the past hundred years has proceeded at the cost of losing many other things which perhaps were much more important for it. Speaking in general there is every reason to think and to assert that humanity is at a standstill and from a standstill there is a straight path to downfall and degeneration...
In Movements we have enormous help. We have a taste of what it means to be close to attention.
Suddenly I began to find a strange meaning in old fairy-tales; woods, rivers, mountains, became living beings; mysterious life filled the night; with new interests and new expectations I began to dream again of distant travels; and I remembered many extraordinary things that I had heard about old monasteries. Ideas and feelings which had long since ceased to interest me suddenly began to assume significance and interest. A deep meaning and many subtle allegories appeared in what only yesterday had seemed to be naive popular fantasy or crude superstition. And the greatest mystery and the greatest miracle was that the thought became possible that death may not exist, that those who have gone may not have vanished altogether, but exist somewhere and somehow, and that perhaps I may see them again. I have become so accustomed to think scientifically that I am afraid even to imagine that there may be something else beyond the outer covering of life. I feel like a man condemned to death, whose companions have been hanged and who has already become reconciled to the thought that the same fate awaits him; and suddenly he hears that his companions are alive, that they have escaped and that there is hope also for him. And he fears to believe this, because it would be so terrible if it proved to be false, and nothing would remain but prison and the expectation of execution.
The third way is the way of the Yogi, the way of knowledge and consciousness .... When we speak of yogis we really take only Jnana-Yoga and Raja-Yoga. Jnana-Yoga is the yoga of knowledge, of a new way of thinking. It teaches to think in different categories, not in categories of space and time and of causality. And Raja-Yoga is work on being, on consciousness.
We know that with the very first awakening of knowledge, man is confronted with two obvious facts: The existence of the world in which he lives; and the existence of psychic life in himself. Neither of these can he prove or disprove, but they are facts: they constitute reality for him. It is possible to meditate upon the mutual correlation of these two facts. It is possible to try to reduce them to one; that is, to regard the psychic or inner world as a part, reflection, or function of the world, or the world as a part, reflection, or function of that inner world. But such a procedure constitutes a departure from facts, and all such considerations of the world and of the self, to the ordinary non-philosophical mind, will not have the character of obviousness. On the contrary the sole obvious fact remains the antithesis of I and Not-I ? our inner psychic life and the outer world.
Existing criminology is insufficient to isolate barbarism. It is insufficient because the idea of "crime" in existing criminology is artificial, for what is called crime is really an infringement of "existing laws", whereas "laws" are very often a manifestation of barbarism and violence. Such are the prohibiting laws of different kinds which abound in modern life. The number of these laws is constantly growing in all countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm. On the other hand, unquestionable crimes escape the field of vision of criminology, either because they have not recognized the form of crime or because they surpass a certain scale. In existing criminology there are concepts: a criminal man, a criminal profession, a criminal society, a criminal sect, and a criminal tribe, but there is no concept of a criminal state, or a criminal government, or criminal legislation. Consequently what is often regarded as "political" activity is in fact a criminal activity. This limitation of the field of vision of criminology together with the absence of an exact and permanent definition of the concept of crime is one of the chief characteristics of our culture.
In this connection, evolutionary theories have become the basis of a naive optimistic view of life and of man. It is as though people said to themselves: now that evolution exists and now that science recognizes evolution, it follows that all is well and must in future become still better. In the imagination of the modern man reasoning from the point of view of the ideas of evolution, everything should have a happy ending. A story should necessarily end in a wedding. It is precisely here that the chief mistake with regard to the ideas of evolution lies.
The aim is to reach higher states of consciousness and to be able to work with higher centers.
The vision disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. A weird silence fell on me. "What does it mean?" I asked in wonder. "It is the image of the world," the voice said, "but it can be understood only after the Temple has been entered. This is a vision of the world in the circle of Time, amidst the four principles. But thou seest differently because thou seest the world outside thyself. Learn to see it in thyself and thou wilt understand the infinite essence, hidden in all illusory forms. Understand that the world which thou knowest is only one of the aspects of the infinite world, and things and phenomena are merely hierolgyphics of deeper ideas."
We must remember that the ray of creation, as we have taken it, from the Absolute to the moon, is like a branch of a tree - a growing branch. The end of this branch, the end out of which come new shoots, is the moon. If the moon does not grow, if it neither gives nor promises to give new shoots, it means that either the growth of the whole ray of creation will stop or that it must find another path for its growth, five out some kind of lateral branch...