Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ronald Pearson, and Survival Physics

In cessation thermodynamics, Ronald D. Pearson (c.1933-) as a mechanical engineer and thermodynamics lecturer noted for his ‘intelligent ether’ theory of continued consciousness after death, which supposedly originated from his 1984 rejection of big bang theory as being a violation of the conservation of energy. [1] Pearson's theory, which doesn't seem to have very much pure thermodynamics to it, was first presented in his 1990 book Intelligence behind the Universe, which has since been expanded on over years. [2]

Pearson’s theory is rather obscure and convoluted to read, as evidenced by the fact that his theory has been rejected by most of the scientific community; throwing out benchmarks of physics, such as constant speed of light, relativity, the cosmological constant, etc., and instead utilizing the invention of numerous types of hypothetical energies, e.g. 'positive and negative primaries', 'breeded energies', etc., said to existed and interacted at the start of the universe, along with other mathematical contrivances.

Concerning death and what happens when you die, Pearson postulates the existence of an “intelligent ether” or Iether, said to be found throughout the universe, whereby the mind is not brain function but rather isolated regions of the Iether as separate from the matter portion of the mind, and that after death, the Ieather lives on to interact with new constructs of matter in the universe at different frequencies. The following is a 2005 excerpt of Pearson's theory, which supposedly argues how a person lives on after death: [3]

“If true a ‘supermind of space’ could create a whole set of matter-systems all co-existing in the same space but tuned to different quantum-wave frequencies. Then fragments of the supermind structure, the ‘sub-minds’, could only tune into one matter-system at a time. Consequently the only reality apparent at any one time would be the one to which a sub-mind is temporarily tuned. When that matter-system became outworn, this sub-mind, being part of the structured sub-quantum fluid, would simply tune into one of the remaining matter-systems and continue to survive. On this basis our brains could well be mere interfacing mechanisms needed to enable the real minds to pilot the body. No justification can exist any longer in postulating that, of necessity, consciousness vanishes on brain death.”

Pearson also, supposedly, shows how dark energy relates to the survival of consciousness.

1. (a) Unal, Ali. (2000). The Resurrection and the Afterlife (pg. 75). Tughra Books.

2. Pearson, Ronald D. (1990). Intelligence behind the Universe. Two Worlds Publishing Co Ltd.

External links

Pearsonian Space – "Big Breed Theory", (Please note that a number of links have been removed from the above cut and paste presentation. This is because they were out of date, and did not give the relevant data. RS.

139. Are Ghosts Real? Guy Lyon Playfair’s Thirty-Year Investigation Yields Insights


May 31st, 2011 Alex Tsakiris
Noted parapsychology investigator and author Guy Lyon Playfair discusses poltergeists, after-death communication and the telepathy of twins.
Join Skeptiko guest host Steve Volk for an interview with Guy Lyon Playfair. During the interview Mr. Playfair summarizes what he’s learned about the poltergeist phenomena:
Steve Volk: What’s your best guess, at this stage, after all these years, on what poltergeists, or ghosts, are.
Guy Playfair: The short answer is that there are two possibilities. Either they are some kind of discarnate entity – which I certainly don’t rule out – or else they are an entirely unknown force that emanates from the human mind. How it works we simply don’t know. We can only observe its effects. I think there’s quite strong evidence that it’s some kind of so-called spirit or discarnate entity, kind of drifting blobs of exo-intelligence, if you like. But that is an extremely controversial opinion and not many people share it.
Steve Volk: I do find it interesting that in some cases skeptics have started putting forth more complicated and I would say more interesting theories than the usual, the mind plays tricks, wishful thinking, creaking floorboards, leaky pipes kind of explanations.
Guy Playfair: Yes, there’s another possible line of inquiry. Poltergeist outbreaks have got certain features in common with Tourette’s syndrome, where you get these sorts of jerks and muscular spasms and things and also very strange vocal sounds. A poltergeist looks rather like an extension of some super-Tourette’s where not only the muscles twitch but furniture starts twitching as well. But that’s not my idea. That was actually Michael Persinger and William Roll, who is a very experienced researcher. I think it’s an interesting line to follow up.
Guy Lyon Playfair’s wiki entry
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I’m Steve Volk, guest hosting for Alex Tsakiris on Skeptiko. My guest today is Guy Lyon Playfair, a journalist and translator who has been conducting paranormal research seemingly forever. His first book, The Unknown Power, a book on psychical research, was written in 1975. In the ensuing years he’s written about Uri Geller, hypnotism, telepathy among twins, reincarnation, and we’ll discuss some of those things.
Today we’re going to focus out of the gate on the topic of Guy’s new book, a re-release really, of a book first published in 1980. The book is called, This House Is Haunted, and it deals with the very famous Enfield Poltergeist case.
I wanted to talk to Guy because in my book, Fringe-ology, I kind of out myself, describing what I call “the family ghost,” an old ghost story I grew up with as a child. I was about six years old and have a few memories of the events my family’s described to me. In general, without getting into too much detail, there was a booming and thumping sound that came from the walls and ceiling. It seemed to respond to my parents’ movements in the house. My sisters talked about having the blankets pulled from them as they slept, their beds shaking in unison in the middle of the night, and a female apparition who walked through the room.
I’m hoping Guy, in talking about the Enfield case, can give me a little insight into poltergeists, including some details from a new study which used some recordings from the Enfield case, conducted by Dr. Barrie Colvin, with whom Guy cooperated. Hopefully we will get to much else besides. Guy, thanks for being on Skeptiko.
Guy Playfair: Thank you for having me.

Steve Volk: Please, can you describe for starters how you got involved in the Enfield case and the basic outline of it?
Guy Playfair: Well, it was a string of very strange coincidences. I had planned it to go on holiday in August of 1977. I’d just returned from Brazil and I happened to go to the Society for Psychical Research monthly lecture which happened to be on poltergeists. I happened to sit in the next row to a fellow called Maurice Grosse, who I hardly knew.
At the end of the talk, which was very well done, Maurice jumped up and said he was working on a case right now which looked very interesting and he’d only been there for two or three days and he wanted some help and would anybody be interested. Well, I wasn’t. I would have had to not go on holiday. I’d just finished a very long, difficult book and I was pretty well worn out.
Then a few days later, I heard him on the radio on a BBC lunchtime news program. It made the news. The BBC had sent along a reporter who had managed to record all kinds of live action, and I thought, “Hell, this is serious. The holiday will just have to wait.” So I joined Maurice the next day and then stayed through the case for 14 months. It was a long time without a holiday but it was worth it.
Steve Volk: Could you talk to me a little bit about what kind of phenomenon you encountered?
Guy Playfair: Well, just about everything you’ve ever heard of. We didn’t have any green slime running down the wall. We had everything else. It started with objects being flung around, which I was able to witness. Small things like marbles and pieces of Lego brick and later on, the big stuff started. I saw a heavy armchair sliding along the floor and going over backwards. And no, there wasn’t anyone near it. We had the big sofa in the main room flip over on its face, which is almost impossible for one person to do. You’d need one at each end. And oh dear, it just went on and on. I mean, you name it; we had it.
Steve Volk: Was there a particular moment you can isolate for me when you thought something strange really is going here? Some initial currents…
Guy Playfair: Yeah, the first day I was there I thought something strange was going on. But then what the skeptics tend to forget is that the atmosphere in that house, to start with, they were all absolutely scared out of their wits. They wouldn’t sleep without the light staying on all night. And eventually the two girls and the mother were sleeping in the same bed. They were absolutely terrified. The idea that one of them was sort of playing tricks just to amuse the others and kept it up for 14 months is just totally stupid.
Steve Volk: What was the thing that got you?
Guy Playfair: The very first incident I think was quite a minor one. I was outside the bedroom late at night when the girls were in bed, hopefully asleep. Something hit the floor and I found it was a marble. It just made a single bang. It didn’t bounce and it didn’t roll. We tried to repeat that and we just couldn’t. You drop a marble, it will not keep still. It will either bounce if it’s a very light one and this one didn’t bounce. The one I heard just was as if somebody had picked it up and put it on the floor by hand as it were. It didn’t move. This happened several times. Other people observed the same thing.
Then I think it was that night with a book. It was on the mantelpiece. It went out of the room and around a corner. I actually saw that. It got out of the back bedroom and ended up in the hall. It made a turn at about 60 degrees, which is rather hard to explain by normal aerodynamics. It went on and on. I think I made a list of about 30 incidents that I’d witnessed close-up and in perfect conditions. It was obvious right from the start that this was a proper case and an unusually intense one.
Steve Volk: Let’s address this question of fraud head-on. For instance, in the marble scenario, Guy, do you know at that point where in the house the girls were?
Guy Playfair: In bed. Right in front of me. I was standing outside their bedroom door, which was open. I could see the foot of the bed and I could see perfectly well if anybody had got out. And they were in there, snoring away. This marble just slammed on the floor quite close to me.
Steve Volk: And where was mom?
Guy Playfair: Downstairs, I think. She wasn’t around.
Steve Volk: See, I bring this up—this case is so fraught—so many claims and counterclaims over the years and you were one of the people who were there. I know that witnesses to various episodes included yourself, neighbors, and the police. But the skeptics have, to their own satisfaction at least, claimed to explain all this away. I want to get into this.
Other researchers from the Society of Psychical Research came to investigate but when they came into it one of the girls whose name was Janet, right? This was the Hodgson family? The girls asked him to stand facing away and then they were hit with objects while the children giggled. The investigators felt that the children—there were some odd voices and we’ll get into those, too. The investigators felt that the children were producing the voices themselves and trying to hide it by burying their faces in sheets.
There was one researcher, Anita Gregory, who claimed that the children’s uncle had told her he believed Janet had taught herself to talk in this deep voice and that she’d always been athletic and mischievous and delighted in tricking strangers. He apparently believed that Janet was the cause of the phenomenon. I just want to give you a chance to sort of unpack all that.
Guy Playfair: Well, the uncle certainly never said any of that to me. I got exactly the opposite impression. He witnessed a great deal. He was totally startled himself and he also saw a fully materialized apparition which he described in great detail. He was very much attached to the girls. They were very fond of him. And he was in the house almost constantly. He never gave the slightest indication to us that there was any sort of trickery.
Well, there was trickery by December, which is when that incident took place because the girls were getting back to normal and you know, 12-year-old girls tend to play tricks. I’d be quite worried if they hadn’t. It showed they were getting over it. But the thing was they were not very good at it. I mean, on one occasion they hid my tape recorder and said that the ghost had taken it away. So I said, “Oh yeah?” I found it quite soon and it was still running, having recorded all the evidence. I just said, “Look, please don’t mess around with my tape recorder.”
So they knew that we knew that they’d played one or two tricks. They always admitted it. They were always caught. They said that over and over again. “We did play one or two tricks just to see if Mr. Grosse and Mr. Playfair would catch us, and they always did.” So I hope that coin is dropped finally.
Steve Volk: Yeah, I don’t think it will be, though.
Guy Playfair: They never give up, these skeptics. They just won’t admit defeat ever, whatever I say.
Steve Volk: You’re getting to something interesting here to me because when I read the claims and counterclaims back and forth as a journalist, I find myself in a sort of netherworld, right? And what I mean by that is this seems unexplained. It doesn’t mean necessarily, right, that poltergeists exist and that there are spirits in the world. It doesn’t mean that it was or wasn’t fraud. It just means that when I read over the material, and I’ve read over, I can’t really say with certainty what happened.
Guy Playfair: Well, there’s one point that skeptics overlook. By any kind of draw of probability you will not get witnesses from all over the world who have absolutely no contact with each other and many of whom have never read a single word about poltergeists, in fact, at Enfield they’d never heard the word before. They always used to refer to it as “polkageist.”
You would not get them all saying exactly the same thing, describing identical incidents, whether it’s in Brazil or South Africa or Iceland or Australia or wherever. It just would not happen. If they were trying to fake a case they’ve got to know what the real stuff is. I think it was William James who was the first to point out that you can’t produce any fake something unless there’s a genuine something. That’s quite a good point, I think. You’ve got to know where to start.
Steve Volk: How did this affect the family, from your perspective, over the years?
Guy Playfair: It did upset them a great deal. The eldest daughter, I’m more-or-less in touch with now and then. She’s still afraid it’s all going to start up again. I keep telling her there’s no way, it’s not going to happen. I’ve lost touch with the younger girl who’s married and gone somewhere. It made a lasting impression on them. An interesting point is that Janet, the eldest girl, she was twice offered a huge sum of money to confess to popular newspapers and she just told both of them to bleep off. No way. I mean, she could have made enough money to buy a house. It really was a big bribe. And it didn’t work.
Steve Volk: All right. To put a capper on the poltergeist portion of the interview, what’s your best guess at this stage after all these years–and if you know Dr. Colvin’s you can share that with me, too—on what poltergeists are.
Guy Playfair: Oh boy. Do we have all day? The short answer is that there are two possibilities. Either they are some kind of discarnate entity which I certainly don’t rule out, or else they are an entirely unknown force that emanates from the human mind. How it works we simply don’t know. We can only observe its effects.
I think there’s quite strong evidence that it’s some kind of so-called spirit or discarnate entity, kind of drifting blobs of ex-intelligence, if you like. But that is an extremely controversial opinion and not many people share it. So perhaps I’d better keep quiet about it for the time being.
Steve Volk: Do you know if Dr. Colvin has a position here or do you want to stay away from characterizing it?
Guy Playfair: Well, I can’t put words in his mouth. He’s a very articulate fellow and he’s a good scientist, very cautious. I doubt if he shares my eccentric opinions. I think I should really wait until he gets into print, which I hope he will in due course. If we get any serious rebuttals to his paper I’m sure the Journal will print them. They’re not afraid of…
Steve Volk: Well, I’m hoping the folks at RationalSkepticism will, in fact, submit their work for publication. I’d love to see Dr. Colvin. I understand he’s busy but stick his head above ground a bit and maybe come on Skeptiko and talk about his research and their research and where from his perspective it all falls out.
Guy Playfair: Yeah, I hope they do that.
Steve Volk: I have to say for myself, really I find the family ghost story I mentioned at the top, right, and my history, to be the kind of episode that forces me to accept a certain amount of cognitive dissonance as my best option, right? So I believe my family and I’m not going to go over all the details of the story here.
I believe my family but I have a really hard time, as the years have passed, believing the story because it doesn’t fit neatly into my own store of experiences. I’ve just sort of settled on the idea for now that there are some things that simply remain unexplained. I’m curious what your advice would be for me, given all the time you’ve had in the trenches of all this.
Guy Playfair: From the brief description you gave in your case, I can only say it’s extremely similar to what you might call the typical case, particularly the bedclothes interference. It’s very common. Bed shaking, we had that practically every night at Enfield. Apparitions are much rarer but they do happen. We had at least two at Enfield. So at a guess I would say your case was genuine, and if it didn’t recur then there’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure it won’t bother you now.
Steve Volk: No, in fact what I’m struggling with—I shouldn’t even say struggling with because I’m no longer struggling with it, but what I was concerned with is just where do I file it? What do I do with it? What should it make me think or not think in terms of my outlook on the world? That’s what I, coming up as a kid anyway, that was what I had to sort out for myself, and in part that’s what the book deals with. But I’m sort of curious for you, where you file these experiences.
Guy Playfair: I file everything in my filing cabinet. I would it down under “Personal” or something. I think what makes it interesting is if you read as much as you can in the area and find similar experiences that happened to other people. We have no idea what poltergeists are. It’s just a word that we use. It’s something we don’t understand. It’s probably a very misleading one, too, but we’re stuck with it and we don’t have another one.
Steve Volk: I will say I do find it interesting that in some cases skeptics have started putting forth more complicated and I would say interesting and probably fruitful theories than the usual, the mind plays tricks, wishful thinking, creaking floorboards, leaky pipes kind of explanations. So here I’m talking about the kind of thing that was published in the Journal of NeuroQuantology, I believe, about potential effects coming from the minds of living human beings. Michael Persinger and the idea of EMF waves somehow being involved or Vic Tandy and infrasound.
These are all things that sound essentially materialistic. They at least speak to the idea that something odd and dramatic happened as opposed to someone heard a floorboard creak and their imagination took over, which I’ve always found just plainly–yes that happens in some instances, but it’s certainly no blanket explanation.
Guy Playfair: No, there’s another possible line of inquiry. Poltergeist outbreaks have got certain features in common with Tourette ’s syndrome, where you get these sorts of jerks and muscular spasms and things and also very strange vocal sounds. A poltergeist looks rather like an extension of some super-Tourette’s where not only the muscles twitch but furniture starts twitching as well. But that’s not my idea. That was actually Persinger and William Roll, who is a very experienced researcher. I think it’s an interesting line to follow up.
The psychiatrist Jan Ehrenwald, who is a very highly respected researcher, he once told me personally at a lunch we had together that psychokinesis follows what he calls “established psychiatric principles.” You get things like these voices and a neuroimage of hysterical dumbness and clairvoyance is a kind of mirror image of hysterical blindness. Telepathy was, again, a kind of reaction against mutism.
So they’re not totally beyond the grounds of any possible explanation. We just don’t really have a neat explanation yet.
Steve Volk: Look, I’d be remiss having you on here if I didn’t explore at least a couple more topics with you in the time we have. We obviously don’t have time to go through the whole Uri Geller experience…
Guy Playfair: [Laughs]
Steve Volk: That could be several programs, right? But what’s your take on him? I’ve met a lot of people in the parapsychological community in researching this who believe Geller has some sort of ability but jumbles it up with a flair for theatre and for magic tricks. What’s your take?
Guy Playfair: Well, he’s undoubtedly got genuine abilities. I have far too much experience with that. I’ve witnessed some really extremely strange incidents. I’ve seen an object appearing in mid-air in his house, which I don’t see any possibility of any form of trickery on that. He’s done some very remarkable feats of telepathy. He also repaired a clock of mine long distance. That’s another program. So I have no doubt at all that he’s got abilities.
He’s also a great sort of—not quite a practical joker, but he really enjoys winding people up. He loves being controversial. He’s told me that. In fact, I seem to remember once I offered to set up a completely fool-proof experiment and he turned it down straight off. He said, “Oh no, I want to keep people guessing.” I think he’s got a point there.
Steve Volk: Yeah, he told me that the controversy ultimately has been very, very, very good for his career. That the night of the great Carson debunking was actually the best thing that ever happened to him.
Guy Playfair: Yeah, well, he loves being controversial and I have a sort of theory that he actually encourages it. He likes people to think he’s a magician or faking or something and then he’ll suddenly do something that pulls you up short. He’s still going strong. I think he’s in the Ukraine right now doing a TV show. He goes down very well. He’s a terrific public speaker, really puts on a wonderful talk. People just love it, you know? He’s still going very strong and he’s 60-something. I think he’s got a lot more mileage in him to come.
Steve Volk: Before the interview, you and I exchanged some emails and you had mentioned that you wanted some time to talk about your research into twin telepathy.
Guy Playfair: Yes.
Steve Volk: So what was your work there and what did you find?
Guy Playfair: Gosh, that’s another whole program. This is an example of one of those things where I tried to find a book about it back in the 1970s, when we had a great high-profile murder of a twin here in England. The editor of the Guinness Book of Records, Ross McWhirter, was shot dead by an IRA terrorist.
I wondered if there was any truth in all this twin telepathy stuff and I managed to get through to his brother through a friend who worked for him. After a decent interval, he made tactful inquiries like, “Did you feel anything when your brother was shot?” And he said, “No.” So I thought, “Well, that’s that,” and I forgot about it.
Well then by another series of coincidences which I always seem to attract, I got offered a book job in about 1996, 20 years later. The publisher happened to be the son of Norris McWhirter, the brother of the man who was murdered. I happened to show him the article that I’d written for the SPR journal and Alistair, the son, took a look at an episode that I’d quoted from the novel by Alexander Dumas, The Corsican Brothers, where you have an incident where a brother is killed in a duel in Paris and the other one is riding on horseback in Corsica and he falls to the ground, saying, “Oh dear, my brother has been killed!” And indeed he had.
So I showed that to Alistair and he immediately said, “That’s exactly what my father did.” So I thought, “Eh?” Well, to cut a very long story short, he kindly gave me a statement which I dictated, I wrote it down word-for-word right on the spot. Yes, his father had reacted at the time of the shooting and he’d completely wiped it from his memory.
I think it’s what they call fugue. He just completely exterminated the memory of something so profoundly shocking as the sudden death of the twin, which is a very intensely close relationship. Until he died recently he just did not remember it at all. But the son, who was there, saw it happen. So I thought, “This has to be looked into,” and I did that.
Steve Volk: Can we back up for a second? The son saw the father react. The father just never remembered reacting.
Guy Playfair: Yeah, that’s right. He actually touched his chest and slumped into an armchair and the son was so alarmed he ran for his mother to call an ambulance. She was just about to do that when the phone rang and it was the police saying that Ross had just been shot and they had to come and identify the body. So that’s what happened.
I thought this should be followed up and then I started looking around and couldn’t find any books about it. So as usual, I thought, “Well, somebody’s got to do it.” So I did it myself. I collected a huge amount of material and at last persuaded a major university twin unit here in London into taking the subject seriously for the first time ever and doing a large-scale survey. They’ve got 5,000 twins on their books. I’m collaborating with a colleague of mine who’s interviewing them and questioning them and so on. We’re establishing that it’s a very real phenomenon. They do experience telepathy, period. No doubt at all.
Steve Volk: You asked them questions about whether or not they’ve had these sort of shared states?
Guy Playfair: We’ve actually done two questionnaires. The first one a few years ago was a very informal one, done at a garden party. We had a sort of telepathy tent where we just invited people to come in and do simple tests. Just the guessing the card business. We found that some of them were extremely good at it and others were absolutely hopeless. We found as George Orwell might well have said, that some identical twins are a lot more identical than others. That is literally true.
Some of them never have an experience with telepathy at all and are even quite hostile about the very idea. Others have it all the time. I tried to figure out why this should be so, because they are genetically just about identical, and brought up usually together. What could the difference be?
The only difference I can see is the timing of the actual splitting of the egg. It can be anywhere between day 1 and day 12 and if you split early on, each egg gets its own individual plastic bag—what do you call it, the chorionic sac. If the split is late, the embryos are literally entangled throughout pregnancy and it seems to be logical that they are more likely to be in closer rapport than the ones who were individually wrapped.
They have done research in the University of Indiana into this kind of personality difference. They don’t do any telepathy there but they do find that the later the split, the closer the twins are sort of psychologically. So that’s an interesting finding. I hope that’s continuing. My guess is that’s got something to do with such a huge difference between twins experiencing telepathy ranging from 100% down to 0%.
Steve Volk: You know, it’s remarkable because we do seem to have this capacity to be connected and for myself I don’t even know to what degree we need to define it at the moment. It’s material or immaterial or whatever. I don’t think we can get a final answer on that at this point, anyway, so maybe the best solution in some instances is to just stand back and enjoy it.
I read an article yesterday—I don’t know if you’re familiar with this—an experiment done with firewalkers in which they had not only the people walking on the coals but the people observing them walking on the coals, hooked to heart rate monitors. The hearts of the people close to whoever was firewalking at the time, the firewalker themselves, and also people who had someone else there who was going to be firewalking. Not everyone did. Their hearts, as the researchers put it, “beat as one.” So their heart rates increased and decreased at the same rates at the same times.
I’m not even going to make any claim for anything remotely paranormal going on there, but there is this degree to which we are connected and feed off each other, even if you just want to talk about mirror neurons and our capacity for empathy. That’s really striking. I do wonder where the connections between all these things might be.
Guy Playfair: There have been experiments done in public here in London. A very well-known researcher, the late Maxwell Cade, invented a machine called the “mind mirror,” where you can actually watch your own brainwaves blipping away. He put on a show at one of these sort of psychic fair things where he had a healer and a patient both hooked up to mind mirrors. After a period you can see that the two brains are actually synchronized.
It takes us right back to the early days of mesmerism, where people like the Marquis de Puységur discovered that he could literally enter the mind of his patient and do his thinking for him. This has been swept under the rug for 200 years and it’s coming out again gradually with all this kind of quantum approach to things. Talking about non-local entanglement and all that stuff. It does appear that you can actually blend your own brain or consciousness or whatever with somebody else’s. Now you can actually see it happen on an instrument.
Steve Volk: Guy, I’m afraid all we’ve proven here is that you’re a great radio guest or podcast guest…
Guy Playfair: Oh, thank you.
Steve Volk: There are so many different topics that we could go on about for 40, 45 minutes. Whether it’s with me or with Alex, I hope you’ll come back.
Guy Playfair: I’d love to, yes. There’s certainly a lot more to say about everything, but then there always is.
Steve Volk: Thanks very much again, Guy Lyon Playfair, for being on Skeptiko. I hope to see you back here again someday.
Guy Playfair: Thank you for inviting me.

In Search of the Miraculous

In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching is a 1949 book by Russian philosopher P. D. Ouspensky which recounts his meeting and subsequent association with G.I. Gurdjieff. It is widely regarded as the most comprehensive account of Gurdjieff's system of thought ever published. It is regarded as "fundamental textbook" by many modern followers of Gurdjieff's teachings, who often use it as a means of introducing new students to Gurdjieff's system of self-development.



[edit] Contents

The book is basically the author's recollection of how he learned the teaching of George Gurdjieff, a teaching which still exists today in various forms, and of which Ouspensky taught to various groups from 1921-1947; and also about his relationship with Mr. Gurdjieff, concluding with his eventual decision to continue teaching this new "system" independently. Throughout the book, Ouspensky never refers to Mr. "Gurdjieff" directly, only using the single initial "G.", but it is common knowledge that this "G." was George Gurdjieff, who taught Ouspensky an ancient "esoteric" system of self-development commonly known as the "Fourth Way".
The book begins with Ouspensky returning home to St. Petersburg from his recent excursion to the East, where he journeyed "in search of the miraculous", as he put it. He soon meets a mysterious man, a certain "G.", who has all the answers to which Ouspensky has been so arduously searching for all his life. He immediately joins Mr. Gurdjieff's esoteric "school", and begins learning a certain system of self-development which originated in the East, allegedly during the most remote antiquity, possibly millennia before recorded history.
Ouspensky recounts his trials learning this new system, which he later refers to as the "Fourth Way", often recollecting entire lectures, or parts of lectures, which Mr. Gurdjieff gave to his disciples in St. Petersburg and Moscow from 1915-1917. He describes many of his experiences, particularly concerning the "art of self-remembering", and he recounts some of the methods and various exercises which comprised Gurdjieff's system.
The book concludes with his experiences during the Bolshevik Revolution and he and Mr. Gurdjieff's eventual escape to the West, where they continued to teach Mr. Gurdjieff's system to many followers until their respective deaths in 1947 and 1949. The latter part of the book also describes the author's feelings and motives behind his eventual decision to teach "the system" independently, not under the direct supervision of his teacher, Mr. Gurdjieff, which he formally announced to his students in London in early 1924.

[edit] Publication

The book was published posthumously in 1949 by Ouspensky's students, two years after his death. Ouspensky originally titled the book simply Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, reflecting his view that Gurdjieff's system had to be "assembled" by the student himself, as well as his view that much of the original system was probably lost. However, the publisher insisted on adding the prefix In Search of The Miraculous, which became the more commonly known shortened name for the book.
Originally published at the time of George Gurdjieff's death and authorized by Gurdjieff himself, it is considered one of the best expositions of the structure of Gurdjieff's ideas, and is often used as a means of teaching Gurdjieff's system, although Ouspensky himself never endorsed its use in such a broad manner. Nevertheless, this book is by far the most quoted by current disciples of Gurdjieff as they attempt to teach his system to new students, and Mr. Gurdjieff himself even had some of his students read parts of the book as part of their studies.
The 2001 edition has a foreword by writer Marianne Williamson, in which she notes the book's reputation as being a classic, or even a primer, in the teaching of "esoteric" principles and ideas.

[edit] Further reading

  • In Search of the Miraculous: The Definitive Exploration of G. I. Gurdjieff's Mystical Thought and Universal View, Harvest Book; New edition, 2001. ISBN 0-15-600746-0.

[edit] External links

P.D. Ouspensky

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P. D. Ouspensky

P. D. Ouspensky (1878-1947)
BornPyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii
(1878-03-04)March 4, 1878
Moscow, Russian Empire
DiedOctober 2, 1947(1947-10-02) (aged 69)
Lyne Place, Surrey, England
Peter D. Ouspensky (March 4, 1878–October 2, 1947), (Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky, Пётр Демья́нович Успе́нский), a Russian esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915.
He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. In 1924, he separated from Gurdjieff personally, and some, including Rodney Collin among others, say that he finally gave up the (Gurdjieff) "system" that he had shared with people for 25 years in England and the United States, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings," published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement nor does Ouspensky's emphasis on "you must make a new beginning" after confessing "I've left the system"; all this happened in Lyne Place, Surrey, England in 1947, just before his demise. While lecturing in London in 1924 he announced that he would continue independently the way he began in 1921. All in all, Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff System directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. Ouspenky's book In Search of the Miraculous is a recounting of what Ouspensky learned from Gurdjieff during those years.[1]



[edit] Career

Ouspensky was born in Moscow in 1878. In 1890, he was studying in the Second Moscow Gymnasium, a government school attended by boys from ten to eighteen. At the age of sixteen, he was expelled from school for painting graffiti on the wall in plain sight of a visiting inspector to see; thereafter, he would be more or less on his own.[2] In 1906, he was working in the editorial office of the Moscow daily paper The Morning. In the autumn of 1913, age 35, before the beginning of World War I, he journeyed to the East in search of the miraculous but returned to Moscow shortly after the beginning of the great world war. There he met Gurdjieff and took in Mme Sophie Grigorievna Maximenko as his wife but he had a mistress by the name of Anna Ilinishna Butkovsky.[3]
His first book, The Fourth Dimension, appeared in 1909; his second book, Tertium Organum, in 1912; and A New Model of the Universe in 1931. This last work discusses the idea of esotericism. He also wrote the novel Strange Life of Ivan Osokin, which explored the concept of recurrence or eternal return. He traveled in Europe and the East — India, Ceylon, and Egypt — in his search for knowledge. After his return to Russia and his introduction to Gurdjieff in 1915, Ouspensky spent the next few years studying with him. According to Osho, when Ouspensky went to Gurdjieff for the first time, the latter was but an unknown fakir and Ouspensky made him well-known to his own reading public.[4]
Denying the ultimate reality of motion in his book Tertium Organum,[5] he also negates Aristotle's Logical Formula of Identification of "A is A" and finally concludes in his "higher logic" that A is both A and not-A without specifying that in Aristotle's formula A can be both A and not A but not at the same time.[6]
Unbeknown to Ouspensky, a Russian émigré by the name of Nicholas Bessarabof took a copy of Tertium Organum to America and placed it in the hands of the architect Claude Bragdon who could read Russian and was interested in the fourth dimension.[7] Tertium Organum was rendered into English by Bragdon who had incorporated his own design of the hypercube[8][9] into the Rochester Chamber of Commerce building.[10] Bragdon also published the book and the publication was such a success that it was finally taken up by Alfred A. Knopf. At the time, in the early 1920s, Ouspensky's whereabouts were unknown until Bragdon located him in Constantinople and paid him some back royalties.
Ouspensky's lectures in London were attended by such literary figures as Aldous Huxley, T. S. Eliot, Gerald Heard and other writers, journalists and doctors. His influence on the literary scene of the 1920s and 1930s as well as on the Russian avant-garde was immense but still very little known.[11]
Ouspensky also provided an original discussion of the nature and expression of sexuality in his A New Model of the Universe; among other things, he draws a distinction between erotica and pornography.
During his years in Moscow, Ouspensky wrote for several newspapers and was particularly interested in the then-fashionable idea of the fourth dimension.[12] His first published work was titled The Fourth Dimension[13] and he explored the subject along the ideas prevalent at the time in the works of Charles H. Hinton,[14] the fourth dimension being an extension in space.[15][16] Ouspensky treats time as a fourth dimension only indirectly in a novel he wrote titled Strange Life of Ivan Osokin[17] where he also explores the theory of eternal recurrence.

[edit] Later life

After the Bolshevik revolution, Ouspensky travelled to London by way of Istanbul. G.R.S. Mead became interested in the fourth dimension and Lady Rothermore, wife of the press magnate, was willing to spread the news of Ouspenky's Tertium Organum, while Ouspensky's acquaintance A.R. Orage was telling others about Ouspensky. By order of the British government, Gurdjieff was not allowed to settle down in London. Finally, he went to France with a considerable sum of money raised by Ouspensky and his friends and settled down near Paris at the Prieuré in Fontainbleau, Avon.[18] It was during this time, after Gurdjieff founded his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France, that Ouspensky came to the conclusion that he was no longer able to understand his former teacher and made a decision to discontinue association with him, setting up his own organisation The Society for the Study of Normal Psychology, which is now known as The Study Society.[19][20] Nevertheless, he wrote about Gurdjieff's teachings in a book originally entitled Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, only published posthumously in 1947 under the title In Search of the Miraculous. While this volume has been criticized by some of those who have followed Gurdjieff's teachings as only a partial representation of the totality of his ideas, it nevertheless provides what is probably the most concise explanation of the material that was included. This is in sharp contrast to the writings of Gurdjieff himself, such as Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson, where the ideas and precepts of Gurdjieff's teachings are found very deeply veiled in allegory. It is also important to note that Ouspensky did receive permission from Gurdjieff for the publication of In Search of the Miraculous, something that was seemingly withheld from almost every other student of Gurdjieff, even in instances where the material being written about was much less complete or clear.
He died in Lyne Place, Surrey. Shortly after his death in 1947, The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution was published, together with In Search of the Miraculous. Transcripts of certain of his lectures were published under the title of The Fourth Way in 1957; largely a collection of question and answer sessions, the book details important concepts, both introductory and advanced, for students of these teachings.
Ouspensky's papers are held in Yale University Library's Manuscripts and Archives department.

[edit] Teaching

After Ouspensky broke away from Gurdjieff, he taught the "Fourth Way", as he understood it, to his independent groups.

[edit] Fourth Way

There are three recognized ways of self-development generally known in esoteric circles. These are the Way of the Fakir, dealing exclusively with the physical body, the Way of the Monk, dealing with the emotions, and the Way of the Yogi, dealing with the mind. What is common about the three ways is that they demand complete seclusion from the world. According to Gurdjieff, there is a Fourth Way which does not demand its followers to abandon the world. The work of self-development takes place right in the midst of ordinary life. Gurdjieff called his system a school of the Fourth Way where a person learns to work in harmony with his physical body, emotions and mind. Ouspensky picked up this idea and continued his own school along this line.[21]
P.D. Ouspensky made the term "Fourth Way" and its use central to his own teaching of the ideas of Gurdjieff. He greatly focused on Fourth Way schools and their existence throughout history.
Among his students were Rodney Collin, Maurice Nicoll, Robert S de Ropp, Kenneth Walker and Dr Francis Roles.

[edit] Self-remembering

Ouspensky personally confessed the difficulties he was experiencing with self-remembering, a technique to which he had been introduced by Gurdjieff himself. Gurdjieff explained to him this was the missing link to everything else. While in Russia, Ouspensky himself experimented with the technique with a certain degree of success and in his lectures in London and America, he emphasized its practice. The technique requires a division of attention, so that a person not only pays attention to what is going on in the exterior world but also in the interior. A.L. Volinsky, an acquaintance of Ouspensky in Russia mentioned to Ouspensky that this was what professor Wundt meant by apperception. Ouspensky refused to believe it. Gurdjieff explained the Rosicrucian principle that in order to bring about a result or manifestation, three things are necessary. With self-remembering and self-observation two things are present. The third one is explained by Ouspensky in his tract on Conscience: it is the non-expression of negative emotions.[22][23]
According to Beryl Pogson, author of The Work Life, "...the only real poverty is lack of self-knowledge." [24]

[edit] Published works by P.D. Ouspensky

[edit] Further reading

[edit] References

  1. ^ Miller, Timothy (1995). America's Alternative Religions. SUNY Press. p. 260. ISBN 0-7914-2397-2. "Ouspensky succeeded in capturing on paper Gurdjieff's system..."
  2. ^ Shirley, John (2004). Gurdjieff. Penguin Group. p. 111. ISBN 1-58542-287-8.
  3. ^ Moore, James (1999). Gurdjieff. Element Books Ltd. p. 73. ISBN 1-86204-606-9. "The meaning of life is an eternal search."
  4. ^ Osho, Swami Ananda Somendra And The Flowers Showered, p. 39, Diamond Pocket Books Ltd., 1978 ISBN 978-81-7182-210-2
  5. ^ Ouspensky, P. D. (1912). Tertium Organum (2nd ed.). Forgotten Books. ISBN 1-60506-487-4.
  6. ^ Ouspensky, P. D. (2003). Tertium Organum. Book Tree. p. 266. ISBN 1-58509-244-4. "A is both A and Not-A"
  7. ^ Gary Lachman In Search of P. D. Ouspensky, p. 174, Quest Books, 2006 ISBN 978-0-8356-0848-0
  8. ^ Claude Bragdon, A Primer of Higher Space, Omen Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1972.
  9. ^ A primer of higher space (the fourth dimension) by Claude Fayette Bragdon, plates 1, 20 and 21 (following p. 24)
  10. ^ Rudolf Rucker, Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension, Dover Publications Inc., 1977, p. 2. ISBN 0-486-23400-2.
  11. ^ Gary Lachman In Search of P. D. Ouspensky, pp. 177-8, Quest Books, 2006 ISBN 978-0-8356-0848-0
  12. ^ Geometry of four dimensions by Henry Parker Manning
  13. ^ P. D. Ouspensky, The Fourth Dimension, Kessinger Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1-4253-4935-8.
  14. ^ Rucker, Rudolf, editor, Speculations on the Fourth Dimension: Selected Writings of Charles H. Hinton, Dover Publications Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-486-23916-0.
  15. ^ Scientific Romances by Charles Howard Hinton
  16. ^ A new era of thought by Charles Howard Hinton
  17. ^ P. D. Ouspensky, Strange Life of Ivan Osokin, Lindisfarne Books, 1947. ISBN 1-58420-005-7.
  18. ^ Alex Owen The Place of Enchantment, p. 232, University of Chicago Press, 2004 ISBN 978-0-226-64201-7
  19. ^
  20. ^ Brian Hodgkinson (2010). In Search of Truth. Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers). ISBN 978-0-85683-276-5. p. 34
  21. ^ Bruno de Panafieu-Jacob Needleman-George Baker-Mary Stein Gurdjieff, p. 218, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1997 ISBN 978-0-8264-1049-8
  22. ^ P. D. Ouspensky Conscience, p. 126, Routledge, 1979 ISBN 978-0-7100-0397-3
  23. ^ Gary Lachman In Search of P. D. Ouspensky, p. 121, Quest Books, 2006 ISBN 978-0-8356-0848-0
  24. ^ Beryl Pogson The Work Life, p. 5, 1994 ISBN 978-0-87728-809-1

[edit] External links

Fourth Way Enneagram

The Fourth Way enneagram is a figure published in 1947 in In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky, and an integral part of the so-called Fourth Way esoteric system associated with George Gurdjieff. The term "enneagram" derives from two Greek words, ennea (nine) and grammos (something written or drawn).
The enneagram is a nine-pointed figure usually inscribed within a circle. Within the circle is a triangle connecting points 9, 3 and 6. The inscribed figure resembling a web connects the other six points in a cyclic figure 1-4-2-8-5-7. This number is derived from or corresponds to the recurring decimal .142857 = 1/7. These six points together with the point numbered 9 are said to represent the main stages of any complete process, and can be related to the notes of a musical octave, 9 being equivalent to "Do" and 1 to "Re" etc. The points numbered 3 and 6 are said to represent "shock points" which affect the way a process develops. The internal lines between the points; that is, the three point figure and the six point figure, are said to show certain non-obvious connections, although here very little elucidation is offered.



[edit] Origins

In his book, In Search of the Miraculous, Ouspensky claimed that the enneagram was part of the teachings originally presented by G.I. Gurdjieff in Russia during the First World War. Gurdjieff is quoted by Ouspensky as claiming that this form of enneagram was an ancient secret and was now being partly revealed for the first time; however, he said that hints and partial representations of the symbol could be found in esoteric literature.[1]
Although no earlier publication of the Fourth Way version of the enneagram can be cited, it has been proposed that it may derive from, or be cognate to, the Jewish Tree of Life (Kabbalah) as used in Renaissance Hermeticism (which used an enneagram of three interlocking triangles, also called a nonagram)[2] or a nine-pointed figure used by the Christian medieval philosopher Ramon Llull.[2]
Idries Shah, a populariser of Sufism, has claimed that the enneagram has a Sufi provenance and that it has also been long known in coded form disguised as an octagram.[3] Another claim to a Sufi provenance is offered by the Sufi Enneagram website. The archives of the Naqshbandi Sufi order of Daghestan provide an account of a meeting between Gurdjieff and Shaykh Sharafuddin Daghestani in which the secret of the Nine Points was transmitted to Gurdjieff [1]
Robin Amis claims an Orthodox Christian origin, claiming that both Gurdijeff and Ouspensky developed their teaching with insights gained from visits to Mount Athos.[4]
Another proposal suggests the diagram is a map of the chakras from yogic schools. [5]

[edit] Application to processes

According to Gurdjieff as quoted by Ouspensky in In Search of the Miraculous the enneagram figure is a symbol said to represent the "law of seven" and the "law of three" (the two fundamental universal laws in Gurdjieff's system) and, therefore according to this view, the figure can be used to describe any natural whole phenomenon, cosmos, process in life or any other piece of knowledge. The figure is the central organizing glyph of the Fourth Way's view of the material world which Gurdjieff is quoted by Ouspensky as relating to alchemy.

Enneagram representing the evolution of food with "self remembering" at point 6
The most detailed example of how this is said to work given in In Search of the Miraculous is an explanation of how Gurdjieff believed inputs to the human body ("Food", "Air" and "Impressions", collectively regarded as types of food) are processed into the so-called "higher substances" necessary for higher consciousness to function. One proposition of Gurdjieff's alchemical view of matter, essential to follow is that "everything is material"; consciousness and spirit are to be regarded as aspects of matter, although more refined or of a "higher vibration" than perceptible aspects. This proposition is an essential basis for Gurdjieff's view of the evolution of food into "higher substances"; briefly summarized below from the account in In Search of the Miraculous:
As ordinary food (beginning as "Do") is eaten and enters the body at point 9, it is said to be processed in the mouth and stomach as "Re" at point 1 and then in the small intestine as "Mi" at point 2. Here food can't evolve on its own any further, and it needs an external "push". This "push" in the given case is "Air", seen as another type of food which enters at point 3 as a new "Do", joining the evolving food in the bloodstream at point 4, "Fa" for the octave of ordinary food and Re for the Air octave. At this point we lose touch with clear correspondences to scientific physiology but point 5 involves the substances or energies used in thought; point 6 being where "Impressions", regarded as a type of food, are said to enter the body. "Impressions" will serve as a shock if they are intensified by some such means as the exercise of "self-remembering" taught by Gurdjieff, thus allowing the Air and Impressions octaves to proceed through point 7 to point 8. Otherwise only the ordinary food octave proceeds to point 8. "La" at point 7 represents emotional and other energies and at point 8, the "Si" at the end of the first "ordinary food" octave represents the sexual energies; which are the "highest substance" according to Gurdjieff which the body produces naturally without conscious intervention. A desire to conserve this "higher substances" for esoteric use is said to be the original reason for religious celibacy. With the conscious intervention at point 6 of "self remembering" further and more useful "higher substances" are created, represented by the air octave's Sol at point 8 and the Impression octave's Mi at point 8. (Ouspensky makes some further remarks on the nature of this Mi 8 and Sol 8 in his book Fourth Way) A further conscious shock, requiring "a special type of control over the emotions" at point 9 would enable a new "higher" or spiritual body to begin to grow, this is represented by Gurdjieff as the aim of his and other esoteric traditions.
It will be seen that by this view emotions depend on "higher substances" than thought and sexual feeling on "higher substances" still. The creation of the universe is also described in In Search of the Miraculous in terms of an octave, the Ray of Creation and therefore implicitly in terms of an enneagram.

[edit] Other applications

Other applications of the enneagram to describing processes can be found in writings influenced by those of Gurdjieff,[6] notably in the writings of J.G. Bennett. In his book Gurdjieff: Making a New World [7] Bennett describes the workings of a community kitchen in terms of the enneagram and offers some explanation of the meaning of the internal lines; and his book Enneagram Studies[8] is devoted to the subject, offering nine examples of enneagrams in various applications.
Another completely unrelated system, the so-called "Overstone Cycle", was devised by nineteenth century banker, Lord Overstone, to describe events on the financial market: starting with "quiescence", it then moves on to "improvement", then through "confidence", 'prosperity', 'excitement', "over-trading", 'convulsion', 'pressure", "stagnation', until it ends again in "quiescence" (see J. Johnstone's Illustration of Lord Overstone's famous description of the business cycle).

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Ouspensky, P.D. (1949). In Search of the Miraculous. New York and London: Harcourt Brace, and Routledge. pp. 294. ISBN 0-15-600746-0. ISBN is for Mariner Books, 2001. Quote: "The knowledge of the enneagram has for a very long time been preserved in secret and if it now is, so to speak, made available to all, it is only in an incomplete and theoretical form of which nobody could make any practical use without instruction from a man who knows."
  2. ^ a b Webb, James (2001). The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, and Their Followers. New York and London: Putnam USA, and Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-87773-427-5. ISBN is for Shambhala Publications, 1987.
  3. ^ Shah, Idries (1994). The Commanding Self. London: Octagon Press. ISBN 0-86304-070-5. ISBN is for 1997 edition. The enneagram is disguised as "two superimposed squares" with the space in the middle representing the ninth point.
  4. ^ Staff (2006-07-14). "The direct connection between the Fourth Way and Inner Christianity". Praxis Research Institute. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  5. ^ van Laer, L. (2003). "Chakras and the enneagram".
  6. ^ For example, A.G.E. Blake The Intelligent Enneagram (Shambhala, 1995), an excerpt from this book plus other material and references on the enneagram of process can be found on Blake's "Duversity" site , accessed 25 June 2010
  7. ^ Gurdjieff: Making a New World , Spiritual Classics Edition 1992, Appendix on the enneagram
  8. ^ Enneagram Studies. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1983.

[edit] References

  • Ouspensky, P.D., In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching , Harcourt Brace, and Routledge, (London), 1949.
  • Nicoll, M., Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, Volume Two, Vincent Stuart, (London), 1952.
  • Bennett, J.G., The Enneagram, Coombe Springs Press, (Sherborne), 1974
  • Popoff, I.B., The Enneagrama of the Man of Unity, Samuel Weiser, (New York), 1978.
  • Bennett, J.G., Enneagram Studies, Samuel Weiser, (York Beach), 1983.
  • Shah, I., The Commanding Self, Octagon Press, (London), 1994.
  • Blake, A.G.E., The Intelligent Enneagram, Shambhala Books, (Boston), 1996.
  • Webb, J., The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, and Their Followers, Thames and Hudson, (London), 2001.