Paul Laffoley vizionarski je umjetnik, renesansni čovjek, sveznajući čudak opsjednut rajradikalnijim metafizičkim spekulacijama o prirodi svemira, svijesti, prostora i vremena. Svojim mandaličnim crtežima, izumima, arhitekstonskim projektima i esejima stvara on čudni metafizički muzej ispunjen izvanzemaljskim životnim oblicima i biološkim strojevima koji putuju kroz vrijeme. Zamislite da se Buddha inkarnirao u arhitekturom svemira opsjednutog znanstvenofantastičnog umjetnika i dobit ćete nešto nalik na Laffoleya.
The Boston Visionary Cell, founded by Paul Laffoley in 1971, was based on the model of an artists’ guild. Although there have been numerous presentations of Laffoley's work over the past decade, the Boston Visionary Cell has never been examined in the context of his life's work. It is a crucial piece in understanding Laffoley’s methodology. As stated in its founding charter, it was created “to develop and advance visionary art”: We . . . believe that the evocation of the mystical experience by means of symbols, which has functioned as part of the intentioning process throughout the course of human history, is the intended direction of evolution that becomes most expressive through visual art during those periods in history that are characterized by rapid change, e.g., the twentieth century, which has seen a series of movements from the Modern era to the Post-Modern era, finally culminating in the Bauharoque era.
"You can't invent anything that hasn't occurred in nature," says Paul Laffoley, a painter and trained architect. "In architecture, you're literally uncovering nature's creativity and punching it up a little." A typically punched-up vision is Laffoley's Das Urpflanze Haus (the primordial plant house), which offers genetically engineered seeds as a solution to the housing shortage. Laffoley's portfolio, including a human-powered vehicle and a time machine, echoes the weird science of Nikola Tesla and Buckminster Fuller: Intricate illustrations and collages graft ancient occultism, eccentric engineering, particle phy-sics, and a dose of ufology onto obsessively detailed building plans for a surreal alternative future. - David Pescovitz
Donna Kossy: Paul Laffoley - otkačenjak treće generacije
Paul Laffoley, umjetnik i arhitekt s prebivalištem u državi Massachusetts, velik dio svojega života posvetio je izgradnji vremenskog stroja. Laffoley, kojeg je ta naprava privukla zbog njezine bitne bezgraničnosti, zapravo ni sam nema ograničenja. Njegova razmatranja u jednakoj mjeri obuhvaćaju drevne i suvremene teme, otkrivaju duboko poznavanje klasične filozofije, povijesti umjetnosti, svjetske povijesti, religije, metafizike i parapsihologije, kao i solidno poznavanje moderne znanosti i tehnologije. On je utoliko jedna vrsta renesansnog čovjeka, alkemičar koji se koristi punim spektrom znanja kako bi dosegnuo transcendentno.
Širinom i dubinom zahvata moja osobna promišljanja uvelike zaostaju za Laffolyjevim, pa zapravo nisam u mogućnosti u potpunosti shvatiti ili procijeniti valjanost svih njegovih zamisli. No oni segmenti njegova mišljenja koje razumijem ne samo da su posve utemeljeni, nego i u meni potiču trenutke misaone transcendencije; razgovarajući s njime, imala sam osjećaj da razgovaram s pripadnikom neke napredne civilizacije. Tko zna - možda su njegove zamisli doista isprazne tlapnje i možda sam jednostavno podlegla hipnotičkom utjecaju beskrajne bujice njegovih riječi u kojoj vješto kombinira stotine fantastičnih ideja s nevjerojatno zanimljivim anegdotama iz vlastite prošlosti. Ali ako je Laffoley luđak, onda je svakako jedan od najbriljantnijih.
Laffolyjev vremeplov, naprava je čija je izgradnja u tijeku. Nedavno je zatražio financijsku potporu za izgradnju ključnog dijela stroja, takozvanog levogyrea, i čvrsto je uvjeren kako je vrijeme vremeplova konačno došlo; Laffoly, naime, predviđa da će prvi vremenski stroj biti načinjen do 2013. godine.
Laffoley je nadahnuće pronašao u romanu H. G. Wellsa, Vremenski stroj, ali tu prestaje svaka sličnost. Laffoleyjeva naprava nije mehanički stroj opskrbljen hrpom žica i kablova, nego misaono ili psihotroničko pokretalo koje omogućava kontrolirano izmještanje ljudske svijesti u prostoru i vremenu. U bitnome smislu, takav vremeplov omogućava kontrolu i pojačavanje predpercepcije budućnosti i retrospekcije prošlosti, usljed čega bi trebalo doći do otvaranja prostorno-vremenskih procjepa. Ponešto žica i kablova ipak će, međutim, biti.
Laffoley još nije izgradio takvu napravu, niti tvrdi da ona može biti izgrađena - ovoga časa. Uvjeren je, međutim, da će za dvadeset godina takvo što zasigurno biti moguće. Vremeplov je postao sveprožimljuća Laffoleyjeva strast. U potpunosti svjestan vlastitog statusa otkačenjaka, Laffoley je zapisao kako su... svi pokušaji izgradnje vremeplova ili čak iznošenja tvrdnje da takva naprava može biti načinjena, u pravilu rezultirali time da se iznositelja spomenutih zamisli proglašavalo baštinikom atavističkih i praznovjernih shvaćanja naravi zbilje. Takva se praksa, dodaje Laffoley, održala do danas.
Kada je prvi put pročitao Wellsovu priču, Laffoley je - poput većine ljudi - smatrao da je takva naprava nemoguća. Vremeplov ga je u početku privukao prvenstveno kao zanimljiv vizualni ili mentalni konstrukt, odnosno kao nemoguća naprava srodna kakvu neprekidno gibajućem stroju. No taj se prvotni stav bitno izmijenio nakon što je krajem šezdesetih, iz različitih New Age časopisa i sličnih alternativnih medija doznao za novo područje psihotroničkih istraživanja.
Razvitak Laffoleyjeva vremenskog stroja započeo je međutim, puno ranije kad je autor došao u doticaj s područjem sličnim psihotronici - odnosno s fizikomi uma - preko svojega oca koji se bavio okultizmom i spiritualizmom. Neki prijatelji Laffoleyjeva oca bili su pioniri spiritualizma, kao primjerice Leonard T. Troland, profesor optike na Harvardu koji je svoj život posvetio konstruiranju cjelovita matematičkog opisa fizike uma.
S parpsihologom u obitelji, prvoklasnim klasičnim obrazovanjem, poznavanjem dizajna i iskustvom eksplozije uma tijekom šezdesetih, Laffoley se počeo zabavljati idejom o putovanju kroz vrijeme kao psihotroničkim, a ne čisto fizičkim događajem:
Oko 1967. godine pomislio sam kako je ideju o putovanju kroz vrijeme moguće povezati s psihologijskim fenomenom unaprijednog i unazadnog poimanja (predopažanja budućnosti i unazadnog opažanja prošlosti). Kako bih samoj zamisli osigurao status izomorfnog pristupa putovanju kroz vrijeme, morao sam joj podariti nekakav ekstremni vid mogućeg nadzora. Snovi, halucinantne vizije i snažni predosjećaji koji obilježavaju svakodevni život svih pojedinaca koji imaju prekogniciji ili retrogniciji pojedinih događaja, nisu po meni bili dovoljno snažni da bi ih se moglo okvalificirati kao cjelovite pojmovne izraze radikalnog izmještanja prirodne prezentnosti pojedinca - barem u Wellsovu smislu tog pojma. Ti su fenomeni, međutim, imali jednu veliku prednost: s obzirom na to da je riječ o prirodnim činjenicama, takvom vidu pre- i retrognicije ne može se pripisati kršenje definicije vremena, za razliku od Wellsova vremeplova.
Usporedno s time, kaže, počeo sam se baviti razmatranjem koncepta dimenzionalnosti i to sa stajališta kakvoće, a ne samo kolikoće, kao što bi to učinio kakav matematičar. Na osnovu spoznaja preuzetuh iz vedskog učenja o razinama zbilje, poistovjetio sam zapadni pojam energije (kao nečega što se očituje u svim vidovima kretanja) s idejom vremena. Bitno složeniju dimenziju "vječnosti" odredio sam kao oblik energije koji se očituje bez kretanja. Time sam došao do ustanovljenja kakvoće pojedinih dimenzija i rastvorio prividno monolitni koncept energije.
Srce Laffoleyjeva vremeplova čini levogyre, jedna vrst super-žiroskopa. Prema mišljenju autora, riječ je o jednom od najstabilnijih mogućih objekata na zemlji čija će se težina bitno smanjiti tijekom uporabe. Dimamična geometrija naprave, piše Laffoley, pojačava prirodno smanjenje mase svakog žiroskopa tijekom uporabe - iako smanjenje težine u normalnim uvjetima nije zamjetno.
Grubo rečeno, levogyre ima osigurati jedinstvenost, točku mirovanja, odnosno trenutnost u kojoj prostor-vrijeme biva beskonačno izobličeno djelovanjem gravitacije. Crna rupa koju spomenje Opća teorija relativnosti primjer je takve jedinstvenosti mase; ostali prirodni primjeri su točka mirovanja u središtu obrtanja kotača, dvije točke mirovanja mehanizma klatna i trenutak mirovanja između uzroka i posljedice u događajnome slijedu. Lafolley napominje da je svijest, poput mase, moguće podvrgnuti takvom vidu jedinstvenosti; primjeri za to mogu biti čakre, akupunkturne točke, otkrivenja i spiritualistički fenomeni.
S obzirom na to da pokušava uspostaviti kontrolu nad njezinim učincima, a poglavito nad izmještanjem vremena, Laffoleyja puno više zanima strukturirana, nego prirodna jedinstvenost: Za razliku od crnih rupa, crvotočina i čakri, kao prirodnih jedinstvenosti i mogućih "dimenzionalnih portala", stvarnim modelom za izradu levogyrea postao je foton (srukturirana jedinstvenost), zbog beskonačna unutrašnjeg uvrtanja i izvanjske brzine kretanja. Laffoley tvrdi da s gubitkom mase, levogyre dobiva na svijesti, što pak otvara mogućnost kontrole i pojačavanja pre- i retrognicije.
Laffolyjev je vremeplov važan doprinos rješavanju problema putovanja kroz vrijeme, bez obzira na mogućnost njegove izrade, jer već samo promišljanje planova za izradu takve neprave ima snažan psihotronički učinak na otvoreni um. Tko zna; možda je ključne pojmove fizike - vrijeme, masu, energiju i gravitaciju - uistinu moguće zaobići ljudskim umom putem mentalne fizike i psihotronike.
Prirodna ograničenja vremena, energije i mase izgubila su svoj status ograničavajućih čimbenika u vrijeme kad ih je Laffoley počeo motriti iz gledišta parapsihologije; time se i koncept putovanja kroz vrijeme prestao činiti apsurdnim. Paul Laffoley u tom se trenu čvrsto stopio sa svojom ulogom, kako on kaže, otkačenjaka treće generacije, s obzirom na to da njegov otac nije vjerovao u gravitaciju (kao još jedno prirodno ograničenje), a djed je mu je bio religiozni slobodoumnik na tragu velikog agnostika Roberta Ingersolla. Upravo je preko oca Laffoley došao u doticaj s relativiziranjem pojmova koje većina ljudi ne dovodi u pitanje:
On kaže:...Moj otac nije vjerovao u graviticiju, baš kao što ljudi prije ili poslije prestanu vjerovati u Djeda Božićnjaka: to je lijepa bajka koja je posve bezopasna, ako je se ne shvati preozbiljno. Odrastajući, nisam znao da ljudi vjeruju u postojanje gravitacije. Bila je to tema o kojoj nikada nisam razgovarao sa svojim prijateljima.
Djetinjstvo mladog Paula bilo je zbog svega toga unekoliko bizarno, iako mu je otac bio uspješni bankar. Za razliku od većine očeva koji sinove vode na pecanje ili utakmice, Laffoleyjev je otac svog sina vodio na izložbe antigravitacijskih i neprekidno gibajućih naprava. Iako snažno indoktriniran, Laffoley se ipak sukobio s ocem:
On kaže...[otac je] čitavo vrijeme isticao kako primjećuje da me sistem zaglupio jer sam, prema njegovu mišljenju, pokazivao da ipak vjerujem u gravitaciju. (Gravitacija je za njega predstavljala čitav sistem), budući da je gravitacija ono što čovjeka prizemljuje. Mislim da je u simboličkom smislu ta ideja vrlo zanimljiva. Zašto ljudi uopće žele uzletjeti? Zato što je, simbolički, gravitacija najmaterijalističkiji postojeći koncept. Determinizam biljarskih kugli zasnovan je na ideji o gravitacijskoj uvjetovanosti kretanja tih kugli.
...I tako bi svaki naš razgovor, bez obzira natemu, završavao njegovim isticanjem kako sam se prodao sistemu budući da vjerujem u gravitaciju.
Osim specifičnog pristupa pojmu gravitacije, Laffoleyjev je otac u osnovi bio konvencionalnog svjetonazora; poput većine tadašnjih ljudi, bio je vrlo skeptičan prema pitanju letećih tanjura. (Navodno ni na koji način nije povezivao leteće tanjure i anti-gravitaciju). Kad je, dakle, vrtlar koji je povremeno uređivao vrt Laffoleyjevih izjavio da je zajedno sa sinom posjetio leteći tanjur, svi su - uključujući i Laffoleyjeva oca - pomislili da je čovjek poludio. U međuvremenu, spomenuti je vrtlar Paulu posuđivao popularno štivo na temu letećih tanjura, poput knjiga Adamskog, te knjige Orfea Angeluccija Tajna letećih tanjura. Paul je bio oduševljen, pri čemu je njegovo zanimanje bilo dodatno podgrijano činjenicom da su svi vrtlara smatrali luđakom.
Paulovi razgovori s vrtlarom bili su prvi izvor spoznaja o letećim tanjurima i NLO-ima. Kako se prvotna opčinjenost održala, Laffoley je počeo istraživati arhitekturalne osnove građe letećeg tanjura.
[U jednoj fazi svojega života Laffoley je proživljavao teške psihološke probleme], bio je zapao u stanje blage katatonije, nekoliko je godina bio nepokretan, te podvrgnut terapiji eletrošokovima. Kad sam s Laffoleyjem razgovarala o toj epizodi njegova života, bio je vrlo veseo i činilo se da nimalo ne žali zbog mučenja kojemu je bio podvrgnut:
Kaže:...Iako sve to zvuči poput mučenja, moram reći da mi terapija nije osobito smetala budući da sam bio pod anestezijom. Nezgodno je jedino to što sam prošao velik broj terapija; tijekom dvaju mjeseci, osam puta sam bio podvrgnut elektrošokovima... U svakom slučaju, otac je rekao da jednostavno ne može plaćati dodatne terapije...
Laffoley ističe da je prije terapije obično sanjao crno-bijele snove, a tek povremeno i neke u boji. Nakon terapije, počeo je sanjati isključivo u boji i - što je još važnije - svjesno sanjati; drugim riječima, počeo je osjećati da može aktivno sudjelovati u kreiranju vlastitih snova. Jedno takvo iskustvo, opisano u njegovoj knjizi Fenomenologija otkrivenja, izrazito je nelagodna i živa noćna mora tijekom koje Laffoley ulazi u galeriju u kojoj su izložene živuće skulpture: Kaže:
Skulpture su imale neograničen broj osjetilnih organa, koji su se međusobno razlikovali kao što se oko razlikuje od uha. Iznenada me obuzeo čudan osjećaj kakav do tada nisam iskusio. Osjetio sam da sam postao znanje, a skulptura je postala znalac; bio sam obuhvaćen, ali ne fizički, nego epistemički.
...Modalitet moje svijesti bio je u usporedbi s onim skulpture mehanički. Tada mi je postalo jasno što se zapravo zbiva. U početku sam bio bijesan zbog nemogućnosti da razgovaram s ljudima koji su me okruživali. Tada me preplavila ljubomora jer sam otkrio posve nov i izvoran oblik umjetnosti. U tom času, sučeljen sa skulpturom, osjetio sam kako me obuzima užasan strah. Bio sam potpuno budan: znao sam da sam zarobljen u galeriji i da ću zasigurno umrijeti ako se ne probudim iz tog sna i ne otrgnem iz zagrljaja skulptura...
...Sljedećih sam tjedana izbjegavao spavanje kako se san ne bi ponovio. Nakon mjesec dana opet sam normalno spavao, a s time je došlo i razdoblje razmatranja sna. Prvo što sam shvatio bilo je da je san ukorijenjen u mojoj podsvijesti i da je njegov sadržaj u bitnom smislu moj, bez obzira na kolektivnu ili univerzalnu narav koncepta podsvijesti. Ako ništa drugo, barem sam otkrio nešto što mogu iskoristiti, odnosno posve nov prostor spoznaje.
...mislim da me san više nego išta drugo, približio poimanju mističnog iskustva, u klasičnom smislu tog pojma...
...vjerujem da sam napustio naš fizički univerzum, četverodimenzionalni prostor vremenite tjelesnosti koji zovemo životom, i zašao u peterodimenzionalni prostor vječne bestjelesnosti koji zovemo smrću. Pomislio sam da se neću moći vratiti u život, ako nastavim putem sna.
Jedan od pozitivnih učinaka sna bio je i taj da se moja umjetnost počela razvijati u pravcu koji i danas slijedim. Pokušavajući se prisjetiti sna, stvarao sam slike koje su mi služile poput svojevrsnog štita pred stvarnošću fizike sna.
Ideje za slike ubrzo su preoblikovane u cjeloviti inventar slika pohranjenih u umu, slika već naslikanih koje su - poput zrakoplova što kruže nad zračnom lukom - čekale trenutak vlastita ostvaraja.
Otkrivenje je postalo jednom od središnjih tema Laffoleyjeve umjetnosti, pa je tako 1972. godine, uz potporu Instituta za suvremenu umjetnost u Bostonu, Laffoley namjerio stvoriti svoj Novi Jeruzalem o kojemu govori Knjiga Otkrivenja. Prigoda koja mu je pružena bila je dio plana, tvrdi Laffoley, odnosno posljedica želje ravnatelja Instituta da se osveti svojim kolegama koji zasigurno ne bi podržali Laffoleyjev rad. Ravnatelj je Laffoleyju prepustio čitavu prostoriju i zamolio ga da stvara što je moguće veću buku.
Čitavo iskustvo Laffoley opisuje kao karmički uvod u njegov kasniji projekt izgradnje zabavnog parka pod nazivom Sjedinjene Države - obećana zemlja. Osvrti na Laffoleyjev izložak Novi Jeruzalem pojavili su se u nekoliko časopisa; možda je upravo tim putem skupina “kršćana”, među kojima je bio i Billy Bob, saznala za Laffoleyja i posjetila njegov studio.
Laffoley je u tome prepoznao prigodu koja se pruža jednom u životu; kako bi osigurao potporu Billyja Boba i ostalih, Laffoley im je ponudio mnoge usluge ustvrdivši, između ostalog, da je sposoban svakih tri sata razdvojiti Crveno more. Kad su ga upitali ima li sposobnost telekineze, Laffoley je odgovorio, pa naravno. Skupina mu je ponudila zemljište, pa je Laffoley počeo graditi zabavni park. Imao je potpunu slobodu. Između ostalog, Laffoley je počeo graditi golemog plastičnog Isusa visokog trideset metara; bit će to, zapisao je, nešto poput figure na haubi automobila golemih razmjera. Čitav park motren iz zraka imat će oblik Davidove zvijezde. Ljude će u park dovoziti helikopteri nalik na anđele. Ukratko, njegove zamisli bile su doista nevjerojatne.
Nakon što su izrađeni financijski planovi, Billy Bob je sjeo u svoj Cadillac i zauvijek nestao.Ispostavilo se da je Laffoley, zajedno sa 150 članova ekipe, postao žrtvom klasičnog prevaranta. Prevara Billyja Boba bila je toliko vješta da je uspio pobjeći s 2.5 milijuna dolara što ih je za početak radova dobio od Države Alabama. Za Laffoleyja, bila je to međutim, samo još jedna bizarna epizoda u životu ispunjenome bizarnim epizodama.
Ako izvanzemaljci doista posjećuju Zemlju, postoji velika mogućnost da slete u Laffoleyjev zabavni park koji iz zraka nalikuje Davidovoj zvijezdi. To, međutim, uopće nije nužno, s obzirom na to da Laffoley sebe ionako smatra posrednikom, zbog niza čudnih epizoda u svojemu životu. Iako ne tvrdi da je ikada osobno upoznao nekog izvanzemljana, Laffoley često ističe da s njima održava neku vrstu komunikacije.
U posljednje vrijeme, sve veći broj dokaza ide u prilog Laffolyjevim tvrdnjama o kontaktu s izvanzemaljskim bićima. Paul je svojevremeno bio ugrađivao umjetni zub, zbog čega je morao snimiti čitavu glavu. Nakon što je pregledao snimke, liječnik ga je upitao je li ikada slomio vrat; Paul je odgovorio da nije. Liječnik ga je potom upitao je li ikada bio ustrijeljen; Paul je ponovo odgovorio da nije. Razlog zbog kojeg je liječnik postavljao takva pitanja bio je taj što je rentgenski snimak otkrio da Laffoley ima otprilike milimetar dugu, vertikalno postavljenu iglu zaobljenih krajeva smještenu između mozga i kičme. U nedostatku uvjerljivih objašnjenja, Paul je predmet protumačio kao klasičan izvanzemaljski usadak.
Paulov studio, smješten u jednoj od starih zgrada u središtu Bostona, doista izgleda poput studija kakva izvanzemaljskog posrednika. Od poda do stropa ispunjen je modelima letećih tanjura, starim napravama i parapsihološkom literaturom, a zidovi su prekriveni oglasima lokalnih proricatelja budućnosti.
Laffoley, međutim, ne radi u osami i očito osjeća odgovornost prema ostalim vrijednim umjetnicima i obrazovanju javnosti. U tom smislu, njegov je studio također okupljalište bostonskog vidovnjačkog ogranka, neprofitne umjetničke organizacije koju je Paul osnovao 1971. godine. Laffoley ističe kako organizacija svim silama nastoji upoznati ljude s različitim umjetničkim sadržajima služeći se pritom predavnjima, simpozijima i sličnim modelima djelovanja. Percepcija Lafolleyjeve umjetnosti osobito ovisi o kvalitetnim objašnjenjima; ta su objašnjenja prema Laffoleyjevu mišljenju, moderna istoznačnica srednjovjekovnih iluminacija ili čak katedrala čiji je sadržaj - tvrdi on - prvenstveno didaktičke naravi, a ne estetičke.
Postojanje sadržaja nije, međutim, prema Laffoleyju jedini kriterij Vidovnjačke umjetnosti. Sadržaj mora biti ustrojen na razini koja bitno nadilazi čistu informaciju. Tako, primjerice, psihotička umjetnost...ne poznaje nikakav oblik svetoređa ili bilo kakve hijerarhije, jer u određenome smislu nastoji dekonstruirati sve čemu prilazi. Vizionarska umjetnost ipak slijedi hijerarhiju, a uz posjedovanje pravog ključa njezin je sadržaj vrlo lako očitati:
Laffoley kaže: Uspostavio sam hijerarhiju simbola i to u sljedećem nizu: znak, indeks, ikona, arhetip i, konačno, simbol. Sve polazi od "informacije" koja je posve proizvoljna u smislu da neko A može biti jednako nekom B; potom slijedi "indeks" koji je poput životinjskog traga u snijegu, balističkog ili forenzičkog nalaza; "ikona" je, pak, pokušaj prilaska objektu, putem opisivanja njegove prostornosti ili vremenitosti; "arhetip" se poklapa s Jungovom definicijom dolaženja do informacije koje je čini se, genetski prirođeno čovjeku...; i, konačno, "simbol" je prostor stapanja sile s objektom kojem pristupate. U svakom slučaju, riječ je o kretanju od potpune proizvoljnosti do ne-proizvoljne informacije. Energija i informacija, u početku razdvojene na razini znaka, na kraju se spajaju. Mislim da umjetnost psihotičara ne slijedi takvu paradigmu, barem u smislu pristupa informacijama.
Iako primjećuje veliku razliku između svoje umjetnosti i one psihotičara, Paul Laffoley sebe smatra priličnim otkačenjakom.
Preveo Višeslav Kirinić
I. Dimensionality: The Manifestation of Fate (1992)
II. Disco Volante (1998)
III. Walt Disney and Joseph Albers (2008)
IV. Homage to Antoni Gaudi (2001)
V. Utopic Space (2001)
VI. The Death and Life of Monsieur Sebastian Melmoth: Au Théâtre du Grand Guignol (2003)
“Turning of the Wheel with Chris Flisher”
Contact Talk Radiowww.chrisflisher.com
Dimensionality: The Manifestation of Fate© Paul Laffoley 1999
The rationalized dimensionality above and below the Euclidean third dimension (or the so-called “consensus” reality) was the work of the geometer and astronomer Carl Fredrich Gauss (1777-1855), who conceived of a higher-dimensional analytic geometry, and the mathematician-physicist Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866), who as a student was influenced by Gauss. Riemann advanced the thought by developing an N-dimensional manifold with a metric (a rule for assigning lengths to paths), which meant you could now consider force or energy as a consequence of geometry, thus making the laws of nature seem simpler when viewed from the context of higher dimensional space.
From the mid-Nineteenth Century until now, dimensionality has gradually replaced the traditional concept of Fate– the three goddesses who determine the course of human life: Cloth (the spinner- who spins the thread of life), Lachesis (the disposer of lots-who determines the length of life) and Atropos (the inflexible- who cuts off the thread of life).
Rationalized dimensionality above and below the third dimensional realm – the dimension that has been defined as “consensus reality” – is the work of the Geometer and Astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss [1777-1855], who conceived of a higher-dimensional analytic geometry, and the mathematician-physicist Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann [1826-1866], who as a student was influenced by Gauss. From 300 B.C.E. to 1854, the third dimension of the ancient Greek geometer Euclid held sway over the spatial imaginations of most of the population of the western world. Even a mind as brilliant as that possessed by Sir Isaac Newton [1642-1727] was not immune. The sense of the misplaced absolutism concerning space and time was never challenged, with the exception of G.W. Leibniz [1646-1716], until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Then a number of mathematicians began to voice a new direction such as Nikolay Ivanvich Lobachevsky [1792-1856] and Janos Bolyai [ ]. But it was ultimately Riemann who advanced the concept of dimensionality into an n-dimensional manifold with a metric so as to establish a quantitative rule for assigning lengths to paths. This now meant that one could consider force or energy to be consequence of geometry, making the laws of nature seem simpler when viewed from the context of a more comprehensive dimensional space. The apotheosis of his thinking resulted in the revolution in physics initiated in the early twentieth century by Albert Einstein [1879-1955] and continues to influence contemporary physics although modified into quantum geometry.
From the mid-nineteenth century until now, dimensionality has gradually replaced the traditional concept of fate, first anthropomorphized by the ancient Greeks as three female sovereigns who determine the course of human life. The Fates from the Latin “fata” [singular – “fatum”] derives from the ancient Greek word “moirai” [singular – “moira”]. Both words mean “prophetic declarations” or “oracular utterance.” When an event is said to be fated, it is the same as that particular event being decreed to come to pass. But for humanity the future always remains unknowable except for an occasional divine inspiration, which is seldom heeded. The interlocutor for the Romans was Jupiter, while the decisions of the Fates for the Greeks were spoken by Zeus. Cassandra, a daughter of Priam [king of Troy], was endowed with the gift of prophecy but fated never to be believed. This is the condition the human species finds itself in relation to the future, never to know the absolute future, but always believing it can. In Greek and Roman cultures, the three Fates:
1) Clotho- the spinner – she who spins the thread of life
2) Lachesis- the disposer of lots – she who determines the length of life
3) Atropos- the inflexible – she who cuts off the thread of life
all three were called goddesses. They were, however, of such primordial nature that even early Greek commentators such as the poet Hesiod [Fl. ca. 800 B.C.E.] and the historian Herodotus [ca. 484-420 B.C.E], considered them Titans [the parents of the gods]. Eventually even that description would not suffice. Ultimately the function of the Fates in the universe became associated with the term “anagke” or necessity. This is a concept that includes the notions of both the abstract and the concrete, an idea for which we have no word because it is assumed that they are opposites.
Even the ancient Greek philosopher Plato [ca. 428-348 B.C.E.] was unable to find a principle that would act as a sufficient contrary to necessity. He proposed the concept “nous” or reason. In the Timaeus, one of his last writings, he had to accept that reason – the highest and most perfect knowledge humans could strive for – could only persuade the dictates of necessity, that is sometimes the fact that necessity has no particular concern for the human condition either individually or collectively cast a shadow on the efficacy of reason to persuade anything. This doubt led in classical Greek drama to a tragic sense of life in which humanity lives in a tension of faith in the future and hope for personal control in the present by reason. And since life seems like an abrupt vacillation between joy and agony, passion and apathy, success and struggle, it was assumed that all human concerns are subject to the whim of the gods. And sometimes even the gods are dominated by necessity.
The discovery of chance or caprice to be paradoxically at the heart if the Fates led the ancient Greeks to wonder to what extent the human soul might be in some similar fashion free and not just a marionette of the gods. From then on the history of Western thought became a philosophical investigation based on the theme of fate and human freedom. On the one had, fate was viewed as the phenomena of existence that we all have to endure regardless of who we are, while on the other hand, the soul and or consciousness became the repository of an endless investigation over the centuries on precisely how free we actually are and under what circumstances.
The concern for the phenomena of existence became naturphilosopie or the philosophy of nature. Its subject matter was, at the end of the nineteenth century, nearly all the objective sciences, which eventually fell under the rubric of quantitative science. For years the study of physics was known as the most favored among the absolute or formal studies. As we enter the twenty-first century it seems that biology has pulled ahead and now physics is becoming one of the applied sciences.
Lebensphilosophie or the philosophy of life was at mid-nineteenth century defined as an overall vision of / or attitude toward life in general and the purpose of human life in particular. Deriving from The Zeitgeist – a concept invented by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [1749-1832] in 1790 – Lebensphilosophie was gradually fleshed out as the intellectual, moral, historical, religious, and cultural climate of an era. In order to discover the degrees of freedom possessed by the human soul, it became necessary to throw out the widest net possible to encompass those subjects, which eventually were called the humanities. These are the branches of learning such as philosophy languages or arts that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes as in physics or chemistry. The humanities, of course, began by being concerned with quality – one of the basic categories of Aristotle [384-322 B.C.E]. Quality is defined as that by virtue of which a thing is such and such. It may be a habit, disposition, capacity, or the form and figure of a thing. Qualities were considered primary and secondary. The primaries of things are solidity, extension, figure, motion, rest, and number. Secondary qualities are colors, sounds, tastes, smells, etc. But by the beginning of the eighteenth century, George Berkeley [1685-1753], Irish philosopher and bishop, challenged Aristotle’s distinction with his identification of being with perception. “Esse est percipi” [To be is to be perceived] was his philosophical slogan. Berkeley called his philosophy of life Immaterialism, that is, nothing material exists, agreeing with the English philosopher John Locke [1632-1704] that all ideas originate in sense experience. We have, therefore, no immediate perception of our three-dimensional world. Instead, claimed Berkeley, we experience our sensations by means of cooperation amongst the senses, while learning to refer these impressions to their appropriate spatial distances, and thereby correctly interpret their magnitudes.
For most of the nineteenth century and for seventy years into the twentieth century, the philosophy of nature held sway as objective quantitative science, while the sense of quality associated with the philosophy of life was looked upon with suspicion, if tolerated at all. This reign of quantity [that is useless to assess the nature of consciousness, let alone such concepts as soul and spirit] became the intellectual means by which pseudoscientific statements of the time could be tolerated and eventually fostered. One statement that was particularly vicious and so typical of the mid-nineteen fifties could be heard on the campus of any college teaching the school of psychology known as behaviorism. And that was: “The mind is just an out moded nineteenth century concept – soon the be as extinct as the dodo.” The preaching of behaviorism entails the taking of the objective evidence of behavior [as measured responses to stimuli] as the only concern of its research and the only basis of its theory. Any reference to conscious experience was strictly eschewed.
The main advocates of this position were:
First: Ivan Petrovich Pavlov [1849-1936] A Russian professor of physiology who developed a theory of what he called “conditioned reflexes,” that is training dogs to respond to bells so that they associated the sound with the presence of food; eventually Pavlov was able to induce his dogs to salivate to at the sounds of a bell even when food was not forthcoming; the inspiration for these experiments came from the American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849]; one of Poe’s tales of crime and mystery written in a more scientific than supernatural mode and set in Paris, became the specific source of Pavlov’s literary influence; the title was, of course, “Murders in the Rue Morgue;” in the story a chimpanzee had been trained by the sound of a bell to rob and sometimes murder those individuals who got in the way of the theft; the trainer is a member of a carnival, who preaches a kind of proto-evolution to an indifferent world and utilizes the great anthropoid ape as his educational autoscope; eventually continuous ridicule of his precious theories drives the animal trainer into full psychosis after that he exacts punishment on his mockers by relieving them of their most precious jewels and occasionally their rude and obtuse lives by means of bell, beast, and reward;
Second: The real Father of Behavioral Psychology was John Broadus Watson [1878-1958], an American psychologist born in Greenville, South Carolina who taught at Johns Hopkins; his strategy was to summarily reject any form of introspection and make sure that all psychological data is restricted to direct observation and laboratory experiments; any references to consciousness, purpose, or the concept of the mind were ruled out by his methods;
And Third: The final major player in behaviorism was Burrhus Frederik Skinner [1904-1990], although he changed its name to “Operationalism”, or “Operationism,” or finally to the more clinical designation of “Operant Conditioning” [this is a form of conditioning in which the desired behavior or increasingly closer approximations of it are followed by a rewarding or reinforcing stimulus]; Skinner was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, the site of Utopian interest by English Quakers since 1681, the chemist Joseph Priestly [1733-1804], and the proposed site of an intentional community of radical design both politically and architecturally called “Xanatopia” by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]; Skinner was educated at Hamilton College and Harvard University before entering the field of psychology and prior to Harvard itself, he spent a short time trying to become a writer in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan; realizing then he had nothing to say as a novelist, he stepped out of The Philosophy of Life and plunged headfirst into The Philosophy of Nature and brought to Harvard a new direction in the study of psychology, which at that time was more culture than science; his now classic “Skinner Box” of the nineteen forties [a laboratory apparatus in which an animal is caged for experiments in operant conditioning and which typically contains a lever that must be pressed by the animal to gain reward or avoid punishment] became the focus of his detractors; when he switched his subjects from rats to people in the boxes, they claimed he had moved from science to science-fiction; and his detractors were right because it was no longer possible to tell who was conditioning whom; eventually Skinner realized he had not lost his talent as a writer of fiction, because in 1948 he published a major novel entitled “Walden Two”; this was his version of Utopia based on the operant conditioning of all its inhabitants into a perfect harmony of behavior; in the early nineteen sixties and intentional community called Twin Oaks was based on the book, but it soon became just another commune; even the name “Walden Two” was literary and dramatic; his reference to the writer Henry David Thoreau [1817-1862] and his journal about a few months of living at Walden Pond was one thing, but to do it in such an obviously redux manner turned out to be the forerunner, by thirty years, of the Hollywood practice of developing enumerated sequels to movie blockbusters; the nineteen sixties, however, brought an unexpected backlash with it, suddenly the “Reign of Quantity” was over, at least as far as pop culture was concerned; now Skinner became as annoyed with the world as he had made the world annoyed with him.
The advent of pop art in the late nineteen-fifties made way for the sixth incarnation of “The New Age”. From the mid-nineteenth century to the present, to be in “The New Age” meant to subscribe to a utopian social movement that drew upon ancient concepts, especially from Egyptian to Eastern and Native American traditions. It incorporated such themes as holism, a concern for nature, alternative modes of science-like free energy and mind-physics, mediumship, and a spiritual form of metaphysics. The philosophical basis of the movement coalesced at the turn of the twentieth century around the independence and external relatedness of objects of knowledge. Seeking a “new realism” that united acts of awareness with these objects of knowledge, “New Age” philosophers called upon the work of American philosopher William James [1842-1910]. Philosophically, the thought of James emerged from the tension between his commitment to science and the attractiveness of a personal religious faith. To resolve this tension, he developed a new view of “pure experience” to steer his way between the extremes of idealism and materialism in order to propose the existence of a neutral entity underlying both “mind-stuff” and “matter-stuff.” His new ontic position was very close to the primary insights of The Vedas and Zen [a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism].
The difference between the first five forms of “New Age” thinking and what became prominent during the sixties was an inordinate concern for the mass media and crass commercialism by many of its self-styled leaders. This delayed the integration by academia of this new thought by at least twenty-five years, leading people like B.F. Skinner to believe their positions were still viable. In 1971, Skinner published what became, I believe, the twilight of The Reign of Quantity. His final book, entitled Beyond Freedom and Dignity, attempted to take the concepts of operant conditioning that had been applied to a fictive and isolated utopian community and assume these principles could work in the real world of large-scale cultures and eventually the design of the whole earth. His idea follows the form of Plato who took his utopian thinking from the thought experiment of The Republic to the specific community planning and social engineering of The Laws. Skinner, nevertheless, eschewed the spirit of Plato in the end.
The contemporary German theologian Paul Tillich [1886-1965], who taught theology in the United States from 1933 to his death presented the problem of Utopia in 1951 in an essay entitled: “Critique and Justification of Utopia”. It is a living tension between, on the one hand, the desires and the collective elements of society and, on the other hand, the needs of the immiscible self – this living tension appears to be “the suspension between the possible and the impossible” according to the perspective of reason. But the existence of Utopia depends upon the type of reason you use. He distinguished among three types: 1) Heteronomous Reason – that takes its principles from outside itself and is therefore artificial, serves the collective; 2) Autonomous Reason – that takes its principles from within, but thereby reveals itself as vacuous and tautological, serves only the immiscible self; and 3) Theonomous Reason – that which is more deeply based, its fundament is “The Ground of Being” itself and thus transcends the concepts of the possible and the impossible.
“Beyond Freedom and Dignity” reveals Skinner to be caught up in heteronomous reason only. He defines concepts such a “freedom” and “dignity” as presuming what he calls the fiction of the autonomous individual. According to him, what should occur is a crisp and explicit intentional culture and world design employing a technology of behavior, which will reinforce those who have been induced by its cultural planning principles to work for its survival. What Skinner is describing, of course, is society planned as a military complex such as ancient Rome at its height during the time of Hadrian, its fourteenth emperor [76-138], or an insect colony. The problem with these social structures is that they require preemptive violence to bring them into being, and preemptive violence to maintain their form. While this situation is tolerated on the non-human level by humans [with the exception of personal pets or societies for the ethical treatment of animals and ecology groups – but even these organizations reflect human values and not the values of any particular animal]. On the human level it is, nevertheless, a rare person who can care about the destination of an individual bee or ant unless that individual insect stings or bites. Then any potential care turns directly into respect for the caliber of the insect’s personal weaponry. And what are we to say about the average mosquito?
In a recent book called “The Beehive Metaphor”  by Juan Antonio Ramirez [professor of art history at El Universidad Autonoma de Madrid] argues that the natural architecture and social life of bees [apis mellifera] was one of the major inspirational metaphors for the artists and architects of “The Modern Movement”, coming out of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth. The metaphor extols the virtues of bees: hard work, parsimony, creativity, dedication to duty, a common purpose, and a monarchical matriarchy.
Where some have seen an “apicultural utopia” others have seen nothing but a potential for fascism of either the right or the left as the result of the principle of modifying human behavior by architecture, in the same way that it is possible to substantially modify the work efficiency of honey bees. As Ramirez notes: “The panopticon, developed at the end of the eighteenth century by Jeremy Bentham, reveals a similar desire to modify behavior by means of increased observation of the convicted criminal. A single person observes and controls the cells of many prisoners arranged radially around a central tower. This arrangement, as Michel Foucault has demonstrated, had important consequences for the design of hospitals, prisons, and educational institutions. I believe that the grand plan of transferring these principles to the design of ordinary dwellings did not develop until the 1920s, when the ideological suppositions of the modern movement began to take shape.”
When the bottom dropped out of modernism leading to post-modernism, “The Beehive Metaphor” was blamed. A form of art was presented to the masses to educate and save them from themselves. But this art was ultimately sold to the privileged elite who are able to substitute money for taste and understanding until they reached a level of acquaintance with something new to them. In terms of architecture – “housing for the ever increasing masses” – the rallying cry of The Bauhaus School along with many of the modern master-builders, was also subverted. The goal of “affordable housing” produced an imagery derived from new materials and economies of structure developed from standardized, industrialized, and modular building systems, became lass an architectural solution to pressing social problems and more a symbolic form of language that could be used for extremely expensive custom design. The years after the nineteen thirties and forties, when the planning principles of modernism began to be put into effect for their “stated purposes,” the mass housing projects that were built proved to be hotbeds of physical abuse and terror-violence. By the nineteen seventies, other solutions for architecture were sought and mass housing projects were for the most part ignored. The quest for utopic space, one of the goals of modernism, was for a while completely thwarted.
Now that the world has moved on to the third phase of modernism, called by various authors, as: “transmodernism,” “post-postmodernism,” “the bauharoque,” or “neo-modernism,” the quest for utopic space has been once again revived, and the strategy is to move from heteronomous and autonomous reasoning directly to the theonomous. In returning to modernism with the advantage of understanding in what ways it has failed, it is possible to see that what went wrong was the fact that the version of modernism that was passed on to succeeding generations consisted mainly of an exhortation to be concerned with the advanced of science combined with the artist’s and architect’s intuitive plastic-vision. This meant the intuition of the traditional Euclidean-Renaissance space in terms of visual implications plus a conditional addition of new science facts and the subtraction of those considered to be obsolete. While this program gave the appearance of the new, it was little more than a repetition of the nineteenth century agenda. Much of the real heart of modernism was hidden from those who would help build a true tradition by its innovators. In the attempt to appear oracular and laconic in order to preserve for themselves the power that their cultural inventions had generated, the originators of modernism remained within the domain of autonomous reasoning, indulging in non-sequiturs, and allowing advocates of heteronomous reasoning or The Philosophy of Nature to hold sway over the direction of culture free from opposition. What is necessary and what is now occurring, in this third phase of modernism, is the use of theonomous reasoning. While often being called transdisciplinary, theonomous reasoning is actually a first step back to ancient wisdom in which methodological sensation [or what we now know as science] has completely merged with methodological revelation [or totally known mystical knowledge in which every aspect of the occult has been overcome]. A true tradition has no occult or hidden phases left in its process. The creators and the audience are in perfect harmony.
A tradition of culture is like a mighty river flowing to the oneness of open sea, but a tradition like a river is fed by many streams and tributaries. In the case of modernism – a very rich and complex tradition still in formation – a few of its streams of inspiration can be mentioned:
1) The Quest for Utopia: In terms of producing a harmonious living system or an intentional community, and an analysis of utopic space – the space that initiates and supports a utopian community on earth or in outer space;
2) The Commitment to Science: In terms of following the scientific method in relation to an ethical code which does not distort the truth of science; and utilizing the technology and systems of science, producing a design science;
3) The Use of History: For modernism, history is not just the imaginative reconstruction of the past, but a design tool to determine the authentically new from the past as opposed to what has been lauded as original and turns out not to be; this is history as the inverse of science fiction [which attempts to project ideas developed in the present onto a future scenario to help separate the merely fashionable from the new]; and to create a morgue of ideas from the past that can be revived because they have shown to be authentically new as history unfolds;
4) The Metaphors of Modernism: There are many metaphors such as: the biomorphic; the mechanical; “The Beehive Metaphor” [previously mentioned] which is a subset of the urban metaphor that states that urbanism is the controlling structure throughout the universe, from the microcosm to the macrocosm [from the world of architecture such terms to describe land use like wild wood, rural, exurban, suburban, all point to a potential urbanism]; the systematic and the diagrammatic; etc.;
5) Dimensionality: A) In terms of imagery, dimensionality belongs to the systematic and diagrammatic, but its unique context has caused it to be considered in a category by itself; although dimensionality as a rational concept has been in existence in the west for 2301 years, it is only in the past 147 years that it has become an issue which places it in the realm of the authentically new; as the contemporary physicist Brian Greene, advocate of string theory, said of that period in the mid-nineteenth century: “Nevertheless, we should not lose sight of the favorable historical circumstances that strongly contributed to Einstein’s success. Foremost among these are the nineteenth century mathematical insights of Georg Bernhard Riemann that firmly established the geometrical apparatus for describing curved spaces of arbitrary dimension. In his famous 1854 inaugural lecture at the University of Göttingen, Riemann broke the chains of flat-space Euclidean thought and paved the way for a democratic mathematical treatment of geometry on all varieties of curved surfaces.” ; now while space and time have been considered as two of the ultimate categories of natural philosophy [naturphilosophie], dimensionality is somewhat different; the difference began with the eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant [1724-1804] who initiated his thought process from consciousness rather than the products of consciousness; his position on space and time is to the raw data of sensation we add the concepts or forms of spatiality and temporality; space is the form of the external sense and time the form of the internal sense; but we never experience anything except that which is within the spatiality and temporality; and yet somehow we never experience space and time directly; therefore, the space and time in which we order phenomena must derive not from sensation, but from consciousness itself; Kant’s position goes a long way to explain why space has been more acceptable than time; space deals with the discontinuous, the discrete, the concrete, the finite; whereas time doubles the effect of consciousness and its expression is the continuous, the abstract and the infinite; because of the differences between spatiality and temporality, space has always been more easily understood and has resulted in the spatializing of time and in many cases an actual disbelief in the existence of time itself; Henri Bergson [1859-1941] the philosopher of time, criticized the space-time continuum of Hermann Minkowski [1864-1909] –Einstein’s teacher of mathematics – by saying that this structure was another attempt to spatialize time’s nature out of existence similar to the attempt of the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides [ca. 515-450 B.C.E.]; opposing reason and concept and space to intuition and metaphor and time, Bergson re-established for modern Europe the insights about space and time developed by the Indian philosopher Shankara [788-820]; his Vedic position is called the Advaita [non-dualistic] Vedanta, which allows no distinction between the individual self and the Brahman [the world is an appearance – Brahman and Atman are one]; Shankara taught that space is inherently passive waiting for the human capacity to divide it, while time is inherently active and can overpower the human self; space evokes care in the human heart, while time smothers the human heart in boredom; since the feminine element has been traditionally considered passive and the masculine active, by the principle of achieving unity by means of opposites, it is no wonder, thought Shankara, that the Western concept of the Fates are represented by women because this would be the means to control time into the unity of Brahman; space holds no such terror for the human heart except if its logic leads to occasions of infinites; contemporary physics deplores infinites in nature; they are defined as: “the typical nonsensical answer emerging from calculations that involve general relativity and quantum mechanics in zero-dimensional point-particles;”
B) The real issue concerning dimensionality, and what makes it culturally part of modernism, is what is means as a human to be subject to the limits of a dimension; while we all have an almost intuitive sense of what it is like to be immersed with Euclidean space, but there was a time prior to the third century B.C.E. when Euclid’s geometry would have seemed impossible to comprehend, in much the same way that usual perspective introduced by Masaccio [1401-1428] during the Italian Renaissance was not fully appreciated to be a creative extension of Euclidean space;
C) When the fourth dimension was proposed around 1875, it was not understood how there could be a fourth ninety degree angle vector coextensive with the familiar three; even the great American Engineer Richard Buckminster Fuller [1895-1983] could not accept such a construct; his solution to more spatial dimensions was simple to reduce one constant; instead of insisting on ninety degrees, he suggested using an angle that would be less; he chose sixty degrees and produced a fourth dimension that could be directly observable; to him the idea of a fourth spatial dimension as the door to something outside the range of ordinary experience is an example of the fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes;”
D) There were, of course, many who did accept such a proposition, for instance, The Theosophical Society – formed in New York City the same year as “The Fourth Dimension” was first spoken of in 1875 – welcomed the notion like the “Grace of God;” theosophy, which combined current scientific concepts with Buddhist and Brahmanic theories of pantheistic evolution and reincarnation saw “the fourth dimension” as the explanation for ghosts, astral projection, lucid dreaming, etc.; “Madame” Helena Petrovna Blavatsky [1831-1891], who vaunted the powers of a medium, formed the society on the Gnostic principles put forth by Ammonius Saccas, the teacher of the neo-Platonist Plotinus [204-270]; Blavatsky’s success depended less on her charisma than the fact that she used the growing power of Charles Darwin [1809-1882] and his idea of scientific evolution to bolster her utopic persuasions in the same manner that Pierre A. LeComte du Noüy [1883-1947] [published “Human Destiny” 1947] and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [1881-1955] [published “The Phenomenon of Man” 1955] did in the twentieth century; the notoriety that Darwin received from both the religious conservatives and the established scientific community was what Blavatsky needed to launch her concept that evolution was an indication that humans could someday reach the status of gods, and the mystical experience was a foretaste of that new ontic status; and the belief in the fourth dimension by many scientists and mathematicians of her day became her “reason my authority” to declare herself, Annie Besant [1847-1933, the most notable American leader of Theosophy], and the English woman Alice Bailey to be the modern incarnations of the ancient Greek Fates;
E) Soon others found this new form of spirituality without traditional religious trappings very much to their liking; for instance, in 1884, Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote the now classic tale of “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions”; Abbott’s strategy [and he was the first to use it] concerning the existence and perception of the fourth dimension, was to write about what life would be like in a less comprehensive dimension than the one that engulfs our existence; he presented by a combination of reason, analogy, and metaphor what it would be like to exist in the second dimension of spatiality and the suddenly realize there was another dimension – the third; by doing this, the hope is to convince the reader that there might be other dimensions that someday will be perceived; immediately there were techniques developed purporting to allow an individual to reach the fourth dimension by the eyes; this was the work of Howard H. Hinton; these two epistemological traditions have continued to this day; right on the heels of Abbott, Claude Fayette Bragdon [ - 1946], an American architect and theosophist, created a way to use the analogy on a lower dimensional world to convince others of the fourth dimension; in his “Primer of Higher Space”, Bragdon presents the most popular geometric form – the tesseract, the fourth dimensional hyper-cube – of his day in such a manner that all the vertices of the hyper-cube were numbered so that in the nineteen sixties Bell Laboratories made a computerized moving shadow of the tesseract; although Bragdon was not lauded to the extent of Henry P. Manning [chairman of the Department of Mathematics at Brown University], Bragdon’s work proved far more creative than the academic treatise on four-dimensional geometry by Manning.
Kant’s deeper message – that of temporality – did not go unheeded by thinkers passing through the cultural glories of the fin-de-siècle. Three who developed notions of time as the source of higher or more evolved consciousness were Rudolf Steiner [1861-1925], George Gurdjieff [ -1946], and Peter D. Ouspensky [ - ]:
A) Steiner, a German philosopher who considered the poet Goethe his mentor even though there was 29 years between the death of Goethe and the birth of Steiner, initially argued for an organic view of the universe allowing for spiritual freedom. He entered the Theosophical Society but finally organized his own mystical group called Anthroposophy. He believed in higher dimensions of time, unlike Bergson who claimed the Élan Vital was God working through time and in the world. Steiner believed evolution was not inherent in the passage of time, but was an individual achievement that required spiritual training, which he called “The Cosmic Mission of Art”.
B) Gurdjieff, an itinerant teller of tall tales, whose territory was for the most past Western Europe and the Near East with the occasional forays into India. Some say he was a complete charlatan, but he did end his days under the protection of Oligvanna [the third wife of Frank Lloyd Wright] in 1946 at Taliesin West, Wright’s final studio in Arizona. He was able to convince Wright that he was abducted into a flying saucer earlier in 1946. His teachings about time centered about an energy organizing system called the Enneagram. It is a Pythagorean cycle of notes, which in reality is a spiral of fifths based on the classical diatonic scale with two half steps or shocks to human consciousness: do-re-mi [shock one: remember yourself] –fa-sol-la-si [shock two: do not identify with yourself] –do. What Gurdjieff presented is a method of transcending time by means of two natural singularities in time.
C) Ouspensky, a professional mathematician who began his career by writing about the fourth dimension, as soon as he met Gurdjieff became his most loyal disciple. After that, Ouspensky’s writings took on a less academic style and became more alchemical and fraught with metaphor. What he was writing about was, among other things, the speculations about the nature of time and possible higher and more comprehensive dimensions of temporality. Gurdjieff had isolated three: time, eternity, and super-eternity. Ouspensky followed an almost Wittgensteinean language analysis of the three concepts, developing “family resemblances” among them – a process that combines reason with metaphor to transcend the definition of simple analogy. Recently physicists have been speculating about the possibility of additional time dimensions as well as extra space dimensions. As Brian Greene has explained: “Third, the requirement of numerous extra dimensions, [to make string theory work] is it possible that some are additional time dimensions, as opposed to additional space dimensions? If you think about this for a moment, you will see that it’s a truly bizarre possibility. We all have a visceral understanding of what it means for the universe to have multiple space dimensions, since we live in a world in which we constantly deal with a plurality – three. But what would it mean to have multiple times? Would one align with time as we presently experience it psychologically while the other would somehow be ‘different?’ But, if a curled-up dimension is a time dimension, traversing it means returning, after a temporal lapse, to a prior instant in time. Some theorists have been exploring the possibility ofincorporating extra time dimensions into string theory, but as yet the situation is inconclusive. In our discussion of string theory, we will stick to the more “conventional” approach in which all the curled-up dimensions are space dimensions, but the intriguing possibility of new time dimensions could well play a role in future developments.” The “curled-up dimensions” refer to this proposed Calabi-Yau space or shape into which extra spatial dimensions required by string theory can be curled-up, consistent with the equations of the theory. The size of Calabi-Yau space is defined as so small that there exists no known form of instrumentality to detect their presence. What is of interest is that Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were considering alternative temporal dimensions at the turn of the twentieth century, and what it is like to live in them in terms of possibilities and actualizations.
Ouspensky, besides Gurdjieff, counted many artists and intellectuals of his day as his friends, and was able therefore to directly influence the course of culture on several occasions through his great capacity at networking. One such incident involved Ouspensky’s relationship to the Russian artist who would become the master of Suprematism, Kasimir Malevich [ -1935].
While in the United States negotiating a translation deal with a number of his books, Ouspensky approached Knopf publishers, then located in Manhattan. Knopf agreed, and even knew of a person who could write excellent introduction to the books. That was the American architect and theosophist Claude Fayette Bragdon. Bragdon was extremely popular in New York’s cultural life, but more than that, he was completely at one with the content of Ouspensky’s works. In fact, he had read some in the original Russian. The publishers felt that the spirit of Ouspensky’s writings, via Bragdon’s introductions, would successfully transfer these works into masterpieces of alchemical thought for an American market. Knopf at no time during the process felt that they were taking a risk at giving Ouspensky the prestige of their firm. in fact Bragdon’s name helped build the market for these books, besides his personal efforts in the New York City area.
Ouspensky, however, when he arrived in the United States, was unaware of Bragdon. But soon after devouring Bragdon’s book he recognized a kindred soul. Back in Russia, he showed to Malevich Bragdon’s books, which are illustrated by Bragdon. It was a moment of revelation for Malevich. He began to copy the dimensional illustrations until he found a painting format that could equal the impact of work by such notables as Piet Modrian [1872-1944], Wassily Kandinsky [1866-1944], Pablo Picasso [1881-1973], or Marcel Duchamp [1887-1968]. All these artists had at one time in their careers found a way to refer to the contents of higher dimensions as types of “shadows” projected onto a two-dimensional surface, i.e. the picture plane. This process is what Bragdon advocated, but the important element these artists added was the attempt to express what it is like to actually experience being immersed in a dimension other than one is used to, all in terms of greater richness of experience and the encounter with the authentically new. Even into the nineteen thirties and forties, the surrealists utilizing strange dreamlike atmospheres and unnatural juxtapositions assumed they were following higher dimensional thinking, as did the American abstract expressionists and action painters of the mid-twentieth century. These artists felt that any two-dimensional formats of a nonrepresentational intent that managed to avoid being considered decoration by expressing the processes of nature, automatically referred to a higher dimensional experience.
My own interest in dimensionality as the ultimate context for human experience began by my reading of George Gamow’s “One-Two-Three-Infinity”, first published in 1947. This was when I was in the eighth grade. At that time my reading besides assigned work consisted mainly of comic books, science fiction, and an occasional work like “Eureka: A Prose Poem” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Lives and Times of Archie and Menitabel” by Don Marquis, or Gamow’s book. I found it almost a scientific version of cartoon oddities one would find in newspaper fixed blocks like “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”. I am sure that Gamow thought of his now classic work as merely an entertainment for the imagination, which is exactly why I was reading it. At that time, if I thought it had any “educational value” I would have dropped it like a plutonium rod. But as it often turns out, what entertains bypasses the conscious critical powers of the mind and, in the end, educates almost without effort or realization. In that book, I first discovered the fourth dimension. There had been talk among my classmates, of course, but it meant nothing until I read and saw Gamou’s lively prose and simple but effective drawings.
At once I learned of the tesseract, the Möbius surface, the Klein bottle, infinities of infinity, an excellent cartoon description of the space-time continuum, the enormous yield that results from doubling any number 64 times, what objects look like turned inside out, etc. All this was as separate from my kid life, as my father’s disbelief in gravity and his belief in mind-physics and mediumship. Even my first encounters with classics in prep school [five years of Latin] it did not at first register that I was headed toward a lifetime study of dimensionality. It was only at Brown University, when I entered the Classics department and began to read Plato in the original Greek that a real connection between the Fates and dimensions began to occur to me. While reading “The Republic”, I discovered through the text that there are a series of myths-metaphors-similes that only appear to relate to the text that immediately surrounds them; these similes are so powerful and graphic they connect directly to one’s center of being. I refer to the myth of the cave, the line, and the Sun, which seem more related than the fourth myth of “Er” – the brave soldier who dies on the battlefield.
Plato’s doctrine of the forms finds its pictorial expression in the image of the cave where humanity is awash in images projected on a wall like people watching a film. Plato represents the world as a prison and everyone is manacled by ignorance, able to see only the shadows of objects cast on the wall of the cave. The shadows are projections of individual objects being moved before a fire higher up toward the entrance of the cave. The real world outside the cave contains the forms or patterns from which the objects were copied, and also is the Sun or the goal of humanity’s search for truth, beauty and goodness as the One. It is humanity’s task to free itself from it shackles and move into this upper world of the Sun.
The means to obtain such freedom lies in the power of human understanding. The development of this saving understanding has been made clear by Plato by means of the myth of the twice-divided line – divided in the divine proportion.
The vertical line is a diagram separating opinion [doxa] and knowledge [episteme]. The second division of the line is the dividing of the two main segments again resulting in four proportioned dimensions of knowing. In fact, the dimensions of existence into which humanity has been thrust.
The content of this epistemic ladder contains both states of consciousness and the inhabitants or ontological object’s appropriate to these dimensions: the shift in consciousness upward is from unsupported imagination to perceptual belief [and also partially warranted beliefs] to a condition that can be described as mathematical logic [which is similar to lucid dreaming and the effects of hallucinogenics], and finally the dialectical process of reasoning about first principles. The dimensional shift of objects moves from images of appearance to individual objects [which are copies of the universal forms], then onto mathematical and semi-abstract entities [often seen during lucid-dreaming, in which you are aware of being in the dream state while dreaming], and finally arriving at the universal forms.
The line represents the belief of Plato that the universal forms are the true reality and therefore the concrete and the world of appearances are the abstract and lifeless. It was at this point in my reading of the text that I realized that dimensionality meant more than simply seeking a new ninety-degree directional subdivision of spatiality. The final myth at the very end of “The Republic” – the story of “Er” was to me less than an epilogue and more of a new direction in Plato’s thought. In terms of the reasoning of “The Republic”, the passage about “Er” is superfluous. But not so for Plato himself, who was a follower of Orphism [a mystic Greek religion offering initiates purification of the soul from innate evil and release from the cycle of reincarnation]. In this myth, “Er” is taken in what is the first of an “near-death-experience,” and shown the nature of the afterlife, the 1000 Earth year sojourn in either heaven or hell, the meeting with the Fates, selection of new lives and rebirths. He comes back to life on the battlefield in order to tell others about his experiences.
My first thought when I associated the four myths is that our fate is worked out within a dimensional system [which is mathematical in nature] and the total system is tantamount to the Fates themselves. But there existed one slight difference: the mathematics that Plato subscribed to was Pythagorean and, therefore, involved the quality of numbers as well as quantity. This meant the identification of numbers with the nature of reality. Pythagoras [570-500 B.C.E.] stated that the application of number to the nature of the universe consists in identifying opposites of qualities such as: the limit [peras] and the unlimited [apeiron]; odd and even; the one and the many; right and left; male and female; rest and movement; good and bad; square and oblong; etc. As an example, the number 5 means marriage because after the one, 2 and 3 form 5. 2 is the first even, female, unlimited number. 3 is the first odd, male and limited number. The list has cosmological-mathematical implications. The unlimited was identified with space, and the unlimited that was limited just once becomes the unit or the one. It also stands for the dimensional point. This allows for the possibility for identifying number and reality. One is the point; two is the line; three is the plane; and four is the solid. Hence, by the numbers we have constituted the world. The sum of these critical first small whole numbers is ten; and ten, therefore, is the perfect number because it creates the lambdohma pattern – the basic cosmic weaving diagram of the Fates:
The power of the Pythagorean metaphor of the universe has sustained itself in Western culture for the 2531 years. The current search for a unified field theory has led physicists right back to Pythagoras. As Brian Green has stated about super-string theory:
Music has long since provided the metaphors of choice for those puzzling over questions of cosmic concern. From the ancient Pythagorean “music of the spheres” to the “harmonies of nature: that have guided inquiry through the ages, we have collectively sought the song of nature in the gentle wanderings of celestial bodies and the riotous fulminations of subatomic particles. With the discovery of the super-string theory, musical metaphors take on a startling reality, for the theory suggests that the microscopic landscape is suffused with tiny strings whose vibrational patterns orchestrate the evolution of the cosmos. The winds of change, according to super-string theory, gust through an Aeolian universe.
From my own reading of the myth of “Er,” I agree that super-string theory may be as close as scientists have gotten to interpreting Plato in his Pythagorean mode of thought. But it was not only the ancient Greeks who offered me insights about dimensionality, the ancient Romans did also. What I came away with was the application to my art of one of the Romans’ basic cultural inventions – the outline: the diagram of order of anything of concern in its most concise form. While the word diagram is of Greek origin, it was the Romans who drew them. And, of course, a dimensional system is an outline of existence – both in terms of mass and consciousness – which divides up reality in the same manner that we divide space.
Another insight of the Romans referred to was the human reaction to time and the way we endure it. With the simple phrase in medias res [into the midst of things], the message is clear: time is a journey we must all suffer and we are thrust, neither into the beginning, which would give us a chance to direct the streams of time to our liking, nor at the end of time, which would give some perspective on what life is all about. Instead we are thrown, as Brother Blue [Boston’s street poet] would say: “In the middle of the middle of the middle,” of time not knowing where we came from or where we are going.
I did not begin to use dimensionality as the context of my paintings and drawings until 1967, and I dealt only with temporality up until 1975. In that year, I invented a new type of gyroscope, which I called “The Levogyre”. It consists of a series of nested spheres of fiberglass, and a processional axis that has been fragmented and redistributed in space in the form of two interlocking three-dimensional equiangular spirals. Each shell is filled with ferro-fluidics, which is a ferric compound ground finer that pumice mixed into a very viscous oil, which then acts like copper wire electrically. Each portion of the processional axis is powered by means of on board electric motors mounted within the structure of the axial fragments. On board solenoids act as triggers for outboard radio-frequency power generators. At the torque axis of each shell are mounted fiber optic beds through which are transmitted circular laser beams at, of course, the speed of light.
When the device is fired up, it begins with the outermost shell and moves inward creating a torque transfer that increases and, therefore, presses at the speed of light, not as in a mechanical gyroscope where the angular momentum decreases as it approaches the centroid of the device.
What I have developed is a method of distorting space-time to such a degree that the Levogyre becomes a structured singularity. A singularity is a point or local region of infinite mass density at which space and time are indefinitely distorted by gravitational forces and which is held to be the final state of mass-consciousness falling into a black hole. The device weighs less, therefore, while in operation, than at rest. I felt the Levogyre to be a proto-time machine and developed the concept of The Time Machine based on a method of controlling and amplifying pre and retro cognition [pre-perception of the future and retro-perception of the past].
Soon thereafter I began to include references to both spatiality and temporality and their individual aspects in many of the paintings I was completing over the years. Finally in 1992, I was able to collect enough insights to try a definitive rendition of dimensionality:
What I did first was to set up the natural octaves of spatiality and temporality between the one [absolute life] and the fall into the many [absolute death]. The octave is that which links the human with the cosmic – the limited with the unlimited. The eight dimensions form a unit called the dimensional realm. Each dimension is a note in an indefinite scale, but eight form a closure, a sense of completion within the endlessness of infinity. The dimensional realm is divided into three vertical sections: the left side is temporality, the source of energy of life and therefore the fate Clotho; the mid-section, which places the human personality within the cosmos, and which joins temporality with spatiality, is the fate Lachesis; the right side is spatiality where rest and motion, or the cutting or non-cutting of energy resides, is the fate Atropos.
The entire dimensional realm is in reality an epistemic ladder, the rungs of which are not in some quantitative distinction such as the 90° angle postulate of spatial dimensions made famous by Euclid of Alexandria or René Descartes [1596-1650]. This is not to say that such angular dispositions cannot be applied at all, only that they are not ontically inherent to the definition of individual notes in the dimensional realm. As an example: the definition of a shadow, the only inhabitant of the second dimensional note of spatiality that we can experience directly, without imaginative transposition to a more comprehensive dimensional note, has nothing to do with angles of particular degrees. What fascinates us about a shadow is although we can see it, and know that it exists, we somehow cannot reach down from our position of a more comprehensive dimensional note and turn the shadow over so we can see its “other side.” The reason we cannot do this is because the shadow has only one side. And no amount of claiming to “rotate” a shadow through a higher dimensional note will avail. Turning over a page of a book works because the page and the book both exist in the same dimensional note – the fourth dimension of time-solvoid.
There is, however, a way to see the other side of a shadow but still not touch it. This process was invented by August F. Möbius, a German mathematician in the nineteenth century. Like everyone else who lived in the nineteenth century, the activities of Napoleon Bonaparte I [1769-1821], Emperor of France, became a source of endless wonder. Möbius, the mathematician was no exception. What fascinated him the most was Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign and new information brought back of a cultural nature. Why were the ancient Egyptians convinced that the shadow a human would make in relation to the sun was an intrinsic part of the human personality? After all, is not a shadow merely the absence of the positive being of light? This and other questions haunted Möbius until he hit upon his now famous surface – the Möbius strip. It is a one-sided surface with one edge constructed from a rectangular matrix by holding one end fixed and rotating the opposite end through 180 degrees, and joining it to the first end. The first thing that Möbius did was cast an asymmetric shadow onto the strip to prove that his new surface was real and not just a re-oriented torus. Because the shadow never left the surface but became the opposite shape after traversing the entire length, Möbius realized that a shadow can enter an aspect of the third dimensional note of spatiality. What Möbius did not realize, however, was that he had created an inter-dimensional form. While the Möbius surface remained in the second dimension, a part called a “cross-cap” actually exists in the third. In the beginning of the twentieth century, another German mathematician, Felix Klein, built on Möbius’ invention by developing a bottle surface that exists between the third and fourth dimensional notes of spatiality. As a one-sided surface, it is formed by passing the narrow end of a tapered tube through the side of tube and flaring this end out to join the other end. The part of the bottle that exists in the fourth dimension is the penetration aspect, in which one surface enters another without rupture of either surface.
The Klein bottle can be subdivided into two Möbius surfaces, one right-handed and one left-handed, or one neutral Möbius surface that can be indefinitely subdivided. There are four more forms which could be described as topological beyond the Klein bottle, such as hyper-Klein bottles as interdimensional forms. But no one knows what these forms might be or how they can be experienced. It is only by conceptualization that these can be postulated at all. Below the shadowland [or the second dimensional note of spatiality], there exist subforms of the Möbius surface, which again are only known by concept: first, since a line is the profile of a shadow that can never be perceived, only implied within a locale similar to the situation of quantum dynamics, the form that connects a shadow with its profile is a series of infinite infinitesimals that advance together in succession; second, from the line to a point the series infinite infinitesimals converge on each other.
The place of the human personality within the dimensional realm is between the second dimensional note and the fifth dimensional note – between the limit of perception and the limit of conceptualization: in medias res, in the midst of cosmic things. Below the second dimensional note there are forms, which transcend consciousness as there are above the fifth dimensional note. But due to the fact that as humans, we normally feel no loss at the lack of perception of the lower two dimensional notes our humanity is not challenged, and we feel more meaningful than “interval-lines” and “instant-points.” We are made of sterner stuff, namely: “succession-plane,” “durance-solid,” “time-solvoid,” “eternity-vosolid.” The three dimensional notes above the fifth, namely “hyparxis-void,” “zeit-raum,” “metatime-metaspace” guarantee that real meaning exists for the human personality. As our consciousness rises through the dimensional notes, our ascension is accompanied by an ever-increasing richness of experience. For the possibility of the ontic richness to stop because the epistemic richness ends is no reason to accept such a proposition that dimensional notes: 6, 7, 8, are to us, of the same nature as dimensional notes one and zero. The bottom two notes are obvious to us, even though they may contain unsuspected mysteries, but the top three notes, while transcending consciousness, as do the lower two, hold out the promise of an ontic richness similar to the beatific vision claimed by Christians. In Christianity, The Beatific Vision is defined as the direct knowledge of God after death by the blessed in heaven and before death by means of mystical experience. In the history of mysticism, meaning is conveyed, it is said, that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the human intelligence. And what is given as content is union or direct communion with God or the ultimate reality. What also is said is the experience of the ultimate reality can never be exhausted by the human consciousness, even in an exalted form. It would seem, therefore, that the human mind will always be placed within range of ultimate meaning because there will always be something unknowable that beckons with its existence.
As the major French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre [1905-1980] said of the absurd that it is the condition in which human beings exist. We are all in an irrational and meaningless universe and human life had no ultimate meaning. In fact, the search for order brings the individual in conflict with the universe. As a result, the individual must assume ultimate responsibility for his acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is good or bad. These statements since the mid-twentieth century on the value of the unknowable in the universe have ignored the fact that unknowingness is what draws the human mind forward toward hope and not away from it. Even Sartre, at the end of his life had to agree. In a letter to an old friend, with whom he had studied philosophy, Sartre wrote, “During my whole career with Existentialism, it seems the Holy Spirit was sitting on my shoulder.”
In terms of the ontic status of the entire dimensional realm, it is the existential nature of the middle pillar of the system that acts as the repository for the interaction of the various notes of temporality and spatiality. The space-time continuum of Einstein and Minkowski is the model for this interaction, but of course, now in an expanded form. Each note from note zero on up until a final continuity between temporality and spatiality is assured. Then a new dimensional realm can be discovered to exist and so on – note zero represents the completion of a previous dimensional realm, and so on from the indefinite to the indefinite.
While the horizontal interaction of each note is symmetric, the vertical interaction is not. And this is because within each dimensional note the human knowledge and the ontic structure is obvious, while vertically they both are cumulative and sequential. The models for the ontic structure of the dimensional realm are those diagrams of natural phenomena such as the table of chemical elements related by date of discovery, atomic weight, atomic structure, and symbol. Of interest, the elements form several natural spectrum [which is the entire range of wavelengths or frequencies of electromagnetic radiation extending from gamma rays to the longest radio waves and including visible light, x-rays, microwaves, infrared, and ultra-violet radiation] is laden with octaves when you consider the interval between any two frequencies that have a ration of 2 to 1. Even those diagrams which summarize the total history of the expansion of the universe relating time units to degrees of temperature advance by natural octaves.
In order to represent the natural energy states and subjectivity of temporality, I have selected the traditional Vedic Chakra glyphs that have a natural spiritual progression. In like manner, the octave of spatiality has a pure objectivity that can be best depicted by vibrating spheres of a homogenous liquid each with identical diameters. Because the liquid is confined, the frequency change alters by octaves of octaves. The litany of the dimensional realm is as follows: 0 – instant: point; 1 – interval: line; 2 – succession: plane; 3 – durance: solid; 4 – time: solvoid; 5 – eternity: vosolid; 6 – hyparxis: void; 7 – zeit: raum; 8 – metatime: metaspace. The epistemic ladder, which creates a gradual unity of the dimensional notes, begins with: list: sign; anecdote: index; tale: icon; legend: archtype: myth: symbol; epiphany: cypher; kratophany: cipher; and finally; hierophany: sypher. But the main concern for the human personality is the transition between the fourth and fifth dimensional notes: myth: symbol. This is the location of Utopic Space, which exists as an ontic and epistemic bridge between time and eternity, solvoid vosolid. Utopic space is often defined as the environment for the mystical experience, but this is technically untrue in my dimensional system. The real environment consists epistemically of a total immersion in eternity and vosolid and actually the pressing of the entry into hyparxis and void and onto the pure revelation obtained from epiphany and cypher.
There is a “Family of Forms” that organizes the entire dimensional realm, and it refers to the dimensional notes and their natural numerical vacillations. Many authors who have made reference to dimensional systems could be cited starting, of course, with Pythagoras, but modern writers have positioned the context of this issue in a more understandable way.
Ludwig Wittgenstein [1889-1951], engineer, philosopher of language, and mystic [while serving in the Austrian army during World War I underwent a profound mystical experience at the front as a result of reading works by Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy [1828-1910]] wrote in 1933 to 1935 and continued to his death in the Blue and Brown books [preliminary studies for the “”Philosophical Investigation”] about
the nature of human language. His insights included that any language instead of having just one purpose, is naturally multi-purposeful and, therefore, cosmic in extent. But rather than supposing you can control the meaning of words in each instance of usage, or expect you can find features in common to every language, all you can really hope for is to find “family resemblances” among a number of instances of usage. Wittgenstein also asked more general questions about language, such as: can there be a private language? Wittgenstein decided that it was not possible on the grounds that language implies some agreement which he called a “form of life,” concerning the use of words. If there truly was a private language, the condition of the “form of life” could never be satisfied.
Also, René Guénon [a French Roman Catholic who became converted to the Islamic faith] wrote a book of social criticism in 1947 entitled The Reign of Quantity. Although the book was dismissed at its time, it has proven itself one of the most perceptive of the twentieth century condition and therefore most germane to the subject of dimensionality, which is the language of the universe [a closed system in communication with itself].
If it is true that the nature of reality is an ecstatic outpouring of qualities, allowing history to become simply an unchecked unfolding of the progressive displacement of qualities by various “convenient” quantities, [an example of historicism, in which everything is considered history, and that later stages of history are evaluated in terms of its earlier stages] instead of history being considered a design tool to organize qualities into a system revealing the authentically new, we are going to end up as Lewis Mumford [1895-1990], the modernist architectural historian claimed, moving toward the endgame of a completely dis-qualified universe. The fall into history that began in the eighteenth century away from a total consideration for the aliveness of the universe can only be offset by some version of the so-called Anthropic Principle of Cosmology. The principle states that these are conditions observed in the universe, which must allow the observer of the universe to exist, and the universe must have properties that inevitably result in the existence of intelligent life.
This means that the dimensional realm, which I am associating with the traditional concept of fate, is the decoding of The Anthropic Principle of Cosmology, or at least are the logical implications of the formal structure of the dimensional realm.
In terms of spatiality, “the family of forms” states that the dimensional notes vacillate between “motion” and “rest.” All the odd-numbered notes involve analogues of the concept “rest”, which we discover first as an experience at note: durance-solid. And all the even-numbered notes are modalities of “motion”, which we become aware of from the vantage of note: time-solvoid. In like manner for temporality, the odd-numbered notes determine “possibility” with durance-solid as the point of entry. The even notes decide “manifestation” with time-solvoid as the autoscope. The content of temporality is energy as the significance of spatiality is position. But again, the definitions of the words “energy” and “position” change from dimensional note to note. As an example, consider the half-note of time. This is the context in which possibilities are manifested in a series of back-to-back non-reversible events. These events are related to the energy system of causality. The ontic structure of causality is: event A causes event B with set of circumstances C, which includes the fact that there exists an abyss of transition between the active cause and the passive effect. Of the total energy transaction the cause exhausts .618… of the unity of energy available for the event while the effect receives .382… of the energy quantum. Because the other half-note is solvoid, this energy is defined and experienced as efficacious with motion. The energy of time was defined in the nineteenth century by such notables as Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834], Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley [1797-1851], Walt Whitman [1819-1892], Edgar Allan Poe [1804-1849] and Nikola Tesla [1856-1943]. Each in his own way considered electricity as the energy of the motion of life, and therefore, gave us our qualitative definition of time. Anyone who has ever received a mild electric shock has experienced the energy of time, and therefore, the expression of the sublime force of romanticism.
In like manner, the half-note of eternity has its own characteristic energy, and that energy is efficacious without motion because the other half-note is volsolid and is defined as rest. This transcendent energy has had many names over human history, such as: Chi, Tumo, Violet Flame, the Holy Spirit, the force of the ring-pass-not, Kundalini, the central stillness, Orgone, etc. This meta-energy is the essence of classicism. The concept of position in relation to dimensionality is actually more complex for spatiality than any of its implications for temporality. Ideas like sychronicity, hyparxis, or synergy may have something to do with position, but the essence of the form is the beginning and the end of the dimensional realm and, therefore, is absolute. Even relativity of motion is based on absolute position. The theory of special relativity by Einstein claims two postulates: 1) the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and independent of the source or observer, and 2) that the mathematical forms of the laws of physics are invariant in all inertial systems and which leads to the assertion of the equivalence of mass and energy and of change in mass, dimension, and time with increased velocity.
This means that there exists an indistinguishability of accelerated motion and immersion in a gravitational field, and all observers, regardless of their state of motion, can claim to be at rest [or in a position] as long as they acknowledge the presence of a suitable gravitational field. Being in a position is to assert one’s presence at the highest spiritual level, which can only be done by connecting to the extremities of the entire dimensional realm. It is similar to politically or culturally “knowing” one’s place, or physically discovering your place or “position” in the universe, on the earth, or even in a room.
This history of the dimensional point, the ultimate unit of spatiality, is richer even than the instant – the unit of temporality. The point has long been associated with the Greek concept of the atom [a (not) tomas (cut)]. The concept means the primary constituent of reality. The point, therefore, is an abstraction of the atom. This was the insight of Jainism [along with Charvakan skeptical materialism], one of the heterodox systems of Indian philosophy active after 800 B.C.E. The Greek materialists, such as Leucipous and Democritus, in the world of the fifth century B.C.E. declared that atoms are spatial entities not further divisible. Later the Roman poet Titus Lucretius Carus [99-55 B.C.E.] recognized the natural motion associated with a point because he endowed the atoms with a voluntary power to swerve [the clinamen atomorum] setting up vortices of points and initiating worlds in the void. Lucretius defined the atoms as being homgeneous, impenetrable, and without internal relationships throughout their extension in space, which becomes as less as it needs to be to become a point.
In current physics, the definition of an atom is just at the point of inversing Lucretius’ position so that it is almost completely penetrable, nowhere near being homogeneous and now contains an ever-growing number of internal relationships. In fact, modern physics – especially string theory – has provided what may be the best definition of a point. By trying to add extra quantitative dimensions to the universe in order to make their mathematics work out, the string theorists proposed dimensions that cannot be experienced because they are curled up into a space which is less than Planck’s length – 10-33 centimeters. This is a scale below which quantum fluctuations in the fabric of space-time become enormous, apparently too enormous to discover anything by instrumentality. This “quantum foam: is said to contain billions and billions of Planck-length diameter spheres, which house six dimensions – so they are not exactly spheres, but Calabi-Yau shapes. These spaces are real three-dimensional slices through fifth degree hyper-surfaces embedded in complex projective four-spaces. Disregarding for the moment the contradiction that Calabi-Yau spaces are “inside” normal observable three-space, they are the best models for active points.
The Beehive Metaphor by Juan Antonio Ramirez. Copyright 1998 Published by Reaktion Books, Ltc. London, UK. p.163.
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. Copyright 1999 p.231.
The Elegant Universe by Brain Greene. Copyright 1999
Information for Section X was obtained in a private conversation with Ruth and Marvin Sackner at their home in Miami, Florida, May of 1985.
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. Copyright 1999: page 135; published by W.W Norton & Company, Inc., New York.
This information was obtained in a private conversation with Kieran Dugan of New York City, who showed me a Xerox of Sartre’s letter in the early 1980’s.
© Paul Laffoley 1999
Disco Volante© Paul Laffoley 1998
1946: Arizona – Taliesin Winter Camp, January 5
Oligvanna, third wife of Frank Lloyd Wright, invites the renowed hermetist G.I. Gurdjieff (1873- 1949). He provides information about the “new” flying saucer sightings, and his theories about “dream architecture”1947: Mount Rainer, Washington, June 24
A private pilot, Kenneth Arnold, spots 9 UFOs
Arizona, August 3
Wright designs the Sports Club for Huntington Hartford (unbuilt) based the flying saucer form.
Belmont, Massachusetts, September 13
The man who trimmed our bushes (a recent emigrant from Belmonte, Naples) tells me of how he and his son were abducted 17 times into a “Disco Volante” (Italian for flying saucer). He was shown other planet, glowing people and new inventions.1949: Hollywood –20th Century Fox, February 3
Film director Robert Wise contacts Wright to work on the set design of a new movie he is planning that has a UFO theme. Wright agrees and designs the classic flying saucer profile: The soliton wave or curve of normal distribution. The image of the interior of the ship was “lifted” right out of the Johnson Wax Company Administrative Headquarters he was working on since 1936. Wright claims: “The horizontal translucent plastic tubing motif works well with the ‘bauhaus-like’ control instruments, and the metal sheathing of Gort (the robot) and the spaceship will imitate living tissue. If cut, the rift will heal like a wound that leaves no scar”1950: Washington D.C., April 10
The Filming of The Day the Earth Stood Still begins. Wise casts Michael Rennie (a British repertory actor) as the alien Klaatu. He bases the character on a combination of Mikola Tesla (1859-1943) and Leon Theremin (1896-1993) because they are aristocratic in bearing, preternaturally young, and both have developed electronic devices that are useful to the script “The Death Ray”, the first electronic musical instrument, an electromagnetic bridge, robotics, artificial intelligence, and a machine to revive the dead1951: Boston Massachusetts, September 10 (Robert Wise’s Birthday).
The Film is released across America. I see it for the first time at The RKO Keith Memorial Theater. Instantly it is my favorite. I want to become an architect so that I can design flying saucers.1955: Belmont, Massachusetts, August 14
The man from Balmonte (I never learned his name) said he was leaving for good. He gave me a gift- a medallion. He called it the symbol of The Order of Melchizedek which was given to him by “the People”, indicating those worthy to aid in “The Cosmic Task”. He was told to pass it on to someone else “when his time came”.1956: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, June 4
“The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church”, designed by Wright and built as a flying saucer motif.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, M.I.T.’s new Kresge Auditorium
I see the movie again, now thinking it is some kind of “foreign” film (I overhear a remark to that effect by someone in the audience). But I actually believe it to be a kind of “architectural future vision” like “Metropolis” (1926) or The Shape of Things to Come” (1936)1957: Cambridge Massachusetts, Brattle Square Theater, March 3
As a science fiction film, I come to believe the movie transcends “science-fiction” (which is simply an escape into the past & the future). Being filmed at the height of “the cold war”, I finally came to appreciate its terrifying immediacy, which is the intent of Wise’s message: “to avoid Atomic War at all costs”. It now seems to me to be a “horror movie” filmed in “documentary” style.1961: Cambridge Massachusetts, H.G.S.D., October 2
At architectural school I learn from a classmate that Frank Lloyd Wright “had something to do with the movie”. I begin my own research about this. Also I have my first spontaneous lucid dream (in which I am aware that I am dreaming while dreaming)1963: New York City, Frederick Kiesler’s studio, April 13
I point out that the dome of The Shrine of the Book, a Sanctuary for the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Kiesler and Armand Bartos were working on, looks like Klaatu’s spaceship. Kiesler reluctantly admits this. He then begins a tirade about his contribution to the image of the modern robot.1965: Paris, France, Boulevard Saint Germain, June 2
It is my first evening in Paris. Sitting alone at a sidewalk table at the café “Les Deux Magots”, I order a “Coke”. Also, I decide to wear my “medallion” on the outside of my turtleneck “just to look cool”. Suddenly, a young man sits down at my table. He is dressed like an “Apache” dancer. Introducing himself as Claude Vorilhon, a reporter with Paris-Match, he reaches into his side bag. Thinking he is about to pull out a pen to begin “my interview”, I relax. Instead he brandishes a small knife, cuts the pendant string that is around my neck, grabs the “medallion” and runs into the night.1975: Boston, Massachusetts, My Studio, Sptember 25
I am invited by personal letter to write an article for a book entitled Gods of Aquarius: UFOs and The Transformation of Man. The editor, Brad Steiger, after I sent in my article, claims he never wrote to me and never heard of me, but agrees to accept my contribution “as an encounter of the first kind.”1976: Boston, Massachusetts, My Studio, July 3
Today, I receive copies of two books in the mail, both with publications dates of July 4. One is The Gods of Aquarius, which I knew about. The other I did not entitled Unbuilt America by Alison Sky and Michelle Stone. Somehow my “Atlantis project” A Study Center for World Utopia” is included. At this point, I consider the movie a piece of “unbuilt architecture”1987: Boston, Massachusetts, My Studio, December 13
While developing the principles of Bauharoque design, I analyze Klaatu’s spaceship as pure form and discover it uses the divine proportion, or Phi= (.382…/.618…) of unity, in five ways, including linear, mass and surface proportions. The traditional classical Greco-Roman columnar orders use Phi in only three ways. I consider “The Thanaton” to be a new classical form.1990: Boston, Massachusetts, My Studio, September 10
By phone, I am informed that I have finally become a registered architect. It is the 39th anniversary of my first viewing the movie1992: Boston, Massachusetts, Beth Isreal Hospital, February 17
During a routine Cat-scan of my head, a miniature metallic “implant’ is discovered in my brain near the pineal gland. A local chapter of “Mufon” (Mutual UFO Network) declares it to be a “nanotechnological laboratory” capable of accelerating or retarding my brain activity like a benign tumor. I come to believe that the “implant” is extraterrestiral in origin and is the main motivation of my ideas and theories.1996: Providence R.I., The Bell Gallery, Brown University, January 5
Expecting to see my favorite piece of “unbuilt architecture” represented in a new exhibit entitled: Film Architecture: Set designs from “Metropolis” to “Blade runner”, I was at first both disappointed and indignant at its omission. But upon thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that “my movie” was not “unbuilt” but actually “built architecture”. What Robert Wise created is literally a new “Jungian Archetype – a Tulpa”. The Tulpa is the hindu concept for a “degree of embodiment” from Brahma (true reality) to the Maya (our world physical illusion). We might say it is a point on the continuous spectrum from consciousness to mass.
The Day The Earth Stood Still is, therefore, a “Tantric” film and a “built piece of architecture”, whose existence is verified, not by walking up to it and giving it a kick, or constructing it within “virtual reality”, but by means of lucid dreaming. I have seen this movie, now over 750 times, most of which were not on the “silver screen”, but in “The Lux Theater” of the mind.© Paul Laffoley 1998
Utopic Space© Paul Laffoley May 2001
Lecture on the occasion of Man(Transforms) Sputnik Conference,
Angel Orensanz Foundation, New York, June 1, 2001
In 1969, R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), the pre-eminent 20th Century engineer for the United States, and perhaps the World, threw out a very personal challenge. It was in the form of a book entitled Utopia or Oblivion daring the earth to make the choice. Reading now as both a futuristic and nostalgic tract, it appeared in 1969 like a literary barn-burner manifesto of the 1920’s Classical Modernist variety.
Agreeing with the spirit of his message, I believe that not enough time has elapsed for the world to both absorb and accept the impact of his dare and to transform the soul of it into a completed cultural artifact. We must do it now utilizing whatever means we can. There have been, however, a few groups of Futurists who over the past 32 years have heeded Fuller’s message, and have attempted a convergence of as many aspects of human knowledge as possible within their limits. The goal of our present endeavor is to produce a transdisciplinary world-view which will sustain human existence into a continuous future. This, of course, was the basic message of Fuller’s book.
Time moves swiftly, and Fuller’s kairos (or crisis point) is now upon us. Decisions that will influence everyone are now inevitable and unavoidable. They must and will be made. As a practical example, from the study of contemporary demographics have come projections that by the 2050 the population of the world may rise to the unbelievable height of 18 billion souls. This is even within the circumstances of the so-called “population controls.” More “conservative” estimates have placed the figure at double what it is now (12 billion). The image provided by United Nations statisticians, in order to mentally flesh out such monstrous declarations, is that we should expect to see the phantasmata of several continents rise from the floor of the ocean. A la Atlantis ready to receive these teeming throngs.
Such an impending scenario I feel is motivation enough to change the world into a culture that no one throughout history has yet fully anticipated.
During these same 32 years, my own work has been an attempt to anticipate this new cultural artifact into form of both a new world view conceived intellectually and a felt sensibility which has been the source of my artwork. This combination has always been my way of entering into the process of living within Utopic Space. This is a space which I believe no longer deserves to be characterized as something vague or literary, at base having no reality beyond the imaginative and chimerical. Instead we will begin to discover, as Fuller claimed, it is necessary in order for humanity to survive.
As a felt and lived sensibility, Utopic Space has a generic religious base because the concept of “Utopia” as Saint Thomas (1478-1535) said in his book of 1516, (who coined the term) Utopia means “Heaven on Earth.” This is an ontic state distinct from both heaven and earth, a situation that states that which has not history connects directly with that which has only history. What Saint Thomas Moore is describing is a reference to the major portal between eternity and time that the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428-347 BC) immortalized in one of his last dialogues, the pythagoreau cosmology of Timaeus.
Space (or the nurse of becoming) provides the matrix for the platonic forms from eternity to impress themselves into the multifarious copies of the forms which we experience in time. For humanity, whether at the collective or the individual realm, Utopic Space expresses itself on the day-to-day basis as a total compassionate love for all living things including oneself.
As a new form of space for the world, Utopic Space has been hinted at all through history. In the late 19th century, this space began to take on a higher degree of ontic specificity as the result of the work of artists and scientists of the International Symbolist Movement. Eventually Utopic Space became defined as a multiplenum of an octave of spatiality and temporality in the form of total continuity. While one can perceive distinctions, the plena ultimately merge into oneness.
Utopic Space presents, from an objective point of view, absolutely no aspects of internal structure (no holiarchies, no hierarchies, and no heteroarchies).
Only a few metaphors of Utopic Space come to mind and they center about the possibility of one’s instantaneous immersion into this space:
1. Consider the physical space close to the earth but extending up to a distance of about 20,000 feet above the surface; free falling through it evokes the sense of freedom and danger one would expect upon entering Utopic Space
2. Much further out into interstellar space is the condition of total anti-gravity in which there is no fear of falling, but there is the possibility of entering a space in which you are totally helpless and on the verge of a condition of unimaginable loneliness and, of course, imminent death.
A less subjectivity poignant, but nevertheless more accurate metaphor is the spatial energy of the Wheatstone Electric Bridge. In 1872, Sir Charles Wheatstone, an English Physicist and inventor developed an electrical bridge for measuring resistances that consist of a conductor joining two branches of a circuit. One of the functions of the bridge, the most mundane, is to test the ohm rating of electrical resistance of an unknown resistor in relation to three that are known. Across the diamond shaped bridge is placed a simple galvometer. At a right angle to the galvometer is a power supply connected to opposite corners of the bridge. If it turns out that all four resistors are of equal ohms, the galvometer will read zero no matter how much energy is introduced into the system. In like manner, the energy of Utopic Space (which can only be imagined from the world of traditional spaces) is known only by entering Utopic Space in a condition of total immersion. There exist no external clues as to the actual intensity of that appropriate designation at all. While, for instance, the concept of the power of the Holy Spirit from Christianity is often associated with the secular concept of energy in terms of nomenclature, with theologically it is not.
Since Utopic Space has no natural directions such as those associated with Cartesian coordinates, it can receive information of any kind and any amount without organization. This situation allows a complete merger of content without any loss of noetic integrity. This is the true transdisciplinary process of knowledge similar to the child’s mind that faces the cosmos with an eagerness for the authentically new and makes no distinction of time, values, or survival logic. In fact, logic is something not directly desired within Utopic Space, but something that emerges as a by-product of the structure of this space. Those who have entered Utopic Space have reported a state that they describe as tantamount to a sense of absolute freedom. Such spontaneous entries into Utopic Space leave in doubt the larger question of how social groups or conventicles enter or depart from this space which is the clue as to how to express to the world the advantages of Utopic Space in relation to all other spaces. My personal mission as an artist has always been to explore Utopic Space in terms of both sensibility (that is how I react to it emotionally) and it’s ontic status (the analysis of its natural invariances.
I have developed this task by means of symbols, perhaps the only way an individual can approach such a project. Real symbols move the mind up to and through metaphor and finally beyond to a semiotic state that has never been successfully named. In other words, through a true epistemic portal. Symbols are different than signs, much different. On the one hand, a sign refers the human mind back to the space in which it now exists and becomes the basis of a closed and finished structure which shuffles meanings in a completely lateral manner. This is the basis of a code. On one hand the symbol creates a suggestion which moves one through imaginative projections to something beyond itself (a new reality, a new ontic status). Utopic Space, which is this new reality, has been waiting for humanity since the beginning of time. It is the source of all mystical traditions from the East to the West. Since Utopic Space is completely at one with itself, it can merge all theological positions that appear contradictory in traditional spaces such as: theism, atheism and agnosticism (both dogmatic and methodological). In Utopic Space, it is possible to have a real religious syncretism combined with a personal faith commitment.
An attempt in this direction has already begun. The end of the 19th century witnessed the formation of two proto-utopic styled religions:
First, Theosophy, which was created in New York City in 1875, attempted to integrate the findings of contemporary science with traditional Buddhist and Hindu theories of Pantheistic evolution.
Second, in 1889, a new religious movement began in Iran which emphasized the spiritual unity of all Human kind that described itself as glory on earth, The Baha!
Due to this situation, religious visual symbols that involve the mandalic structure, which have been observed in all cultures (not just in the east) and at all times, have often been wrongly interpreted as inherently as past-oriented and not concerned with the future. Utopic Space is waiting to be entered, as it is always the focus of human kind’s hopes and dreams. Symbols which often appear as diagrams describing an image of a universe or a pluriverse are, in my opinion, the best first entry points towards a real understanding of Utopic Space, and our true future as opposed to such false futures which have befallen the world. The Current false future, which has been long in formation, is the Christian description of the outskirts of Hell-Limbo. This is the adobe of souls that live in perfect comfort and physical immortality, but without the experience of the beatific vision of God as a result of dying and not first receiving a Christian baptism. Because these souls feel no pain from the direct loss of God’s presence, there is no anxiety, desire, or loneliness.
The secular science fiction world of the present, that has spread slowly but surely around the whole earth like run away molasses, is the first physical incarnation of limbo. Over the past 150 years, this “earth limbo” has grown as much in its internal conviction as it has moved away from the spirit of Utopic Space. If this secular space continues to proliferate, as the forces of nature are eschewed or overly manicured, and while the population rises, it could become the case that the entirety of our municipal infrastructures will resemble hospitals, as our private homes become intensive care units, accompanied by the almost silent hum of medical instrumentality. Political leaders and functionaries will assume the white coats of doctors as our physical lives are cared for from the womb to the tomb as we become gradually passive, infantilized, and controlled as we pass through the soft but vicious nightmare scenarios first put forth by such 20th century writers such as Henry Miller (1891-1980), Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) or George Orwell (1903-1950).
No wonder the Catholic Church has now abandoned limbo (this vision of horror is too close to everyday) and some like it. There has been one 20th century writer who, to my mind, made a noble attempt at describing the true vision of Utopic Space. This was Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), philosopher, priest, and paleontologist. Le Phenomene Humain (1955), his magnum opus, which was published immediately after his death, combined the history of biological evolution with a revival of teleology, which moved directly to telelonomy (the quality of apparent purposefulness in living organisms that derives from their evolutionary adaptation). The fact that Teilhard was able to so successfully converge theology with science, his supporters declared that he offered the best vision of the future of human kind. In fact, they designated his work a contemporary exegesis (a true objective exposition of his case). The sheer power of his concepts and his neologisms have carried the day and no longer is his work ignored. In fact, Teilhard for the past forty years has been placed in the Pantheon of Modern Thinkers. Teilhard’s two best constructs are:
1. The Noosphere — the sphere of human consciousness or mental activity that grows out of the biosphere of the various species of creatures that exist on the surface of the earth, especially in relation to the force of evolution
2. The Omega Point — the convergence of evolution with the revelation of the godhead yielding the true definition of vitalism which is the realization that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry, and that life is in some part self-determining. Both ideas depend upon a topology of mysticism that uses a dynamic sphere as its basis in a manner similar to the way Plotinus (204-274 AD), the neo-platonic philosopher, described the nature of absolute oneness.
In a certain sense, therefore, Teilhard is the modern spiritual heir to Plotinus because he is interested in the principle of continuity (one of the hallmarks of Utopic Space). In this case, the continuity he proposed is between the unique and immiscible self of human individuals, and the potential for total union of all those who enter Omega through The Noosphere. His phrase to indicate this fusion was simply “Union Differentiates”. By this seeming paradox, Teilhard avoids the deadening position of solipsism (the self is considered the only existent entity) as well as the deadly interpretation of pantheism (the doctrine of The Great All in which God and his or her creatures are equated with the forces and laws of the universe). For many years in my reading of Teilhard’s works, I could find no flaws in his version of Utopic Space. One day, however, I noticed an obscure footnote which described a conversation with one of Teilhard’s friends, the gist of which declared that The Noosphere and The Omega Point were for the earth only. Any reference to intelligent life in the rest of universe was considered by Teilhard irrelevant, if not non-existent. I believe it is obvious to almost everyone today that the universe beyond our immediate locale will be as important to our personal futures as it will be to the collective future of the human species.
As the Futurist Michael G. Zey has warned, unless we utilize our growing presence in outer space in a humanizing fashion, we can not hope to discover those positive ways to revitalize and retrofit the earth. Existing in interstellar space has both physical and metaphysical aspects which blend together without destroying the integrity of each aspect. Entering a more comprehensive dimensional realm does not mean simply rising up.
The final problem about Utopic Space is not to use the concept as a method of criticizing various visions of the future, but more as a neutral sounding board for all attempts at plumbing or prophesying the future. The history of science-fiction has aptly demonstrated that its purpose is not to determine the absolute future, but to render an indication of the extent of the cultural lag to which any present world view is subject. Utopic Space, therefore, is the proper repository and the goal of all future-visions. Our survival as a species is directly related to the quality of these visions and which are convergent with others and which are divergent. Achieving Utopic Space is like trying for the summit of the highest mountain in the universe. The convergence of visions is like arriving at various base camps and a sense of security. The divergence of visions represents that bold striking out on your own onward and upward, climbing toward Utopic Space and the final realization that when the terminus is reached we will all experience the end of the future.
© Paul Laffoley May 2001