The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival


The following Preface was written fourteen years before the first publication of Thinking and Destiny. During that period of time, Mr. Percival continued to work on the book and introduced new terms, such as doer, thinker, knower, breath-form, Triune Self and Intelligence. These and others were edited into this Preface to bring it up to date. It then appeared as the Preface to the book from 1946 to 1971. An abridged version, “How This Book Was Written,” has appeared as an Afterword from 1991 until this fifteenth printing. Benoni B. Gattell’s Preface, as replicated below, has been an historical part of Thinking and Destiny:


There may be those who would like to read about the manner in which this book was produced by Harold Waldwin Percival. For them I am writing this preface with his permission

He dictated because, as he said, he could not think and write at the same time, as his body had to be still when he wanted to think.

He dictated without referring to any book or other authority. I know of no book from which he could have gotten the knowledge here set down. He did not get it and could not have gotten it clairvoyantly or psychically.

In answer to a question how he obtained the information, which goes beyond the four great spheres and the Supreme Intelligence, and reaches Consciousness itself, he said that several times since his youth he had been conscious of Consciousness. Therefore he could become conscious of the state of any being whatever, whether in the manifested Universe or the Unmanifested, by thinking about it. He said that when he thought of a subject intently the thinking ended when the subject opened up as from a point into completeness.

The difficulty he encountered, so he said, was to bring this information out of the Ever-Unmanifested, the spheres or the worlds, into his mental atmosphere. A still greater difficulty was expressing it precisely and so that anyone would understand it, in a language in which there were no suitable words.

It is hard to say which seemed the more remarkable, his manner of stating his facts accurately in the organic form he made or their verification by his reading of the symbols he mentions in the thirteenth chapter.

He said this book deals with general things and there are innumerable exceptions. He said this is an age of thought; there is a Western cycle swinging in, and conditions are shaped for insight and growth.

Thirty-seven years ago he gave me much of the information now in this book. For thirty years I have lived with him in the same house and written down some of his sayings.

While Percival published the twenty-five volumes of THE WORD from October 1904 to September 1917 he dictated some of the Editorials to me, and the others to another friend. They were dictated hurriedly, to be published in the next issue of THE WORD. Among them were nine, from August 1908 to April 1909, on Karma. He read this term as Ka-R-Ma, meaning desire and mind in action, that is, thoughts. The cycles of the exteriorizations of a thought are destiny for the one who created or entertained the thought. He made there an attempt to explain their destiny to human beings, by showing them a continuity underlying what appear to be arbitrary, casual events in the lives of men, communities and peoples.

Percival at that time intended to tell enough to enable everyone who wished, to find out something about who he was, where he was and his destiny. Generally, his chief object was to bring the readers of THE WORD to an understanding of the states in which they are conscious. In this book he meant in addition to aid any who wish to become conscious of Consciousness. As human thoughts, which are mostly of a sex, elemental, emotional and intellectual nature, are exteriorized in the acts, objects and events of everyday life, he also wished to communicate information about the thinking which does not create thoughts, and is the only way to free the doer from this life.

Therefore he redictated to me the nine Editorials on Karma, the four chapters which are in this book, the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, named Physical, Psychic, Mental, and Noetic Destiny. They were the foundation. He dictated the second chapter to give the Purpose and Plan of the Universe, and the fourth to show the Operation of the Law of Thought in it. In the third chapter he dealt briefly with Objections some would make whose conceptions are limited by the credulity of the sense-bound. Re-existence must be understood in order to apprehend the method by which destiny works; and so he dictated the ninth chapter on the re-existence of the twelve doer parts in their order. The tenth chapter was added to throw light on the Gods and their Religions. In the eleventh he dealt with The Great Way, a threefold Way, to conscious immortality, on which the doer frees itself. In the twelfth chapter, on the Point or Circle, he showed the mechanical method of the continuous creation of the Universe. The thirteenth chapter, on the Circle, treats of the all-inclusive Nameless Circle and its twelve nameless points, and of the circle within the Nameless Circle, which symbolizes the Universe as a whole; the twelve points on its circumference he distinguished by the signs of the Zodiac, so that they can be handled in a precise manner and so that anyone who chooses may draw in simple lines the geometrical symbol which, if he can read it, proves to him what is written in this book. In the fourteenth chapter he offered a system by which one can think without creating thoughts, and indicated the only way to freedom, because all thoughts make destiny. There is a thinking about the Self, but there are no thoughts about it.

Since 1912 he outlined the matter for the chapters and their sections. Whenever both of us were available, throughout these many years, he dictated. He wanted to share his knowledge, however great the effort, however long the time it took to clothe it in accurately fitting words. He spoke freely to any one who approached and wanted to hear from him about the matters in this book.

He did not use specialized language. He wanted anyone who read it to understand the book. He spoke evenly, and slowly enough for me to write his words in long hand. Though most of what is in this book was expressed for the first time, his speech was natural and in plain sentences without vacuous or turgid verbosity. He gave no argument, opinion or belief, nor did he state conclusions. He told what he was conscious of. He used familiar words or, for new things, combinations of simple words. He never hinted. He never left anything unfinished, indefinite, mysterious. Usually he exhausted his subject, as far as he wished to speak about it, along the line on which he was. When the subject came up on another line he spoke of it along that.

What he had spoken he did not remember in detail. He said that he did not care to remember the information I had set down. He thought of every subject as it came up, irrespective of what he had already said about it. Thus when he dictated summaries of previous statements he thought about the matters once more and acquired the knowledge anew. So often new things were added in the summaries. Without premeditation, the results of his thinking on the same subjects along different lines, and sometimes at intervals of years, were in agreement. Thus in the eighteenth section of the chapter on Re-existence the views are along the lines of Consciousness, continuity and illusion; in the first six sections of chapter fourteen the view is from the standpoint of thinking; yet what he said about the same facts at these different times under these different circumstances was compatible.

At times he talked in answer to questions for more details. He asked that these questions be precise and on one point at a time. Sometimes sections were redictated, if he opened a subject so wide that a restatement became necessary.

What I had taken down from him I read over, and at times, by drawing his sentences together and omitting some repetitions, smoothed it out with the assistance of Helen Stone Gattell, who had written for THE WORD. The language which he used was not changed. Nothing was added. Some of his words were transposed for readability. When this book was finished and typewritten he read it and settled its final form, replacing some of the terms which were makeshifts by happier ones.

When he spoke, he remembered that humans do not see correctly form, size, color, positions and do not see light at all; that they can see only in a curve called a straight line and can see only matter in the four solid substates and only when it is massed; that their perception by sight is limited by the size of the object, its distance and the nature of intervening matter; that they must have sunlight, direct or indirect, and cannot see color beyond the spectrum, or form beyond outline; and that they can see only outside surfaces and not within. He remembered that their conceptions are only one step ahead of their perceptions. He kept in mind that they are conscious only of feeling and of desire and are sometimes conscious of their thinking. He remembered the conceptions men derive within these limits are further limited by their possibilities of thinking. Though there are twelve types of thinking, they can think only according to the type of two, that is, of me and not me, the one and the other, the inside and the outside, the visible and the invisible, the material and immaterial, light and dark, near and far, male and female; they cannot think steadily but only intermittently, between breaths; they use only one mind out of the three that are available; and they think only about subjects suggested by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and contacting. About things not physical they think in words which are mostly metaphors of physical objects and so are often misled into conceiving non-material things as material. Because there is no other vocabulary, they apply their terms of nature, such as spirit and force and time, to the Triune Self. They speak of the force of desire, and of spirit as something of or beyond the Triune Self. They speak of time as applicable to the Triune Self. The words in which they think prevent them from seeing the distinction between nature and the Triune Self.

Long ago Percival made the distinction between the four states and their sub states in which matter is conscious on the nature-side, and the three degrees in which the Triune Self is conscious on the intelligent-side. He said that the laws and attributes of nature-matter do not in any way apply to the Triune Self, which is intelligent-matter. He dwelt on the necessity of making the flesh body immortal, during life. He made clear the relation of the Triune Self to its aia and to the breath-form upon which the radiant body moulds itself and which holds the fourfold physical body in form. He distinguished between the two aspects of each of the three parts of the Triune Self, and he showed the relation of this Self to the Intelligence from whom it receives the Light it uses in thinking. He showed distinctions between the seven minds of the Triune Self. He pointed out that a human being feels sights, sounds, tastes, smells and contacts which are only elementals and are transformed into sensations as long as they contact the doer in the body, but does not feel his own feeling as distinct from the sensations. He said that all nature-matter as well as all intelligent matter progresses only while it is in a human body. More than thirty years ago he dwelt on the value of geometrical symbols and used one set, that of the point or circle, for his system.

However not all of this appears in his Editorials in THE WORD as plainly as it does in this book. His WORD articles were dictated from month to month, and while there was not time to create an accurate and comprehensive terminology, His articles had to use the ineffective terms of those already in print. The words at his hand made no distinction between the nature-side and the intelligent-side. “Spirit” and “spiritual” were used as applicable to the Triune Self or to nature, though spirit, he said, is a term which can properly be applied to nature only. The word “psychic” was used as referring to nature and to the Triune Self, and so it made the distinction of its various meanings difficult. Planes like the form, life and light planes referred to matter that is conscious as nature, for there are no planes on the intelligent-side.

When he dictated this book and had time he formerly lacked, he created a terminology which accepted words which were in use, but might suggest what he intended when he gave them a specific meaning. He said “Try to understand what is meant by the term, do not cling to the word”.

He thus termed the nature-matter on the physical plane, the radiant, airy, fluid and solid states of matter. The invisible planes of the physical world he named the form, the life and the light planes, and to the worlds above the physical world he gave the names of the form world, the life world and the light world. All are of nature. But the degrees in which intelligent-matter is conscious as a Triune Self he called the psychic, mental and noetic parts of the Triune Self. He named the aspects of the psychic part feeling and desire, which is the immortal doer; those of the mental part rightness and reason, which is the immortal thinker; and those of the noetic part I-ness and self-ness, which is the immortal knower; all together constituting the Triune Self. In every case he gave definitions or descriptions when words were used by him with a specific meaning.

The only word he coined is the word aia, because there is no word in any language for what it denominates. The words pyrogen, for starlight, aerogen, for sunlight, fluogen for moonlight, and geogen for earth light, in the part on pre-chemistry are self-explanatory.

His book proceeds from simple statements to details. Formerly the doer was spoken of as incarnating. Later he showed that what actually takes place is the re-existence of a part of the doer by connecting with the voluntary nerves and the blood, and that to that is related the thinker part and to that the knower part of the Triune Self. Formerly the minds were mentioned generally. Later it was shown that only three of the seven minds can be used by feeling and desire, namely the body-mind, the feeling-mind and the desire-mind, and that the Light that comes through the other two to the body-mind, is all that men have used in generating the thoughts that have built up this civilization.

He spoke in a new way of many subjects, among them of Consciousness, in the second chapter; Money, in the fifth chapter; Vibrations, Colors, Mediumship, Materializations, and Astrology, in the sixth chapter, and there also about Hope, Joyousness, Trust and Ease; Diseases and their Cures, in the seventh chapter.

He said new things about the Unmanifested and the manifested Spheres, Worlds and Planes; Reality, Illusion and Glamour; Geometrical Symbols; Space; Time; Dimensions; The Units; The Intelligences; The Triune Self; The False I; Thinking and Thoughts; Feeling and Desire; Memory; Conscience; The States after Death; The Great Way; Wise Men; The Aia and the Breath-Form; The Four Senses; The Fourfold Body; The Breath; Re-existence; The Origin of the Sexes; the Lunar and the Solar Germs; Christianity; Gods; the Cycles of Religions; The Four Classes; Mysticism; Schools of Thought; The Sun, Moon and Stars; The Four Layers of the Earth; The Fire, Air, Water and Earth Ages. He said new things about subjects too numerous to mention. Mostly he spoke about the Conscious Light of the Intelligence, which is Truth.

His statements were reasonable. They clarified each other. From whatever angle seen, certain facts are identical or corroborated by others or supported by correspondence. A definite order holds all that he said together. His system is complete, simple, precise. It is capable of being demonstrated by a set of simple symbols based on the twelve points of the circle. His facts stated briefly and clearly are consistent. This consistency of the many things he said within the vast compass of nature and of the still greater number of things within the narrow range relating to the doer in a human being, is convincing.

This book, he said, is primarily for any who wish to be conscious of themselves as their Triune Selves, to isolate feeling from nature, to turn every desire into the desire for Self-knowledge, to become conscious of Consciousness, for those who want to balance their thoughts and for those who want to think without creating thoughts. There is a great deal in it that will interest the average reader. Once having read this he will see life as a game played by nature and the doer with the shadows of thoughts. The thoughts are the realities, the shadows are their projections into the acts, objects and events of life. The rules of the game? The law of thought, as destiny. Nature will play as long as the doer will. But there comes a time when the doer wants to stop, when feeling and desire have reached the saturation point, as Percival calls it in the eleventh chapter.

Benoni B. Gattell.

New York, January 2nd, 1932