The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 6

Fourth Civilization. Lesser civilizations.

During the time when there was an earth age, when the earth element was dominant and the people were adjusted to it, there were great civilizations surpassing in achievements anything reported in history. These civilizations were based on agriculture and the working of stone and metal. Starting with the use of animals for power, the civilization advanced to the use of complicated machines. These the people operated by the forces of nature.

There is but one force. It is turned into many channels and appears under many aspects. Today it manifests as light, heat, gravity, cohesion, electricity and otherwise. Untold years ago the same force manifested differently. The solid, fluid, airy and radiant matter of the earth, is being continually decomposed and recomposed. The resulting matter which today takes the form of minerals, coal or oil was different in different ages. A circulation of the same four elements and the four states of matter on the physical plane is kept up continuously by means of the manifestation of this earth force. In the past this force was liberated not so much by means of wood, coal or oil, as it is today, but by tapping the earth currents in which it manifested. The ability of the fundamental earth force to manifest at different times in varying ways results in the different directions of the poles of the earth crust and in connection with these changes in the cycles of four ages of earth, water, air and fire. The kind of manifestation of the force depends on the class of units, earth, water, air and fire units, with which the humans can make contact directly through their involuntary nervous system, or indirectly through exterior objects, as wood, coal, oil, copper, or radium and the like.

At the height of the earth ages the currents running through the earth at certain places were let out and were connected with machines for mechanical operation. Broad and permanent roads were built over and through mountains and across plains. The people did not use the water for travel and transportation. Some of these roads into the interior of the earth remain today. The people did not use an air force, but lifted great weights of stone by their machines. They could so focus the earth force that it would produce heat or light at any place where it was intercepted or an outlet made through a receiving machine. This force could be used to make hard metals workable without heat. The people had processes to make soft metals hard. They had machines for cutting and polishing stone, for melting, churning and setting it solid, for spinning and weaving plant fibers and the hair of animals. They had material which was not woven, but was solid like leather, and could be made proof against the cuts of weapons.

They traveled not on wheels, but in closed vehicles which slid easily along the roads. These sleds were of metal and sometimes of a composition which was transparent. The material was so hardened that it was scarcely affected by friction even though the vehicles were moved along with great speed by the earth force. The greatest speed, which was of many hundred miles an hour, was developed when the cars traveled underground. Distance was practically eliminated. This travel went along beneath the outer crust of the earth, but the travelers gained no knowledge of the interior earth, its worlds and its beings, any more than humans now know the beings living in what is called the air. The whole earth was not inhabited by a people that had reached this stage; on some parts were people who were less advanced, and in other parts savages.

They had their sports which were feats of endurance, ball games, wrestling and friendly combats. The ball games were of great variety; running was not so much a feature as clever throwing, catching and intercepting the ball. They could throw a ball so that it would make a circle on the ground, and the game was to intercept it. The water and the air were foreign and unfamiliar to them in their sports and in their work.

Learning was concerned with agriculture, metal working, stone making, architecture, earth currents and their operation. The languages spoken differed from those of today in sound and connotation. There were extended systems of literature. The chief means of recording was by engraving or stamping signs in color on thin metal plate. There was a white metal which would not tarnish, but would absorb and retain indelible dyes. Sheets of thin metal were rolled, or books were made by fastening the plates on hinges. These sheets were made as thin and flexible as paper is today. They also had a composition made of a plant which retained an impression of writing. This material was insoluble and not inflammable after it had been treated.

There were many such civilizations in each earth age. They started from rude beginnings and sometimes attained by slow stages to astonishing heights. At other times they bloomed suddenly because of information which Wise Men imparted.

An earth age was succeeded by a water age. While some peoples were in an earth age, others had entered upon a water age. They became conscious of the units of the watery layer, got in touch with them, and learned to use them. Sometimes this came about by the beginning of another period after the earth civilization had been swept away, sometimes by gradual adaptation of a people to new surroundings, when there was a slow subsiding of the land. Most frequently the water age developed out of the earth age and people existed at the same time in both. The bodies of the people of a water age were more supple and quicker than those of an earth age. In general conformation the human form has remained the same throughout the Fourth Civilization.

There were great lakes with well populated floating islands. The people built houses by growing plants and vines together, solidified the walls with a clay, and decorated them artistically. The houses were not higher than three stories. The people grew fruits and flowers from the vines that were part of the houses.

They built boats for the accommodation of one person, which fitted their bodies and in which they could travel under water. Other boats were large enough to hold several hundred. Air was drawn from the water by an appliance in the boat. Such boats were built of pliable wood or of fish bones and cemented by plant juices so that the boats had flexibility. Some of the people learned to run the boats, not by machinery or the force of the wind, but by a certain feeling within their bodies which they imparted to the rudder of the boat. This feeling was generated from the abdominal and pelvic cavities and driven forward. Then the navigator held his hands to the tiller and so connected with a current in the water, which was thereby utilized to propel the boat.

The ocean was at such times not divided as now. The huge lakes were connected by underground streams and divided by mountain chains. Boats could travel under water from lake to lake. The people could stay in the water, warm or cold, for a long time. An oil or an insulating suit was used when the water was too cold. They did not have to swim with their limbs, but could use their feeling to connect with the water current. Over their heads they fitted hoods that allowed them to breathe. Fish would not attack them. They could swim as fast as the fish, for a distance, and kill them by the use of a water force.

They did not work metals well. If there was no contemporaneous earth age in bloom, they used bones and the sharpened shells and scales of fish, some of which were like flint. With such tools they hewed wood and tilled the soil on their small islands. They wove fibers into cloth, and made a fine linen from water plants. They decorated their clothes with many colors, from the juices of vines and berries, and with fish scales and gems. Their foods were fish, marine plants and savory fruits which they got from the bottoms and sides of the lakes. They ate them cooked, getting heat from a device which was worked by a water force. They knew how to make fire, but did not use it extensively, as they obtained in other ways the heat and power they needed. They did all these things as did the people of the earth age, but they were conscious of something which the earth people could not touch or use. They were conscious of the water layer which was in the solid earth and were conscious of living in it when they were in the streams and lakes. They used forces which were within the water layer to accomplish their ends with matter in the solid state.

They lived in small communities or in cities, some of which were built on the water. The buildings were on boats and connected with each other. There was a lively commerce between different peoples. They followed widely different trades. The savages were usually on the mainland and afraid of the water. These water people had sports and physical exercises, all connected with water. Among their games was one in which the contestants rode certain fish, which raced and leaped over each other.

They had their arts and sciences, a melodious music, a peculiar aquatic architecture and their almost indestructible boats. Their language consisted chiefly of vowel sounds. They had literature and records, on cloth spun of the fibers of water plants. These civilizations of the water ages saw a high development of humanity. Bodies of great endurance, nobility of feature, skill in their arts and great intellectual attainments distinguished the people of some of these water races.

An air age succeeded the water age when people became conscious of and adjusted their bodies to the air units which moved through the layer of air. Such ages usually began with the discovery by individuals of the force of lightness and the force of flight in themselves. These forces always exist, but they cannot at present be used by humans.

The force of lightness is a distinct force, as much so as heat. It is one of the manifestations of the fundamental earth force. Its manifestation removes weight to a greater or lesser degree. If to a lesser degree than gravitation, it reduces the weight, if to a greater degree it causes the object in which it manifests to depart from surrounding objects. By rising into the air is meant only going away from the earth crust. Rising when an object is moved by lightness can be done into the air inside the earth as well as into the air outside the earth. Lightness affects the feeling as ecstasy without producing foolishness. It is brought into play by a mental attitude that puts one in touch with the air units on their active side, which is the air force, and by breathing, which liberates the force and draws it through the nerves of the involuntary nervous system. When the force is felt in the voluntary nervous system, it is lightness and the body rises into the air. Its lightness is equal to the mental attitude, so that a body can rise and float like thistledown or shoot away from the earth.

The force of flight is a force of the layer of air and is similar to that of lightness, but is distinct as a force. Lightness moves away from the earth crust; flight generally moves parallel to it, but it can move on an incline, up or down. The characteristic of it is direction. It receives this by the mental set and it is induced into the body by breathing. It can be exercised without the force of lightness. But then it must be exercised continuously and at a different speed, great enough to make the air support the body. Usually both forces are exercised together. Both forces are manifestations of the fundamental earth force, specialized by being active in the air layer.

In an air age, that is, in a period when many of a people can come into contact with these forces in the layer of air, their thoughts and nerve currents touch the units of air directly, instead of as now through the earth units. The movements of the air units being at a different rate from that of the earth units, they counteract and overcome the forces exercised by the earth units.

The people in an air age were a development from those of the water age. The forces which were used for moving swiftly through the water were adapted to the air, as the forces on the earth crust had been adapted to the water. The force of lightness had been used to a moderate degree in running and jumping on land and in rising in the water. At first a few exercised the forces of lightness and flight. Then a greater number became familiar with the use, and finally the people born were naturally adjusted to these air forces.

At the crest of an air age the people lived in houses on the earth and in floating houses on the water, but the dominating race lived chiefly in the air. Some persons on the earth seldom took to the air and were afraid to trust themselves to it; but the people of the air age lived in dwellings or in huge buildings in the air. They took some of the materials for these from the earth; other materials they precipitated or consolidated from the air itself. They removed the weight from the materials and placed them in position in the air where they were fixed and balanced, so as to remain undisturbed until they were removed. The people accomplished this by focusing and attaching to the buildings the force of lightness. There were no streets. The buildings stood on different levels in the air. They were just as solid as anything on earth today. Timbers, stones and metals were used, but their weights removed and kept removed by the use of a certain blue metal, either drawn from the air or mined and refined from the earth. This metal was a conductor of the force of lightness, and was used to impart lightness to inorganic objects.

The people obtained their food from the fruits, grains and animals of the earth, and from fish and birds. Much of their food they drew from the air itself by breathing. They had plants that floated in the air and drew their nourishment from it, but most plants were in gardens attached to the houses. The materials of their draperies and garments were made from plants and from the hair of animals. Feathers were used largely.

Their forms were human, but their bodies surpassed those of the earth and the water people in lightness and freshness. To use the air force was natural. Babies had to be protected, but they soon learned to adjust their mental set and their breathing so as to touch the forces in the air layer. They learned this more readily than children learn to walk, as readily as birds learn to fly. The people used these air forces without much effort. They walked about and worked in their houses, and slept on couches without exercising the force of flight; over long galleries they glided above the floors, and in the open relied naturally upon their command of the air. They rested and floated in the air, as one does in water. They could control the winds and prevent or cause storms; sometimes they had wings or shields attached to the back to facilitate movement. They had airships for commerce and travel over long distances. They used all the products of the earth, its plants, woods, stones and metals, but had no complicated machines. Their enormous airships were guided and propelled by the force of the helmsman alone.

Their games consisted chiefly in variations of flying, and in performances in the air. The salient features of their sports were graceful sliding or rising movements in the air accompanied by charming sounds produced by the movements themselves and accentuated by the voice. The movements and sounds produced colors, light-colors like those of a rainbow rather than pigment-colors. The marvellous effects of these lights were enhanced when many people engaged in the harmonies of movement, sound and color at the same time. There were wrestling matches and dancing in the air.

Their arts centered around singing and music. Among the instruments used was a sort of trumpet with diaphragms which were moved and varied by the human voice, and thereby direct sounds and echoes were created in the air, followed by colors which often took on forms. They had huge instruments shaped like the half of a hollow sphere and many feet in diameter, which produced a symphonic sound by intercepting the units of the four states of matter in their movements and relating the movements to each other. By the power of that sound, if directed towards the earth, the people who heard it lost their fear and weight, were enraptured and rose into the air where they remained as long as they were within hearing of the sound.

At times there was a proficiency in the sciences among some of the people. Their learning was concerned chiefly with the different rates of movement of the four kinds of units in nature and their many subdivisions. They knew of hundreds of different rates of movement of units and adjusted some of these by combining, binding and eliminating certain of the units. Thereby they evoked forces, chiefly of the air layer, and made them dominate the water and the earth forces. The reason they maintained their habitations in the air was that there they could more easily reach and direct these forces. By means of such forces they stabilized their houses and cities in the air, and obtained heat, light and energy for their domestic affairs. Since only some individuals could do this, it was left to a certain group whose duty it was, to attend to the supply. Waste matter was at once disposed of by decomposing it into its component units, or by recombining these units into other objects.

They had languages to express their thoughts. They had sheets of a material on which communications from one to the other could pass, but these were used only as keepsakes, because the people could communicate by thought. The nerve matter of their brains contacted the currents made by thoughts in the physical world. Speech and thought coincided. If anyone told a lie it was at once manifest because then speech and thought were seen not to coincide.

The things which they wanted to put on record as information, news or literature, they inscribed on or sounded against plates, connected with a reservoir on the life plane of the physical world. The inscribing or sounding was transferred to, and so made a permanent record on, the matter of the reservoir. People who thereafter wanted the information so preserved, could find it by going to a public building, where they found registers of sign words. Then they touched with an instrument the selected sign word on the reproducing plate that connected them with the permanent record of the reservoir, and so they obtained the information. After getting the subject and the sign word they could go over the record at home, provided they had there a device for receiving and reproducing the records. Books and libraries did not exist; they were not needed.

A fire age succeeded the air age and gradually grew out of and dominated it. The air age continued to exist contemporaneously. The human beings in a fire age had the same form and figure as the air people. But they differed noticeably in that there was in them a presence of conscious power, which gave them superiority. Their distinctive physical feature was the eye with which they appealed, commanded and expressed to others their sentiment and thought.

The age began when some of the air people became acquainted with the fire which is radiant matter or starlight. They became conscious of the presence of the fire units in the layer of fire. After that others and then more found their way into the starlight. At no time did all of the air people develop into fire people. In a fire age there were on the earth also the three other ages and people lived on the earth, in the water and through the air and communicated with each other by travel and trading. People of an earth age had bodies adjusted and restricted to the use of those solid units that were in a gross and solidified state. People who were of a water age had bodies which were adapted to the fluid-solid units; people of an air age were such because they had bodies attuned to airy-solid units, and the people of a fire age were conscious of the radiant-solid units and their bodies were adjusted to them.

The fire units on the physical plane are starlight. Starlight is imperceptible, though a condensation of it in a mass produces the bodies of the stars. In a fire age people were conscious of and in touch with the units of starlight. They saw them and saw by them, and by means of them could use the forces of the radiant-solid layer, and through them the forces of the other three layers. Starlight works through the sun. The people of an earth age can use starlight only when they use it in and as sunlight, but the people in a fire age could use starlight without being dependent on the sun.

The sun is a focus of forces, an airy center in an airy layer. Through and out of the sun streams sunlight, which is a mixture of radiant, airy, fluid and solid units. Starlight works through the airy matter and is the cause and the main support of the activities of sunlight. The sunlight causes units to be active as nature forces which maintain life on the earth crust and by which the present age builds up its civilization. The earth crust, which is a precipitation of the fourfold sunlight, screens off portions of each set of units and so retains and supplies what is needed to keep up the activities on the earth crust. The units become nature forces as they approach the screen of the earth crust. Away from the screen the units do not act as these forces. These forces produce light, heat, power, generation and decomposition within a certain range only. Thus if the focal body called the sun is not within that range of the earth crust, it does not produce these effects. Moreover it is necessary that the earth crust should give up earth units to furnish some material to produce these effects. In an earth age people cannot have light and heat unless these three conditions are fulfilled, but in their fire age the people could get the equivalent of light, heat and electricity without being dependent on the screening, on the range of the sun and on the action of the solid crust in sending out units to meet the incoming sunlight.

The habitations of the fire people were in the air, on the water and on the earth, but they were conscious of and used as their medium the fire present in the air, in the water and in the earth. They lived in communities of their own, and had their own circles, though they went among the others. If they did this they were immediately seen or sensed to be superior because of the influences that went with them and the power in their eyes. They could eat any of the animal or vegetable foods or live on fluids or even by breathing only. If they wanted to prolong their lives, they did not eat solid or liquid foods. Their bodies were physical, but they could do things with them that the others could not do with theirs.

They engaged in agriculture, commerce, mechanics and the arts. They could produce things for the earth people which these could not. They did the same for the water and the air people. The air people reached so high a state because those of the fire age lived among them and assisted them.

In agriculture they could see what was going on in the plants. They could see the activities of the seeds and roots, how the plants received nourishment, how they appropriated it and grew, and they could direct development as they wished. They blended plants and produced new fruits, vegetables and grains.

In the beginnings of the fire ages these people built machines for dredging, building, lighting and generating power. As they advanced they used few or none for themselves, though they still built machines for the people who were in the more backward ages. They helped the earth and the water people in cutting great canals on land and through the earth and made great waterways. They used huge machines to cut under water and to dredge. They could see all that was going on in the great depths and direct operations accordingly.

At the height of a fire age, the foremost among the fire people needed only their bodies to accomplish what they wished. Four fingers were used, the index finger for fire, the middle finger for air, the third finger for water and the little finger for earth. With the fingers of the left hand they sensed; and with those of the right hand they directed a stream of the units of the elements. They could tear down and dissipate or create and build up the structure of solid things by the forces guided by their right hands. The thumbs were used either to feel, or to direct, unify or accentuate the streams. The organs in their bodies were reservoirs of force, and the nerves connected with the respective systems contacted the force. The forces in the earth they called, used and directed through their digestive systems and the sense of smell. The forces of the water which entered into combination with the earth they controlled through the organs of their circulatory systems and the sense of taste. The air they ruled by control of the air forces which worked outside through the air, the water and the earth and passed inside through their respiratory systems, which passes through the circulatory and digestive systems. Speech was the power that unified the four states, as sunlight unifies the four kinds of light. By contacting the starlight in the sunlight they synchronized and controlled the forces in the other elements. The starlight was present throughout the others. They used it through their generative systems and the sense of sight.

The physical bodies of these foremost among the fire people could pass through any part of the earth at any speed desired. They could pass their physical bodies through any physical object, no matter what its density. They could appear in several places at the same time, no matter how distant the places. They did this by seeing where they wished to be and, by using radiant-solid matter, were present in and penetrated all intervening grosser matter. These fire people could see and hear anywhere through solid matter.

The fire units are everywhere at the same time. These people connected the fire units in their bodies with the fire units in the earthy layer. There these fire units affected the air units and these the water units and these produced the phenomena through the earth units. The fire people had use of the fourth dimension, presence, because of their being conscious of and familiar with the radiant-solid units. This meant that they could pass through, be in or work with the fire, the air, the water or the earth units. When their physical body was put in phase with radiant-solid units—which was done by focusing the sense of sight on some of them—it appeared simultaneously at the places where these foremost people wanted to be seen. No obstructions intervene between those who can use the radiant-solid units and the places where they wish to be seen. They remained visible in these different places as long as they continued to think, to feel and to see themselves there. Their bodies were in any one place only, but they removed the intervening units of matter and so became visible at the same time at every place where they wished to be seen. Because of their power of sight, which no matter could obstruct, they saw, at the same time, all the places at which and the people by whom they were seen. They could disappear when they wished. They did this by cutting off from their bodies the contact with the class of fire units whose contact makes visibility.

They could examine any cell or organ in the human body and tell the uses to which it had been put, and describe means appropriate to effect a change. They could see at once the cause and the cure of a disorder. They communicated among themselves by thought and speech. Distance was no obstruction to their hearing each other or any sounds in nature. They could get some records of past events by looking at them or hearing them from the radiant or the airy states of matter and so get as far as the form plane of the physical world.

There were laws that prevented the use of these forces beyond certain limits. The people of a fire age could not interfere with the law of thought without too great injury to themselves. Their powers reached everything in the four zones of the solid state of the physical plane on the nature-side, but there were many things in themselves as doers, which they had not mastered and did not master as a people, though some of the individuals did. This lack of mastery brought about their decline and the disappearance of the fire age.

The high point of a fire age marked also the highest point in the air, the water and the earth ages. As the fire age disappeared, each of the others deteriorated and vanished by degrees. The last to crumble was the earth age. It was ended by cataclysms. A bleak earth succeeded. On that lived barbarians who were the degenerate remnants of the four ages, of which they had not even a memory, or who were newly outcast from the inner earth. Only here and there remained traditions of some of the people of the four ages in distorted legends of supernatural beings with divine powers.