The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 4

Erroneous conceptions. Dimensions. The heavenly bodies. Time. Space.

Erroneous conceptions about the world in which they live interfere with men’s understanding the worlds which penetrate it and the forces which keep it going. The natural sciences do not lessen ignorance and error about things which are not perceptible. They do not dispel the misconceptions of the sense-bound doer. Among the erroneous conceptions are some that are connected with size, weight, solidity, dimensions, distance, form, originals and their reflections, sight, time and space.

There is no large or small except by comparison of expanse and volume. “Large” and “small” are conceptions resulting from thinking which deals with certain perceptions through the senses. These perceptions are made in the subdivisions of the solid state of matter on the physical plane. In other states of matter, even on the physical plane, the perceptions are different. Definite objects are less and less conceived of as large or small, and objects in the radiant state are not perceived as large and small at all. If one could perceive the four states of matter intermingling in objects there would be no fixed conception of size. The large could be seen as small and the small as large.

When one looks at objects one does not see how they are made or maintained, nor the forces playing through them and giving them qualities such as weight, cohesion and conductivity, and attributes such as outline and color. One sees merely their color, their contour and their size in comparison with each other. But if he could look at a geogen unit and see other units within it and streams of units passing through it, he would see relation instead of size. If he could see the geogen unit held by another unit he would see action or cohesion, not size. When thinking is focused on extent and volume, one is prevented from perceiving the nature of the thing. When men think of a thing the impression is of size and the thinking limits itself by such comparison.

Man must understand the universe through his body. The farthest star is represented in the body and can be examined there, better than where the star is. A star is no larger than its corresponding nerve center to one who can perceive the two, not that one measures as much as the other but the conception of size gives place to that of what the star and the nerve center are and of how they are related. While one thinks of the universe as different from and as unrelated to his body, or of one as larger or as smaller than the other, he does not understand either. To one who sees the relation between them, sunspots are no larger than the heart-throbs by which they are caused. The sun can be seen as small as a heart and a heart as large as the sun. A star is like a nerve center spread out and the nerve center is as the star condensed. The Milky Way cannot be seen as a whole unless it is seen as an extension and projection of the system of ganglia and nerve plexuses. The human nerve trunks may be perceived as extending to the Milky Way, and that may be seen as the spinal cord. To understand how physical things came into and pass out of being, the idea of size has to be abandoned.

From the form plane the physical universe may be like a speck. The form plane is as much vaster than the physical plane as the ocean is vaster than the sponge in it. Yet the matter of the form plane can be understood only by that matter of the form plane which is in some part of the physical plane. The ether, that is, the solid matter of the form plane, can be perceived and dealt with from the physical plane only through a point. The ether is entered through a point just as from a point or points in the ether comes the whole physical universe.

One who can see matter in its states on the form and physical planes will not conceive of objects as large or small. He will see that what seems large on one plane or in one state of matter is small on or in another, and that the small on or in one may be large on or in the other.

Gravity is a relation between states of physical matter. So the weight of iron is the relation of the four states of radiant, airy, fluid and solid matter that make up a given mass of iron. The relation may be changed by the medium in which this iron is placed, as inside the earth crust or in water on the surface or in thin air or on a mountain.

The center of gravity is the line of closest intermingling of the four states of matter in any body. Each body has a gravity of its own, but the gravity of the earth is the standard for all things about the earth. The line of closest intermingling of the matter of its four layers is between the outer and the inner earth crust.

The line of the earth’s gravity changes from time to time. Inside, beyond the earth crust, the action of gravity diminishes rapidly. At the center of the earth there is no gravity, nor is there any in the region of the stars. If the relation of the matter of a body to the matter of the earth as a whole is cut off, there is no weight. Matter of greater density than that of the earth, that is, where the units lie closer together, has no weight if it is not related to the matter of the earth. There is matter, such as that on the form plane, of greater density than solid earth matter, which cannot be perceived, has no weight and is not affected by the gravity of the earth. When such matter is put into relation with the solid earth, the line of gravity will be transferred to that.

Solidity is a deception by the senses of sight and contact through smell. There are holes in a copper plate as there are in a fabric. But this deception can be dispelled to a certain degree by the aid of instruments. Nevertheless the sense perception dominates the understanding. Finer matter composes, permeates and flows through solid matter. It produces the phenomena of solid matter. Beyond this finer matter in the physical world is matter in other worlds that is still finer. Some of the qualities of and the conditions produced by different states of the interior and finer matter are unintelligible, and if they were to be stated would appear as impossibilities, contradictions and nonsense.

Dimensions are spoken of as properties of space. But space has no dimensions. Matter has dimensions and only that matter which is in the three lower, the life, form and physical, states of the physical world. Its dimensions are among its characteristics. The dimensions on the physical plane are called length, breadth and thickness. These are really only one dimension, on-ness or surface.

Matter on the physical plane has the dimensions of on-ness, that is, an outside; in-ness, that is, an inside; through-ness, that is, consecutive insides; and presence, that is, being anywhere and everywhere at once.

The first dimension is on-ness. On-ness is exteriority, the outward aspect of the things made up of matter and perceived by the senses as a whole. It comprises length, breadth and thickness. They are the first dimension. Length, breadth and thickness together are seen as surfaces. All three are necessary to see a surface.

In-ness is the second dimension. In-ness makes on-ness. It holds surfaces together. A bare surface cannot be seen because it has no thickness. A thing appears as one thing, but even the simplest is many things. In-ness makes the many appear as one. In-ness makes tangible, visible, that which would otherwise be intangible, invisible. In-ness is not solid, but it makes solid. It is an aspect of the same mass which appears to have length, breadth and thickness, as having also interiority in a general way. The exteriority is the thing as it looks, the interiority the thing as it is.

The third dimension of matter is throughness, which is to be known by seeing, hearing, tasting or smelling through matter, that is, perceiving all surfaces of the thing. Throughness is sequence, or consecutive relation. It is a continuity in the sequence and relation. It is a quality of matter as going through a thing. The first and second dimensions make the mass. Throughness relates the various parts of the mass and goes through it.

Presence is the fourth dimension of matter, that is, matter is everywhere at once. The other three dimensions are no interferences or obstructions to presence.

In on-ness, as an exteriority, appear results of activities of the other three dimensions. Presence, throughness and in-ness, though they are dimensions, have not the characteristics of on-ness, and therefore the three aspects of on-ness do not aid in suggesting the properties of the other dimensions. These dimensions are active, not inert as is on-ness. Their properties are activities or forces and do not appear as or in on-ness. Only results of the activities appear. They appear in the first dimension as solidity, color, outline, shadow, reflection, refraction.

In-ness, throughness and presence are dimensions which physical matter has independently of its visibility and tangibility. Unless the four dimensions of matter act coordinately, on-ness is not in evidence, that is, things do not appear as things.

Each kind of nature unit is a dimension of matter; each class of elementals is a dimension. The pyrogen units or causal elementals are the fourth dimension of matter, and the geogen units or structure elementals are the first dimension, or length, breadth and thickness. There are units which are not elementals. So the aia, the Triune Self and the Intelligence are units, but they are not elementals, and they have and are no dimensions. Nor have they qualities which are predicated on dimensions.

An understanding of the nature of the visible world is precluded by ignorance of the dimensions of its matter. As long as people are limited in their conceptions by the perceptions of their senses, they do not conceive what the universe can be behind, inside or apart from length, breadth and thickness. Even if in-ness alone were realized as a dimension they would see a universe which could hardly be identified with the visible world.

If one could sense on-ness alone, that is, without coordination of the other dimensions, it would have the substantiality of shadows. There would be bare outline without color and without perspective. The sun and the moon would be shadows. This is one of the states through which the dead pass; their thoughts may give color and activity to the scenery.

If in-ness alone were sensed, there would be no top, no bottom, no up or down. There would be no gravity, as in-ness is gravity in its relation to other states. There would be no things solid to the touch. Things would be where they are but one could not take hold of them. Things would be sensed in layers in the mass. A cigar could not be seen as a cigar, only as layers of matter without curve, and it could not be grasped. There would be no moon, no sun, no stars, only matter in intangible layers. A human body could not possibly be recognized. It would be seen as layers, not of skin, bone, muscle or blood, but as layers of units.

If throughness alone were sensed everything would look like moving lines. There would be no sun, no moon, no stars, no solid earth, no water. But everything would be air and sound.

If presence alone were sensed, then according to the person who perceived, there would be either one mass of light, or everything would be points of light. The whole universe would be like that, no stars, no sun, no moon, no earth, and no things and beings on the earth.

Thus appears this universe of the physical plane if it is sensed separately in each of its dimensions without their coordination. When the dimensions are sensed as coordinated there are perceived through the visible universe three interior universes, which four together make the physical universe, as the fourfold human body is seen as one body.

The visible earth is round and moves around the sun. This is true in a sense. But other statements could be made and be just as true, though at present they would be considered absurd. The sun is not where it seems to be, and the planets are not where they seem to be. The dimensions of matter and the state of the senses prevent investigators from perceiving where they are. The sun and the moon may be seen inside the earth as they appear outside, apparently just as far distant from the inner as from the outer crust. The stars may be seen at the center, apparently as far away as they are seen from the outer crust, and one perception is as correct as the other, for all are perceptions of reflections of projections.

The connection of the dimensions with the states called radiant, airy, fluid and solid matter is apparent. The elementals which are this matter have traits which are called dimensions. Some conceptions can therefore be formed of the dimensions of matter in the solid state of the physical plane. But when it comes to the dimensions of matter on the form plane and those of matter on the life plane, there is little that can be used as a stepping stone, a measuring rod or a comparison to aid in a conception. When it comes to states of matter which have no dimensions at all, as the matter of the light plane of the physical world, and the matter of all the worlds beyond the physical, there is nothing, from the physical view, to go by. Human conceptions do not take in what goes on in a world where matter has no dimension. Yet men are in such matter at all times.

The conception of distance is connected with that of dimension. Distance, from one point to another, is a term used to measure matter from one point to another. Distance is the measurement of matter intervening between the two points. Distance is the measure of on-ness, the first dimension, not of space. The distance from the earth to a star is a measure of matter, as much as the depth of the water under a ship. It is impossible to measure in a straight line, but for ordinary purposes the assumption that distance is a straight line is adequate.

Distance is a correct measure for everything that can be touched, but not for that which, though visible, cannot be touched. Things that can be touched are made of solid matter. There are things that look as if they were made of solid matter, but that cannot be touched, among them the sun and the stars. Distant things look as if they were made like the things men know as solid, if the things have in them the same ingredients as the solid things. So the sun and stars have in them chemical elements that are in the earth. But the surfaces in the heavenly bodies are not compacted into a solid. The stars are radiant matter, bodies; the sun is an airy body. Being too far away to be touched these heavenly bodies give the appearance of solidity.

The idea of distance which is based on their apparent solidity is erroneous, because what is seen of these heavenly bodies is like a reflection in a mirror. It is not even the first or second reflection. What appears as a star may have been reflected many times before it appears in the focus where it is visible. Again the idea of distance is based upon measurement made upon the earth crust. The rules applicable on the earth crust are not always applicable when applied to measurements in other states of matter, such as what is called interstellar matter.

Form is another conception which prevents a ready understanding of the conditions of matter which is affected by thinking. Matter which is seen has a form. If it has no form it is not seen. Even a God has to have a form to be conceived of. He is conceived of as a Father, a Friend, a Creator.

The form in which physical matter is seen is on-ness, that is, as surfaces, and gives no assistance in the conception of what is form other than as on-ness. So there is no conception of form other than as the forms that are seen. Forms on the form plane and on the life plane are not like those on the physical plane. In so far as they have other characteristics they are not conceived. One of these characteristics is that the forms of matter there can sometimes be changed instantaneously. Thoughts which have been issued and which appear on the nature-side fashion matter at once into forms and cause the adjustment of units into forms. In the after death states thoughts at once give form to matter, and there need not be the gradual development or gradual dissolution which the change of forms of physical matter requires.

Among the characteristics of on-ness, surface matter, is the property to reflect objects. On-ness has this property by reason of the three interior dimensions. Near the earth, the surrounding atmosphere, which is in the fluid layer, and beyond that, the air in the airy layer, have this property.

The fluid layer is semi-transparent and through it are seen directly some stars, the sun and the moon. The airy layer is transparent and through it are seen some stars and the sun, not the moon which is at the border of the fluid layer. Some stars, the sun and the moon and the planets are seen directly. But of some of these various sights there are also visible reflections, which do not look like the things reflected. Some of what are seen as stars are reflections of parts of the sun, and some are reflections of other stars. The fluid and the airy layers not only let some pictures and light pass directly and reflect other pictures and light, but they also refract. The planets are sometimes not where they are seen to be. The stars are almost never where they are seen to be. The sun and moon are not where they are seen to be.

The diameter of the sun is reckoned to be over eight hundred thousand miles. This apparent size of the sun is largely due to the magnifying properties of the unknown media through which it is seen. The sun may not be as far away as is supposed. The distances assigned to the stars cannot be correct, because the media through which the measurements are made are not known, and reflections are taken for originals. When four stars are reflections of one star and all five show different spectra, this is due to the media through which the stars are seen. In the media are present or absent certain chemical elements. The chemical elements revealed by the spectroscope as present or absent in the stars, are added or eliminated during the passage of the reflection through the media.

Most astronomical observations and calculations are no doubt correct. What is seen with telescope and spectroscope is actually seen. But the inferences drawn as to the size of the universe and the distances, the reality, the movements and the constitution of the stars are not correct. The better the telescope the more reflections can be seen with it, but there is no way of distinguishing whether a reflection is the first, second or one hundredth, or where in the media the mirrors are which produce the reflections, or where the background is by which the reflections are focused. Greatness and smallness and distance are not there in reality, but in relation to a background and a focus.

To be correct the real stars must first be distinguished from their reflections. Then it should be understood how the real stars are projections of matter from human nerve centers. Of these projections of radiant matter into the layers of fluid, airy and fiery matter on all sides of the earth crust, some are caught and focused on different backgrounds in the fiery layer. Those are the real stars. Other stars seen are mere reflections of these stars, thrown by the airy and fluid layers on the backgrounds in the fiery layer. There may be many reflections of a star back and forth and they may differ in apparent size as well as in apparent composition. The difference in size is due to a magnifying like that of a magic lantern. The process is not quite the same, but the principle of projection is. The apparent size of a star depends on the focus made by the background. The backgrounds give the stars position and size. Until they are caught by the backgrounds in the fiery layer they cannot be seen.

A star, irrespective of the size given it by astronomy, is a projection from human nerve centers. Such a star is material, has a body and has properties, all of which are endowments from human bodies. If there were no background there would be no projection seen, because there would be nothing to hold it in focus. Different from these original stars which have bodies, are the stars which are reflections; they have no bodies, but are surfaces only. The real stars are cosmic nerve centers, as much as those in human bodies, and act coordinately with their counterparts in human bodies. The nerve centers in the heavens are extensions and enlargements of composite human nerve centers; and the nerve centers in every human body are miniature patterns of the cosmic nerve centers which are stars.

The human body is expanded to the limits of the universe and the universe is condensed into every human body. The matter between the stars cannot be seen, but it is of the matter of the human bodies. The organs of the bodies also have their places in the heavens and interact with their counterparts. The apparent movements of the stars are in phase with the actions of the nerve centers in the body. The sun is the projection of all human hearts, and the planets are the projections of other organs. The asteroids are parts of organs that no longer function.

The sun and the planets are seen directly, that is, they are not reflections. Yet these bodies are not where they are seen. Their apparent movements are not their actual movements. The visible relation to each other and to the universe as a whole is not the real relation.

What the sense of sight reports of them is true as long as one looks at matter in the dimension of on-ness only. The movements of a horse or of a ship, seen in the dimension of on-ness appear different from what the movements would appear when seen in in-ness, throughness and presence. On on-ness a body has to keep on a surface, but if a body moves in in-ness it does not have to keep on the surface, any more than a fish does. A fish moves, in a sense only, in in-ness. If seen from the surface its movements are sometimes appreciated correctly and sometimes they are misconceived. On-ness prevails on the earth crust, in-ness in the moon, throughness through the sun and presence with the stars.

The regular movements of the heavenly bodies, including the earth, are a composite of the phenomena of respiration, circulation and digestion. The movements of the solar system represent the actions of the nervous systems. All these movements are seen by the aspect of on-ness only.

Sight is the chief means for perception of outside nature. Sight depends on earth-fire in the states in which it is radiant matter outside and the sense of sight impersoned inside the body. Man sees because he has in his service a fire elemental, the sense of sight, and contacts by means of it radiant matter in four conditions. They are radiant matter in the object seen, radiant matter in the eye, radiant matter sent out by the sense of sight and radiant matter in the space between the eye and the object. Seeing is the alignment by the sense of sight of the radiant matter in these four conditions. The sense of sight focuses the eye and the focus makes the alignment.

When a house is seen its surface, like all other objects, sends out radiant matter, and the eye sends out radiant matter to meet this. The sense of sight aligns both and seeing is the presence of the sense of sight in the four conditions of radiant matter. Light does not travel at all, but its presence causes units of aerogen matter to move. Some of their movements take on fiery aspects and produce the phenomena which appear as waves and the speed of light.

While radiant matter in the four conditions is always there, visibility of objects depends upon their being focused. A human eye is limited in its ability to focus. Therefore people do not see in darkness, or through a solid wall, or beyond a certain distance. For that reason also they cannot look beyond the earthy-earth visibility. Clairvoyance, which is unconditioned vision, is rare and fitful. Ordinary human vision is limited to on-ness, the solid-solid. If man could focus on other states than the solid-solid he could see not only on the wall, but inside the wall, through the wall to any object beyond. He could see in darkness as well as in light, and distance would not be a hindrance to focus. Focusing is done by the sense of sight by using radiant-solid units, units of on-ness. If radiant-radiant units were used all states of matter could be seen through, things could be seen where they are and as they are, at any time. The universe would be seen to be different from what it is now seen to be.

Men measure time by the revolution of the earth on its axis and around the sun. This measure suffices for mundane things. Beyond that it is insufficient. It is a measure of on-ness. Time measured in in-ness or in throughness gives different results. In in-ness there are no revolutions on the axis and around the sun, and so these cannot be used to measure time. Time is the change of units or masses of units in their relation to each other. As the earth as a mass turns, it changes its relation to the sun as a mass, and one revolution on its axis measures a day and a night. Thus is time measured in the solid state of the physical plane. It is there measured on surfaces on the earth crust.

In the fluid state time is measured by the change in the relation of units which are layers between surfaces. There are there no days, nights or years. Time is measured differently in the airy state, and differently again in the fiery state of the physical plane. This is enough to suggest how limited is the application of the ordinary measure of time by days and years.

On the permanent earth, the Realm of Permanence, past, present and future make a composite, (Fig. II-G). From the permanent earth the other three earths can be seen, though the permanent earth is invisible to mortal eyes, until they see what is called by Jesus, the Kingdom of God. The permanent earth is present throughout the physical universe.

Days and nights, lunar months and years, solar months and years, and the vast or small cycles into which all these can be multiplied and divided, are measures of time of on-ness on the fourth, the present earth. There have been and still are two other earths, the third and the second, where time was and is reckoned as of on-ness. On the third earth there is a sun and a moon. On the second earth there is a sun and a moon, but not as they seem to look and act today. On the first, and permanent earth, there is no sun and no moon as they are known today and there is no time as it is at present measured, (Fig. V-B, a). There, the measurement of time is the instantaneous coming into or the going out of being of anything. Accomplishment is instantaneous. There, permanence is. There is no change, only beginning and end for special creations. The four earths are four stages in which the earth crust appears. The measurement of time on the earth crust has changed, with the change of human bodies. There are days and nights as soon as the bodies become male and female and subject to birth and death.

Space has no dimensions; matter has dimensions, and matter is not space. Space has no extension, vacuity, boundlessness, or any of the attributes of matter. Space is unmanifested. The four states of matter making up the physical plane, (Fig. I-D), are in the form plane, and that is in the life plane, and that in the light plane of the physical world, (Fig. I-C). The physical world is in the form world, which is in the life world, which is in the light world, and all are in the sphere of earth, (Fig. I-B). This is in the sphere of water, this in the sphere of air, and this in the sphere of fire, (Fig. I-A). The sphere of fire is in space. From the lowest state of matter, that is, from the solid-solid state on the physical plane of the physical world of the sphere of earth to the highest matter, that is, the sphere of fire, all are connected with the next higher state of matter through their unmanifested sides. The manifested sides of the planes, worlds and spheres exist in their unmanifested sides, and space is related with them through these.

Space is Substance, always unmanifested, without differences, the same throughout, without change. When it manifests, that of it which is manifested becomes fire as the fire sphere, and so becomes matter and divides into units. The earth does not float or move in space, it moves in matter, in a mass of geogen units which is interpenetrated by fluogen, aerogen and pyrogen masses. Space is not a thing, but all things exist because of it and in it. From the viewpoint of space all the spheres, all that is manifested in them, all is seen as illusion, as unreal. Space is through all these unrealities. They exist because they are in space.

Space is not in human thought, therefore there is no name for it in the language, but it may be approached in thought by thinking on a symbol. The symbol is a circle divided by a horizontal diameter. The diameter is the point extending into a line, which distinguishes ever unmanifested space from the manifestations in the spheres below. In them matter manifests until it passes again into the unmanifested, and ultimately becomes Consciousness. Then the point has become the circle.