as they block the draft, so does ‘the fire dance’


There is a major ‘obfuscation’ issue with the use of noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific languages in that they are commonly used to construct ‘semantic realities’ in the dualist terms of ‘independent things’ [nouns, subjects] and ‘what independent things do’ [subject-verb-predicate grammatical constructs].   In other words, noun and verb languages have a built-in-prejudice that has us assume the local independent existence of material forms and the local authorial sourcing of the development and behaviour of those independent material forms [objects, organisms, systems].


In an unbounded relational space; i.e. in the physical reality of our actual experience, there are no ‘independent things that do stuff’, there is only ‘transformation’ as in a transforming relational continuum.  The forms that do stuff are there, but it is only noun-and-verb language-and-grammar that ‘makes them over’ into ‘things-in-themselves’.   As Emerson says in ‘The Method of Nature’ [1], things such as human individuals are ‘vents’ that transmit influences from the non-local, non-visible, non-material (relational flow) to the point on which our (nature’s) genius can act.  ‘Field’ in modern physics, then, is a word that connotes an all-pervading immanence of inductive, epigenetic influence that actualize creative potentials and sources genetic expression.   For example, if we see smoke billowing from a fire, or thunderheads billowing high into the atmosphere, we know that ‘it is not the form that we call ‘fire’ or ‘thunderhead’ that is authoring this ‘genetic expression’, … it is the ‘epigenetic influence’.


It is only noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar that is reducing [in intellectual thought only] relational forms in the transforming relational continuum to purely ‘local, material entities’.  There goes the spiritual dimension right there!


That is, in the relational understanding of modern physics, as in the indigenous aboriginal traditional worldview, the physical world is a transforming relational continuum whose influence is non-local, non-visible and non-material [as is the gravity field and the electromagnetic/thermal field].  This is the source of the ‘inductive, epigenetic influence that is actualizing genetic expression of local, visible, material forms’.   Each form, such as a human form, undergoes its own unique and particular ‘cosmic fetalizing’ in the manner of a storm-cell in the relational medium of the atmosphere.  As an Emersonian ‘vent’ that transmits influence, in the manner of a storm-cell, from the non-local, non-visible, non-material to the local, visible, material, … we each have an infinite uniqueness since ‘we are’ the transforming relational continuum’ at the same time as we are a fetalizing relational form within it’ [= ‘non-duality’].


Because noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar starts off by assuming the local, visible, material forms are ‘real things-in-themselves’, the spiritual (4th) dimension is covered over and hidden and space becomes a ‘three dimensional container’ that is populated by ‘three dimensional objects’.


This forced ‘localizing’ which conceals the spiritual dimension, also forces us to give meaning to local forms proceeding from the general to the particular by way of ‘common properties’ that define a hierarchy of ‘categories’.  This leads to a confused belief in the ‘reality’ of ‘categories’ such as ‘whites’, ‘blacks’, ‘males’, ‘females’ which in turn leads to prejudice and discrimination.


That is, we have two ‘routes’ towards developing an understanding of an individual human, one is to develop a relationship with it and learn about its ‘cosmic fetalization’; i.e. the relationally transforming web of relations it has found itself ‘incubating in’, and the other is to reference it to a hierarchy of common-property based categories as in the biological taxonomy employed in Darwinism.


As it turns out, noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar is ideally suited for hierarchical categorization, while the orientation to cosmic fetalization would require a new ‘relational’ language architecture akin to an indigenous aboriginal language architecture [in the relational architecture, time does not exist and neither do local independent beings].  See comments by F. David Peat, ‘Blackfoot Physics’ in [2].


In the relational view of modern physics, the ‘non-local’, ‘non-visible’, ‘non-material’ relational [epigenetic inductive] influence is primary; i.e. one might therefore say that in the relational view, ‘the soul’ is primary and that which is ‘local’, ‘visible’, ‘material’ is ‘appearances’, in the same manner as one would characterize the storm-cell in the relationally transforming field-flow of the atmosphere.  This IS the traditional way of seeing things in the indigenous aborginal culture.


“The material universe is like an insubstantial shadow of the actual substantial Crea  tor. In this worldview, the highest form of cognition, of consciousness does not occur in the insubstantial shadowlike material realm, but in the realm of creation’s spiritual source’.”




The Nuu-chah-nulth saw the material world as a manifestation of the spiritual.”

–Richard Atleo aka Umeek, a hereditary chief of the Nuu-chah-nulth [Nootka] people, in his book, ‘Tsawalk’


This ‘introduction’ to ‘Rediscovering the Spiritual (4th) Dimension, is supplemented herewith by a possibly helpful ‘medicine wheel’ ‘exercise’.


* * *


A Medicine Wheel Exercise to facilitate rediscovering the spiritual (4th) dimension


It may be useful for a group interested in delving into the indigenous aboriginal understanding of space, to participate in a ‘medicine wheel exercise’ to explore ‘the spiritual (4th) dimension’ or ‘non-euclidian (relational) space’.


In the indigenous aboriginal view, the world is one thing (mitakuye oyasin) and forms such as humans are like storm-cells in a flow; i.e. inhabitants and habitat are a non-duality.


Modern physics agrees with them; i.e. ‘field’ is the mother of ‘things’ in the sense that field is the epigenetic influence that is inductively actualizing, orchestrating and shaping inhabitant ‘genetic expression’ (forms, development and behaviours).


Western society has taught its members to believe that the secondary aspect; i.e. ‘genetic expression’ is ‘real’; i.e. that what is local, visible and material is ‘real’.  This is the familiar ‘dualist’ view of newtonian physics that NOTIONALLY splits apart ‘inhabitants and habitat’ into residents and container.    This is also the basis for ‘three dimensional Euclidian space’.  as Einstein, Mach, Schroedinger and others have pointed out, the space of our physical experience is NOT three dimensional (Euclidian) space.


But since our Indo-European languages use noun-and-verb constructs to depict forms in a dualist rather than non-dualist sense, when we talk about the world, we split the world into residents and container, the container being, notionally, ‘three dimensional space’.


Space is NOT three dimensional; i.e. the space of the physical reality of our actual experience is NOT three-dimensional.    Only the space of the ‘semantic realities’ we construct using noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar is three dimensional.


So, the exercise would be to explore the non-three-dimensional nature of space.  by the way, … there is plenty of support for what I am saying here and I could present it here in detail but I will just put a few things as a footnote [3] to ‘bookmark’ the support.


Now, few people who are raised in Western society speaking a noun-and-verb language question the intellectual notion that space is three-dimensional, because this three-dimensionality is built into noun-and-verb language-and-grammar.   Benjamin Whorf (linguist) investigated this and pointed it out; e.g. see [4].


Ok, the exercise I am proposing would deal with ‘fire’ (pure relational transformation) and the fact that statements such as ‘the fire is burning’ are nonsense since ‘fire does not burn’.   Here we run into the philosophical problem, identified by Nietzsche in the terms that we are always reducing relational activities (verbs) to ‘things’.  He gives the example ‘lightning flashes’


“Our judgement has us conclude that every change must have an author”;–but this conclusion is already mythology: it separates that which effects from the effecting. If I say “lightning flashes,” I have posited the flash once as an activity and a second time as a subject, and thus added to the event a being that is not one with the event but is rather fixed, “is” and does not “become.”–To regard an event as an “effecting,” and this as being, that is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.” – Nietzsche, ‘Will to Power’, 531


I have footnoted [5] further discussion on ‘fire does not burn’ from Robert Chia, ‘Complex Thinking in `Eastern’ Thought: Non-Presence, Decenteredness and the Unspeakable’


Here’s the ‘exercise’ that I would suggest (described in the following paragraphs), put into a medicine wheel context, to bring out the awareness of ‘the fourth dimension’. The ‘fourth dimension’ is an allusion used by Ernst Mach and others, that ‘upgrades’ our view of space from a three-dimensional container (the Western standard ‘dualist’ view of space which splits apart ‘inhabitants’ and ‘habitat’).  I have footnoted Mach’s comments [6] on the fourth dimension or infinite dimensional space [don’t forget that ‘dimension’ is an intellectual abstraction based on ‘geometry’].


First, I just want to repeat what our standard dualist view of matter and space [inhabitant and habitat] as two separate things [unlike the storm-cell in the flow non-duality] is missing.


  1. Standard dualist view of space: — Space is a three-dimensional container locally inhabited by material entities [objects, organisms, systems] and the operations and interactions [dynamics] of the material entities are seen as causally responsible for the continuing changing-in-time state of the world.  Genetic expression = ‘reality’.


  1. Relational (modern physics and indigenous aboriginal) non-dualist view of space: — Space is a transforming relational continuum that is continually gathering and regathering relational forms within itself.  Epigenetic inductive influence is actualizing genetic expression as a non-duality [this is a recent discovery of cell research and explains ‘regeneration’]. Genetic expression is ‘appearances’.


So, you can see the potential utility in an exercise where we show that ‘fire does not burn’ [‘the fire is burning’ is an ‘error in grammar’ as Nietzsche puts it].


I would see four people [North, East, South, West] doing this exercise, each holding 4 ft by 4 ft piece of light plywood and positioning themselves in a ‘circle’ around a fire [I should really say ‘firing’ to avoid making ‘firing as a transformative activity’ into a ‘noun’ or ‘thing-in-itself’ called ‘fire’].  If we had four go-pro cameras, one for each of the four persons, this would be good for capturing the respective image of the fire as seen by each of the participants in their memories, reflections [and dreams].  But we can imagine that each of the four has a version of the fire imagery (this imagery of the fire is what we see and what we remember and reflect on; i.e. the video-camera playback would simply re-affirm what we ourselves were seeing).


The four people could hold their plywood ‘shutters’ orthogonal to a radial line coming from the centre of the fire, blocking the draft and diminishing the flame-forms, or they could align their shutter along the radial line so as NOT to block the draft (part of the transformative process that we call ‘fire’), or they could be moving their shutter between the orthogonal and radial position (blocking and unblocking the draft)  and they might do so in a ‘kind of crowd wave’ fashion, to make the fire dance.


The insight here is that we are epigenetic influence that is inductively actualizing the genetic expression of other forms sharing inclusion in the common space [the transforming relational continuum].  Of course the firing is epigenetic inductive influence that is inductively actualizing our genetic expression [inducing us to take our jackets off etc.].  This is essentially the ‘wave view of space’ wherein everything is, at the same time, transmitting influence and receiving influence.  in fact, that is what EVERYTHING really is, in the relational view, the non-dual dynamic of outside-inward epigenetic influence that is inductively actualizing inside-outwards genetic expression.  this is what a storm-cell in the flow-field of the atmosphere ‘is’; i.e. it is all relational context and no local content.   only the visual image is local.


THERE IS NO LOCAL CONTENT IN THE FIRING, it is all relational context and no content, the simultaneous coniunctio of influx and outflux as in a storm-cell in the flow-field of the atmosphere.  What we see is the form of the flames which is all relational context and no content, and then we give it a name ‘fire’ and talk about it as if it were ‘local content’ rather than relational context.  We do the same with a ‘humaning’; i.e. we use language to reduce relational context to local content so that the ‘humaning’ as a relational feature in the flow-field becomes ‘the human’, a purported ‘independent material being’.


Richard Atleo aka Umeek, a hereditary chief of the Nuu-chah-nulth [Nootka] people, in his book, ‘Tsawalk’, uses the same relational structuring [articulated with different terminology] as Erwin Schroedinger does in modern physics, in observing;


“The material universe is like an insubstantial shadow of the actual substantial Creator. In this worldview, the highest form of cognition, of consciousness does not occur in the insubstantial shadowlike material realm, but in the realm of creation’s spiritual source’.”



“The Nuu-chah-nulth saw the material world as a manifestation of the spiritual.”


So, there is lots of raw, prelingual experiential support for a non-dualist reality in which ‘things’ are not ‘local content’ but relational context, as in Heraclitus ‘everything is in flux’.  This also implies that our consciousness is coextensive with the transforming relational continuum, although our sensing device is the local relational form which is gathering in the flow (undergoing cosmic fetalization).


The point about the go-pro camera video-recordings, which is identical to the person visual images captured by the eye, is that what we see is ‘the fire dancing’ as if the dancing is something the fire is authoring, but we are helping the fire to dance, just as the wind fills the sails of a sailboat and helps to source its genetic expression.  We say that the sailboat moves, but the authorship of the movement is not locally generated but epigenetically induced.


Using the go-pro camera video-recordings and/or our memories and reflections, we can reconstruct the dancing fire as a three-dimensional object.  But the fact is that the dancing that we are observing ‘out there’ is co-shaped by our moving our shutters about, and there is nothing in the imagery of the dancing fire out there, that informs us on the epigenetic inductive influence that is non-locally orchestrating and shaping such local genetic expression.


This is not only the case for the ‘dancing fire’, but for everything.   The child-soldier’s behaviour is not coming from the child-soldier as a local thing-in-itself or ‘independent being’, it is inductively shaped by epigenetic influence in which the child-soldier is uniquely, situationally included.


But this does not agree with Western religions, nor with Western science, both of which portray the human as a ‘local, independently-existing material system that is fully and solely responsible for its own behaviour [genetic expression].  for example;


“Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.



1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.



1732 As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.” – Vatican Archives, The Catholic Catechism.


Western civilization has ‘institutionalized’ the understanding of the world in terms of the ‘reality’ of local, independently-existing material entities [objects, organisms, systems].   Such things do not exist in the physical reality of our actual experience, as our circle exercise demonstrates; i.e. our Western habit is to attribute the local behaviour of a local, visible, ‘material’ form to the form as a thing-in-itself when it is only a shadow of the physical reality;


“The material universe is like an insubstantial shadow of the actual substantial Creator. In this worldview, the highest form of cognition, of consciousness does not occur in the insubstantial shadowlike material realm, but in the realm of creation’s spiritual source’.”



“The Nuu-chah-nulth saw the material world as a manifestation of the spiritual.”


I don’t know if you can see what is going on here, since we are communicating in noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar, but the names we give things ‘take over’ and put us into a notional three-dimensional space, … the space that three-dimensional objects live in, … yet that is nothing like the space of the physical reality of our actual experience.   As wittgenstein says, ‘our understanding is bewitched by language’.


The world of television news, politicians, normal discourse, … is a world in which our understanding is bewitched by language, where we are confusing the material world that is an ‘insubstantial shadow’ of the fourth dimensional aka ‘relational’ world, for the real world.


In our circle exercise, our experience is in the real world; i.e. the relational world (transforming relational continuum), but the mistake [that dropped us out of the 4th dimension] was made every time we were talking about the fire as if it was a real thing-in-itself that was doing some dancing.  this is where we lock on to ‘the insubstantial shadow’ and attribute the dynamics of the local, visible form, NOT to non-local, non-visible, non-material (relational) epigenetic influence, but to the local visible form-thing-in-itself, as in ‘the fire is burning’.


This shift in view and cognition [into the non-local, non-visible, non-material (relational) spiritual or 4th dimension] is not easy, because when we open our mouths, we go back to speaking about ‘the insubstantial shadow’ world (the material universe) as if it were ‘the real world’ which it is not.


So, anyhow, … that is one suggestion for an exercise that could possibly be helpful in rediscovering the spiritual (4’th) dimension.


* * * * *









[1] Comments by Ralph Waldo Emerson from ‘The Method of Nature’


“Whilst a necessity so great caused the man to exist, his health and erectness consist in the fidelity with which he transmits influences from the vast and universal to the point on which his genius can act. The ends are momentary: they are vents for the current of inward life which increases as it is spent. A man’s wisdom is to know that all ends are momentary, that the best end must be superseded by a better. But there is a mischievous tendency in him to transfer his thought from the life to the ends, to quit his agency and rest in his acts: the tools run away with the workman, the human with the divine. I conceive a man as always spoken to from behind, and unable to turn his head and see the speaker. In all the millions who have heard the voice, none ever saw the face. As children in their play run behind each other, and seize one by the ears and make him walk before them, so is the spirit our unseen pilot. That well-known voice speaks in all languages, governs all men, and none ever caught a glimpse of its form. If the man will exactly obey it, it will adopt him, so that he shall not any longer separate it from himself in his thought, he shall seem to be it, he shall be it. If he listen with insatiable ears, richer and greater wisdom is taught him, the sound swells to a ravishing music, he is borne away as with a flood, he becomes careless of his food and of his house, he is the fool of ideas, and leads a heavenly life. But if his eye is set on the things to be done, and not on the truth that is still taught, and for the sake of which the things are to be done, then the voice grows faint, and at last is but a humming in his ears. His health and greatness consist in his being the channel through which heaven flows to earth, in short, in the fulness in which an ecstatical state takes place in him. It is pitiful to be an artist, when, by forbearing to be artists, we might be vessels filled with the divine overflowings, enriched by the circulations of omniscience and omnipresence. Are there not moments in the history of heaven when the human race was not counted by individuals, but was only the Influenced, was God in distribution, God rushing into multiform benefit? It is sublime to receive, sublime to love, but this lust of imparting as from _us_, this desire to be loved, the wish to be recognized as individuals, — is finite, comes of a lower strain.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The Method of Nature’


[2] F. David Peat re no categorization in indigenous aboriginal language;


“Bohm did note, however, that our (Indo-European) languages tend to be highly noun-oriented and well suited to discussions of concepts and categories. By contrast, quantum theory demands a more process-oriented approach, a verb-based language perhaps that emphasizes flow, movement and constant transformation. (Bohm’s Holomovement – the movement of the whole.) — F. David Peat, ‘Language and Linguistics’


David Peat captured how relational languages support ‘cosmic fetalizing’ but not ‘local independent beings’ as in categories of things identifiable by their local common properties.



The problem with English is that when it tries to grapple with abstractions and categories it tends to trap the mind into believing that such categories have an equal status with tangible objects. Algonquin languages, being for the ear, deal in vibrations [waves] in which each word is related directly, not only to process of thought, but also to the animating energies of the universe.




… [in modern physics] It is impossible to separate a phenomenon from the context in which it is observed. Categories no longer exist in the absence of contexts.




Within Indigenous science, context is always important. Nothing is abstract since all things happen within a landscape and by virtue of a web of interrelationships. The tendency to collect things into categories does not exist within the thought and language of, for example, Algonquin speakers.



 This leads to a profoundly different way of approaching and thinking about the world. For, in the absence of categories, each thing is mentally experienced on its own merits, and for what it actually is. Rather than indulging in comparison or judgment, Indigenous speakers attempt to enter into relationship with them.  




What is needed, Bohm argued in his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, is a new sort of language, one based on processes and activity, transformation and change, rather than on the interactions of stable objects. Bohm called this hypothetical language the “rheomode.” It is based primarily on verbs and on grammatical structures deriving from verbs. Such a language, Bohm argued, is perfectly adapted to a reality of enfolding and unfolding matter and thought.  




David Bohm had not known when he wrote of that concept that such a language is not just a physicist’s hypothesis. It actually exists. The language of the Algonquin peoples was developed by the ancestors specifically to deal with subtle matters of reality, society, thought, and spirituality.  




A few months before his death, Bohm met with a number of Algonkian speakers and was struck by the perfect bridge between their language and worldview and his own exploratory philosophy. What to Bohm had been major breakthroughs in human thought — quantum theory, relativity, his implicate order and rheomode – were part of the everyday life and speech of the Blackfoot, Mic Maq, Cree and Ojibwaj.” – F. David Peat, ‘Blackfoot Physics’


[3] Space is NOT three-dimensional (Euclidian)


Space is not Euclidian’ … “Space is a participant in physical phenomena” … “Space not only conditions the behaviour of inert masses, but is also conditioned in its state by them.”, … “the recognition of the fact that ‘empty space’ in its physical relation is neither homogeneous nor isotropic, compelling us to describe its state by ten functions (the gravitation potentials g(μ,ν), has, I think finally disposed of the view that space is physically empty.”…”Relativity forces us to analyze the role played by geometry in the description of the physical world.” . . . “A thrown stone is, from this point of view, a changing field, where the states of greatest field intensity travel through space with the velocity of the stone” —Albert Einstein.



What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances).” – Erwin Schroedinger


“Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum as opposed to a vacuum, and is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves.” — David Bohm   



“Fields of force are the primary reality, and ‘matter’ a secondary or derived phenomenon” —Michael Faraday   



“[In nature]… “the individual parts reciprocally determine one another.” … “The properties of one mass always include relations to other masses,” … “Every single body of the Universe stands in some definite relations with every other body in the Universe.” Therefore, no object can “be regarded as wholly isolated.” And even in the simplest case, “the neglecting of the rest of the world is impossible.” – Ernst Mach   



“Space is another framework we impose upon the world” . . . ” . . . here the mind may affirm because it lays down its own laws; but let us clearly understand that while these laws are imposed on our science, which otherwise could not exist, they are not imposed on Nature.” . . . “Euclidian geometry is . . . the simplest, . . . just as the polynomial of the first degree is simpler than a polynomial of the second degree.” . . . “the space revealed to us by our senses is absolutely different from the space of geometry.” . . . Henri Poincaré, ’Science and Hypothesis’.”



[4] Benjamin Whorf


“It is sometimes stated that Newtonian space, time, and matter are sensed by everyone intuitively, whereupon relativity is cited as showing how mathematical analysis can prove intuition wrong. This, besides being unfair to intuition, is an attempt to answer offhand question (1) put at the outset of this paper, to answer which this research was undertaken. Presentation of the findings now nears its end, and I think the answer is clear. The offhand answer, laying the blame upon intuition for our slowness in discovering mysteries of the Cosmos, such as relativity, is the wrong one. The right answer is: Newtonian space, time, and matter are no intuitions. They are receipts from culture and language. That is where Newton got them.” – Benjamin Whorf, ‘The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language’


[5] Robert Chia on the fact that the material world is illusion [the shadow of the physically


In Nishitani’s analysis, an entity such as the self s presence is only definable in negative terms. What straightforwardly appears as the object X is only the difference between itself and the total field. Similarly, the `field’ is itself only its difference from the object X. Nishitani’s thinking thus resonates with Saussure’s (1974) account of how the meaning of an individual word is attained and with Derrida’s (1976) insistence that identity and `presence’ are outcomes of djfférance . Hence, just as meaning in the Derridean sense never `arrives’, Nishitani’s being never arrives either. Bryson (1988) illustrates this through the example of the seed-flower constellation.


    `The form of the seed is already turning into the form of the flower, and the flower is already becoming dust. The present state of the object appearing as the flower is inhabited by its past as seed and its future as dust, in a continuous motion of postponement, whose effect is that the flower is never presently there, any more than seed or dust’ (Bryson, 1988: 99).


This ceaseless process of deferral is best summed up by Nishitani in a series of aphoristic flashes that illuminate his texts in the same way that Sartre’s other and Lacan’s sardine can does. For Nishitani, `fire does not burn fire’ nor does `water wash water’. The essence of fire is to burn, yet fire cannot burn itself. It cannot exist in self-enclosure or possess a simple identity. For fire to burn, it must extend beyond its enclosure to engage with the field surrounding it and only then can it perform its role as fire. Likewise, the essence of water is that it washes. Yet water does not wash itself. For water to be water as that which washes, it must percolate through to its dry surrounds so that only when it leaves its self-enclosure does it become water.


    `Its existence comes to it when it has left water behind and entered what it is not. Its being is interpenetrated by what it is not: which is to say that things exist in the ways they do exist, under a mode of constitutive negativity or emptiness, sûnyatâ’ (Bryson, 1988: 99).



Thus, like much of current poststructrural analyses, which critiques the adequacy of logocentric representations, Nishitani’s emphasis on the non-presence of simple identity and meaning enables nothingness, emptiness or sûnyatâ to become a critical issue in our search for ultimate reality. However, unlike much of contemporary poststructuralist/postmodern analyses which either denies the existence of an ultimate reality beyond words, or remain skeptical about our ability to encounter the latter, Nishida and Nishitani, in keeping with the tradition of the East, are far more optimistic about the possibilities opened up by the total deconstruction of Western metaphysics and the subsequent positing of Absolute Nothingness as the centre of our lived experience. For, as van Bragt (1982) perceptively puts it:


    In brief, the Western mind cannot help but think that all reality has been done away with when all “being” (form, substance) has been negated; but the East has found that the removal of the immediate and overpowering face of reality is but a necessary condition for what is really real to appear’ (van Bragt, 1982: xxv-xxvi)



For the Western mind deconstructive analyses lead us into the abyss of nihilism and despair. For Eastern thought, on the other hand, it leads us into a field of infinite potentialities, the field of Absolute Nothingness in which we discover the `original countenance of reality’ (Nishitani, 1982: 261). Here, with the absolute dissolution of the surveying self, everything is seen in full relief in its `suchness’. It enables one to see the oak tree in the garden as the oak tree in the garden and also as interpenetrating with all other particulars existent in the universe.


[6] Mach’s comment on the ‘fourth dimension’;


*As the outcome of the labors of Lobatchevski, Bolyai, Gauss, and Riemann, the view has gradually obtained currency in the mathematical world, that that which we call space is a particular, actual case of a more general, conceivable case of multiple quantitative manifoldness. The space of sight and touch is a threefold manifoldness; it possesses three dimensions ; and every point in it can be defined by three distinct and independent data. But it is possible to conceive of a quadruple or even multiple space-like manifoldness. And the character of the manifoldness may also be differently conceived from the manifoldness of actual space. We regard this discovery, which is chiefly due to the labors of Riemann, as a very important one. The properties of actual space are here directly exhibited as objects of experience, and the pseudo-theories of geometry that seek to excogitate these properties by metaphysical arguments are overthrown.


A thinking being is supposed to live in the surface of a sphere, with no other kind of space to institute comparisons with. His space will appear to him similarly constituted throughout. He might regard _it as infinite, and could only be convinced of the contrary by experience. Starting from any two points of a great circle of the sphere and proceeding at right angles thereto on other great circles, he could hardly expect that the circles last mentioned would intersect. So, also, with respect to the space in which we live, only experience can decide whether it is finite, whether parallel lines intersect in it, or the like. The significance of this elucidation can scarcely be overrated. An enlightenment similar to that which Riemann inaugurated in science was produced in the rnind of humanity at large, as regards the surface of the earth, by the discoveries of the first circumnavigators.


The theoretical investigation of the mathematical possibilities above referred to, has, primarily, nothing to do with the question whether things really exist which correspond to these possibilities; and we must not hold mathematicians responsible for the popular absurdities which their investigations have given rise to. The space of sight and touch is three-dimensional ; that, no one ever yet doubted. If, now, it should be found that bodies vanish from this space, or new bodies get into it, the question might scientifically be discussed whether it would facilitate and promote our insight into things to conceive experiential space as part of a four-dimensional or multi-dimensionalspace. Yet in such a case, this fourth dimension would, none the less, remain a pure thing of thought a mental fiction.


But this is not the way matters stand. The phenomena mentioned were not forthcoming until after the new views were published, and were then exhibited in the presence of certain persons at spiritualistic séances. The fourth dimension was a very opportune discover^ for the spiritualists and for theologians who were in a quandary about the location of hell. The use the spiritualist makes of the fourth dimension is this, ‘it is possible to move out of a finite straight line, without passing the extremities, through the second dimension ; out of a finite closed surface through the third ; and, analogously, out of a finite closed space, without passing through the enclosing boundaries, through the fourth dimension. Even the tricks that prestidigitateurs, in the old days, harmlessly executed in three dimensions, are now invested with a new halo by the fourth. But the tricks of the spiritualists, the tying or untying of knots in endless strings, the removing of bodies from closed spaces, are all performed in cases where there is absolutely nothing at stake. All is purposeless jugglery. We have not yet found an accoucheur who has accomplished, parturition through the fourth dimension. If we should, the question would at once become a serious one. Professor Simony’s beautiful tricks in ropetying, which, as the performance of a prestidigitateur, are very admirable, speak against, not for, the spiritualists.


Everyone is free to set up an opinion and to adduce proofs in support of it.  Whether, though, a scientist shall find it worth his while to enter into serious investigations of opinions so advanced, is a question which his reason and instinct alone can decide, if these things, in the end, should turn out to be true, I shall not be ashamed of being the last to believe them. What I have seen of them was not calculated to make me less sceptical. I myself regarded multi-dimensioned space as a mathematico-physical help even, prior to the appearance of Riemann’s memoir. But 1 trust that no one will employ what I have thought, said, and written on this subject as a basis for the fabrication of ghost stories. (Compare Mach, Die Geschichte und die Wurzel des Satzes von der Erhaltung der Arbeit.)