18 | CR Book VIII, Chapter 1
could not impose any serious restrictions and obligations upon us. We
then experience intermediate stages between being and non-being, and
thus discipline our minds for the experience of empty non-being. Because
it satisfied our inmost longing, the contemplation of self-contradictory
objects and of absurd ideas has often been found satisfying. Such a
world is more yielding, things, unobstructed, do not stand in each others'
way, stable and fitting connections are replaced by an haphazard flowing,
by incoherence and incongruity, and a horizon of unlimited possibilities
widens the mind. "Lawless winged and confined, That breaks all
chains from every mind." Absorption in nonsense breaks the crust of
rationalisations - we stop pretending that we are reasonable beings -
makes for careless irresponsibility and cheerfulness, defeats the tyranny
of circumstance, turns things inside out and upside down, diminishes
anxiety and annoyance, enhances vitality, softens incompatibilities*,
gives a healthy shock to habits of thought, relaxes and humanises.
BOOK VIII - ALL THINGS TEND TO BE ONE
We saw that the appeal to fairly successful practice can justify
almost anything. We still have to find that level of practice on or to
which reality as such discloses itself. Nothing but a combination of
ontological insight with satisfactory practice - as based on a realisation
of what we truly desire with our true nature - can answer that all-
important question. We now are going to show that the view of objective
units to which ontological knowledge leads us is that which corresponds
to the highest level of duration and generality, and to the lowest and
highest levels of self-activity respectively.
Chapter 1 - By segregating into separate units, things are separated
to a certain extend from being or reality as a whole. How much all things
are essentially one, can be seen when we direct our attention to
"potentialities". We saw† that in its operations a thing tends to identify
itself with the totality of things. The same holds good of its potentialities.
Potentialities are expressed by "can be". They are hovering
between being and non-being. Things are not only determined but also
determinable. In some sense its future (and past) actions belong to a
thing's being, although they reveal themselves only in the course of time.
It is what it is not all at the same time.
How far are potentialities included in the being of one thing? Has
the thing always to pay for greater determination and definiteness by a
loss in potential being? In other words, would it be hasty to say that in
each two things the sum of potential and actual reality gives the
A thing can be looked at from four points of view. It may be
regarded either as strictly itself, apart from any combinations it may
undergo; or as in those combinations which it has strictly at present;
or in all its combinations, past, present, and future; or as something
with an ill-defined range of combinations in between.
In the first case the intellect would be baffled. Some kind of
intellectual sympathy might, however, enable us to penetrate into the
being of the thing itself. If a thing is taken strictly in and as itself,
without reference to anything else, nothing will be different from
anything else. Nor will it be the same. One may say that in that case all
*Book VIII, Chapter 1 - †Book II, Chapter 5