An Experiment With Time (Anglais) Broché – mars 2001
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What this reviewer regarded as "mind-boggling philosophical statements" I found to be charming intuitive gems:
"Evolution has worked for possibly eight hundred million years towards the development of the brain. Today, as Professor McKendrick points out, nearly all the functions of our bodies are operating towards the end of the adequate nutrition of the grey matter. And it now appears that, apart from its self-sustaining and self-developing activities, the brain serves as a machine for teaching the embryonic soul to think."
My opinion of the book is best summed up in a preface written for the second Spanish edition by Jorge Luis Borges. It can be found in BIBLIOTECA PERSONAL (Emecé;, 1998). Borges later wrote an essay incorporating elements of the preface called "Time and J.W. Dunne" (1940), which is included in his SELECTED NON-FICTIONS (Penguin, 1999).
Since the essay can be found easily enough, here is my translation of the preface, written in 1934:
"A literary historian may one day write the history of a most recent genre in literature: the title. I recall none more admirable than the one on this volume. It is not merely for show; it ignites our interest in the text and sure enough the text does not disappoint. It is conversational in character and opens up marvelous possibilities for our conception of the world.
J.W. Dunne was an engineer, not a man of letters. Aeronautics is indebted to him for an invention which proved its efficiency in the First World War. His logical and mathematical mind was opposed to all things mystical. He arrived at his strange theory via a statistical study of his nightly dreams. He explained and defended the theory in three volumes that provoked a clamor of polemic. H.G. Wells accused of him of taking the first chapter of his "The Time Machine" (pub. 1895) much too seriously; Dunne responded in a note to his second edition, which is now in print. Likewise, Malcolm Grant refuted him in A NEW ARGUMENT FOR GOD AND SURVIVAL (1934).
Of the three volumes that constitute his completed work, THE SERIAL UNIVERSE is the most technical. The last, NOTHING DIES (1940), is downright popular science, meant for radio dispersal.
Dunne proposes an infinite series of times that flow in and out and because of one another. He assures us that upon our death we shall be handed the happy reins of eternity. We shall recover all of the instants of our lives and compose them in whatever manner is most pleasant to us. God and our friends and Shakespeare shall collaborate in this."
And the closing line of the essay:
"So splendid a thesis makes any fallacy committed by the author insignificant."
More, I have had dreams, or actions, which coincided with the event. As a result of this I am sympathetic to Dunnes hypothesis, but find it a bit difficult to swallow un-questioned.
Dreaming about the past, or modifications of the past, I can accept. Dreaming about the future seems to defy all logic.
However Dunne has put forward his possible explanation. That, and "Deja Vue", are open to a great deal conjecture, but no real explanation is available to this day.
_The author, one of Britain's first aeronautical engineers, designed a series of experiments to attempt to repeat such contact with future events by way of dream. First he used himself as subject, and then he brought a larger number of ordinary friends and acquaintances in. He found that if careful attention was paid to documenting the details of one's dreams immediately after waking, and carefully reviewing and comparing those dream records with later events, then almost everyone has this ability to some extent. Most of us tend to ignore this fact out of some ingrained habit of thought. Later, it was found that this ability to contact the future isn't strictly limited to dream consciousness. It was found that while waking, people could open themselves up to seemingly random impressions that were later documented to agree with future events (such as concentrating on a book that one had never read before- and receiving definite "hits" on the contents and specific words and phrases- that go way beyond chance.) Further analysis of dream material also showed that we made "contact" with past events in our lives about as much as we did future ones. Once freed of our habitual way of assuming time as linear (and one way) and the world as strictly three dimensional, the mind seemed to be capable of intermittently ranging past and future in an unfocussed state. The conclusion was that both past and future exist in a higher dimensional framework- and since we can access them- then probably so do we.
_The first part of this book is primarily empirical, while the second is primarily logical (an elaborate model- complete with diagrams- explaining multidimensional mechanics.) The first part is much more readable. As for the second, as ingenious as it is, I cannot but help think that a cerebrum concentrated in third dimensional consciousness is inadequate to explain higher dimensional realities. We can experience the fact that there must be more to our ordinary conception of reality, but to truly understand it is another matter. Yet, the day will come for us all when we no longer intersect with this three dimensional world- and then we will be free to focus our concentration on the higher dimensional extent of our being.
_The only restriction in breaking free of our conventional time-consciousness is shaking our selves free of our ingrained habit of seeing the world. Once you have personally experienced such precognitive events, or perhaps synchronicity, then this is much easier- and their frequency increases. It isn't enough to wish or believe- you have to KNOW....
No visible signs of damage or wear was new as expected.