Out of This World: Otherworldly Journeys from Gilgamesh to by Ioan P. Couliano

By Ioan P. Couliano

This ebook takes the reader on a stupendous trip via a variety of cultures and traditions to envision the phenomenon of ecstatic visionary experiences—from Sumerian Gilgamesh and the Taoist Immortals to the creative fiction of Jorge Luis Borges. the writer offers a complete travel of otherworldly trips universal from immemorial occasions between shamans, magicians, and witches, and illustrates their reference to such sleek phenomena as altered states of awareness, out-of-body reports, and near-death stories.

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The spiritualist movement was contemporary with the first speculations on the fourth dimension, and a certain stage in the development of the two coincided. Mediums were used to access the fourth dimension and produce paranormal phenomena that could serve as a confirmation of four-dimensionality. Conversely, the fourth dimension provided an ideal explanation for hidden and powerful presences from higher space. This convergence explains in part why a few quite remarkable physicists adhered to the spiritualist movement.

The two conspiracies, the fictitious one imagined by Borges and the actual one that developed naturally, have one key character in common, who is seldom if ever mentioned in histories of Western civilization: Charles Howard Hinton. Born in 18S3, Hinton had a rather extraordinary father, the essayist James Hinton, a committed philanthropist, altruist, and feminist. This may explain why the younger Hinton, who possessed the same powerful combination of characteristics, was not content in 1877 simply to marry Mary Boole, one of the daughters of the famous logician Boole, but also in 188 S married a certain Maude Weldon, who bore him twins.

In his quality as an unlearner, Gurdjieff was more interesting than he was as a teacher-his world system was complicated and unconvincing. But, according to Ouspensky, he had psychic powers and could communicate with his disciple at a distance, without articulated language. Gurdjieff had read Ouspensky's work about the fourth dimension, and he perceptively described the books as definitely wiser than their author. 24 In 1920, teacher and disciple were in Constantinople. Due to the success of the English translation of his Tertium Or8anum, Ouspensky was invited in 1921 to lecture in London.

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