The Dramatic Universe: The Foundations of Natural Philosophy Volume 1
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Volume I sets out the scheme of Function, Being and Will as the fundamental triad of experience. It applies the progression of categories of fact, with the determining conditions of existence, to a systematisation of science into a three-fold division of hyponomic or physical, autonomatic or vital, and hypernomic or cosmic worlds.
*** New Edition April 2018
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New edition of “The Dramatic Universe, Volume I” –
The Foundations of Natural Philosophy
This is to announce the first complete new edition of “The Dramatic Universe” since its original publication in 1956. For this edition every word has been reset, the indexes rebuilt and all diagrams and tables redrawn.
The history of “The Dramatic Universe” presentation begins in 1940, when Bennett began to write his own account of the system, under the mistaken impression that Ouspensky had given permission. Bennett’s personal and psychological writing had begun ten years earlier in the form of a daily journal which began as an account of his daily inner work, and rapidly expanded to include his insights into what Gurdjieff termed the “laws of world creation and world maintenance”. He wrote papers which were typed by his secretary and shared with his fellow students and pupils. By 1935, Bennett had been appointed to lead the British Coal Utilization Research Association (BCURA) and his budgetary allowance was sufficient for him to recruit the “best and brightest” from the most advanced scientific schools. Among these was Meredith Thring, recruited from Cambridge, who told me years later that about three weeks after he took up his post at BCURA, Bennett asked him if he would like to attend an interesting lecture. This turned out to be given by Ouspensky himself and was a major turning point for Thring. Some but not all of BCURA’s scientists accepted Bennett’s invitations to join his work groups and to study “the system”. Over Ouspensky’s objections 1940, Bennett began to write in a more formal way, apparently with the intention of sharing his thoughts with a wider but still private audience.
His work with the young physicists coalesced into a working relationship with Med Thring and R.L. “Bruin” Brown which resulted in the Unified Field Theory paper which was presented to the Royal Society in 1949. The second and third appendices to DUI were written by Thring and Brown respectively. The big question always for those who study Volume I is whether the book is worth reading if chapter 13-17 are incomprehensible to those without mathematical training. Eric Mandel, the Sherborne student who prepared the abridged version clearly thought not and removed 60% of the book for his 1979 version. However, as one who has no mathematical training beyond 9th grade equivalent, but who has read these chapters at least four times verbatim, I can say that the exercise is not only valuable but essential to an understanding of his subtle meaning. The clues moreover are in plain sight, and also clarified in his later lectures at Sherborne House.
Bennett had experienced two clairvoyant impressions in his 20s, which had given him a notion of the fifth and sixth dimensions, which moreover were echoed when he eventually was able to read Ouspensky’s “Tertium Organum”. Thring and Brown were able to show him how these could be represented using an “universal geometry” expanded from Hermann Minkowski’s model, explaining how higher dimensions can be cognized by the means of putting oneself in the place of one who is able to experience in all dimensions, including those beyond human perception.
Then in 1948, Bennett returned to Gurdjieff, who immediately threw him a series of curve balls. Gurdjieff’s “Beelzebub’s Tales” is narrated from the point of view of one who is outside of our world but can see into it in very much larger terms than a human being, confirming Bennett’s conclusion that to comprehend the universal laws, it is necessary to activate modes of perception in dimensions beyond what is normal for human beings.
The second challenge Gurdjieff’s book posed Bennett was the notion of cosmic intelligence, and it appears that Bennett’s sudden and intense exposure to Gurdjieff’s astonishing presentation prompted him to radically rewrite “The Dramatic Universe” to include an exposition of a hierarchical scale of cosmic intelligences. The first of these is termed Conscious Intelligence, being beyond the limitations of life, but in which human beings can participate, and is embodied in our own Mother Earth. Herein Bennett lays the foundations for the remaining three volumes, providing what is nothing less than a road map for future humanity. The central notion is encapsulated in the word “wholeness” which is examined in detail in Chapter 18 – as well as many times subsequently in Bennett’s presentation. In order to be able to be human beings in the full sense, it is necessary to be able to remember oneself, which means to be able to act on one’s own initiative. This requires us to be able to have, and to understand our reasons for acting with intention, to have a single undivided will. A single undivided will binds us to the cosmic will, and to the cosmic whole.
All who aspire to learn from Bennett’s teaching should really familiarize themselves with Volume I, and for this reason we have put a lot of work into preparing this new edition.
The book is made up of nine parts viz:
5. The Dynamical World
6. The World of Energy
7. The World of Things
9. The Cosmic Order
By reading the nine parts, sections by section, we are lead in accessible stages to the final great picture. This is truly a transformational book.
Twenty years ago, Ken Pledge compiled a list of what he considered to be errata. This list included more than 2 pages of typos and printing errors. These and many more have been corrected, and the greatest number of errors were discovered in the two Indexes.
Our dear friend Douglas “I built the Djamichunatra and then became a math professor” Hall has written a number of undergraduate level mathematics text books, and he tells me that to prepare a perfect math text is nigh on impossible given the constraints of modern production.
This edition is sold “print-on-demand” which means that any errors identified can be corrected virtually in real-time, so please share these with me as you find them. I have set this in Times New Roman, which some people find dull, but it is the only font I have which includes all the character variations and the full classical Greek alphabet.
Series: The Collected Works of J.G. Bennett