Lecture 21 Cosmic "Chemistry" and Relativity

by P D Ouspensky

Contents List:

The Cosmic Dance
The Cosmic "Octave"
Table of "Hydrogens"
A "Lateral" Octave

Return to:


See also:

Consciousness, Laws, and Influences
Man's Place in the World
Introduction to Tertium Organum


Now we must speak about the matters from which the Universe is made. All the matters of the world surrounding us are permeated by all the matters existing in the Universe. This applies to the ground we walk on, the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the stuff of which our houses are built, and our own bodies. There is no need to study or analyse the Sun in order to find solar matter; this matter is in ourselves: it composes our atoms. In the same way we have in us matters of all other worlds. In this sense, man is indeed a miniature universe: he has in him all the matters which compose the Universe; the same forces, the same laws which govern the life of the whole world act in him. Therefore, by studying man, we study the Universe, and vice versa.

But a full parallel between man and the Universe can be drawn only if we take man in the full sense of the word, that is, a man whose inherent powers and possibilities are developed. An under-developed man, a man who has not completed his evolution, cannot be taken as a complete picture of the world he is an unfinished world.

The Cosmic Dance

Laws are the same on all planes. These same laws, manifesting in different worlds, that is, in different conditions, produce different phenomena. The study of the relation of laws to the planes on which they manifest themselves brings us to the study of relativity.

If we take the Ray of Creation, we must remember that the worlds are connected with one another and affect one another in accordance with the Law of Three. In other words, the first three worlds, taken together, produce the phenomena which influence the following worlds, and so on. In the first three worlds, the Absolute is the conductor of the active force, World 3 the conductor of the passive force, and World 6 the conductor of the neutralising force. In other words, the Absolute is Carbon, World 3 is Oxygen, and World 6 is Nitrogen.

If we place the three forces in sequence according to the order in which they unite, we will get the order 1, 2, 3; but the matters serving as conductors of these forces will, according to their density, stand in the order: Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen. So when the triad begins to form, they stand in the order 1, 3, 2. When matters stand in this order, phenomena are produced. But for subsequent creation, for the formation of the next triad, Nitrogen must, as it were, return once more to the third place, to the order 1, 2, 3, and in this way become the Carbon of the next triad, for the second triad comes from the neutralising force of the first triad becoming active. This change of place of matters in the triad is a kind of cosmic dance which produces action.

The Cosmic "Octave"

Let us now try to see how forces emerging from the Absolute in order to manifest themselves in World 3 must first pass through World 6. An analogy shows us quite plainly the necessity of this direction of force. Man's will can influence a fragment of tissue in certain parts of his body. But a tissue is composed of cells. In order to affect the tissue, man's will must first influence the cells composing the given fragment of tissue. The tissue is a different world from cells, but at the same time tissues do not exist apart from the cells of which they are composed.

World 3 is a separate world from World 6, that is, of worlds similar to our Milky Way. So in order to influence a part of World 3 (All Worlds) the Absolute must first influence a certain number of Worlds (All Suns) of which World 3 is composed.

Thus, in the passage of forces, Worlds 1, 3, 6 stand, at first, in the order 1, 3, 6; then in the order 1, 6, 3; and then, for a further passage of forces, they must again resume the order 1, 3, 6. In the next triad, the Milky Way is Carbon, the Sun Oxygen, and the planets Nitrogen. Since Nitrogen stands between Carbon and Oxygen, the force coming from the Milky Way, that is, from the stars, must first pass through the planets in order to reach the Sun.

This may look strange at first glance, but if we visualise the structure of the Solar System, we shall see quite clearly that it cannot be otherwise. No analogies are needed. Imagine the Sun surrounded by planets moving round it; in the distance, some group of stars sends influences towards the Sun. But the Sun does not stand in one place; we know that it moves; the planets, rotating around it, move with it in space, each of them forming by its motion a spiral round the central rod of the Sun's movement, so that this central rod is entirely enclosed in the spirals of planets, and no influence can reach it without first passing through the world of planets, that is, penetrating through the rings of the spirals.

Further, planets becoming Carbon of the third triad must find corresponding Oxygen and Nitrogen. In our Ray of Creation, Oxygen is Earth. But there is no Nitrogen in the astronomical Ray of Creation. Therefore the planets cannot pass their influence direct to earth, and in order to make the passage of forces possible between the planets and the Earth, a special contrivance was created which represents the sensitive organ of the Earth organic life on Earth.

Organic life on Earth is Nitrogen of the third triad. Forces coming from the planets fall first on organic life, which receives them and passes them on to the Earth.

If we remember the extremely complicated organisation of the ends of sensitive nerves in our own organism, we shall not think it strange that man is defined as a sensitive nerve-end of the Earth.

Of course a meadow covered with grass differs in many ways from man it receives only some planetary influences, and very few of these. Man receives much more complex influences. But people differ greatly from one another in this respect. The majority of men are important only in the mass, and only the mass receives one or another influence. Others are capable of receiving influences individually influences which masses cannot receive because they are sensitive only to coarse influences.

Organic life on Earth, playing the role of Nitrogen of the third triad, is by this very fact Carbon of the fourth triad in the Ray. In other words, it conducts the active force which meets with corresponding Oxygen and Nitrogen. Earth is Oxygen and Moon is Nitrogen through which the influences of organic life pass to Earth.

Now, if we take the Ray of Creation divided into four triads and bear in mind that the sum total of each triad is a definite Hydrogen, we shall get four Hydrogens or four definite densities of matter. These four Hydrogens can be taken as corresponding to the four fundamental points of the Universe. The first corresponds to the Absolute, the second to the Sun, the third to the Earth, and the fourth to the Moon.

The Ray of Creation can be taken as an octave. After re, represented by the Moon, the octave has its do, which is also the Absolute. So there are, as it were, two Absolutes: one begins the Ray, the other ends it. One Absolute is All, the other is Nothing. But there can be no two Absolutes for, by its very nature, the Absolute is one. Therefore All includes Nothing and Nothing includes All. In reality, what we call the antithesis of opposites exists only in our conception, in our subjective perception of the world. But, even when we understand this, we are unable to express this understanding in words; our language has no words which can include thesis and antithesis simultaneously. Our mind cannot grasp them as one idea, just as it cannot grasp the images of some Hindu gods combining complete opposites in themselves.

Table of "Hydrogens"

Now we shall examine the passage of radiations between the four fundamental points of the cosmic octave. We take radiations between each two points in the form of an octave and thus obtain three octaves: Absolute Sun; Sun Earth; Earth Moon.

It should be noted that, although there are six hiccups, only three of them require to be filled from without. The hiccups between do and si are filled by the Will of the Absolute, by the influence of the Sun's mass on the radiations passing through it, and by the influence of the mass of the Earth on the radiations passing through it.

All the hydrogens in this Table represent matters with which we have to do in studying man. It has been scaled down twice in order to include only the hydrogens that have relation to man, both in his outer life and in the inner life of his organism.

For instance, H768 represents all the food we eat; the air we breathe is H192; and our impressions can be H48, H24, H12, and even H6. We have an enormous range of impressions, but we have no choice of air or food. We cannot, for example, inhale H96, for it is fire, incandescent gases. We cannot eat H384 for it is water, and we cannot live on water. You will see that this table answers all our requirements: it enables us to speak of all matters in the human machine and to see their interrelation; and it makes it possible to connect man with the Universe, because we can know from which level each matter comes.

The Table of Hydrogens shows not only the density of each of them but also the place of origin of these different layers of matter which, as was explained in the Table of Worlds, are under different laws. Hydrogens which come from planes under a very small number of laws, near the Will of the Absolute, have an enormous power and enormous potential energy.

Thus we have a scale of twelve densities on which can be placed all matter known to or conceivable by man. For the greater densities (i.e. lower frequencies) we can find examples both in man and in the world around him. Up to the level of H96, or even H48, these may be studied physically by chemistry, biology, and other sciences. Beyond H48, we can study only psychological effects of their presence or absence, knowing the level of hydrogens with which different centres work.

Still higher [i.e. less dense Ed.] hydrogens are only potential in man or exist in such small quantities that they are impossible to study. The study of these higher hydrogens in the surrounding world is also beyond the powers of perception in Men 1, 2, and 3.

A hydrogen consists of three forces working through three elements. Three forces cannot work without three elements. A hydrogen is the sum total.

A "Lateral" Octave

I want to give you one more diagram that may help you to understand things. I said that organic life is a special adaptation filling the interval between the planets and Earth. It is created in the form of a lateral or an additional octave beginning in the Sun, sol. Sol becomes do and produces si on the level of the planets, and then three notes la, sol and fa, which are organic life on earth. Then mi of this lateral octave enters into the Earth and re into the Moon. So organic life belongs not to the main octave but to this special octave which begins in the Sun. We do not know what do and si of this octave mean. Out of all this octave we know only la, sol, fa, and mi. Even about re, all we know is that when anything dies whether man or a cockroach its soul goes to the Moon.

The body is born and at the same time the soul is born too; it is simply part of the body, invisible, unknown to medicine, physics and chemistry. But without it the body cannot live. When the body dies, the soul is free and is attracted to this big electromagnet the Moon.

Organic life transfers planetary influences to Earth. But as a matter of fact, the process goes both ways, though we cannot see either. We must take it as a theory, but analogies can be found. We can see how organic life transforms influences coming from the Sun and what a great part it plays in the structure of the Earth's crust. For instance, black soil is the result of earth worms; oil is the result of agglomeration of fishes and sea organisms; coal is the result of forests; chalk and coral islands are results of organic life which remain in the Earth. This shows how mi enters into the Earth. It is all mi of the lateral octave of which la-sol-fa is organic life when it is alive. This shows how organic life transforms the Sun's influences. We do not see how it transforms planetary influences, but we can take the analogy of the Sun's influences. This shows that organic life is connected with both the planets and the Sun, and transforms planetary influences just as it transforms solar influences.

Looked at in this way, the operation of the Ray of Creation seems mechanical. However, you must remember that the Ray starts consciously, and in the starting-point there are evidently plans of everything, or some plans may gradually develop further down. But in the forty-eight laws that work on Earth, there are three laws from World 3, which is under the direct Will of the Absolute. Laws coming from different planes are not equally mechanical. If we take the lateral octave starting from the Sun the octave of organic life we shall see that the Sun is much higher than the Earth and it is evidently possible to create in this octave further possibilities of development. Thus man, if he can be regarded as a seed, has in himself the possibility of growth. He is not only what he looks; there is something in him which cannot be seen this hidden possibility of evolution. We can understand this relation of more mechanical or less mechanical only in ourselves. We know how mechanical we are, but that if we work we become less mechanical. This is the only way to study mechanicalness.

There are two more things we must remember about this small lateral octave of which we are part. First, it is incommensurable with the Ray of Creation, for it is on quite a different scale. Second, we do not know what the do and si of this octave are. When we think that life started here on Earth by some process or other, we may think that we know what it is; but when we hear that it does not start on Earth, we realise that we do not know.