Daumal, Rene - A Fundamental experiment - Part 2
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
A Fundamental Experiment – Rene Daumal [translated by Roger Shattuck – 1987]
I shall now try to, bring that wordless certainly into focus by means of images and concepts.
To begin with, it must be understood that this certainty exists on a higher level of significance than that of our usual thoughts. We are accustomed to use images or illustrations to signify concepts: for example a drawing of a circle to represent the concept of a circle.
In the state I am describing the concept itself is no longer the final term, the thing signified; the concept-or idea in the usual sense of the word-is itself the sign of something higher.
Let me recall that at the moment when the certainty revealed itself, my ordinary intellectual mechanisms continued to function; images took shape, ideas and judgments formed in my mind, but free from the weight and tangle of words. This last condition accelerated these operations to the speed of simultaneousness that they often have in moments of great danger-as when one falls while mountain climbing for example.
Thus the images and concepts I am going to describe were present at the time of the experiment on a level of reality intermediate between the appearance of our everyday ‘exterior world' and the certainty itself.
A few of these images and concepts, however, grew out of my having written down later a partially coherent account. Such an account was necessary, for as soon as I wanted to relate the experience to anyone, and first of all to myself, I had to use words and therefore to develop certain implicit aspects of these images and concepts.
Even though the two occurred simultaneously, I shall start with the images. They were both visual and auditory. In the first case, they took the form of what seemed a veil or screen of luminous spots, a veil more real than the ordinary 'world', which I could still make out behind it. A circle, half red and half black, inscribed itself in a triangle coloured in the same fashion, with the red half-circle against the black segment of triangle, and vice versa. And all space was endlessly divided thus into circles and triangles inscribed one within another, combining and moving in harmony, and changing into one another in a geometrically inconceivable manner that could not be reproduced in ordinary reality.