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Observations placeholder

Daumal, Rene - A Fundamental experiment - Part 4



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

A Fundamental Experiment – Rene Daumal [translated by Roger Shattuck – 1987]

The concepts revolve around a central idea of identity: everything is perpetually one and the same.

They took the form of spatial, temporal, and numerical diagrams-diagrams that were present at the time but whose separation into these categories naturally came later along with the verbal description.

The space in which these shapes arose was not Euclidean, for it was so constructed that any indefinite extension of a point returned to itself. That is, I believe, what mathematicians call 'curved space'. Transposed into a Euclidean scheme, the movement could be described as follows.

Imagine an immense circle whose circumference reaches the infinite and which is perfect and unbroken except for one point; subsequently this point expands into a circle that grows indefinitely, extends its circumference to infinity and merges with the original circle, Perfect, pure and unbroken except for one point, which expands into a circle, . . and so on unceasingly, and in fact instantaneously, for at each instant the circumference, enlarged to infinity, reappears simultaneously as a point; not a central point, that would be too perfect; but an eccentric point that represents at the same time the nothingness of my existence and the disequilibrium that my existence, by its particularity, introduces into the immense circle of the All-the All which perpetually obliterates me, reasserting its undiminished integrity. For it is I alone who am diminished.

In respect to time, the scheme of things is perfectly analogous. This movement of an indefinite expansion returning to its origin takes place as duration (a 'curved' duration) as well as space: the last movement is forever identical with the first, it all vibrates simultaneously in an instant, and only the necessity of representing all this in our ordinary ‘time’ obliges me to speak of an infinite repetition.

What I see I have always seen and shall always see again and again; everything recommences in identical fashion at each instant, as if the total nullity of my particular existence within the unbroken substance of the Immobile were the cause of a cancerous proliferation of instants.

In respect to number, the indefinite multiplication of points, circles, and triangles dissolves the same way, instantaneously, into a regenerated Unity, perfect except for me; and this except for me, throwing the unity of the All into disequilibrium, engenders an indefinite and instantaneous multiplication which immediately merges with the uttermost limit with a regenerated Unity, perfect except for me …. and everything starts all over again, always in the same place, in the same eternal instant, and without producing any true alteration in the nature of the All.

The source of the experience

Daumal, René

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Inhaling volatiles and gases