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Observations placeholder

Daumal, Rene - A Fundamental experiment - Part 7



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

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

Several years later I was given an anaesthetic for a minor operation. The identical thing happened: I confronted the same unique instant, this time, it is true, to the point of total unconsciousness.

My certainty, naturally, had no need of exterior confirmation; rather it suddenly cleared up for me the meaning of all kinds of narratives that other men have tried to make of the same revelation. I understood, in effect, that I was not the only one, not an isolated or pathological case in the cosmos.

First of all, several of my friends tried the same experiment. For the most part nothing happened except the ordinary phenomena preceding narcosis. Two of them went a little further, but brought back with them only vague recollections of a profound bewilderment. One said it was like the advertisements for a certain aperitif, in which two waiters are carrying two bottles, whose labels show two waiters carrying two bottles, whose labels...The other painfully searched his memory in the attempt to explain: 'Ixian, ixian i, ixian, ixian i...'

It was obviously his version of 'Tem gwef tem gwef dr rr rr...' But a third friend experienced exactly the same reality that I had encountered, and we only needed to exchange a look to know we had seen the same thing.

It was Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, with whom I was to edit the review, Le Grand Jeu; its tone of profound conviction was nothing more than the reflection of the certainty we shared. And I am convinced that this experience determined the direction his life would take as it did mine, even if somewhat differently.

The source of the experience

Daumal, René

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Inhaling volatiles and gases