The Law and the Promise
THERE IS NO FICTION
"The distinction between what is real and what is imaginary is not one that can be finally maintained... all existing things are, in an intelligible sense, imaginary." — John S. MacKenzie
There is no fiction. If an imaginal activity can produce a physical effect, our physical world must be essentially imaginal. To prove this would require merely that we observe our imaginal activities and watch to see whether or not they produce corresponding external effects. If they do, then we must conclude that there is no fiction. Today's imaginal drama — fiction — becomes tomorrow's fact.
If we had this wider view of causation — that causation is mental, not physical — that our mental states are causative of physical effects, then we would realize our responsibility as a creator and imagine only the best imaginable.
Fable enacted as a sort of stage-play in the mind is what causes the physical facts of life.
Man believes that reality resides in the solid objects he sees around him, that it is in this world that the drama of life originates, that events spring suddenly into existence, created moment by moment out of antecedent physical facts.
But causation does not lie in the external world of facts. The drama of life originates in the imagination of man. The real act of becoming takes place within man's imagination and not without.
The following stories could define "causation" as the assemblage of mental states, which occurring, creates that which the assemblage implies.
The foreword from Walter Lord's "A Night To Remember" illustrates my claim, "Imagining Creates Reality."
"In 1898, a struggling author, named Morgan Robertson, concocted a novel about a fabulous Atlantic liner, far larger than any that had ever been built. Robertson loaded his ship with rich and complacent people and then wrecked it one cold April night on an iceberg. This somehow showed the futility of everything, and in fact, the book was called 'FUTILITY' when it appeared that year, published by the firm of M. F. Mansfield.
"Fourteen years later, a British shipping company, named the White Star Line, built a steamer remarkably like the one in Robertson's novel. The new liner was 66,000 tons displacement; Robertson's was 70,000 tons.
"The real ship was 882.5 feet long; the fictional one was 800 feet. Both could carry about 3,000 people, and both had enough lifeboats for only a fraction of this number.
But, then this didn't seem to matter because both were labeled 'unshakable!'
"On April 19, 1912, the real ship left Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. Her cargo included a priceless copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and a list of passengers collectively worth $250 million dollars. On her way over, she, too, struck an iceberg and went down on a cold April night.
"Robertson called his ship the Titan; the White Star Line called its ship the Titanic."
Had Morgan Robertson known that Imagining Creates Reality, that today's fiction is tomorrow's fact, would he have written the novel Futility? "In the moment of the tragic catastrophe”, writes Schopenhauer, "the conviction becomes more distinct to us than ever that life is a bad dream from which we have to awake." And the bad dream is caused by the imaginal activity of sleeping humanity.
Imaginal activities may be remote from their manifestation and unobserved events are only appearance. Causation as seen in this tragedy is elsewhere in space-time. Far off from the scene of action, invisible to all, was Robertson's imaginal activity, like a scientist in a control-room directing his guided missile through Space-Time.
Who paints a picture, writes a play or book
Which others read while he's asleep in bed
O' the other side of the world — when they o'erlook
His page the sleeper might as well be dead;
What knows he of his distant unfelt life?
What knows he of the thoughts his thoughts are raising,
The life his life is giving, or the strife
Concerning him — some cavilling, some praising?
Yet which is most alive, he who's asleep
Or his quick spirit in some other place,
Or score of other places, that doth keep
Attention fixed and sleep from others chase?
Which is the "he" — the "he" that sleeps, or "he"
That his own "he" can neither feel nor see?
— Samuel Butler
Imaginative writers communicate not their vision of the world but their attitudes which result in their vision. Just a short while before Katherine Mansfield died, she said to her friend Orage:
"There are in life as many aspects as attitudes toward it; and aspects change with attitudes... Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change in attitude... Perception of a new pattern is what I call a creative attitude towards life."
"Prophets”, wrote Blake, "in the modern sense of the word, have never existed. Jonah was no prophet in the modern sense, for his prophesy of Nineveh failed. Every honest man is a prophet; he utters his opinion both of private & public matters. Thus: If you go on So, the result is So. He never says, such a thing shall happen let you do what you will. A Prophet is a Seer, not an Arbitrary Dictator." The function of the Prophet is not to tell us what is inevitable, but to tell us what can be built up out of persistent imaginal activities.
The future is determined by the imaginal activities of humanity, activities in their creative march, activities which can be seen in "Your dreams and the visions of your head as you lay in bed" [Daniel 2:28]. "Would that all the Lord's people were prophets" [Numbers 11:29] in the true sense of the word like this dancer who now, from the summit of his realized ideal, sights yet higher peaks that are to be scaled. After you have read this story you will understand why he is so confident that he can predetermine any materialistic future he desires and why he is equally sure that others give reality to what were otherwise a mere figment of his imagination, that there exists and can exist nothing outside imagining on some level or other. Nothing continues in being save what imagining supports.
"...The mind can make Substance, and people planets of its own with beings brighter than have been, and give a breath to forms which can outlive all flesh..." [Lord G. Byron] "
As my story begins at the age of nineteen I was a mildly successful dancing teacher and continued in this static state for almost five years. At the end of this time I met a young lady who talked me into attending your lectures. My thought, upon hearing you say 'Imagining creates reality', was that the entire idea was ridiculous. However, I decided to accept your challenge and disprove your thesis. I bought your book 'Out of This World' and read it many times. Still unconvinced, I set myself a rather ambitious goal. My present position was as an instructor with the Arthur Murray Dance Studio and my goal was to own a franchise and be boss of an Arthur Murray studio myself!
"This seemed the most unlikely thing in the world as franchises were extremely difficult to secure, but on top of this fact, I was completely without the necessary funds to begin such an operation. Nevertheless. I assumed the feeling of my wish fulfilled as night after night, in my imagination, I went to sleep managing my own studio. Three weeks later a friend called me from Reno, Nevada. He had the Murray Studio there and said it was too much for him to cope with alone. He offered me a partnership and I was delighted; so delighted, in fact, that I hastened to Reno on borrowed money and promptly forgot all about you and your story of Imagination!
"My partner and I worked hard and were very successful, but after a year I was still not satisfied, I wanted more. I began thinking of ways and means to get another studio. All my efforts failed. One night as I retired, I was restless and decided to read. As I looked through my collection of books I noticed your slender volume, 'Out of This World'. I thought of the 'silly nonsense' I had gone through one year ago before getting my own studio. GETTING MY OWN STUDIO! The words in my mind electrified me! I reread the book that night and later, in my imagination, I heard my superior praise the good job we had done in Reno and suggest we acquire a second studio as he had a second location ready for us if we desired to expand. I re-enacted this imaginal scene nightly without fail. Three weeks from the first night of my imaginal drama, it materialized — almost word for word. My partner accepted the new studio in Bakersfield and I had the Reno Studio alone. Now I was convinced of the truth of your teaching and never again will I forget.
"Now I wanted to share this wonderful knowledge — of imaginal power with my staff. I tried to tell them of the marvels they could accomplish, but I was unable to reach many although one fantastic incident resulted from my efforts to tell this story. A young teacher told me he believed my story but said it would have probably happened anyway in time. He insisted the entire theory was nonsense but stated that if I could tell him something of an incredible nature that would actually happen and which he could witness — then he would believe. I accepted his challenge and conceived a truly fantastic test.
"The Reno Studio is the most insignificant in the entire Murray system because of the small population count in the city itself. There are over three hundred Murray Studios in the country with much larger populations, therefore providing greater possibilities to draw from. So, my test was this. I told the teacher that within the next three months, at the time of a national dance convention, the little Reno Studio would be the foremost topic of conversation at that convention. He calmly stated this was quite impossible.
"That night when I retired, I felt myself standing before a tremendous audience. I was speaking on 'Creative Imagining' and felt the nervousness of being before such a vast audience; but I also felt the wonderful sensation of audience acceptance. I heard the roar of applause and as I left the stage, I saw Mr. Murray, himself come forward and shake my hand. I re-enacted this entire drama night after night. It began to take on the 'tones of reality' and I knew I had done it again!
"My imaginal drama materialized down to the last detail.
"My little Reno Studio was the 'talk' of the convention and I did appear on that stage just as I had done in my imagination. But even after this unbelievable but actual happening, the young teacher who threw me the challenge remained unconvinced. He said it had all happened too naturally! And he was sure it would have happened anyway!
"I did not mind his attitude because his challenge had given me another opportunity to prove, at least to myself, that Imagining does Create Reality. From that time on, I continued with my ambition to own the 'largest Arthur Murray Dance Studio in the world'! Night after night, in my imagination, I heard myself accepting a studio franchise for a great city. Within three weeks Mr. Murray called me and offered a studio in a city of one and a half million people! It is now my goal to make my studio the greatest and biggest in the entire system. And, of course, 'I know it will be done — through my Imagination'!" ...E.O.L., Jr.
"Imagining”, writes Douglas Fawcett, "may be hard to grasp, being 'quicksilver-like' it vanishes into each of its metamorphoses and thereby displays its transformative magic." We must look beyond the physical fact for the imagining which has caused it. For one year E.O.L., Jr. lost himself in his metamorphosis but fortunately he remembered "the silly nonsense" he had gone through before getting his own studio... and re-read the book.
Imaginal acts on the human level need a certain interval of time to develop but imaginal acts, whether committed to print or locked in the bosom of a hermit, will realize themselves in time.
Test yourself, if only out of curiosity. You will discover the "Prophet" is your own imagining and you will know "there is no fiction".
"We should never be certain that it was not some woman treading in the wine-press who began that subtle change in men's mind... or that the passion, because of which so many countries were given to the sword, did not begin in the mind of some shepherd boy, lighting up his eyes for a moment before it ran upon its way." — William Butler Yeats
There is no fiction. Imagining fulfills itself in what our lives become.
"And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe." [John 14:29]
The Greeks were right: "The Gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" [Acts 14:11]. But they have fallen asleep and do not realize the might they wield by their imaginal activities.
"Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass Their pleasure in a long immortal dream." [John Keats]
E.B., an author, is fully aware that "today's fiction can become tomorrow's fact". In this letter, she writes
: "One Spring, I completed a novelette, sold it and forgot it. Not until many long months later did I sit down and nervously compare some 'facts' in my fiction with some 'facts' in my life! Please read a brief outline of my created story. Then compare it with my personal experience.
"The heroine of my story took a vacation trip to Vermont. To the small city of Stowe, Vermont, to be exact. When she reached her destination she was faced with such unpleasant behavior on the part of her companion that she either had to continue her lifetime pattern of allowing another's selfish demand dominate her or to break that pattern and leave. She broke it and returned to New York. When she returned (and the story continues) events took shape in a proposal of marriage which she happily accepted.
"For my part of this tale... as small events evolved... I began to remember the dictates of my own pen and in significant relationship. This is what happened to me! I received an invitation from a friend offering me a vacation at her summer place in Vermont. I accepted and was not startled, at first, when I learned her 'summer place' was in the city of Stowe. When I arrived, I found my hostess in such a highly nervous state I realized I was faced with either a wretched summer or the choice of 'walking out' on her. Never before in my life had I been strong enough to ignore what I thought were the claims of duty and friendship — but this time I did and without ceremony returned to New York. A few days after I returned to my home, I, too, received a proposal of marriage. But at this point fact and fiction parted. I refused the offer! I know, Neville, there is no such thing as fiction." ...E.B.
"Forgetful is green earth, the gods alone remember everlastingly... by their great memories the gods are known." [George Meredith, "Ballads And Poems Of Tragic Life"]
Ends run true to their imaginal origins — we reap the fruit of forgotten blossom-time. In life the events do not come up always where we have strewn the seed; so that we may not recognize our own harvest. Events are the emergence of a hidden imaginal activity. Man is free to imagine whatever he desires. This is why, despite all fatalists and misguided prophets of doom, all awakened men know that they are free. They know that they are creating reality. Is there a scriptural passage to support this claim?
Yes: "And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was." [Genesis 41:13]
W. B. Yeats must have discovered that "there is no fiction", for after describing some of his experiences in the conscious use of imagination, he writes: "If all who have described events like this have not dreamed, we should rewrite our histories for all men, certainly all imaginative men, must be forever casting forth enchantments, glamours, illusions; and all men, especially tranquil men, who have no powerful egotistic life must be continually passing under their power. Our most elaborate thoughts, elaborate purposes, precise emotions, are often as I think, not really ours, but have on a sudden come up, as it were, out of hell or down out of heaven..." ["Ideas of Good and Evil"] "
There is no fiction."
Imagine better than the best you know.