Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two Invariable Laws

OK so I left you hanging with the last post. I know I have been talking a great deal about the three forces, and have promised to follow them down the waterfall of creation to explicate the numerical formula of hydrogens that Gurdjieff has left us. But today I want to talk about two laws that are absolute boundaries so far as reality goes, and upon which ancient wisdom and modern physics agree.

First, I have already talked about the speed of light being invariable and objective. As close as we might be able to get to the speed of light we can never reach it, and for exactly the same reasons, anything traveling faster than the speed of light (we haven't actually found anything doing that but it's theoretical name would be a tachyon) could never slow down to the actual speed of light and would have some other strange properties, such as gaining energy would slow it down and losing energy would speed it up, and it would travel backwards in time although, not in our universe, which is sub luminary in speed, but in a mirror universe containing only things that travel faster than light.

The other law which is invariable and objective is absolute 0°K. Anything reaching 0°K would not move, because it would have no energy whatsoever in it. Even in the vacuum of space there is no place where the temperature is nothing, and the entire universe is full of background radiation which has cooled to within 2.725 K of absolutely nothing, but can never cool to nothing or nothing would exist or move, and everything in the universe is moving, and movement requires energy, and energy = temperature. In fact it is theoretically postulated that even if we were able to create a vacuum and reduce its temperature to zero, or no degrees Kelvin, that vacuum would contain infinite potential and something called quantum jiggle, which might be described as the infinite potential trying to boil.

This is to say nothing of the fact that if some physicists were able to create a small place that they thought was a pure vacuum with a temperature of 0° Kelvin, that little hole of vacuum would move through space due to the rotation of the earth and the movement of the solar system in orbiting the galaxy, and the galaxy moving whatever way it moves, so that their little impressive experiment would only be impressive to us -- not to mother nature, even if she deigned to allow us to think we had arrived at creating nothing. Because, in fact, if anywhere in the universe reached a vacuum of absolute nothing, the whole creation would disappear. Talk about a black hole!

Now what if we were able to reach absolute zero. In our rational number series we can put zero in the middle and have positive numbers on one side and negative numbers on the other, like this:

-10, -9, -8, -7, -6, -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9 ,10

If we were able to reach absolute zero Kelvin why couldn't we get even a lower temperature? Physicists, especially physicists who like the fantasy of time travel and churn out book after book about breaking the speed of light barrier and "time" travel (mostly through distortions of spacetime so as to provide loopholes and wormholes), don't seem to talk about breaking the temperature barrier of zero Kelvin to go lower. I wonder why not? Don't you?

Well really, that's all I wanted to say today. If there is a God or Almighty Creator, he needs to have some kind of objective laws embedded in reality, or else he would be a schizophrenic.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Very Big Laws and World Six

First of all I would like to do some thinking with you. Not thinking in language, although I will have to phrase my thinking in language which I hope you can understand, although through this language I am hoping to arrive at a different kind of thinking with you, which I will call "first thinking". Let me describe the three types of "thinking" that an infant born into this world goes through:

First, upon birth, the newborn thinks in pure sensation, it is awash in absolutely fundamental and pure sensation. All of its senses are a kind of touch -- its eyes do not focus well but what it sees is considered as a sensation -- what it has been hearing even in the womb albiet muffled, and now louder and more differentiated, is still sensation. It is the same thing with taste and smell, which are much closer to the infants physical body which it does not differentiate very much. This pure sensation does not include a differentiation between fingers and toes or anything else for that matter, but is a global sense of tremendous fullness.

As the brain begins to grow and form new neurons and synapses and dendrites, somewhere between the ages of three and nine months, the infant begins to enjoy what I call "first thinking", which is thinking in entire images and pictures. This is the kind of thinking that I call "real" thinking, and is the kind of thinking that Albert Einstein used in what he called his "thought experiments." He once told a psychologist "I rarely think in words but rather in images, which I then have to translate into words."

He also didn't start talking until he was four or five years old and because he was delayed in his linguistic development, he still thought like a child when he was an adult, and Einstein claims that that is the reason why he was able to make the discoveries that he did. And when he was between the ages of five and ten, he used to have to practice saying the sentences to himself sub-vocally or even by moving his lips to practice before he could speak out loud. He said that it was because he couldn't fit his main thinking into the little window which was words, and so he would stutter and practice before talking, much to the chagrin of his parents.

An infant has been hearing language even while in the womb, and somewhere between six months and a year the child can understand most of the things that the adults say, even if the child can only say goo goo, because it has not mastered the use of its vocal apparatus. Let's not forget, a child of that age hasn't even been breathing for very long, and it's breathing has not even settled into a habit, so that some babies just leave, by turning off the breathing and not being able to get it started again --SIDS. But this is a sidetrack. Let's get back to the subject at hand, which is what thinking consists of.

The child sees that the adults communicate through language (as well as through body language, gesture and emotional expression), so it begins to learn language. This is the lowest or grossest form of thinking, because thinking in language is linear and can only contain surface meaning -- it cannot contain depth and meaning or experiential meaning. This is why children enjoy fairy tales, myths, legends, metaphor, allegory, fables, speech in parable, etc., because these linguistic formats lend themselves to image creation or first thinking. It is also the motive for poetry.

In any case, the young child is soon taught the alphabet and how to read written language and to write it. Slowly through the educational process and the socialization of the child, language thinking takes over, and even while learning the language at a very early age, the child begins talking to itself in order to practice language. That talking to oneself in most people usually becomes a habit which never ends, and slowly but surely first thinking and sensation take a back seat to language skills and they atrophy. After the child puts away his fairy tales and his childhood toys, he is more than likely well on his way to the cul-de-sac or dead end which is language without images or pictures or sensation. Depth meaning dries up, and first thinking dies.

But image or picture thinking is harmonious, multivalent, and cannot fit into the linear structure of language. First thinking as I call it is like musical chords, whereas language is like single notes played one at a time. If I say "I went to the store," you know barely anything -- you don't know when, where, how, which, and you don't know what happened to me there or even if I bought anything. So how can I explain anything to you with language? And what is this sort of preface going to lead us to?

The title of this post is Some Very Big Laws and World Six. What on earth could I be planning on talking about?

Well, first I should tell you that in my common presence, I have never let first thinking atrophy, nor have I let go of sensation, and I have put myself through almost unbelievable sufferings in order to achieve certain of my aims. Having achieved many of my aims and having developed incredible strengths in particular areas, I now have an obligation and a debt to pay while my carcass is on planet Earth; such obligation and debt being to explain certain ideas while acting like a down voltage transformer, and also acting as a chemical enzyme and catalyst for my readers potential to reawaken real thinking, even while we rely on that which ruins thinking, namely, language.

So now we shall begin:

But please review this post, because you will have to practice delayed gratification or patience, because I am leaving off here, and will resume next "time".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Satchitananda -- The Glory of the Godhead

So now we have discussed the three faces of God according to the Trimurti or Holy Trinity of the permanent and unchanging wisdom -- the Sanatana Dharma. And we have seen that it contains three attributes: being, awareness and bliss. These exist together, three in one. We have also looked at the attribute of light, which as we have seen, is not subject to any law whatsoever; light is the mandate of the Creator, and it is it's own law. For light itself, there is no time nor distance (space). The "speed" of light is objective. The fact that we consider that it travels 186,000 miles a second or 300,000 km second is only relative. For itself, it is outside of time or space and is everywhere and everywhen simultaneously.

We will call this "World One". It is All and Everything.

Now the Creator creates a new "World", which we will call "World Three", because now the three attributes forces separate like the strands of a braid. This might be called the World of All Galaxies -- of everything that IS. Each of the three laws or forces now manifest at each of the three points of the triangle. Each point of the triangle can manifest any of the forces but will only manifest one at a time. This brings about time, and with time comes the existence of space, duration and the existence of matter and energy as seemingly separate entities. According to Einstein's famous formula E=MC2, matter is congealed energy, and using the mathematical constant of the speed of light squared, matter could be considered condensed light because by simple algebra E=MC2 equals E/C2=M.

As C. squared is such an enormous number, matter can be considered not only as congealed energy, but energy so tightly packed that it becomes opaque, using the formula C2 x E = opaque mass. But one could say not only that matter is simply scrunched up energy tightly bound, but also that energy is material, only, extremely diffuse compared with it being rolled up or bound into matter. This aligns perfectly with the philosophy of the Samkya which states that everything exists in reality, even thoughts and dreams and forms of energy are all material.

It's opposing philosophy is that of the Advaida Vedanta, or non-dual teaching of awareness, which goes in the other direction, stating that nothing phenomenological can be real, because it is subject to change, and being subject to change, it's reality is a phantasmagoria.

One could say that these are opposites but they are simply two ends of one stick. One could declare with objective insight that Samkya is top down and Advaida Vedanta is bottom-up, but since the ladder of creation is like a musical scale, it doesn't matter much you play a descending scale or an ascending scale, they are the same scale. But if you take the solfege of a musical scale, the half steps will appear in very different places depending upon whether you play an ascending scale: Do -Re -Mi Fa -Sol -La -Si Do or a descending scale: Do Si- La -Sol -Fa Mi -Re -Do.

For the purposes of this explication we are using a descending scale - a top down approach to reality. The first note is Do, or what we might call the divine fiat, and its energy itself fills the missing semitone leading down to Si, where the three attributes or as they are called in Sanskrit, Gunas (Raja -- active, Tamas -- passive and Sattva -- reconciling) seperate from one another.

When we reach Si, we can call this the "World of all Galaxies"; in other words, the entire phenomenological universe, and as the three attributes are un-braided, they can re-couple in various ways. In fact, three separate forces can combine in six different forms, which in Mr. Gurdjieff's teachings are called triads. This is also musical, because triads are chords which contain three notes. They come in four qualities, but this is only because the musical scale denies the formation of the final two numerical triads.

In order to describe the six triads of World Three, we will simply reduce them to Hindu/Arabic numerals (although we call 123456789 Arabic numerals, the Arabs got them from the Hindus).

We will call the affirming force 1, the denying force 2, and the reconciling force 3. Thus we can have six different configurations:

123, 231, 312, 321, 213, 132. And there is a seventh, but it would be outside the realm of phenomenological reality, because it would be a triad with all three numbers in all three places, which is the condition of the Godhead, which we have already discussed. For the time being we are not going to discuss the difference between the six triads, and only consider that in world three, described as the "world of all galaxies", there are only three laws. We might consider stating that these are time, space and revolving movement, which are objectively unvariable, but this would be a conjectural speculation. I believe that these are likely to be the three laws which first appear in world three, but I would be a fool to state it unequivocally as dogma.

It is enough to say that in World Three, the three Gunas or attributes cease to exist simultaneously at each of the corners of the triangle, but that they are un-braided so as to allow for the creation to manifest. This is the World of All Worlds. It is very far above us. As we follow the creation downward through what is called the Ray of Creation, we will find our place, but to our dismay, we may find that we are not, as some people have been hypnotized into believing, the apex of creation, or created in the image of the Creator. We could be, because we contain all the parts to create souls for ourselves that would be in the image of the Creator, but we are like an image of the Creator which has been cut into jigsaw puzzle pieces and placed into a kaleidoscope, where we can turn and turn forever, but never solve the puzzle. There is one way to solve the puzzle, but it is extremely rare for a man to find it himself. In fact I would go so far as to say that no one can find it on their own, because the perimeter of a problem never contains its solution. This is a firm law. Till next time...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Laws -- Levels of Hydrogen

To begin with when I speak of the laws this time, I am not talking about the two great laws which Mr. Gurdjieff tells us are the primary laws governing reality, the law of three forces and the law of seven, or the law of the octave, which is most easily seen in the musical realm. I am talking about the law of three but in a special way, so that the laws that I speak of are laws like gravity and electromagnetism, all the way down to the laws that govern man's imagination and sex, etc..

We will begin at the top, with unity at the level of the Creator. Although this level is primordial (before number), pre-spatial (before space) and pre-durational (before time), and in physics is called a singularity, thousands of years ago in the Samkya (enumeration) of the Sanatana dharma (permanent and unchanging wisdom), it was known as the Trimurti, or three faces of God, and this Trimurti has three attributes which in Sanskrit are known as Satchitananda. Satchitananda is a compound word containing three other words within it. Because Sanskrit is multivalent (meaning that each word has multiple meanings harmoniously embedded in it and it means all of them at the same time -- like a Chinese pictogram or ideogram), most Sanskrit words are not easily rendered into English, which is a finely nuanced surface language.

But we will divide up Satchitananda and try to glean what its meaning might be in English.

Sat can mean reality, truth, being, IS-ness. I would like you to consider a thought experiment, of the kind that Einstein was famous for; imagine a single mind residing in emptiness -- beyond emptiness, and consider that that mind can think of anything whatsoever. Since there is nothing else but this one mind, anything it would think of would have as much reality as anything that actually exists in reality as we know it. What would it think of? Personally, as I look around the room and consider the universe, I am staring at the answer.

Chit means awareness or consciousness. Now let's refer back to our one single mind. Anything it thought of would be imbued with awareness. Notwithstanding the unconscious processes within the human body, anything consciously imagined at least at the outset must be imbued with awareness and intention, which leads us to our third component of this compound word.

Ananda can be translated into English as bliss, or unsullied happiness. Again let's return to our single unencumbered Mind. With nothing opposing it, and an ability to think of anything whatsoever and have it BE, this entity or mind must exist in a condition of unceasing happiness or bliss.

This is the state of the universe from the top down. We might call it Hydrogen One. It is All and Everything. It has no bounds, no constrictions, no opposition. But it has three attributes : reality, awareness and bliss. This is what is meant by three in one, and its symbol is a triangle with a circle in the middle of it. And as far as the three forces of affirming, denying and reconciling; or centrifugal, centripital and revolving, all three exist simultaneously and permanently in one. This Trimurti and its attributes of Satchitananda are the origins of the Christian holy Trinity where the father is the mind or awareness, the son is reality or phenomenological being, and the Holy Ghost is the bliss of love which exists between the father and the son.

Now we will view the opening of Genesis as well as the creation hymn from the Rg Veda of the primeval Sanatana dharma:


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said: "let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.


That's enough for our purposes. This was the beginning of number, by the separation of light and darkness and of heaven and earth, but this is not the number two, or duality, but rather the number three, because there must be a line of demarcation between light and darkness; between heaven and earth, and in the Chinese Taoist tradition most people know about Yin and Yang and would recognize the symbol of a circle with a curvy line (which is a backwards S), but between them it that line, which is called the Tai Ji, or "grand ultimate limit." Therefore three is the first number, and the "Godhead" is Three in One.

Here is the creation hymn from the Rg Veda:


The non-existent was not; the existent was not at that time. The atmosphere was not nor the heavens which are beyond. What was concealed? Where? In whose protection? Was it water? An unfathomable abyss?
There was neither death nor immortality then. There was not distinction of day or night. That alone breathed windless by its own power. Other than that there was not anything else.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. All this was an indistinguishable sea. That which becomes, that which was enveloped by the void, that alone was born through the power of heat.
Upon that desire arose in the beginning. This was the first discharge of thought. Sages discovered this link of the existent to the nonexistent, having searched in the heart with wisdom.
Their line [of vision] was extended across; what was below, what was above? There were impregnators, there were powers: inherent power below, impulses above.
Who knows truly? Who here will declare whence it arose, whence this creation? The gods are subsequent to the creation of this. Who, then, knows whence it has come into being?
Whence this creation has come into being; whether it was made or not; he in the highest heaven is its surveyor. Surely he knows, or perhaps he knows not.


Now let's imagine that the Creator did say "let there be light", and let's move into the realm of modern physics using the theory of relativity to help us see something extraordinary.

The theory of relativity describes something called "Time dilation". This means that time is relative to motion and velocity. There is a well-known description about time dilation that uses the following thought experiment. You have two clocks. Next to each other they will keep the same time, but if you leave one on earth and you place one in a rocketship which goes to a nearby star at close to the speed of light and returns, the clock on earth will show more time elapsed than the clock which returns after traveling near the speed of light.

Einstein declared that speed of light is a line of demarcation cannot be passed. He did not declare that nothing can move faster than the speed of light (although that has proved unlikely and unwieldy) but that anything in motion must be either sub luminary in speed or super luminary in speed, and a physicist named Fitzgerald described what happens to an object as it approaches the speed of light. It is called the Fitzgerald contraction and it states that as an object approaches the speed of light its length compresses, its mass increases and it's time dilation slows down more and more until it reaches infinity of mass and cessation ot time, rendering the speed of light unattainable except for light -- that is, photons and other luminary particles.

Now here is the most interesting part. Using another thought experiment we are going to imagine that we are traveling at the speed of light alongside a photon and we are carrying a flashlight. If we turn the flashlight on and face it forward we should imagine that the light which would normally leave the flashlight at the speed of light wouldn't move at all because we are already at the speed of light, but this is not the case. The surprise is that if we were traveling at the speed of light and turned on our flashlight, the light from the flashlight would still travel away from us at the speed of light. This would seem to indicate that the light traveling from the flashlight would be traveling faster than the speed of light by simple addition -- the speed of light we are traveling plus the speed of light from the flashlight, but here is where relativity comes in and ruins our ordinary thinking.

The speed of light is not relative but objective, and no matter what speed we travel, relative to us, light will travel at the speed of light. So if we chase a wave/particle of light, we can never catch up to it and as we get closer and closer to the speed of light, the Fitzgerald contraction increases our mass, shortens our length, and slows down our time relative to an observer. So nothing that is sub luminary in speed can ever catch up to the speed of light and nothing that is theoretically moving faster than the speed of light can ever slow down to the speed of light. The speed of light is an impenetrable barrier.

Now here's an even crazier idea, but according to physics it is absolutely a fact. If we could attach a clock to a particle of light and have the clock travel at the speed of light, the clock would not tick at all. At the speed of light there is no time, and since there is no time, there is no distance because it takes time to travel distance.

Therefore, even though for us little critters living on planet Earth with our atomic clocks and wristwatches and clocks all over the place it is said to take light 8 1/2 minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth, and according to our clocks that is absolutely true, but as far as the light is concerned, it has taken no time whatsoever, and as far as it is concerned, it hasn't traveled any distance either. Since this is just true for light, it's just as true for the furthest galaxy as it is for the closest -- as far as light itself is concerned, all the light in the entire universe is everywhere it is simultaneously. For light itself, there is no time, no distance, and therefore no space. This is the glory of the Godhead. And as light is used as a synonym for consciousness, or awareness, the "Godhead" sees the entire universe all at once -- no past, no future, only a seamless NOW. It is only us sub luminary creatures that experience time and space.

Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it. We will continue soon, traveling down the Ray of Creation. Till then...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nitrogen -- The Neutralizing Force

Now we come to nitrogen, atomic number seven. It sits between carbon and oxygen and as neutralizing or reconciling force it separates active and passive as a kind of buffer. Why does Mr. Gurdjieff call nitrogen neutralizing? First we're going to have to back up a little and discuss elemental chemistry again.

No element or atom likes to have its valence numbers dangling in the wind. They will do everything possible (including exploding) to fill their designated electron orbits. Only helium and the other inert elements (also called the noble elements -- because they are standoffish and don't need anybody) are completely happy, and helium with two protons and two electrons is the happiest element in the universe. I am not talking about neutrons or isotopes for the moment -- only protons and electrons.

Hydrogen, which has one proton and one electron tends to travel in pairs so that the two hydrogen atoms can share their electrons so that both are happy with two. But hydrogen is frisky, and the bonds are easily broken, so hydrogen molecules act like two heterosexual men forced into a relationship. As soon as some "women" come along, they are delighted to take up with them. In fact the term hydrogen means water maker in Greek, and in German the name for hydrogen is Wasserstoff, which is simply translated as water stuff. As soon as that nasty electron gobbling Oxygen meets up with hydrogen molecules, the hydrogen bonds break down and attach themselves to the Oxygen, creating H2O, or as we know it, water. Water is pretty darn stable, and is called the stuff of life. Even though in the alchemy of Mr. Gurdjieff oxygen is deemed the passive force, it is a pretty darn strong passive, positively acting like a woman in search of a man. Man equals positive magnetic pole; woman equals negative magnetic pole, but both poles are of the same strength, and if you think it is the man who always gets the girl you are dead wrong, because it is usually the girl that gets the man and lets him think that he is the active force. It's slightly off tangent but the reason that women are more like men these days is that there are no real Men, so women have to act more masculine, while political correctness means that man has to act more feminine. Mr. Gurdjieff had nothing good to say about this condition.

Anyway, Oxygen in the atmosphere also travels as a molecule of O2, each oxygen atoms sharing two electrons with each other so that their inner orbit is duet happy like helium and their outer shell each now has eight, or an octet, so a molecule of O2 is octet happy. But these two bonds are also easily broken, and so oxygen can act quickly in its passive role of facilitating combustion all over the place. No oxygen -- no combustion. No combustion -- everything stops.

But nitrogen also travels as a molecule rather than as individual nitrogen atoms, and nitrogen is missing three electrons. Nitrogen has the atomic number seven, two in the first shell just like helium (duet happy) and five in the outer shell. It is much easier for Nitrogen to make three bonds which will bring the missing electrons to it and for it to make five bonds and give away all five of its outer shell. In fact that never happens because it would turn Nitrogen into Helium and if all of the elements from Iron (atomic number 56) and under could actually change from element to element we wouldn't have any chemistry at all -- only a very strange alchemical universe where topsy is turvy and turvy is topsy.

Now Nitrogen as a molecule is N2, and it shares six electrons between two atoms. These three bonds are very very strong, and not easily broken. In fact, the bond is so strong that although the atmosphere contains 78% nitrogen, when we breathe in and out absolutely nothing happens to the nitrogen. We don't absorb any of it -- it just goes in and out as N2. For this reason nitrogen could be considered completely neutral, almost like one of the noble gases but with a very big difference. A very big difference. Because although the bonds are strong enough so that our breathing has no effect on them, the bonds ARE breakable, and when they break open they release a tremendous amount of energy. This is why almost all explosives contain nitrogen, and why fertilizers, which contain nitrogen which is necessary for life, can be so easily turned into bombs. The energy which is released when the nitrogen bonds are broken is absolutely necessary for life -- for the building of proteins and all sorts of handy things like neurons and enzymes and hormones.

So let's review:

Mr. Gurdjieff's alchemy declares that there are three forces which need to combine in order to produce any phenomena. He calls any such phenomenon without reference to the forces a hydrogen. Since hydrogen is the simplest atom and element and the universe is basically made of it (89 to 91%), you might as well call a chair a hydrogen, etc.

Then Mr. Gurdjieff uses the terms carbon, nitrogen and oxygen as follows:

Carbon as the active force. Organic chemistry is called Carbon chemistry, and its valence of four allows it to build huge scaffolding essential for life. Without carbon -- no life. Without life, one might as well say there is no activity.

Nitrogen as the neutralizing force. Nitrogen as a molecule is incredibly neutral, and yet breaking its bonds and using the immense energy yielded is essential for life, and it turns up in all sorts of unique places.

Oxygen as the passive force. Oxygen is extremely electron hungry. It will do almost anything to pull two more electrons in its direction. One cannot call this active so much as actively pulling, like a vacuum cleaner. And without Oxygen, no combustion. No combustion, no life. No life, no nothing.

Now I must add a caveat. Although Mr. Gurdjieff used these terms for his alchemical exposition of the Samkya and of the three Gunas, he emphasized that any of the three forces can act through any of the hydrogens, so that at times Oxygen can be active, Nitrogen can be passive and Carbon can be neutralizing, or any other combination. We should understand this in the same manner that it is difficult to understand the Chinese ideology of Yin and Yang. A man might be termed yang in relationship to his wife, but yin as he relates to his boss, who is yang for him. So the terminology can be quite confusing. I don't blame you if I've lost you a long time ago. I am not writing this blog for anybody and everybody. It is something like the documents found at Nag Hamaddi -- an exposition of an ancient teaching coupled with modern physics and science. It does not ask you to believe in anything, only to view what you already might know from a different perspective. A perspective which is non-anthropological. At the moment we are talking about things that are too small to see in their physical form, even with the most scientific instruments which can see individual atoms they are a blur. At the same time we're talking about the entire universe and cosmological laws which run through the entire ray of creation.

Soon we will take another direction, and speak of the Hydrogens as levels of being, using number and cosmogony. And we will be looking at something called the food diagram, which gives indications whereby a man might begin to work on himself as if he were the chemicals in an alchemical laboratory, transmuting the lead of his being into the gold of his radiance.