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Book Review

The Lost Dimension, by Hugh I'Anson Faussett

(Stuart & Watkins, 18s. 6d.).

Review by J. C. Cooper.

Source: Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Summer, 1969) © World Wisdom, Inc.

Man's need today is to recover the traditionally recognised God-consciousness, an extension of awareness, not in mundane knowledge, but in the dormant spiritual faculties. While his dual nature is capable of experiencing reality both in adaptation to the world of multiplicity and by realisation of unity in the spiritual realm, he is easily led astray by the world of the senses and the "morbid individualism" of the West. It should be his chief function to reconcile and unify the natural and the spiritual. It is in the wholeness of the spiritual self, which exceeds individual consciousness, that the awareness is attained through which grace is received from a power beyond the limitations of the ego.

Just as the natural and spiritual natures must be reconciled, so must thought and feeling be brought into harmony; unfeeling thought, an arid intellectualism, and unthinking emotionalism and sentimentality are equally harmful, they should serve each other in a complementary capacity. Mind and heart must not be in conflict but should live and work together in a true marriage of "habitual intimacy and reciprocity". "The underlying aim of all education should be to keep the partners to this ultimate marriage in as close and sensitive association as possible and to seize every opportunity of fostering imaginative insight, in which the mind is no longer merely an analytical or reflective instrument of the ego, but the feeling as well as the thinking organ of the larger Self". It is through the practice of self-effacement, of attentive awareness, or what Buddhism calls "mindfulness", that "each level of our being and the centres which govern them are released from the distorting grasp of the ego" and then are able to "experience life as an expression of something greater than itself".

Exploitation of any sort, whether it be the cruelty to animals some try to justify on scientific grounds, or of the earth itself, rebounds on man, not only in sickness and disease but in "spiritual impotence". Spiritual poverty is also manifested in the ways in which man seeks to escape his inward conflicts and the "dreary spectre of himself" by artificial means of relaxing his morbid tensions in sex, alcohol and drugs. Modern man is alienated from his real being by the pathological one-sidedness of rationalism: he is "menaced inwardly by the arid analytical mind and outwardly by the mechanical monsters which its ingenuity has contrived and multiplied". He must realise that he cannot exist wholly within the human situation and must acknowledge and experience the "heavenly dimension". No quantitative expansion will be effective unless he changes qualitatively. "No philosophy which excludes That which transcends our partiality and infinitely informs our finitude can either explain man convincingly to himself or really enable him to be free and enlightened". Nor can moral codes be more than partial and relative unless they are derived from a spiritual source. "The moral chaos of our times and the misuse of power is intimately involved with the denial of a metaphysical dimension". Man's greatest need today is to recover the 'lost dimension', the sense of the transcendent on the conscious level of his being.