The Material Question

‘ “As in my present condition I cannot, and at least for a certain time must not, work with the intensity which is required for such a great task, but must on the contrary allow myself a complete rest, even if only temporarily, why should I not immediately carry out the plan I have made to go to America, without waiting to complete the preparations for the trip?

‘ “A tour through the different states of North America, with constant travelling and change of environment, far from the usual surroundings and consequently always with new impressions, will create the necessary conditions—in accordance with my established subjectivity—for a complete rest.

‘ “All the more so, because I will be far away from the place where my present interests are concentrated, and free for a while from a certain feature of my character which I know only too well from repeated experiences during my frequent travels through wild countries. Each time I have been subjected to the ‘kind manifestations’ of God’s creatures, quadruped as well as biped, and however badly I have been battered by them, as soon as I am even slightly better this feature always impels me to somehow struggle back on my feet and plunge at once into the enterprise in hand.”

‘In order that you may understand what I mean by not waiting to complete the preparations for the trip to America, I must tell you that when the Institute in France was first organized, I began to prepare material for a series of lectures which would make known to the public the fundamental ideas of the Institute and their application to different domains, such as psychology, medicine, archaeology, art, architecture, and even to the various, as they are called, supernatural phenomena.

‘In addition I had begun to prepare pupils for a series of demonstrations which I wished to present on a tour through Europe and America. My aim was to introduce, in this way, into the process of the everyday life of people the significance of these ideas, and to show the practical results to which they could lead—ideas based on material I had collected in different parts of Asia inaccessible to the average man.

‘As a result of these reflections on the terrace of the Grand Cafe, I decided to take the risk of leaving at once, simply with the material which had already been prepared.

‘I even gave myself my word not to work on anything serious whatsoever, from the moment of leaving France until returning there, but to eat well, sleep a great deal and read only books whose contents and style were in keeping with the spirit and character of the stories of Mullah Nassr Eddin.