Excerpted from Stanislav Grof's book "Healing Our Deepest Wounds The Holotropic Paradigm Shift" Stream of Experience Productions. NewCastle, Washington. 2012. Print.

Psychedelic Research: Past, Present, and Future
The use of psychedelic substances can be traced back for millenia to the dawn of human history. Since time immemorial, plant materials containing powerful conciousness-expanding compounds were used in many different parts of the world in various ritual and spiritual contexts to induce non-ordinary tates of conciousness or, more specifically, an important subgroup of them, which I call "holotropic" (Grof 2000). These plants have played an important roll in shamanic practices, aboriginal healing ceremonies, rites of passage, mysteries of death and rebirth, and various other spiritual traditions. The ancient and native cultures using psychedelic materials held them in great esteem and have considered them to be sacraments, "flesh of the gods" (Schultes, Hofmann, and Ratsch 2001).
Human groups which had at there disposal psychedelic plants took advantage of their entheogenic effects (entheogenic means literally "awakining the divine within") and made them the principal vehicles of there religious and spiritual life. The preperations made from these plants mediated for these people experiential contact with the achetypal dimensions of reality - deities, mythological realms, power animals, and numinous forces and aspects of nature. Another important area where states induced by psychedelics played a crucial role was diagnosing and healing various disorders. Anthropological literature also contains many reports indicating that native cultures have used psychedelics for enhancement of intuition and extrasensory perception for a variety of divinatory, as well as practical purposes, such as finding lost persons and objects, obtaining information about people in remote locations, and following the movement of the game that these people hunted. In addition, psychedelic experiences served as important sources of artistic inspiration, providing ideas for rituals, paintings, sculptures and songs.
In the history of Chinese medicine, reports about psychedelic substances can be traced back about 3000 years. The legendary divine potion referred to as hoama in the ancient Persian Zend Avesta and as soma in the Indian Vedas was used by the Indo-Iranian tribes millenia ago. The mystical states of conciousness induced by soma were very likely the pricipal source of the Vedic and Hindu religions. Preperations from different varieties of hemp have been smoked and ingested under various names - hashish, charas, bhang, ganja, kif, and marijuana - in Asia, in Africa, and in the Caribbean area for recreation, pleasure, and during religious ceremonies. They represented an important sacrament for such diverse groups as the Indian Brahmans, certain orders of Sufis, ancient Scythians, and Jamacian Rastafarians.
Ceremonial use of various psychedelic substances also has a long history in Central America. Highly effective mind-altering plants were well known in several Pre-Columbian Indian cultures - among them the Aztecs, Mayans, and Olmecs. The most famous of these are the Mexican cactus peyote (Anhalonium Lewinii), the sacred mushroom teonanacatl (Psilocybe mexicana) and ololiuqui, or morning glory seeds (Rivea corymbosa). These materials have been used as sacraments until this day by several Mexican Indian tribes (Huichols, Mazatecs, Cora people, and others), and by the Native American Church.
The famous South American yaje or ayahuasca is a decoction from a jungle liana ( Banisteriopsis caapi) with other plant additives. The Amazonian area is also known for a variety of psychedelic snuffs (Virola calophylla, Piptadenia peregrina). Preperations from the bark of the shrub iboga (Tabernanthe iboga) have been used by African tribes in lower dosages as a stimulant during lion hunts and long canoe trips and in higher doses as a ritual sacrament. The above list represents only a small fraction of psychedelic compounds that have been used over many centuries in various countries of the world. The impact that the experiences encountered in these states had on spiritual and cultural life of pre-industrial societies has been enormous.
The long history of ritual use of psychedelic plants contrasts sharply with a relatively short history of scientific efforts to identify their psychoactive alkaloids, prepare them in pure form, and to study their effects. The first psychedelic substance that was synthesized in a chemically pure form and systematically explored under laboratory conditions was mescaline, the active alkaloid from the payote cactus. Clinical experiments conducted with this substance in the first three decades of the twentieth century focused on the phenomonology of the mescaline experience and its interesting effects on artistic perception and creative expression (Vondracek 1935, Nevole 1947, 1949). Suprisingly, they did not reveal the therapeutic, heuristic, and entheogenic potential of this substance. Kurt Beringer, author of the influential book Der Meskalinrausch (Mescaline Inebriation) published in 1927, concluded that mescaline induced a toxic psychoses (Beringer 1927).
After these pioneering clinical experiments with mescaline, very little research was done in this fascinating problem area until Albert Hofmann's 1942 epoch-making accidental intoxication and serendipitous discovery of the psychedelic properties of LSD-25, or diethylamid of lysergic acid. After the publication of the first clinical paper on LSD by Werner A. Stoll in the late 1940's (Stoll 1947), this new semisynthetic ergot derivative, active in incredibly minute quantities of micrograms or gammas (millionths of a gram) became a sensation practically overnight in the world of science.
The discovery of powerful psychoactive effects of miniscule dosages of LSD started what has been called a "golden era of psychopharmacology." During a relatively short period of time, the joint efforsts of biochemists, pharmacologists, neurophysiologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists succeeded in laying the foundations of a new scientific discipline that can be referred to as the "pharmacology of conciousness." The active substances from several remaining psychedelic plants were chemically identified and prepared in chemically pure form. Following the discovery of the psychedelic effects of LSD-25, Albert Hofmann identified the active principles of the Mexican magic mushrooms (Psilocybe mexicana), psilocybin and psilocin, and that of ololiuqui, or morning glory seeds ( Ipomoea violacea), which turned out to be monoethylamid of lysergic acid (LAE-32), closely related to LSD-25.
The armamentarium of psychedelic substances was further enriched by psychoactive derivatives of tryptamine - DMT (dimethyl-tryptamine), DET (diethyl-tryptamine), and DPT (dipropyltriptamine) - synthesized and studied by the Budapest group of chemists, headed by Stephen Szara. The active principle from the African shrub Tabernanthe iboga, ibogaine, and the pure alkaloid from ayahuasca's main ingrediant Banisteriopsis caapi, known under the names harmaline, yageine, and telepathine had already been isolated and chemically identified earlier in the twentieth century. In the 1950's, a wide range of psychedelic alkaloids in pure form was available to researchers. It was now possible to study their properties in the laboratory and explore the phenomenolgy of their clinical effects and their therapeutic potential. The revolution triggered by Albert Hofmann's serendipitous discovery of LSD was underway.
During this exciting era, LSD remained the center of attention of researchers. Never before had a single substance held so much promise in such a wide variety of fields of interest. For psychopharmacologists and neurophysiologists, the discovery of LSD meant the beginning of a golden era of research that could solve many puzzles concerning neuroreceptors, synaptic transmitters, chemical antagonisms, and the intricate biochemical interactions underlying cerebral processes.
Experimental psychiatrists saw LSD as a unique means for creating a laboratory model for naturally occuring functional, or endogenous psychoses. They hoped that the "experimental psychosis," induced by miniscule dosages of this substance, could provide unparalleled insights into the nature of these mysterious disorders and open new avenues for their treatment. It was suddenly conceivable that the brain or other parts of the body could under certain circumstances produce small quantities of a substance with effects similar to LSD. This meant that disorders like schizophrenia would not be mental diseases, but metabolic aberrations that could be counteracted by specific chemical interventions. The promise of this research was nothing less than the fulfillment of the dream of biologically oriented clinicians, the Holy Grail of psychiatry - a test tube cure for schizophrena.
LSD was also highly recommended as an extraordinary unconventional teaching device that would make it possible for clinical psychiatrists, psychologists, medical students, and nurses to spend a few hours in a world similar to that of their patients and as a result of it understand them better, be able to communicate with them more effectively, and hopefully be more successful in treating them. Thousands of mental health professionals took advantage of this unique opportunity. These experiments brought suprising and astonishing results. They not only provided deep insights into the world of psychiatric patients, but also revolutionized the understanding of the nature and dimensions of the human psyche and conciousness.
Many professionals involved in these experiments discovered that the current model, limiting the psyche to postnatal biography and the Freudian individual unconcious, was superficial and inadequate. My own new map of the psyche that emerged out of this research added two large transbiographical domains - the perinatal level, closely related to the memory of biological birth, and the transpersonal level, harboring the historical and archetypal domains of the collective unconcious as envisioned by C. G. Jung (Grof 1975, Jung 1981). Early experiments with LSD also showed that the sources of emotional and psychosomatic disorders were not limited to traumatic memories from childhood and infancy, as traditional psychiatrists assumed, but their roots reached much deeper into the psyche, into the perinatal and transpersonal reagions (Grof 2000). This surprising revelation was accomanied by the discovery of new powerful therapeutic mechanisms operating on these deep levels of the psyche.
Using LSD as a catalyst, it became possible to extend the range of applicability of psychotherepy to catagories of patients that previously had been difficult to reach - sexual deviants, alcoholics, narcotic drug addicts, and criminal recidivists (Grof 2001). Particularly valuable and promising were the early efforts to use LSD psychotherepy in work with terminal cancer patients. Research on this population showed that LSD was able to relieve severe pain, often even in those patients who had not responded to medication with narcotics. In a large percentage of these patients, it was also possible to ease or even eliminate difficult emotional and psychosomatic symptoms, such as depression, general tension, and insomnia, alleviate the fear of death, increas the quality of their life durinig the remaining days, and positively transform the experience of dying (Cohen 1965, Kast and Collins 1966, Grof 2006 b).
For historians and critics of art, the LSD experiments provided extraordinary new insights into the psychology and psychopathology of art, particularly paintings and sculptures of various native, so-called "primitive" cultures and psychiatric patients as well as various modern movements, such as abstractionism, impressionism, cubism, surrealism, and fantastic realism (Roubicek 1961). For professional painters, who participated in LSD research, the psychedelic session often marked a radical change in their artistic expression. Their imagination became much richer, their colors more vivid, and their style considerably freer. They could also often reach into deep recesses of their unconcious psyche and tap archetypal sources of inspiration. On occasion, people who has never painted before were able to produce extraordinary pieces of art.
LSD experimentation also brought fascinating observations of great interest to spiritual teachers and scholors of comparative religion. The mystical experiences frequently observed in LSD sessions offered a radically new understanding of a wide variety of phenomena from the spiritual domain, including shamanism, the rites of passage, the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth, the Eastern religions and philosophies, and the mystical traditions of the world (Forte 1997, Roberts 2001, Grof 1998).
The fact that LSD and other psychedelic substances were able to trigger a broad range of spiritual experiences became the subject of heated scientific discussions. They revolved around the fascinating problem concerning the nature and value of this "instant" or "chemical" mysticism (Grof 1998). As Walter Pahnke demonstrated in his famous Good Firday experiment, mystical experiences induced by psychedelics are indistinguishable from those described in mystical literature (Pahnke 1963). This finding that was recently confirmed by a meticulous study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Griffiths et al. 2006) has important theoretical and legal implications.
Psychedelic research involving LSD, psilocybine, mescaline, and the tryptamine derivatives seemed to be well on its way to fulfill all the above promises and expectations when it was suddenly interupted by the unsupervised mass experimentation of the young generation in the USA and other Western countries. In the infamous Harvard affair, psychology professors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert lost there academic posts and had to leave the school after their overeager proselytizing of LDS's promises. The ensuing administrative, legal, and political repressive measures had very little effect on street use of LSD and other psychedelics but effectively ended legitimate clinical research. Although the problems associated with uncontrolled experimentation were blown out of proportion by sensation-hunting journalists, the possible risks were not the only reason why LSD and other psychedelics were rejected by Euro-American mainstream culture. An important contributing factor was also the attitude of technological societies toward holotropic states of conciousness.
As I mentioned earlier, all ancient and pre-industrial societies held these states in high esteem, whether they were induced by psychedelic plants or some of the many non-drug "technologies of the sacred" - fasting, sleep deprivation, social or sensory isolation, dancing, chanting, music, drumming, or physical pain. Members of these social groups had the opportunity to repeatedly experience holotropic states of conciousness during their lifetime in a variety of sacred contexts. By comparison, the industrial civilization has pathologized holotropic states, rejected or even outlawed the contexts and tools that can facilitate them, and developed effective means of suppressing them when they occur spontaneously. Because of the resulting naivete and ignorance concerning holotropic states, Western culture was unprepared to accept and incorporate the extraordinary mind-altering properties and power of LSD and other psychedelics.
The sudden emergence of the Dionysian element from the depths of the unconscious and the heights of the superconscious was too threatening for Euro-American society. In addition, the irrational and transrational nature of psychedelic experiences seriously challenged the very foundations of the materialistic worldview of Western science. The existence and nature of these experiences could not be explained in the context of mainstream theories and seriously undermined the metaphysical assumptions concerning priority of matter over conciousness on which Western culture is built. It also threatened the leading myth of the industrial world by showing that true fulfillment does not come from achievement of material goals but from profound mystical experience.
It was not just the culture at large that was unprepared for the psychedelic experience; this was also true for the helping professions. For most psychiatrists and psychologists, psychotherepy meant disciplined face-to-face discussions or free-associating on the couch. The intense emotions and dramatic physical manifestations in psychedelic sessions appeared to them to be too close to what they were used to associating with psychopathology. It was hard for them to imagine that such states could be healing and transformative. As a result, they did not trust the reports about the extraordinary power of psychedelice psychotherepy coming from colleagues who had had enough courage to take their chances and do psychedelic therepy, or from their clients.
To complicate the situation even furthur, many of the phenomena occuring in psychedelic sessions could not be understood within the context of theories dominating academic thinking. The possibility of reliving birth or episodes from embryonic life, obtaining accurate information about world history and mythology from the collective unconscious, experiencing archetypal realities and karmic memories, or perceiving remote events in out-of-body states, were simply too fantastic to be believable for an average professional. Yet for those of us who had the chance to work with LSD and were willing to radically change our theoretical understanding of the psyche and practical strategy of therepy were able to see and appreciate the enormous potential of psychedelics, both as therapeutic tools and as substances of extraordinary heuristic value.
In one of my early books, I suggested that the potential significance of LSD and other psychedelics for psychiatry and psychology was comparable to the value the microscope has for biology and medicine or the telescope has for astronomy. My later experience with psychedelics only comfirmed this initial impression. These substances function as unspecific amplifiers that increase the cathexis (energetic charge) associated with the deep unconcious contents of the psyche and make them available for conscious processing. This unique property of psychedelics makes it possible to study psychological undercurrents that govern our experiences and behaviors to a depth that cannot be matched by any other method or tool available to modern mainstream psychiatry and psychology. In addition, it offers unique opportunities for healing of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, for positive personality transformation, and consciousness evolution.
Naturally, tools with this power carry with them greater risks than for conservative and far less effective tools currently accepted and used by mainstream psychiatry, such as verbal psychotherepy or tranquilizing medication. Clinical research has shown that these risks can be minimized by responsible use and careful control of the set and setting. The safety of psychedelic therepy when conducted in a clinical setting was demonstrated by Sidney Cohen's study based on information drawn from more that 25,000 psychedelic sessions. According to Cohen, LSD therepy appeared to be much safer than many other procedures that had been at one time or another routinely used in psychiatric treatment, such as electroshock therepy, insulin coma therepy, and psychosurgery (Cohen 1960). However, legislators rersponding to unsupervised mass use of psychedelics did not get their information from scientific publications, but from stories of sensation-hunting journalists. The legal and administrative sanctions against psychedelics did not deter lay experimentation, but they all but terminated legitimate scientific research of these substsnces.
For those of us who had the privilege to explore and experience the extraordinary potential of psychedelics, this was a tragic loss for psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherepy. We felt that these unfortunate developments wasted what was probably the single most important oppurtunity in the history of these disciplines. Had it been possible to avoid the unnecessary mass hysteria and continue responsible research of psychedelics, they could have undoubtedly radically transformed the theory and practice of psychiatry. I believe that the observations from the research have the potential to inititate a revolution in the understanding of the human psyche and of consciousness comparable to the conceptual cataclsym that modern physicists experienced in the first three decades in relation to their theories concerning matter. This new knowledge could become an integral part of a comprehensive new scientific paradigm of the twenty-first century.
At present, when more than four decades have elapsed since official research with psychedelics was effectively terminated, I can attempt to evaluate the past history of these substances and glimpse into thier future. After having personally conducted over the last fifty years more than four thousand psychedelic sessions, I have developed great awe and respect for these compounds and their enormous positive, as well as negative potential. They are powerful tools and like any tool they can be used skillfully, inepty, or destructively. The result will be critically dependent on set and setting.
The question of whether LSD is a phenomenal medicine or a devil's drug makes as little sense as a similar question asked about the positive or negative potential of a knife. Naturally, we will get a very different report from a surgeon who bases his or her judgement on successful operations and from the police chief who investigates murders committed with knives in the back alleys of New York City. A housewife would see the knife primarily as a useful kitchen tool and an artist would employ it in carving wooden sculptures. It would make little sense to judge the usefulness and dangers of a knife by watching children who play with it without adequate maturity and skill. Similarly, the image of LSD will vary whether we focus on the results of responsible clinical or spiritual use, naive and careless mass self-experimentation of the younger generation, or deliberately destructive experiments of the military or secret police.
Until it is clearly understood that the results of the administration of psychedelics are critically influenced by the factors of set and setting, there is no hope for rational decisions in regard to psychedelic drug policies. I firmly belive that psychedelics can be used in such a way that the benefits far outweigh the risks. This has been amply proven by millennia of safe ritual and spiritual use of psychedelics by generations of shamans, individual healers, and entire aboriginal cultures. However, the Western industrial civilization has so far abused nearly all its discoveries and there is not much hope that psychedelics will be an exception, unless we rise as a group to a higher level of consciousness and emotional maturity.
Whether or not psychedelics will return to psychiatry and will again become part of the thrapeutic armamentarium is a complex problem and its solution will probably be determined not only by the results of scientific research, but also by a variety of political, legal, economic, and mass psychological factors. However, I believe that Western society is at present much better equipped to accept and assimilate psychedelics than it was in the 1950's. At the time when psychiatrists and psychologists started to experiment with LSD, psychotherepy was limited to verbal exchanges between therepists and clients. Intense emotions and active behavior were referred to as "acting-out" and were seen as violations of basic therapeutic rules. Psychedelic sessions were on the other side of the spectrum, evoking dramatic emotions, psychomotor excitement, and vivid perceptual changes. They thus seemed to be more like states that psychiatrists considered pathological and tried to supress by all means than conditions to which one would attribute therapeutic potential. This was reflected in the terms "hallucinogens," "delirogens," "psychotomimetics," and "experimental psychoses", used initially for psychedelics and the states induced by them. In any case, psychedelic sessions more closely resembled scenes from anthropological movies about healing rituals of "primitive" cultures and other aboriginal ceremonies than those expected in a psychiatrist's or psychotherepist's office.
In addition, many of the experiences and observations from psychedelic sessions seemed to seriously challenge the image of the human psyche and of the universe developed by Newtonian-Cartesian science and considered to be accurate and definitive descriptions of "objective reality." Psychedelic subjects reported experiential identification with other people, animals, and various aspects of nature, during which they gained access to new information in areas about which they previously had no intellectual knowledge. The same was true about experiential excursions into the lives of their human and animal ancestors, as well as racial, collective and karmic memories.
On occasion, this new information was drawn from experiences ivolving reliving of biological birth and memories of prenatal life, encounters with archetypal beings, and visits to mythological realms of different cultures of the world. In out-of-body experiences, experimental subjects were able to witness and accurately describe remote events occurring in locations that were outside the range of there senses. None of these happenings were considered possible in the context of traditional materialistic science, and yet, in psychedelic sessions, they were observed frequently. This naturally caused deep conceptual turmoil and confusion in the minds of conventionally trained experimenters. Under these circumstances, many professionals chose to shy away from this area in order to preserve their respectable scientific world-view and professional reputation and to protect their common sense and sanity.
The last several decades have brought about many revolutionary changes that have profoundly influenced the climate in the world of psychotherepy. Humanistic and transpersonal psychology have developed powerful experiential techniques that emphasize deep regression, direct expression of intense emotions, and bodywork leading to release of physical energies. Among these new approaches to self-exploration are Gestalt practice, bioenergetics and other neo-Reichian methods, primal therapy, rebirthing, and Holotropic Breathwork. The inner experiences and outer manifestations in these therapies, as well as their therapeutic stratagies, bear great similarity to those observed in psychedelic sessions. These non-drug therapeutic stratagies involve not only a similar spectrum of experiences, but also comparable conceptual challenges. As a result, for therapists practicing along these lines, the introduction of psychedelics would represent the next logical step rather than a dramatic change in their practice.
Moreover, the Newtonian-Cartesian thinking in science, which in the 1960's enjoyed great authority and popularity, has been progressively undermined by astonishing developments in a variety of disciplines. This has happened to such an extent that an increasing number of scientists feel an urgent need for an entirely different world-view, a new scientific paradigm. Salient examples of this development are philosophical implications of quantum-relativistic physics (Capra 1975, Goswami 1995), David Bohm's theory of holomovement (Bohm 1980), Karl Pribram's holographic theory of the brain (Pribram 1971), Ilya Prigogine's theory of dissipative structures (Prigogine 1980), Rupert Sheldrakes's theory of morphogenic fields (Sheldrake 1981), Gregory Bateson's brilliant synthesis of systems and information theory, cybernetics, anthropology, and psychology (Bateson 1979), and particularly Ervin Laszlo's concept of the PSI field (akashic field), his connectivity hypothesis, and his "integral theory of everything" (Laszlo 1993, 2004). It is very encouraging to see that all these new developments that are in irreconcilable conflict with the traditional science seem to be compatible with the findings of psychedelic research and with transpersonal psychology. This list would not be complete without mentioning the remarkable efforts of Ken Wilbur to create a comprehensive synthesis of a variety or scientific disciplines and perennial philosophy (Wilbur 2000 a).
Even more encouraging than the changes in the scientific worldview; that in the past was a serious obstacle in accepting the findings of psychedelic research, is the relaxation of the administrative and legal constraints that in the past stood in the way of experimentation with psychedelics. At present, we can see not only a significant renaissance of interest in psychedelic substances in academic circles, but also the worldwide emergence of many new clinical and laboratory research programs exploring the effects of these remarkable substances. This development engenders hope that in the future psychedelices will return to the hands of responsible therapists and experimenters.

Excerpted from William James' work: "Some Problems Of Philosophy."
Writings 1902-1910. The Library of America Series. Literary Classics of the United States, inc. NY, NY. 1987. fourth printing.
Also in conjunction with Penguin Books USA, inc.

The Problem of Novelty
The impotence to explain being which we have attributed to all philosophers is, it will be recollected, a conceptual impotence. It is when thinking abstractly of the whole of being at once, as it confronts us ready-made, that we feel our powerlessness so acutely. Possibly, if we followed the empiricist method, considering the parts rather than the whole, and imagining ourselves inside of them perceptually, the subject might defy us less provokingly. We are thus brought back to the problem with which chapter VII left off. When perceptible amounts of new phenomenal being come to birth, must we hold them to be in all points predetermined and necessary outgrowths of the being already there, or shall we rather admit the possibility that originality may thus instil itself into reality?
If we take concrete perceptual experience, the question can be answered in only one way. 'The same returns not, save to bring the different.' Time keeps budding into new moments, every one of which presents a content which in its individuality never was before and will never be again. Of no concrete bit of experience was an exact duplicate ever framed. 'My youth' writes Delboeuf, 'has it not taken flight, carrying away with it love, illusion, poetry, and freedom from care, and leaving with me instead science, austere always, often sad and morose, which sometimes I would willingly forget, which repeats to me hour by hour its grave lessons, or chills me with threats? Will time, which untiringly piles deaths on births, and births on deaths, ever remake an Aristotle or an Archimedes, a Newton or a Descartes? Can our earth ever cover itself again with those gigantic ferns, those immense equisetaceans, in the midst of which the same antediluvian monsters will crawl and wallow as they did of yore?... No, what has been will not, cannot, be again. Time moves on with an unfaltering tread, and never strikes twice an identical hour. The instants of which the existence of the world is composed are all dissimilar, -and whatever may be done, something remains that can never be reversed.' (J. Delboeuf: Revue Philosophique, vol. ix, p 138(1880))
The everlasting coming of concrete novelty into being is so obvious that the rationalizing intellect, bent ever on explaining what is by what was, and having no logical principle but identity to explain by, treats the perceptual flux as a phenomenal illusion, resulting from the unceasing re-combination in new forms of mixture, of unalterable elements, coeval with the world. These elements are supposed to be the only real beings; and, for the intellect once grasped by the vision of them, there can be nothing genuinely new under the sun. The world's history, according to the molecular science, signifies only the 'redistribution' of the unchanged atoms of the primal firemist, parting and meeting so as to appear to us specatotors in the infinetly diversified configurations which we name as processes and things.
So far as physical nature goes few of us experience any temptation to postulate real novelty. The notion of eternal elements and their mixture serves us in so many ways, that we adopt unhesitatingly the theory that primordial being is inalterable in its attributes as well as in its quantity, and that the laws by which we describe its habits are uniform in the strictist mathematical sense. These are the absolute conceptual foundations, we think, spread beneath the surface of perceptual variety. It is when we come to human lives, that our point of view changes. It is hard to imagine that 'really' our own subjective experiences are only molecular arrangements, even though the molecules be conceived as beings of a psychic kind. A material fact may indeed be different from what we feel it to be, but what sense is there in saying that a feeling, which has no other nature than to be felt, is not as it is felt? Psychologically considered, our experiences resist conceptual reduction, and our fields of conciousness, taken simply as such, remain just what they appear, even though facts of a molecular order should prove to be the signals of the appearence. Biography is the concrete form in which all that is is immediatly given; the perceptual flux is the authentic stuff of each of our biographies, and yields a perfect effervescence of novelty all the time. New men and women, books, accidents, events, inventions, enterprises, burst unceasingly upon the world. It is vain to resolve these into ancient elements, or to say that they belong to ancient kinds, so long as no one of them in its full individuality ever was here before or will ever come again. Men of science and philosophy, the moment they forget their theoretic abstractions, live in their biographies as much as anyone else, and believe as naively that fact even now is making, and that they themselves, by doing 'original work,' help to determine what the future will become.
I have already compared the live or perceptual order with the conceptual order from this point of view. Conception knows no way of explaining save by deducing the identical from the identical, so if the world is to be conceptually rationalized no novelty can really come. This is one of the traits in that general bankruptcy of conceptualism, which I enumerated in Chapter V -conceptualism can name change, and growth, but can translate them into no terms of its own, and is forced to contradict that indestructible sense of life within us by deying that reality grows.
It may seem to the youthful student a rather 'far cry' from the question of the possibility of novelty to the 'problem of the infinite,' but in the history of speculation, the two problems have been connected. Novelty seems to violate continuity; continuity seems to involve 'infinetly' shaded gradations; infinity connects with number; and number with fact in general -for facts have to be numbered. It has thus come to pass that the nonexistence of an infinite number has been held to neccessitate the finite character of the constitution of fact; and along with this its discontinuous genesis, or, in other words, its coming into being by discrete increments of novelty however small.
Thus we find the problem of the infinite already lying accross our path. It will be better at this point to interrupt our discusion of the more enveloping question of novelty at large, and to get the minor problem out of our way first. I turn then to the problem of the infinite.

Excerpted from: The Philosophy of John Dewey Volume I The Structure of Experience Volume II The Lived Experience. John J. McDermott, ed. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago and London. Copyright 1973. Print.

Ralph Waldo Emerson*
It is said that Emerson is not a philosopher. I find this denegration false or true according as it is said in blame or praise -- according to the reasons proffered. When the critic writes of lack of method, of the absence of continuity, of coherent logic, and, with the old story of the string of pearls loosely strung, puts Emerson away as a writer of maxims and proverbs, a recorder of brilliant insights and abrupt aphorisms, the critic, to my mind, but writes down his own incapacity to follow a logic that is finely wrought. "We want in every man a logic; we cannot pardon the absence of it, but it must not be spoken. Logic is the procession or proportionate unfolding of the intuition; but its virtue is as silent method; the moment it would appear as propositions and have a separate value, it is worthless." Emerson fulfills his own requisition. The critic needs the method separately propounded, and not finding his wonted leading-string is all lost. Again, says Emerson, "There is no compliment like addressing to a human being thoughts out of certain heights and presupposing his intelligence" -- a compliment which Emerson's critics have mostly hastened to avert. But to make this short, I am not acquainted with any writer, no matter how assured his position in treatises upon the history of philosophy, whose movement of thought is more compact and unified, nor one who combines more adequately diversity of intellectual attack with concentration of form and effect. I recently read a letter from a gentlemen, himself a distinguished writer of philosophy, in which he remarked that philosophers are a stupid class, since they want every reason carefully pointed out and labelled and are incapable of taking anything for granted. The condescending patronage by literary critics of Emerson's lack of cohesiveness may remind us that philosophers have no monopoly of this particular form of stupidity.
Perhaps those are nearer right, however, who deny that Emerson is a philosopher, because he is more than a philosopher. He would work, he says, by art, not by metaphysics, finding truth "in the sonnet and the play." "I am," to quote him again, "in all my theories, ethics and politics, a poet"; and we may, I think, safely take his word for it that he meant to be a maker rather than a reflector. His own preference was to be ranked with the seers rather than the reasoners of the race, for he says, "I think that philosophy is still rude and elementary; it will one day be taught by poets. The poet is in the right attitude; he is believing; the philosopher, after some struggle, having only reasons for believing." Nor do I regard it as impertinent to place by the side of this utterance, that other in which he said, "We have yet to learn that the thing uttered in words is not therefore affirmed. It must affirm itself or no forms of grammar and no plausibility can give it evidence and no array of arguments." To Emerson, perception was more potent that reasoning; the deliverances of intercourse more to be desired than the chains of discourse; the suprise of reception more demonstarative than the conclusions of intentional proof. As he said, "Good as is discourse, silence is better, and shames it. The length of discourse indicates the distance of thought betwixt the speaker and the hearer." And again, "If I speak, I define and confine, and am less." "Silence is a solvent that destroys personality and gives us leave to be great and universal."
I would not make hard and fast lines between philosopher and poet, yet there is some distinction of accent in thought and of rythem in speech. The desire for an articulate, not for silent, logic is intrinsic with philosophy. The unfolding of perception must be stated, not merely followed and understood. Such concious method is, one might say, the only thing of ultimate concern to the abstract thinker. Not thought, but reasoned thought, not things, but the ways of things, interest him; not even truth, but the paths by which truth is sought. He construes elaborately the symbols of thinking. He is given over to manufacturing and sharpening the weapons of the spirit. Outcomes, interpretations, victories, are indifferent. Otherwise is it with art. That, as Emerson says, is "the path of the Creator to his work"; and again "a habitual respect to the whole by an eye loving beauty in detail." Affection is towards the meaning of the symbol, not to its constitution. Only as he wields them, does the artist forge the sword and buckler of the spirit. His affair is to uncover rather than to analyze; to discern rather than to classify. He reads but does not compose.
One, however, has no sooner drawn such lines than one is ashamed and begins to retract. Euripides and Plato, Dante and Bruno, Bacon and Milton, Spinoza and Goethe, rise in rebuke. The spirit of Emerson rises to protest against exaggerating his ultimae value by trying to place him upon a plane of art higer than a philosophic platform. Literary critics admit his philosophy and deny his literature. And if philosophers extol his keen, calm art and speak with some depreciation of his metaphysics, it also is perhaps because Emerson knew something deeper than our conventional definitions. It is indeed true that reflective thinkers have taken the way to truth for their truth; the method of life for the conduct of life -- in short, have taken means for end. But it is also assured that in the completeness of their devotion, they have expiated their transgression; means become identified with end, thought turns to life, and wisdom is justified not of herself but of her children. Language justly preserves the difference between philosopher and sophist. It is no more possible to eliminate love and generation from the definition of the thinker than it is to eliminate thought and limits from the conception of the artist. It is interest, concern, caring, which makes the one as it makes the other. It is significant irony that the old quarrel of the philosopher and poet was brought off by one who united in himself more than has another individual the qualities of both artist and metaphysician. At bottem the quarrel is not one of objectives nor yet of methods, but of the affections. And in the divisions of love, there always abides the unity of him who loves. Because Plato was so great he was divided in his affections. A lesser man could not brook that torn love, because of which he set poet and philosopher over against one another. Looked at in the open, our fences between literature and metaphysics appear petty -- signs of an attempt to affix the legalities and formularies of property to the things of the spirit. If ever there lived not only a metaphysician but a professor of metaphysics it was Immanuel Kant. Yet he declares that he should account himself more unworthy than the day laborer in the field if he did not believe that somehow, even in his technical classifications and remote distinctions, he too, was carrying forward the struggle of humanity for freedom -- that is for illumination.
And for Emerson of all others, there is a one-sidedness and exaggeration, which he would have been the first to scorn, in exalting overmuch his creative substance at the expense of his reflective procedure. He says in effect somewhere that the individual man is only a method, a plan of arrangement. The saying is amply descriptive of Emerson. His idealism is the faith of the thinker in his thought raised to its nth power. "History" he says, "and the state of the world at any one time is directly dependent on the intellectual classification then existing in the minds of men." Again, "Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk. The very hopes of man, the thoughts of his heart, the religion of nations, the manner and morals of mankind are all at the mercy of a new generalization." And again, "Everything looks permanent until its secret is known. Nature looks provokingly stable and secular, but it has a cause like all the rest; and when once I comprehend that, will these fields stretch so immovably wide, these leaves hang so individually considerable?" And finally, "In history an idea always overhangs like a moon and rules the tide which rises simultaneously in all the souls of a generation." There are times, indeed, when one is inclined to regard Emerson's whole work as a hymn to intelligence, a paean to the all-creating, all-disturbing power of thought.
And so, with an expiatory offering to the Manes of Emerson, one may proceed to characterize his thought, his method, yea, even his system. I find it in the fact that he takes distinctions and classifications which to most philosophers are true in and of and because of their systems, and makes them true to life, of the common experience of the everyday man. To take his own words for it, "There are degrees in idealism. We learn first to play with it academically, as the magnet was once a toy. Then we see, in the hey-day of youth and poetry, that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments. Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true. It now shows itself ethical and practical." The idealism which is a thing of the academic intellect to the professor, a hope to the generous youth, an inspiration to the genial projector, is to Emerson a narrowly accurate description of the facts of the most real world in which all earn there living.
Such reference to the immediate life is the text by which he tries every philosopher. "Each new mind we approach seems to require," he says, "an abdication of all our past and present possesions. A new doctrine seems at first a subversion of all our opinions, tastes and manner of living." But while one gives himself "up unreservedly to that which draws him, because that is his own, he is to refuse himself to that which draws him not, because it is not his own. I were a fool not to sacrifice a thousand Aeschyluses to my intellectual integrity. Especially take the same ground in regard to abstract truth, the science of the mind. The Bacon, the Spinoza, the Hume, Schelling, Kant, is only a more or less akward translator of things in your conciousness. Say, then, instead of too timidly poring into his obscure sense, that he has not succeeded in rendering back to you your conciousness. Anyhow, when at last, it is done, you will find it is not recondite, but a simple, natural state which the writer restores to you." And again, take this other saying, "Aristotle or Bacon or Kant propound some maxim which is the key-note of philosophy thenceforward, but I am more interested to know that when at last they have hurled out their grand word, it is only some familiar experience of every man on the street." I fancy he reads the so-called eclecticism of Emerson wrongly who does not see that it is reduction of all the philosophers of the race, even the prophets like Plato and Proclus whom Emerson holds most dear, to the test of trial by the service rendered the present and immediate experience. As for those who condemn Emerson for superficial pedantry because of the strings of names he is wont to flash like beads before our eyes, they but voice their own predantry, not seeing, in their literalness, that all such things are with Emerson symbols of various uses administered to the common soul.
As Emerson treated the philosophers, so he treats their doctrines. The Platonist teaches the immanence of absolute ideas in the World and in Man, that every thing and every man participates in an absolute Meaning, individualized in him and through which one has community with others. Yet by the time this truth of the universe has become proper and fit for teaching, it has somehow become a truth of philosophy, a truth of private interpretation, reached by some men, not others, and consequently true for some, but not true for all, and hence not wholly true for any. But to Emersone all "truth lies on the highway." Emerson says, "We lie in the lap of immense intelligence which makes us organs of its activity and receivers of its truth," and the Idea is no longer either an academic toy nor even a gleam of poetry, but a literal report of the experience of the hour as that is enriched and reinforced for the individual through the tale of history, the appliance of science, the gossip of conversation and the exchange of commerce. That every individual is at once the focus and the channel of mankind's long and wide endeavor, that all nature exists for the education of the human soul -- such things, as we read Emerson, cease to be statements of a seperated philosophy and become natural transcripts of the course of events and of the rights of man.
Emerson's philosophy has this in common with that of the transcendentalists; he prefers to borrow from them rather than from others certain pigments and delineations. But he finds truth in the highway, in the untaught endeavor, the unexpected idea, and this removes him from their remoteness. His ideas are not fixed upon any Reality that is beyond or behind or in any way apart, and hence they do not have to be bent. They are versions of the Here any Now, and flow freely. The reputed transcendental worth of an overweening Beyond and Away, Emerson, jealous for spiritual democracy, finds to be the possession of the unquestionable Present. When Emerson, speaking of the chronolgy of history, designated the There and Then as "wild, savage, and preposterous," he also drew the line which marks him off from transcendentalism -- which is the idealism of a Class. In sorry truth, the idealist has too frequently conspired with the sensualist to deprive the pressing and so the passing Now of value which is spiritual. Through the joint work of such malign conspiracy, the common man is not, or at least does not know himself for, an idealist. It is such disinherited of the earth that Emerson summons to their own. "If man is sick, is unable, is mean-spirited and odious, it is because there is so much of his nature which is unlawfully withholded from him."
Against creed and system, convention and institution, Emerson stands for restoring to the comman man that which in the name of religion, of philosophy, of art and of morality, has been embezzled from the common store and appropriated to sectarian and class use. Beyond any one we know of, Emerson has comprehended and declared how such malversation makes truth decline from its simplicity, and in becoming partial and owned, become a puzzle of and trick for theologian, metaphysician and litterateur -- a puzzle of an imposed law, of an unwished for and refused goodness, of a romantic ideal gleaming only from afar, and a trick of manipular skill, of specialized performance.
For such reasons, the coming century may well make evident what is just now dawning, that Emerson is not only a philospopher, but that he is the Philosopher of Democracy. Plato's own generation would, I think, have found it diffucult to class Plato. Was he an inept visionary, or a subtle dialectician? A political reformer or a founder of the new type of literary art? Was he a moral exhorter, or an instructor in an Academy? Was he a theorist upon education, or the inventor of a method of knowledge? We, looking at Plato through the centuries of exposition and interpretation, find no difficulty in placing Plato as a philosopher and in attributing to him a system of thought. We dispute about the nature and content of this system, but we do not doubt it is there. It is the intervening centuries which have furnished Plato with his technique and which have developed and wrought Plato to a system. One century bears but a slender ratio to twenty-five; it is not safe to predict. But at least, thinking of Emerson as the one citizen of the New World fit to have his name uttered in the same breath with that of Plato, one may without presumption believe that even if Emerson has no system, none the less he is the prophet and herald of any system which democracy may henceforth construct and hold by, and that when democracy has articulated itself, it will have no difficulty in finding itself already proposed by Emerson. It is true today as when he said it: "It is not new propositions, not new dogmas and the logical exposition of the world that are our first need, but to watch and continually cherish the intellectual and moral sensibilities and woo them to stay and make their homes with us. Whilst they abide with us, we shall not think amiss." We are moved to say that Emerson is the first and as yet almost the only Christian of the Intellect. From out such reverence for the instinct and impulse of our common nature shall emerge in their due season propositions, systems and logical expositions of the world. Then shall we have a philosophy which religion has no call to chide and which knows its friendship with science and with art.
Emerson wrote of a certain type of mind: "This tranquil, well-founded, wide-seeing soul is no express-rider, no attorney, no magistrate. It lies in the sun and broods on the world." It is the soul of Emerson which these words describe. Yet this is no private merit nor personal credit. For thousands of earth's children, Emerson has taken away barriers that shut out the sun and has secured the unimpeded, cheerful circulation of the light of heaven, and the wholesome air of day. For such, content to endure without contriving and contending, at the last all express-riders journey, since to them comes the final service of all commodity. For them, careless to make out their own case, all attorneys plead in the day of final judgement; for though falsehoods pile mountain high, truth is the only deposit that nature tolerates. To them who refuse to be called "master, master," all magistracies in the end defer, for theirs is the common cause for which dominion, power and principality is put under foot. Before such successes, even the worshipers of that which to-day goes by the name of success, those who bend to millions and incline to imperialisms, may lower their standard, and give at least a passing assent to the final word of Emerson's philosophy, the identity of Being, unqualified and immutable, with Character.

*John Dewey, Characters and Events: Popular Essays in Social and Political Philosophy, Joseph Ratner, ed., Vol I, pp 69-77. Copyright 1929 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.