The Fourth Dimensional Reaches of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
Cora Lenore Williams
Produced by David A. Schwan
The Fourth-Dimensional Reaches of the Exposition
San Francisco, 1915
By Cora Lenore Williams, M. S.
Author of "As If" and Essays on "Involution"
Paul Elder and Company
Publisher - San Francisco
By Paul Elder and Company
To My Father and Mother
Lines on "Fourth-Dimensional Insight" by Ormeida Curtis Harrison.
(Tissue Facing Frontispiece.)
A Fourteenth Century Legend
Essay on the Fourth-Dimensional Reaches of the Exposition. By Cora
General Status of the Fourth-Dimensional Theory
Fourth-Dimensional Aspects of the Panama-Pacific International
Bibliography: Books and Poems having Fourth-Dimensional Insight
An Unborn Space. The Court of Four Seasons. From an etching by Gertrude
A Structure Brave. Palace of Fine Arts. From an etching by Gertrude
A Building Inside Out. The Court of Ages. From an etching by Gertrude
A Four-Dimensional Cover Design. By Julia Manchester Mackie. (Cover.)
Time is, and all the detail of the world confounds
The plastic mind. With multitude of shapes and sounds
Do the swift elements of thought contend
To form a whole which life may comprehend.
Only to those of high intent
Is life revealed, and quick dreams sent -
Half glimpsed truths omnipotent.
Out of the silence of an unborn space
A spirit moves, and thought comes face to face
With the immutable, and time is past,
And the spent soul, done, meets truth at last.
Chance, fate, occasion, circumstance,
In interfused radiance
Are lost. Past, present, future, all combined
In one sure instantaneous grasp of mind,
And all infinity unrolls at our command,
And beast and man and God unite, as worlds expand.
- Ormeida Curtis Harrison.
A Fourteenth Century Legend
Friar Bacon, reading one day of the many conquests of England, bethought
himself how he might keep it hereafter from the like conquests and so
make himself famous to all posterity. This (after great study) he found
could be no way so well done as one; which was to make a head of brass,
and if he could make this head to speak (and hear it when it spoke) then
might he be able to wall all England about with brass. To this purpose
he got one Friar Bungey to assist him, who was a great scholar and
magician (but not to be compared to Friar Bacon); these two with great
study and pains so formed a head of brass that in the inward parts
thereof there was all things like as in a natural man's head. This being
done they were as far from perfection of the work as they were before,
for they knew not how to give those parts that they had made motion,
without which it was impossible that it should speak. Many books they
read, but yet could not find out any hope of what they sought, that at
the last they concluded to raise a spirit and to know of him that which
they could not attain by their own studies.
The spirit straight obeyed, and appeared unto them, asking what they
would. He told them that with a continual fume of the six hottest
simples it should have motion, and in one month space speak: the time of
the month: or the day he knew not. Also he told them that if they heard
it not before it had done speaking, all their labor should be lost.
Then went these two learned Friars home again and prepared the simples
ready and made the fume, and with continual watching attended when this
Brazen Head should speak. Thus watched they for three weeks without any
rest, so that they were so weary and sleepy that they could not any
longer refrain from rest. Then called Friar Bacon his man Miles, and
told him that it was not unknown to him what pains Friar Bungey and
himself had taken for three weeks space only to make and to hear the
Brazen Head speak, which if they did not, then had they lost all their
labor, and all England had a great loss thereby. Therefore he entreated
Miles that he would watch whilst that they slept and call them if the
head spake. 'Fear not (good master), I will harken and attend, upon the
head and if it do chance to speak, I will call you; therefore, I pray
take you both your rest and let me alone for watching this head.'
* * * *
At last, after some noise, the Head spake these two words: 'Time is.'
Miles, hearing it to speak no more, thought his master would be angry if
he waked him for that, and therefore he let them both sleep and began to
mock the Head in this manner: 'Thou Brazen-faced Head, hath my master
took all this pains about thee and now dost thou requite him with two
words, "Time is"?'
* * * *
After half an hour had past, the Head did speak again two words which
were these: 'Time was.' Miles respected these words as little as he did
the former and would not wake his master, but still scoffed at the
Brazen Head, that it had learned no better words, and have had such a
tutor as his master; * * * * '"Time was!" I knew that, Brazen-face,
without your telling. I knew Time was and I know what things there was
when Time was, and if you speak no wiser, no master shall be waked for
* * * *
* * * * The Brazen Head spake again these words: 'Time is past'; and
therewith fell down and presently followed a terrible noise, with
strange flashes of fire, so that Miles was half dead with fear. At this
noise the two Friars waked and wondered to see the whole room so full of
smoke, but that being vanished, they might perceive the Brazen Head
broken and lying on the ground. At this sight they grieved, and called
Miles to know how this came. Miles, half dead with fear, said that it
fell down of itself and that with the noise and fire that followed he
was almost frightened out of his wits. Friar Bacon asked him if it did
'Yes,' quoth Miles, 'it spake, but to no purpose.'
General Status of the Fourth-Dimensional Theory
The human mind has so long followed its early cow-paths through the
wilderness of sense that great hardihood is required even to suggest
that there may be other and better ways of traversing the empirical
common. So it is that the fear of being proclaimed a Brazenhead has
restrained me until this eleventh hour from telling of my discoveries
concerning the fourth-dimensional reaches of our Exposition. That I have
the courage now is due to my desire to help in its preservation; not to
the end of enclosing it in a brass wall, but to lift it out of the realm
of things temporal and give it permanent meaning for our thought and
aspiration. Would we save our Exposition from the ravages of Time we
have to exorcise that monster with the enigmatical utterances of the
aforesaid Brazen Head. The philosophers are telling us that Time is the
fourth dimension in the process of evolving for our consciousness. I
take it that there are three stages in this evolution; the first, that
of immediate experience, is subsumed by the phrase 'Time is'; the second
is a passing from the concrete to the abstract through the fact that
'Time was'; and the glory of the last is visioned only when we can say
'Time is past.'
While many books have been written descriptive of the Exposition, none
has succeeded in accounting completely for the joy we have in yonder
miracle of beauty. And this through no fault of the writers. When all
has been said concerning plan and execution there is still a subtle
something not spatialized for consciousness. Length, breadth, and height
do not suffice to set forth the ways of our delight in it. What of this
perceptual residue? Obviously to give it extension we shall have to
ascribe to reality other dimensions than those of our present sense
realm. Some disciple of Bergson interrupts: 'Ah, this whereof you speak
is a spiritual thing and as such is given by the intuition. Why, then,
do you seek to spatialize it?' And the layman out of his mental
repugnance to things mathematical echoes, 'Why?' We have to answer that
the process of creative evolution makes imperative the transfixion by
the intellect of these so-called spiritual perceptions. Although the
intuition transcends the intelligence in its grasp of beauty and truth,
we may attain to the higher insight it has to offer only if the things
of the spirit become known to the intellect - a point in Bergson's
philosophy which the majority of his readers overlook. 'We have,' he
says, 'to engender the categories of our thought; it is not enough that
we determine what these are.' Bergson is preeminently the prophet of the
higher space concept. We had done better to have held to Kant, for now
we are not only confronted with the fourth dimension as a thought-form,
but with the duty as well of furthering its creation. And in that light
we have to regard what of worth and meaning the Exposition has for us.
Although the scientist has found it useful on occasion to postulate the
fourth dimension, he has not thought necessary as yet to put it in the
category of reality; much less has the layman. Consequently the
mathematician holds the sole title to its knowledge unless we recognize
the claims of the medium to a fourth-dimensional insight.
There is much, however, today which points to our coming to such
perception as the natural result of our evolution and quite apart from
geometrical abstractions or occultism. It is as though some great tidal
wave had swept over space and we have, quite unbeknown to ourselves,
been lifted by it to new heights. And when we have once obtained our
spiritual balance we shall doubtless find that our space world has taken
to itself another direction, inconceivable as that now seems.
Space is more than room wherein to move about; it is, first of all, the
room in which we think, and upon how we do so depends the number of its
dimensions. If the attention has become 'riveted to the object of its
practical interest' to the extent that this is the only good the
creature knows, then is its thought-form one-dimensional even though its
bodily movements are three-spaced. The great Peacock Moth wings a sure
course mateward to the mystification of the scientist; the dog finds the
direct road home - his master cannot tell how; Mary Antin climbs to an
education over difficulties apparently insurmountable; Rockefeller knows
his goal and attains it, regardless of other moral worths. For these the
way is certain. They can suffer no deflection since there are no
relative values, no possible choices. Their purpose makes the road
one-dimensional. That the majority of persons are still feeling their
way over the surface of things is attested by the general mental
ineptitude for the study of solid geometry. Depth and height play little
part in our physical perception. For most of us the third dimension is
practically unknown beyond the reach of a few feet. A Beachey soaring
aloft - why all the bravado of curve and loop? Sooner or later he will
fall to his death. Ay, verily! but his is a joyous martyrdom making for
the evolution of consciousness. Not always shall we crawl like flies the
surface of our globe!
While a man's space-world is limited by his thought, it is, on the
other hand, as boundless as his thought. That the world evolves with our
consciousness, is at once the philosophy of 'Creative Evolution' and of
the higher space theory. Our present spatial milieu has settled down to
a seemingly three dimensional finality because our thought-form has
become so habitual as to give rise to certain geometric axioms. All we
need in order to come to a fourth-dimensional consciousness, said Henri
Poincare, 'the greatest of moderns,' is a new table of distribution;
that is, a breaking up of old associations of ideas and the forming of
new relations - a simple matter were it not for our mental inertia.
Lester Ward speculates that life remained aquatic for the vast periods
that paleontology would indicate; Cambrian, Silurian, Devonian,
Carboniferous - a duration greater than all subsequent time - for the
reason that the creature had not progressed beyond the stage when it
could move otherwise than in a straight line when actuated by desire for
food or mate. Life was not able to maintain itself on land until it had
overcome this one-dimensional limitation. A venturesome Pterodactyl was
he who first essayed to make his way among the many obstructions to be
found ashore! By what intuition was he impelled?
It is a matter of common observation that the growth of the higher
perceptive faculty is strangely concomitant with adversity. The
intuitive person is a person who has suffered. When conditions press
sufficiently hard, a new table of distribution may be the only means for
survival. Thus we proceed to make a virtue of necessity and so come to
the recognition of other values which we denominate spiritual because we
have not as yet spatialized them. The caterpillar has to mount the twig
to find the tender green that is his food, but, he solaces himself for
the journey by thinking himself a creature of the light. Mr. Carpenter,
in an interesting study of what he calls Intermediate Types, shows that
the seers and spiritually-minded come to be such because they found
themselves differing in some wise from their fellows, and dwelling on
that difference had their minds turned inward. Progress in thought and
imagination naturally followed, with the result that these were lifted
above the majority and came thereby to larger vision. Failure may well
be the measure of extension in a new dimension.
The significance of the much fumbling and groping of earth's creatures
is the desire for a larger outlook. Man has to feel his way out of a
three-fold world even as the worm out of his hole. That we are hearing
much of the principle of relativity is perhaps the best indication we
have that the collective human consciousness is about to enter a higher
dimension. So long as man knew only an absolute good was his world a
definitely determined world. Now that the question of relative values
obtrudes itself on every side the range of consciousness promises to be
Man's interest having in these latter days become largely centered on
value-judgments and estimates of worth, an exposition affords perhaps
the most general application of the principle of relativity, bringing it
home to the collective mind in an intimately human way as nothing else
could: - With nation vying with nation and individual with individual in
all of the arts and crafts of human industry, absolute standards must
needs vanish, and with their going we may be able to set up such a
distribution of values as will give new direction to our efforts.
However that may be, the industrial competition to which, in the last
analysis, the Exposition owes its inception, is pushing many aside from
the beaten highways into hitherto unexplored regions of thought and
endeavor, and who is to say that we may not in consequence find a
direction quite at right angles to all of our wonted ways of thinking.
Certainly there could be no more fitting occasion for the launching of a
new thought-form than a great international exposition.
Aspects of the Panama-Pacific
And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man,
That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
Consider it well: each tone of our scale in itself is naught:
It is everywhere in the world - loud, soft, and all is said:
Give it to me to use! I mix it with two in my thought:
And there! Ye have heard and seen: consider and bow the head!
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition is best seen in its
fourth-dimensional aspect when approached through the Gateway of Memory.
This is what one might expect, for that entrance alone has the requisite
geometrical structure. You will recall having heard, I am sure, how in
the fourth dimension a person may go in and out of a locked room at his
pleasure with bolts and bars untouched. Broad and open as is this Gate
of Memory, when you pass its portals the wall closes behind you; there
is no visible opening to mark the spot of your entry. A feeling of
detachment comes over you. This is augmented by the burst of light and
color that flashes across the field of your vision, and for the first
time you understand the purport of those 'banners yellow, glorious,
golden' which 'do float and flow.' They seem to bear you on breezes of
their own creating to the freedom of outer spaces. What you had taken
for the flauntings of festivity are become the heralds of hyperspace.
As you wend your way down the Avenue of Time you feel an inexpressive
lightness, a sensation of being lifted out of yourself. The moment seems
unique. Things are unrelated. There is no concern of proportion. The
place is one of immediacy. You wander from the ephemeral to the
ephemeral. 'Time is,' you say, in childish glee. And you hasten to
assemble images as many and as disparate as possible, believing that you
are drinking life at its fountain head. The outer world presents itself
to your consciousness in the form of facts in juxtaposition. You read
guide-books and rejoice in the acquisition of knowledge. Gradually
through the perception of the same phantasmagoria comes an at-oneness
with your fellows. You are caught up in the swirl of a larger self.
Soon you weary of the heterogeneous. The Zone of Consciousness stands
revealed in all its grotesqueness. 'Time is,' you cry, but to give
thought its impulse, and you hasten on if perchance you may discover the
direction of the life-principle. What you had taken for reality is but
its cross-section - so does this empirical realm stand to the higher
world of your spirit, even as a plane to a solid.
Now you turn your attention from things to relations in the hope of
getting at truth in the large. A passage in Plato comes vividly to your
mind. 'For a man must have intelligence of universals, and be able to
proceed from the many particulars of sense to one conception of reason;
- this is the recollection of those things which our soul once saw while
following God, when, regardless of that which we now call being, she
raised her head up towards the true being.'
Henceforth the multiplicity that you seek is one of organization and has
nothing to do with number. 'Time was,' you proclaim, that consciousness
might sift out the irrelevant. As you pass from collection to collection
individual fact becomes prolonged into general law and science dominates
the field of thought. A thousand years are as a day when subsumed by its
laws. You look at the objects of man's creating with new eyes. The
displays are no longer contests of laborious industry but of vision, and
faith. You see that truth has made itself manifest through the long
repetition of the same fundamental theme. That which is unique and
personal you are surprised to find of less value than the habit
perfected by patient practice. The routine and monotony of daily toil
become glorified in the light that now falls athwart your vision. You
learn to substitute for your personal feeling the common impersonal
element felt by the many. Your concern is not as formerly to recollect,
but to symbolize. To this end you study frieze and statuary and frequent
lectures. Your sense of social solidarity grows through mutual
comprehension of the same truths.
And again that 'vexing, forward reaching sense of some more noble
permanence' urges you on. 'Time was;' you joyously affirm for man to
come to the knowledge of an eternal self. But that, your tradition and
education have led you to believe, is still yonder, worlds away. And you
image the soul in its quest passing from life to life as you are now
passing from building to building, from hall to hall. But glad the
thought - there will be courts wherein you may perhaps glimpse the plan
of the whole and so gather strength and purpose for another housing. All
at once you know that death has no fear for you and you feel toward your
present life as you do toward these Palaces of the Mundane - the sooner
compassed the better.
You pass from court to edifice and from edifice to court, marveling at
the symmetry of plan and structure. Unity, balance, and harmony become
manifest as spatial properties - you had been taught to regard them as
principles of art. You wonder if art itself may not be merely a matter
of right placing - the adjustment of a thing to its environment. You are
certain that this is so as each coign and niche offers you its
particular insight. Strange vagaries float through your mind - one's
duty to the inanimate things of one's possession; the house too large
for the personality of the owner; the right setting for certain
idiosyncrasies; character building as a constructive process; the ideal
as the limit of an infinite series - each pointing the way, as you
think, to a different vista of human outlook. What then your glad
surprise to find these converging toward one ideal synthesis. In
anticipation of the splendor you hasten on till earth shall have
attained to heaven. There it stands - 'a structure brave,' the Palace of
Art, the Temple of the Soul - and you know you were made to be perfect
Now that you apprehend the plan of the whole, symmetry takes on a vital
significance for your thought. You try to recall what you learned of it
in geometry. There was a folding over, you remember, and a fitting
together 'congruence' you believe it was called. But that could have no
meaning for solids. Stop! a folding over? Why, that implies another
dimension! The two halves of a leaf can be brought together only as one
or the other is lifted out of the plane of the leaf into a third
dimension. So to bring two buildings into superposition when they are
alike except for a reverse order of parts, would necessitate a fourth
dimension and a turning inside out. Quick as the thought, the court you
are in is that - a building inside out!
Ah! you know now wherefor that wonderful uplifting sensation that comes
whenever you enter one of these beautiful inclosures. You have passed
into the fourth dimension of spatial realization. 'Time is past,' you
shout aloud, and laugh to find yourself on the inside of externality.
Cubism in architecture! Futurism, in very truth!
You visit again the galleries of the New Art, not to scoff, but in
earnest desire for enlightenment as to this thing which is so near to
consciousness and yet so far. You find yourself exclaiming:
'Ah, there is something here
Unfathomed by the cynic's sneer!'
As you gaze at the portrayal so strangely weird in form and color you
ask yourself where have I felt that, seen this, before? Immediately you
are transported in memory to the midst of a crowded street. In the mad
bustle and noise you are conscious only of mechanical power; of speed -
always of speed. Your voice far away - 'The child, oh, the child!' A
swooning sensation. Men's faces as triangles and horses with countless
legs. The chaos of primal forces about youthen darkness.
As the past fuses with the present you awaken to a larger privilege of
life than man now knows. You feel yourself encompassed by truth, vital
and strong. This art, erstwhile so baffling, stands revealed as the
struggle of a superhuman entity for self-expression. The tendency toward
God has to begin anew with each round of the life-spiral - that eternal
circle which life pursues.
Now you find yourself in the Court of the Universe. Bands of
many-colored light, the white radiance of eternity, stream athwart the
sky. The illumination is of the wonder that now is. How marvelously
strange the sight of the world-consciousness passing over into a higher
thought-form! Each individual element suffering reversal to take its
proper place in the new world-order! You see positive becoming negative,
negative becoming positive, and Evolution giving place to Involution - a
process as yet uncomprehended by our narrow thought. And the secret of
the world-struggle across the sea you know; men passing their nature's
bound; new hopes and loyalties supplanting old ties and joys; the
established creeds of right and wrong as they vanish in this
immeasurable thirst for an unknown good. All these things you know to be
the travail of the world as it gives birth to some higher entity than
'Time is past,' and as you speak a dove settles to rest upon a pediment.
Therewith you are carried away in the spirit to a great and high
mountain and you behold a new heaven and a new earth; for the first
heaven and the first earth are passed away. You see the holy city coming
down out of heaven - her light is like unto a stone most precious, as it
were a jasper stone, clear as crystal, and the walls thereof are adorned
with all manner of precious stones - and they brought the glory and the
honor of the nations into it.
Out of a sense of immediacy
Comes an intuition of things forming.
Pressed up by the vital urge,
Mind meets matter and matter mind
In mutual understanding.
That which apprehends, since by the object shaped,
A fitting instrument is for what itself has wrought.
From the same stuff,
Cut by an identical process,
Thing and intellect to congruence come,
In a space-world forever unfolding.
No preestablished harmony this
Of inner to outer realm corresponding,
Nor spirit nor form by the other determined.
Stranger far the genesis whereof I speak:
From the universal flux,
In a moment, that is ever unique,
Life to new consciousness springs;
Creator and created together evolve,
In a time-stream continually changing.
My Bibliography of Fourth-Dimensional Insight
While to books I owe much, I owe still more to the beautiful people by
whom I have been, like Marcus Aurelius, all my life surrounded, and
particularly to my parents of large vision.
Creative Evolution: Bergson.
An intuition so great that if spatialized it would lead to a world of
The Ethical Implications of Bergson's Philosophy: Una Bernard Sait.
The New Infinite and the Old Theology: C. J. Keyser.
The Fourth Dimension: C. H. Hinton.
First and Last Things: H. G. Wells.
The Art of Creation: Edward Carpenter.
Some Neglected Factors of Evolution: Bernard.
A scientific presentation of Involution, a book than which none other
has more light to throw on present world problems.
Primer of Higher Space: Claude Bragdon.
Projective Ornament: Claude Bragdon.
ABT Vogler: Browning.
Commemoration Ode: Lowell.
The Book of Revelations.
Here ends "The Fourth Dimensional Reaches of the Panama-Pacific
International Exposition," written by Cora Lenore Williams, M.S., with
lines on Fourth-Dimensional Insight by Ormeida Curtis Harrison; and the
illustrations are from etchings done by Gertrude Partington, and the
Fourth Dimensional cover design by Julia Manchester Mackie. Published by
Paul Elder & Company, and printed under the typographical direction of
H. A. Funke at their Tomoye Press, in San Francisco, during the month of
November, Nineteen Hundred and Fifteen.
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