Citation: Benjamin Paul Blood. "The Anaesthetic Revelation: An Experience with Nitrous Oxide (exp111218)". Erowid.org. Nov 8, 2017. erowid.org/exp/111218
By the Anaesthetic Revelation I mean a certain survived condition, (or uncondition,) in which is the satisfaction of philosophy by an appreciation of the genius of being, which appreciation cannot be brought out of that condition into the normal sanity of sense—cannot be formally remembered, but remains informal, forgotten until we return to it.
"As here we find in trances, men
Forget the dream that happens then,
Until they fall in trance again."
Of this condition, although it may have been attained otherwise, I know only by the use of anaesthetic agents. After experiments ranging over nearly fourteen years I affirm—what any man may prove at will—that there is an invariable and reliable condition (or uncondition) ensuing about the instant of recall from anaesthetic stupor to sensible observation, or "coming to," in which the genius of being is revealed; but because it cannot be remembered in the normal condition it is lost altogether through the infrequency of anaesthetic treatment in any individual's case ordinarily, and buried, amid the hum of returning common sense, under that epitaph of all illumination : "this is a queer world." Yet I have warned others to expect this
wonder on entering the anaesthetic slumber, and none so cautioned has failed to report of it in terms which assured me of its realization. I have spoken with various persons also who induce anesthesis professionally (dentists, surgeons, etc.,) who had observed that many patients at the moment of recall seem as having made a startling yet somehow matter-of-course (and even grotesque) discovery in their own nature, and try to speak of it, but invariably fail in a lost mood of introspection. Of what astonishes them it is hard to give or receive intimation ; but I think most persons who shall have tested it will accept this as the central point of the illumination: That sanity is not the basic quality of intelligence, but is a mere condition which is variable, and like the humming of a wheel, goes up or down the musical gamut according to a physical activity; and that only in sanity is formal or contrasting thought, while the naked life is realized only outside of sanity altogether; and it is the instant contrast of this "tasteless water of souls" with formal thought as we "come to/' that leaves in the patient an astonishment that the awful mystery of Life is at last but a homely and a common thing, and that aside from mere formality the majestic and the
absurd are of equal dignity. The astonishment is aggravated as at a thing of course, missed by sanity in overstepping, as in too foreign a search, or with too eager an attention: as in finding one's spectacles on one's nose, or in making in the dark a step higher than the stair. My first experiences of this revelation had many varieties' of emotion ; but as a man grows calm and determined by experience in general, so am I now not only firm and familiar in this once weird condition, but triumphant—divine. To minds of sanguine imagination there will be a sadness in the tenor of the mystery, as if the key-note of the universe were low,—for no poetry, no emotion known to the normal sanity of man can. furnish a hint of its primeval prestige, and its ail-but appalling solemnity ; but for such as have felt sadly the instability of temporal things there is a comfort of serenity and ancient peace; while for the resolved and imperious spirit there are majesty and supremacy unspeakable. Nor can it be long until all who enter the anaesthetic condition (and there are hundreds every secular day) will be taught to expect this revelation, and will date from its experience their initiation into the Secret of Life.
Men and brethren, into this pervading genius we pass, forgetting and forgotten, and thenceforth each is all, in God. There is no higher, no deeper, no other, than the life in which we are founded.
"The One remains, the many change and pass;"
and each and every of us is the One that remains.—Listen, then, to the charming of the Prince of Peace, who takes away the sin of the world, and say, each for himself, My Father and I are one.''—Mourn not for the dead, who have awoke in the bosom of God. They care not, they think not, and when we are what they are, we too shall think of them no more.—Much might I say of the good of this discovery, if it were, as it soon may be, generally known of. Now for the first time the ancient problem is referred to empirical resolution, when the expert and the novice may meet equally on the same ground. My worldly tribulation
reclines on its divine composure; and though not in haste to die, I "care not to be dead," but look into the future with serene and changeless cheer. This world is no more that alien terror which was taught me. Spurning the cloudgrimed and still sultry battlements whence so lately Jehovan thunders boomed, my gray gull lifts her wing against the .nightfall, and takes the dim leagues with a fearless eye.
By this revelation we enter to the sadness and the majesty of Jesus—to the solemn mystery which inspired the prophets of every generation. By some accident of being they entered to this condition. This is "the voice of One crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord." He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Heed not for themselves the voice nor the hand, which ever deny themselves; remember only how many inspired times it is spokes and written : I AM—that God whom faltering spirits seek in far-off courts of heaven, while behold! the kingdom of God is neither "lo! here" nor "lo! there" but within yon; it is the Soul. Thou shalt vanish, but the Soul is eternal: I speak not of souls. And behold, I say unto you, the Supreme Genius doth not facultize; the glory is not what It does but what it is; it hath no old nor new, no here nor there; it stays not to remember, to wonder, to compare; to the vehm of the patrician Presence, omniscience were an idle labor and delay, and prophecy is forestalled and bootless in the sole sufficiency whose paean hath no echo.
This is the Ultimatum. It is no glance between conditions, as it in passing from this sphere of existence we might catch a glimpse of
"The Gods, who haunt
The lucid interspace of world and world,
Where never creeps a cloud, or moves a wind,
Nor ever falls the least white star of snow,"
and lose them again as we pass on to another orb and organization. This thick net of space containing all worlds—this fate of being which contains both gods and men is the capacity of the Soul, and can be claimed as greater than us only by claiming a greater than the greatest, and denying God and safety. As sure as being—whence is our care—so sure is content, beyond duplexity, antithesis or trouble, where I have triumphed in a solitude that God is not above.
It is written that "there was war in heaven,"—that aeons of dominion, as absolute as any, beheld the banners of Lucifer streaking with silver and crimson the mists of the morning, and beard the heavy guns of Moloch and Belial beating on the heights of the mind; and I read that dead men have appeared as human forms;—nought of this can I deny, more or better than I can deny myself. The tales, whether they be true or false, are as substantial as the things of which they tell.
"We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."
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