New Discovery


The Story of a New Departure in Psychology, Biology and Cosmology

Just about twenty years ago, I determined to start studying the nature of dreams. And it is worth mentioning that I determined at the same time that I would continue that research as long as I lived. This is an indication of the high hopes I had of the possible results that such research might yield; also that I foresaw difficulties, and intended to pre-empt any tendency in myself to become discouraged, even if initially I made little progress. What I hoped for was an enhanced understanding of the nature of consciousness. And, as has so often been the case in my research, the results have far exceeded my expectations.

I have now solved the riddle which, twenty years ago, was such an enigma to me. I am now familiar with the nature of dreams. It is now quite clear to me that when I wake up I enter a different consciousness. In sleep, I become a participant in the life of another being. I know this as certainly as I know that water is wet, and fire hot. But it was a long journey that had to be made, before this became clear to me, and I believe my readers will best understand the matter if I do my best to recount the main events of that story.

The research which led to my understanding of the enigma which has been termed palagonite formation began with my discovery of a similarity: I saw that palagonite breccia resembles glacial moraine. This same ability to discern similarities and differences led to my beginning in earnest to study the nature of dreams. But in that case it was detection of a difference which was the first important stage of my research. In the autumn of 1901, I had started to read the writings of the philosopher Schopenhauer with considerable attention; and I owe him a great debt of gratitude. Thanks to Schopenhauer, my attention was first drawn to the interesting difference between sleeping and waking consciousness. In due course I realised that it is this difference which should be the principal object of study, and which must first be understood, in order to know the nature of dreams.

The difference may be defined thus:

A man looks out of a window and sees a horse. That extraordinary camera we call the eye captures an image of the horse; and this has such influence upon the man’s brain, that in his consciousness there will be an image of that horse. The man then goes away from the window, sits in a chair, and begins to think of the horse. But now the content of his consciousness is different from when he was looking at the horse. The concept horse exists in his consciousness – diverse memories of size, colour and shape of the horse – but not the image of a horse. Now the man falls asleep in his chair, and dreams of a horse. And now the consciousness has changed again: now it is not as when he thinks of a horse, but as when he sees a horse. To dream of a horse is to see a horse, and not like thinking of a horse.

Let us consider another perception, to which the same applies. A man who is walking, for instance, experiences certain sensations entailed by walking. If he stays still, and thinks about what it is like to be walking, there are no such sensations in his consciousness, only the memory of them. But to dream of walking is, on the contrary, like the act of walking.

This is the important difference, with which I saw that my research must begin. A dream is life, not a memory of life, or thinking about life. This was the enigma, which I longed to resolve.

I am well aware that many people may say that the man we imagine need not be looking at a horse, for an image of a horse to exist in his consciousness; the image can exist in his mind, if he simply thinks of the horse (visualisation of an idea). But I disagree. This is an illusion which arises from the fact that this matter has not been understood. This is precisely the misapprehension which has been the greatest hindrance to progress taking place in psychology. There has been confusion between an image and a lucid memory, precisely because people have not learned to examine their own minds as carefully as they should, in order to understand these matters.

For a long time after that, I considered how it could be understood that a dream is not thought and memory, but as explained above. And although I believed I had made some progress towards understanding, I realised as I continued my efforts that this was not the way forward. I made so little progress that I began to lose hope that I would ever succeed in resolving this puzzling problem.

The next stage is to recount how I finally found my way to the correct approach to my research.

I had noticed that from time to time words and expressions – generally rude and inappropriate ones – would come up in my mind, in the most bizarre manner. Such words would crop up in my consciousness, without my having thought them. And I, naturally, would not have paid any attention to this, had I not had extensive experience of study. Of course, that refuge of ignorance known as the subconscious could be called upon for an explanation. One might have tried to convince oneself that this was an explanation, if it were said that the words came up from the subconscious. But thanks to my successful background in research, I was not led astray in this manner. I tried a different route. It occurred to me that perhaps those words and expressions came into my mind from other minds, just as a telegram is sent from one place to another. And when I set out to test this hypothesis, I realised that I had found the way forward.

Each word in the consciousness has a concomitant state of the brain. And if a word can be transferred from one mind to another, that is because the state of one brain can influence another brain, so that the same state exists there. Or, in other words, the state of one brain can reproduce itself in another brain. But if this is true, it is just as possible that a state can be transferred from one brain to another, which represents an image in the brain of the relevant person. This means that it is as if one man can see through the eyes of another. Or, in other words: what is seen by one pair of eyes may pass, not only to the brain of the person whose eyes they are, but also to the brains of others.

I have here briefly recounted something, which I was far from quick to understand fully myself. But in the end I clearly understood that I had found a way to solve the puzzle which had seemed to me so insuperable. The state of one brain, one nervous system, can emerge in another brain, and in another nervous system. This is the source of the dream-world.

Now certain phenomena which had seemed incomprehensible had an explanation. And since I found this path, as I have explained, my understanding of my subject of study has been constantly growing. That is irrefutable evidence that I am on the right track.

I started to consider whether evidence could be found to prove beyond doubt that dream-life is a participation in the waking life of another. And I have indeed found conclusive proof that dream-consciousness is the consciousness of another.

Long before I found the right direction for my research on this subject, I had noticed that in a dream my appearance seemed as if I were another person. And it had occurred to me that this might be explained as an ancestral memory, from an ancestor of that appearance. I had no way to investigate whether my hypothesis was correct, and now I know that it is wrong. The explanation I have found is not a hypothesis, but a discovery, a fundamental truth, which will stand immutable for all eternity.

The way to understanding is as follows: if my dream-life is the waking life of another person, the dream-giver, my appearance as I perceive it in my dream should differ from my real appearance; for my perception of my appearance in the dream is the conception of another, the dream-giver, of his or her appearance. Extensive study has convinced me that this is exactly so. Whenever I, in a dream, feel that I am quite familiar with my appearance or, to be more precise, when I see how I appear, the appearance of which I dream is not my own.

Further incontrovertible proof that dream-consciousness is in fact the consciousness of another person will be discussed below.

When I now started to study the dream-life with renewed interest and enhanced knowledge, I discovered that dreams may be classified into two categories. Some dreams are of such a nature that I feel that all I dream of is familiar from my waking hours. Such dreams are, to a greater or lesser extent, muddled; and as I learned to study these dreams I saw that they were nothing but illusions – I do not say misperceptions, so as to stick to my principal object of study, dream visions. I succeeded in reaching the clear realisation that a vision seen in a dream was not what I thought I saw.

And this was a crucial discovery. For this gave me solid proof that dream visions are not created by the mind itself, but enter the mind from outside. And the illusions are consistent with a phenomenon with which everyone is familiar from waking life. A while ago I saw, for instance, a man standing in a doorway as I walked past. For a moment I looked at the man in such a way that I thought he was another person than he was. I thought I saw the person I had expected to see there; but this was a man I had certainly not expected to see there, and initially my brain created an incorrect image of what the eyes saw. Everyone is familiar with this experience in their own lives. And this is the cause of illusions in dreams.

Illusion-dreams are the dreams I experience most often. And so far as I can tell the same is true of most other people. But then there are other dreams, which differ considerably from those discussed above. Such dreams are not muddled. The consciousness is lucid: although asleep, I am almost as if I were awake. But all I see is unfamiliar to me from my waking life. Not only that; much of what I see can definitely be said to be not on this Earth. I dream, for instance, that I see stars, and they are clearly discernible, yet the constellations I see are not from the heavens we see here on Earth. I see a ribbon of light in the sky, similar to the Northern Lights, yet shining with brightness probably a hundred times as great as the brightest Northern Lights I have seen when awake. I dream of the ocean, and see ships speed past so fast, that they cannot be moving at less than 50 or 60 knots. I see magnificent fleets of aircraft and airships, unlike anything I have seen when awake. And it is worth mentioning that I saw aeroplanes in my dreams, very clearly, long before I had ever seen an aeroplane in my waking life. I see houses, big as mountains, and magnificent in many different ways. I have seen the tallest manmade structure on earth, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, yet how much taller and more magnificent are the buildings I have seen in my dreams. Mountains and rocks I have seen, unlike those on our Earth. And the same is true of the people, the animals and the plants.

The studies I have recounted here, and others of similar nature, will be quite incomprehensible if the assumption is made that the dream has its roots in the consciousness of the person him/herself, and springs from memories of waking life, as discussed in the paper on Aristotle and Bergson.. But once the fundamental understanding now under discussion is achieved, once one knows that dream-life is attributable to participation in the consciousness of another, all becomes easy to understand.

In order to make this clear to ourselves, we may take the following approach: That which we see gives rise to thoughts and feelings in us. Or, in other words, the image which travels from our eye to our mind brings with it an entourage of thoughts and feelings. Let us assume that an image, with its entourage, is transferred from one brain to another. It appears fairly obvious that the received image, from outside, will be more noticeable to the recipient than its entourage of thoughts and feelings.

This is the nature of illusion-dreams. The connection with the mind of the dream-giver is in this case so imperfect, that only the image itself appears in the dream-recipient’s mind: the accompanying entourage of thought makes little, if any impression. The received image, on the other hand, takes on a new entourage, borrowed from some similar or related image which has entered the mind of the dreamer or dream-recipient in waking life; and this gives rise to the illusions. Thus it becomes easy to understand how this category of dream comes to be.

Yet again, the phenomenon may be explained thus: when it appears to us that everything in our dreams is familiar from our waking life, that is because we have only a partial connection with the dream-giver. Images from the dream-giver’s brain appear, admittedly, in our brain, but the concomitant understanding and memories are lacking. They are overwhelmed by the state of our own brain. The dream-visions are thus distorted by our own memories and mind, and become illusions.

We now clearly understand that the dreams where we see phenomena with which we are unfamiliar in our waking lives take place when the connection with the dream-giver is so complete, that it is not only the image from the dream-giver’s brain which appears in our own brain, but also so much of that image’s entourage of thoughts, that no illusion occurs.

Should any doubts remain that this is the correct way to achieve understanding of this matter, they will be dispelled if we consider how the categories of dreams overlap at the boundaries, just as one would expect according to this theory. The same dream may belong in both categories: for instance the following dream. This is of course not a theoretical example – which would be pointless – but a dream I myself have dreamt. I seem to be walking down a street here in Reykjavík. And as I walk down the street, my consciousness sharpens, and I begin taking more notice of the buildings than I have done before. Then I notice that I have never seen these buildings before: that I am not in Reykjavík, and not on any street I have seen while awake. So strange are the buildings that I can go yet further and declare that I have never in my waking life seen such a city. I go on down the street, until I reach the sea. And my consciousness grows sharper still, and it is astonishingly interesting to observe how the consciousness in the dream expands and grows more lucid. I now notice that darkness is falling. Consciousness of the sky has not been present in the dream before. But now I look up at the sky and stars, and I see them clearly. I seem to try to discern the constellations, as I so often do when awake, but I see no constellation there which I recognise. The dream then begins to grow hazier. The explanation for this is obvious: my consciousness in the dream becomes more lucid, as the state of the dream-giver’s brain is induced more strongly into my brain. At the end of the dream the connection becomes less strong, and hence the dream-consciousness grows less lucid.

What I have done is to apply to my research into dreams the methodology and principles of the natural scientist. I have done my best to practise carrying out my studies with the utmost accuracy, to make the most detailed comparisons, and not to be constrained by preconceptions of what is probable or improbable. And thus I have discovered a method of acquiring new knowledge, whose consequences will be much farther-reaching than the invention of the telescope and microscope – and the method is in no way any more mystical, or less scientific, than the application of those excellent research tools. My circumstances were more restricted than those of most other scientists, and it appeared almost impossible that I should make any great discoveries in the natural sciences. But then I discovered in my own mind the most splendid subject of research. The spirit which has done the most to discover the world and understand itself – the Nordic spirit – was victorious, in spite of all difficulties. An immutable foundation was discovered, where all had previously been speculation and haziness. And, while these truths are magnificent, they are obvious and easily understood by any person not tightly constrained by wrong preconceptions.

Let us recall once more, how neatly it is revealed, when we consider our lucid dreams, that the consciousness of another is manifested here in our own brain. I dream, for instance, of a building. On the balcony of the building is a man who is about to give a speech. I now realise that in my mind is a whole collection of memories, relating to what I see; but when I wake up the memories vanish quickly – far more quickly than the images, or more accurately the memory of the images, which had entered my mind. This memory-entourage of the images is lost so rapidly because my mind lacks the connections from the dream-giver’s mind which would maintain them. But the dream-vision itself became connected to what I myself had seen in waking life.

Another example: I dream that I am walking up a mountain. I have never, when awake, seen such a mountain, or any country such as the one that I see below me as I go up the mountain. But I clearly realise that in my mind is a mass of memories relating to that mountain and the land that I see. Yet when I awaken the memories vanish very quickly.

By study of such dreams one can fully understand that such memories are the entourage of the dream-visions or dream-images; the memories do not create them. Dream theories such as those of Bergson or Freud would never have been postulated, had sufficient effort been devoted to the study of dreams.

This brings me to the most spectacular discovery yielded by applying the natural scientist’s methodology in my research. And it has been revealed with complete certainty.

A mystic would seek to explain lucid dreams in terms of the dreamer’s soul leaving his body and entering the spirit world, or one of those planes of existence which the Theosophists believe exist between the moon and the earth, and even inside the earth itself. Mysticism is a misunderstanding of important phenomena; this misconception, the “astral plane” and other such planes of existence, may well now be at an end. It is quite obvious that when, in my sleep, I see visions which no-one on this earth can see, that is because the dreamer-giver sees those phenomena, where he/she is. The dream-giver, therefore, is not on this earth. Hence he/she must be on another. In our sleep, we here on earth are connected to people on other planets. While this finding, arising from studies by a waking man, is so extraordinary that it will change the circumstances of all mankind when it comes to be applied, it is certain that the natural sciences have never yielded a more reliable conclusion, nor better founded.

I felt it was a remarkable discovery, when I realised that the dream-life is in fact the waking life of another person. And when I became fully cognisant of the connection to other planets I was for a time, we may say, overcome with astonishment. When my reader has started to know for sure that what I say here is true, he/she too will experience a similar astonishment. And the near future will reveal that that astonishment is not unfounded. Yet, though I had been greatly astonished, my astonishment was hardly less when I learned to understand what will now be explained:

Þorsteinn Erlingsson the poet was one of the most remarkable people I have known. Þorsteinn’s forehead was one of those things which have demonstrated so clearly to me the extraordinary potential of the repressed nation that inhabits our country. I have spoken to leading scientists and literary men, and examined them closely. But none had a forehead as admirable as Þorsteinn Erlingsson’s. Þorsteinn was the man in Reykjavík whom I visited most, and I began to notice that I dreamed more lucidly than usual if I had spoken to Þ.E. the previous day. Once, when I had spoken to another great intellect, the Rev. Guðmundur Helgason (previously of Reykholt) I dreamed an especially lucid dream, which led me to write my paper On Another Planet.

I now learned to understand that my dreams are not only influenced by intellectuals, but by everybody. And the influence is direct. I do not need to speak to the person in order to notice the effect. It is enough to sit or stand near him/her, or walk past him/her. And what astonished me was to realise how others determine my dreams. This is not to say that they are dream-givers. But they have such direct influence on who the dream-giver will be, it is as if they determine the connection. Each person is another’s determinant, focussing the connection with the inhabitants of other planets. I have made many attempts to be my own determinant, my own mind focussing the connection. But all such attempts failed. I have always been aware that the connection was determined by the minds of others, and especially by their attitudes towards me. It is thus influence from others which determines whether I dream well or badly. But I rarely dream well. The dream-giver is most often a man who is in Hell, i.e. a place of ugliness, devastation and suffering, as here on earth, but even worse. It has never happened to me that the determinant becomes my dream-giver, but in Nýall accounts have been given of studies which show that this can occur. And I have often been able to tell how the directions of the determinant’s thinking appear in my own mind; and I have also been able to tell that words can be transferred from one mind to another. The field of research which is opened here is magnificent and important; such studies are extreme tests for the intelligence, and difficult to perform. Bioradiation and induction become quite obvious, when one knows how to carry out those studies discussed here; and indeed this irradiation from one person to another is extraordinary. Each person is irradiated by another, and irradiates others. Each is a determinant who focuses others on a connection, and is himself focussed by others to a connection with life on other planets. And to know this is so important, in order to understand the basic of the hyperzoon or Higher Being.

The hyperzoon is to the individual person as the highly-complex metazoon, this organism known as Man, is to an individual cell. And Divinity consists in the coordination of individuals, who experience reciprocal irradiation and induction, being perfected. The difference between reason and other abilities of such a perfectly adjusted and adjusting individual, and human reason, is more than the difference between the reason and other abilities of a human being, and those of the cell which swims in water, so small as to be invisible, with no consciousness of itself or of this extraordinary world.

Arthur Schopenhauer, the wisest of German philosophers, said that the way to understand existence was to examine one’s own mind. And the philosopher was certainly correct, although he himself did not study the matter deeply enough, or in sufficient detail. But if we make an exhaustive study of that remarkable state of mind which we call a dream, we find the way forward. And we are not limited to studying our own dreams alone. We can find, if we try hard enough, a way to explore the dreams of others also, while they are being dreamt.

Many people talk in their sleep, but they do not reply when spoken to. But there are those with whom it is possible to converse while they sleep; in this case the state is so similar to that of a trance, or the communicative state of a psychic or medium, that it is difficult to tell them apart. A trance is no more than a variety of ordinary sleep and sleep amplification. The psychic has the remarkable and prized talent of being able to converse with others when fast asleep. Thus we are afforded the opportunity to study dreams, while they are being dreamt. And we can tell very clearly that the dream is the consciousness of another. It is most interesting to observe how the vocal organs of the psychic gradually adjust to the dream-giver. For one who has understood the nature of dream-life, the trance state of the psychic is not in any way mysterious. But if one reads a paper by the well-known American psychologist William James, whose title is, so far as I remember, Reminiscences of a Psychical Researcher – I refer to it in my paper On Brattabrekka (Lögrétta) – one can see how one of the leading psychologists of our time has totally failed to understand the psychic’s trance state. People have been so far from a true understanding that they have imagined that the psychic plays a part and exploits, in a premeditated and cunning manner, information he or she has accumulated, with the objective of fooling those present at the séance. People are at such as stage of ignorance in our time, on the threshold of a new age, that it is true to say that astronomy in pre-Copernican times was more advanced, in its way, than the psychology and biology which are unfamiliar with trance and bioinduction.

On careful examination, one can be assured that the psychic is fast asleep, although he/she answers our questions. And one can ascertain that another consciousness speaks through the psychic, and that the other person is the inhabitant of another planet – just as we can tell that the dream-giver is, in normal sleep, in the vast majority of cases. I have, however, cited examples in this paper which clearly demonstrate that the dream-giver can be a person on this earth, but it may be deemed highly probable that, in such cases also, the earthly dream-giver is simply a determinant who is particularly noticeable, and a channel for a dream-giver who is an inhabitant of another planet.

At a séance we can also make a vital discovery: that the sitters ‒ the guests at the séance ‒ establish the psychic’s connection, in a similar manner to what happens in normal sleep. But there is a difference, and a very interesting one. The psychic appears to have a regular connection with certain sources, which can be reached regardless of who is present at the séance. Such sources are e.g. Feda, who plays such an important role in “Raymond,” Kathleen in the case of G. Vale Owen, and the “little girl” who communicates with the excellent psychic I have discussed before. Thus the new source, to whom the new guest at the séance connects the psychic, is not connected directly with the psychic him/herself, but with the psychic’s regular source. This may be termed epigenetic induction; and is a subject very well worthy of further study. The illness known as hysteria appears to arise from a harmful induction or regular connection; and it is most interesting that the illness often commences when a person dreams of injuring him/herself. We now know that this indicates that the dreamer has a connection with a dream-giver who suffers injury, after which the relationship between the two nervous systems persists although the dream is over. The cure consists of effective efforts to “readjust” to a beneficial connection. This is the nature of the so-called “spiritual healing” which is the subject of so much debate at present, and on which Professor Ágúst Bjarnason gave interesting lectures this winter. Such healing may be termed “miraculous” – it is bioradiotherapy. The Saga of Egill, chapter 72, gives an admirable account of how to cure hysteria. The ogre, who has wrought so much harm, plays an interesting part. Egill’s cure consists of inducing a positive connection in the girl, and cutting off her connection with the dream-giver who caused her illness. It is most interesting that the saga says that the girl felt as if she had awoken from sleep; and that was indeed probably the case. The comparison arises from the change of consciousness experienced when the connection with the cause of the illness was cut off. And this is an indication of the truthfulness of the saga.

If the life-force which is induced is powerful enough, even severe and grave illness can be cured, and in no more than a moment. There are accounts of such cures which are hard to challenge. But no-one should understand my words to mean that I intend to resurrect the old belief in miracles. Healing by induction is no more supernatural than, for instance, surgery. It is always mainly in sleep that illnesses and injuries heal best, and this is due to the amplification that takes place during sleep. And bioinduction will not replace doctors, but make their work many times more effective. It is precisely because scientific methods were not applied that spiritual healing has so rarely worked; and, because people did not understand the relationship between phenomena, they believed that such healing was supernatural. But now the true relationship is known, and men are freed from that lamentable belief that there is a God (or gods) who could alleviate the sorrow and suffering of a tormented mankind, and yet does not wish to do so. This is what people believe in Hell, not knowing how terribly they blaspheme. That is precisely what is wrong in Hell, or wherever there is sorrow and suffering: it is outside the bounds of the Divine. This is precisely what is wrong with the world, still: the Divine is subjected to limits. Where harmony with the Divine power is lacking, that power can have no effect. What I call “Divine power” is the quest to achieve perfect harmony, which is the Divine being. The nature of the Divine being has, truth to tell, not been correctly understood on this earth – as witness the fact that people speak of a God who punishes and smites. One might equally well suggest that snow could fall from the sun.

When mankind starts wanting to accept the beginning here presented, the limits set upon the Divine here on earth will be overcome. And then the change will be more than if we had never set eyes upon our Sun, and we were to see this King of Day rise up into the skies for the first time.

It is not to be expected that the quest to establish the correct course here on earth should be manifested in any more spectacular way at first than is seen here: an attempt by a weary man to write a few papers. And those who are in Hell suffer yet more than before, knowing what could be achieved, if only harmony could be established with the right way of thinking. It will be easy for me to regain my physical powers, and to cope with the difficulties which have all but destroyed my life, when my mind is allowed to fulfil its potential. But that is far from being the case. The dream-givers with whom I have been given connections by attitudes towards me have been to an extraordinary degree idiots, madmen – beings with such imperfect brains that they may hardly be termed human. I am now quite practised in studying such phenomena. And with the assistance of a good psychic I can discover which sources are more naturally mine than those which the general attitude towards me has provided to me. I can deduce this from the connection established with the psychic, or his usual contact, through my presence. On one such occasion a connection was established with an Icelander of the 11th century; and it appears that certain aspects of the determinant’s thinking derive from the time before Iceland adopted the Christian faith [AD 1000] and submitted to be ruled by the King of Norway [AD 1262]. On another occasion an epigenetic connection (i.e. via an intermediary) was established with a being which would in ancient times have been called a god. And it is no exaggeration to say that this was a more enlightening experience that I have had, or heard of, before.

Unfortunately it has not been possible to continue these experiments as yet. But it was clear that, with the assistance of good psychics, a person who knows something of biology, and does not believe in the spirit world or another life, could write such accounts of life on other planets and the continuing life of renowned ancients and others, as would reach millions of readers, even if they were at first composed in Icelandic.