Franklin Merrell-Wolff’s Aphorisms on Consciousness-without-an-object

These aphorisms belong to a level of consciousness where thought and music unite. They are seeds that may develop into a comprehensive system of philosophy while, at the same time, they are a substance bringing sustenance to the soul. It is not necessary that the reader should understand them. One should use them as focal points for meditation and permit their meaning to develop in his consciousness as a plant grows from seed. They are symbols first and concepts afterward. As concepts they illumine the way for understanding. As symbols they open the door to the realization of that Reality which cannot be felt or thought.[1]


  1. Consciousness-without-an-object is.
  2. Before objects were, Consciousness-without-an-object is.
  3. Though objects seem to exist, Consciousness-without-an-object is.
  4. When objects vanish, yet remaining through all unaffected, Consciousness-without-an-object is.
  5. Outside of Consciousness-without-an-object nothing is.
  6. Within the bosom of Consciousness-without-an-object lies the power of awareness that projects objects.
  7. When objects are projected, the power of awareness as subject is presupposed, yet Consciousness-without-an-object remains unchanged.
  8. When consciousness of objects is born, then, likewise, consciousness of absence of objects arises.
  9. Consciousness of objects is the Universe.
  10. Consciousness of absence of objects is Nirvana.
  11. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lie both the Universe and Nirvana, yet to Consciousness-without-an-object these two are the same.
  12. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lies the seed of Time.
  13. When awareness cognizes Time then knowledge of Timelessness is born.
  14. To be aware of Time is to be aware of the Universe, and to be aware of the Universe is to be aware of Time.
  15. To realize Timelessness is to attain Nirvana.
  16. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is no difference between Time and Timelessness.
  17. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lies the seed of the world-containing Space.
  18. When awareness cognizes the world-containing Space then knowledge of the Spatial Void is born.
  19. To be aware of the world-containing Space is to be aware of the Universe of Objects.
  20. To realize the Spatial Void is to awaken to Nirvanic Consciousness.
  21. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is no difference between the world-containing Space and the Spatial Void.
  22. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lies the Seed of Law.
  23. When consciousness of objects is born the Law is invoked as a Force tending ever toward Equilibrium.
  24. All objects exist as tensions within Consciousness-without-an-object that tend ever to flow into their own complements or others.
  25. The ultimate effect of the flow of all objects into their complements is mutual cancellation in complete Equilibrium.
  26. Consciousness of the field of tensions is the Universe.
  27. Consciousness of Equilibrium is Nirvana.
  28. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is neither tension nor Equilibrium.
  29. The state of tensions is the state of ever-becoming.
  30. Ever-becoming is endless-dying.
  31. So the state of consciousness of objects is a state of ever-renewing promises that pass into death at the moment of fulfillment.
  32. Thus when consciousness is attached to objects the agony of birth and death never ceases.
  33. In the state of Equilibrium where birth cancels death the deathless Bliss of Nirvana is realized.
  34. But Consciousness-without-an-object is neither agony nor bliss.
  35. Out of the Great Void, which is Consciousness-without-an-object, the Universe is creatively projected.
  36. The Universe as experienced is the created negation that ever resists.
  37. The creative act is bliss, the resistance, unending pain.
  38. Endless resistance is the Universe of experience; the agony of crucifixion.
  39. Ceaseless creativeness is Nirvana, the Bliss beyond human conceiving.
  40. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is neither creativeness nor resistance.
  41. Ever-becoming and ever-ceasing-to-be are endless action.
  42. When ever-becoming cancels the ever-ceasing-to-be then Rest is realized.
  43. Ceaseless action is the Universe.
  44. Unending Rest is Nirvana.
  45. But Consciousness-without-an-object is neither Action nor Rest.
  46. When consciousness is attached to objects it is restricted through the forms imposed by the world-containing Space, by Time, and by Law.
  47. When consciousness is disengaged from objects, Liberation from the forms of the world-containing Space, of Time, and of Law is attained.
  48. Attachment to objects is consciousness bound within the Universe.
  49. Liberation from such attachment is the State of unlimited Nirvanic Freedom.
  50. But Consciousness-without-an-object is neither bondage nor freedom.
  51. Consciousness-without-an-object may be symbolized by a SPACE that is unaffected by the presence or absence of objects, for which there is neither Time nor Timelessness; neither a world-containing Space nor a Spatial Void; neither Tension nor Equilibrium; neither Resistance nor Creativeness; neither Agony nor Bliss; neither Action nor Rest; and neither Restriction nor Freedom.
  52. As the GREAT SPACE is not to be identified with the Universe, so neither is It to be identified with any Self.
  53. The GREAT SPACE is not God, but the comprehender of all Gods, as well as of all lesser creatures.
  54. The GREAT SPACE, or Consciousness-without-an-object, is the Sole Reality upon which all objects and all selves depend and derive their existence.
  55. The GREAT SPACE comprehends both the Path of the Universe and the Path of Nirvana.
  56. Beside the GREAT SPACE there is none other.



[1] From the foreword to a small pamphlet edition of these aphorisms that was circulated in the 1970s. This pamphlet can be found under the tab, “Aphorisms and Poetry.”