Nothing is, but all things seem, appropriated and misappropriated writing for 'Reading as Art', Senate House Library, London

Text written and performed at Senate House Library, London, October 2013 as part of 'Reading as Art: Turning the pages of Psychology' convened by Sharon Kivland in collaboration with Mura Ghosh.


'Nothing is, but all things seem'.


I only knew that the thing had been; the words and the scenes were gone. Everything appeared in a different aspect, and the dimensions of the planetary bodies, and the intervals between them was tremendous; whilst her spirit seemed to float in a sea of light, like a ship in calm waters. She also described many other things that she had seen; she said that the souls of the dead, on quitting the body, appeared like a bubble of light, out of which a human form was quickly evolved.


Glass sided temples, transparent spheres; floating in an imagined plane. Segmented citrus flavoured fruits held miniature horses and scenes of encapsulated idyll. Smoke is suspended, sounds float in space and her guide's hands are clear.


All visible things are emblems; what you see is not there on its own account; strictly taken, is not there at all: Matter exists only spiritually, and to represent some Idea and body is forth. To call matter gross and say it is incapable of the highest and most exquisite properties; is untrue. Its particles are minute: its properties are most exquisite, as seen in the phenomena of light, electricity, galvanism, magnetism, gravitation, all acting with astounding rapidity through the immensity of space.


Symphonies become colour. Green, red, white, yellow and gold. She cannot describe to me the music she is hearing but her name is Sophie Violette.


Whatever difficulties we may have in forming a consistent idea of the consistent idea of the constitution of the ether, there can be no doubt that the interplanetary and interstellar spaces are not empty, but are occupied by a material substance or body, which is certainly the largest, and probably the most uniform body of which we have any knowledge.


The spheres are important to enjoy the pathway you are on. They talk to you don't you know. It's when the light fits into the space that they are the most enjoyable, yellow, pink, blue, green, teal, lavender, they are all there bouncing off the glass. There are more people here. They take on the shape of the spheres. They are beautiful, yes.


There have always been persons who claimed the gift or distinction of conversing with spirits. Science with its rigorous analysis and its exacting methods of proof has made an end of imaginary beings. Nymphs, fauns, river gods, fairies, brownies, kelpies and spirits of every kind have fallen out of belief; but communications from the unseen world, it is alleged, still reach our world, adapting themselves to the new methods of experimental philosophy.


Language gives a fuller image, which is all the better for being vague. After all, the true seeing is within.


© Hayley Lock, 2013