Pathways Through to Space Two great books caught in a copyright horror show

Earlier today Louise quoted from a book that should be better known, Consciousness Without an Object by Franklin Merrell-Wolff.

This is one of the greatest spiritual books of all time. Nothing like it has ever been written, as far as I know, except the same author’s other book, Pathways Through to Space.

Unfortunately — multiply unfortunately, because what I’m about to say is true of many great spiritual books — these texts are not lawfully in print in competently edited editions. I won’t go through the whole sad story but if you’re interested, you may be able to read about it on the website of The Franklin Merrell-Wolff Fellowship which has gone to court to try to gain legal rights to publish proper editions of this great author’s works.

The bottom line is that there is only one edition of these books lawfully in print today, in the form of a combined volume, and the editors irresponsibly took it on themselves to rearrange the texts. Incredibly, this edition is published by State University of New York Press which is (for the most part) a normal, competent, professional academic press, but in this case they screwed up.

The most accurate editions that I know of were published by Julian Press in the 1970s but one is out of print and the other is — well, read on, it’s a peculiar story.

For several years, a free digital version of one of those Julian Press volumes has floated around the Internet. As far as I know that edition was created without permission by an anonymous good samaritan. This is an assumption on my part based on the fact that there is no publication information or copyright notice in the digital edition, neither in the visible text or the internal files. I’ve published ebooks and examined many internally, and I’ve never seen a lawful publisher fail to identify themselves and claim ownership like this.

It may seem strange to call a copyright infringer a good samaritan but I think that’s appropriate. When I was young I was a fervent proponent of copyright but over the years my opinion has changed. Cases like this one have made me think that copyright terms should be drastically reduced. Nobody’s interests are served today by copyrights on Merrell-Wolff’s books. They should have expired when he died. All they do today is prevent proper editions from becoming available.

To my surprise, a few minutes ago, I just noticed that Amazon is selling this digital edition. Amazon doesn’t identify a publisher and Amazon is selling it directly themselves.

To satisfy my curiosity I wasted $10 to buy the Amazon edition and to my amazement, discovered that it has no copyright notice in it.

In other words, Amazon is apparently selling this book unlawfully as if it’s in the public domain even though it’s not.

It looks to me like Amazon is selling the free, infringing edition without permission from anyone. (This wouldn’t surprise me because Amazon once infringed a copyright that I owned on an ebook that I published through Amazon.)

Here’s a link I just found for downloading a free copy of the accurate digital edition of Pathways Through to Space. This link is not on my server. If the link doesn’t work, tell me in comments and I’ll look around for another one.

Pathways Through to Space

6 thoughts to “Pathways Through to Space Two great books caught in a copyright horror show

  1. Freddie, thanks so much for this! I had read his other work “The Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object” partially but in this book you provided a link for, there’s an interesting chapter IV where he says :
    “Saturday evening we had the usual meditation. I suggested the technique of not trying to stop thought or the reports of the senses, but to focus upon the Emptiness with the intellectual recognition : I AM this Emptiness”

    It was so pleasantly surprised that this was the same technique that helped me too. In one of your other blogs, I had reported that “watching thoughts” seemed very un-useful to me. After doing the watching thoughts for many months, it occurred to me “why in the world am I watching and looking for thoughts that are not even here yet? Why can’t I simply rest in the Nothingness?”

    Interesting that Franklin says he got much better “results” with this approach too….But I also see that different techniques and approaches work for different people.

    In other words, I could rephrase this technique of meditation as “leave everything alone – thoughts, sensations, emotions and focus on the empty space in which all these arise, and just relax into it. If any of the former hijacks your attention, return your focus to the empty space and rest there”.

    1. Hi Rama. This reminds me that when you wrote that earlier comment about watching thoughts, I wanted to send you one of Muruganar’s verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai but I couldn’t find the translation of it that I remembered. It says something like (I’m writing from memory), “Instead of plucking the itching hairs of thoughts one by one, take a razor and slice them all off with a single stroke.”

      It also reminds me (you’ve probably seen this) that in one of Merrell-Wolff’s books, when he describes the precise moment of his first realization, he says something like, “I put my attention on something that seemed like nothing but then I realized it was everything.”

  2. Well said by Muruganar! My challenge in meditation has been to leave everything alone and focus on the Nothing but in barely a few seconds, attention wavers and before I know it, its once again caught in web of thought!
    I now realize the critical importantance of bringing order and emotional distance in my external life – ie. job, money, family, and especially relationships. External “problems” pulls attention away from focusing on the Nothing causing it to wallow and brood in/over the past. The strong attachment and momentum of thoughts cause us to suffer even when we know that Nothing can offer us peace.
    As N. Maharaj used to say, its the chaos the mind that prevents one from noticing one’s true nature, the Nothing.

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