Read the Most Recent Post on Ark in Time:
April 7th, 2012
Welcome readers - friends, acquaintances and visitors whom I may never meet - welcome to Ark in Time. This site tells a story of a book. Yes, while books tell stories of others, each has a story of its own. Since the author realizes how often such stories remain untold, and since both his stories c[...]
This site tells a story of a book. The book, still being written, is entitled “Ark in Time” and tells the tale of a contemporary odyssey. Through a series of unusual events, the author Asaf Braverman was given a glimpse into vestiges of ancient wisdom that have survived through the millennia to the present. Centuries old, these remnants still whisper a message mostly unheard and ignored. The author’s story illustrates the price and reward of heeding that faint whisper.
While “Ark in Time” captures the author’s odyssey, the book itself has a story of its own, documented and shared on this site. Books are like Arks: they transport knowledge through time – from one generation to the next – just as Noah’s Ark conveyed through the mythical flood, the seeds of new life. At the opportune moment, the seeds are sown and sprout into new growth, just as books containing the seeds of wisdom may revive a lost understanding. Ark in Time is, therefore, a contemporary attempt at building a metaphysical Ark, one that would preserve and transport the whisper of ancient wisdom to another age. Although this aim is admittedly daunting, the author is, nevertheless, committed to this endeavor, spurred on by an intuitive responsibility to share what he has been given.
If you are new here, read the introductory post, or simply read on to learn more about Ark in Time…
Ancient Wisdom in the World
An ancient vessel heaves through a stormy sea. Its massive beams groan and creek with each swell and trough. Inside, the cargo sways hazardously as the ship is pushed up into the briny foam and then plunged into a deep abyss. The weather-beaten timbers strain with each pitch and yaw, yet the vessel remains afloat…
All cultures leave legacies for posterity. Some erect monuments, others establish rituals, and yet others pass laws–each with the noble aim of having their works outlast their creators. These legacies are handed down from one generation to the next in the hope that ancient wisdom will withstand the ravages of Time. So do the collective works of mankind forge together to form an ancient vessel that that voyages through time.
Time is the ocean upon which man’s legacies sail. Time buries man’s works in sands, smothers them in jungles or submerges them in floods. Time corrupts the best of man’s ideas and concepts, distorting them into dogma or politicizing them into religion. While man labors to postpone the decay of his efforts, he cannot render them immune to the unpredictability of life or the inescapable shadow of mortality.
The payload within the vessel is Ancient Wisdom, earned by the sweat of man’s brow. All that is worthwhile preserving, that can serve later generations, is carefully loaded into the vessel’s hold, to be preserved from the tides of Time.
The rise and fall of civilizations and cultures may be likened to an Ark voyaging through the floods of Time. Now the Ark appears in the guise of Egyptian pyramids, in a later period it emerges in Roman attire; now it surfaces as Hindu philosophy, later as Buddhist lore; now it rises as Islamic geometry and later as Mayan astrology–all the while navigating the formidable waves of cataclysm that would drown its meaning.
Ancient Wisdom in Man
As without so within, and the metaphor of an Ark navigating through the floods of Time finds identical expression in man. Man seeks to give his life a profound purpose, one that will justify it and outlast it. Only in so doing does he set himself apart from the animals, content, as they are, with a meaningless existence. If an individual dedicates all his powers to this end, he may achieve enduring results, of which history bears repeated proof.
Yet the execution of man’s lofty aims is not without trouble and care, for Time affects man just as it affects civilizations; it erodes his memory, weakens his resolve and erases his understanding. Man formulates a noble aim and he is instantly confronted with a myriad of internal expressions of Time; lethargy, distraction and deviation. To sound the deeper cords of life’s meaning, man must confront Time.
To this end, man must build an Ark within; he must create within himself a principle that can withstand his own fluctuations. He must establish a sea-worthy craft that will bear his lofty aims through distractions, ennui, angers and losses. He can neither count on momentum, which is a derivative of Time, nor on Chance, which is Time’s daughter. He will have to reaffirm his aim with each swell and trough, every day mastering Time anew.
Ancient Wisdom as an Ark in Time
If the efforts of an individual succeed in leaving a lasting imprint, he instructs posterity through his example. His legacy adds a beam to the great Ark of civilization. Thus are the fates of man and civilization intimately intertwined: the great Ark maintains its course piloted by the labors of inspired individuals and inspired individuals draw instruction by taking example from the great Ark. In reciprocation of each other’s needs–man and Ark, Ark and man–each supports the other through the swells of chance and the dark troughs of Time.
And so, to this day, timbers creaking and beams straining, the Ark of Ancient Wisdom continues to journey forth…
Then falter not O book, fulfil your destiny…
You too as a lone bark cleaving the ether, purpos’d I know not whither…
Ancient Wisdom Network
Writing a book goes hand in hand with facilitating its dissemination. In order to publish Ark in Time, I have built a network that presents the book in a larger context and reaches out to like-minded readers. I have called it the Ancient Wisdom Network – a cluster of websites that complement the themes of the book.
The network leans on a range of topics and eminent men: ‘Know Thyself’ – an adage that lies at the foundation of all genuine teachings east and west; ‘Unity and Multiplicity’ – which I refer to by the name of ‘As Above so Below’ and which is an ancient Hermetic adage that draws parallels between different worlds; ‘George Gurdjieff’ – a mystic that gathered ancient wisdom and translated it into modern-age nomenclature; and ‘Peter Ouspensky’ – a student of Gurdjieff, who arranged his wisdom into a structured system.
Pillars of the Ancient Wisdom Network
Know Thyself – The Foundation of Wisdom
Know Thyself addresses the principle of relativity, where the value of knowledge is gauged by its relation to man. After all, wisdom implies a marriage of knowledge and practice, and man cannot delve beyond a certain depth in any field without deepening his understanding of himself.
Since wisdom leans on self-knowledge – and since the call to self-knowledge is ancient – I have compiled thoughts by eminent men on Know Thyself and have set them as a pillar to the Ancient Wisdom Network on this site: Know Thyself.
The Wisdom of Unity
As Above so Below addresses the principle of scale, where wisdom manifests identically in all cosmoses. What seems a multiple of diverse parts becomes unified as we step back to examine it from a distance. Wisdom perceives that laws and phenomena are identical in all worlds. Self-knowledge and knowledge of the external world are, therefore, interdependent.
Since wisdom leans on the ability to perceive unity in multiplicity – and since the principle of scale is ancient – I have compiled observations by eminent men on unity and multiplicity and have set them as a pillar to the Ancient Wisdom Network on this site: As Above so Below.
George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. In the late 1800’s, he conducted extensive searches for ancient wisdom, and managed to catch the tail end of traditions that would become extinct during the turmoil of World War I.
Gurdjieff’s quest led him to a secret brotherhood in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, from which he returned to Russia in possession of a unique system. He called it the Fourth Way, an alternative path to the traditional ways of the fakir, the monk and the yogi. His legacy thus bridged a substantial gap, retrieving the dregs of ancient wisdom from a lost age and transporting them into the twentieth century. Geroge Gurdjieff serves as a pillar to the Ancient Wisdom Network on this site: Gurdjieff.
Peter Demianovitch Ouspensky was a Russian author and philosopher who rejected the mainstream sciences and humanities of his time and went in search of a lost system of ancient wisdom. His travels to the near and far east only strengthened his suspicion that hidden knowledge existed, without enabling him to tap into its sources.
When Ouspensky returned to Russian at the beginning of World War I, he met George Gurdjieff and was introduced to the very hidden knowledge he had sought abroad. Ouspensky would play a key role in expressing Gurdjieff’s wisdom and formulating it in a language palatable to twentieth century man. Ouspensky serves as a pillar to the Ancient Wisdom Network on this site: Ouspensky.