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Antonin Artaud

selections from The Nerve Meter, Diary from Hell, and Situation of the Flesh

at The Spirit and Flesh World Religion and Spirituality Online Library: uniting seemingly opposed ideologies and vibrations into the true, pristine harmony of cosmic oneness.



"I have aspired no further than the clockwork of the soul, I have transcribed only the pain of an abortive adjustment.

I am a total abyss. Those who believe me capable of a whole pain, a beautiful pain, a dense and fleshy anguish, an anguish which is a mixture of objects, an effervescent grinding of forces rather than a suspended point.

-and yet with restless, uprooting impulses which come from the confrontation of my forces with these abysses of offered finality ...

and there is nothing left but the voluminous abysses, the immobility, the cold-

in short, those who attributed to me more life, who thought me at an earlier stage in the fall of the self, who believed me immersed in a tormented noise, in a violent darkness with which I struggled

-are lost in the shadows of a man. ...


What is difficult is to find one's place and to reestablish communication with one's self. Everything depends on a certain flocculation of things, on the clustering of all these mental gems around a point which has yet to be found.

Here, then, is what I think about thought:


And there is a phosphorescent point at which all reality is recovered, but changed, transformed- and by what??- a point of magical utilization of things. And I believe in mental meteorites, in private cosmogenies. ...


If only one could taste one's void, if one could really rest in one one's void, and this void were not a certain kind of being but not quite death either.

It is so hard to no longer exist, to no longer be in something. The real pain is to feel one's thought shift within oneself. But thought as a fixed point is certainly not painful.

I have reached the point where I am no longer in touch with life, but still have all the appetites and the insistent titillation of being. I have only one occupation left: to remake myself. ...


I consider myself in my minutiae. I put my finger on the precise point of the fault, the unadmitted slide. For the mind is more reptilian than you yourselves, messieurs, it slips away snakelike, to the point where it damages our language, I mean it leaves it in suspense.


I am the man who has most felt the stupefying confusion of his speech in it relations with thought. I am the man who has most accurately charted the moment of his most intimate, his most imperceptible lapses. I lose myself in my thought, actually, the way one dreams, the way one suddenly slips back into one's thought. I am the man who knows the inmost recesses of loss. ...


The paralysis overtakes me and hinders me more and more from coming back to myself. I no longer have any support, any base... I look for myself I know not where. My thought can no longer go where my emotions can images that rise within me drive it. I feel castrated even in my slightest impulses. I finally manage to see the daylight through the barrier of myself by dint of renunciations in every phase of my intelligence and my sensibility. It must be understood that what is damaged in me is the living man, and that this paralysis that chokes me is at the center of my ordinary personality and not of my sense of being a man of destiny. I am definitively apart from life. My torment is as subtle and refined as it is bitter. It is necessary for me to make insane efforts of the imagination, multiplied tenfold by the grip of this strangling asphyxia, in order to succeed in thinking my disease. And if I persist in this pursuit, in this need to pin down once and for all the state of my suffocation. ...


Time may pass and the social upheavals of the world may devastate the ideas of men, I am safe from all ideas steeped in phenomena. Leave me to my extinguished clouds, to my immortal impotence, to my unreasonable hopes. But let it be known that I renounce none of my errors. If I have made mistakes, it is the fault of my flesh, but these lights which my mind allows to filter through from one hour to the next are my flesh whose blood is sheathed in lightning. ...


There is no use telling me that this death trap is inside me. I am part of life, I represent the fatality that chooses me, and it is not possible that all the life in the world counts me with it at a given moment, since by its very nature it threatens the principle of life.

There is something which is higher than all human activity: this is the example of this monotonous crucifixion, this crucifixion in which the soul destroys itself without end. ...


I think about life. All the systems that I shall ever construct will never equal my cries: the cries of a man engaged in remaking his life.

I imagine a system in which all of man would participate, man with his physical flesh and the heights, the intellectual projection of his mind.

For me the first consideration is the incomprehensible magnetism of man, what for lack of a more striking expression I am obliged to call his life force.


These accumulated forces which besiege me, the day will come when my reason will have to accept them, the day will come when they will replace higher thought, these forces which from the outside have the shape of a cry. There are intellectual cries, cries born of the subtlety of the marrow. This is what I mean by Flesh. I do not separate my thought from my life. With each vibration of my tongue I retrace all the pathways of my thought in my flesh.

One must have been deprived of life, of the nervous irradiation of existence, of the conscious wholeness of the nerves, in order to realize that the Sense, and the Science, of all thought is hidden in the nervous vitality of the marrow, to realize how mistaken those persons are who put faith in Intelligence or in absolute Intellectuality. Above all else there is the wholeness of the nerves. A wholeness that includes all of consciousness, and the secret pathways of the mind in the flesh.

But what am I in relation to this theory of the Flesh or, more accurately, of Existence? I am a man who has lost his life and who is seeking by every means to restore it to its place. I am in some sense the Generator of my own vitality: a vitality which is more precious to me than consciousness, for that which in other men is merely the way to be a Man is in me all of Reason.

In the course of this secret quest into the limbo of my consciousness, I have thought I felt explosions, like the colliding of hidden stones or the sudden petrification of flames. Flames that are like imperceptible truths miraculously come to life.

But one must proceed slowly along the road of dead stones, especially when one has lost the understanding of words. It is an indescribable science and one that expands in slow thrusts. And he who possesses it does not understand it. But even the Angels do not understand, for all real understanding is obscure. The clear Mind belongs to matter. I mean the Mind that is clear at a given moment.

But I must inspect this meaning of flesh which is to give me a metaphysics of Being, and the definitive understanding of Life.

For me the word Flesh means above all apprehension, hair standing on end, flesh laid bare with all the intellectual profundity of this spectacle of pure flesh and all its consequences for the senses, that is, for the sentiments.

And sentiment means presentiment, that is, direct understanding, communication turned inside out and illumined from within. There is a mind in the flesh, but a mind quick as lightning. And yet the excitement of the flesh partakes of the high substance of the mind.

And yet whoever says flesh also says sensibility. Sensibility, that is, assimilation, but the intimate, secret, profound, absolute assimilation of my own pain, and consequently the solitary and unique knowledge of that pain."


aby Antonin Artaud. excerpted from The Nerve Meter, Diary from Hell, and Situation of the Flesh.








Books by Jack Haas





"Having awoken to my own immortal self, I am endeavoring to share my journey with others, though without attempting to impart a structure on a process which must always be natural and unique to each individual."

Jack Haas




What the critics have said about books by Jack Haas:

"...very strongly recommended reading..." The Midwest Book Review
"Few like Jack Haas go the whole hog. ...eminently readable."
Nandakumar Nayar (bookreview.com)
"...the voice crying out in the wilderness, bravely, madly, tenderly, ironically...so densely, so wonderously well."
Jonathon Kerslake (editor, Lived Experience)
"The Kerouac of the new millennium."
Frank Wolf (extreme adventurer and author of Blind Bay)
"...a glorious illumination of our spiritual birthright."
Benjamin Tucker (author of Roadeye)
"Jack Haas delivers a wonderful message."
Judine Slaughter (Express Yourself Books)
Joann Turner (The Messenger)




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IN AND OF : memoirs of a mystic journey

by Jack Haas    available in paperback and ebook


The autobiographical account of Jack Haas’ journey from the claustrophobic city, to the primitive wilderness of coastal British Columbia, California, and Alaska, and into the uncharted regions of the soul. This is a true tale of adventure, misadventure, wonder, struggle, mysticism, and miracles. It is a journey into rare experiences, and it is a journey home. If you love a good read, you won't be disappointed by this prose masterpiece. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a B.C. Book Prize.


“…an enthralling, true-life account… very strongly recommended reading...” Midwest Book Review (Reviewer's Choice, five stars)




ROOTS AND WINGS: adventures of a spirit on earth        

by Jack Haas      available in paperback and ebook


A rapturous saga, relating the author’s unique experiences while out and about in “this crazy, beautiful, impossible world”, as he describes it. Jack Haas’ travels encompass a wide variety of places, such as India, Iceland, Hawaii, New Zealand, Nepal, Europe, and Israel. Largely, however, this is an inner odyssey, and is a profound account of the author’s acceptance, love, and alchemical union with the spirit and the earth itself. If you need a kick in the pants to get back up and go for it, this is a book for you.


“…exquisitely balances poetic rapture and esoteric insight. …a glorious illumination of our spiritual birthright.” Benjamin Tucker (author of Roadeye)




OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self

by Jack Haas      available in paperback and ebook


This is both a remarkable journey through sacred India, and a pilgrimage to the immortal self. With his ever inexorable determination to pursue his highest path, Jack Haas visits many holy areas within the subcontinent of India, and communes with numerous masters who have passed from this plane, but who remain in the subtle realm to assist mankind in its growth to freedom and eternity. Within the pages of this book Haas describes his own evolution towards an expanded, unlimited consciousness which is united to an inward, all-pervasive soul: the profound, eternal union of spirit and flesh. This is an important read for those on the crest of awakening to their immortal selves.




TRANSFIGURATION: the union of spirit and flesh

by Jack Haas      available in paperback and ebook


This is the collector's edition containing Jack Haas' three autobiographical works within one volume: IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, ROOTS AND WINGS: adventures of a spirit on earth, OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self. Although each book is an independent work, the three together comprise a most unique spiritual journey, eloquently detailing Jack Haas' travels and adventures with his soror mystica (his alchemical mystical sister) as they experience a plethora of improbable encounters, synchronicities, mythical realizations, alchemical fulfillments, and a host of eccentric and spirited individuals. A truly profound spiritual autobiography.






THE WAY OF WONDER:  a return to the mystery of ourselves      

by Jack Haas      available in paperback and ebook


An inspiring exploration of the mystery of our existence. Jack Haas uniquely assimilates many different spiritual paths and secular philosophies, and leads the reader into the experience of mystic wonder. This is a book devoted to the miracle, awe, and beauty in all life. It is a book about the rapture of unknowing. A must read for anyone who desires to break through the bonds of the current paradigm, and enter the realm of cosmic awe. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


“...a most unusual, and powerful book.” George Fisk (author of A New Sense of Destiny




THE TAO OF ETERNITY: the transcendent, immortal spirit, and the subtle, infinite self

by Jack Haas      available in paperback and ebook


In the spirit of Lao Tzu's Tao te Ching, Jack Haas conveys the subtle, effortless, identitiless nature of the eternal self. Assimilating his own brief, insightful pieces with quotes from a great variety of other sources, Haas attempts to take the reader beyond the current manifest paradigm, and into an everlasting awakening to their own immortal, unmanifest self. This is a potent, modern exposition based on personal experience. A valuable work which will assist readers in recognizing their own eternal nature.






THE DREAM OF BEING: aphorisms, ideograms, and aislings      

by Jack Haas      available in paperback and ebook

An idiosyncratic collection of Jack Haas’ metaphysical poetry, transformational drawings, and esoteric insights, metaphorically conveying the soul’s journey through life, and subtly expressing the dream nature of all reality. A most unique book of modern poetry and symbolic art.

“…a very different type of inspirational work and highly recommended as an example of the art of poetry…” Midwest Book Review (Reviewer's Choice, five stars)




HER: the sacred naked mother earth, and the divine feminine soul

by Jack Haas


Combining beautiful, artistic nude photographs of his soror mystica (his alchemical mystical sister), whom he has written about throughout his three autobiographical books, Jack Haas adds metaphysical writings and quotes from various esoteric sources, to create a unique book which emphatically declares the sacred, living aspect of the earth and all flesh, as well as the divine nature of the feminine soul. The juxtaposition of numerous stunning nude pictures alongside inspiring metaphysical text makes for a tremendous spiritual and aesthetic journey into the body and soul of the Mother Goddess.



























































































































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Two unique worlds come together, and through our hearts unite into one.

For it is only in the voice of the flesh, that the song of the spirit is finally sung."

Jack Haas