Neville Goddard On Artists Max Beckmann & William Blake: "Man is Not A Worm"

Neville Goddard On Artists Max Beckmann & William Blake: “Man is Not A Worm”

Inspired by the “Heart of the Dreamer” post on the r/NevilleGoddard sub-Reddit in the comment section billysaturn98 mentions an interesting Neville Goddard Lecture “Self-Abandonment” (1970) where he quotes artist Max Beckman.

The mystic Neville Goddard mentions in his lecture, “Heart of the Dreamer

“Tonight I will tell you what I know from experience, from which my conviction was born. I must, however, use certain imagery in order to explain it. so I ask that you follow me in your imagination. Your wonderful human imagination is a reproduction of the Divine Imagination. Think of the human imagination as brain cells in the mind of the dreamer, which Divine Imagination sent out to infinity for a divine purpose. These brain cells are destined to return, like a boomerang, right back into the center of Divine Imagination as the dreamer who is God the Father.

The going out as sons is not easy. It was never intended to be. It takes the horrors of the world to awaken and expand his sons into God the Father. I promise you: the day will come when the divine breath will breathe over you and you will awaken in your immortal tomb.”

Man Believes He Is A Worm

So as one commenter on the Reddit post says:

“What is the point of becoming human, forgetting we are god then attempting to awaken through painful situations to remember who we are?”

That’s a good question from the standpoint of our conditioning. Neville says later, it the lecture “Self-Abandonment” (1970)

But man is so conditioned to believe he is a little worm that you approach it from that angle. You and I are the God transforming man into our image, into our likeness.”

It isn’t just a game of hide-and-seekor is it?

Neville quotes German Expressionist painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950) in that lecture.

Beckmann says:

“Follow this path, and you will attain from your own ego an ever-deeper perception of the eternal beauties of creation. You will also attain an ever-increasing release from all that which now seems to you so sad and terrible.”

That quote is from one of Beckmann’s lectures On My Painting which he delivered in London in 1938. In that lecture, he recounts a vision or dream of William Blake appearing in front of him and “promising solace in the recognition of the beauty of creation in the higher spheres of perception.”

Neville on Artists Max Beckmann & William Blake

Actually Neville mentions Beckmann’s “vision” of Blake speaking to him in many of his lectures:

Neville in “Self-Abandonment” (1970) states:

“Listen to these words that came from Blake when Blake departed this world. But Blake was “born from above” long before he departed this world. So, in a book called “Looking at Modern Paintings,” there is a chapter on Max Beckman, considered a great modern artist of modern paintings.

He said he met Blake in this super-terrestrial world, and there was this giant of a man, like a supernatural being, and he waved greetings to him, and he said to me: “Fall back. Have confidence in objects. Do not let yourself be intimidated by the horror of the world. Everything is ordered and correct, and must fulfill its destiny in order to attain perfection. Follow this path, and you will attain from your own ego an ever-deeper perception of the eternal beauties of creation. You will also attain an ever-increasing release from all that which now seems to you so sad and terrible.” The whole thing is ordered. The whole thing leads towards the perfection that you determined to bring about when you emptied yourself of God and actually became the being that you are today. And you will awake from it all, and you will return to the glory that was yours “before that the world was,” only magnified beyond what it was by reason of your venture into this world of “death.”

This was the limit of contraction. The limit of opacity and you took it upon yourself. Now there is no limit to the expansion, to the translucence that you bring back. So, we all are returning to the Being that we were “before that the world was.” So when we read: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,” we were the ‘gods.’ We were the “sons of God” that collectively make God.”

Neville refers to same quote in “The Six-Pointed Star” (1963)

“I think Blake put his finger on it when Blake said to Max Beckman in vision one night, “Have confidence in objects, do not let yourself be intimidated by the horrors of the world. Everything is ordered and correct and must fulfill its destiny in order to attain perfection. Follow this path and you will obtain from your own ego a far deeper perception of the eternal beauty of Creation: and then you will attain greater and greater release from what to you at this moment seems to be so sad and so horrible.” You will be released from the horror of it all if you follow this path. Yield completely to it; let it be.”

And in “Advent: The Four Tears” (1963)

“He beholds himself after six thousand years of the most horrible dream in the world. So said he, “Do not let yourself be intimidated by the horror of the world. It is all ordered and correct and must fulfill its destiny in order to attain perfection. Follow this path and you will receive from your own soul an even deeper perception of the eternal beauties of life. You will also receive from your own soul an ever increasing release from what now seems to you so sad and terrible” (Blake to Max Beckman, Looking at Modern Painting).

So you see the drama taking place here is all the scaffolding. Someone is blown apart, gone from the world, and someone played the part of blowing him apart [referring to JFK]… and then he is blown apart. All this confusion in the world, that’s all the outer picture.”

And finally, The Caballa (1965)

“As Blake said in his risen state today: “Do not be intimidated by the horrors of the world. Everything is ordered and correct and must fulfill its destiny in order to attain perfection.

Follow this course and you will receive from your own ego an even deeper perception of the eternal beauties of nature. You will also receive an ever increasing release from all that now seems to you so sad and terrible” (Modern Painting—said to Max Beckman in a vision). On this level it is. who would deny it? But believe me, it is ordered, everything is ordered, everything is correct.”

Max Beckmann “On My Painting”

He describes:

“A figure comes into being in his speech, created by the artist, who sings a hymn to the im­ages we see in his own pictures. William Blake appears to Beckmann in a dream and promises solace in the recognition of the beauty of creation in the higher spheres of perception.”

Neville Goddard On Artists Max Beckmann & William Blake: "Man is Not A Worm"

Twentieth-Century German Art, New Burlington Galleries, London 1938, including Beckmann’s triptych Temptation 1936–7 (centre)

On My Painting Lecture


Before I begin to give you an explanation, an explanation which it is nearly impossible to give, I would like to emphasize that I have never been politically active in any way. I have only tried to realize my conception of the world as intensely as pos­sible.

Painting is a very difficult thing. It absorbs the whole man, body and soul – thus I have passed blindly many things which belong to the real and political life.

I assume, though, that there are two worlds: the world of spiritual life and the world of political reality. Both are manifestations of life which may sometimes coincide but are very different in principle. I must leave it to you to decide which is the more important.

What I want to show in my work is the idea which hides itself behind so-called reality. I am seeking for the bridge which leads from the visible to the invisible, like the famous cabalist who once said: ‘If you wish to get hold of the invisible you must penetrate as deeply as possible into the visible.’

My aim is always to get hold of the magic of reality and to transfer this reality into painting – to make the invisible visible through reality. It may sound paradoxical, but it is, in fact, reality which forms the mystery of our existence.

What helps me most in this task is the penetration of space. Height, width and depth are the three phenomena which I must transfer into one plane to form the abstract surface of the picture, and thus to protect myself from the infinity of space. My figures come and go, suggested by fortune or misfortune. I try to fix them divested of their apparent accidental quality.

One of my problems is to find the Ego, which has only one form and is immortal – to find it in animals and men, in the heaven and in the hell which together form the world in which we live.

Space, and space again, is the infinite deity which surrounds us and in which we are ourselves contained.

That is what I try to express through painting, a function different from poetry and music but, for me, predestined necessity.

When spiritual, metaphysical, material or immaterial events come into my life, I can only fix them by way of painting. It is not the subject which matters but the translation of the subject into the abstraction of the surface by means of painting. Therefore I hardly need to abstract things, for each object is unreal enough already, so unreal that I can only make it real by means of painting.

Often, very often, I am alone. My studio in Amsterdam, an enormous old to­bacco store-room, is again filled in my imagination with figures from the old days and from the new, like an ocean moved by storm and sun and always present in my thoughts.

Then shapes become beings and seem comprehensible to me in the great void and uncertainty of the space which I call God.

Sometimes I am helped by the constructive rhythm of the Cabala, when my thoughts wander over Oannes Dagon to the last days of drowned continents. Of the same substance are the streets with their men, women and children; great ladies and whores; servant girls and duchesses. I seem to meet them, like doubly significant dreams, in Samothrace and Piccadilly and Wall Street. They are Eros and the longing for oblivion.

All these things come to me in black and white like virtue and crime. Yes, black and white are the two elements which concern me. It is my fortune, or misfortune, that I can see neither all in black nor all in white. One vision alone would be much simpler and clearer, but then it would not exist. It is the dream of many to see only the white and truly beautiful, or the black, ugly and destructive. But I cannot help realizing both, for only in the two, only in black and in white, can I see God as a unity creating again and again a great and eternally changing terrestrial drama.

Thus without wanting it, I have advanced from principle to form, to transcen­dental ideas, a field which is not at all mine, but in spite of this I am not ashamed.

In my opinion all important things in art since Ur of the Chaldees, since Tel Halaf and Crete, have always originated from the deepest feeling about the mystery of Being. Self-realization is the urge of all objective spirits. It is this Ego for which I am searching in my life and in my art.

Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement; for transfiguration, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our Ego that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we must all make.

My way of expressing my Ego is by painting; there are, of course, other means to this end such as literature, philosophy or music; but as a painter, cursed or blessed with a terrible and vital sensuousness, I must look for wisdom with my eyes. I repeat, with my eyes, for nothing could be more ridiculous or irrelevant than a ‘philosophical conception’ painted purely intellectually without the terrible fury of the senses grasping each visible form of beauty and ugliness. If from those forms which I have found in the visible, literary subj ects result – such as portraits, land­scapes or recognizable compositions – they have all originated from the senses, in this case from the eyes, and each intellectual subject has been transformed again into form, colour and space.

Everything intellectual and transcendent is joined together in painting by the uninterrupted labour of the eyes. Each shade of a flower, a face, a tree, a fruit, a sea, a mountain, is noted eagerly by the intensity of the senses to which is added, in a way of which we are not conscious, the work of the mind, and in the end the strength or weakness of the soul. It is this genuine, eternally unchanging center of strength which makes mind and senses capable of expressing personal things. It is the strength of soul which forces the m ind to constant exercise to widen its con­ception of space.

Something of this is perhaps contained in my pictures.

Life is difficult, as perhaps everyone knows by now. It is to escape from these difficulties that I practice the pleasant profession of a painter. I admit that there are more lucrative ways of escaping the so-called difficulties of life, but I allow myself my own particular luxury, painting.

It is, of course, a luxury to create art and, on top of this, to insist on expressing one’s own artistic opinion. Nothing is more luxurious than this. It is a game and a good game, at least for me; one of the few games which make life, difficult and de­pressing as it is sometimes, a little more interesting.

Love in an animal sense is an illness, but a necessity which one has to over­come. Politics is an odd game, not without danger I have been told, but certainly sometimes amusing. To eat and to drink are habits not to be despised but often connected with unfortunate consequences. To sail around the earth in ninety-one hours must be very strenuous, like racing in cars or splitting the atoms. But the most exhausting thing of all – is boredom.

So let me take part in your boredom and your dreams while you take part in mine which may be yours as well.

To begin with, there has been enough talk about art. After all, it must always be unsatisfactory to try to express one’s deeds in words. Still we shall go on and on, talking and painting and making music, boring ourselves, exciting ourselves, making war and peace as long as our strength of imagination lasts. Imagination is per­haps the most decisive characteristic of mankind. My dream is the imagination of space – to change the optical impression of the world of objects by a transcen­dental arithmetic progression of the inner being. That is the precept. In principal any alteration of the object is allowed which has a sufficiently strong creative power behind it. Whether such alteration causes excitement or boredom in the spectator is for you to decide.

The uniform application of a principle of form is what rules me in the imagi­native alteration of an object. One thing is sure – we have to transform the three­ dimensional world of objects into the two-dimensional world of the canvas.

If the canvas is only filled with two-dimensional conception of space, we shall have applied art, or ornament. Certainly this may give us pleasure, though I myself find it boring as it does not give me enough visual sensation. To transform three into two dimensions is for me an experience full of magic in which I glimpse for a moment that fourth dimension which my whole being is seeking.

I have always on principle been against the artist speaking about himself or his work. Today neither vanity nor ambition causes me to talk about matters which generally are not to be expressed even to oneself But the world is in such a cata­strophic state, and art is so bewildered that I, who have lived the last thirty years al­most as a hermit, am forced to leave my snail’s shell to express these few ideas which, with much labour, I have come to understand in the course of the years.

The greatest danger which threatens mankind is collectivism. Everywhere at tempts are being made to lower the happiness and the way of living of mankind to the level of termites. I am against these attempts with all the strength of my being.

The individual representation of the object, treated sympathetically or antipathetically, is highly necessary and is an enrichment to the world in form. The elimi­nation of the human relationship in artistic representation causes the vacuum which makes all of us suffer in various degrees – an individual alteration of the de­tails of the object represented is necessary in order to display on the canvas the whole physical reality.

Human sympathy and understanding must be reinstated. There are many ways and means to achieve this. Light serves me to a considerable extent on the one hand to divine the surface of the canvas, on the other to penetrate the object deeply.

As we still do not know what this Ego really is, this Ego in which you and I in our various ways are expressed, we must peer deeper and deeper into its discovery.

For the Ego is the great veiled mystery of the world. Hume and Herbert Spencer studied its various conceptions but were not able in the end to discover the truth. I believe in it and in its eternal, immutable form. Its path is, in some strange and peculiar manner, our path.

And for this reason I am immersed in the phenomenon of the Individual, the so-called whole Individual, and I try in every way to explain and present it. What are you? What am I? Those are the questions that constantly persecute and torment me and perhaps also play some part in my art.

Colour, as the strange and magnificent expression of the inscrutable spectrum of Eternity, is beautiful and important to me as a painter; I use it to enrich the can­vas and to probe more deeply into the object. Colour also decided, to a certain ex­tent, my spiritual outlook, but it is subordinated to life and, above all, to the treat­ment of form. Too much emphasis on colour at the expense of form and space would make a double manifestation of itself on the canvas, and this would verge on craft work. Pure colours and broken tones must be used together, because they are the complements of each other.

These, however, are all theories, and words are too insignificant to define the problems of art .. My first informed impression, and what I would like to achieve, I can perhaps only realize when I am impelled as in a vision.

One of my figures, perhaps one from the Temptation, sang this strange song to me one night –

Fill up your mugs again with alcohol, and hand up the largest of them to me….in

ecstasy I’ll light the great candles for you now in the night, in the deep black night.

We are playing hide-and-seek, we are playing hide-and-seek across a thousand seas, we gods when the skies are red in the middle of the night, when the skies are …red at night.

You cannot see us, no you cannot see us but you are ourselves that is what makes us laugh so gaily when the skies are red in the middle of the night, red in the blackest night.

Stars are our eyes and nebulae our beards… we have people’s souls for our hearts.

We hide ourselves and you cannot see us, which is just what we want when the skies are red at midday, red in the blackest night.

Our torches stretch away without end… silver, glowing red, purple, violet, green­-blue and black. We bear them in our dance over the seas and the mountains, across the boredom of life.

We sleep and our brains circle in dull dreams…we wake and the planets assemble for the dance across bankers and fools, whores and duchesses.

Thus the figure from my Temptation sang to me for a long time, trying to escape from the square on the hypotenuse in order to achieve a particular constellation of the Hebrides, to the Red Giants and the Central Sun.

And then I awoke and yet continued to dream … painting constantly appeared to me as the one and only possible achievement. I thought of my grand old friend Henri Rousseau, that Homer in the porter’s lodge whose prehistoric dreams have sometimes brought me near the gods. I saluted him in my dream. Near him I saw William Blake – noble emanation of English genius. He waved friendly greetings to me like a super-terrestrial patriarch. ‘Have confidence in objects,’ he said, ‘do not let yourself be intimidated by the horror of the world. Everything is ordered and correct and must fulfill its destiny in order to attain perfection. Seek this path and you will attain from your own Ego ever deeper perception of the eternal beauty of creation; you will attain increasing release from all that which now seems to you sad or terrible.’

I awoke and found myself in Holland in the midst of a boundless world turmoil. But my belief in the final release and absolution of all things, whether they please or torment, was newly strengthened. Peacefully I laid my head among the pillows … to sleep, and dream, again.

Neville Goddard & The Six Pointed Star

More from “The Six-Pointed Star” (1963)

For man’s entire life is determined by that figure, that dominant figure, that he holds in his Imagination. He believes himself to be this, that or the other, and it’s going to influence his every action in the world. He can think that he’s wanted or unwanted, wise or unwise. No matter what he thinks, that dominant figure will influence everything that he does. For man’s true environment is really in his Imagination.

Now, this is the path. You follow this closely. It begins with God; it ends with God. In between, there is a drama, a horrible tragedy, but a frightful tragedy, that is essential to awaken us and make us sons. Can’t do it without the tragedy.

So I may be tonight unemployed and the world tells me I can’t get the job, that all these are being displaced by automation, and so I accept that. I want the job, but I am told by those who are supposed to know, I can’t get it. I am told that creation is mental; it is not based upon any physical law in this world. Creation is completely mental, that all causation is in my Imagination. That’s where my entire environment exists. And so I want to work. In my Imagination I’m gainfully employed, and I go to sleep in that state as though I am gainfully employed. I have never earned so much, I have never contributed so much to the world’s good, and I have never been so happy in what I’m doing, all in my Imagination, regardless of the evidence of my senses to the contrary. So that’s the Torah.

You are Jesus Christ, but you don’t know it yet. You are Jesus Christ; and the day is coming that God will awaken in you as man, and Jesus Christ is God the man. God becomes man, and man became God.

You may call it the Mogen David if you will, the six-pointed star. It is God at the beginning. Then comes, “My choice is Israel.” Then comes the Holy Land—the mind of man is the Holy Land on which the battle takes place. There is no other land. No matter where you go in the world, the only Holy Land is your mind. Then comes a law by which, in that land when the battle rages, you can cushion the blows. If you find yourself in jail, you could while in there imagine yourself elsewhere; and the doors will open, and you will go where you’re imagining yourself to be. You could find yourself this night unemployed, and you could imagine yourself gainfully employed, and the doors will open from that prison state, and you would moved toward a wonderful job where you’re gainfully employed.

Redemption comes only by the act of God. Divine mercy steps beyond this fabulous world of horror, really, and raises me and redeems me in the body of Jesus. I am redeemed in his body. I am one with him.

Standing here tonight to tell you I am one with his body, it seems so stupid, for I respond to the name Neville. If you call me Neville, I will answer. If you called me Jesus when I walk the street, I wouldn’t answer. If you said, “Jesus Christ,” I might be curious, but I would not think you mean me. I wouldn’t turn around. But if you say Neville, I would turn around and respond to the call called Neville, but I would not respond to that called Jesus Christ. Yet I do know from an actual experience I was absorbed into his body and became one with him, and I was the very being, by an actual experience.

On Jewish Weddings And Sweet & Bitter Wine

And it takes a new man to function consciously in the new world. All of the blows of this world were necessary to produce that man. So in the midst of tragedy, don’t forget the glory. This was given to us in a very simple little way in the Book of Revelation: “And I saw a little scroll… and he offered me the scroll. He said to me, ‘When you take it, eat it; it will be bitter in your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.’ And so I took it; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey, but in my stomach it was bitter” (10:9). For that’s life, like a Jewish wedding, have you ever attended a Jewish wedding? They have two glasses of wine, one is sweet and one is bitter. The bitter one has very little in it, not much, and the sweet one is almost up to the brim but not quite. During the ceremony, you partake of both; you take the sweet and you take the bitter because that’s life. “Joy and woe are woven fine, a garment for the soul divine.” But there is more of sweet than there is of bitter. So in the midst of tragedy when the things are falling all around you, don’t forget the sweet, the glory, and the promise of God, for he’s giving you himself. So if today the whole world collapses all around you, don’t forget the glory, don’t forget there is more sweet than there is bitter in life. So in this marriage ceremony, you take both—you take the sweet and you take the bitter. There is more of the sweet than there is of the bitter, and so you go through life that way. But man in the midst of tragedy, he forgets the glory.

So Paul makes this statement in the 8th of Romans, he says, “I consider that the sufferings of this time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” I don’t consider even comparing them. A man may be in pain, or he may not be physically in pain, but he may be embarrassed because of some behavior of a relative or his family or his, well, inside himself in conflict. His country may be embarrassed, and he is hurt because the country’s embarrassed. But I can’t consider that I should even compare the sufferings of this time to the glory that is to be revealed to us. So the whole vast thing, you can’t compare them. The little bit of wine that is sour and bitter, you can’t compare it to the sweet that is ours. For when man is completely unveiled and he’s God, this whole vast world then disappears; it vanishes from consciousness. He is in a world that is completely subject to his own creative power. That’s God.


Neville Goddard On Artists Max Beckmann & William Blake: Man is Not A Worm
Article Name
Neville Goddard On Artists Max Beckmann & William Blake: Man is Not A Worm
"But man is so conditioned to believe he is a little worm that you approach it from that angle. You and I are the God transforming man into our image, into our likeness."