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Idea Series (Old Categories)

Return to The Writings of Paul Brunton

This sub-series is primarily composed of Brunton’s unpublished writings, created mostly during the last 40 years of his life. He organized his philosophic subjects into a twenty-eight category “Idea Series,” which make up the bulk of his writings.

You can use keywords to filter the list below:

Asiatic Ideas

Asiatic Ideas is a collection of notes taken during PB's years of traveling in the Orient, i.e., from 1930 to 1946.

Carbons 20 (Lit paras typed 1965)

Oddly, this is what it says it is! But it's not "literary" in the sense of extracts from other writers; it's all original PB work. "Lit Paras" was a term PB used for compilations of paras from his 28 categories that he was considering putting into a new book.

Carbons 32 (1939 Notebook)

If the label on the folder is correct, this file was written in 1939, which means it was written only a year or so before PB wrote his magnum opus “The Wisdom of the Overself” and may be taken as contiguous with that work.

Carbons 34 (Joint Meditation)

This is at once a fascinating and frustrating document. It overlaps in three ways: within itself, with “Meditations with PB,” and with “Readers Letters 3.” For a single readable collection of all three, see “Combined and Simplified Meditations with PB.” The contents of these files are mainly excerpts from letters to PB or his representatives reporting the experiences individuals had while meditating with him.

Grey Long 01-02

This file contains paras covering Old Categories I and II. Our best guess is that they were probably written between 1940 and 1955, during the writing of The Wisdom of the Overself, and in the years that followed, up to the time PB met Evangeline.

Grey Long 03-04

See Grey Long 01-02 for notes on these files. This file contains paras covering Old Categories III and IV.

Grey Long 05-07

See Grey Long 01-02 for notes on these files. This file contains paras covering Old Categories V, VI, and VII, probably written in the 1940s and '50s.

Grey Long 08-13

See Grey Long 01-02 for notes on these files. This file contains paras covering Old Categories VIII through XIII.

Grey Long 14-19

See Grey Long 01-02 for notes on these files. This file contains paras covering Old Categories XIV through IXX.

Grey Long 20-28

See Grey Long 01-02 for notes on these files. This file contains paras covering Old Categories XX through XXVIII. Some of the pages in this file are duplicates of pages in Carbons 17 (Notebooks), though different edits have been marked in each file.

Meditations with PB

Contains testimonials on meditating with PB, overlapping with "Carbons 34" and “Readers Letters 3.” For a single readable collection of all three, see “Combined and Simplified Meditations with PB."

Middle Ideas 01-06

Contains paras on Old Categories I through VI. PB himself labeled these as "Middle Ideas;" we believe this means they were written in the 1950s and 60s. In general this whole series of notebooks is worthy of study, because it is complete, and from the late 1960s ranging into the last years of PB’s life. He reviewed this entire series with Timothy Smith in 1980, and amended paras to reflect his changed views.

Middle Ideas 07-13

Contains paras on Old Categories VII through XIII. See Middle Ideas 01-06 for more.

Middle Ideas 14-19

Contains paras on Old Categories XIV through XIX. See Middle Ideas 01-06 for more.

Middle Ideas 20-28

Contains paras on Old Categories XIV through XIX. See Middle Ideas 01-06 for more.

Rough Ideas 1

This notebook contains paras in all the Old Categories, written from two periods of PB’s life: before and after his marriage to Evangeline Glass. PB himself labeled these "Rough Ideas" and worked on them as late as 1980. We believe they are generally more recent than Middle Ideas, but could originally have been written anywhere from the late 1940s to the early '70s.

Rough Ideas 2

Contains paras in all the Old Categories (with the exception, for unknown reasons, of Category I). These were probably written in the later part of PB’s life, sometime in the 1960s and early 70s. PB himself labeled these "Rough Ideas" and worked on them as late as 1980. We believe they are generally more recent than Middle Ideas.

Rough Ideas 3

Contains paras from all 28 Old Categories, written in the later part of PB’s life, probably in the early to mid-1960s. As is most often the case, we have made an educated guess about the date based upon the content, particularly paras referring to events in the world.

Vinyl I to III

PB rehoused these notes into the Vinyl notebooks in 1980 with the assistance of Timothy Smith, who also made some edits as per PB’s own instructions. With the exception of the first few pages of each category, all the material has been classed in the Old Category system and was written over a large period of time—from the 1940s through the 1970s in some cases. The first few pages of each file are in the New Category system and were erroneously housed in these volumes perimortem or postmortem by a volunteer; the error was discovered too late to extract them into their own volume.

Vinyl IV to V

This huge volume mainly focuses on the themes of what PB means by “the Quest” and understanding what PB means by Philosophy. However, the first few pages of each Category are from the New Categories IV and V. This confusion of categories had to have happened in the last year of PB’s life or post-mortem. This volume is an absolute treasure-house of teachings, very much worth reading. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl IX

Contains mostly paras from New Category XI, including a number of chapters on War and the World Crisis, written during the Cold War when PB was preoccupied with the possibility of nuclear war. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl VI

This volume is almost entirely material from Old Category VI, with paras focusing on the emotional element of the Quest. A lot of what PB calls “The Long Path” is discussed here: moral refinement, character development, etiquette etc. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl VII to VIII

Contains paras in Old Categories VII and VIII. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl X to XI

Contains paras in Old Categories X and XI, along with the usual exception. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl XII to XIII

A mix of Old and New Categories XII and XIII. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl XIV to XVII

A mix of Old and New Categories XIV through XVII. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl XIX to XX

A mix of Old and New Cateogries XIX and XX. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl XVIII

As with many other Vinyl files, this one begins with a misfiled New Category before settling into Old Category XVIII for the rest of the file. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl XX to XXIV

A mix of Old and New Categories XX through XXIV. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.

Vinyl XXV to XXVIII

A mix of Old and New Categories XXV through XXVIII. PB rehoused these notes into Vinyl notebooks in 1980; they are from a wide range of eras in his life. See Vinyl I to III notes for more information.