An Introduction to Metaphysics

The Three Dreams

Bruno Bérard

Foreword from Michel Cazenave

The book is in French – here a translation of key elements in English.

Three dreams, recounted and interpreted metaphysically, are an opportunity to enter metaphysics, not through a narrow door, but through a wide open portal. The result is an easy understanding of the possibility of metaphysics and some of its teachings.


  1. Foreword from Michel Cazenave
  2. Part One: The Three Dreams

  3. I Walked on the Sea

    1. 1. Leaving the Garden
    2. 2. Crossing the Forest
    3. 3. Walking on the Sea
  4. You are Stepping Out of Space-Time

    1. 4. The Indefinite Finite and the Infinite
    2. 5. Space is Not in Space
    3. 6. Time is Not in Time
  5. He Won’t Fall Off the Cliff

    1. 7. Walking on the Set
    2. 8. The Edge of the Cliff
    3. 9. Diving into the Abyss
  6. Part Two: Metaphysical Commentaries

    1. 10. To Interpret
    2. 11. Symbolic, Esoteric, Metaphysical Interpretations
    3. 12. I Walked on the Sea, or The Abandonment of Self-Will
    4. 13. You Go Out of Space-Time, or Withdrawal into the Principle Point
    5. 14. He Will Not Fall from the Cliff, or the Point was the Axis Trace
    6. 15. Cross Interpretation of the Three Dreams, or the Symbolism of the Cross
    7. 16. Metaphysical Interpretation in Christian Language
    8. 17. Metaphysical Interpretation in Different Religious Languages
  7. Part Three: What is Metaphysics?

    1. 18. The Situation of Metaphysics
    2. 19. The Possibility of Metaphysics
    3. 20. The Teachings of Metaphysics


Symbolism is the observation of a universal correspondence between a thing, rather natural, and another that goes beyond it. For example, water, which receives the form of any vase where it is found, symbolizes the receptivity of man or woman and, consequently, the possibility of learning, of being in-formed and trans-formed. In the extreme (in the absolute), water symbolizes the Possibility of everything, of which the universe is one of the possible forms.

We see here, starting from the simple element “water”, which accepts any form at the physical level, that the meaning of the symbol crosses all the levels of what exists: the psychological level of a hero who abandons himself to a cause, the intellectual level of a philosopher who understands an Idea, the level of the universe in that it is only a Possible. If the meaning of the symbol crosses all “the levels of the world”, it is because, primordially, it comes from—and leads to—its beyond. The symbol, by nature indeed, connects a visible to an invisible and, even more than a link, it is a call, or better a reminder, of this invisible. A “call”, because if it makes sense to intelligence, it is because it remembers. How else would she understand an invisible? How would it make sense in her?

We can note here how the limitation of a sign (which will indicate the proximity of a dangerous bend) or of an allegory (the ant is a tireless worker) is opposed to the unlimitedness of the symbol which leads inexorably to What transcends the world. The horizontality of signs and allegories will be matched by the verticality of the symbol.

Fundamentally, the symbolic interpretation will therefore be what makes it possible to cross the levels of the world (body, psychism, spirit, God) and will thus lead, beyond these worlds, to an essential pole from which all in-formation eternally comes and to a substantial pole from which it will take form temporarily. And, obviously, these two poles are the same, the only ultimate Reality: the Absolute being necessarily the unique Cause, both essential (or semantic) and substantial (or material) of the world.

Notice of publication

Here is finally a version, accessible to all, of the most authentic metaphysics. To achieve this, the author takes the pretext of three dreams and offers a metaphysical interpretation, carefully distinguished from scientific, symbolic or esoteric interpretations. This first part, simple and direct, allows the reader to enter fully, and on concrete examples, into the intelligence of metaphysics. Especially since, from the start, a clear glossary of keywords is made available to the reader.

As metaphysics is an integral part of any religion, the author then presents this same interpretation but first in a specifically Christian language, then in the languages ​​of other traditions: Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Judaic and Taoist, where very strong analogies seem to appear with the first one. From this panorama, where a strong consistency can be seen through all these religious traditions, emerges a universal sequence of ‘access to the divine’ that the author calls ‘the Two Step Cure’.

Armed with this concrete understanding of a metaphysics that seems universal, the author will then invite the reader to a three-step definition of metaphysics, by trying to answer this question from Heidegger: “What is metaphysics? asked some 2,500 years after that of Aristotle: ‘What is being?’.

– The first step consists in defining what metaphysics is not, by systematically comparing it to physics, language, logic and psychology, symbol, esotericism, theology and gnosis.

– The second shows its possibility, by demonstrating the contradictions of the rationalist reductions of the last three centuries (Kantism, Marxism, Freudianism, structuralism).

– Finally, the third one is a presentation of what seems to the author to  form two of the essential teachings of metaphysics: its ‘opening of the concept’ which opposes it to knowledge by quantitative abstraction (sciences) or by ideal construction (philosophical systems); and, once freed from closed conceptual thought, his perspective of the Beyond of Being—which is none other than his initial intellectual intuition—which then delivers from any conceptual or linguistic confinement, whatever it may be.

Of course, to afford such a program, the author freely relies on the work of Jean Borella (of which he recently published a copious summary), as well as on the many traditional or contemporary authors he has studied for the last twenty years, such as, for the most quoted in this essay, Aristotle, St Dionysius the Areopagite, St Gregory the Sinaite, St.Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius, Simone Weil, Léo Schaya, Abbé Henri Stephane, Francois Chenique, etc.

Finally, in his preface, Michel Cazenave recalls the need to always ‘think further’, and, in particular, beyond readings that are partial, if not biaised, of Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Jung, noting that ‘in the profound lack of culture of an era where everything—including so-called philosophy—is declined in a horizontal mode, [the author] does not fear, for his part, to restore the notion of verticality where the most absolute transcendence is marked’. ‘Dismissing all trends, but taking the word thinking seriously, with all the risks, all the difficulties, all the dizziness that it implies, he rethinks metaphysics in its most extreme sense, where, following Plotinus but also Proclus, Scot Erigena or Tauler, we realize that metaphysics and the theology of the apophat are more than linked: they are the two slopes of the same mountain’.

See the notice of publication as published (in French)
— Alain Santacreu,


Bérard recently published a volume of great theoretical and spiritual depth…

Bérard recently published a volume of great theoretical and spiritual depth, but still easy to read and accessible to all, entitled Initiation à la metaphysique – Les Trois Songes (L’Harmattan, 2009). The text first tries to define and circumscribe the concept of metaphysics from a full field comparison with logic, psychology, symbolism, esotericism, theology and gnosis. Secondly, the deep contradictions present in the rationalist reductions of the last three centuries are laid bare (from Kantianism to Marxism, from Freudianism to structuralism) to finally arrive at the true meaning of metaphysics, an ‘open concept’, opposed to quantitative knowledge, typical of scientific abstraction, and also to ideal construction, characteristic of philosophical systems…

See the publication in Il Corrriere Metapolitico
Read the full review (in English)
— Aldo La Fata e Dalmazio Frau, Il Corriere Metapolitico, March 27, 2009

What is metaphysics? Bruno Bérard chooses an original approach…

What is metaphysics? Bruno Bérard chooses an original approach to answer this question: the story of three dreams, with a very rich symbolic significance.

After their actual presentation, the author analyzes them, and in the third part, relies on them to define metaphysics. This precious initiation leads us to rediscover the ‘metaphysical thrill’, which resists its apparent gravediggers (Kantism, Freudianism, Marxism, structuralism)…

See the publication in
Read the full review (in English)
— Cyril Arnaud,

Associated Papers

Complementary Books