Gurdjieff: The Soul, The First Initiation and Christianity

alwyn

Padawan Learner
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

Jeanne de Salzmann said:
You will see that in life you receive exactly what you give. Your life is the mirror of what you are. It is in your image.
By this measure, those people in Iraq must be really bad. After all, they are stuck in the middle of a war, so they must deserve it, right? Those poor people in Gitmo who are tortured? The same? Sounds like this is a fancy way of 'creating your own reality'.

Laura said:
It is part of the tendency of those who continue to live in lies while lionizing themselves (or objects of narcissistic supply) to seek to diminish those who did follow that part of themselves that was great.
Do not misunderstand, we know that Gurdjieff was a man and he was not perfect. But he was such a man that there have been few like him before, then or since - almost none, in fact.
Well, we're probably in agreement here.

Laura said:
You mention that you have a son... an only child? You might have a bit more understanding of many things if you had numerous children, all of whom you love equally, and you needed to find ways to help them each grow and develop all the while taking into consideration their interactions with each other which are ruled by their ages, their intellect, their individual natures. A parent of many children who truly loves those children and doesn't have some narcissistic self-image of artifical moral perfection, quickly learns the "havey cavey" ways of assisting those children to develop and love one another without one harming or interfering with the other.
So, multiple children is a requirement of the path? That's a new one. Actually, I raised my four brothers and sisters, which is why I waited until 40 to have my son. I would have loved to have more, but I nearly died having this one, so , 'cest la vie'.

Laura said:
You see, you don't seem to have a real grasp of the Terror of the Situation. If you did, then you would completely understand why Gurdjieff did what he did on each and every occasion.
Gurdjieff had a quote in one of his books about "not even the Mother of God can understand"...I'll try to find this for a more complete reference. It'll take a while.


Laura said:
There are a few people who claim - quite loudly and repeatedly, in fact, that their encounters with me and QFS have "messed them up."
Well, I'm not messed up by my interactions here. Apparently my 'narcissistic' hide is too tough.
 

ScioAgapeOmnis

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

alwyn said:
Jeanne de Salzmann said:
You will see that in life you receive exactly what you give. Your life is the mirror of what you are. It is in your image.
By this measure, those people in Iraq must be really bad. After all, they are stuck in the middle of a war, so they must deserve it, right?
Well we are here because this is where we fit. This whole world is a mirror of humanity's nature, and what happens to us is probably karmic. Not that we cannot change it, but we'd have to change ourselves. Otherwise next lifetime we'll be the Iraqis, then we'll be the Americans again, then the Iraqis, then we'll do the slave thing again and be on both sides, etc. We will just go round and round the karma wheel playing all the roles. I think this quote is talking about not the stuff that happens to you that you have no control over, but the stuff you do have control over, but you get yourself into anyway. In some sense we do "create our reality". If we are naive and ignorant, we invite psychopaths to use us and rip us off (money-wise and energy-wise). Not cuz we deserve it, cuz we "fit" there. If we're a bunny, we'll be hunted by wolves. Not cuz we deserve or don't deserve it, but just cuz we're a bunny.

Anybody can run into your house and shoot you, there's little or nothing you can do about that. But I really think that you "attract" certain people and certain situations to yourself as a result of who you are, what you know, and what you do. Also like attracts like - the kind of people that you attract is probably either because you look like a potential victim, or because they see a similarity to themselves in you. But of course there are babies dying and children born into poverty and disease, that has nothing to do with anything they did, at least not in this lifetime. Anyway, just some thoughts, could be wrong.

alwyn said:
So, multiple children is a requirement of the path? That's a new one. Actually, I raised my four brothers and sisters, which is why I waited until 40 to have my son. I would have loved to have more, but I nearly died having this one, so , 'cest la vie'.
Not requirement, but I think helps to understand how to address different people in different ways in order to get the same message across. At least that's how I understood Laura's reason for saying this, and not at all that it is a requirement for the path, it's in response to your seeming inability to understand why Gurdjieff utilized the methods that he did. If somebody is hitting and pushing you, are you going to politely smile and say "Please don't do that, I don't want to be punched, and I will protect myself", and keep saying that until you're beat unconscious? And similarly, if someone politely asks you what would you do if somebody attacked you, would you punch the person who asked the question to demonstrate? See what I mean? I'm sure there's a better example though lol.

alwyn said:
Laura said:
There are a few people who claim - quite loudly and repeatedly, in fact, that their encounters with me and QFS have "messed them up."
Well, I'm not messed up by my interactions here. Apparently my 'narcissistic' hide is too tough.
I dunno if it's narcissism, I get an impression that it's more to do with assumed morality and tendency to not consider context as a determinant of what is the best way to serve your goal, not any template. Just my thoughts.
 

Laura

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Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

alwyn said:
Jeanne de Salzmann said:
You will see that in life you receive exactly what you give. Your life is the mirror of what you are. It is in your image.
By this measure, those people in Iraq must be really bad. After all, they are stuck in the middle of a war, so they must deserve it, right? Those poor people in Gitmo who are tortured? The same? Sounds like this is a fancy way of 'creating your own reality'.
In a certain sense, that is correct. Allow me to explain.

Last year I attended a mathematics conference with my husband. At the conference, I met the wife of an Iraqi mathematician and we had several meals together and talked. She and her husband had been helped to leave Iraq by academic friends who felt that things in Iraq were going to turn very bad. I asked many questions about what went on in Iraq before Bush began the war, things like: did the Iraqi press inform the people that there was likely going to be a war? What did you - and others - think was going to happen.

You see, before the war ever began, I could see (and wrote about it repeatedly on SOTT) that Bush was, indeed, going to launch an aggressive war. I could see it because, by that time, I had enough knowledge of deviant behavior to read the signs.

What this woman told me was very interesting: nobody in Iraq really believed that anything was going to happen. No, the press did not warn them that anything was going to happen; their own government, apparently, thought that Bush was full of hot air or that it was just an international game of chicken.

I think the entire world pretty much thought the same.

But you see, I didn't think that at all. I KNEW that Bush and gang were going to do it. And I knew because I had certain knowledge. If I had been living in Iraq, I would have done everything I could to get out of there asap even if it meant going on foot with a backpack.

Knowledge protects. And when you put knowledge to work, in your reality, you get back the benefits of that knowledge. In that sense, you have some ability to "create your own reality," or, at the very least, to step out from under the General Law of confusion and entropy that rules this world otherwise.

There may be some Iraqis who had this awareness and who left. The woman I mentioned had friends who had this awareness. She is Iraqi, but she is not in Iraq suffering.

Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and thousands of dead "coalition" soldiers and tens of thousands whose lives are ruined. There are many in Guantanamo and other secret prisons.

In most - if not all - of these cases, knowledge was not applied, and the individual paid for their ignorance. That is what life is about: you suffer until you learn how not to suffer.

But our point here is that even though we know that those who die due to ignorance, in a sense, have at least allowed their fate, it is the response-ability of everyone who is not ignorant to share their knowledge so that as many as will receive it will be spared the destruction. That is why I started the SOTT page... I could see and I hoped against hope that my small efforts would pluck at least one person out of the fire.

As the Cs say: Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future."

People in Iraq, people in Israel, people in UK, people everywhere, are asleep in their religions which teach them only to overcome or shut out the world. There are billions of them on the planet right now and the same fate awaits them all. I spend almost every waking hour trying to wake them up because frankly, there really isn't much time left.

And certainly, if you were really as concerned about these people as you might like to have people think, you would be finding that work which seeks to share the knowledge about this world that can protect people and helping rather than following after those individuals who have only added to the illusion that if you just think nice thoughts, all the bad stuff will go away. That's exactly what the Iraqis were doing before the bombs started falling.

alwyn said:
Laura said:
You mention that you have a son... an only child? You might have a bit more understanding of many things if you had numerous children, all of whom you love equally, and you needed to find ways to help them each grow and develop all the while taking into consideration their interactions with each other which are ruled by their ages, their intellect, their individual natures. A parent of many children who truly loves those children and doesn't have some narcissistic self-image of artifical moral perfection, quickly learns the "havey cavey" ways of assisting those children to develop and love one another without one harming or interfering with the other.
So, multiple children is a requirement of the path? That's a new one.
Do you deliberately misunderstand or is it just your emotions - your need to be right and to win - that drives your emotional reactions?

Please notice that I said: "You might have a bit more understanding of many things if you had numerous children, all of whom you love equally..." Notice that my point is to achieve understanding of Gurdjieff, a man who was committed to a goal and who dedicated his life to helping others. I was not talking about an ordinary person who is just "on a path." The number of children does not determine your ability to be "on a path," it was simply a way of trying to help you understand my point.

Also, raising brothers is not the same thing.

alwyn said:
Laura said:
There are a few people who claim - quite loudly and repeatedly, in fact, that their encounters with me and QFS have "messed them up."
Well, I'm not messed up by my interactions here. Apparently my 'narcissistic' hide is too tough.
I don't think you have a narcissistic hide though you certainly demonstrate narcissistic traits. But then, that's not terribly unusual in our world today.

One dimension of NPD that must be taken into account is its social and historical context. Psychiatrists became interested in narcissism shortly after World War II (1939–45), when the older practitioners in the field noticed that their patient population had changed. Instead of seeing patients who suffered from obsessions and compulsions related to a harsh and punishing superego (the part of the psyche that internalizes the standards and moral demands of one's parents and culture), the psychiatrists were treating more patients with character disorders related to a weak sense of self.

Instead of having a judgmental and overactive conscience, these patients had a weak or nonexistent conscience. They were very different from the patients that Freud had treated, described, and analyzed. The younger generation of psychiatrists then began to interpret their patients' character disorders in terms of narcissism.

In the 1960s historians and social critics drew the attention of the general public to narcissism as a metaphorical description of Western culture in general. These writers saw several parallels between trends in the larger society and the personality traits of people diagnosed with narcissistic disorders. In short, they argued that the advanced industrial societies of Europe and the United States were contributing to the development of narcissistic disorders in individuals in a number of respects. Some of the trends they noted include the following:

The mass media's preoccupation with "lifestyles of the rich and famous" rather than with ordinary or average people.

Social approval of open displays of money, status, or accomplishments ("if you've got it, flaunt it") rather than modesty and self-restraint.

Preference for a leadership style that emphasizes the leader's outward appearance and personality rather than his or her inner beliefs and values.

The growth of large corporations and government bureaucracies that favor a managerial style based on "impression management" rather than objective measurements of performance.
So, as I said, narcissism is rampant in modern society - it's even a global affliction; but in most cases, it is not incurable. The fact that you are still here discussing the matter suggests that you are not a narcissist in the pathological sense, that you possibly really are seeking answers, but that you just haven't gotten to the point of being able give up the illusions about the world. It's too painful to acknowledge that we truly are in the iron grip of forces that care nothing for our pain and we only have each other to figure this out and do something.
 

Mark

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Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

alwyn said:
Well, I'm not messed up by my interactions here. Apparently my 'narcissistic' hide is too tough.
That statement sounds as though you think people who participate here for whatever amount of time and then leave might become messed up. If anything, people who come here and leave feeling messed up (assuming there are any) were already messed up, so while participating here certainly might cause some inner-conflict, that conflict can't rightly be attributed to participation here - the potential for that conflict was already in them waiting for an opportunity to happen.

Also, making the sort of statement that you made seems to me to be full of self-importance, which incidentally is the root of a lot of inner-conflict because it leads to inner consideration instead of external consideration. Gurdjieff's teachings explain those two issues clearly enough to learn to understand with enough self-observation and contemplation. He also explained why it's necessary to pay everything, in advance... and the price can't be paid with false currency.
 

SeekinTruth

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Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

This thread is immensely illuminating. The importance of context/specific situation is made so crystal clear. It really helps me see where more work is needed on myself. It clarifies the crucial problem of identification, and its relation to internal/external considering and self-importance. And it reminds yet again the value of working in a group such as this, reinvigorating my overall appreciation of the group.

It seems also that a main emphasis of Gurdjieff’s method of teaching was that of the Work and all aims related to it really having value in gaining mastery of the self. This seems to be the prerequisite and each individual must be committed to it and achieve it to a great enough degree to be valuable/useful in helping humanity as a whole. This seems to be the key to establishing a nucleus of conscious beings - cells in the body of humanity - that can then guide or influence the further evolution of humanity.

Thanks to all for this valuable discussion.
 

vinny

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

I agree. when it is pointed out, It sounds like such simple common sense - yet it takes such a lot to hammer it home!

if I can't even handle myself - my own complications, foibles, self-importance, narcissism, subjectivity etc - how in the world can I possibly expect to be able to handle anything else?! (or to 'DO' as Gurdjieff would put it) We are our own 'vehicle' for our lessons in this world, and oh how easy it is to ignore that altogether, and project all the issues 'out there' onto something else.
 

Tigersoap

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

Thanks Laura, for repeating over and over what you know and posting Gurdjieff's words in context.
Your patience with us is incredible.
I fight so much against what Jeanne de Salzmann said. It's quite hard to swallow, yet so true.
It just "messed me up" because I got a glimpse of my own self importance and the constant need/want I require from the world.
 

Ryan

Dagobah Resident
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

alwyn said:
Well, I think there is a huge tendency to both lionize the man, and to neglect the man at the same time. Much of what he did was credible and worthy. Some of it was pretty havey-cavey, and some of it really messed people up.
As an interested observer of mankind for the past 30 years, it is quite apparent to me that (in general) people are really messed up anyway. Gurdjieff was truly selfless in that he tried to help people to get "un-messed" - not through some kind of spiritual "bartering" as favoured by various priests, mullahs and gurus throughout history, but rather through encouraging people to strive for themselves. One of the aphorisms on the wall of the Prieure's study hall (according to Charlie Nott) was "If by nature you have not a critical mind, your staying here is useless" (paraphrased). If the appropriate efforts are not made by the student, the teacher can at best only stabilise their condition for a short time.

Something that continues to resound in me with ever deeper levels of ramification is that this Work truly CHANGES people, in ways I simply can't fathom or comprehend properly. No one who is exposed to the Work emerges "unscathed" from it. It's like it forces people to "take sides" - becoming more self-serving or becoming more selfless. I have found also that studying the works of various psychologists and psychiatrists is providing an interesting and convergent adjunct to more "esoteric" teachings. For example, Martha Stout, ex-Harvard clinical psychologist writes the following regarding the tendency for sufferers of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) to recover through psychotherapy:

Martha Stout said:
Given the work I do, I naturally ponder whether there are any organizing systems of meaning arid value-"good" ones or "bad" ones-that correlate with successful recovery from dissociative disorders, or any that militate against such an outcome. Are there souls, so to speak, for whom the prognosis is better than for others? And when I consider all my patients, over all the years, the answer is yes: there is in fact an astonishingly robust correlation between an individual's successful recovery on the one hand, and on the other hand, a person's preexisting conviction that she and she alone is responsible for something. This something could be an endeavor or a specific person, or is quite likely to be the conduct of her life in general. People who are compelled and organized by a sense of responsibility for their actions tend to recover.
And conversely, sadly, people whose directive meaning systems do not include such a conviction tend not to recover, tend to remain dissociatively fragmented and lost.

This distinction is other than that of perceived locus of control-Who has the power, I or the universe?-which is an understandably double-edged issue for nearly all survivors of trauma. Rather, the difference is that of tenaciously assuming personal responsibility for one's own actions, and therefore taking on personal risk, versus placing the highest valuation upon personal safety, both physical and emotional, which often precludes the acknowledgment of responsibility. (If I acknowledge responsibility toward my child-or my friend or my ideas or my community-then I may be compelled to stick my neck out. I may have to do or feel something that will make me more vulnerable.) Here, the psychology of trauma comes full circle, in that the original function of dissociation is to buffer and protect; and so by rights, patients who value self-protection above all else should be candidates for treatment failure, even though they may experience, in addition, an ambivalent wish to be rid of their devitalizing dissociative reactions.

A self-protective system of mind may express itself behaviorally in many ways. Three of the most common ways can be characterized as action-avoidant dependency upon another person or upon a confining set of rules, a preoccupation with reassigning blame, and actions and complaints that indicate a lack of perspective on one's own problems relative to the problems of others. In dissociative identity disorder, such behaviors-just like their "responsible" opposites in a very different "soul"-may be observed, along with some distracting variations in style; across all of the various personalities.

The third behavioral expression of a self-protective soul-acting upon a lack of perspective on one's own problems relative to those of others-is reflected in our society at large by the popular phenomenon of victim identification. Victim identification pre-supposes the belief that there is a finite group of victims within the larger population, and that one is either a member of this group or not. Membership is (paradoxically) attractive because it affords, first and foremost, a sense of belonging, and after that, all the special status, sympathy, and considerations typically given to those who have been preyed upon and hurt. Also, as an identity, as something to be, it may fill up the terrifying sense of emptiness that often follows trauma.
Unfortunately, forever holding on to an identity as victim bodes ill for the person's recovery from that very trauma. Holding fast to this way of seeing oneself and the world can keep an individual endlessly beguiled by his own misery. Also, victim identification blinds its subscribers to the leveling fact that we have all-yes, granted, some more so than others-but we have all been hurt at one time or another. We are in this together: patients, non-patients, therapists, everyone.

For these reasons, it is crucial that a fine balance be struck by therapists, and by anyone wishing to help those with DID, or any other dissociative disorder-in the session room, in the home, in survivors groups, and even in the newly developed context of mental health Web sites and chat rooms. A survivor of trauma is a victim, certainly; but "victim" does not comprise the totality of her, or anyone else's, identity. Helpers must support the healing process in both of its phases: the survivor must endure the discovery that she is a victim, and then she must take responsibility for being that no longer. Both parts are equally important, and in neither phase can self-protection be the primary goal. Enabling someone's long-term identity as a victim robs her of an important human right, that of being responsible for her own life.

Also, whether or not a particular person is willing, after a time, to relinquish the status of victim is important information for a helper, because it tends to predict who will and who will not recover. In this regard, I sometimes gently point out to a patient that if she will reflect for a moment, she will probably realize that extreme victim identification and self-pity were, truth to tell, prominent characteristics of her abuser. And is this really how she wants to live her whole life, too?
The prognostic information provided by the relative strength of responsibility and self-protection in organizing the mind would lead one to predict, for example, that my patient Garrett, even with all his dramatic, named alters, will recover-and that my other patient's letter-writing aunt will never do so. This is my best guess, even though the aunt's dissociative identity disorder itself is presumably far less spectacular than Garrett's.

In many ways, close study of dissociative behavior supports an old truth, that we cannot simultaneously protect ourselves and experience life fully. These two desires preclude each other proportionately. To the extent that we try to protect ourselves, we cannot truly live; and to the extent that we truly live, we cannot place our highest value upon protecting ourselves. This lesson, is not new, but it is interesting that the theme reiterates itself right down to our neurological blueprints. Maybe there is no salvation for any of us outside of the meaning system provided by personal responsibility, despite all the daunting risks. Perhaps this is why we so doggedly look for examples of accountability in our role models, our parents, our leaders.
Seems to me with the above section of writing, Stout has touched on (in her own way) the manifestion of STO/STS as an "essential nature" of individuals. The traits she mentioned as characteristic of "self-protective souls" have certainly been displayed by ex-members of the QFS group. And there is evidence that they were also displayed by ex-students of Gurdjieff, as well.

Martha Stout said:
A self-protective system of mind may express itself behaviorally in many ways. Three of the most common ways can be characterized as action-avoidant dependency upon another person or upon a confining set of rules, a preoccupation with reassigning blame, and actions and complaints that indicate a lack of perspective on one's own problems relative to the problems of others. In dissociative identity disorder, such behaviors-just like their "responsible" opposites in a very different "soul"-may be observed, along with some distracting variations in style; across all of the various personalities.
We could sum this up as:

1) Mechanical Laziness
2) Blaming others / Projection
3) Inability/Unwillingness to self-observe

as three primary expressions of the impulse towards Non-being. For instance, in Ouspensky's case, he blamed Gurdjieff for "distorting" the system, when in fact it was his own self-importance and pride in his own knowledge and intellect that blocked him from understanding what Gurdjieff was trying to show him.

alwyn said:
If I was more perfect than Gurdjieff I wouldn't be having all the trouble with sociopaths that I'm having now, would I? I'd certainly be alot richer.
I'm pretty sure Gurdjieff did not die a rich man. For all the money he gained at various times in his life, he was constantly re-investing it back into humanity. The true fruits of his work were the legacy of knowledge he left behind, not the fat bank accounts and jet-setting lifestyle that some gurus (eg. Maharaji) accumulated - note: there's a good example of a true "spiritual conman" for you.

alwyn said:
But I know what I know, and I've studied with whom I've studied.
So why are you here? Do you think the QFG has knowledge that you don't? If so, perhaps our perspective about Gurdjieff is based on more knowledge than you have? If not, then are you here to "educate" us?

The QFG is an open system - we are always looking for knowledge that explains better the workings of ourselves and the Universe. Perhaps it was this attitude that prompted Professor Lobaczewski to contact Laura about "Political Ponerology"? If you recognize this as sincere striving, and are sincerely striving yourself, then why not drop the ego about how much you "know" about Gurdjieff and Shah and the like, and get onboard? We really could use the help.

But if you're happy with your own knowledge and prefer the self-image of a "teacher" (no matter how big or small), then there's probably no point in staying here. FWIW, I don't think you know anything that we don't already know. But feel free to prove me wrong. I am open to that possibility, and almost certainly am wrong if you really are sincere. Because sincere seekers ALWAYS have something to contribute.

Or so I think.
 

henry

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

alwyn said:
Jeanne de Salzmann said:
You will see that in life you receive exactly what you give. Your life is the mirror of what you are. It is in your image.
By this measure, those people in Iraq must be really bad. After all, they are stuck in the middle of a war, so they must deserve it, right? Those poor people in Gitmo who are tortured? The same? Sounds like this is a fancy way of 'creating your own reality'.
Laura has dealt with one aspect of this question, but I think that there is another. The premise of your sarcastic remark is that 'everyone' is on the point of coming to the understanding that we have here on this forum. And that is far from the case. How many people when presented with this knowledge turn their backs on it? If Iraqis didn't believe that Bush was serious about war, and if Americans can't see that 9/11 was an inside job, two facts that are far more easy to grasp than the material presented here, how many will be willing to look seriously at what we are publishing day in and day out on Signs of the Times?

But there is a reason for this, one explained by Gurdjieff in the following:

Gurdjieff said:
During one conversation with G. in our group, which was beginning to become permanent, I asked: "Why, if ancient knowledge has been preserved and if, speaking in general, there exists a knowledge distinct from our science and philosophy or even surpassing it, is it so carefully concealed, why is it not made common property? Why are the men who possess this knowledge unwilling to let it pass into the general circulation of life for the sake of a better and more successful struggle against deceit, evil, and ignorance?"

This is, I think, a question which usually arises in everyone's mind on first acquaintance with the ideas of esotericism.

"There are two answers to that," said G. "In the first place, this knowledge is not concealed; and in the second place, it cannot, from its very nature, become common property. We will consider the second of these statements first. I will prove to you afterwards that knowledge" (he emphasized the word) "is far more accessible to those capable of assimilating it than is usually supposed; and that the whole trouble is that people either do not want it or cannot receive it.

"But first of all another thing must be understood, namely, that knowledge cannot belong to all, cannot even belong to many. Such is the law. You do not understand this because you do not understand that knowledge, like everything else in the world, is material. It is material, and this means that it possesses all the characteristics of materiality. One of the first characteristics of materiality is that matter is always limited, that is to say, the quantity of matter in a given place and under given condi­ tions is limited. Even the sand of the desert and the water of the sea is a definite and unchangeable quantity. So that, if knowledge is material, then it means that there is a definite quantity of it in a given place at a given time. It may be said that, in the course of a certain period of time, say a century, humanity has a definite amount of knowledge at its disposal. But we know, even from an ordinary observation of life, that the matter of knowledge possesses entirely different qualities according to whether it is taken in small or large quantities. Taken in a large quantity in a given place, that is by one man, let us say, or by a small group of men, it produces very good results; taken in a small quantity (that is, by every one of a large number of people), it gives no results at all; or it may give even negative results, contrary to those expected. Thus if a certain definite quantity of knowledge is distributed among millions of people, each individual will receive very little, and this small amount of knowledge will change nothing either in his life or in his understanding of things. And however large the number of people who receive this small amount of knowledge, it will change nothing in their lives, except, perhaps, to make them still more difficult.

"But if, on the contrary, large quantities of knowledge are concentrated in a small number of people, then this knowledge will give very great results. From this point of view it is far more advantageous that knowledge should be preserved among a small number of people and not dispersed among the masses.

"If we take a certain quantity of gold and decide to gild a number of objects with it, we must know, or calculate, exactly what number of objects can be gilded with this quantity of gold. If we try to gild a greater number, they will be covered with gold unevenly, in patches, and will look much worse than if they had no gold at all; in fact we shall lose our gold.

"The distribution of knowledge is based upon exactly the same principle. If knowledge is given to all, nobody will get any. If it is preserved among a few, each will receive not only enough to keep, but to increase, what he receives. "At the first glance this theory seems very unjust, since the position of those who are, so to speak, denied knowledge in order that others may receive a greater share appears to be very sad and undeservedly harder than it ought to be. Actually, however, this is not so at all; and in the distribution of knowledge there is not the slightest injustice.

"The fact is that the enormous majority of people do not want any knowledge whatever; they refuse their share of it and do not even take the ration allotted to them, in the general distribution, for the purposes of life. This is particularly evident in times of mass madness such as wars, revolutions, and so on, when men suddenly seem to lose even the small amount of common sense they had and turn into complete automatons, giving themselves over to wholesale destruction in vast numbers, in other words, even losing the instinct of self-preservation. Owing to this, enormous quantities of knowledge remain, so to speak, unclaimed and can be distributed among those who realize its value.

"There is nothing unjust in this, because those who receive knowledge take nothing that belongs to others, deprive others of nothing; they take only what others have rejected as useless and what would in any case be lost if they did not take it.

"The collecting of knowledge by some depends upon the rejection of knowledge by others. "There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture. Such periods of mass madness, often coinciding with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character, release a very great quantity of the matter of knowledge. This, in its turn, necessitates the work of collecting this matter of knowledge which would otherwise be lost. Thus the work of collecting scattered matter of knowledge frequently coincides with the beginning of the destruction and fall of cultures and civilizations.

"This aspect of the question is clear. The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge, and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear. It is even difficult to imagine all the horror of this slavery. We do not understand what people are losing. But in order to understand the cause of this slavery it is enough to see how people live, what constitutes the aim of their existence, the object of their desires, passions, and aspirations, of what they think, of what they talk, what they serve and what they worship. Consider what the cultured humanity of our time spends money on; even leaving the war out, what commands the highest price; where the biggest crowds are. If we think for a moment about these questions it becomes clear that humanity, as it is now, with the interests it lives by, cannot expect to have anything different from what it has. But, as I have already said, it cannot be otherwise. Imagine that for the whole of mankind half a pound of knowledge is allotted a year. If this knowledge is distributed among everyone, each will receive so little that he will remain the fool he was. But, thanks to the fact that very few want to have this knowledge, those who take it are able to get, let us say, a grain each, and acquire the possibility of becoming more intelligent. All cannot become intelligent even if they wish. And if they did become intelligent it would not help matters. There exists a general equilibrium which cannot be upset.

'That is one aspect. The other, as I have already said, consists in the fact that no one is concealing anything; there is no mystery whatever. But the acquisition or transmission of true knowledge demands great labor and great effort both of him who receives and of him who gives. And those who possess this knowledge are doing everything they can to transmit and communicate it to the greatest possible number of people, to facilitate people's approach to it and enable them to prepare themselves to receive the truth. But knowledge cannot be given by force to anyone and, as I have already said, an unprejudiced survey of the average man's life, of what fills his day and of the things he is interested in, will at once show whether it is possible to accuse men who possess knowledge of concealing it, of not wishing to give it to people, or of not wishing to teach people what they know themselves.

"He who wants knowledge must himself make the initial efforts to find the source of knowledge and to approach it, taking advantage of the help and indications which are given to all, but which people, as a rule, do not want to see or recognize. Knowledge cannot come to people without effort on their own part. They understand this very well in connection with ordinary knowledge, but in the case of great knowledge, when they admit the possibility of its existence, they find it possible to expect something different. Everyone knows very well that if, for instance, a man wants to learn Chinese, it will take several years of intense work; everyone knows that five years are needed to grasp the principles of medicine, and perhaps twice as many years for the study of painting or music. And yet there are theories which affirm that knowledge can come to people without any effort on their part, that they can acquire it even in sleep. The very existence of such theories constitutes an additional explanation of why knowledge cannot come to people. At the same time it is essential to understand that man's independent efforts to attain anything in this direction can also give no results. A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows."
So, Alwyn, it seems to me you are caught up in an illusion of the world. You don't really understand the terror of the situation. You think that your various natural therapies, etc, are actually going to make a difference. They may help some individuals in specific moments of pain. That is not a bad thing, but it is also far from the point of the Work.
 

Avala

Dagobah Resident
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

I will add some of my thoughts.

I live in Serbia, and Serbia was bombed by NATO in spring of 1999.We really wasn’t aware that we will be bombed, although we see such talks on the news, but we don’t see that as real danger, that was all “political games" “hot air" and such thing. Of course there was people who was been aware of that, especially journalist, and some of them were killed in those times in yet unsolved crimes, but nobody wants to listen them. We were so sure in ourselves and in Slobodan Milosevic; there was not a chance that we will be under bombs.
Then one evening we hear sirens, distant explosions which become closer, sky was lit with fires, tomahawk missiles buzzing at low altitude and you know that you cannot run and hide, just to hope that you will survive. We were in shock, bombing is real, that was uncredible.How we didn’t see that it will be for real?
Now I know, we were ignorant, we don’t want to see that, and I believe that we had lot more information then people in Iraq, but our ignorance, wishful thinking and not thinking at all led us to that. We were just too lazy to see that it will be for real, that it is not “hot air"

And something more

I have NPD, I am narcissistic person. All with papers and diagnose from doctor, and it is for real.

I was at doctor, they want to see will I am suit to go in army (for the second time) I sad that I don’t want to go in pschyhopatic organization with idiots and gypsies, and some stuff which is not for forum, but all of that I meant for real. I was free for that time but with that diagnosis. I was playing cool and entertain people with my “lunatic papers" but deep inside I was mad, was thinking “who is he, to tell me that I am narsictic.Idiot, I was right in what I said, and they calls them a doctors, but who cares anyway, its important that I have what I wanted"

And:

G via Laura said:
"On the most prevalent occasions a man is identified with what others think about him, how they treat him, what attitude they show towards him. He always thinks that people do not value him enough, are not sufficiently polite and courteous. All this torments him, makes him think and suspect and lose an immense amount of energy on guesswork, on suppositions, develops in him a distrustful and hostile attitude towards people. How somebody looked at him, what somebody thought of him, what somebody said of him—all this acquires for him an immense significance.
From personal experience, truth to the single word.

G via Laura said:
"There are people who are able to consider not only injustice or the failure of others to value them enough but who are able to consider for example the weather. This seems ridiculous but it is a fact. People are able to consider climate, heat, cold, snow, rain; they can be irritated by the weather, be indignant and angry with it. A man can take everything in such a personal way as though everything in the world had been specially arranged in order to give him pleasure or on the contrary to cause him inconvenience or unpleasantness.
I have done that, and people around me laughed at me, which caused me a lot of more pain so I runaway in my “silly I" and pretend that I do that just to entertain them, and what causes even more pain and running away.

Laura said:
A narcissist will go with the rant because the narcissism - whether genetic or learned - is stronger than the real *I*. The more pathological types will then go out and launch attacks because they are in a state of what is called Narcissistic Rage.

Pathological Narcissitic Rage has special characteristics because the narcissistic hurt is different from other types of emotional pain. The fact that this hurt is very vulnerable, and opens up to an emptiness signifying the dissolution of identity, imbues the reactive anger with an intensity and hardness rarely seen in other kinds of anger. (The Point of Existence, pg 324). The (narcissitic) rage may turn into, or be accompanied by, a cold hatred that gives ... qualities of power, invincibility, and calculation. This hatred underlies the desire for vengeance, for wanting to inflict pain and suffering, and for actually enjoying getting back at the person who [failed to support the narcissistic illusion]. (The Point of Existence, pg 327)
Again, that is exactly like it is described. It requires large amount of energy to stop that rant. First you will see what you are doing, but just for a moment. Another time that moment will last longer, and you must be curios about that moment when you “see" what you are doing, and you eventually ask yourself why. Why I am doing this? What is problem with me, and it will take long time and lot of work on yourself just to gain wish to stop that rant. And even then it is very hard to maintain that wish and not to comeback to it. It requires CONSTANT awareness of what you are doing.

And that rage is exactly like its described, although I had not any emotions like hate or such after that and that “rages" lasts very short with me. It really gives you very large amount of power, strength and such things, but now I know it is false. Only one thing I get after that rages and that is that level of my energy is so low and I was so drained that all I can do after that is to sit or lye down and be silence. I just hope that I am not genetic narccsiss but learned.


I think that this is very important.


G via Laura said:
"Such considering is wholly based upon 'requirements.' A man inwardly 're-quires' that everyone should see what a remarkable man he is and that they should constantly give expression to their respect, esteem, and admiration for him, for his intellect, his beauty, his cleverness, his wit, his presence of mind, his originality, and all his other qualities.
I know this all from PERSONAL experience, and I know that is very hard to see that it is not good. People think:

“there is nothing bad when I wish to be clever, respected, remarkable . . . it is good, and I mean no harm to anyone, just to see that I am so big, because that is true"

And which is more wrong other people think about that people

“Its good when he wants to be clever, remarkable . . . those are good qualities, I will tell him that he is all of that, just to encourage him, there is nothing bad with it, it is not any danger, and it is normal"

WRONG. One very wrong and vicious circle of lies and foremost ignorance. It is very hard to stop to think narccistic in all narcsitic society, but it is possible.

Even lately I catch some of my narcissistic “I’s" for example “cool I" or “silly I" and they even writing on SotT and then they expect admiration, respect, even confirmation like: “this what I wrote is so cool, maybe even Laura will comment it, or Ark, he’s cool too"
But it is easier and easier to take control over them, only I must always think and be aware of them.

I wrote this because I see some of me and my narcissistic disorder in some of the members here, so maybe this will help some of them, some other people helped me too. But it is important to understand the problem if one have it, and to know what is ones current level at which he/she can understand anything. And reading a lot.Gurdjieff is perfect for me, and Laura with her so good writing about stuff and books, especially because I can understand when she wrote and quotes about books, on psychology for example, which is too professionally written and complicated for me to understand it in original.

That would be it, sorry if I wrote little confusingly.
 

ScioAgapeOmnis

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

I've read the above words by G about knowledge taking on a material/limited quality a number of times, but I'm still not sure I really understand it. I know that in all STS hierarchies, such as this world, the higher up you go the more knowledge each person/being possesses and the fewer people/beings there are, and the lower you go in the pyramid the less knowledge each person possesses, and the more people exist on that level. This is because knowledge is power, and it protects. Ignorance endangers, and those who know more are therefore more powerful than those who know less, and in any STS world they by definition go on a higher "rank" because of it. And for this reason, in an STS pyramid, knowledge is hidden, it is suppressed, it is "hoarded" at the top, and there are secrets. It is not just a case of the majority rejecting it, they are encouraged to reject it, most especially what G calls "great knowledge" aka fundamental esoteric understandings of objective reality.

But when you give knowledge to someone you don't lose knowledge, so in that sense it is not like material things. I also understand why a certain amount of knowledge concentrated in one person or small number of people is much more useful than the same amount of knowledge divided up among a large number of people, like food, money, or bread, or any resource. But again, can't you give knowledge without losing it? G does say that people who have it, who are not using it to control, those people do seek every possible means to spread it to all others who want/seek it and are capable of receiving it. But they don't lose the knowledge they give in the process, so I'm confused there.

And yet he says that you only get knowledge because someone else rejected it? Again I don't think I understand this, the idea that there is a "fixed" set of knowledge in the world, like energy, and if someone gains it, it must necessarily be because someone else does not? For example, in an STO world, wouldn't everyone be gaining it? So then, this condition of knowledge being in the hands of the few, is it not a result of this world being STS, and not because knowledge itself is a limited resource?

My understanding is that knowledge is not gained by most people for a number of reasons, all of which G also says. They don't want it, they don't know how to get it, and they have incorrect theories/assumptions about knowledge and how to get it, and they are too busy caring about everything else but knowledge. And of course, that entire condition is strongly promoted by the PTB in many ways, the biggest way is probably through psychopaths, and so this global condition while being largely our own fault is also intentionally cultivated and maintained by the PTB. G says all of this in the above passage I think. But I just don't get the part about knowledge being a limited resource. Could somebody who understands what G is saying please explain it, perhaps in different words if possible?
 

Mark

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

ScioAgapeOmnis said:
I've read the above words by G about knowledge taking on a material/limited quality a number of times, but I'm still not sure I really understand it. I know that in all STS hierarchies, such as this world, the higher up you go the more knowledge each person/being possesses and the fewer people/beings there are, and the lower you go in the pyramid the less knowledge each person possesses, and the more people exist on that level.
How is a pyramid scheme governed by knowledge level?

Seems to me that such a scheme is governed by ruthlessness, selfishness, ignorance, lack of conscience - and possibly other factors, but those are enough to make my point here. The more extreme those traits are then the higher someone is likely to rise in a pyramid scheme. And no matter how high they rise they'll never understand STO because they aren't equipped to understand. So essentially a person low on the pyramid can be far more knowledgeable than the 'black hole' at the top. Also keep in mind that a person aspiring to STO has no ambition to rise to the top of anything. There's no top in a circle or sphere...

ScioAgapeOmnis said:
This is because knowledge is power, and it protects.
You are mixing up concepts. Knowledge is protection, in so far as a STO perspective is concerned, and knowledge is power in an STS perspective. Power is typically a function of STS because it's seen as something to be wielded against others for the self, and STO would use knowledge to help others. In an STO context I don't think the dynamic is called power. I think responsibility (or response-ability as Laura has termed it sometimes) is the appropriate term.

Can you see how someone with tremendous responsibility/response-ability might be relatively powerless in this world as compared to psychopathic power-mongers? Of course such an extreme STS type of being can't see how the universe is most likely non-linear. And in a non-linear universe power becomes a form of blindness based in wishful thinking.

Does that make sense?

If I'm wrong then someone please correct me.

ScioAgapeOmnis said:
Ignorance endangers and those who know more are therefore more powerful than those who know less, and in any STS world they by definition go on a higher "rank" because of it.
Again here, I think that your thinking is faulty due to the same reasons - mixing up the ideas of power and responsibility/response-ability.

You probably need to get a clearer understanding of STO and STS otherwise you're going to become more confused trying to figure out what G is talking about in that particular context.
 

ScioAgapeOmnis

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

mark said:
How is a pyramid scheme governed by knowledge level?
Well, in an STS hierarchy of control, what factors determine who is higher in the hierarchy? Is it not the knowledge, and therefore the power of the being? I mean, in our world the reason a lot of people are not high in the STS hierarchy is because they are not really selfish enough due to having empathy, they are STS but not consciously so, they try to be "good", but are mostly confused. But I mean among a group of consciously STS individuals, what determines who has power over whom, what determines the "pecking order"? Is it not the knowledge/power of the individual?

I think there's some confusion in word usage.

mark said:
You are mixing up concepts. Knowledge is protection, in so far as a STO perspective is concerned, and knowledge is power in an STS perspective.
I do realize this, I just put it all in one sentence without making a clear distinction between which part of knowledge is used by which polarity. The point I was trying to make was that knowledge is useful/beneficial for STS and STO alike, and that in the case of an STS hierarchy, knowledge is the only thing that I can think of that would be the determining factor of who controls whom. And as such, it benefits those higher on the pecking order to not share knowledge with those who are below them - when your slave knows more than you, then you are the slave - again speaking about an STS world, which after all, we're in right now. Although in our world the lowest level have not consciously made any choice yet, they're more like drones used by those who are consciously STS and also by psychopaths. And those who are STO candidates desperately try to awaken the "unconscious drones" so that they may choose. I think the hope is that most people would not consciously choose STS if they could awaken to what's going on and finally stopped pretending that they are "good" and their leaders are "good" and saw themselves and the world as it is. The reason I think most people would not consciously choose STS is because they do have empathy, and to consciously choose STS one would need to ignore/repress the empathy somehow. Psychopaths are not conscious STS either, they have no choice at all. But I think I'm getting off on a tangent here..

mark said:
Can you see how someone with tremendous responsibility/response-ability might be relatively powerless in this world as compared to psychopathic power-mongers?
I think we're getting into semantics. When I used the word power I meant a more "basic" definition of the word, which is an individual's ability to DO, which is really response-ability. I don't necessarily define power as "power over others", which I think is what you interpreted it as and might be why you misunderstand what I meant. But using my intended meaning, would you agree that knowledge directly results in power - whether it is power to serve others or to control others would be more like a chosen utilization of this power, but in the most basic sense, power is just ability to DO, I guess basically like "energy" in a sense.

mark said:
Again here, I think that your thinking is faulty due to the same reasons - mixing up the ideas of power and responsibility/response-ability.
I'm pretty sure that you misunderstood what I meant by power, cuz I think the definition you had in mind as you read my post is "power over others". Let me know if that's it, or if you still think I'm misunderstanding something.
 

Mark

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

ScioAgapeOmnis said:
mark said:
How is a pyramid scheme governed by knowledge level?
Well, in an STS hierarchy of control, what factors determine who is higher in the hierarchy? Is it not the knowledge, and therefore the power of the being? I mean, in our world the reason a lot of people are not high in the STS hierarchy is because they are not really selfish enough due to having empathy, they are STS but not consciously so, they try to be "good", but are mostly confused. But I mean among a group of consciously STS individuals, what determines who has power over whom, what determines the "pecking order"? Is it not the knowledge/power of the individual?
The original issue was about trying to understand what Gurdjieff said about knowledge and there being a finite amount available, and who can have some of it, and why.

I was trying to help you understand why you might not be able to understand, based on my own experiences with trying to learn what he is talking about with that. And I'll point out here that I might be entirely wrong about this, but right now I don't think I am. In so far as I can tell, based on what you wrote (which you admit wasn't clear compared to what you supposedly meant) you're not seeing some important distinctions between STO and STS, and you're omitting the issue of psychopathy in trying to understand. Without those distinctions and the knowledge of psychopathy added in you're probably not going to understand why Gurdjieff said what he said. The points in my previous response were basically this:

- Rising to the top of a pyramid has little if anything to do with knowledge, it has mostly to do with characteristics that are either taught or genetically wired - e.g. psychopathic tendencies. So in keeping with previous examples, cats chase mice because that's what cats do. Nobody has to teach a cat to do that. In the case of humans, some are taught by circumstances that 'chasing mice' is how to live life, and in other cases where the 'chase' occurs it's creatures who look human but aren't, they're some other species that only looks human.

- In so far as we are concerned here, knowledge is protection - not power. If this hasn't been brought up before on the forum then I apologize for not realizing that. So for someone who aspires to become an STO candidate, knowledge carries with it an instinctual response to those in need. For those who tend towards further descent into STS, 'knowledge' (I use that term loosely here) is seen as power to be wielded against others.

---

On a related note, remember that this forum is open and read by many people that don't actually participate by posting their thoughts. What you write is read and interpreted by unknown numbers of people and your words could help or hinder readers along with those other people that readers pass their own interpretation along to. So external consideration is incredibly important here. It's easy to get tunnel vision and forget that there are onlookers. Again, I speak from experience here since I too sometimes forget or remember but still don't do a very good job of thinking things through before I hit the button to post.

You saying that 'you know that knowledge is power' required a response in my opinion to try to help you and to make sure that newbies don't accidentally go off in that direction.
 

Tigersoap

The Living Force
Gurdjieff and the question of the soul.

ScioAgapeOmnis said:
But I just don't get the part about knowledge being a limited resource. Could somebody who understands what G is saying please explain it, perhaps in different words if possible?
What if Knowledge such as the one Gurdjieff talks about as a real physical quality ? even if our senses don't perceive it ? maybe this has to be taken litteraly ?
We need food to live, so why not "feeding" on knowledge to grow ? that kinda fits with 3D.
Just an idea.
 
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