Mouravieff's Gnosis

Ben

Jedi Council Member
I have just finished reading the mesoteric cycle of Gnosis, which is the second volume of three for those who are not familiar with it. The main thing which strikes me about this volume is how difficult the concepts would have been to grasp had I not been familiarised with them through the material on this site. This is partly due to the complexity of the language which Mouravieff uses, which is probably largely a result of its very precise translation into English (it is similar to Political Ponerology in this respect). As it stands, I feel I have gained much understanding from these books so far as regards the relation of the Fourth Way and material of Gurdjieff to the esoteric aspects of christianity.

There is one aspect of these books, as well as ISOTM and Gurdjieff's material, which I find particulary difficult to understand. This is the discussion of the 'impressions' which are absorbed into man as a system of energies which are related to what are described in these books as the elements of 'Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen'. What I find difficult to understand about this aspect of Gnosis is firstly in what way these impressions are related to what I understand as H, O and N in the purely chemical sense, and how it is that the tradition (and the modern day authors which describe it) has arrived at such specificity as to be able to describe all the impressions, energies and laws which influence man in terms of a series of numbers linked to a particular one of these three elements. It is not helped by the fact that this is an incredibly difficult and even tedious part of the material to read if you are full of confusion about it from the outset. I was first introduced to these ideas in ISOTM and since then it has troubled me that it may be a missing piece which leads to understanding, which is of course all that I am interested in as regards this subject.

I wonder how other readers of this material reacted to this topic and how it has since been incorporated into their understanding of this whole Tradition which is so colinear with the Cosmology described by the Cassiopaean material. It is important to point out that, being the reason that I arrived at Mouravieff's books in the first place, the material at this site has been the foundation of my understanding and possibly the filter through which have viewed Mouravieff, Ouspensky and Gurdjieff. I hope this makes sense!
 

manitoban

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Ben said:
The main thing which strikes me about this volume is how difficult the concepts would have been to grasp had I not been familiarised with them through the material on this site.
Ben, I have also found this book heavy going at times, but I am struggling on with it. There is no way I would have understood this material without the knowledge I've gained on this site. Actually, Castaneda also made a lot more sense to me after reading Laura's work and this site.
My feeling is that it will take me several reads through until I can even begin to actually grasp it. I won't give up!! :)
 

Mr. Premise

The Living Force
While I find most of Mouravieff and Gurdjieff fairly easy to understand, the part about the various hydrogens, oxygens and nitrogens I don't understand at all. There are some members who do though, people who have spent many years in the fourth way.

I did find that I made a little progress the second time grappling with it.
 

CarpeDiem

Jedi Council Member
I'm struggling dead with not getting Mouravieff's idea of film of life. If that book weren't so heavy (I have 3 volumes in one, A4), it would obviously end cracked somewhere under the bed! How that "show goes on uninterrupted. and "end of film" merges with its beginning: in moment of death man not only is born again, but in the same place and at the same time, where he was born always again and again, from the same parents". Like C's mentioning "cycles within cycles". I/m totally struck in 3D reasoning about time. The same about C's "your past lives you didn't live yet and your future lives you already lived". Comparison to perception of curve by 2D bug doesn't help much. Since Mouravieff 's text is accompanied by graphs it's a bit more manageable than that of G. "all and everything". We are struck in cycling until we break it/them and transform into spiral. But time concept drives me nuts!
 

ArdVan

Jedi
Ben said:
What I find difficult to understand about this aspect of Gnosis is firstly in what way these impressions are related to what I understand as H, O and N in the purely chemical sense, and how it is that the tradition (and the modern day authors which describe it) has arrived at such specificity as to be able to describe all the impressions, energies and laws which influence man in terms of a series of numbers linked to a particular one of these three elements.
I've read Gnosis and there's a lot that I don't understand. Because of the huge quantity of information I have stopped wanting to understand everything in the books immediately. Like a good wine it needs some time to mature.

I don't think M. and G. described them as the three elements in todays chemical sense, but used the words 'Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Hydrogen' in an alchemical sense. Why these words, I don't know, but there must be a reason for it. C, O, N are words that represent the three forces of The Law of Three described in the first book. As he has described on page 76 (Vol 1), Carbon is the word for the "active force" , Oxygen the "passive force" and Nitrogen the "neutralising force" (or catalyst).

IMO the three elements C, O and N always build different triads which are called Hydrogens H, but I also have my difficulties to understand them. Well I must admit I'm quite lost there. I have some ideas but not enough to describe them. M. says that if the substance is considered independently from one of the three forces it's called Hydrogen. Does this represent a triad of these forces?

While some parts of the Law of Three are understandable, like making bread or the creation of life, others are still mysteries. The different Hydrogens H are all built from involutionary triads C,O,N (1,2,3). But I don't understand them.

What about other words for the forces of the Law of Three:

- maybe Sulphur, Mercury, Salt (Arsenic)?
3 Principles?
- maybe Father, Son, Holy Spirit?
- maybe I can, I am, I wish
Which are active, passive, neutral?

Anyway the order of the three forces in a triad seems to be important and determines the outcome of events and actions:

C, O, N: triad of involution
active (1), passive (2) , neutral (3)
Because this is they way the forces descend from the ray of creation. The different Hydrogens H 6, 12 etc. described by G. and M. are of this type.

O, C, N: triad of evolution
2, 1, 3
Why evolution? Because this is how life is created? It's the egg (2) that gets fertilised by the spermatozoon (1) and then they merge together (3).

There are more triads where I have no clue. Many things I don't (yet) understand :)
 

henry

The Living Force
CarpeDiem said:
I'm struggling dead with not getting Mouravieff's idea of film of life.
I'd suggest that you not worry too much at this stage about what he is saying in regards to time and the film of your life. The more important thing to concentrate on is his discussion about removing those aspects of the film that are secondary - if you are serious about the Work. Those are the people and activities that are part of your life that take you away from the Work. They are the people and things that drain your energy.

Until we are able to maintain a certain level of energy consistently, I think that is what we should be focusing on.

Some of the material you will only understand after the fact. These are books you will read and reread many times, each reading given you a deeper insight into the Tradition it passes along. Each time you will understand more because you will be able to relate it to events that you have lived and experienced. As you read you'll have ah-ha! moments because it will not just be theory.
 

CarpeDiem

Jedi Council Member
Thanks, Henry. Your short post means I was wrong at least twice:
First, I took a wrong approach with G and Mouravieff books. I was reading them as textbooks, stopping and starting re-reading book from page one if I wasn't grokking some concept in its entirety. Like a disciplined student would act: you can't grok the 2-nd semester material if you are lost with material from first lectures. In both G and Mouravieff it was 1 of book I can read, and then there is a place in each book which brings my reasoning processes to a physical halt. There are countless phrases I didn't get, but what was bringing me every time to a complete halt, was film of life concept in its entirety. I made not less than 30 rounds of reading of Mouravieff text with hope to finally "get it". Nope. The only bright thought in my head was that if I can't get some concept after more than 30 careful readings of the material, I'm not spherical idiot No 17, but rather a brain dead. Your post means that one can't deal with alchemical books as if they are textbooks. If they are, "of completely different Kind". Just change a strategy, read all without emphasizing concepts, but focusing on practical advices to start with, then re-read again and again without forcing things to happen, and work again and again. That makes sense.
And second, I was very wrong that I didn't share any problems here in the first place. I thought I have to read Mouravieff to the end and understand first.
 

ark

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I would something add even more heretical to to what Henry wrote: both Gurdjieff and Mouravieff should be read as an inspiration rather than as information. Why? Because they do not tell us what exactly are the sources of their material. Therefore it is to be taken as an inspiration for our own research. Not as an established truth. They can help us to formulate certain plausible "working hypotheses" - which may guide us in our search for the truth. The degree of plausibility of these working hypotheses depends on how they fit to all other data that we have. So, when I quote a passage from Gurdjieff, Ouspensky or Mouravief, it is not that I "believe" what they wrote. It simply means that the passage quoted is a part of my working hypothesis that I am giving a high plausibility value, because it agrees with the totality of all other data that we have collected and analyzed in our research. I am not quoting pieces that do not fit (yet). The fact that we quote them quite often means that we find a high degree of plausibility in an large part of what these authors wrote.
 

Ryan

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ark said:
I would something add even more heretical to to what Henry wrote: both Gurdjieff and Mouravieff should be read as an inspiration rather than as information. Why? Because they do not tell us what exactly are the sources of their material.
Ark, I do not completely understand this. Gurdjieff, certainly. But Mouravieff provides an extensive bibliography in his work. Can you clarify this for me?
 

ark

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Ryan said:
Ark, I do not completely understand this. Gurdjieff, certainly. But Mouravieff provides an extensive bibliography in his work. Can you clarify this for me?
Bibliography is one thing. The source of the knowledge is another thing. For instance, I can quote Gurdjieff in my bibliography. Does it mean that I know the source of knowledge of Gurdjieff? Certainly not. The same if I quote the Bible. Does it mean that I know the source of what is written in the Bible? Certainly not. Now, think about many speculations in Mouravieff. What is the source of these speculations? We can say: Mouravieff himself. But are these speculations reliable? We do not know without independent research, without getting to the primary sources, without examining the reliability of these primary sources. Etc. etc.
 

Ben

Jedi Council Member
ark said:
Bibliography is one thing. The source of the knowledge is another thing. For instance, I can quote Gurdjieff in my bibliography. Does it mean that I know the source of knowledge of Gurdjieff? Certainly not. The same if I quote the Bible. Does it mean that I know the source of what is written in the Bible? Certainly not. Now, think about many speculations in Mouravieff. What is the source of these speculations? We can say: Mouravieff himself. But are these speculations reliable? We do not know without independent research, without getting to the primary sources, without examining the reliability of these primary sources. Etc. etc.
I agree with this and it was one of the reasons why I wrote this

Ben said:
(how is it) that the tradition (and the modern day authors which describe it) has arrived at such specificity as to be able to describe all the impressions, energies and laws which influence man in terms of a series of numbers linked to a particular one of these three elements.
We are not provided with any clear indications of the inspirations for the authors sources in the bibliography and we have to rely on Mouravieff's and others' interpretations of them. Of the quotes from the bible found in Gnosis, there are many where I cannot understand Mouravieff's explanation of their meaning or see how they can be interpreted with such certainty.
 

timothykey

The Force is Strong With This One
Be careful about "sources of knowledge". In Judeo/Christian theology there is a prime rule "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy soul" and "have no other gods before me". To means to me, "Trust only in what you have directly experienced to be true, all else is suspect and probably not. Spend your time with direct experience and think about it.

tim
 

Ryan

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ark said:
Bibliography is one thing. The source of the knowledge is another thing. For instance, I can quote Gurdjieff in my bibliography. Does it mean that I know the source of knowledge of Gurdjieff? Certainly not. The same if I quote the Bible. Does it mean that I know the source of what is written in the Bible? Certainly not. Now, think about many speculations in Mouravieff. What is the source of these speculations? We can say: Mouravieff himself. But are these speculations reliable? We do not know without independent research, without getting to the primary sources, without examining the reliability of these primary sources. Etc. etc.
Thanks Ark. I guess since one cannot really define any primary sources in esotericism, one can only be inspired to perform experiments, and go from there.
 

ark

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Ryan said:
Thanks Ark. I guess since one cannot really define any primary sources in esotericism, one can only be inspired to perform experiments, and go from there.
Well, there is more than that. When I was reading Ouspensky, Gudjieff, Mouravievv, Nicoll - I had a very distinct feeling: "ooh, these guys are smart! They are able to formulate many things that I somehow "knew", but was not able to bring them to the front of my conscious thinking, and to express them so clearly." Some things that I was reading were a complete "discovery" for me - as with self-observation, which I did not think at all about, but I noticed how much I am gaining by working on it - experimenting, as you say. Whether there were "sources" that these people were relying on, or it was simply a genius - this is interesting, but not terribly important. We know some of us are extraordinarily gifted in certain areas, and they are able to see things that normally do not catch our attention. And when they see these things, and they point them to us, quite often we are able to see them as well. "The King is naked" - someone noticed it first, and then many other people could see it too. So, this is how I see "the teachers" of the Fourth Way - as those who saw clearly something difficult to see, those who coined the terms that are useful for many of us, those who connected the dots etc. etc.

But every genius, apart of making genial discoveries, is making also mistakes. Perhaps this is even some kind of a Law of Nature - there must be a necessary portion of distortion in receiving the knowledge from "higher realms". Perhaps this is so, as to allow for our free will? Some will take the mistakes of a genius as the truth - there must be such freedom left. Therefore we are allowed to take what we consider valuable, and to reject (if only temporarily) what is a necessary, unavoidable, distortion or what is a parable that we are not yet ready to transform into knowledge. To be able to say which is which depends on our level of knowledge, and on our personal development. They both change with time.

Or so I think.
 
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