Working with little I's

obyvatel

The Living Force
[quote author=naorma]
If you do spinning for a long time the result is that you get closer to your soul, you realize that there is the same inside yourself than outside yourself. And I think this is the real "You".
.................
Gurdijeff learned a lot from the Sufis . . . Just a short answer, because time is already short again. :flowers:
[/quote]

Not sure what exactly you are trying to answer here. Traditional Sufi orders do a lot more than just "spinning" for their development. If Gurdjieff learned a lot from Sufis and spent considerable time in their midst, he would naturally be familiar with their practices first hand.
 

Carl

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
luc said:
Hi wand3rer,

I think Huxley raised some very good points!

To rephrase it in my own words: I think "working for one's health" can be mechanical behavior/just a random little I, or it can be an expression of the essence. For example, I think many people in the wider Paleo/Keto community are "health nuts", who are driven by an extreme desire to be healthy, fit and athletic. But why? Some may just want to "look good", others may use it to hide from traumas, still others found a quasi-religion in this... I think Gurdjieff would say they "crystallized on a wrong foundation", meaning they identify with something so strongly that it allows them to overcome other desires - like "eating that cake". While that is certainly healthy, it may not be an expression of the essence.

On the other hand, if you try to become healthy as a means to an end, in context of 4th way Work, as in: having more energy to self-observe, deal with programs and DO, this would be a good thing, osit. Generally, maybe one could say that the goal is more to let our essence/our consciousness "shine through", and that this is the goal of working with little I's and working on our programs, including our attachment to toxic food. That is my understanding at least.

I think we also get a clearer view of our essence wants from an improvement in health.
Needless to say, when you're lethargic, slow and so brain-fogged that you can't think your way out of a paper bag, you cannot know your true feelings or even get close to what the essence wants. A state of ill-health not only burdens the body but also obscures the emotions and ruins rational thinking capacity. For me, at least.
 

lilyalic

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Carl said:
I think we also get a clearer view of our essence wants from an improvement in health.
Needless to say, when you're lethargic, slow and so brain-fogged that you can't think your way out of a paper bag, you cannot know your true feelings or even get close to what the essence wants. A state of ill-health not only burdens the body but also obscures the emotions and ruins rational thinking capacity. For me, at least.

I completely agree, I struggle enough to keep my physical body happy and in-tact. Personally, it's rare my physical self is in a healthy state to even try and decipher what the real self needs/wants.

The goal is to fuel the body with the right food and heal the gut, the gut is the second brain after all! I was thinking also, that even stress itself can harm the process of the body/ digestion etc. So it's working on everything all together I think, one step at a time

1) Body & Immediate environment
2) Wider world affairs
3) Cosmos & Spirit
 

naorma

Dagobah Resident
obyvatel said:
[quote author=naorma]
If you do spinning for a long time the result is that you get closer to your soul, you realize that there is the same inside yourself than outside yourself. And I think this is the real "You".
.................
Gurdijeff learned a lot from the Sufis . . . Just a short answer, because time is already short again. :flowers:

Not sure what exactly you are trying to answer here. Traditional Sufi orders do a lot more than just "spinning" for their development. If Gurdjieff learned a lot from Sufis and spent considerable time in their midst, he would naturally be familiar with their practices first hand.
[/quote]

I apologize for not being clear. There is too much confusion in my life right now as I have mentioned on another place.
 

placematt

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Carl said:
luc said:
Hi wand3rer,

I think Huxley raised some very good points!

To rephrase it in my own words: I think "working for one's health" can be mechanical behavior/just a random little I, or it can be an expression of the essence. For example, I think many people in the wider Paleo/Keto community are "health nuts", who are driven by an extreme desire to be healthy, fit and athletic. But why? Some may just want to "look good", others may use it to hide from traumas, still others found a quasi-religion in this... I think Gurdjieff would say they "crystallized on a wrong foundation", meaning they identify with something so strongly that it allows them to overcome other desires - like "eating that cake". While that is certainly healthy, it may not be an expression of the essence.

On the other hand, if you try to become healthy as a means to an end, in context of 4th way Work, as in: having more energy to self-observe, deal with programs and DO, this would be a good thing, osit. Generally, maybe one could say that the goal is more to let our essence/our consciousness "shine through", and that this is the goal of working with little I's and working on our programs, including our attachment to toxic food. That is my understanding at least.

I think we also get a clearer view of our essence wants from an improvement in health.
Needless to say, when you're lethargic, slow and so brain-fogged that you can't think your way out of a paper bag, you cannot know your true feelings or even get close to what the essence wants. A state of ill-health not only burdens the body but also obscures the emotions and ruins rational thinking capacity. For me, at least.

hey Carl, that makes a lot of sense!! Ill health shadowing the essence and emotions. I appreciate your post. I didn't really look at it that way.

luc said:
Hi wand3rer,

I think Huxley raised some very good points!

To rephrase it in my own words: I think "working for one's health" can be mechanical behavior/just a random little I, or it can be an expression of the essence. For example, I think many people in the wider Paleo/Keto community are "health nuts", who are driven by an extreme desire to be healthy, fit and athletic. But why? Some may just want to "look good", others may use it to hide from traumas, still others found a quasi-religion in this... I think Gurdjieff would say they "crystallized on a wrong foundation", meaning they identify with something so strongly that it allows them to overcome other desires - like "eating that cake". While that is certainly healthy, it may not be an expression of the essence.

On the other hand, if you try to become healthy as a means to an end, in context of 4th way Work, as in: having more energy to self-observe, deal with programs and DO, this would be a good thing, osit. Generally, maybe one could say that the goal is more to let our essence/our consciousness "shine through", and that this is the goal of working with little I's and working on our programs, including our attachment to toxic food. That is my understanding at least.

Appreciate your words to Luc! I've actually come to understand a little better how fast one can fall back to sleep. its quite cunning in it's own way and observing that, its really been a battle to have faith which seems to be an important part of this process as well.

I do need to work more on my health so that I can better deal and understand my behaviour and i guess begin to dive deeper and see if this health I" is a bigger part of my essence or it's just an I that i give more importance and credence to because it's health and i know its important.

I am kinda curious that as a process, when you observe an I, what do you go with in terms to see if it's good. Would you say you employ logic, or emotion/ gut feeling. For a long time i believed emotion and feeling was so incredibly important, learning of myself as a machine, it seems that logic is the way to decipher importance and the correct path. Is there a balance though, because knowledge and logic can be used, but so can emotion and i know for me, a lot of people would choose emotion and gut feeling. Im curious as to others process if there is a balance or if be say using emotion (though for me would be on the lower centres) this could infact allow others I's to take over, I's of a more insidious nature.
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Yes, maybe what I wrote about health was a bit confusing, as Carl said, I think the short version is: taking care of diet and health is very good for the Work, and thus for getting in touch with our essence. Me too, I can say how incredibly helpful the diet is - if I eat too many carbs, for example, my mind is so foggy and my body so inflamed that I can hardly cope with daily life, much less so with self-work!

wand3rer said:
I am kinda curious that as a process, when you observe an I, what do you go with in terms to see if it's good. Would you say you employ logic, or emotion/ gut feeling. For a long time i believed emotion and feeling was so incredibly important, learning of myself as a machine, it seems that logic is the way to decipher importance and the correct path. Is there a balance though, because knowledge and logic can be used, but so can emotion and i know for me, a lot of people would choose emotion and gut feeling. Im curious as to others process if there is a balance or if be say using emotion (though for me would be on the lower centres) this could infact allow others I's to take over, I's of a more insidious nature.

It's difficult to say - I think we need to work on all centers. Personally, I tend to go with the advice Laura gave once in a different context:

Laura said:
Don't use EE for that; doing it consciously is better: When your System 1 imagination starts running, bring in the cold logic.

Which basically means that when our imagination starts running, when our thoughts start "taking off" and our feelings start spinning, it may be a good exercise to "bring us down to earth" consciously by thinking rationally about the question at hand. But in other situations your feelings may be a good judge as well - for example, after experiencing a feeling and closely observing it several times, you can learn the "taste" of this particular feeling, and oftentimes you will notice that the same feeling comes up together with very different thoughts! So you can then make the connection and realize that these very different thoughts are linked to the same feeling, and maybe to the same little I/the same pattern, and this can help you judge how to react to this particular feeling and these particular thoughts. This then can make you more independent of your little I's. I'm still learning these things as well, so I hope this makes sense.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
[quote author=wand3rer]
I am kinda curious that as a process, when you observe an I, what do you go with in terms to see if it's good. Would you say you employ logic, or emotion/ gut feeling. For a long time i believed emotion and feeling was so incredibly important, learning of myself as a machine, it seems that logic is the way to decipher importance and the correct path. Is there a balance though, because knowledge and logic can be used, but so can emotion and i know for me, a lot of people would choose emotion and gut feeling. Im curious as to others process if there is a balance or if be say using emotion (though for me would be on the lower centres) this could infact allow others I's to take over, I's of a more insidious nature.
[/quote]

Any "i" or self state has its own feelings and its own reasoning. It exists to serve some purpose. In certain situations activating this "i" may be necessary or useful. The same "i" can cause problems for us if it activates and takes charge of our behavior in a different situation. In some ways it is like using the right tool for the right job. The tool is not good or bad by itself ; the usefulness of the tool comes from applying it in the right situation in the right way.

So how do we choose the tool to use for a given job? We must know the capabilities and limitations of the tool. We must have some idea about the job we are trying to do with the tool. Then we see how well the tool is suited for the job at hand.

In case of self states, similar considerations apply. In case of tools, it is easy to maintain a separation between "I" and the "tool". In other words, we are usually not identified with the tool - so we can use good judgement about the tool and its suitability for a job. In case of self-states, if we identify with any "i", then there is no separation and instead of us using a tool, the tool uses us. If we can maintain inner separation from the "i", that is not identify with it, then we have a better chance of evaluating whether this "i" is "good" in the present situation.

Knowing about the various "i's" comes from self observation and input from others. Maintaining the inner separation from the "i's" comes from self remembering. In 4th Way terms, any "i" by itself is neither good or bad. Identifying with an "i" can be bad in practical terms depending on the situation. In general, the state of identification is less optimal and at a lower level than the state of self remembering. And if we are in a state of self-remembering, we are in a better position to evaluate any "i".
 

placematt

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
obyvatel said:
wand3rer] I am kinda curious that as a process said:
Yes, maybe what I wrote about health was a bit confusing, as Carl said, I think the short version is: taking care of diet and health is very good for the Work, and thus for getting in touch with our essence. Me too, I can say how incredibly helpful the diet is - if I eat too many carbs, for example, my mind is so foggy and my body so inflamed that I can hardly cope with daily life, much less so with self-work!

wand3rer said:
I am kinda curious that as a process, when you observe an I, what do you go with in terms to see if it's good. Would you say you employ logic, or emotion/ gut feeling. For a long time i believed emotion and feeling was so incredibly important, learning of myself as a machine, it seems that logic is the way to decipher importance and the correct path. Is there a balance though, because knowledge and logic can be used, but so can emotion and i know for me, a lot of people would choose emotion and gut feeling. Im curious as to others process if there is a balance or if be say using emotion (though for me would be on the lower centres) this could infact allow others I's to take over, I's of a more insidious nature.

It's difficult to say - I think we need to work on all centers. Personally, I tend to go with the advice Laura gave once in a different context:

Laura said:
Don't use EE for that; doing it consciously is better: When your System 1 imagination starts running, bring in the cold logic.

Which basically means that when our imagination starts running, when our thoughts start "taking off" and our feelings start spinning, it may be a good exercise to "bring us down to earth" consciously by thinking rationally about the question at hand. But in other situations your feelings may be a good judge as well - for example, after experiencing a feeling and closely observing it several times, you can learn the "taste" of this particular feeling, and oftentimes you will notice that the same feeling comes up together with very different thoughts! So you can then make the connection and realize that these very different thoughts are linked to the same feeling, and maybe to the same little I/the same pattern, and this can help you judge how to react to this particular feeling and these particular thoughts. This then can make you more independent of your little I's. I'm still learning these things as well, so I hope this makes sense.
Hey luc, i think you hit the nail on the head also with this idea of taste's for emotions. An example today was when i was annoyed at my supervisor for his "unintelligent remark regarding the aim is to work fast as it is a production line" as if i didn't know that. But observing this, its a "child mode" which i was reading from another thread, he too is a machine, and it's his job to say that. Rationally if i took the time my reaction would be different and the I that took over was this very agitated kid. And in regard to this as a taste in emotions, its very prominent this attitude or I' and i think its very much something that has a pattern.

Taking obyvatels words of not identifying with this I, i think it would have been a lot different in how i felt, if i needed to actually feel this I if at all. Thanks so much for the discussion here. it's really helping me understand I's and their roles, what they are !
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Since I’m currently reading Dabrowski’s “Personality Shaping Through Positive Disintegration”, I’d like to share some thoughts on how his theory may relate to G.’s Little I’s.

So Dabrowski’s idea is that in the course of normal life, we usually find ourselves in a mode of “primary integration”, which means that we possess a unified identity based on our primitive drives such as self-preservation, the fighting instinct etc., but – interestingly - also our instincts related to the survival of the species such as procreation or our obligations to our kin and community. Now this state of “primary integration” is, of course, purely mechanical, as G. would say – it is a result of our instinctive drives and our social environment, including our upbringing.

I think what is important to understand is that when Dabrowski talks about our unified identity at this stage, this doesn’t mean that we have a unified “I”, but rather certain likes and dislikes, certain instinctive drives that are stronger than others etc. – we only think we have a unified “I”, a real identity. I imagine this fictional “I” that we think we have at this stage as G.’s Deputy Steward who has been degraded to a figurehead – he sits in his office without any power whatsoever, but fails to notice this and instead daydreams of a real kingdom where he actually has the power to run the house.

In Dabrowski's words:

Personality Shaping Through Positive Disintegration said:
A man whose self-awareness is dormant and who, therefore, is incapable of observing himself, and of reflection, does not feel any contradiction either in his own behavior or in its motives. Everything appears natural to him and as a matter of course. He commits acts which contradict each other but he is unaware of their divergence and, in this situation, does not aim at harmonizing them;


Now if we reach the level of what Dabrowski calls “secondary integration”, we have to go through a process of disintegration before, which means that our false identity that we daydreamed ourselves into fades away, the instinctive drives start loosening their power – in other words, the kingdom of little I’s (aka. instinctive drives) comes under the power of higher ideals, which leads to us becoming a real personality, as Dabrowski calls it.

What I find interesting is that Dabrowski makes the point that we don’t just abandon our instinctive drives and their manifestations (aka. little I’s), but that we subjugate them, we use them according to our newly found higher ideals. He says:

The greater our experience in life, the greater our sensitivity; the more intensive and thorough our elaboration of experiences, the clearer our ideal of personality; and the more we are apt to sacrifice, to subordinate our instinctive needs in favor of personality, the stronger is our disposition to the attitude of courage and heroism.

This is the process of becoming aware of the distinctness of the new structure which emerges from the former one, wherein the active, directing part is played by the separating structure, which is conscious of being spiritual, suprainstinctive, and realizing that the evolutionally lower qualities must be subordinated to the nascent, or an already more clearly visible ideal, and reshaped to serve it.

The daily separation of our true self from that which does not belong to it but may only serve us as material for the building of our personality, separation of lasting values from fleeting values and appearance from reality, is the function of this method.


So once again, we have the theme here that it's not about hating or stopping our little I's/instinctive drives, which is impossible anyway, but to use them in the right way, to achieve something in line with one's aim, to override the internal chaos - which is driven exclusively by instinctive drives - with higher values. An I think that a lot of creativity is needed to "pull this off" - indeed, the Work doesn't seem to be a difficult recipe that we just have to follow, but involves coming up with creative ways to handle our psyche, based on a lot of data from self-observation and external feedback.

Eventually then, this happens:

Personality Shaping Through Positive Disintegration said:
A long experience in new conditions of life, with the modifying system of the inner milieu, results in differentiation of stimulating and inhibiting acts. That which stimulated differentiates into that which further stimulates and that which gives rise to inhibition; that which was inhibited becomes uninhibited and may form a stimulating factor.

So eventually, we learn how to manage our "primitive drives" and their many manifestations, how to strengthen the ones in accordance with our aims and to weaken the ones opposed to them.

I hope this isn't too convoluted... so fwiw.
 

Sparrowkin

The Force is Strong With This One
I am jumping for joy right now at having read this thread! It deserves a re-read or two, for sure, but I already have two journal pages worth of thoughts/ideas. Thank you, luc for starting this thread. I've been stuck on this for a year (the last entry in the journal says mid-October). I understood from reading the Gurdjieff material that we are all fragmented, so I jotted down that I would try to see these different i's and I would then seek to understand them. Well I've seen a few, looking back and in the moment on rare occasions. But I still didn't understand, in a concrete way, what I could do about them. I came to no real understandings, everything still seemed abstract, airy-fairy if you will. Now I have a few ideas of things I know I can do. I'm definitely going to try this writing exercise, suggested by luc. If I write it down when its close to me, when I'm in it, it has to be better, clearer, than the foggy haze of retrospection. Also I'm really getting the feeling that maybe I should change my diet, its starting to sound like my brains not supposed to be foggy?! Well, shucks :P
 

Zar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Nice thread Luc, i'm halfway through reading "in search of the miraculous" and i will come back to this and read it to death :cool:
 
Hey luc . . . thanks so much for giving me a link to this thread. I absolutely agree with other members that your initial post . . . and the great replies . . . are really, really helpful to me as well.

I'm glad you've mentioned about not trying to strong-arm these little i's. I've tried that tactic & it's like using force against them rather than just observing and noticing their presence.

I think whatever mental image picture one comes up with . . . whether servants in a household, musicians in an orchestra, children in a classroom, they all work well.

As I already mentioned, I've been keeping a list of any little i's I notice. They each have specific personalities, characteristics, tones of voice, emotional & physical nuances, attitudes, points of view (about themselves as well as others & life in general or specifically). You name it. They're like little actresses on a stage . . . but who the heck is cueing them to say their lines at which times, I've no clue.

The Parade of i's has now reached 31 so far . . . and still counting. Thought I'd post what came to me about just 2 of them . . . in case it might be helpful to anyone else.

* * * * *
Just now SEEing what crazy beliefs these little i’s have held. One i thought that if the mind wasn’t filled with thinking random continuous thoughts at all times that it would die — literally the body itself would actually die! Nevermind that it forgot about what happens during sleep when the mind switches off all that mental chatter. Guess she didn’t ‘think’ about that part.

Another i thought all emotions MUST be expressed or some damage or ill health would happen to this body. And she had enough confirmation bias to base her beliefs on too — like all the people she saw who seemed to have so many health issues because (at least according to her way of thinking) they repressed rather than expressed their emotions. She believed that repressing emotions would eventually appear as diseases or health problems at some future time.

OMG — these little i’s have the most bizarre beliefs, rationalizations, thoughts, ideas, considerations, viewpoints. It’s actually amazing. Like hearing little kids giving their views about what they believe is true. There’s a certain weird logic, but it’s not adult logic at all. It’s magical thinking rather than logical, analytical thinking. But I guess, since these i’s were formed during childhood, they most likely would retain child type thinking modes.

It’s becoming apparent that they have served a certain necessary service — but it’s also becoming apparent that their service is no longer needed and they can now retire and return to their source. They’re just little mechanical energy unit constructs. It’s like growing up and no longer having any interest in playing with dolls or other children’s games. They’ve served their purpose, but we’re interested in more adult concerns now. So bye-bye little i’s. Thanks so much for helping us out here. We really appreciate all you’ve done to help us through the night. Ciao!
* * * * *
Which reminds me . . . I decided to write some dream intentions in my Dream Journal before going to sleep based on a post Joe made and another post you made about Having an Aim.

So I wrote, Dear Subconscious, do you have any ideas that might help me in my Aim of Serving Others?
Re the Aim of noticing, observing, and separating from all these little i's . . . what might be a good or better way to do this than what's already been tried?

That next morning, during a 1 hour nap, I dreamed I was in charge of a School for Wayward Girls. :)

I think my subconscious dream mind has a sense of humor! :)

Cheers!
 

scotseeker

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Thank you so much for the well written and easy to understand post! Going back to read it again, I am sure I will get even more out of it the second time!
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you Luc for the starting the post and your nice observations. It is always good to remember the drama's of little I's and give each tree its own due in our inner forest.

Lilyalic said:
1) Body & Immediate environment
2) Wider world affairs
3) Cosmos & Spirit
Nice to read this again and good for grounding in this reality. Thank you Lilyalic.
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
13 Twirling Triskeles said:
Just now SEEing what crazy beliefs these little i’s have held. One i thought that if the mind wasn’t filled with thinking random continuous thoughts at all times that it would die — literally the body itself would actually die! Nevermind that it forgot about what happens during sleep when the mind switches off all that mental chatter. Guess she didn’t ‘think’ about that part.

Another i thought all emotions MUST be expressed or some damage or ill health would happen to this body. And she had enough confirmation bias to base her beliefs on too — like all the people she saw who seemed to have so many health issues because (at least according to her way of thinking) they repressed rather than expressed their emotions. She believed that repressing emotions would eventually appear as diseases or health problems at some future time.

OMG — these little i’s have the most bizarre beliefs, rationalizations, thoughts, ideas, considerations, viewpoints. It’s actually amazing. Like hearing little kids giving their views about what they believe is true. There’s a certain weird logic, but it’s not adult logic at all. It’s magical thinking rather than logical, analytical thinking. But I guess, since these i’s were formed during childhood, they most likely would retain child type thinking modes.

I think what you wrote here is spot on. It is interesting to witness how cunning the predator's mind is: it will take a valid concept, such as that it's important to express our feelings and not bottle them up, and turn it into a rigid, black-and-white "law" that terrifies us, makes our mind race, and keeps us from seeing the specific situation for what it is. As Gurdjieff said - right or wrong are not absolute qualities, but it all depends on the specific situation. But with a mind clouded by black-and-white laws and tyrannical dictators, we can't figure it out; we can't give everything its due. "Magic" and "childish" thinking indeed!

And yes, I think your attitude of curiosity and sometimes even amusement at all those little I's is helpful - it helps us see them as the "zoo" that they are, and not judge everything so harshly. After all, they are not us, not the real "I"...
 
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