Sunday, October 14, 2018
6:15 a.m. Okay, guys, if you and I are both ready, let’s talk about the way we feel helpless in terms of the society we are living in, even if we feel somewhat in control of our own lives in terms of family, surroundings, career, etc. This, with the understanding that many of us don’t feel that security either – in other words, that everything feels unanchored, uprooted.
Notice how your premises changed even in the course of writing out the question. This is what happens when – we would put it – one’s opinion changes in mid-question.
I didn’t quite get that right, I know. Again?
You could look at it this way: You are communities of strands within you. Each of those strands may have slightly, or radically, different opinions and viewpoints. Thus, in effect, you have opinions and viewpoints that alter depending upon which sub-personality, which strand, is in momentary command. It can change in an instant, and change again, and change again, unless and until you take the steps to crystallize your essence so that one viewpoint emerges, one spokesman represents you.
That sounds like Gurdjieff, but, put the way you just put it, is it even desirable?
So much depends upon what you want and what you value. Executives value decisive aspects that emerge from one undeviating viewpoint. The downside to that, of course, is obtuseness and inability to adjust.
Churchill – and Joe Kennedy, too, come to think of it. When they’re right, they’re right and they are tremendously hard-driving executives. But when they’re wrong, God almighty couldn’t bring them to see reason. They change their minds – if they ever do – only in the face of overwhelming evidence.
And, at that, they don’t change their emotional makeup; they merely decide that they hadn’t properly considered this or that bit of data. Yes, good examples. And on the opposite end of the spectrum?
You are looking to me for a biographical example? Probably whoever would be a good example would be unknown to history, because he would have been unable to accomplish anything. Or maybe someone known to pathology, like the woman whose story was told in When Rabbit Howls, or the one in The Three Faces of Eve.
No, you could find an example of alternating strands dominating a personality, but the reason the example may be hard to find is that it will not appear that way. It will look like a multi-talented individual, perhaps.
A Leonardo da Vinci? A Michelangelo?
More, a Yeats or someone whose extreme plasticity spanned several disciplines.
I’m at sea here, speaking of –
Hmm. Well, of course we have been talking about me as one who has so many strands in competition and alternation.
Not you exclusively or even particularly. The fact is – as we have bene pointing out for a good while now, coming on two full decades – the situation we just described is the norm, not the exception. You say “I changed my mind,” sometimes. You might more accurately say, “The I of my mind changed.”
And every time an “I” changes, we see things from a somewhat different viewpoint.
Well, here is the point. If you can remember, this can be a tremendous advantage. You can understand other points of view. You can “see it from the other fellow’s viewpoint.” You can examine a situation with something closer to objectivity. But if you can’t remember, if you identify in turns with each new shifting viewpoint, each new strand, then you “gain” nothing but chaos and inconsistency.
Which requires an “I” that is superior to the changing strands.
That’s it exactly, and it is what Gurdjieff was driving at. If you do not forge a permanent viewer (call it), you have no place to stand in life. The strands that came together to form your life have not produced what is in effect a higher viewpoint that includes themselves but is more extensive and deeper than themselves.
Well, I don’t know about that. Say one of my strands itself was the result of such a process – and it would pretty much have to be, wouldn’t it? – what difference does it make if it does or doesn’t help form another strand (in this case, me)?
In the largest, most philosophical sense, it doesn’t make any difference. But you don’t live on that high philosophical level. In your day to day life, you want order, growth, meaning. You can’t have them without a certain coalescence of constituent traits.
Rita was bothered by the implication that people who didn’t form a crystallized soul were somehow rejected, wasted, thrown away.
And we were never able to make clear to you – hence to her – that it wasn’t anything more than the formation or non-formation of a new representative of that collection of strands. If a new viewpoint formed, fine. But if not, what was lost? The strands remained. The possibility of their being used in other combinations remained.
What we never succeeded in getting across – come to think of it – is that strands continue to exist, hence “have a future,” so to speak – regardless what happens in any given experience, or we should say any given experiment. Joseph the Egyptian lived his life. Lives his life, if you can understand that. He is an available asset for you to incorporate, and if you do, you are the richer for it; but if you do not, is he any the poorer?
Gurdjieff was concentrated on trying to raise the self-selected individuals he dealt with to a higher level of consciousness. That meant developing their will and their – call it their concentrated, directed, oriented awareness – so that they could realize in that lifetime some of their extraordinary but unsuspected potential. There was no reason for him to stress to them that the potential they did not develop did not cease to exist; to the contrary, he tried to imbue them with a sense of urgency, so that they might succeed in that life. He was not interested in more philosophic outlooks that might say, “Nothing lost, old boy. Try again some other lifetime.”
This session didn’t go where I thought we would go. Not for the first time! But we still have time, if you’re willing to address the original question.
We smile. Whatever do you think we have been doing?
Well, I kind of thought we got distracted.
Re-read it later, and think again.
Let’s make this point: The world is always larger than your view of it. The currents that swirl are always well beyond your control. Things never go the way you want them to except temporarily, and (usually) more as illusion or mirage than as reality. Surely you can see that this is a good thing?
It doesn’t always feel like a good thing.
Of course not. But this is the way it is – for everybody. Everybody is always a chip being carried along in the rapids. Some prefer one stretch of the river, some prefer another, but nobody is in charge. Ever. Amen. And it’s a dammed good thing – or, say, a blessed good thing – that nobody is. Who do you suppose is competent to shape the world, working from a 3D viewpoint?
Rhetorical question, I take it. Obviously.
Yes, but see, inherent in the sense of being carried along helplessly is the implicit assumption that ordinarily you aren’t; and that just is not true, nor ever could be.
But that is, of course, looking at things from a 3D-only level. When we look at it from the non-3D – where, we remind you, you primarily live – the question of society, and control and helplessness and all that, looks somewhat different.
And we’ll examine that view another time.
Correct. For now, just remember, nobody in 3D is in control (no matter what people may think, whether powerless or in power) except in the way a bird may judge air currents. And that’s enough for now.
Cryptic. I wrote it but I don’t yet understand it. Very well, thanks and until next time.