Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff was a Russian Mystic and a 'searcher of truth' . Some key concepts that Gurdjieff brought to the west are,The Law of Three, and Octaves, the Enneagram, the division of Centers or brains, Negative Emotion, Consciousness or the lack of it
Gurdjieff had many people study under him. Many of his students had other students of note. Katherine Mansfield, Orage, P.D. Ouspenskii, Rodney Collin are a few of these. Rodney Collins wrote two very interesting books, The Theory of Celestial Influence, incorporating the latest Scientific views with Gurdjieffs cosmology; the other book, The Theory of Eternal Life, integrating Death mytho's of various civilizations with Gurdjieffs discoveries. Ouspenskii's most famous book, In Search of the Miracoulous, portrays Gurdjieffs theories while representing events that happened at the time giving a context for the ideas.
The Law of Three, lets call it a triad says that there are at any one time 3 forces acting: active force, passive force, and nuetral force. Mostly we think of two forces as, yes and no, ying and yang, though the Tao gives us a glimpse of a triad in the Tao. Third force though present usually is invisible. So lets say you have a situation where pro and con weigh heavily, the third force whether it be your location, music playing, a cafe your at may sway the balance of pro and con.
Octaves (Called the Law of Seven), or the western musical scale represent vibrations that change according to forces played upon them. Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. The Do is the starting and ending point of a circle or spiral. They , the Do, are both one and the same and not the same. The intervals Mi-Fa and Si-Do are where third force or a outside influence exert change to the progress of a vibration or an intention or the vibration at hand.
by Natasha Matins
© Natasha Matins 1975-2004
free for non-commercial use.
The Enneagram is a circle divided by nine points equally spaced with the 3rd 6th and 9th parts being the endpoints of a triangle (Law of Three). The other points, 1st,2nd,4th,5th,7th,8th create a 6 pointed figure that intersect the triangle at 12 points on the triangle and have 6 points on the circle. A curious thing is the Menorah of Jewish lore, it too, has nine points and if one were to look down from above it and the brances were moved just so the points of the enneagram could be seen.
The Centers are part of us we rarely separate, Moving Center, Emotional Center, Intellectual Center, Instinctive Center.
These basic four all use different speeds or degrees of Attention or lack of Attention. They can be divided into Automatic (no Attention), Captivated (Outside Fascination), or Highly Focused. ( Attention directed by Will). The playing cards of old , in past times, was used to illustrate this. Think of the Queen of Hearts statement, "Off with their heads." Emotion works at a faster speed than the Intellect often grasping more sides of a problem or more likely focusing on just one aspect of a problem with great strength depending on the force of the emotion. Emotion uses much energy.
Negative emotion like anger, fear, sadness, self pity are emotions that consume energy otherwise used by positive emotions. To get a negative emotion usually involves some real or imaginary Instinct Center awareness of Threat.
This is just the barest surface scratching of the complex and well integrated ideas of Gurdjieff. One precautionary note. We usually have preconcieved ideas of what words mean so dismiss ideas out of hand. I suggest letting his other words define his meaning.
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