Monday, June 17, 2019

The Quantum State of Being, Part II: Gravity and Quantum Being

 The theory of gravity and quantum Being proposes that all consciousness arises from this root quantum state, which undergoes transition to classical reality through the action of awareness. Because awareness is a fundamental property of the universe, we see a universe form through the perpetual collapse of the quantum state into classical reality. Awareness itself is what discriminates and creates classical reality, so in a certain sense we can say that all of the universe is an entity of awareness which creates itself and begins to exist by performing the function of observation necessary to bridge the gap between the quantum state and the material world.

This means that all Being—everything that can be seen—has already arisen from the fundamental field of awareness that observes. 

This places the action of observation, of seeing, at the root of all cosmological functions and universal conditions.  Creation is an engine of self observation. 

An infinite number of actions of seeing take place throughout what we call the space time continuum at all times; this is, in essence, eternity. The material universe arises from that; and what we observe as gravity within the material world is really the attractive force of Being to other Being.

 Readers of my other work may recall how I’ve explained that even at the molecular level, a form of care is exercised: even atoms and molecules have feelings, no matter how small a scale they operate on. 

We could redefine the word feeling on the atomic level in several ways, one of which means to have an affinity for the other – which is defined by positive and negative forces, Gurdjieff’s holy affirming and holy denying – and the other which means to have compassion, that is, like feeling. This gives us a window into the nature of the third force, Gurdjieff’s holy reconciling. It is, above all, compassionate, because it includes and resolves both the positive and negative forces in its action. If you think about this a bit you will understand why the law of three runs the whole universe — and how it begins to exist instantaneously at the moment that consciousness discriminates and creates its bridge between the transcendental (quantum) and the classical states.

The extraordinary feature of consciousness is that it can know itself. This is, of course, the enterprise that the entire universe is engaged in at every level; and yet once Being arises at a certain functional level of consciousness—the threshold which humanity crosses in its existence—it has a capacity to know this more directly and in a cosmological context, rather than automatically and only in relationship to the function of its own level.

I’ve spent many years writing about the function of inner gravity, the inner solar system, and so on, because our conscious Being (to the extent that we participate in it) is an exact model of everything that takes place throughout the universe in terms of this function of relationship, the action of gravity, the formation and order of orbital systems, and so on. It seems useful to me here to explain the nature of inner gravity in relationship to planetary gravity and solar gravity.

 When Gurdjieff said that the moon is sensation, and that we need it in order to create our individuality, he was referring to the planetary nature of Being:

“The Moon in man is sensation. It is that broken part of the original consciousness of man, and it is that part towards which a man who wishes to work has a primary responsibility; for sensation in man is the growing part of his inner cosmos. The Ray of Creation inside man extends from free attention to sensation.”


The moon is, for the earth, above all a gravitational entity – and his emphasis on the importance of the moon (as well as his entire explanation of the rate of creation) all centers around that understanding. Gravity is not just some physical phenomenon — it is the action of Being within its affirming, denying, and reconciling capacities to form relationships with others and to create more order. It is, in other words, a more conscious force, because it represents the action of the law of three. Because it’s a conscious force, a thought, sensation, and feeling behind the action of the universe itself, it is mediated through intelligent form, which exists within both the quantum and classical state as a wave function. That is to say, it is a movement through the particles that arise through the collapse of the quantum state.

 This predicts that we’ll never find a specific particle that mediates gravity; it is a force of movement, which is imparted by relationship of vibration. Once again, you will probably recognize Gurdjieff’s law of octaves as being deeply rooted in this question.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Quantum State of Being, Part I: The Granular State

With this series of essays, I'll briefly discuss the implications of the Harmonic sense of Being and the Planetary sense of Being in relationship to the quantum level.  Readers will see that in the context of metaphysical humanism, this presents a comprehensive vision of the division between quantum and classical physics, and an understanding of how it relates to our being.

 Readers are asked to go to and read the following post in order to begin this series. 

Then read on:

 When I wrote about the granular state of reality in my post in 2008, I was referring to the fact that the human being is actually able to sense that which physicists call the quantum level. 

This calls for further context and explanation.

Quantum space time is actually (in the context of quantum theory) a granular entity, because the energy, momentum, and the other properties of particles are confined to discrete bits. The word quanta is derived from the Latin quantus, meaning quantity or amount. Thus, strangely, the theory that tells us things are neither here nor there until we measure them — quantum theory — is actually a theory of measurement, roughly speaking. At least as far as the name implies.

 The contradiction between physical reality and quantum reality has always been that there is no physical reality until that measurement — which determines either velocity or location — takes place. What there is doesn’t look anything like classical reality. It can be in two places at the same time. It can entangle with itself so that two “particles” (we don’t know exactly what they are, except that they are forces, so we call them particles) are able to communicate instantaneously without the interference of limitations such as the speed of light.

 And while quantum theory has been good at explaining many different features of the universe, physicists are still struggling to discover the force that mediates gravity – which is presumed to have a feature, in one way or another, that is particulate in nature. 

Or maybe it isn’t. The problem is that we just don’t know. Physicists certainly want it to be particulate, because if it isn’t, things will be, to put it bluntly, pretty messed up.

 Fortunately, there is an explanation, even though physicists probably won’t like it.  In order to approach it, we’ll need to begin here. There’s a direct relationship between the inward gravity of Being in a human being and gravity across the space time continuum.  The phenomenon of gravity and its physical results as we observe them is a macroscopic and material reflection of the inner process that creates reality in the first place. 

The inner process that creates reality is intrinsic to the inner nature of Being of the cosmos itself, as well as the inner nature of Being of its constituents.

Said inner process is a process of consciousness. Consciousness lies at the root of the universe and all of its manifestations. All material manifestations that we observe originate in the discriminatory action of consciousness, which always and forever resolves the paradox between the quantum state and material reality. 

In other words, every single material thing that ever was, is, or will be arises initially because consciousness discriminates at the level of this “granular” state of proto-Being called the quantum state and places what we call “atomic particles” (in reality, there are no atomic ”particles,“ but just forces in multiple states of relationship) into measurable circumstances whereby they acquire definite characteristics that then form new relationships.

These relationships are mediated by gravity, or attraction. When we see positive and negative charges in atomic theory, what we are actually seeing is polarized states of gravity. Gravity is the initial attraction that arises instantaneously at the moment the quantum level is resolved by consciousness. This innate and inherent (i.e., inborn and permanent) propensity for attraction forms the universe of relationships that we now live in.

 I explained some of the function of this universe of relationship in Novel, Myth, and Cosmos; what I’d like to do this morning is explain the function of quantum versus classical reality and the nature of gravity in relationship to the question of Being.

  The general theory of relativity explains gravity as a distortion of space and time. 

Let us propose, rather:

Gravity is the creation of space and time through Being.  

This is a more precise and accurate statement about the nature of gravity. 


Without Being, there is no spacetime  continuum.
Every instance of existence through the manifestation of consciousness creates a state of gravity, or attraction that forms a collective entity. At the basic level, we call these entities “particles” — and yet even those things are collectives. Physicists have verified this by splitting them over and over, only to discover that there is no bottom.  The creation of collective entities formed through attraction seems to take place directly at the quantum level, where individual quanta are differentiated and, in their infinitesimal wisdom, collectively form relationship based on a discriminative faculty of porto-awareness.  

If we want to look at the bottom of the tree of particle physics to find out just how small particles get, we’ll need to look at the level of three quanta, because each subsequent particle of classical reality will, theoretically, be formed of only three quanta which establish the initial relationship that creates the base particles of the universe.  Positive, negative, and neutralizing forces are required for any positions of relationship; and all of classical reality is formed from these positions of relationship.

All further “atomic particles” acquire their existence and further functions from this basic manifestation, so we have a long way to ”go down” splitting particles before we find the foundation; so far, in fact, that instruments will never be able to measure them. It means that many of the interactions that form the universe are taking place on scales that will remain remain forever out of reach to modern physics—or any kind of physics whatsoever.  I would note, however, that said interactions will also follow the form of law in the same way that macroscopic manifestations do. So nothing is entirely random; there’s a rule and a reason at the base.

 Any given collective entity forms relationships and exerts a characteristic of accretion, that is, an affinity for and attraction to other entities which can in their own right also form a relationship. 

Without Being, there is no gravity. Gravity is the personal force exerted by any cosmic entity on any scale, insofar as it represents a collection of awareness. That force is inevitably attractive, because the natural tendency of the dispersed particles, or quanta, of God’s Being have a wish to recombine.

 Gravity, in other words, exists as a bridge between the unrealized but infinite-potential quantum state of pre-reality and the classical world. Gravity and Being are not separate entities, but rather a single manifestation of force representing consciousness.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What I "Should" Do: On Obligations

Eye to Eye, from the Tympanum at St. Foy in Conques

The word should derives from the old English sceal, to owe. It carries the sense of obligation or necessity.

The word is almost certainly related to the german Schuld, which today means, roughly speaking, blame (responsibility is Verantwortlichkeit), but originally mean responsibility, as in, Ich bin schüldig, “I am responsible.” The word means, in its essence, to owe—what is owed—and presents as a question in itself: what do I owe?

It furthermore expands its meaning only in the context of relationship, presuming as it does that the potential of debt and the absolute of responsibility (the ability to respond) are both present in the transaction of relationship. It’s true: we probably don’t think this deeply about words as we use them; but perhaps we should. They come from deep roots in the cultural, societal and personal tradition of humanity, and using them too casually invites misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

Gurdjieff’s universe and attendant cosmology are founded on principles of responsibility, so we can argue, in the broadest of terms, that Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson is all about what mankind should do—as opposed to what he does, which turns out to be the subject of most of the book. The point is that the book, in its recapitulation of man’s miscreants, misdeeds, and misunderstandings, would miss its mark if it didn’t present alternatives.

Which it does.  

Gurdjieff’s metaphysics is one of caring; for each other, and for a higher good under the obligation that the very fact of life itself places us under. Life isn’t accidental or free; it’s a precious substance bestowed. The jewel in the crown of the universe is awareness itself; consciousness, and not what it perceives, is the most precious object for Beings.

Consciousness is the utmost gift given, and given freely; all other elements of the universe flow through it. It’s valued over all other things. 

There are understated—perhaps unstated— and underlying aspects to Gurdjieff’s teachings regarding consciousness. Receivers (vessels containing) of this force are clearly illustrated as existing in emergent hierarchies, each dependent one upon another; each one is a concentration of the force of consciousness that takes its place, successively, in a harmonic system. Implicit is a single entire consciousness, of which all the other concentrated harmonic waves are subsets; and in addition to the premise of set of scientific laws governing the cosmos, a series of obligations arises. Action within this cosmos, then, is not a random series of accidental events (as mechanistic rationalism would have it) but rather a series of contracts—objects, events, circumstances and conditions which are:

1. Subject to the rule of cosmic laws
2. Obligated to form relationships on specific terms relative to the existence of those laws. 

All this, of course, presumes a set of laws that arise from a source: and that source is consciousness itself, which places every creature possessing it under obligation to its requirements and conditions. Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson is, in summary, a complex series of snapshots of what takes place when a deviation from those obligations takes place. Gurdjieff’s premise is that the whole cosmos suffers from it.

The question of duty and obligation thus expands beyond the immediate, beyond the material, into the metaphysical entity of consciousness itself; and Gurdjieff would have us consider our obligations on that scale, as well as the scale of the immediate. We should, in other words, behave in a manner “becoming to three-brained beings”: we owe this in payment for our arising. Consciousness (awareness) is not free; it comes at a price.

To eliminate the word “should” from our exchange on the way we live our lives, both inwardly and outwardly, creates a relativism that pretends flexibility but actually collapses the balloon of responsibility within which our universe is supposed to exist. The ideas that the word conveys are inherent to Gurdjieff’s view of the universe; and they need to become inherent to our own personal sense of obligations, both inwardly and outwardly, in which we learn how to organically and instinctively meet the debts we owe as conscious beings to that which has given birth to us: both the cells we are composed of (for surely we owe them our attention and respect) and the higher energies which flow through us, without which nothing at all would exist. We stand between these two sets of forces, above us and beneath us, in the midst of a field of forces that ask us to meet both dimensions — the higher in the lower — with an active sense of what we must pay to help each of them continue their own existence, as well as contribute to our own.

 It’s our responsibility, our duty—our obligation—to determine how to achieve this.

We should.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

A Planetary Sense of Being, Part V: The Molecules of Being


A peripheral but nonetheless related subject that brings together the questions of perception, molecular being, and the nature of our existence on earth relates to the reason that the surface of cells within human beings sports active receptors that bind with molecules producing what are nowadays called ”psychedelic“ experiences. 

The word psychedelic was originally coined in 1957, meaning “to make the mind visible.” The meaning is poorly crafted; the word psyche means, more properly, soul, not mind

Psychedelic drugs, in other words, help to make the soul visible—not the intellect. And as those who have taken them know, this is a more accurate description of the effect that they have on Being than on any gross enhancement of knowledge. It tends, rather, to dissolve the bonds of “knowledge” we think we have; we discover how little we actually know about the nature of the soul. Liberated from the conventional restraints imposed by the strict limitations of intellect alone, we discover a new kind of Being.

Human cells have evolved to have surface receptors for substances naturally produced in the body — not concentrated from outside sources and then ingested – that can make the soul more visible. The “chemical factory” within the human body, in other words, has the ability to produce any and all of the molecules that the substances in marijuana, opium, psilocybin, LSD, and so on bind to. 

The difference is that the cell receptors in the human body are specifically designed to receive very slightly different molecules — not the ones in the drugs. The drugs do an interesting and dramatic job of binding to cell surfaces, producing a wide range of psychic effects. However, if the body’s harmonic resonances are better integrated, slowly and carefully developed over a long period of time to raise the levels of inward vibration harmoniously – which was always Gurdjieff’s aim — then the substances that we know so well as psychedelic drugs are produced in our bodies naturally. 

This includes, by the way, a substance analogous to but not the same as nicotine, a drug which mimics the effect of the substances that produce an organic sensation of Being.

 All of these natural molecules produced inwardly and binding to cell receptors are related, in one way or another, to the development of the organic sensation of Being. That lays the foundation for a capacity to concentrate higher substances related to it which then bind to the cell surfaces in lasting ways.

It’s worth noting the way Gurdjieff used the word “coat” to describe the way that substances act on beings — he frequently referred to this action of higher being-bodies:

“Yes,” replied Beelzebub, “on almost all the planets of that solar system also, three-brained beings dwell, and in almost all of them higher being-bodies can be coated. 

“Higher being-bodies, or as they are called on some planets of that solar system, souls, arise in the three-brained beings breeding on all the planets except those before reaching which the emanations of our ‘Most Holy Sun Absolute’, owing to repeated deflections, gradually lose the fullness of their strength and eventually cease entirely to contain the vivific power for coating higher being bodies. “

— Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson,  pages 60 – 61.

 This describes molecular binding to cell surfaces of the various substances related to intensified rates of harmonic vibration. 

In summary, human beings are constructed with a molecular capacity to see and sense their place in the universe and the way in which they’re related to both the moon, the earth, and the solar system. Our intelligence is a tool for perception of place. Hence Gurdjieff’s tremendous emphasis on the words “I am”.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Planetary Sense of Being—Part IV: Gravity and Sensation

Resurrection and Damnation, from the Tympanum at St. Foy in Conques

…my body could be the greatest support for experiencing my existence. It is on the level of the earth
and draws its strength from it. The action of our life is on this level, this sphere, not somewhere up in the air. I have to feel the body on the earth, the ground. I do this by sensation—sensing its weight, its
mass, and, more important, sensing that there is a force inside, an energy. Through sensation I need to feel a connection with my body so deep it becomes like a communion.

Jeanne De Salzmann, The Reality of Being, p. 63 

This Work is a school for developing a new center of gravity.

Jeanne De Salzmann, The Reality of Being, p. 112

In understanding this sensation of Being, and the magnetic effect of its action, we can understand that it creates our individuality and Being in exactly the same way that a planet draws itself together and acquires a magnetic field. It’s related to gravity and the action of attraction:

1. Gravity, one of the least understood forces in the universe, causes an attraction of particles that seems to be unmediated by any visible physical force. This is because gravity develops through concentrations of emanation — metaphysical, quantum-related elements.  

2. Every concentration of harmonic vibrations (emergence of a material entity from the quantum background) involves the invocation of a center of gravity in which waves are concentrated and brought into relationship in intensified ways. 

3. When we develop an organic sensation of being, we are participating in the creation of our own inner center of gravity.

I’ve discussed this in other places; yet it’s important to understand its nature as a cosmological function. When Gurdjieff discussed the idea of magnetic center with Ouspensky, it was then as it is now largely interpreted as a center of gravity that attracted some kind of confluence of ideas

In reality, though, he was talking about the acquisition of the particles of emanation, of the development of an inner sensation of Being:

The result of the influences who  source lies outside life collect together within him, he remembers them together, feels them together. They begin to form within him a certain whole…  The results of these influences collect together within him and after certain time they form within him a kind of magnetic center, which begins to attract to itself kindred influences and in this manner it grows.”
— In Search of the Miraculous, page 200

 Here we find many clues. Gurdjieff is describing the development of organic sensation; this is a precursor to organic feeling, and he says that one first remembers and then feels. It ties the understanding of magnetic center and self remembering to organic sensation, which is the first sensation that can acquire and then feel influences whose source lies outside life

These are those selfsame planetary influences related to the magnetic field of the planet discussed earlier parts of this essay. Magnetic center, in other words, is a function of the organic sense of Being and has nothing to do with simply becoming intellectually aware of ideas about work and ways; it’s about receiving influences, sensing them, and feeling them. 

Here we see a different principle being illustrated, one that re-casts our concept of self-remembering.

To remember is not to think: it’s to sense in order that one may feel.

We encounter here the same ideas Gurdjieff expressed many years later during the war in Paris, that the organic sensation creates one’s sense of individuality. By the time he put it this way, his awareness and understanding of the matter was far more concentrated, first by life experience and then by the war; but the fundamental ideas had not changed over all these years.

We should note, furthermore, the important presence of the word “influences” — forces that flow into us. Jeanne de Salzmann used this word many times; and it was certainly very current when I first entered the Gurdjieff work in the 1980s, when my teacher talked about it frequently. It has fallen out of use, yet it still carries vital information. 

All of this is further related to Swedenborg’s discussion of the inflow, that is, the direct influence of divinity upon our being which is acquired through a sensation and then — more importantly than anything else — an influence of feeling that comes into us and inwardly forms an intelligence that mirrors God.

 The inward center of gravity, created through organic sensation, has at its center a stillness that can receive this intelligence — but feeling will not arrive unless this place is well-formed within Being.

Part five of five of in this series will publish on June 5. 

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

A Planetary Sense of Being—Part III: Planetary Magnetism

from the Tympanum at St. Foy in Conques

…without this relation with a higher energy, life has not much meaning… A certain current, a certain magnetism, needs to be created in which each person finds his place, that is, the place which will permit the current to be better established. Our whole responsibility is here.

The traditional ways all recognized and served this aim in a manner that corresponded to the development of people in a given place and period. Today we need to find again the contact with this energy.

Jeanne De Salzmann, The Reality of Being, p. 199

Let’s discuss how the magnetism on the planetary level functions relative to living organisms, and how that relates to man.

 In living organisms of lower orders, magnetism and the sensation thereof serves to locate the animals. By coming into alignment with the magnetic forces of the planet as a consciously sensed presence, they know where they are

Knowing where one is is essential to life function; and in the case of lower animals, this phenomenon manifests primarily as an external source, because lower animals (one and two brained creatures) don’t have the capacity for the development of astral (planetary) or solar being. While the concentrations of harmonic vibration in these creatures are still absolutely divine (they all arise from the intelligence expressed in DNA) there are limits on their existence expressed by the length of their life spans. 

Magnetic sensation of being in these creatures is attached to moving and emotional centers, because those are the only two centers that they have with which to be. Their sensation of Being helps them to know where to go seasonally and in terms of nest locations; and it helps them to know where to go in terms of mating—discovery of and attraction to members of the opposite sex. 
As well as developing and defining their outward capacities for movement, animals develop an inward capacity that senses their emotive center of gravity. While the capacity for movement through the sensation of the Earth’s magnetic field is well known and has been studied, science has not spent enough time yet understanding how magnetism affects attraction and reproduction in the lower forms of life. Eventually, this will become better understood.

In the case of three brained beings, however, this function of magnetic sensation—called the organic sensation of being in the Gurdjieff work—serves to locate the creatures that experience it inwardly

That is to say, it is still a navigational tool, but it becomes a navigational tool for understanding, not just movement and emotion.

 The organic sensation of Being must be developed in order to have a real sense of where one stands within one’s Being relative to both higher and lower forces. It functions as an intelligence or mind from a higher level; within the organic sense of being, we become individuals — we are single beings with a sense of our place, not divided creatures with fractured perceptions and non-integrated intelligences. As Gurdjieff said, your organic sensation of Being creates your individuality. 

It serves as a locating device for our spiritual intelligence.

 This organic sensation of magnetic fields from the astral level affects the inward quality of being, not the outward. It’s the first faculty through which we can begin to do what Gurdjieff told everyone constantly: 

sense your own nothingness. 

Please read this particular phrase a second time and see that he did not say we should think about our own nothingness. 

He  said we must sense it. 

The only faculty with which we can sense this nothingness is our sensation. We can think about all we like; but until we sense it, we don’t develop the harmonic resonance capable of connecting with the ability to feel it — which is, of course, where all of this effort ultimately needs to go, because feeling is the first emanation of an order that belongs to the solar level, the level of 12 laws. If you were wondering why “hydrogens 12,” Gurdjieff’s arcane numeric signifier for material from a higher level of an important kind, featured so prominently in his discussions with Ouspensky, it’s because those hydrogens are the solar hydrogens and represent the finer material at a more intensified rate of vibration which we most need to acquire and concentrate within Being.

The subject is fascinating, because the question of harmonic vibration, sensation, magnetic fields, the ray of creation, the law of octaves, and so on are all intimately connected. Studying these matters through the practical vehicle of sensation and feeling, as well as the theoretical vehicle of the mind, begins to reveal how complete and comprehensive Gurdjieff’s cosmological system is in understanding why we are what we are.

Part four of five of in this series will publish on June 5. 

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Planetary Sense of Being—Part II: A Relationship to the Planet

 Heraldic Angels, from the Tympanum at St. Foy in Conques

The body obeys the attraction of the earth, from which it draws its energy. The subtle force, a finer energy in me, obeys another attraction. 

When the body conforms to the attraction of the earth, the subtle force is freer, as if the two movements complement each other… I must accept this law from which my equilibrium comes, and let these forces act freely in me. 

When I obey the earth's attraction in a conscious way, the subtle force is liberated and my ordinary "I," my ego, finds its place, its purpose.

Jeanne De Salzmann, The Reality of Being, p. 64 

Moving on to the scale in which we live, which is the point of this essay, we see that the organic sensation of being is an awareness-expression of electromagnetism.

Animals are well-known to have a biological intelligence which provides the innate ability to navigate using the planet earth’s magnetic fields. While this is commonly seen and studied in migratory species, the likelihood is that almost all species have this ability in one way or the other. I say this simply because most would argue humans don’t have the ability, yet it turns out it’s definitely present. A recent article on the ability of human beings to sense the Earth’s magnetic field  shows that even mankind has an innate sensation of the Earth’s magnetic field.

What is definitely not known by science is the way in which an inner work can enhance the sensation until it becomes much more active within being, part of the conscious awareness of a human.  This marks the evolution of an astral, or planetary, sensation.

When Gurdjieff used the word planetary, he used it to refer to the world of all the planets of the solar system (In Search of the Miraculous, page 80.)  This corresponds to world 24, one level higher than Earth, which is at level 48 (same page in ISTOM.)  He comments on page 84,

 “If we could free ourselves from one half of these laws, we should find ourselves subject only to 20 laws, that is to the laws of the planetary world, and then we should be one stage nearer to the absolute and its will…  The study of the 48 orders of laws to which men is subject cannot be abstract like the study of astronomy; they can be studied only by observing them in oneself and by getting free of them.

 To expand a little further on this, on page 88 he says,

  The seven worlds of the ray of creation represent seven orders of materiality. The materiality of the moon is different from the materiality of the earth; the materiality of the earth is different from the materiality of the planetary world; the materiality of the planetary world is different from the materiality of the sun, and so on.

 The observational study Gurdjieff speaks above of can only begin within the planetary nature of sensation, which is the first force we can encounter in Being that emanates from an astral level and belongs to it. An esoteric core of the Gurdjieff work has long associated the emergence of an organic sensation of Being with the development of the astral body—an experiential perception, to be sure, but at the same time entirely consistent with the nature of the phenomenon as it relates to Gurdjieff’s cosmology:

 This second body is composed of material of the planetary world and it can survive the death of the physical body…  If a man has the third body… it is composed of material of the sun and it can exist after the death of the astral body. (Page 94.)

 What Gurdjieff is describing here is our position between the moon and the sun, the way in which sensation anchors us to Being, and its foundational nature relative to the receiving of solar influences. Only after sensation concentrates itself sufficiently to awaken and be an actively participating force in Being can it begin to receive and inwardly concentrate the solar influences which Gurdjieff mentions.  Readers wishing to understand this from a theoretical point of view might consider first finishing this essay, then reading the science articles linked in the piece along with all of chapter 5 of In Search of the Miraculous.

Part three of five of in this series will publish on June 2. 

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Planetary Sense of Being—Part I: The Cosmologically Magnetic Nature of Being

Christ, from the Tympanum at St. Foy in Conques

I wish to become conscious of my existence. If my attention is as usual, dispersed, I feel myself as a form, as matter, a person. When my attention becomes finer and my perception keener, I feel myself as a mass
of energy in movement, a body of energy. Currents of moving particles pass through me, whose movement does not stop. I sense myself no longer as matter with a solid form, but as energy animated by vibrations
that never cease. I feel this energy as if it were magnetized, drawn toward unknown ends. I try to observe this attraction pulling in different directions. I feel that there is no current that is my thought, nor any current that is my feeling, or my sensation, my movement. There is no such thing as each person's thought, each person's feeling. Rather, there is a current of force maintained in a certain sphere by what attracts it and makes it gravitate there. It is necessary to pass beyond.

Jeanne De Salzmann, The Reality of Being, p. 234

In The Sixth Sense, I explained at some length why organic sensation is the essential sixth sense that man needs to develop in order to create a foundation for spiritual being. Without it, the other five senses aren’t enough.

 This sixth sense binds us to the planet through a sensation of Being which is integrated with the magnetic fields of the earth itself. This in turn binds us to other essential magnetic fields that propagate throughout the solar system as the result of interactions between the planets – and of course our own moon — but more than anything else, the sun. A practical experience of this expands on the understanding of man’s place in the Ray of Creation based on Gurdjieff’s theories on the subject. 

After enough experience with sensation, lunar energy, and solar energy, and the way in which sensation integrates with these two influences on the surface of the planet within an individual being, a certain form of objective insight begins to develop. 

First of all, there’s no doubt that what Gurdjieff said about these matters to Ouspensky is true; and secondly, much of the crafted allegory in Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson could only come from a person with direct experience. 

We’re magnetic beings — in fact, electromagnetic beings. Everything that we experience, think, and do arises from electromagnetic fields; and to consider ourselves as being in any way separated from them, both those within ourselves, those on the planet, and those which spread throughout the solar system is fundamentally impossible. 

 What was not foreseen in Gurdjieff’s day was how quantum physics could affect our understanding of this. Some of the things that Gurdjieff said neatly dovetail into understandings that have recently emerged from quantum physics, such as the fact that emanations and radiation are different, and that  emanations propagate instantly.

 What the experiment at the link tells us, in essence, is that the universe at the quantum level is a single entity that doesn’t exist in time (it must be called eternal, Eckhart’s realm of God’s existence outside time) – everything in it is connected instantaneously, irrespective of distance. This is also, of course, supported by the phenomenon of quantum entanglement ( Einstein’s spooky action at a distance), in which particles separated by distance transmit information between each other instantaneously. 

 We emerge from and live within a quantum “soup.”  Although it manifests as separated states of Being, it’s actually a single state. Harmonic resonances across the entire range of energetic interactions are what determine the level of Being: how much awareness is manifest. 

Although awareness is manifest across the entire range of the system of Being (see my posts on metaphysical humanism) it concentrates in nodes across the spectrum.

Greater concentrations of vibration lead to  more intensified instances of Being through intelligent action.

 It’s difficult to understand why the universe is arranged this way, except to say that God created it. Yet we can understand some interesting things about our own nature from an examination of the way our sensation interacts with the foundational magnetism of the planet and the inspirational magnetism of the sun. We stand between the two; and of course this situation is variously alluded to in numerous ancient metaphysical systems. 

Without, however, understanding the organic sensation of Being from a direct and personal point of view, the question remains entirely theoretical.

All of the organisms on the earth are tied to its magnetic resonances. Intelligence in organic life (intelligence must be understood as not being limited to intellect alone)  arises from the magnetic resonance of their microscopic molecular arrangements, along with its interaction with the magnetic resonance of the planet, which takes place on a macroscopic scale. 

These microscopic interactions are so impossibly complex that they defy description; but  if you’re interested in a taste of it, read the article untangling the formation of DNA loops in the March 2019 issue of Scientific American. One can see the inherent workings of an extraordinary intelligence in the action of the DNA molecule; traditionally illustrations of it as spirals on a page are childishly simple and basically useless. DNA is still for the most part completely unfathomable; an organism in its own right, interactive, dynamic, and in constant movement.

 Remember that this extraordinary molecule-creature emerges from quantum fields of magnetic resonation just as much as all of the macroscopic entities (living beings) that it produces; and even though it exists entirely on the molecular scale, a phenomenal intelligence is embedded in it. That phenomenal intelligence, by the way, contains the entirety of expression of intelligence on the scales above it, which is another situation worth considering. This molecule is the package from which emerges all known forms of life, and all of the ways that it can experience and think. 

Every single potentiality that we see in the living world is encoded a priori in DNA itself. If one could truly read the molecule and understood it, one would see that it is a book in which everything that can ever happen in the world of organic life is already written. A true reading of that book would be able to predict every potentiality that organic life can realize in its current form, along with all of the things that it can think and do.

Part two of five of in this series will publish on May 30. 

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.