Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the first division




After a truly extraordinary fish lunch at a rural mountain lake near Jiande, I’m on the long car ride north to Hangzhou. The sun is an intense orange ball to the west, nestled just above the mountains of Zhejiang province.

About two days ago I promised to get back to examining the question of allegorical meaning of Gurdjieff’s “Society of Akhldanns” as presented in chapter 23 of “Beelzebub’s Tales To His Grandson.” My intention was to take a more detailed look at each of the divisions of the society in terms of their relationship to a more specific type of inner work.

Gurdjieff tells us:

"The word 'akhldann' then expressed the following concept: 'the striving to become aware of the sense and aim of the being of beings.'”

Put another way, the aim of the society is to become aware of Being. So it was a society formed to study the nature of the self.

It’s not much of a leap to suggest, as I have before, that Gurdjieff was allegorically proposing that we discover, or, if you will, form, such a “society” within ourselves. For indeed, without such an inner society, how can we hope to study the sense and aim of our existence? Furthermore, the “inner society” needs to undertake more specific investigations. And in order to do this it needs to be divided into parts.

In my proposed allegory of the society, the tools we have “ready at hand” are the six separate parts of emotional center, as described in the lecture from the Neighborhood playhouse in New York, January 1923 (the subject of one of last week’s posts, & found in the last chapter of Beelzebub.)

And as described in the allegory, the work they undertake is a work of “objective science.” So is there, perhaps, a new kind of path towards less subjectivity available within us: a path composed of organic tools, rather than psychological ones?

In my earlier post on this subject, I touched on the manner in which the seven divisions of the society actively correspond to the six centers on the enneagram, plus “do,” as the seventh division. Today we will try to examine the "role of the first division" of the Society of Akhldanns in a bit more detail.

Gurdjieff says:

"The members of the first group of the Akhldann Society were called 'Akhldann-fokhsovors,' which meant that they studied the presence of their own planet and the reciprocal action of its separate parts.”

I’ve recently been pondering and examining this first division in relationship to the base of the spine, which represents the originating root of man’s Being. In the yogic system of chakras, it is at the “bottom” of man’s structural nature, but in the far more balanced (and hence egalitarian) structure of the enneagram, we find it occupying numerical position “one.”

If we investigate the energy at the base of the spine, and seek to find a specific relationship to it in the context of a presence within life, we may begin to see that our life itself arises from this point. Within the energy that arises here is contained an immediate potential for connection to all the other points, as the energy within it rises into the body.

If we contact this energy, we may discover an inclusive wholeness that predicts the entire movement of the system. This is because in the lawful progression from “do” to re, the first note, we already find a complete definition of the system of the octave within the doubling of the rate of vibration.

We find it metaphorically, yes, because (presuming we have studied it) we understand the metaphor of the system, but the potential to sense this instinctively within the experience of the energy itself is already there as well. This is the point nearest to the Urquelle, or original spring, from which the water of our life emerges.

...Why? Take a look at the diagram: it’s the closest note to the originating force of “do.” As such it has a life, an impetus, a purity, that becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as the octave develops: in a certain sense, deflection from the original purpose becomes more likely with every successive step in the (first) multiplication of 1,4,2,8,5,7.

And this experience of “one” is not a metaphor for anything. More succinctly, if invested within, it eliminates the metaphors.

The question here is how we can begin to sense the presence of this energy and use it for the study of our inner octave by allowing it to lead us to the study of the reciprocal action of our separate parts—which is all about the law of seven, or, the multiplications. This energy of “one” naturally seeks a lawful relationship to all the other centers in the body.

So- we may ask ourselves, as we live and breathe—

How do we find “one?”

How can we recruit it into service in the study of Being?

May your trees bear fruit, and your wells yield water.

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