Thursday, October 18, 2007

the third division

Today I flew into Guangzhou. Got to the hotel rather late. Fortunately I have today's post prepared... tomorrow, that may be a wee bit more difficult to pull off.

On examination, for me, the most difficult division of the society of Akhldanns to interpret in the context of inner divisions of work according to “six flowers” is the third section. I called out this difficulty when I originally wrote the essay about the allegory. It deserves some further scrutiny.

This section of the society corresponds, on the enneagram, to the number 4, or, the solar plexus.

In Beelzebub, Gurdjieff shares the following observations with us:

"The members belonging to the third section were called 'Akhldann-metrosovors,' which meant beings occupied with the study of that branch of knowledge similar to our 'silkoornano,' corresponding in part to what your contemporary favorites call 'mathematics.'”

I pondered this at some length over the past day, thinking about what “mathematics” consists of.

Mathematics is a system of logic that operates according to an established system of prestated laws.

Moreover, the practical application of mathematics is to describe real-world events in logical terms.

In Chapter 23, Gurdjieff says that Belcultassi, the founder of the Society of Akhldanns,

“…began to make similar sincere observations of impressions--coming from without as well as from within--at the very moment they were perceived by his common presence; and he made all these observations with the same exhaustive, conscious verifications of how these impressions were perceived by each of his spiritualized parts, when and how they were experienced by the whole of his presence, and for what manifestations they became the impulses.

"These conscious observations and impartial verifications at last convinced Belcultassi that in his common presence something was proceeding not as it should proceed according to sane being-logic.”

Once again we see reference to the effort to perceive with each of one’s spiritualized parts, which is the selfsame subject of this particular series of essays. And here we discover, moreover, that our common presences ought to contain a process of “sane being-logic.”

If so, where would we find that? Could the organic seat of this capacity be resident in the solar plexus?

The solar plexus has a unique place in various esoteric understandings of man’s body and being: repository of energy, storage center, place of gravitation, and so on. It’s the central location of the lower story of the body; a “collecting area.”

Moving past the literal, we come to the possibility that a “calculus of Being” may be resident within the perceptive abilities of this center. Only an attempt to invest ourselves within it and discover the grounding properties it offers can lead us towards any kind of verification.

When we examine the comment about the society in detail, we notice that it is said the work of the third division of the society corresponded “in parts“ to what we call mathematics. The inference is that there is more to it than just mathematics alone. I think we might presume that there is an indication here about studying the law of octaves, or, perhaps even more broadly, the laws of world creation and world maintenance, since they are intricately tied into mathematical systems—notably the law of three and the law of seven-- in Gurdjieff’s cosmology.

Could it be that the solar plexus is a location from which we can begin to undertake practical, that is, physical, investigations of these laws?

As with the first two centers, the only way to get a footing here is to make an effort towards investment of the attention within the flower of the solar plexus. We may not know quite what that will mean, or what it might bring.

We can know that this type of work is possible.

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

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