Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Serving the moon
Among the many hundreds of references to the moon in his various works, in 1924 in New York, Gurdjieff said the following:
"The moon is man's big enemy. We serve the moon. Last time you heard about kundabuffer. Kundabuffer is the moon's representative on earth. We are like the moon's sheep, which it cleans, feeds and shears, and keeps for its own purposes. But when it is hungry it kills a lot of them. All organic life works for the moon. Passive man serves involution; and active man, evolution. You must choose. In both cases we are slaves, but there is a principle: in one service you can hope for a career; in the other you receive much but without a career. In both cases we have a master. Inside us we also have a moon, a sun and so on. We are a whole system. If you know what your moon is and does, you can understand the cosmos."
(Views From The Real World, page 198, E. P. Dutton 1975)
It is of course impossible to boil even a fraction of what Gurdjieff said about the moon into a single essay. We can, however, investigate just a few points.
First of all, as was pointed out in a comment on this blog a week or two ago, the root Sanskrit word "Kunda" has direct associations with both the moon and with feminine nature, fecundity, receptivity. An organ– or action– that buffers this might be construed as something that blocks that which is received. In a general sense, it prevents insemination.
In order to understand Gurdjieff's comment more thoroughly, it's necessary to understand that in his ray of creation, both in evolutionary and evolutionary forces are at work. Energy descends from the sun, passes through the shock of organic life on earth, and moves on to the moon as the end of the involutionary process. This is the stage at which man “feeds” the moon in Gurdjieff's cosmology. A widespread assumption appears to be that this is the whole and the end of the matter.
What is overlooked is that inevitably, there must also be an evolutionary force that begins with the moon and moves upwards, back towards its original source; the ray of creation allows for no other possibility; the movement of evolutionary energy is directly incorporated into Gurdjieff's Enneagram, where the right side may be said to represent involution, and the left evolution.
Hence the comments about how an active man can serve evolution. You will notice that even in this case, a man is still a “slave;” and he still serves the moon, although in a different capacity than in the involutionary phase. An active man serves the moon in the evolutionary phase as the energy moves back towards the absolute.
This means that in the evolutionary phase of the solar system octave, man receives energy from the moon and passes it upwards, rather than feeding the moon with energy of his own. In other words, we might suggest that an active man is able to turn the moon not into an enemy, but a provider.
It is in understanding the entire circulation of the energy system that we begin to understand Gurdjieff's cosmology, not just an understanding about the downward movement of energy. Just as man receives energy from higher sources in order to do his inner work, so he can– and also must– receive energy from sources below him and pass them onwards in order to work.
Above all, we might say that organic life on earth in general, and man in particular, serve as stewards in the circulation of energy. Because the moon was created by accident, a great deal of extra energy needed to be sent to it to support it in its initial phases of development. This energy had to come from organic life on earth, particularly man; and because he was going to have to give all of what he was in his existence to an entity that was unable, at the time, to reciprocally feed him, it was a one-way exchange. This is why the organ kundabuffer was originally implanted in man; heavenly forces understood that beings forced, so to speak, to serve involuntarily in such an exchange would feel despair, and refuse to do the necessary work. The only way to get this horse to move forward was to put blinders on it.
In Beelzebub's Tales, Beelzebub explains that it is no longer necessary for man to serve the moon in the way that was needed when the organ kundabuffer was created. The removal of the organ kundabuffer made it possible for man once again to receive the beneficial and inseminating evolutionary emanations from the moon; in this way, it was possible for the law of reciprocal feeding to once again act normally on earth.
Of course, Beelzebub expounds ad infinitum about why this natural process continues to be frustrated, even up to the present day.
Misconceptions about the exact nature of man's relationship with the moon continue to confuse the issue. For example, we need the moon; without it, organic life on earth would not exist, a point made by biologists, who advise us that the stabilizing effect of the moon's gravity prevents fluctuations in the earth's rotation which would cause earth's climate to be unpredictable and erratic. The moon is, in other words, a vital "anchor" for life on earth.
Understanding the moon in the context of its anchoring role and the nature of the circulation of inner energy may help shed light on some of our lunar questions. In addition, readers who follow the link to descriptions of the Sanskrit meanings of the phonetic components of Kunda will find a rich source of associations which illustrate just how appropriate the word is to this question.
Perhaps it's peculiar that Gurdjieff referred to the moon as man's “big enemy.” In one sense, this is absolutely true; if a man is asleep, unconscious, the moon takes his energy and nothing more need be said about the matter.
However, as the passage from Views intimates, a man who makes a conscious effort to take his place in the ray of creation will discover that that energy consciously used to support the cosmos- whether inner or outer- is returned to him in a different way.
I respectfully ask you to take good care.
Next post (12/9): The Devil Within Us