Sunday, May 6, 2012

Facts

It occurred to me today that we generally think of facts as specific pieces of information, conveyed verbally, that express truths about science, philosophy, art, or this that and the other thing. Chemistry is facts. Mathematics? Those are facts. (Never mind that it's possible to build entirely consistent mathematics based on postulates that contradict the basis of our own mathematics, for example, a postulate which states that two parallel lines always meet.)

Yet real facts actually have nothing to do with the process of the intellect. Real facts arise as organic perceptions, not intellectual deductions.

The function of sleep in man—our failure to have any form of three centered consciousness—leads us to a condition where we are unable to see legitimate facts in any form. A fact is a condition where a man receives an impression in a certain way; it falls into him much more deeply than an ordinary impression, in a process that may take only an instant. It could be as simple as driving down the street and seeing a house that he has seen a thousand times, yet now, suddenly, sees as though he were seeing it for the first time.

He sees the house.

It is this moment of actual relationship with the environment, with the surroundings—yes, with the people—that constitutes a fact. A fact is reality perceived, not reality analyzed.

Taken from this point of view, life presents an endless series of absolute facts, sequential (from the point of view of our experience of time) and irrevocable. Yet all of these facts—which may indicate quite clearly what the state of things is, and what direction they are headed in—are blithely and even deliberately ignored by the ordinary mind, which believes that it can use analytical deductions to determine "facts." What it does, in actuality, is manufacture tens of thousands of completely subjective points of view and opinions about the nature of things, all of them abstracted from the actual facts directly and even blatantly in front of us. This creates a fantasy world that has little or nothing to do with the actual facts around us. Men manage to mismanage their affairs at spectacular levels because of this proclivity. Terrible things that go wrong in government, in economics, in war—all of these are a result of a failure to see actual facts.

In extremis, when real facts impinge on people's consciousness so violently that they have no choice but to recognize them, they generally wake up for a few brief moments and are horribly shocked by the realization that tsunamis wash cities away, wars kill innocent civilians, and bankers steal everyone's money and run off to the good life, cynically leaving their own nations in the dirt scrabbling desperately to stay alive. Everyone acts as though it's a big surprise that these things take place; yet they are routine.

 While all of this is true, our problems hardly arise that far out on the timeline. Our own need is to see facts now, in front of us as they are, in this life, and that takes attention and three centered being. With work, life can fall into much deeper places in the body, changing our perception of it and our understanding of who we are, where we are, and what we are doing.

If we are very lucky, we will realize we are not who we think we are, we are not where we think we are, and we are not doing what we think we are doing. Just being smart can't get us there; we need to come under higher influences, and that is through Grace. If ever there was a reason to pray, this is it.

It's helpful to stop thinking of facts as facts the way we think of facts; it's helpful to stop thinking of emotions the way we think of emotions. It's helpful to realize, with the intellect that we do have, that it lacks. To recognize this on an organic level, within the context of seeing the inner and the outer part. To see that the outer part is deficient. Not trying to fix it; not just coming up with Band-Aids and duct tape to apply to all the leaking joints.

I'll confess, it's hardly in my nature to do this. I am the original “identify the problem and fix it immediately” guy. That's what I do professionally: I try to head off problems and fix everything. Without that ability, I couldn't earn a living, but it doesn't work that way inside one's Being. To Be is to Be; one mustn't confuse it with the functional art of business executives, efficient though that may seem.

Back to Mr. Gurdjieff's citation of "fictitious consciousness" at the beginning of Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson; our fictitious consciousness perceives fictitious facts.  It can never be capable of anything more than that.

Think about it. We do have the tools to see facts; but they are not what we think they are.

I respectfully ask you to take good care.

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