Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dominated by Hell

 Hell is generally treated these days as though it were a philosophical concept, something that didn't exist. Yet the manifestation of hell, like the manifestation of heaven, is directly reflected in the manifestation of material reality, and both qualities arise in the course of expression of objects, events, circumstances, and conditions.

We can see the results all around us on the planet. Anyone that thinks that hell is a concept ought take a look at the way human beings are treating one another, and the steady deterioration of the environment on this planet. All of these things — war, criminality, the absolute destruction of our water resources, our air resources, and the slavish devotion of mankind to the gratification of his own greed and sensory impulses — are objective manifestations of hell. All of them are taking place in the midst of what ought to be, objectively speaking heaven — or, conversely,  at the very least, the magnificent holy planet Purgatory described in Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson.

 A failure to believe in higher principles — atheism, and the tendency to invest all meaning in material things, as modern scientists are wont to do — creates a world dominated by hellish influences, and we are in it. One of the chief features of hell is that the creatures who find themselves in it are in denial of the facts; to them, hell is some kind of heaven.

Every human being dwells within the atmosphere and conditions of these influences and choices during ordinary life, and can only be qualified to serve angelic or demonic forces within the context of the way they react in this life. Either one forms something strong inwardly, which resists the downward movement, or one's spiritual being is consumed by the dogs of war, and one succumbs to the forces of darkness.

 This is going on at every moment, in every human being. The struggles are manifested outwardly, in the actions and events of life; but all the real struggles take place inwardly, and the results and consequences are simply the outward expression of these inward struggles; reflections of what goes on inside mankind. The terrible events that continue to dominate life across the planet accurately express the degraded inner nature of human beings. When no inner effort is made, results are objectively horrifying.

There has been a gradual deterioration in the psyche of man over the centuries, as Gurdjieff pointed out. As a consequence, humanity is now dominated by the forces of hell, which are in ascendancy. Ascendancy, that is, on this level; hell seizes everything it can to turn it to its own ends, and it is much easier to seize things on this level, since it is a lower one, and more readily influenced by such forces.

We are in a place where we must make a clear choice about which direction we want to go in.

Modern human beings don't like seeing such questions in front of them; they seem to have a medieval flavor, and it's fashionable to scoff at the idea of heaven and hell, as though they were quaint entities invented by fantasists of earlier ages. This goes on simply because human beings can't see the correspondence between the natural and the spiritual world. The fact that the natural world expresses inner or spiritual qualities is completely lost on human beings. The religions still preserve this idea; but a growing number of individuals are abandoning it.

 What isn't realized is what Hieronymus Bosch made so clear in his paintings: hell is already inside us.

It's worth considering when one reads all the old tales about casting out demons.

 may your soul be filled with light.

1 comment:

  1. A very powerful post which demonstrates quite clearly that both heaven and hell are within us – and it is with each new breath that we decide which side we are on. Many years ago I read that this was a Zoroastrian concept of duality of deities wherein each moment we are called upon to choose one or the other.

    Of course we know that everything comes in threes, not just with Mr. Gurdjieff's formulation of the three forces but with the holy Trinity as well as the Indian subcontinent's concept of the Gunas, or three tendencies of active, inertial and balanced, Rajas, Tamas or Sattva. But none of these are the middle as they are all at right angles to one another. This brings us into the realm of physics where Sattva could be thought of as each moment in Eternity.

    Of course that's exactly what heaven and hell are supposed to be – Eternal Salvation or Eternal Damnation – but eternity is not a length of time but is at right angles to it. It is each moment always. An eternal now. So we do have a choice and our choices add up but all of these moments are already eternal – we cannot change them because we cannot "do".

    However, if we choose to work on ourselves according to the teachings and principles and practices of Mr. Gurdjieff's teaching, we can reach a new state where there is no negativity per se. The inner circle of conscious humanity where silence is the loudest word, and understanding prevails. This can only happen within each of us individually – it is like Islam's concept of submission. I can submit only I – I cannot submit you or anyone else, so I am in a position where I must use other people's choices as instruments to provide me with things to work on, within myself.

    This state of affairs may be called purgatory.


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