Photograph by the author
The first choice is self-love; and the second choice is love for the good. The second choice is not love for God, because we aren't capable of loving God; this is a distant goal, as Christ explained in the Gospels. But we are capable of loving the good; and the two loves are mutually exclusive. To the extent that we love ourselves, we cannot love the good; and to the extent that we love the good, we cannot love ourselves. One takes from the other. The more self-love one has, the less love for the good can arise; it is common for like to attract like, so the magnetism of self-love is powerful — and we all begin there.
Love must always be made from choice, and so the good must always be chosen, not demanded of us. God has a wish for us to love him; but we are unable to do so, and so we are offered this chance to love the good, which goes in the direction of God. God must allow us to choose, because to force us to love him would be coercive. Therefore, we have the option to love ourselves instead of God; and this goes away from the good. This is the root of all evil (not money — although some of you may be disappointed to hear this.) Egoism, in other words, is where all evil begins, because it goes away from good and towards the self.
I might mention here that all of the sorrow that God has is because He, being infinitely loving, knows He cannot coerce his creation to accept love and go in the direction of love; it must be released to find its own direction, and make its own effort to be loving. This release is in and of itself loving, and the greater part of its love consists in the acceptance and will that allows creation to choose between self-love and love for the good, and for God.
Anyone who wants an explanation for why there is evil can start here. God has to let evil exist, because if he takes it away, he takes away our effort to choose for the good, and forces us to be good — and, as any fool can see, there is never any goodness in that which is forced, because goodness requires, by default, a voluntary intention.
The contradiction ought to be evident; so the fact that there is evil and bad is actually the incontrovertible proof that there is a God, not evidence that there isn't one. In other words, as usual, human beings have everything upside down and backwards on this matter, which is no surprise.
We are supposed to choose for the good. This is the option and the effort that life intends for us. Conscious egoism, which was Gurdjieff's explanation of the situation, is a conscious choice for the good. Unconscious egoism is a choice for the self, that is, the bad. It goes against love, and it goes against community, and serves only itself, seeing all others as ones who should also serve it. Love for the good goes in the opposite direction.
Mark this well, because it needs to be seen quite clearly in the midst of being. Every action ought to be questioned from this perspective if we wish to develop.