Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Belief


You have a weakness which he who works with me, must destroy. You believe. You must never believe. You must criticize everything, accept nothing which you cannot prove, like two and two make four. Believing does not count, it is worth nothing. You believe, you identify, and you wish to pass on your belief with your emanations. You identify, you give all your energy.


This morning my wife and I are in the Berkshires, and at breakfast, the subject of what I believe comes up.

Belief begins where it is taken for granted; it's the line where questioning stops. In a sense, belief is what makes us all idiots; and remember, as Gurdjieff said, even God is an idiot.

An idiot is subjective; unique unto itself. All of us are this way in our beliefs. No one has the exact same beliefs as another; and yet if we want to work in community, achieve a greater unity—inner or outer—it is belief that has to go first, because I use it not just to agree with, but above all to to set myself apart from others. 

Perhaps I ought to say, more accurately, that belief uses me; because belief seems to me (at this writing, anyway) to belong to the outward part of Being, that which is formed by outward objects, events, circumstances and conditions. It is ingested, that is, I acquire it mostly from parents, from education, and from peers; and so it stands as apart and distinct from that deep inner part of me from which the reality of my own Being emanates.

You'll notice that Gurdjieff treats belief as though it were some kind of infectious agent: you wish to pass on your belief with your emanations. This is, come to think of it, exactly what charisma does, isn't it?—and we all know how dangerous that can prove to be. Hitler, for example, was terrific at passing on his belief with his emanations. 

In our discussion I brought up the idea of fundamentalism. Although I'm a devout Episcopalian with powerfully and deeply traditional Catholic leanings, I discovered, during the six years that I lived in Georgia, that this meant nothing to born again Christians, who unerringly (to them, anyway) believed that I had to say the words, "I accept jesus Christ as my personal savior" in order to be saved in the way that they believed I needed to be saved. None of my arguments, viewpoints, or discussions to the contrary could dissuade them from the idea that I was otherwise damned for all eternity. In discussion like this one (there were many) even though we were both Christians, our beliefs were fundamentally different, and it prevented growth in community— it was, in other words, divisive, not unitive.

This brings me to the question of the nature of the universe, and what idiosyncrasy means relative to creation. Although this may seem like a rather large subject, its parameters are quite tangible. 

Ibn Arabi calls the manifestation of creation the names of God: quite simply put, everything thing that ever was, is, or could be. Each manifestation of The Reality, God, is a particle of this wholeness: a particle of His Endlessness, as Gurdjieff might have put it. (In this way, objects, events, circumstances and conditions are all particles of His Endlessness.) Meister Eckhart's name for this wholeness-divided-into-parts creatures; that which is made, meaning, in this case, emanated from God's single wholeness which is indivisible. 

In a certain sense, for us, belief is a holy-denying force. 

More on this tomorrow.

Hosanna.   


3 comments:

  1. I'm genuinely interested to know why, as a devout episcopalian, you would not be comfortable with accepting Jesus as your personal saviour? In what way would your belief prevent that? ('our beliefs were fundamentally different') ....
    It's a pity in a way that G didn't keep his promise to tell us more about Jesus as a young lad (between 12-28)...unless I missed something...and that business about his Kesdjan body...

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  2. That's not what I'm contesting. What I have a problem with is someone basically forcing and intimidating me to make that statement in order to validate my Christianity. Fundamentalists down south don't bring this up as a discussion point; they thrust it out in front of them like a spear in a jousting contest.

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  3. Yes, I have also experienced this king of thing. I have been reading Ilich (again) 'The Rivers North of the Future' where he says nicely that he doesn't feel the obligation to defend his beliefs....one of my favourite thinkers...visionaries :) Thanks for the clarification.

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