I say that because a gremlin is defined as a mischievous spirit responsible for an unexplained problem or fault. The gremlin, in inner work, is the one that questions within the context of the ordinary self.
My ordinary parts are, as the technical explanations of inner work go, mechanical. Well, this sounds important; but it is difficult to experience it directly from within what I am, it's like asking a steam engine to sense that it is a steam engine. A steam engine, let's face it, is a far cry from the computer; although complex and powerful, it can't even be stupid, because stupidity would presume the presence of an intelligence that might be exercised, and it doesn't have one. Something without intelligence, a machine, can't see itself; and the machine just runs on, willy-nilly, without any checks or balances. It operates strictly according to its programming.
So as I am, outwardly, I operate without any questions, according to my impulses, my self-love, and my consequent intentions, and there is nothing in me that doubts who I am or what I am.
The beginning of presence involves having this gremlin, this "mischievous" spirit, this animated and living quality, that brings the question.
It is like an imp, a sprite, that says, ...oh, really? every time I undertake an action or follow an impulse, every time an intention arises. The gremlin sees what is going on; and this is the unexplained problem, or fault, that arises inside the workings of the machine. All of a sudden, the machine doesn't work so well; there is a part of upsetting the apple cart, interfering with the smooth inner workings of what exists by proxy (not under my own inner agency) and is assumed by default.
This is exactly what is needed; a flaw that exposes my mechanicality. So my gremlin helps me. It derails the locomotive that moves me through life; and I have to take a look at how I am in an inner sense.
If this gremlin isn't a living quality, an elemental — that is, a "supernatural" (supernatural, that is, to my ordinary parts) entity or force manifested by occult (hidden) means— then it isn't functional. The gremlin, in other words, has to be its own spirit, not a spirit that belongs to my ordinary parts. This idea of elementals as parts of my own being is an interesting one, which probably has a great deal to do with the many fairy tales that speak of elementals. They are all, in the end, parts of myself; the flounders that tempt with wishes, the witches that devour children, the imps that show me how to spin straw into gold — all of these elementals are actually me, in my various guises, but in the fairy tales, the elementals are sprites that mislead and betray. Not all elementals are of this order; in fact, we should definitely recall Gurdjieff's comment that a man has an angel on his right shoulder, a devil on his left, and, as he said, the devil, you can trust.
This loving-suspicion is the devil's tool; remember, in Judaism, Satan — the devil in his original form — is an adversary: and what this little gremlin of Presence is is an adversary to my ordinary mechanicality.
This brings me to the idea that God is the devil of my own sin. That is, from a sinful state, God appears to be the adversary.
And this is, I think, worth pondering large and long; for what else does Gurdjieff's Holy Denying consist of?