Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Arch Absurd, part III—ethernokrilno

Gurdjieff's alter ego Beelzebub tells us: 

'Ethernokrilno' is the primordial substance with which the whole Universe is filled, and which is the basis for the arising and maintenance of everything that exists. 

"In regard to this. Objective Science declares that everything in the Universe without exception is material."

Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, page 132

It's easy enough to understand the derivation of the first part of this word, ether— it's an archaic term from physics referring to a very rarefied substance formerly believed to permeate all space, and the medium whose vibrations constitute light and electromagnetic radiation.

 It's quite likely that Gurdjieff culled the second half of this word from the Greek word krino, a word meaning, among other things, to separate, or discriminate, and to judge.

 The primordial substance with which the whole universe is filled, in other words, is consciousness; or, discrimination, that is, the ability to perceive

His statement, in other words, implies that consciousness is in fact material — it arises from and within the material universe. The ground floor, the fundamental building block, of all manifested reality is consciousness, awareness. When we hear the word ethernokrilno what we hear is a reference to the absolute and fundamental material nature of consciousness as the source from which all Being emanates.

The omnipresent Okhidanokh, we may note, arises from this ground; and it arises from three parts,  inextricably linking it not only to the concept of the holy Trinity, but also to the idea of three-brained being, that is, three types of consciousness that participate in a whole awareness. Gurdjieff's Djartklom  is the process whereby this consciousness of the holy Trinity, this whole consciousness, separates itself into its original three parts so that each one can actualize sources for the possible manifestation of its own sacred law of Triamazikamno, or law of three.

 All this sounds rather complicated; but what it is saying is that the three parts of consciousness — intellectual consciousness, emotional consciousness, physical consciousness — embody themselves as separate entities so that each one can take in impressions appropriate to its own nature, which are then re-blended into new whole, or unified, understandings. 

So consciousness, Gurdjieff is saying, has a fundamental property to it, in which it must critique itself within the context of its three fundamentally different abilities to perceive: this process is called remorse. The word brings up interesting connotations; it comes from medieval Latin roots meaning to vex; to have intensive force; to bite. The word, in other words, relates to the idea of feeding, reminding us of the law of reciprocal feeding, on which the universe is based; and of course in modern terms it means deep regret for a wrong committed.

There's an inference here that the natural state of perception, deep down at the base of its arising, consists of self critique and a recognition of sin. 

One has to peel back the layers of the onion to see this; but eventually we reach the point where we see that consciousness, as it manifests in the known universe, forever finds itself separated from its original nature, that is, the nature of God; and in this fallen state, must forever yearn to reunite with God, which is the action consciousness undertakes in its effort to know itself. 

This action is governed by the taking in of impressions in a three-centered manner; and, as he says,  every arising, large or small,  undergoes this process. The entire machine of the universe, in other words, is a machine of perception, of consciousness; everything, in its own way, perceives, and everything perceives, according to its level, in the same manner.



  1. Lee, Holy Denying (or Holy the Firm) is not physical consciousness. It is the resisting force -- the pull of involution. Consciousness, whatever approach one has used for Work, is Holy Affirming.

    "Sources of Divine Rejoicings, revolts and sufferings, direct your actions upon us." Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 39, "The Holy Planet Purgatory," p. 752.

  2. Clare,

    One can't limit this concept to a single understanding. It has multiple aspects. The idea is dynamic and must be employed as such.

  3. This is a very helpful explication. Is there a book you would recommend like this post that helps unpack elements of All & Everything?

    Thank you.

  4. Corey, I think you're asking Lee, but the best resource I know is the new, complete commentary by Mr. Orage on All & Everything, published in 2013 by Book Studio: As you might know, Mr. Orage was quite close to Mr. Gurdjieff and was the principal translator of the book into English. In addition to the excellent insights he provides, he models an approach to reading the book. Thus, you get both fish and a very good lesson in fishing.

  5. Thank you very much, Clare. I have been looking into that one. I know the idea is to work with it and uncover meaning for yourself, but sometimes one has to ask for help! Lord, have mercy (on those daring enough to open those pages!) :-)

  6. I have also been curious about Beryl Pogson's "The True Myth," if anyone has encountered it. Thanks


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