One of the features I notice when those around me discuss remorse is that they nearly always discuss remorse for themselves; that, in the sense that they sense remorse as something that belongs to them, their state, and their actions.
Indeed, Gurdjieff described remorse as follows:
Every arising, large or small, when in direct touch with the "emanations" of the Sun Absolute itself or of any other sun, undergoes a process called "remorse," during which each of its parts, issuing from the results of one of the holy sources of the sacred Triamazikamno, "revolts" as it were, and "criticizes" the former unbecoming perceptions and the manifestations taking place at the moment in another part of its whole—a part issuing from the results of another holy source of the same fundamental sacred law of Triamazikamno.
Described as such, remorse is indeed personal; and yet in my own experience there is a different kind of remorse, which transcends the personal.
In order to better understand what Gurdjieff is getting at here, let us first consider the idea—which is not just an idea, but a matter of fact— that each of the parts (emotional, physical, and intellectual) is in fact a separate mind with its own unique and inalienable abilities of perception, which are not shared by the other two faculties.
Let us second consider the fact that each part may, on its own, complete an inner process —internal to the inner octave of that part itself— which causes it to become conscious, or alive.
Let us then consider what takes place when, for example, real feeling, emanating as a conscious entity and taking its proper place in the functioning of the organism, is touched by God—which is, essentially, what Gurdjieff is saying in the above passage.
At this point, the emotional center says—gently, compassionately, with a full sense of consciousness— to the other centers, see, how you cannot and do not feel.
In the same way, if and when the physical center awakens in the same way, it says to the emotions and the mind, see, how you cannot and do not sense.
An identical process takes place if and when the intellect undergoes the same transformative set of events.
This constitutes the critique that Gurdjieff speaks of; it is, in its essence, a seeing that is accompanied, within the center of gravity of the center in question, by an inexpressible anguish at its own lack—the lack each center has in regard to the ability of the other two centers, each of which has a vitally different and absolutely essential capacity of understanding.
Only when all three of these parts work together, at once, can those deficiencies be corrected; and here we come to one of the main points of three-centered work.
In any event, back to the subject of remorse. Most of the folks I know generally describe remorse not as the above, very organic and living process, but rather as some form or another of regret, which is, in general, just a rather ordinary way of feeling bad about one's self and one's actions. This is good as far as it goes—but it is not enough.
More on this in the next post.