1. Dig stuff that burns up out of the ground.
2. Dig more stuff that melts up out of the ground.
3. Melt that stuff with the stuff that burns to make new things which can both dig more stuff up and either burn that stuff or melt more stuff, or both.
4. Make more stuff out of it. Stuff that gets us to where we can dig up more stuff to burn and melt, for example.
5. Increase the volume of stuff that needs to be burned and stuff that needs to be melted.
6. Find endless ways to craft it into ingenious new stuffs, which support ever more activities that will cause more stuff to be burned and melted.
7. Declare, in the process, that burning stuff and melting stuff is a capital affair, vital to all national and human interests.
8. Burn or melt people who disagree with the way stuff that is burned or melted is distributed.
9. Continue, ad infinitum
Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub is a character who well understands how his duties lie first in this direction; yet how often do we discuss that when we discuss his character? Beelzebub’s life is, in the end, one of an ever more fully realized service. He is not, in that way, deviant from Swedenborg’s fundamental principles of Being: and therein lies a point of work that both man and angel share.
Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.