Thursday, January 4, 2018

On what we value, part VI—a summary

This series of essays has covered a fairly wide range of territory, but its central premise is quite simple. We don’t know what to value. Egoism causes us to value ourselves in almost every single situation we find ourselves in. And egoism, like all the other features in being, is not a psychological action or theoretical premise; it isn’t, furthermore, an intellectual feature which can be expelled by an action of the mind. It uses all of our parts, intellect, sensation, and emotion, for its own purposes. It is, in other words, a collective entity, not one who can be dealt with from a single point of view. Even if one constructs significant intellectual barriers to it, it will find ways around them using the other parts. So a harmonious approach to the discovery of real being — which is what Gurdjieff advocated — needs to be employed; an approach which integrates all of the centers and re-forms their value around a right understanding.

Practices that understand this correctly from the technical point of view that is, in many senses, essential to the process are rare. Every tradition understands this, in one way or another, from an allegorical or metaphysical point of view; yet perhaps we need to apply a science to it first so that we understand exactly what is going wrong. That science cannot be a science of mechanistic rationalism; because it cannot presume that everything is an accident.

In order to truly understand the need for our lack of value, we must understand first the entire integrated technical process of where we are going wrong; because every assumption that starts from a point other than the exact point where the incorrect valuation takes place already creates its own mathematics, which will acquire in most cases an absolutely consistent structure of its own which nonetheless deviates in every way from the structure that is necessary. The cases in which this takes place are as numerous as the individuals who undertake spiritual effort.

The exact place where our sense of value goes wrong is right here and right now. It is well to examine that carefully; because if we do not study this exact point where the division between selfishness and unselfishness, decency and indecency, heaven and hell, takes place, we can’t understand anything about why our world is the way it is.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this situation is that because of our ability to take in and concentrate both consciousness and the representative of the Creator (the particles of sorrow) we cannot only alleviate God’s suffering; it lies within our power, if a community works this way, to alleviate a great deal of the suffering we must undergo ourselves; this, because when a community works in this , a powerful force of love is attracted which can act against the forces of entropy and dissolution on a local level.

It must take place, of course, within individuals first, before it can manifest in community; and here is why it is so important for us to consciously undertake a search for valuation which begins in God.

All the valuations which attempt to invert that understanding and point in other directions are always doomed to end in failure and violence one way or the other.


My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.

For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.

Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format

An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.

Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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