Monday, June 14, 2021

Thoughts on Three Questions: The Second Question, Part 2


Because character, attitude, emotional inflection and level of intelligence cannot possibly be determined solely by the physical actions of pumping blood and receiving nutrition from the umbilical cord, we must presume — and in fact, per our own sciences, we know — that an infant awareness is growing and taking in data from the world around its mother well before birth. Consciousness is, in fact, already present in the sperm and the egg when they meet. It’s just on a smaller and much finer scale than us. It simply begins with what is already its own and grows it with the growth of the fetus. The intelligence of each new being grows commensurately with the gravitational acquisition of new materials (elements such as iron, carbon, sulfur, and so on which are necessary for the construction, maintenance, and lifecycles of cells) and begins to take in impressions from the sounds it hears outside the womb. 

It is highly likely that by the time an infant is born, by the way, it has already heard enough words through vibration passing into the abdominal cavity of the mother to actually understand some of the language it will speak after it is born — all it needs to do is acquire the physical skills to form the words, which takes quite a long time after birth.

There is no essential difference between the acquisition of elements such as iron, carbon and sulfur, by the fetus for the growth of its cells and its own body and the acquisition of elements by a solar system and planets, in which — exactly as in cells — the elements are ordered according to a set of physical laws.

This may seem long-winded, but the point behind it is that human beings have differing capacities for “spiritual” understandings depending on two different factors: one is the original material available for the formation of their solar system, in terms of the physical substances they encounter, which are on average much the same for everyone, and the other is on the quality of the vibrations that they are exposed to while still in the womb. All of the impressions that flow in ultimately help determine the nature and character of the solar system, and how well attuned it is to finer vibrations.

Gurdjieff actually alludes to exactly this phenomenon in very specific terms very early on in in Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. He says of “Bon Ton” (conventional) literary language that he never learned it, explaining it thus:

And if nothing stuck, it was not through any fault of mine or of my former "respected" and "nonrespected" teachers this human labor was spent in vain owing to an unexpected and quite exceptional event that occurred at the moment of my appearance on God's Earth, at which moment—as a certain well-known European occultist explained to me after very minute what are called "psycho-physico-astrological" investigations— through the hole in the window pane made by our crazy lame goat, there poured vibrations of sound from an Edison phonograph in the neighbor's house, while the midwife who delivered me had in her mouth a lozenge saturated with cocaine of German make, moreover not ersatz, which she was sucking to the sound of the music without the proper enjoyment. 

Aside from this event, rare in the everyday life of people, my present situation also came about because later on in my preparatory and adult life— as, I must confess, I myself surmised after long reflection based on the method of the German professor Herr Stumpfsinnschmausen—I always, both instinctively and automatically, and sometimes even consciously, that is, on principle, avoided using this language for intercourse with others. 

The whole story seems a bit peculiar until we begin to consider the formation of impressions and the way in which an individual character begins life. The situation caused Gurdjieff to “speak a different language;” that is, he saw things differently—and, as our questioner observed, had a much stronger awareness of spiritual matters than others, language being the vehicle through which understanding is acquired and transmitted.

Gurdjieff’s law of accident certainly plays a role here; that is part of the point of his little tale about his birth. He refers to “psycho – physico – astrological investigations” because the psyche, the body, and the cosmos must all be considered in understanding the origin of an individual being; this is in fact the point of my earlier comments about the quantum state and gravity. He injects, above all, the element of care — which is what gives rise to wish — as a critical one: she was “sucking to the sound of music without the proper enjoyment.” The inference here, subtly understated and in fact hidden, is that he observed this, saw the lack of care, and reacted to it by deciding to do things differently. At least this is one of the possible interpretations.

In doing things differently than through convention (”Bon Ton”) Gurdjieff set himself apart as “more different;” and indeed his entire book Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson is about how things are on earth, and how they ought actually to be quite different. The whole set of tales are, at their root, investigations of agency, intention, meaning, and discrimination. 

These forces lie at the root of difference and give birth to its existence and action. All of them, ultimately, are formed by gravity: the attraction of the dualistic wave/particle manifestation of quantum forces that unify their twofold action-in-relationship in the creation of the material world, already a very different realm than the quantum realm that births it. 

May you be well within today.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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