Esotericism (XLIII): Observer and observation (2)

Esotericism (XLIII): Observer and observation (2)

- in Esotericism

1. G. Beckwith reproduces faithfully (p309: Ouspensky’s Fourth Way) three triads with elements “Many-I’s”, “Personality” and “Body-and-Essence” and also “Magnetic Centre” and “Real I”, which are found in O’s A Further Record… ch12, Static Triad, Oct 1938.

O used the term “False Personality” but did not contrast or distinguish it from a “Real/True Personality”. And GB uses only “Personality” abandoning the adjective “False”. This then means that the two terms refer to the same thing.

In the first triad Personality carries the active force (+), Many I’s the passive (–) and Body-and-Essence the neutral (=).

In the second triad the Magnetic Centre carries the active force and Personality is passive with Body-and-Essence being neutral again (and the Many – I’s gone). The “Magnetic Centre” is a term invented by G. In the more reliable traditions the term was “love of truth” or something similar.

2. Three things are questionable here (and in the other triads). Body is not compatible with these entities which belong to the Subtle Body (or Astral, Psychical, Mental).

It is carried on from some early talks of Gurdjieff where he coupled Body and Essence. The second is the distinction of between Personality and Many-I’s: “Personality is hardly ever mentioned by G, O etc. without saying that it is made up of acquired opinions and convictions, sympathies and antipathies, attachments, habits, desires and the like, each one being a separate small “me” (hence Many-I’s)!

The third is even more important. Let us take the third triad with Real-I active (+), Many-I’s passive (–) and Body-and-Essence neutral (=). G had said that the Real I (the real I, Myself) grows out of the essence, so it is questionable whether there would be Essence in the presence of Real I. Moreover, if this, or any other such triad with Real-I is not a theoretical construct, who/what is observing the triad(s) as the forces interact? Is there any function in us that can observe the Reai-I?

3. On pages 214-215 GB gives a diagram presented by Dr. Roles (8/12/1969) showing a still Observer on the level of the Tritocosmos [=Biosphere] and Cellular World, a Stiller Observer on the level of Mesocosmos [=Earth] and the Molecular World and an Ultimate Stillest Observer on the level of the Deuterocosmos [=Solar System] and Atomic World.

All this is undoubtedly highly significant but rather theoretical. In any case, it is not O’s idea.

GB does touch on the true, ultimate observer citing remarks of the Śankarācārya who says that “one has to become the impartial and silent observer of whatever happens” even if it is samādhi (p158). GB tries to connect this with O, referring vaguely to some unspecified statements of O (p16505). This is a pity. If O had realized this “silent witness”, he would have said so, would be quoted and would not have had constructed the triads mentioned above in §1.

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