Before commencing this post, I will note, for the benefit of those who are interested, that Oxford University Press has indicated that they are working towards having my book Gurdjieff: Mysticism, Contemplation, and Exercises published in November this year. I am intending to attend the A&E Conference next year, partly to promote that volume, and also to work on my next undertaking, a good, sound volume on the life and work of J.G. Bennett, which I have the honour and privilege of preparing with Prof. Carole Cusack of the University of Sydney, and with A.G.E. Blake. I am quite keen to speak to people who knew J.G.B. or can point me to others who can assist. I am fortunate in that certain people close to J.G.B., in addition to Blake, are assisting (it may better not to name the others at this point). The A&E Conference is likely to be in either Montreal or NYC, or perhaps some other city in the area.
I will now follow with something else Orage says about man: the purpose of our lives. These pages were particularly useful to me: 98, 142, 158, 252-254, 258, 263, 264, 269, 281-282, 321, 326, 332 and 341. Although you can study them yourself, the main point seemed to me to be this: “… the prime requisite is the presence of that active passion for understanding. Why? Because man was created for the purpose of producing a soul. And a soul is defined as a being capable of objective reason, that is, of understanding the meaning and aim of existence” (282, 27 December 1927).
In other places, Orage has possibly a little differently (although the reporters may have been inaccurate), being recorded as saying: “(man exists) to attain within himself objective reason” (98). However, although this is a different formulation, this is not contradictory, for as he has indicated, the soul is the vehicle of objective reason.
In another place, this idea is identified as being: “… the most illuminating statement in the doctrine: In essence man is a passion for the understanding of the meaning and aim of existence” (321, 7 May 1928) I think it may well the most enlightening single idea, for it provides the meaning of the teaching itself.
On another occasion, Orage apparently said: “Man is hydrogen 24; man is the mind of God; man is a passion for the understanding of the meaning and aim of existence” (341, 21 May 1928). I found this fascinating: in the Diagram of Everything Living in In Search of the Miraculous (322-323), Man bears Hydrogen 24. Why hydrogen 24? The moving centres operates with H24 (ISM 194). It is a mean between intellectual centre working with H48 and emotional with H12. So H24 is the mean hydrogen for the three-centred being.
Now, if we return to the Diagram, we see that Archangels, themselves H6, feed on H24, so they feed on Man. Orage even said that “an angel is a fully developed three-brained being” (54 and 60). This may explain why Orage can speak of Man as the mind of God: Man is food for the higher beings who are before the throne of the Absolute (H6 is in the bottom corner of the square marked “Absolute”). Orage also said that angels, archangels, cherub and seraphim are the higher emotional centre of God (67, 73 and 141).
Now this has a very practical value for some of us: certain people have found that, at moments in a high state (often in the preparation or working at a contemplative exercise), they sense that the higher hydrogens which are localised within them have an intelligence. On the basis of the Diagram this is literally true: the higher hydrogens are higher intelligences, so that what seems to us to be a feeding on very fine elements is that, but it is also more, it is a sort of wordless conversation with higher intelligences.
To me, this immediately brings to mind the Christian teaching of the guardian angel, whom J.G. Bennett described as being like the child who stands before the carpet weavers and holds the pattern of the carpet before their eyes. It also means that what we experience, when contemplating, as a feeding is in fact a receipt of information.
Now, to say that we are the mind of God does not mean that our thoughts are God’s thoughts. It is anything but that: speaking of the quality of our thought, Mr Adie once said: “God has to listen to all that static”. As I recall, I felt a real moment of pity for God, which was of course Mr Adie’s intention. No, I don’t think it means that God thinks what I think, but it could mean, perhaps that if we achieve some level of objective reason, we can cooperate with God in the work of world maintenance, and perhaps even of world creation.
Orage also makes the extraordinary statement, in which I feel a great truth, that if we try and think about something, but we fail, then we fall into an emotional state. He has the most powerful phrase for this, that “heat is the light that failed” (155). How true, and how illuminating. How often does a bad emotional state represent the result when I have tried to think something out but it was beyond me, and I have drooped down, becoming emotional, perhaps self-pitying, but not having achieved that thought?
Relate this to what he said about the purpose of man’s life being to obtain objective reason, then, if I can remember that heat is failed light, I doubt I can ever see my emotional states and believe in them quite the same way.
Joseph Azize, 26 April 2019