Two Forces Progressively Increase (Thursday 18 May 1944, cont., Paris Groups, Pt XXX)

P.P.   Mr Gurdjieff, I do not know what attitude to have when I have committed an act of cowardice.

Mme de Salzmann:   Towards whom?

P.P.   Towards myself, interiorly. (140)

Gurdjieff:   Self-hatred. Think first of how to come to remorse of conscience. (140-141) Give yourself your word that you when you begin again you will not attempt to do what is ever (i.e. completely) impossible.

P.P.  I usually let myself be taken by panic when I commit an act of cowardice. I don’t know how to hate myself.

Gurdjieff:   Panic?

P.P.   Instead of hating myself, I allow myself to be taken by a bad (sort of) disgust into which I sink.

Gurdjieff:   You must have a factor to (help you) remember and think about it. Make a reminding factor. Have an interior feeling a thousand times still worse. Fix this disgust in yourself and hate yourself. This hating factor will watch you ceaselessly and you will not be able to begin again. Prosecutor, you realise that today’s questions are first class. Very special! Ultra-philosophic.

l. spoke about being busy and playing a role. Gurdjieff said that such philosophy might interest L, but did interest him or the others. L. then asked how he could free himself from an emotion which stopped him sensing his nullity. (141)

Gurdjieff:   A simple thing. When you have done something, criticise it. Look at it. Someone else could have done it better. Criticise everything. It could have been done better by another. There is nothing to be proud of. You have made a mess, childish nonsense. I could do it a thousand times better than you. How can you be proud if another can do it better than you do? (141-142)

L.’s answer as reported is puzzling. What is clear is that he says that success does not satisfy him.

Gurdjieff:  It is the same thing. Today you can do a little, (but) yesterday you could do nothing at all. Some people can do yet more. You can do 55. but there remains 95% to do. How is it possible to be satisfied? Such satisfaction does not exist; one can (only) be satisfied when one has created something. Take this, nothing but one packet of cigarettes. That would be enough.

Again, S.R.’s question about the breathing exercise seems incompletely transcribed: she asked whether when representing to oneself the deceased, one chooses the time of life or when one was closest to them. Gurdjieff asked whether she meant interiorly or geographically? This question is further reason to think that S.R.’s question has been poorly noted. S.R. replies “interiorly,” and asks whether to try to relive when one shared a strong emotion with them. Gurdjieff replied:

At the start, yes. That is better, it gives better results. The more one remembers oneself, the more one can represent (them) to oneself. After that it is easy to confirm (densifier) this feeling. Whether these relations were good or bad (still) it will be easier.

S.R. asked whether one could, therefore, use an established contact, and Gurdjieff responded: “Yes, to begin. Afterwards that will change. I will give further directions.” (142) S.R. said that she had not dared to use it, and wanted to know if one could use the exercise with one who had suicided (literally, she asks “who gave himself voluntarily death”.) (143) Gurdjieff replied:

Killed by oneself or by another, it is all the same. Do it as an exercise, to acquire the practice, without expecting anything in particular. You can choose whoever you like, (even) a hero from the Thousand and One Nights.

Rene Zuber:   Monsieur, I found this evening that the closer I came to the time to come here, the more I was in a passive state, inert. The height of it is that I fell asleep before coming. I woke just in time, but rather late. The repugnance I felt for coming is not clear (to me). I felt is as a passive force, like lead. I could neither see the reason nor do anything with this mass of lead.

Gurdjieff (sighs deeply): Poor Mme de Salzmann!

Mme de Salzmann (laughing) Poor Mr Gurdjieff!

Gurdjieff:   Why do you ask this now? It has happened to you a thousand times. Do you think that it (occurs) especially when you are coming here?

Zuber:   How can I use everything that comes up, every negative impulse? I could say the same for everything. But in this case, it was striking: it is what I love the most and what I detest the most. There is a shocking contradiction between the pleasure  I have in coming here, or rather the certitude I feel that it is good to come here, and the difficulty in coming.

Gurdjieff:   And you wish to know why?

Zuber:   I would like to eliminate this contradictory movement.

Gurdjieff:  Remember yourself. I have said a thousand times that the two forces (143) progressively increase. As one of them grows, the other also grows. If you have a desire in you, there is also a non-desire. This is a law of nature. This will serve the struggle – you must use this as material for struggle, to acquire the necessary substance, to be able to accumulate the energy which will give you another quality of life. The more the possibilities of perfection increase, the worse becomes the other side. It is a law. It is very possible that a true wish to work will have appeared in you. With one part you already wish to truly and sincerely work to change; but another centres wants the opposite, and it cannot depart from its accustomed tempo. It is entirely on this chair and it does not want to change. It at once senses that between this chair where it is settled, and the new chair, there is a difficult interval, and it is afraid of crossing the interval.

Now, verify which of these parts is good for you and which is bad, and have corresponding relations with these parts. Reward that (part) which deserves it with satisfying things– consciously satisfying.  Punish the other part, which is your enemy. If it is your body, do not give it food, or deprive it of sleep. If it is cold, take off your shirt. If it likes to be seated on soft cushions, make it sit on fine needles.

 

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