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  Prerequisites ♦ Conventional Wisdom  
Who Are These Ideas For?   From:

cw 03 320

Gurdjieff's ideas suggest that we do not possess the conscious intelligence we usually
imagine ourselves to have.
      ■ The false assumptions we have about ourselves and our powers are a result
         of social and educational conditioning (and perhaps even cosmic influences).
      ■ This reality has resulted in an inner fragmentation and disconnect from who
         and what we really are and thus, our purpose in life.

Gurdjieff's ideas are addressed to people who continue to search for meaning - as well as question whether or not there is more
to life than what their daily life consists.
    ■ These ideas are addressed to those of us who have met with disappointment in ourselves, because try as we might, it seems
       impossible to make any productive, long term changes in our life.
    ■ These ideas are addressed to those of us who recognize that we live in "two worlds" and that these two worlds often times
       seem to be in conflict with one another. One world demands from us obligations (career, relationships, money, etc.)
       and the other world: a yearning for a deeper understanding and connection - a yearning of a spiritual dimension.

It is this hunger that calls us to something higher; an intuitive sense of an existing deeper relationship that is possible, but which is also beyond our ordinary daily experience.
    ■ This hunger within our inner world is significant for it is from this place where important questions emerge:
          ■ Who am I?
          ■ What is the meaning of my life?
          ■ Why are things the way they are?

As children, very naturally we ask "where did I come from?"
    ■ Now as adults, for one reason or another, we only seem to ask, "where am I going?"
    ■ Clearly something has happened in us - something lost.
    ■ Perhaps - somewhere in the past - the responses we have received when questions like these were asked felt wholly
       unsatisfying and entirely inadequate.
    ■ Nevertheless, we "learned" to stop asking.

Conditions for development   From: The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution

What are these conditions?
    ■ The first of these conditions is that man must understand his position, his difficulties and his possibilities and must have either a very strong
       desire to get out of his present state or have a very great interest for the new, for the unknown state which must come with the change.
    ■ Speaking shortly, he must be either very strongly repelled by his present state or very strongly attracted by the future state that may
       be attained.
    ■ Further, one must have a certain preparation. A man must be able to understand what he is told.
    ■ Also, he must be in right conditions externally, he must have sufficient free time for study and must live in circumstances which make study

It is impossible to enumerate all the conditions which are necessary. But they include among other things a school.
    ■ And school implies such social and political conditions in the given country in which a school can exist, because a school cannot exist in any
       conditions; and a more or less ordered life and a certain level of culture and personal freedom are necessary for the existence of a school.
    ■ Our time is particularly difficult in this respect.
    ■ Schools in the East are disappearing very quickly. In many countries they are absolutely impossible.
    ■ For instance, no school could exist in Bolshevik Russia, or in Hitler's Germany, or in Mussolini's Italy, or in Kemal's Turkey.

I quoted some verses from the Laws of Manu referring to this subject in the New Model of the Universe.

From the rules for a Snataka (householder):

  • quote small left61. He must not live in a country governed by Sudras, nor in one inhabited by impious men, nor in one conquered by heretics, nor one abounding with men of lower castes.
  • 79. He must not be in the company of outcastes, nor of Kandalas, the lowest of men, nor of Pukkases, nor of idiots, nor of arrogant men, nor of men of low class, nor of Antyavasayins (grave-diggers).
  • 22. A kingdom peopled mostly by Sudras filled with godless men and deprived of twice-born inhabitants, will soon wholly perish, stricken by hunger and disease.quote small right

These ideas of the Laws of Manu are very interesting because they give us a basis on which we can judge different political and social conditions from the point of view of school-work, and to see which conditions are really progressive, and which bring only the destruction of all real values, although their adherents pretend that these conditions are progressive and even manage to deceive quantities of weak-minded people.

But external conditions do not depend on us.
    ■ To a certain extent, and sometimes with great difficulty, we can choose the country where we prefer to live.
    ■ But we cannot choose the period of the century and must try to find what we want in the period in which we are placed by fate.

So we must understand that even the beginning of preparation for development needs a combination of external and internal conditions which only rarely come all together.

But at the same time, we must understand that at least so far as internal conditions are concerned, man is not entirely left to the law of accident.
    ■ There are many lights arranged for him by which he can find his way if he cares to and if he is lucky.
    ■ His possibility is so small that the element of luck cannot be excluded.

Let us now try to answer the question: What makes a man desire to acquire new knowledge and to change himself?

Man lives in life under two kinds of influences. This must be very well understood and the difference between the two kinds of influences must be very clear.
    ■ The first kind consists of interests and attractions created by life itself: interests of one's health, safety, wealth, pleasures, amusements,
       security, vanity, pride, fame, etc.
    ■ The second kind consists of interests of a different order aroused by ideas which are not created in life but come originally from schools.
    ■ These influences do not reach man directly.
    ■ They are thrown into the general turnover of life, pass through many different minds and reach a man through philosophy, science, religion
       and art, always mixed with influences of the first kind and generally very little resembling what they were in their beginning.

In most cases men do not realise the different origin of the influences of the second kind and often explain them as having the same origin as the first kind.

Although man does not know of the existence of two kinds of influences, they both act on him and in one way or another way he responds to them.
    ■ He can be more identified with one or with some of the influences of the first kind and not feel influences of the second kind at all.
    ■ Or he can be attracted and affected by one or another of the influences of the second kind.

The result is different in each case.
    ■ We will call the first kind of influence, influence A
    ■ The second, influence B.

If a man is fully in the power of influence A, or of one particular influence A, and quite indifferent to influence B, nothing happens to him and his possibility of development diminishes with every year of his life, and at a certain age, sometimes quite an early age, it disappears completely.
    ■ This means that man dies while physically remaining still alive, like grain that cannot germinate and produce a plant.

But if, on the other hand, man is not completely in the power of influence A and if influences B attract him and make him feel and think, results of the impressions they produce collect in him together, attract other influences of the same kind and grow, occupying a more important place in his mind and life.

If the results produced by influence B become sufficiently strong, they fuse together and form in man what is called a magnetic centre.
    ■ It must be understood at once that the word 'centre' in this case does not mean the same thing as the 'intellectual' or the 'moving' centre;
       that is, centres in the essence.
    ■ Magnetic centre is in personality, it is simply a group of interests which, when they become sufficiently strong, serve, to a certain degree,
       as a guiding and controlling factor.
    ■ Magnetic centre turns one's interests in a certain direction and helps to keep them there.
    ■ At the same time it cannot do much by itself. A school is necessary.
    ■ Magnetic centre cannot replace a school, but it can help to realise the need of a school; it can help to begin to look for a school.
    ■ Or if one meets a school by chance, magnetic centre can help to recognise a school and try not to lose it.
    ■ Because nothing is easier to lose than a school.

Possession of a magnetic centre is the first, although quite unspoken, demand of a school.
    ■ If a man without a magnetic centre, or a small or a weak magnetic centre, or with several contradictory magnetic centres; that is, interested in
       many incompatible things at the same time, meets a school, he does not become interested in it, or he becomes critical at once before he can
       know anything, or his interest disappears very quickly when he meets with the first difficulties of school work.
    ■ This is the chief safeguard of a school. Without it the school would be filled with quite a wrong kind of people who would immediately distort
       the school teaching.
    ■ A right magnetic centre not only helps one to recognise a school, it also helps to absorb the school teaching which is different from both
       influences A and influences B and may be called influence C.
    ■ Influence C can be transferred only by word of mouth, by direct instruction, explanation and demonstration.

When a man meets with influence C and is able to absorb it, it is said about him that in one point of himself; that is, in magnetic centre, he becomes free from the law of accident.
    ■ From this moment the magnetic centre has actually played its part.
    ■ It brought man to a school or helped him in his first steps there.
    ■ From then on the ideas and the teaching of the school take the place of magnetic centre and slowly begin to penetrate into the different parts
      of personality and with time into essence.

One can learn many things about schools, about their organisation and about their activity in the ordinary way by reading and by studying historical periods when schools were more conspicuous and more accessible.
    ■ But there are certain things about schools that one can learn only in schools themselves.
    ■ And the explanation of school principles and rules occupies a very considerable place in school teaching.

Disappointed people   From: In Search of the Miraculous – p 251-2

What kind of people are able to come to the work and what kind are not able?

You must understand that a man should have, first, a certain preparation, certain luggage.
    ■ He should know what it is possible to know through ordinary channels about the ideas of esotericism, about hidden knowledge,
       about possibilities of the inner evolution of man, and so on.
    ■ What I mean is that these ideas ought not to appear to him as something entirely new. Otherwise it is difficult to speak to him.

It is useful also if he has at least some scientific or philosophical preparation.
    ■ If a man has a good knowledge of religion, this can also be useful.
    ■ But if he is tied to religious forms and has no understanding of their essence, he will find it very difficult.
    ■ In general, if a man knows but little, has read but little, has thought but little, it is difficult to talk to him.

If he has a good essence there is another way for him without any talks at all, but in this case he has to be obedient, he has to give up his will. And he has to come to this also in some way or other.

It can be said that there is one general rule for everybody. In order to approach this system seriously, people must be disappointed.
    ■ First of all in themselves, that is to say, in their powers.
    ■ Secondly in all the old ways.

A man cannot feel what is most valuable in the system unless he is disappointed in what he has been doing, disappointed in what he has been searching for.
    ■ If he is a scientist he should be disappointed in his science.
    ■ If he is a religious man he should be disappointed in his religion.
    ■ If he is a politician he should be disappointed in politics.
    ■ If he is a philosopher he should be disappointed in philosophy.
    ■ If he is a theosophist he should be disappointed in theosophy.
    ■ If he is an occultist he should be disappointed in occultism.  And so on.

But you must understand what this means I say for instance that a religious man should be disappointed in religion.
    ■ This does not mean that he should lose his faith.
    ■ On the contrary, it means being 'disappointed' in the teaching and the methods only, realizing that the religious teaching he knows
       is not enough for him, can lead him nowhere.
    ■ All religious teachings, excepting of course the completely degenerated religions of savages and the invented religions and sects
       of modern times, consist of two parts, the visible and the hidden.
    ■ To be disappointed in religion means being disappointed in the visible, and to feel the necessity for finding the hidden and unknown part
       of religion.

To be disappointed in science does not mean losing interest in knowledge.
    ■ It means being convinced that the usual scientific methods are not only useless but lead to the construction of absurd and self contradictory
       theories, and, having become convinced of this, to begin to search for others.
    ■ To be disappointed in philosophy means being convinced that ordinary philosophy is merely — as it is said in the Russian proverb —
       pouring from one empty vessel into another, and that people do not even know what philosophy means although true philosophy also can
       and should exist.

To be disappointed in occultism does not mean losing faith in the miraculous, it is merely being convinced that ordinary, accessible, and even advertised occultism, under whatever name it may pass, is simply charlatanism and self deception and that, although somewhere something does exist, everything that man knows or is able to learn in the ordinary way is not what he needs.

So that, no matter what he used to do before, no matter what used to interest him, if a man has arrived at this state of disappointment in ways that are possible and accessible, it is worth while speaking to him about our system and then he may come to the work.
    ■ But if he continues to think that he is able to find anything on his former way, or that he has not as yet tried all the ways, or that he can,
       by himself, find anything or do anything, it means that he is not ready.
    ■ I do not mean that he must throw up everything he used to do before.  This is entirely unnecessary.

On the contrary, it is often even better if he continues to do what he used to do.
    ■ But he must realize that it is only a profession, or a habit, or a necessity.
    ■ In this case it is another matter, he will then be able not to 'identify'.

A man must be sufficiently disappointed in ordinary ways and he must at the same time think or be able to accept the idea that there may be something — somewhere.
    ■ If you should speak to such a man, he might discern the flavor of truth in what you say no matter how clumsily you might speak.
    ■ But if you should speak to a man who is convinced about something else, everything you say will sound absurd to him and he will never
       even listen to you seriously.
    ■ It is not worth while wasting time on him.

This system is for those who have already sought and have burned themselves.
    ■ Those who have not sought and who are not seeking do not need it.
    ■ And those who have not yet burned themselves do not need it either."

Good Householder   From: The Fourth Way - p. 305-6

You remember it was said that from the moment one becomes connected with influence C a staircase begins and only when a man gets to the top of it is the Path or Way reached?

A question was asked about who is able to come up to this staircase, climb it and reach the Way. Mr Gurdjieff answered by using a Russian word which can be translated as 'Householder'.
    ■ In Indian and Buddhist literature this is a very well-defined type of man and type of life which can bring one to change of being. 'Snataka' or
       'Householder' simply means a man who leads an ordinary life.
    ■ Such a man can have doubts about the value of ordinary things; he can have dreams about possibilities of development; he can come to
       a school, either after a long life or at the beginning of life, and he can work in a school.
    ■ Only from among such men come people who are able to climb the staircase and reach the Path.

Other people he divided into two categories: first, 'tramps', and second, 'lunatics'.
    ■ Tramps do not necessarily mean poor people; they may be rich and may still be 'tramps' in their attitude to life.
    ■ And a 'lunatic' does not mean a man deprived of ordinary mind; he may be a statesman or a professor.

These two categories are no good for a school and will not be interested in it.
    ■ Tramps because they are not really interested in anything.
    ■ Lunatics because they have false values.
    ■ So if they attempt to climb up the staircase they only fall down and break their necks.

First it is necessary to understand these three categories from the point of view of the possibility of changing being, possibility of school-work.
    ■ This division means only one thing — that people are not in exactly the same position in relation to possibilities of work.
    ■ There are people for whom the possibility of changing their being exists.
    ■ There are many people for whom it is practically impossible, because they brought their being to such a state that there is no starting-point
       in them.
    ■ And there are people belonging to yet a fourth category who, by different means, have already destroyed all possibility of changing their
       being. This division is not parallel to any other division.
    ■ Belonging to one of the first three categories is not permanent and can be changed, but one can come to the work only from the first
       category, not from the second or the third; the fourth category excludes all possibilities.
    ■ So, though people may be born with the same rights, so to speak, they lose their rights very easily.

When you understand these categories and find them in your own experience, among your acquaintances, in life, in literature, you will understand this fourth category of people.
    ■ In ordinary conditions, in ordinary times, they are just criminals or actual lunatics — nothing more.

The Fourth Way - p. 306-7

In the system this category has a special name, consisting of two Turkish words. It is 'Hasnamuss'.
    ■ One of the first things about a 'Hasnamuss' is that he never hesitates to sacrifice people or to create an enormous amount of suffering,
       just for his own personal ambitions.
    ■ How a 'Hasnamuss' is created is another question. It begins with formatory thinking, with being a tramp and a lunatic at the same time.
    ■ Another definition of a 'Hasnamuss' is that he is crystallized in the wrong hydrogens.
    ■ This category cannot interest you practically, because you have nothing to do with such people; but you meet with the results of their existence.

As I said, for us it is important to understand the second and third categories, because we can find in ourselves features of them both, especially the third.
    ■ In order to struggle against the second, that is the tramp, school discipline and a general inner discipline are needed, because there is no
       discipline in a tramp.
    ■ In a lunatic there may be a great deal of discipline, only of the wrong kind — all formatory.
    ■ So struggle with formatory thinking is struggle against lunacy in ourselves, and the creation of discipline and self-discipline is struggle against
       the tramp in us.

As to the characteristics of a man in the first category, that is the householder — to begin with he is a practical man; he is not formatory; he must have a certain amount of discipline, otherwise he would not be what he is.
    ■ So practical thinking and self discipline are characteristics of the first category.
    ■ Such a man has enough of these for ordinary life but not enough for work, so in the work these two characteristics must increase and grow.
    ■ A householder is a normal man, and a normal man, given favourable conditions, has the possibility of development.

The Fourth Way - p. 308

Find your own words — what is meant by 'householder', what is meant by 'tramp', what is meant by 'lunatic'. These words are not a description, they are only a hint at certain possibilities.
    ■ The tramp has no values; everything is the same; good and bad do not exist for him; and because of that, or in connection with that, he has
       no discipline.
    ■ The lunatic values what has no value and does not value what has value.
    ■ These are the chief characteristics, not a description.
    ■ The householder has at least certain values from which he can start and a certain practical attitude towards things.
    ■ He knows that if he wants to eat he must work.

Tramps, lunatics & the curious   From: Leaving The Work

Though disappointed, there are people attracted to the Work who are not ready for it. Either they are still "shopping," still think they know, have the answers, or are simply curious.

Then there are what Gurdjieff called tramps and lunatics.
    ■ Tramps are the so-called intelligentsia — artists, poets, any kind of "bohemian" in general. Tramps despise the householder: people who can
       support themselves, pay their bills, have relations with others and have a wish for something higher. The tramp couldn't live without
       the householder and yet despises him.
    ■ Lunatics are those who have false values, no right discrimination. They are always formatory. The world for them is black and white.
    ■ Attracted to the Work also are those whose being is so small that there is no starting point in them.
    ■ Lastly, there are those who have destroyed all possibility of changing their being.

Of these, all can change, all can rise to the level of the householder except the last who is without possibility.

Five / twenty / twenty   From: Gurdjieff #2

By its very nature, the Fourth Way is not for everyone.

Knowledge is not deliberately hidden, Gurdjieff would say, but most people simply are not interested.

The former leader of a Gurdjieff group in Boston, Meggan Moorehead, told me of Gurdjieff's "five of twenty of twenty."

Only twenty per cent of all people ever think seriously about higher realities.
    ■ Of these, only twenty per cent ever decide to do anything about it.
    ■ And of these, only five per cent ever actually get anywhere.

Weak optimism   From: Two Rivers Farm

Gurdjieff is the great world teacher of our time. In New York and San Francisco, in London and Paris, in Venezuela, Canada, and many other places on the planet we inhabit, groups of people are studying and struggling with his ideas.
    ■ If there is any real hope for the future, it is with these ideas and these people.
    ■ Gurdjieff has formulated the same great ideas for our time as have been explained by other teachers whose names later were attached
       to world religions: Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, Christ.
    ■ He has made these ideas accessible for our age in a way no other teacher has ever done.
    ■ He has explained the nature of man, the laws that govern the cosmos, and man's real relation to the universe.
    ■ He has given us a practical technique by means of which, with the requisite help, it is possible for some to become that which Man should be.

It has been said over and over in different words that in our day the technical advancements of man have outdistanced what is usually called “moral” advancement.
    ■ That is, the human material which is obliged to endure these achievements has itself not advanced.
    ■ On the contrary, it has deteriorated with frightening rapidity.
    ■ Our technology has outdistanced our being. We can see this very clearly, but because nowhere does there appear to be any sensible solution,
       our minds fall back. They cannot grapple with the problem.

So we blame someone else — our predecessors, or the neighbors, or God.
    ■ We busy ourselves with fantastic or naive political ideologies.
    ■ We fill our outer lives with useless and meaningless activities, with noise and movement, while our inner lives remain empty.
    ■ We talk and talk, but so much of our talk is empty words with no reality of inner experience.
    ■ Our idea of progress is based on an unfounded assumption that there is some kind of automatic progress, so that even without effort,
       we are better than all the generations which have gone before us.
    ■ We seem convinced that all change is for the better, even though common sense tells us that all of our “progress” and “advancement”
       is leading us towards an ever more efficient means of self-destruction.

The world we live in is lunatic. Many of us are disturbed from time to time, but we try in every way to avoid facing the fact of our disturbance because it seems there is nothing sensible that we can do about it.
    ■ We cultivate a weak optimism, hoping vaguely that everything will turn out well after all, or at any rate that nothing very bad will happen
       anytime soon.

It is true that there is nothing we can do about the way the world is going; it goes the way it has to go. The questions I must ask myself are:
    ■ Am I obliged to go with it?
    ■ Must I be swept along with the stream?
    ■ Is there no help?

Gurdjieff speaks of man with a small “m,” referring to us such as we are, and Man with a capital “M,” Man as he could be.  For us, these are new ideas.
    ■ Try to listen as if you were listening to something new — not comparing other things you know or think you know.

Limited Information   From: In Search of the Miraculous p. 43-7

During one conversation with G. in our group, which was beginning to become permanent, I asked:
    ■ "Why, if ancient knowledge has been preserved and if, speaking in general, there exists a knowledge distinct from our science and philosophy
       or even surpassing it, is it so carefully concealed, why is it not made common property?
    ■ Why are the men who possess this knowledge unwilling to let it pass into the general circulation of life for the sake of a better and more
       successful struggle against deceit, evil, and ignorance?"
    ■ This is, I think, a question which usually arises in everyone's mind on first acquaintance with the ideas of esotericism.

"There are two answers to that," said G.
    ■ "In the first place, this knowledge is not concealed.
    ■ In the second place, it cannot, from its very nature, become common property.
    ■ We will consider the second of these statements first. I will prove to you afterwards that knowledge" (he emphasized the word) "is far more
       accessible to those capable of assimilating it than is usually supposed; and that the whole trouble is that people either do not want it or
       cannot receive it.

"But first of all another thing must be understood, namely, that knowledge cannot belong to all, cannot even belong to many.
    ■ Such is the law. You do not understand this because you do not understand that knowledge, like everything else in the world, is material.
    ■ It is material, and this means that it possesses all the characteristics of materiality.
    ■ One of the first characteristics of materiality is that matter is always limited, that is to say, the quantity of matter in a given place and under
       given conditions is limited.
    ■ Even the sand of the desert and the water of the sea is a definite and unchangeable quantity.
    ■ So that, if knowledge is material, then it means that there is a definite quantity of it in a given place at a given time.

It may be said that, in the course of a certain period of time, say a century, humanity has a definite amount of knowledge at its disposal.
    ■ But we know, even from an ordinary observation of life, that the matter of knowledge possesses entirely different qualities according to
       whether it is taken in small or large quantities.
    ■ Taken in a large quantity in a given place, that is by one man, let us say, or by a small group of men, it produces very good results.
    ■ Taken in a small quantity (that is, by every one of a large number of people), it gives no results at all; or it may give even negative results,
       contrary to those expected.
    ■ Thus if a certain definite quantity of knowledge is distributed among millions of people, each individual will receive very little, and this small
       amount of knowledge will change nothing either in his life or in his understanding of things.
    ■ And however large the number of people who receive this small amount of knowledge, it will change nothing in their lives, except, perhaps,
       to make them still more difficult.

"But if, on the contrary, large quantities of knowledge are concentrated in a small number of people, then this knowledge will give very great results.
    ■ From this point of view it is far more advantageous that knowledge should be preserved among a small number of people and not dispersed
       among the masses.

"If we take a certain quantity of gold and decide to gild a number of objects with it, we must know, or calculate, exactly what number of objects can be gilded with this quantity of gold.
    ■ If we try to gild a greater number, they will be covered with gold unevenly, in patches, and will look much worse than if they had no gold at all;
       in fact we shall lose our gold.

"The distribution of knowledge is based upon exactly the same principle.
    ■ If knowledge is given to all, nobody will get any.
    ■ If it is preserved among a few, each will receive not only enough to keep, but to increase, what he receives.

"At the first glance this theory seems very unjust, since the position of those who are, so to speak, denied knowledge in order that others may receive a greater share appears to be very sad and undeservedly harder than it ought to be.
    ■ Actually, however, this is not so at all; and in the distribution of knowledge there is not the slightest injustice.

"The fact is that the enormous majority of people do not want any knowledge whatever; they refuse their share of it and do not even take the ration allotted to them, in the general distribution, for the purposes of life.
    ■ This is particularly evident in times of mass madness such as wars, revolutions, and so on, when men suddenly seem to lose even the small
       amount of common sense they had and turn into complete automatons, giving themselves over to wholesale destruction in vast numbers,
       in other words, even losing the instinct of self-preservation.
    ■ Owing to this, enormous quantities of knowledge remain, so to speak, unclaimed and can be distributed among those who realize its value.

"There is nothing unjust in this, because those who receive knowledge take nothing that belongs to others, deprive others of nothing.
    ■ They take only what others have rejected as useless and what would in any case be lost if they did not take it.

"The collecting of knowledge by some depends upon the rejection of knowledge by others.
    ■ "There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses
       irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture.
    ■ Such periods of mass madness, often coinciding with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character,
       release a very great quantity of the matter of knowledge.
    ■ This, in its turn, necessitates the work of collecting this matter of knowledge which would otherwise be lost.
    ■ Thus the work of collecting scattered matter of knowledge frequently coincides with the beginning of the destruction and fall of cultures
       and civilizations.

"This aspect of the question is clear. The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge, and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown.
    ■ The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear.
    ■ It is even difficult to imagine all the horror of this slavery.
    ■ We do not understand what people are losing.
    ■ But in order to understand the cause of this slavery it is enough to see how people live, what constitutes the aim of their existence,
       the object of their desires, passions, and aspirations, of what they think, of what they talk, what they serve and what they worship.

Consider what the cultured humanity of our time spends money on; even leaving the war out, what commands the highest price; where the biggest crowds are.
    ■ If we think for a moment about these questions it becomes clear that humanity, as it is now, with the interests it lives by, cannot expect
       to have anything different from what it has.
    ■ But, as I have already said, it cannot be otherwise.
    ■ Imagine that for the whole of mankind half a pound of knowledge is allotted a year. If this knowledge is distributed among everyone,
       each will receive so little that he will remain the fool he was.
    ■ But, thanks to the fact that very few want to have this knowledge, those who take it are able to get, let us say, a grain each, and acquire
       the possibility of becoming more intelligent.
    ■ All cannot become intelligent even if they wish.
    ■ And if they did become intelligent it would not help matters. There exists a general equilibrium which cannot be upset.

'That is one aspect. The other, as I have already said, consists in the fact that no one is concealing anything; there is no mystery whatever.
    ■ But the acquisition or transmission of true knowledge demands great labor and great effort both of him who receives and of him who gives.
    ■ And those who possess this knowledge are doing everything they can to transmit and communicate it to the greatest possible number of people,
       to facilitate people's approach to it and enable them to prepare themselves to receive the truth.
    ■ But knowledge cannot be given by force to anyone and, as I have already said, an unprejudiced survey of the average man's life, of what fills his
       day and of the things he is interested in, will at once show whether it is possible to accuse men who possess knowledge of concealing it,
       of not wishing to give it to people, or of not wishing to teach people what they know themselves.

"He who wants knowledge must himself make the initial efforts to find the source of knowledge and to approach it, taking advantage of the help and indications which are given to all, but which people, as a rule, do not want to see or recognize.
    ■ Knowledge cannot come to people without effort on their own part.
    ■ They understand this very well in connection with ordinary knowledge, but in the case of great knowledge, when they admit the possibility of
       its existence, they find it possible to expect something different.
    ■ Everyone knows very well that if, for instance, a man wants to learn Chinese, it will take several years of intense work; everyone knows that
       five years are needed to grasp the principles of medicine, and perhaps twice as many years for the study of painting or music.
    ■ And yet there are theories which affirm that knowledge can come to people without any effort on their part, that they can acquire it
       even in sleep.
    ■ The very existence of such theories constitutes an additional explanation of why knowledge cannot come to people.
    ■ At the same time it is essential to understand that man's independent efforts to attain anything in this direction can also give no results.
    ■ A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it.
    ■ This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows"

The Fourth Way - p 284-5

There are people who are prepared, who are capable of developing these ideas, but they do not know them.
    ■ So it is necessary to find them, find the right kind of people and give them these ideas.
    ■ But for that one must first understand these ideas oneself.

Sometimes I am asked why expansion should be necessary for a system that is meant only for a few. It is not difficult to answer this question.
    ■ It is quite true that this system cannot belong to all; it cannot even belong to many.
    ■ But we must make every effort to give it to as many people as possible.
    ■ Expansion of ideas of the system will be limited by the nature of the ideas themselves and by people's inertia and their incapacity
       to understand these ideas.
    ■ But it must not be limited by our own inertia.

The system can reach the right people, that is, people who can not only take, but also give, only if it is given to a large number of people.
    ■ If it is limited to a small group it will never reach the right people.
    ■ Small groups, if they think that they can keep the ideas to themselves, will distort and spoil them.
    ■ Distortion can be avoided only if work grows and if many people know about it.
    ■ Small groups, limited and unchanging, will always add something personal to it.
    ■ So the more the work grows, the more each individual can get from it.
    ■ Another reason why schools cannot exist on too small a scale is that only a certain number of people gives a sufficient variety of types.
    ■ For successful group-work, variety of types is necessary, otherwise there is no friction, no opposition. People would think they understood
       one another.

The Fourth Way - p 399

You see, I must explain to you one idea. Everything in the world is material and limited, only materiality is different.
    ■ There is a limited amount of sand in the desert and of water in the sea.
    ■ Knowledge is also material and therefore limited.
    ■ It is very useful to remember that the knowledge necessary for change of being exists only in a very limited quantity.
    ■ Knowledge is substance.
    ■ For a certain definite period — say a hundred years — humanity has a certain amount of knowledge which can be used.
    ■ If too many people want this knowledge, they will have so little that nothing can be done with it.
    ■ But since very few want it, those who want it can get it.
. . .

As to the idea of great knowledge, higher or esoteric knowledge, we must first of all understand that all our ordinary knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is always knowledge acquired with ordinary mind.
    ■ All methods of scientific investigation are the work of ordinary mind.
    ■ But there is another knowledge which is acquired by a higher or a more developed mind, and this knowledge will differ from ordinary knowledge,
       because knowledge acquired with ordinary mind is always limited by methods of investigation, by eye and ear, for, after all, the most complicated
       instruments that can be used in scientific research have to be verified by eye and ear.
    ■ This knowledge is a very narrow knowledge not based on understanding of the whole, whereas great knowledge is knowledge based on
       understanding of the whole by a more developed mind.
    ■ Thus there are different degrees of knowledge which are so different that they cannot really be compared.
    ■ If you learn the multiplication table, this kind of knowledge not being limited in amount, you do not take it away from anybody.
    ■ Nor, in the case of esoteric knowledge, do you in fact take it away from others, but this is because there are very few people who want it.

It is difficult, at first, to accept the idea that knowledge is material, but if you think about it, perhaps you will begin to realize it. Let us take it like this:
    ■ Knowledge can exist in different solutions, in a very weak solution or in stronger solutions.
    ■ When I speak of knowledge I speak of a stronger solution which is very limited.
    ■ We think that if we do not know something, it is because we do not know where to learn it.
    ■ We do not realize how many things there are that we cannot know.
    ■ Because of this it is difficult for us to understand the materiality of knowledge and what controls its distribution.
    ■ Just as there are accumulators in the body, so there are accumulators of knowledge in life.
    ■ At certain periods of history certain knowledge was collected and kept there.
    ■ If you find such an accumulator, you will get the knowledge.
    ■ What are these accumulators? They are schools, even the old schools that no longer exist.
    ■ Man cannot develop without tapping these accumulators, but if he does, he can get energy from them, real energy, such as centres get.
       Man 1, 2 and 3 will get only coarse energy, the energy that man No. 5 can get will be finer.
    ■ When it is said that knowledge is limited, it refers to knowledge in these accumulators.

Payment   From: The Fourth Way – p. 287-8

Payment is a principle. Payment is necessary not to the school but to the people themselves, for without paying they will not get anything.
    ■ The idea of payment is very important and it must be understood that payment is absolutely necessary.

One can pay in one way or another way and everyone has to find that out for himself.
    ■ But nobody can get anything that he does not pay for.
    ■ Things cannot be given, they can only be bought. It is magical, not simple.
    ■ If one has knowledge, one cannot give it to another person, for only if he pays for it can the other person have it. This is a cosmic law.

The idea of payment is very strongly emphasized in the New Testament in Matt. xiii in several beautiful parables that I have mentioned.
    ■ Man has to be a good merchant, he must know what to buy and how much to pay.
    ■ Things cannot fall from heaven, they cannot be found, they must be bought.
    ■ What one can get is proportionate to what one is prepared to pay.

And one has to pay in advance — there is no credit.

Payment has many sides.
    ■ The first payment is, of course, taking the trouble to study and understand the things you hear.
    ■ It is not yet payment in itself, but it creates the possibility of payment.
    ■ Payment, in the true sense of the word, must be useful not only to you but to someone else — to the school.
    ■ But if you are not useful to yourself you cannot be useful to the school either.

So in order to progress one must make small payments . . . you must find it for yourself.
    ■ It always means a certain effort, certain 'doing', different from what you would do naturally, and it must be necessary or useful to the work.

So in the beginning payment means effort, study, time, many things. But that is only the beginning.
    ■ As I said, the idea is that in the way of attaining something in the work one gets only as much as one pays for.
    ■ It is a physical law, the law of equilibrium.

Conditions for entering the Fourth Way   From: School of Psychoanthropology

Course Synthesis #45 – These conditions are absolute. Whether they are internal or external, passive or dynamic, the failure to respect them prevents one from entering the Fourth Way.

Knowing one’s possibilities.
    ■ This is a dynamic condition. It is related to the notion of self-knowledge.
    ■ To acquire this knowledge, personal work and an exchange with other people or the instructor are necessary.
    ■ This condition is accessible to everybody.

Understanding one’s own difficulties.
    ■ This is also a dynamic condition. To fulfil this condition, we not only need to recognise our difficulties, but to accept them as well.
    ■ And for this all we need is a bit of will and intelligence.

Having a real desire to change one’s current state.
    ■ This condition is already somewhat more difficult.
    ■ Before we can fulfil it, we need to know our current state, our current level, and have the will to attain a higher level.
    ■ To do so we need to change, but not simply what we feel like changing.
    ■ On the one hand, we are not conscious at first of the most important things that need to be changed, and on the other, we need to change
       precisely what is most difficult to change.

Having a certain level of knowledge and cultivation.
    ■ This can be acquired simply by being present at the School regularly, where the necessary knowledge is transmitted.

Understanding the Teaching.
    ■ To understand the Teaching, we need to be motivated and set aside a sufficient amount of time for study, alone and with other people.
    ■ It is necessary to know and understand the basic notions, if only in order to speak the same language, but also to carry them within ourselves,
       to have them constantly present to our mind.
    ■ Studying with other people is conducive to the acquisition of living knowledge.

Having enough time at our disposal for study.
    ■ The amount of time necessary varies according to the speed with which we learn.

Living in an environment in which study is possible.
    ■ When efforts of study are rendered impossible by an unfavorable or hostile environment, even when we have a strong desire to progress,
       it is impossible for us to be engaged on the Fourth Way.

Leading a more or less regulated life.
    ■ In order to be able to progress, it is necessary to introduce a rhythm into our life.
    ■ This rhythm creates a structure and becomes a veritable aid.
    ■ Nothing creative can be accomplished from a state of chaos.

Having a sufficient amount of freedom.
    ■ Externally, this means there must not be any insurmountable constraints preventing one from studying or attending the courses – for example a
       spouse who does not allow one to come to the courses, or being unable to find someone to take care of one’s young children during the courses.
    ■ Innerly, it is necessary to progressively acquire, through work on oneself and with other people, non-attachment with respect to the Teaching,
       its external forms, or the person who transmits the Teaching.
    ■ The important thing is the spirit, everything else, the books, for example, or the person who transmits the Teaching, is just the vessel.

Not comparing oneself to other people in the work.
    ■ We all have different possibilities according to our life experience and karma.
    ■ Each person has a different path to travel.
    ■ This path is intended to lead us to ourselves.
    ■ When someone compares himself to someone else, he is no longer acting according to who he is, according to his own needs, and he thereby
       loses his freedom.
    ■ When we do what we have to do, in our own Work, we haven’t got the time to worry about the Work that other people are doing.
    ■ This does not mean that we do not work with other people, but the moment comparison enters in, we introduce a negative element, such as
       frustration, jealousy, a feeling of inferiority or superiority, or guilt.

Abandoning all personal desire.
    ■ This is not in relation to everyday life, but to Work at the School.
    ■ On the Path, we learn to work against our egoistic will.
    ■ This means doing the Work not because we like it, but because it is necessary, which does not mean that we need to stop doing what we enjoy
       doing, or what we are good at doing.
    ■ But it is the higher goal that we have set for ourselves that is most important.
    ■ This is a difficult condition, and it needs to be applied with much common sense.

Finally, it is necessary to be active in the Work on oneself, with other people, and for the School.
    ■ If we want to enter the Fourth Way, we need to become aware of these rules and, once we have understood the spirit that is behind them,
       to follow them.
    ■ This means that we decide to apply them, and accept when the Instructor signals to us our lapses, as a reminder, without making compromises
       for our touchiness or reactivity.
    ■ If someone does not respect these rules at the School, he places himself outside of the inner or outer conditions that are necessary for
       progress, and accordingly outside of the Fourth Way, since these conditions are a “technical” necessity, as it were, and not of a moral nature.