The following material was introduced in the discussion of a class project, the formulation of an enneagram which describes the process of mitigating the effects of a “low quality of being” as they are creating some contemporary difficulties for men and “Life on Earth.” Class project, January, 2009.
Notes on abbreviations: Si — the intellectual part of the sex center, Ie — the emotional part of the intellectual center, Ine — the emotional part of the instinctive center (Brain Systems nomenclature).
Popular forms of religious conflicts, whether manifest as cordial hatred or military violence, may be considered a symptom rather than matters of a propositional nature. But, symptoms of what?
Religious inertia collapses from its initial charismatic quality as it, over time, migrates from its possible origin as a Type C influence toward a Type B or even a Type A influence. The mysteries which underpinned its initial nature, that is, the paradoxical assertions supporting its validating claims, require the energy commitment common to the service of all paradoxes. That energy is made available by the continuing willingness of the afflicted to pursue motivated goals defined by a particular sect’s “structure of redeeming disciplines.”
The corrective inertia of ordinary life (INe) inevitably causes the energy commitments for paradox service to slowly diminish. More and more details of the initial mystery are discarded or covered with increasingly worldly alternatives as an expected realignment toward energy economy, hence the migration toward Type B. An example of this is the clear emphasis of modern Christian theology to concentrate on certain Biblical tenets and the almost complete neglect of the others. This diminution continues, reinforcing itself by embracing alternative paradoxes which present lower energy requirements. A few hours of Evangelical preaching will reveal far more emphasis on, say, Leviticus and Revelations than on Job or Esther.
The essential question here is to determine precisely which feature those two often cited passages enjoy (more than their many alternatives) which make them so obviously attractive. We may have some handy Fourth Way concepts already in our arsenal which can go far to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps, employing such principles in our inquiry will explain other general motives supporting religion itself in a convenient and beneficial way.
Let’s begin with the concept of “humiliation avoidance.” When presented as a psychological anomaly in Fourth Way class, it immediately matched experiential observations of ourselves. Perhaps our first model involved something such as sensations of “embarrassment” or “incompetent competition.” Hardly any students, once they understood it, had much difficulty accepting it as a primary behavioral vector in hominids, probably originating a few hundreds of thousands of years prior to the days of brave homo erectus in our Australopithicene heritage.
If I am lying or attempting deception (as opposed to “role playing”), I am humiliated when my efforts no longer influence what people think of them. When events deny me the possibility of “lying” or “deception,” the intensity of the humiliation increases.
However, “humiliation avoidance” has an even more fundamental side to itself. In the model of centers, it is a feature normally produced by Ie activity. Why not? The very idea of humiliation — or its avoidance — is naturally a system involving the emotional responses of other beings. Without an active model of their responses, humiliation would not be possible.
The other essential ingredient in humiliation is competition. We can hardly be humiliated by actions which, for example, could not have been done better by those observing or, at least, in our own, inner model of more prefect performance, by ourselves. When we are humiliated by our own actions, even when the entire affair is quite private and solitary, we are humiliated by our Ie’s estimate of what the responses would have been had the matter not been private.
The model of what “humiliation avoidance” would be in such situations, that is, how it might be accomplished, is clearly the product of Si’s competitiveness flooding the Ie arena’s model of other peoples’ emotions. Mechanically, there is little reason to assume that this doesn’t occur frequently enough. With this, we have begun to unravel one of the primary energy sources for all Type B religious phenomena. The bad news is that we also begin to see the negative emotion created by unexamined Si/Ie involvement providing the energy source itself, a quite unfortunate transformation of the original “mystery” energy present while it was still a Type C matter.
We might also require an expanded concept of humiliation. Of course, the clever or pious embarrassment of someone in a civil setting is considered to be humiliation. However, the same trace plunges even more deeply into human behavior. Recent political news has dealt with torture. Inflicting torture is, unquestionably, the imposition of humiliation. The field of such imposition is unilateral, not based on propositional judgments. Slowly being lowered into the Biblical lake of fire is, likewise, presented as the ultimate humiliation. These are not “sentences” derived from the propositional environment of a transactional court’s deliberation. They are presumed to exist without condition.
Such examples of humiliation are founded on nonnegotiable impositions of damage. Neither, because of their extreme positions on the continuum of humiliation intensities, deals with rehabilitation or behavior correction. The consequence of the threat of such damage has been employed as a behavior correcting influence prior to its actual imposition. The far less unilateral, social version might, at least occasionally, presume to offer the same preemptive effect. Tamer forms of “humiliation,” such as social embrrassment, may result in modified behavior.
The great disadvantage introduced into the system by the employment of such measures brings us to our second useful concept: “conscience.” The threat of the imposition of humiliation, and the mechanisms cited to accomplish that, purloin the possible growth of inner (or actual) conscience in favor of one designed and imposed from the outside. What is unavoidably internal in the man is existentially discredited in favor of an externally imposed, “false conscience.” Such hobgoblins are considered to be far more reliable for both manipulation, in general, and the consistency of their results by “religious” aspirants defined primarily by their insistence that the man in his natural state is flawed or otherwise undesirable for some reason.
The defining difference between such alternate constructions, that is, between “false conscience” and actual conscience, is perturbingly simple. A life lived in a way consistent with actual conscience feels good. A life which is directed by an attempt to comply with “false conscience” generates a perpetual source of negative emotion, no matter how benign the false conscience might be, how small its contradiction might be to the correct, inner conscience of the man.
The religionist, driven by his unexamined and desperate ambition toward humiliation avoidance, lives in a state of perpetual exhaustion, a state with predictably destructive consequences. He lives under the control of an equally unexamined external source which imposes a “false conscience” on him generating a constant feed of negative emotion. His chances for a more developed life remain permanently stranded behind such an obstacle so long as such a voluntary, unexamined toxic system is in place.
The historical influence of religion generally has been to “suffocate” the longer term development of actual consciousness as manifest in the human impulse to improve the quality of “being.” (Beelzebub’s “Being Impulsaskri”)
Perhaps one last note can be added here to more robustly describe the phenomenal activities of the religionist. Part of the humiliation he envisions to accompany his descent into the lake of fire will entail the matter’s being observed by others he knew in life who performed the tenets of the “false conscience” more competitively, thus avoiding a similar fate. The fact is, however, such a torturous fantasy is not his alone. His peers, that is, those he envisions watching his final and eternal humiliation, all host roughly the same model.
During life the value of the intense, continuous replacement of decisions or actions based on normal conscience with those consistent with the “false conscience” become the social foundations for religions. One feature of such replacement is the numbing standardization of “conscientious influences.” (Influences arising as the result of “considering” one’s actual conscience.) The variety of normal human considerations of conscience is suppressed in favor of a highly homogenous version. The unexamined and indefensible implication is that all pious individuals will automatically agree on matters of conscience.
As social and cultural life unfolds, no shocks of experiencing alternative conscientious platforms are encountered. Instead, when one of the preprogrammed zombies happens to waver from the societal norm, all assume that such a violation is temporary, irrational, criminal or psychopathic. When such disparities exist between adjacent cultures, that is, between cultures who find themselves close enough to conveniently wage war, the resulting conflicts are not propositional ones. There is nothing particularly individual, hence propositionally redeeming, about the motivation of those who participate.<
The death and violence has in common with the unsatisfying lives led in between the explosions of conflict the identical numbness, that which Gurdjieff refers to as “sleep.” These are the incomprehensible battles of the automatons. Gaza or Iraq provide chilling examples in modern times. Such things as the Christian Crusades against the Ottomans provide similar examples in history.
What objective “poison pill” can be beneficially introduced into such an ongoing disaster that seems to be able to harness a constant source of force? Well, there might be one.
Exploiting the fact that living in a way which is consistent with actual conscience feels good, and following, in the most general terms, the example of the Very Holy Messenger, Ashiata Shiemash in his reassuring discovery that “sincerity” (Beelzebub’s Partkdolg Being Duties) still remained in the minds of the men he sought to assist, a peculiar possibility seems to introduce itself.
The present conflicts at their worst involve competitions concerning the supernatural necessity of positions held by both sides. Only slightly more constructive is the possibility that such conflicts arise from opposing presumptions that life would inevitably be more satisfying if the other side were defeated, that is, that the superior moral standing of the victor (if one is the victor…) would impose conditions advantageous to all. Neither situation is particularly hopeful.
The unending competitions must be reframed into a system of reference where the most imposing attributes of the conflict can be removed from the wasteland of good versus evil (George Bush), and dominion or survival (Israel and Palestine). But how might such a thing be accomplished?
It will be a case of introducing the Holy Reconciling Aspect — which is present in everything — into the mix in a more visible form.
The “sincerity” remaining in the combatants need only be sufficient to answer a single question: “Other than destroying your enemy, can you remember ever thinking about how things would be if they were better than they are? What exactly would it take to make things better?”
The religious provocation, something never to be confronted directly, can also be mitigated. Most religions have included somewhere amid the confusion of the impossible false conscience they peddle, a mention of reconciliation’s honor. This inclusion is usually added as a “fall back” position, made available in the event that followers find themselves at the cusp of losing a conflict. The only human experience more compelling in the reinforcement of blind adherence to religion than brutal victory is, of course, suffering.
The insistence which can reveal and embolden this forgotten detail is also simple, “Demand more from your religion.” This “poison pill” introduces all sorts of dampening further questions. The first might be, “What have we demanded so far?” That one will inevitably lead to the next one, “What more could we demand?” Quite aside rom the terrible exhaustion of constant self-doubt and fear or retribution, the worldly price of maintaining a religion is immense. “Has it been a good investment?” “Has it paid a reasonable dividend?”
Hard questions to overwhelm with more blind “false conscience” if one sees all around his family the destruction of his home along with the lack of drinking water and food, not to mention security. The new message of reconciliation’s rehabilitated value compares the “benefits” of the religion’s supernatural promise with the price paid in life.
The premise which keeps such a tragedy unfolding rests on the inevitability of both. Once the comparison can be injected into the minds of the participants, many new possibilities arise. The mechanism of such an insertion can also be described by its model as expressed in center activity.
Si’s duties to provide competitive models as an adjunct to its tactical sex program can directly intervene with the religion’s Ie component. When the demand that religion produce not only supernatural advantages (i.e. “being right” in the eyes of god) but also improvements in material performance, the supernatural promises become subject to competitive analysis. The intractable and unreachable, phenomenal propositions which had previously left the system “canonized” and unassailable by worldly competitive questions inevitably lose some of their numbing “staying power” when they enter a field where competition is, once again, possible.
That competition, the idea that this precious religion of ours might actually perform better, will not instantly and permanently transform the other, rather serious disadvantages of destructive religious beliefs, but it will introduce dynamic movement in the previously static system.
The following diagram expresses a modified model of Gurdjieff’s original concept of the sex center and its influence on the other centers. This distributed model, extracted for presentation here from a separate paper, Si Revisited, certainly adheres to the sex center’s role in creating sexual tactics, but its relevance extends rather easily to a model where competition considered as a separate product of center activity is also explained.
Some very deep, conceptually distant aspect of the human interest in religion (similar to a magnetic center’s curiosity concerning a “world view”) is, most likely, buried in INe. However, the results of the worldly product, interpreted as a Type B or Type A influence are formulated in the mechanical centers as shown in the diagram. Once the correct function of Si can be reestablished in the absence of religion’s deathlike stranglehold (interloper) or at least, in religion’s weakened state, especially in a manner through which all the parts of the mechanical centers can freely self-select to it and participate in models of its consideration, the dynamic effect of the reintroduced Reconciling Aspect can become operative. This development reverts the organism to a condition closer to its organic norms of healthy operation. The individual’s value for his religion is stripped on its previously moribund, static qualities and moved into a position of relevance in a refreshed, sexually competitive model.