“Man is asleep. Man does not have real consciousness or will at all. Man is not free. For man, everything just happens. However, man can become conscious and find man’s real place. As a human being, in creation but this requires a profound inner transformation.”
What is one I looking at another I?
A stimulus response machine?
Well, what do we do to get one I to look at another I? And what does it mean one I looking at another I?
According to the Fourth Way via Gurdjieff, via Ouspenski we are composed of a large collection of various and different I’s.
We always call ourselves I and think of our selves as one individual I, but in fact we are many different I’s each one believing it is the one and only. Every single thought, every feeling assumes the identity of our whole and that’s who we think we are for that moment!
We are a stimulus response machine, in other words there is an event or stimulus either within us or outside us and we have an automatic response to this. The response will be any of a number of I’s that are prodded into life by this particular stimuli.
Of course we do not notice that what we think or feel from this stimulus may be entirely the opposite from something we felt or believed even a short time before. We just feel that what happens within us is me, who I am.
What we don’t see is that we are not one but many. Many different and often contradictory I’s.
Each one becomes active when stimulated by an event. Each one will try to cling to life and try to prevent other intruders.
Say for example, I am walking down Broadway in Manhattan and someone is coming towards me in the opposite direction and because the street is crowded and they are walking to close to me we bump each other.
This is a stimulus that will spark a response in me. I will become a burst of angry energy and begin a series of thoughts judging and blaming that unknown person for walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk and not being careful etc.!
This all happens automatically every moment of our day. Something happens and there is an automatic response from our emotions and thoughts.
We think that we are the thoughts and that we are the one in control of them, but unfortunately
We are a stimulus response machine. There is actually no one in charge, we only think there is because we cannot see otherwise, we can not see ourselves as we truly are!
We go through all of our lives living in this dream that we are one.
This is the most difficult knowledge to become aware of. Not because it is hidden and secret, there are oodles of books out there telling us how to become aware and describing our condition.
Most of them are probably pretty accurate. Ouspenski was the best, (in my opinion) he got it straight from the master.
And yet, they can only prod our interest in a certain direction, they can not make it possible for us to really see ourselves, see our true condition.
They describe for us, our machine, the make up of our body and even give us excersies to be able to overcome our sleep and become conscious.
In fact, we can read all of the books ever written and will be no where nearer to becoming real than when we started!
What we will have are a lot more intellectual facts, that is for sure!
How on earth do we escape from this?
We are in a prison but believe we are the rulers of the earth and the universe. How do we escape from the big barriers built into us that prevent us from seeing ourselves? Is it even possible?
As I said before we must first begin by seeing our condition before we will be willing to do the work necessary to try and escape from it.
The road to seeing begins with a first step, with self=observation.
We are composed of many I’s, but one I can look at another I. We can begin to notice some of our inconsistencies, some of our inabilities to do what we say we are going to do.
I think an illustration Ouspenski used is of a man saying he will get out of bed early the next morning.
The next morning comes along and the man is in bed and for sure the I that was going to rise early is no where around and the man’s sleeping I has no intention of getting out of bed! There are in his head plenty of justifications for staying in bed.
Looking at our inconsistancies is the begining of the search that can eventually change our beings and awaken us from sleep!