S3/E15: Higher and Lower Centers
Published December 31st, 2020
Higher and Lower Centers
In this podcast we discuss higher and lower centers, the formatory apparatus, mapping of cards to centers, ways to awaken, accumulators, the Objective Exercise, and how belief structures affect our world.
Welcome to a series of talks about objective consciousness, an objective universe, and an objective way to awaken.
We expand upon the works of George I. Gurdjieff, with Russell A. Smith’s THEDOG teachings, which imparts a proven way to awaken objectively. All material discussed is drawn from Russell Smith’s book, Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets - The Teaching Guide, and this and all supporting material may be found on our website at thedogteachings.com.
In our last talk we went through the topics of oneness, dreaming and imagination, the mind and brain, attention, suffering, how to deal with negativity in people and the world, and what Gurdjieff’s Hasnamuss means. In this podcast, we discuss higher and lower centers, the formatory apparatus, mapping of cards to centers, ways to awaken, accumulators, the Objective Exercise, and how belief structures affect our world.
Q. I read that we are a microcosm of the Sun Absolute, and we have higher centers that we need to develop?
A. Yes, many inner world analogies can be drawn to Gurdjieff’s models of external world forces. We are a whole system. We have tiny cells (like the world of the microcosm). Then, those cells join together, and more complex systems are formed: tissues, organs, until a multi-centered factory is formed. We are then a Tetartocosmos, running with four centers… and, when we have our two higher centers functioning, that is, when we have our I and our AM together, as Jesus said, “I and my father are one”, we start to taste that oneness. Jesus also said, when he was asked where the kingdom of heaven was, that the kingdom of heaven was inside of you. Well, if God lives in Heaven, and if the kingdom of heaven is inside of you, then, when your centers are functioning with reason and impartiality, you will be God for the kingdom of you. Higher Feedback, and several other exercises that we do, reveal the properties of higher centers, and relate to having both knowledge and understanding, which comes from a higher place. So yes, the closer we come to oneness in ourselves, the closer we come to that representative of God in ourselves.
Q. How does the moving center, functioning as a part of the higher emotional center, manifest itself?
A. I have done a little chart called the aspects of centers. It shows the octave of organic life, and in between the LA and TI of the octave of organic life is where man comes into existence, and in between the LA and TI of the octave of man is where the octave of self-conscious man comes into existence, and in between the LA and TI of the octave of self-conscious man is where objective man comes into existence; and, when we consider that the moving center is the emotional part of the Higher Emotional Center, which only functions in self-conscious man, then we will understand why the moving center has the label humility and, therefore, what being humble is. That is, how there would be a response in the moving center that would be indicative of those postures.
Another way we might be able to get a sense or an understanding of this is to take the kingdom of dogs. We know that dog’s function from their Higher Emotional Centers, as such, they are loyal. That is why they wag their tails when they see us, or why, when they meet other dogs, they roll over on their backs and become submissive; indicating they are not a threat. There is a lot of communication going on through postures of the moving center: The growling, and the hair going up on the backs of their necks, are all indications of the emotional part of the Higher Emotional Center, which is the Moving Center. It says, my tail is up in the air, and therefore, I am not a threat; I’m not going to attack you. Their moving center, when it functions as their moving center, chases, and catches rabbits; but, when it functions as the emotional part of their Higher Emotional Center, it offers, and shares its catch with others.
Q. Nicholl says that we start with the intellectual center and then move up to the higher, what does he mean?
A. Yes, we have to start with the intellectual center, because the intellectual center is the only center over which we have some control. And, with the right knowledge, that is, with a good deputy steward, we can begin to change our being... but, we first have to know it by mind. Remember Gurdjieff’s dictate that, “we have to know, in order to be, and to do? That is the journey.
Q. My thoughts were that I was building from the bottom up and yet my knowledge comes from the higher mental center.
A. Well, if you are talking about certain exercises that try to get feedback from the higher mental center, that is, from the intellectual center when it is standing in the higher place, then, yes true knowledge comes from the higher mental center. But first, it stands as intellect, then stands as reason. Intellect just means being able to compare two things. Whereas reason sees the whole structure. It formulates. The intellectual center forms opinions by only comparing two things. That is why we call it “the formatory apparatus”. Later the intellectual center stands as the mechanical part of the higher mental center: and, as such, sees everything, and begins using formulation.
Q. In unification of our centers, are we tapping into the intellectual center or the higher mental center?
A. The higher mental center is the unification of the intellectual center and the higher emotional center. That is, the intellectual center and the higher emotional center have bonded together and have become one, which is probably what produces the I and the Am in beings, knowledge combined with Being. So, in answer to your question, it is the higher mental center that represents unification.
Q. The intellectual center is the formatory apparatus?
A. That is where it is. That is what most men work with. As Gurdjieff said, most men have no contact, whatsoever, with their intellectual center except for formatory apparatus. It reflects the labels they put on life: Everything is “Awesome!” “Cool man.” The intellectual center sees everything in opposites. That is why there are Democrats and Republicans. That is why everything is broken into pairs, into two’s, because that is the way of the formatory apparatus.
Q. What about the kings and queens in that center? The formatory apparatus lives in the jack, the mechanical part. That is not the whole of the intellectual center, the jack, is it?
A. To say that no people use the higher parts of the centers is a big step, but most people do not. Think of what the king and queen represents. Can you sing a song and then sing it again and make it sound exactly like the first time, or perform some movement and then repeat it? You would have to be a prima ballerina to perform the Nutcracker dance the same way every time. To duplicate it. To make it exactly like it was before. So, show me an intellectualness of man that is repeatable. For instance: Repeat the conversation we just had. Can you? I’ll bet that you cannot. That is why we do memory work, because memory work is the only way to prove that we have the ability to duplicate things in the intellectual center. In the other centers, it is pretty obvious. The ballerina can do the same little dance. She can repeat it. The wine taster can taste a glass of wine and tell you which particular vineyard it came from; and, when he tastes it in the future, the answer will be the same. But, intellectually, man cannot repeat anything.
Q. So, we say that the jack of the intellectual center is the formatory mind or is it really only the two of spades?
A. Well, we say that it is the most mechanical part that we use. So, it is most likely the two of spades, the mechanical part of the mechanical part of the intellectual center, that is why it sees things in twos, which is minimally sufficient for survival. We do not need to do anything more to survive than to compare two things… to use the weakest guy, which, by the way, makes us superior to all of the other animals.
Q. So, the formatory apparatus is the two of spades of the jack of spades?
A. The formatory apparatus is the jack of spades, of which the two of spades is its mechanical part, which is the only part of it that we use.
Q. When my children were young, in school, most of their work was memorizing things but that does not seem to be the work of the kings? How would that be different from this memory work?
A. We put things into the three of spades and the four of spades, not the kings. We have all memorized the alphabet. Everybody knows the alphabet. You probably learned it by singing it and as a rhyme. Isn’t that how you learned it? You learned it as a song-like rhyme. Try saying the alphabet without singing it and see how well you do. Singing is partly in the moving center, that is, by the formation of the mouth, and partly in the instinctive center, by the cadence and the rhythm. Remember that most of our intellect takes place in our moving and instinctive centers. That is why, if we cannot remember how to spell a word, we try writing it. And why we sing the alphabet. We memorized many things in our youth, which allowed us to develop some of the three of spades and the four of spades; but unless they were put to song or rhyme, we have long forgotten them. We did do some other work on those and on other parts of our intellectual centers, but that was mostly for survival. Once survival was not an issue, we stopped memorizing things. Most of what we memorized was in the first few grades of school. What did you have to memorize in high school? You already knew the alphabet and had the times tables down. Maybe you had to memorize a poem; but most of the time, all you had to do was summarize a book sufficiently to pass a test.
Q. In reading, it says, “If lower centers are balanced and acquire sufficient Being, they become connected with the higher centers.” That does not sound quite right to me. Could you explain?
A. The word connected may be throwing you off. The truth is, when lower centers unify, they become higher centers… just like, when cells unify, they become tissues, or when tissues unify, they become organs. So, when we do the Objective or April Fools Exercise and unify our lower centers, we do not connect to a higher center, but rather, we create one.
Q. What does it mean that our centers need to be balanced?
A. That is a great question which requires a long answer. When I first discovered that the Higher Emotional Center was created by the unification of the lower centers, the Instinctive, Moving, and Emotional centers, and then later discovered the Objective or April Fools Exercise to unify them. It became clear, there, and then, that since there were 9 parts in the higher emotional center, we needed to have at least 2/3rds of those parts functioning (what I call the rule of 2/3rds), to cause the higher emotional center to begin functioning. And, since the higher emotional center consists of three lower centers, and since each of those lower centers has three parts, we needed to have 6 parts of those 9 total parts functioning, in order to have the Higher Emotional Center functioning, which as we shall see is a lot easier to do if we are balanced. Thus, building in balance makes the journey much easier, as well as puts it in the reach of the average person.
Fortunately, we all have the mechanical part of the Instinctive, Moving, and Emotional centers, because mechanical parts function automatically. That is, they function without attention.
And, since we only need six parts to awaken, and since we already have those three mechanical parts, we are halfway there.
So, that begs us to ask the questions, “Then, why has it been so hard for humans to awaken… and why is the world not filled to the brim with enlightened people?
The answer is, people did not know that their Higher Emotional Center was made from their three lower centers, about the rule of 2/3rds, nor about building in balance. And, in addition, they did not have the Objective or April Fools Exercise to unify them, even if they were in balance.
Instead, they became Fakirs, Monks, or Yogis, which developed out of balance.
Let me explain in some detail, so that you will better understand.
The Fakirs focus on the Instinctive Center, the Yogis focus on the Moving Center, and the Monks focus on the Emotional Center.
And, as I said, they all started with three parts, the three mechanical parts of their three lower centers.... Thus, they only needed three more to awaken.
First, there were the Fakirs. They worked on their Instinctive Centers. That is, they put their legs in anthills, they laid on beds of nails, and they stood in front of the temple on their toes and fingertips; hoping that, by working on their Instinctive Center, they would be able to pick up two additional parts – the emotional and intellectual parts of that Instinctive Center, which would give them five parts.
In addition, Fakirs also picked up the emotional part of their Moving Centers, because in order to keep from pulling their legs out of the anthills, refrain from jumping-up off the bed of nails and stay standing in front of the temples on their toes and fingertips, they needed to have some control over the emotional part of the Moving Center as well.
Thus, the Fakirs got a sixth part. But the problem was, their six parts were still in the lower stories, as they did not have the objective exercise that would bring those six parts into the upper story.
And, even if they did, their empowered Instinctive Center was not likely to share its power with the other centers.
Do you understand?
Next, there were the Yogis. They worked on their Moving Centers. That is, they did martial arts, danced, stretched, and sat in Lotus positions; hoping that they, too, by working on their Moving Centers, would be able to pick up two additional parts – the emotional and intellectual parts of the Moving Center, which would give them five parts.
In addition, Yogis also picked up the emotional part of their Instinctive Centers, because they had to learn to endure the pain caused by sitting in a Lotus position, or from practicing martial arts.
Thus, the Yogis got a sixth part. But the problem was, their six parts were still in their lower stories, as they did not have the objective exercise that would bring those six parts into the upper story.
And, even if they did, their empowered Moving Center was not likely to share its power with the other centers.
Lastly, there were the Monks. They worked on their Emotional Centers. That is, they followed the path of obedience and did what they were told… like scrubbing the temple floor for eight hours; hoping that they, too, by working on their Emotional Centers, they would be able to pick up two additional parts – the emotional and intellectual parts of the Emotional Center, which would give them five parts.
In addition, Monks also picked up the emotional part of their Instinctive Centers, because they had to endure the pain from scrubbing the temple floor. That is, the Monks did not need “Wax-On, Wax-Off” movements, they just needed to block-out the pain and keep scrubbing.
Thus, the Monks got a sixth part. But the problem was, their six parts were still in their lower stories, as they did not have the objective exercise that would bring those six parts into the upper story.
And, even if they did, their empowered Emotional Center was not likely to share its power with the other centers.
For those reasons Gurdjieff called the Monks, “Stupid Saints,” and the Yogis, he called, “Weak Yogis,” because they were both lopsided.
So, the three traditional ways had very little chance of ever getting their six parts to the upper story. But every twenty years or so, some Fakir, some Yogi, or some Monk does wake up, which keeps the illusion alive that their way is a viable way. But, if it were a viable way, every Fakir, every Monk, and every Yogi would have awakened.
Then, many years later, The Fourth Way was created. And they asked, “What if we build in balance… what if we get a couple of parts in the Instinctive Center, a couple of parts in the Moving Center, and a couple of parts in the Emotional Center… perhaps, we can get the six parts that we need that way?”
So, students of The Fourth Way also found a way to pick-up six parts. But the problem was, their six parts were still in their lower stories, as they did not have the objective exercise that would bring those six parts into the upper story.
However, every so often, someone like Gurdjieff does awaken. But when they do, they do-so “subjectively.” And by awaking subjectively, they are unable to show others how to do it.
So, sadly, unfortunately, there were no objective ways….
That is… until now, because we have the Objective or April Fools Exercise, which will take a person who has six parts into their higher emotional center.
So, that is why it is very important for you to build in balance and to do the April Fools or Objective Exercise.
Q. It is written that a man must pay for his arising. Is that when we have April Fool’s?
A. It starts when a person awakes, when they come into existence. So, when a person awakes, they become a part of the Fourth Striving and have to pay for their arising. That is what was meant by the Bible, when it said that people did not have “eyes to see and ears to hear”. That is, they were not responsible for their actions. But, if they became responsible, they would have to pay for their arising. That is, they would see what they were and would have to do something about it. Remember when they asked Jesus about the kingdom of heaven, and He said, “The kingdom of heaven is not lo here or lo there, but the kingdom of heaven is within you.” Then he said something like the Pharisees, who were supposed to know the truth, would have darkness and gnashing of teeth because they did not act responsible. Thus, they were the ones that would be held accountable. He then went on to say that the people who did not have “eyes to see or ears to hear” would not be held accountable, because they were already dead, “let the dead bury the dead”, indicating that they were asleep; and, as such, were not responsible for their actions. But, once somebody awakens, and is able to see their flaws, is able to see their buffers, and is able to see their inexactitudes, they had an obligation to do something about it. So that is our model in the Work. The fourth striving says, …from the beginning of their existence. That is, from the moment they awaken, they have to “...pay for their arising and their individuality as quickly as possible in order afterwards to be free to lighten as much as possible the Sorrow of our Common Father.
Q. My question is about the accumulators and about our use of energy. I do not understand what they are in us.
A. Physically, logically, a doctor would tell us that we do not have accumulators next to our centers, and yet, every center works with a certain form of energy, so it has to draw that energy from someplace. And when we observe mechanisms in the body like yawning, which we are told is a switching mechanism that allows us to change from one accumulator to another, it makes for a compelling story. That is, you get a little tired and yawn, and the body is signaled to switch to another source of energy, and so it does; and, a little while later, the accumulator that it switched to gets depleted, so you yawn again, in hopes of switching back to the first accumulator, which, by the way, hasn’t had much of a chance to build up any energy and gets depleted even faster, so you yawn again, and try switching back to the second accumulator, which, too, is still pretty much depleted; and the next thing you know is that you are yawning every minute or so, looking for some place to get energy from. That is what Ouspensky was talking about when he mentioned the small accumulators, something that allows us to switch back and forth. Then, there was what is called the large accumulator. That one appears in a man when some crisis takes place, that is, he does not just switch to some little accumulator that is responsible for giving force to a center; but rather, connects to the big accumulator. The big accumulator is very powerful, which may give him super force and allow him to lift up the back of a car in order to free his son. So, accumulators are not really things that are next to the centers; but are something in us that allows us to psychologically and physiologically find other sources of force to keep us going or to give us incredible force.
Q. How can we find ways to be more in touch with the higher accumulators and not just depend on the lower ones?
A. Super efforts. The same kind of thing that a long-distance runner gets when he gets what is called a “runners high”. Someone who runs and runs and, all of a sudden, hits the zone, where running just seems effortless. That is, he has tapped into the large accumulator.
Q. Then the large accumulator would need to be recharged?
A. It would, but the large accumulator is very large, so I do not think it can be depleted. If it could, we would die; but before that happens, people will fall asleep, or pass out.
Q. Would the exhaustion that comes from being very sick be an example of that?
A. I don’t know if that is really the same model as being in the large accumulator. With illness, we know that the instinctive center will start stealing force from other centers. It is the classic model of, if you are ill, the machine will say the top priority is to survive; as such, it will put the instinctive center under group authority and start pulling energy from the moving center, which will probably cause you to want to go lay down. If you are really sick, it will start stealing force from the emotional center and will cause you to become non-emotional; dull and bland, without any emotions. And, if you are really, really sick, it will finally start stealing force from the intellectual center and make it hard for you to even think or reason, after which, you become unconscious or maybe even coma like.
Q. When we are sick, are you talking about something attacking us from outside ourselves?
A. Having a virus is an example. That comes from outside of ourselves and causes the body to say, we have been infected, and need to attack this virus, and if the instinctive center is not being very successful at attacking the virus, it will need to get some help. It first gets help from the moving center and, as I said, the body will get lethargic and will need to go lay down.
Q. I do not know much about the energy of a person picking up a car. That sounds like adrenaline or something?
A. That is quite right. Something gives the body incredible energy at difficult moments. Maybe the adrenal glands are the large accumulator, and release adrenaline, which gives people a burst of energy in times of stress.
Q. You have spoken about a way to deal with cancer in the body… to visualize a ‘machine-gun’ to deal with cancer in the body.
A. Yes. If we take a look at the medical data, we will see that a lot of people get cured by placebos. How is that possible? How can someone be given a sugar pill and end up being healed? It shows us that belief structures are powerful. We see ads on TV for some medicine and the announcer says, “Fifteen percent better results than a placebo.” Wow, some people got healed with a sugar pill. How? Well, it is because of belief. The doctor in charge of the clinical trial said that this medication could cure my disease. And even though it is a blind clinical trial, where some people get it, and some people do not.” I am sure that I am one of the test subjects that got it, and I say to myself, “I’m going to be healed. Isn’t that wonderful?” and my belief structure heals me. My own body, given positive reinforcement, given positive suggestions, believes it. Thus the body heals itself.
This is a true story. Some little kid had cancer, and the doctors did not know what to do. They told him he was going to die. As a result, he was kind of down in the dumps; but he played video games a lot, so his mother said, “Why don’t you just run around inside your body and shoot the stuff?” So, he did. He imagined himself running around inside his body, just like in a video game, and when he saw some bad stuff, he would shoot it, destroy it, and kill it. Phew, phew, phew. Seven months later, when he went back to his doctors, the cancer was gone. He took no medication during that time, he only had his belief structures, and apparently, his belief structures killed his cancer.
That closes this question and answer session.d pas
Thank you for listening.
If you would like to know more about the subjects and exercises we have been exploring, including the book and guide that underpins it all, which is also available for PDF download, you can do so, by going to thedogteachings.com.
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There, you will be able to obtain Mr. Smith’s diagrams, listen to other talks, as well as learn all the mathematics that supports them, and much much more.
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Goodbye until next time.