S2/EP19: Four Common-Sense Ideas

Series 2, Episode 19: Four Common-Sense Ideas

Published June 19, 2020

A talk on the four common-senses we have, and how our various centres interpret these, and a dream of a planet where sleeping people live.

Associated Diagrams

There are no diagrams associated with this particular podcast. It’s listening only.


Click to view Podcast transcript

This is a series of talks about objective consciousness, an objective universe, and an objective way to wake up.

It is primarily based on the works of George I. Gurdjieff and Russell A. Smith, and aims to cut through the swathes of subjectivity that cloud our evolution and journey through life. 

Each episode focuses upon a particular element of their teachings and aims to bring simple understanding to what was frequently hidden in plain sight within the various subject areas of the Fourth Way.

In the last talk we discussed the taste of the notes in an octave. 

In this discussion, Mr. Smith will talk about four common-sense ideas.

Number 1: Three Essences

Man has three “essence” centers:

Instinctive center – the essence of his lower story.

Emotional center – the essence of his middle story.

Higher Emotional center – the essence of his upper story.

The lower story’s essence is based on sensation. It sees, hears, smells, tastes, and can touch. It sees a puddle. Puddles are caused when a depression collects and holds water.

Thank you ‘lower story’ for seeing the puddle.

The middle story’s essence is based on meaning. It is able to interpret a sensation by comparing it to “previous sensations”. If you step in a very shallow puddle, the water will not rise above the sole of your shoe and your shoe and your foot will most likely stay dry; if you step in a not so shallow puddle, the water will rise above the sole of your shoe and could penetrate your shoe; if you step in a deep puddle, the water may rise above your shoe, your foot will get wet, and you might ruin your shoe.

The former would not be too bad but the latter two could be disastrous… so, you hop over the puddle.

Thank you ‘middle story’ for avoiding a potential disaster.

The upper story’s essence is based on morality. It is capable of considering how your interpretation of a sensation – or how your actions, which follow your interpretation of a sensation – might impact others. If you are wearing waterproof rubber boots, a puddle is of little concern to you – but, if you step in that puddle (whether it be deep or shallow), you might cause the water to splash or to ripple outward and overflow the soles/shoes of someone else… so, again, you choose to hop over the puddle.

Thank you ‘upper story’ for considering a potential disaster which could impact someone else’s shoes.

Note: Meaning and morality change as we mature. A small child who sees a puddle may run through it (without considering its depth or the impact that water may have on his own shoes)… or he may jump into the puddle with both feet (without considering the impact that the water may have on mine).

With maturity – and the input of all three essences – man can easily maneuver through life (with very few disasters) – and… peoples’ feet will stay dry.   

Number 2: Suffering

A student asked Mr. Smith, “Why do we have to suffer so much? It is painful and I am trying to understand it. It seems as if it does not matter what I do in life, change my career, do something I love. I still suffer. If we are not one thing, are we just different energies constantly changing and moving?”

Mr Smith’s response: 

Suffering occurs when things happen differently than we wished for them to happen. We wanted to hit the nail on the head with the hammer but, instead, we hit our thumb and suffered pain, or we became upset when we missed the nail and dented the base board with the hammer.

Most suffering is this kind of suffering. It is mechanical suffering. It is not real.

In truth, the only real suffering, which we should all have, is remorse of conscience.  Gurdjieff called AIEIOIUOA.  I like to spell it rather than pronounce it, because, to me, spelling it kind of sounds like a moment of remorse A – I – E – I – O – I – U – O – A.

Real suffering occurs when we realize that we are not what we are supposed to be; and, becomes a force that can drive us toward self-perfection.

Fortunately, we found an objective way to do that… so, if we, rapidly, get on with the cure, we will, soon, cease to suffer.

Note: When you see that everything is Law-conformable, it is almost impossible to suffer.


There are three kinds of suffering: Mechanical, Intentional, and Conscious.

Suffering is of the essence.

We can suffer in the Instinctive center, in the Emotional center, or in the Higher Emotional Center.

In the Instinctive center: If we have no food and do not eat… we suffer mechanically. However, if we have food and choose not to eat… we suffer intentionally.

In the Emotional center: If our lucky shirt, which we always wear when our favorite team plays, gets sent to the cleaners and we are unable to wear it for the big game… we suffer mechanically. But, if we choose to not wear it for the big game… we suffer intentionally.

Lastly, in the Higher Emotional Center there is only conscious suffering: That is, when we are unified, we see ourselves objectively.  We see that we are overweight… and cut down our food intake. When we do, the Instinctive Center may consciously suffer because it misses the taste of chocolate and ice cream; or, the emotional center may consciously suffer because it misses the feeling it got from being well fed. 

Furthermore, our conscience will understand that the shirt we wear has no effect on the outcome of the big game. 

However, our emotional center may still consciously suffer, because (by habit) it still believes that it does.  

Number 3: Stop All Such Practices

A question was asked about exercises, which were learned from other Fourth Way teachers or from other various Fourth Way groups.

Mr Smith’s answer:

A student made a comment last night at dinner which got my-higher-center thinking.

The student said, while they were having tea with their dinner, how much they were going to miss having tea when they got back home. I asked, “Don’t you have tea at home”?

They replied, “Yes, but we are not allowed to drink when we eat.” They then went on to say that no one was allowed to drink when they ate, because a former teacher told them that they couldn’t… and, since they often ate at others’ homes… or, had guests eating at their home, who also were told the same thing, that they had to follow the rules of the group!

My higher Spidey Senses went off like the RED ALERT warning on a submarine.

The higher informed me that such practices may be harmful to an awakened being… Lord knows how many other practices people follow, which may work well for artificial beings but not, so much, for real beings.

Gurdjieff told us that the science of medicine was a science created by sleeping men (since sleeping men never had any conscious men to study or practice on).  It is like botanists, who tell us how to care for real flowers, when all they have ever studied are artificial, plastic ones.

In Meetings with Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff said, “Let God kill him who himself does not know yet presumes to show others the way to the doors of his kingdom”.

So, if you are following the “don’t drink when you eat” exercise, I would offer this (as indicated in Meetings)… “STOP ALL SUCH PRACTICES.” 

Most come from sleeping people who are quick to label the phobias of other sleeping people. 

So, my advice, trust your higher and the feedback you receive from your own body.

Maybe you will find that drinking tea while eating is bad for you… or maybe you will find that drinking tea while eating is good for you. Not because some Hasnamuss told you so… but, because… your body did.

I, therefore, tell everyone… to beware of taking supplements, of ingesting certain herbal “necessities,” of eating vegetables in a particular order, of not drinking when they eat, of only contemplating their existence while facing North, or any other advice or practices, culled from sleeping people, regarding man’s well being.

I would advocate eating “everything satisfying” and let your body tell you what is “really necessary.”  It has the remarkable ability to weed out any baddies.

Number 4: The Dream 

I had a strange dream last night…. You and I were a team, like on The X-files, and we were sent on a mission to some planet to find out what was going wrong with the people there. Although we had arrived together, we had to pretend that we were at odds with each other; and, were, therefore, no-longer together.  So, we staged an argument and registered in separate rooms at the hotel; but, at night, I would climb across the balconies to confer with you. 

We collectively decided that you sould infiltrate their society, pretending to be alone and in need of companionship, in hopes that they would take you in and accept you as one of their own. 

It worked.

Then one night, when I crossed the balconies to confer with you, your room was empty. 

You had checked out. 

I could not find you anywhere and had to continue our mission without you.

I did, but everywhere I went, I kept looking for you.

I finally found out what had happened to the people there; and, horrifyingly, what had happened to you. I discovered that whatever the people believed, became their reality.  That is, whatever they pretended to be true… somehow, became true; and, the more it became true, the more they pretended that it was.

I was terrified. 

At first, I thought I could simply pretend that what happened to us hadn’t happened, in hopes of reversing it, but I knew, if I did that, I would fall into the same psychosis that you and everyone else had. So I left the planet without you.

When I told my superiors what had happened, the planet was designated off limits.  However, I often snuck back; always hoping, but never pretending, that I would once find you again . . . then, I awoke, and the dream was over.

Afterwards, I had a wonderful feeling because it was only a dream, yet… somehow, mixed in with that, was a strange, lingering, feeling of loss.

Weird stuff, dreams; sometimes nonsensical, sometimes almost real.

All I know… stay off that planet! 

Thank you for listening, and, if you’d like to know more about the subjects and exercises we’ve been covering, including the book and guide that underpins it all, and, how we work with it; or, if you would like to obtain diagrams of the structure, as well as, learn the math which supports it, you can find us at The Dog Publishing, at the website The Dog Pub Dot Com. That’s T H E D O G P U B DOT COM

I hope you find it useful

Shopping Cart
THEDOG Teachings