S4/E03: R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 28

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R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 28

In this episode, continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, in this podcast we will narrate a dialogue between Russell and several of his students, including an update on the student who was suffering from depression in last week’s podcast, becoming the middle, Smittyisms, prayer, objective answers, will, liars and thieves, correct actions, the Fourth Striving, what role does the Intellectual Center play, and the functioning of all seven stopinders. The transcript and diagrams for this podcast, can be found on our website at thedogteachings.com under Resources/Podcasts.

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Welcome to a series of talks about objective consciousness, an objective universe, and an objective way to awaken, expanding upon the works of George I. Gurdjieff and Russell A. Smith.

Continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, in this podcast we will narrate a dialogue between Russell and several of his students, including an update on the student who was suffering from depression in last week’s podcast, becoming the middle, Smittyisms, prayer, objective answers, will, liars and thieves, correct actions, the Fourth Striving, what role does the Intellectual Center play, and the functioning of all seven stopinders.

Let’s begin:

Russell:  I will begin today’s podcast with a letter received from the fellow who was going through a state of depression at the end of last week’s podcast.

Student:  Hello Russ,

Having a two-week vacation in France can certainly do a lot for one’s attitude. 🙂 I’m grateful that I got to spend some time in different environments, away from the workplace, and with the woman I love.

The strange funk lifted a few days after we spoke on the phone. I hadn’t had dark days like that in a long time and, frankly, they scared the shit outta me. The emotional/mental stuff can be bad enough, but when the physical strangeness got mixed in, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep it together.

I’m happy to report that a shift inside me has occurred. This Work has brought me to many new places over the last few years. As with most things, the Understanding comes long after the experience. 

I deeply appreciate having the opportunity to talk with you. I am humbled and grateful. I am truly blessed, and I must remember that (and, remember that more often).

It is an honor to be one of your students. I wish you well, and I look forward to talking with you in the future.

With love,

Russell:  You are most welcome. I am very glad to be able to help you become funkless!

Student:  Dear Russell, how may I get access to the paper on “Becoming the middle.”

Russell:  Here it is. 

Becoming the Middle. 

Gurdjieff:  “The Higher blends with the Lower in order to actualize the Middle.”

Russell:  Students often ask, “How will I know when I am ready to take the next step?”

The answer is simple, “When you become the Middle”.

There are five states of I: Multiplicity, Magnetic Center, Deputy Steward, Steward, and Master.

Here is the progression we pass through, starting at the bottom DO.


Apes are below man and are simply a law-conformable organism. Magnetic Center moments transform Apes into Man. Man lives between Apes and Magnetic Center, as a Multiplicity — an Ape, spiritualized by the ability to have Magnetic Center moments, that is, to perceive something higher than himself.


Some of these Apes, raised to Multiplicities, make efforts in pursuit of having more Magnetic Center moments. Their efforts create good and honorable Deputy Steward postures (I’s, which want to make efforts and UN-be what they have become), which raises some of these Multiplicities, from living as Multiplicities, to living as pursuers of Magnetic Center moments.


Enter … The Objective Exercise, which gives some of these Magnetic-Center-moment-pursuers, the taste of Steward and self-consciousness. The ‘taste of Steward’ raises some of these Magnetic-Center-moment-pursuers, from living as Magnetic-Center-moment-pursuers, to living as Deputy Stewards, that is, as beings with empowered real effort making I’s in them, who can now make real being-efforts to UN-be what they have been.


Some of these effort-empowered-Deputy-Stewards, who have had the ‘taste of Steward,’ will actually make efforts to attain it … and, with right exercises and the guidance from someone who has made the journey, they will hear the voice of Master and be raised from living as effort-empowered-Deputy-Stewards to living as Stewards … with a presence in them that is apart from the presence of their sensing, living organism.


Some of these Stewards, who are present in the presence of themselves in the process of exercising their presence in the present, will sense the completing principle, that is, God … and, by sensing the completing principle, there will come a knowingness of obligation, which, in turn, will raise them from living in the presence of their presence … to living in Master, that is, in the presence of all that is present, wherein, they will have reason and impartiality.


Some of these Masters will go further, but in order to be raised, they must glimpse what is beyond God.


After which, they start over!


Consider your higher, and then … let me know when you have become the Middle.


Student:  Dear Russell, thank you very much indeed. Reading down the list, SO vibrated in my chest with such force it took my breath away. That is where I’m heading … whatever it takes. Thank you for all your great works and efforts.

Kind regards

Russell:  You are welcome.

Russell:  Over the years, my wife wrote down many of my sayings, and afterwards, labelled them, “Smittyisms.” She recently said, “Honey, why don’t you put some of them in a podcast.” So today, I thought I would, besides, I know better than to go against the wishes of the minor oscillation!

So here are 20 SMITTYISMS … in no particular order.

#1:  Associations never stop.  If you do not direct them, Life will. You must occupy the place in order to keep it from occupying you! If you do not occupy the place, something else will. – 1993

#2:  The Work works; the only question is, “Do you”? – 1991

#3:  Be a 12 on the inside, an 8 on the outside, and emotionally remain a 10. – 2003

#4:  Reason in the intellectual center ‘thinks it knows’ and therefore, it does not try to be. Whereas, reason in the higher mental center ‘knows it thinks’ and therefore, always strives to become. Reason in the intellectual center does not recognize ‘Being’ as superior.  Whereas, reason in the higher mental center depends on it. – 2001

#5:  If you want your being to change today, you should have done something a month ago. If you want your being to change a month from now, you better do something today. – 2003

#6:  To he who has a choice of his manifestations, every moment is an experiment. But, to he who has no choice of his manifestations, there is no experiment at all. – 1990

#7:  There are two days we should never worry about. 

One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its aches and pains, its faults and blunders. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world will not bring yesterday back. We cannot undo a single act that was performed, nor erase a single word that was said. Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should never worry about is tomorrow, with its impossible adversaries, its burden, its hopeful promise, and unknown performance.  Tomorrow is beyond our control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds — but it will rise. And, until it does, we have no stake in it, for it is, as of yet, unborn.

This leaves us with just one day — today! 

Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. 

However, if we add the burdens of yesterday and the uncertainties of tomorrow to it, today may be difficult. But, it is not the experiences of today that make it difficult. It is the remorse we added for something that we did yesterday, or the dread of not knowing what tomorrow may bring.

So, my advice, live today without the encumbrances of the burdens of yesterdays, nor the uncertainties of tomorrows! – 2002

#8:  Schools collapse because of out-practicalization. – 2004


God manifests impartiality into existence.


Existence reorganizes God into intelligence.


Intelligence subjugates being into conscience.


Conscience tempers intelligence into reason.


Reason expands conscience into impartiality.


Impartiality transforms reason into God.


#10:  Any whole phenomenon can be calculated as an octave, as a “something” that runs from its allness to its nothingness, or vice versa, dividing the totality “diatonically” by the ratios: 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, and 7/8. – 1989

#11:  The notes … and the intervals between the notes: (to be read from the bottom DO upwards)

Top DO = completing force; also, the beginning of a new affirming force – 1995

TI to DO = intentionally-actualized-Mdnel-In 

TI = can feel the completing force

LA to TI = intentionally actualized results of the reconciling force

LA = reconciling force

SO to LA = Harnel-Aoot

SO = major oscillation, also where the 2nd shock octave must enter

FA to SO = intentionally actualized results of the denying force

FA = denying force

MI to FA = mechano-coinciding-Mdnel-In

MI = minor oscillation, also where the 1st shock octave must enter

RE to MI = father’s Aoot or fate Aoot

RE = bottom of the inner octaves

DO to RE = intentionally actualized results of the affirming force

Bottom DO = affirming force

#12:  Christianity is based on belief: guessing.

Esoteric Christianity is based on proof: knowing.

Christianity is based on seeking what is possible.

Esoteric Christianity is based on seeking what is repeatable. – 1998

#13:  Once you’ve labeled it with one thing, you’ve labeled it with all things. – 1999

#14:  Dying is only one moment; whereas existence is a plethora of moments. – 2000

#15:  As children we were in a state of wonderment; now we wonder what wonder meant! – 2002

#16:  If you are not doing it intentionally, you are not Doing It. – 1993

#17:  Real turns come so seldom, that when they come, we are stifled by life and held in a state of arrest — fidgeting, anticipating, dreading, and dreaming away the interval … until our next life-imposed designated turn. We must break that mold. Make every possible moment, our turn; seize it, fill it, and manifest it. Do not let life’s influences fritter it away. – 1992

#18:  Two things are important: Aim and Obligation. – 1991

#19:  You always have time for what you deem is important! – 2004

#20:  We study a system that bridges religion and science; a ubiquitous structure to which all things owe alliance. – 1990

Russell:  Now, let’s get back to some questions from students.

Student: This idea of prayer that has been around for hundreds of years.  The other day my mother asked me to pray for her friend who was really sick and was probably dying. I agreed to pray for her, but only because it would comfort my mother, I externally considered her beliefs. A couple of days later my mother called and said her friend was better and that our prayers were being answered. About a week or two after that, her friend was worse off. I found it interesting that when my mother’s friend was getting better, the prayers were being answered; but when her friend was getting worse, there was no mention of our prayers, it was as if, since my mother was not getting what she wanted, it could not be associated with prayer, and thus, was not brought up. Apparently, prayers are only viable when they turn out favorable. What are your thoughts on that, on prayer?

Russell:  I can say with certainty, you are correct.

Student:  Someone asked me a question today, and I gave them a decent answer, as I was not identified with the subject matter; however, I was not able to give an objective answer. The answer I gave was perfectly fine; it did not say anything negative, nor intimidate or diminish any one, and was rather neutral, but when I verified a response from you regarding the question that the person had asked, I realized that my answer was not objective. How does one reach your level of objectivity, or how does one get the correct answer to things?  

Russell: A lot of times, there is no correct answer. And as such, all answers are correct answers, as long as they answer the question without bias. Unless of course the question is what is 2 + 2, then there is only one answer. But if the question is, what is the best color? There is no best color. 

In regards to answering objectively, if your database is big enough, you may think of many answers, and as such, you will be able to choose the most objective one. 

Student:  I notice that when I am visiting with someone that I have known for some time, there is still this ‘me’ version of me that comes to the forefront, a personality that seems to dominate the scene! 

When I am in life with strangers who I seldom come in contact with, the ‘me’ part of me does not appear. Instead, I conjure up whatever personality is necessary for the moment. 

What I am asking about is this, I want to know more about my ‘me’ personality, which comes up when I have not requested it. How do I accomplish that?

Russell: There could be a lot of reasons, perhaps with family, you are trying to play a role, whereas in the grocery store, you are not. If that is the case, simply stop playing roles.

Student:  One of the biggest obstacles for me in this life has been the fact I never accomplished anything but waking up. Yes, yes, yes, I realize that is a huge feat, and is really all that matters, but still, I have these I’s that feel as if they wasted their life. 

After I die, I will be forgotten by everyone, except perhaps my son, which makes me feel like I have failed to accomplish a thing. How come being awake is not enough?

Russell: You are incorrect. I heard you say that you had a son? Is that not an accomplishment? 

Man is made in the image of God … have you heard of that? 

Well, that is not true. We have to make ourselves into the image of God. Every moment of life is a choice; and we have to make choices that are apropos for the task at hand, and when we do, every choice we make is an accomplishment; every one!

Student:  Ah, that makes great sense. My concerns have vanished. Thank you Russ. 

Russell:  It is my pleasure.

Student: I often hear the terms “objective” or “the objective way,” yet, in terms of the Work, I am not certain what that actually means. Plus, why is it so important to keep your way objective?

Russell:  Because objective ways always give right answers. And people, who always receive right answers, are much more likely to cut through any speculation, conjecture, and guess. For instance: Math is an objective way because everyone gets the right answer. 

Another Student: What is will?

Russell:  Will is about choice. Actions versus reactions. Doing the right things versus doing what you are compelled to do. For instance: If you see a fire in your child’s school, the right thing to do would be to run in and start saving every child you encounter. The wrong thing to do would be to run in and pass by those children, because you are only looking for yours. 

Also, will is about having a big enough reason, a big enough purpose. He who has a big enough reason will be able to perform miracles.

Student:  Those are great answers Russ, thank you.

I have another question. In the Work, we hear that sleeping men are liars and thieves. I don’t believe I lie, at least I try not to; and I most certainly do not steal. So what does it mean that sleeping men are liars and thieves?

Russell:  If there is nothing permanent in us, then when we say the word ”I” we lie. Because unless there is something permanent in us, our I’s change constantly. 

Anytime people pretend to know something, when in truth they do not know, is a lie. There can be big lies or little lies; even exaggeration is lying. There is so much involved, for example, who is the greatest golfer? Well, perhaps, the greatest golfer was some guy who used old wooden clubs and played on rough surfaces – even though his record was not as good as some of today’s golfers – who use high tech metal clubs and play on well manicured surfaces; so any answer that you give will probably be subjective. 

In regards to being a thief; a thief in work-terms, is taking anything that does not belong to you. It can be as small as a paper clip.

Student:  I get it. Thanks Russ. 

One thing more: Language has evolved from cavemen drawings, to hieroglyphics, to symbols; to letters, and finally to words. And, as there are many different cultures, there are many different languages, which makes communication difficult, unless one can speak all the languages. So I want to ask you this: What will be the common language in the next plane of existence? That is, how will higher beings communicate?

Russell:  By correct actions. Right actions are universal. They do not require a language. The idea suggested in Revelation that, when they opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for the space of about half hour … meant that everyone knew they should become silent, which implies they did so, even without language.

Rules & laws that are man-made are subjective. For instance, “thou shalt not kill.” Does that mean that if something or someone is trying to kill your child, that you should not kill it or them in order to save your child? No, of course not. 

That is one reason why math is so good, because it stays objective, 2 + 2 = 4. That is true in any language. 

And every person who enters a burning school to save their child, would save the first child they encounter, rather than just look for theirs. 

Student:  Thank you Russell, that answers all my questions.

Russell:  You are most welcome.

Another Student:  I have a question about the fourth striving: “The striving from the beginning of their existence 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.” What does that mean?

Russell:  Good question. The system began with what is called the Autoegocrat, which translates to myself I hold, myself I maintain. But when the Absolute ascertained that the Holy Sun Absolute was diminishing in volume, it became the Trogoautoegocrat, I eat myself and maintain, which implies a system of reciprocal maintenance, wherein the Absolute’s concerns were negated. 

The Fourth Striving is the first spark of that negation, and refers to the moment when a person awakens; that is, when they come into existence.

Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead,” which implies that people are asleep and will not experience the Kingdom of Heaven until they awake. 

In addition, the Bible says that before awakening, people do not have eyes to see nor ears to hear; and as such, are not responsible for their actions, but after awakening, they are. 

Which is further backed up by Jesus when says that only the Pharisees will have weeping and gnashing of teeth, because they are supposed to know the truth, and if they do not act accordingly, they will be held accountable for their actions. 

All of which refers to awakening, as was indicated by Jesus in the passage, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” 

So, after awakening, the Kingdom of God is within ourselves, and we become charged with the Fourth Striving.

Got it?

That is the model. The fourth striving says that from the moment we awaken, we have to pay for our arising and individuality as quickly as possible in order afterward to be free to lighten as much as possible the sorrow of our Common Father.

Student:  Thank you very much Russell, that is very clear now.  

One more question. What role does the Intellectual Center play in unifying our Instinctive, Moving, and Emotional centers? And, after awakening the Higher Emotional Center, what role does the Intellectual Center play in acquiring the Higher Mental Center?

Russell:  Firstly, the Intellectual Center is the only center that can comprehend the truth that is within The Blueprint of Consciousness and then use that truth to make the necessary force that is required to bring the three lower centers into alignment. Secondly, the Intellectual Center, after being purged by the newly awakened Higher Emotional Center, will combine with the Higher Emotional Center and together they will become the Higher Mental Center, wherein intelligence and conscience will be bound as one, which is probably why God referred to himself as, “I Am.” …. I, being His Intellectual Center, and Am, being His Higher Emotional Center.

Student:  Wow! Thank you sir. That is very clear.

Russell:  You are welcome.

Student:  I know I work from the bottom up. But now that I am awake, does my knowledge come from the Higher Mental Center, from the Intellectual Center, or from both?

Russell:  Well, if you are talking about a certain exercise that we do to get feedback from the Higher Mental Center, then it is from both. The Intellectual Center stands in two separate places. Firstly, it stands as the Intellectual Center, and secondly, it stands as the mechanical part of the Higher Mental Center. 

In the Intellectual Center, intelligence compares two things, whereas, in the Higher Mental Center, intelligence, which now stands as reason, is able to compare many things. 

The Intellectual Center uses formation, that is why it is called the formatory apparatus. It sparks reason by being able to make comparisons. But later, as I said, the Intellectual Center stands as the mechanical part of Higher Mental Center, wherein, it begins to use formulation by comparing many things, not just two.

Student: That really helps. I have a million more questions on that subject; and as such, I will keep working on them.

Russell:  Unfortunately, I only have 999,999 more answers, so hopefully, we won’t get to your millionth question!

(Students Laugh)

Student:  Okay, I have one final Question. On page 43 in The Blueprint of Consciousness, you make the statement, “He must have all seven stopinders functioning in him, for him to be complete.” What does that mean?

Russell:  That is a great question. I shall answer it by recanting part of The Blueprint of Consciousness:

Gurdjieff said, referring to the law of seven, “This law, passing through everything newly arising and everything existing, always makes its completing processes with its seven Stopinders.”

As such, the question now becomes, if something only makes it through five stopinders, what would we know about it?

We would know that it is not complete, because “everything existing, always makes its completing processes with its seven stopinders.”

If an acorn falls from a tree and rots, we know it is not complete, because it did not make it through all seven stopinders.

If it starts to grow, and the lawnmower gets it, it too is not complete.

Only things that traverse all seven stopinders are complete.

If we understood that, then it would be our lot in life to learn and understand the seven stopinders of man … so that we can become complete.

It is not enough for a man to be a good dancer, a good singer, to love his children, to have a master’s degree, to be socially kind, or to be a leader in his community. He must also possess Conscience, reason, and impartiality. He must have all seven stopinders functioning in him, for him to be complete.

Someone may be a great man, an honorable man, kind to his family, but dies like a dog because he does not develop his Higher Emotional Center and his Higher Mental Center.

A lot of people do a lot of things they should not be doing (according to what higher men should be doing).

Priests who abuse the choir boys cannot be touted as higher individuals.

They may be developed in several stopinders, but they cannot be called higher individuals if they abuse the choir boys, lack loyalty, intelligence, Conscience, reason, or impartiality. That is, they cannot be higher guys … even though they carry the title, “Priest.”

To be higher guys, they must traverse all seven stopinders.

That is why every day we should ask ourselves, “Are we working on all our stopinders?” That is, are we working on sensing and moving, smelling the roses, and doing exercises? Do we feel the meaning of things, love, joy, etc., which feeds our Emotional Center? Are we giving our Intellectual Center true uplifting data? Are we good social beings, ones who help others? Are we developing reason and impartiality?

Because only a man with all seven stopinders can be called complete.

A man can do many good things. But if he wants to cheat his neighbor, or punch someone because they support the other team, there is something wrong with him.

Unfortunately, most men only fulfill the first striving.

Those who are trying to work on the second striving, that is, on what they are supposed to be, usually get so much wrong information, that it is extremely easy for them to head off in the wrong direction.

If someone awakens, they usually awaken subjectively, and as such, they are unable to show others how to do it. Instead, they tell them to sit in a lotus position, stand in an ant hill, or scrub the temple floor for eight hours, which never took anyone anywhere.

It is a mess.

To get to where we are supposed to be, we must reawaken our Higher Emotional Center, and get our Conscience back.

If we acquire the fifth stopinder, we may be able to acquire the sixth stopinder, and obtain objective reason and impartiality.

Lastly, the seventh stopinder is filled by the hand of God reaching down and pulling us up to completion.

Okay. The bottom line is, we must acquire the sixth stopinder on our own, the stopinder between La and Ti.

But firstly, we need to acquire the fifth stopinder, the stopinder between So and La, and wake up Steward. Wherein, we will attain Conscience and self-consciousness.

It is not good enough to just have the four lower centers: The Instinctive, the Moving, the Emotional, and the Intellectual centers. We also need to acquire the two higher centers: the Higher Emotional, and the Higher Mental centers.

Then we may be able to feel the Hand of God reaching down and giving us a pull up.

That ends this question-and-answer session.

Thank you for listening.

If you have any questions that you would like answered, please send them to [email protected], and we will endeavor to answer them, and perhaps … even include them in a future podcast.  

Or if you would like to purchase Mr. Smith’s book The Blueprint of Consciousness, which is also available for PDF download, or learn more about the subjects and exercises we have been exploring, you can do so by going to thedogteachings.com.

That’s T H E D O G teachings DOT COM.

There, you will be able to obtain Mr. Smith’s diagrams, models, videos, and listen to other talks, as well as learn all the mathematics that supports them, and much, much more.

But most importantly, you will have real time access to the materials we are discussing.

That’s thedogteachings.com

Goodbye until next time.

Teachings based upon the works of R. A. Smith and G. I. Gurdjieff.

All material © 2020 THEDOG Publishing

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