S3/E31: R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 20
R. A. Smith – Questions and Answers Part 20
In this episode, continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, we narrate a continuing dialogue between Russell and several of his students, covering topics such as the placebo effect, homeopathy, priest’s magnetism, A, B, and C influences, how to memorize something, the parable of the Talents, and the formation of time measurements. The transcript and diagrams for this podcast, can be found on our website at thedogteachings.com under Resources/Podcasts. Our unique 400 page E-book, entitled Gurdjieff: Cosmic Secrets – The TEACHING GUIDE available for download and study – an 8 day journey to awakening with exercises to work on being, and seven chapters explaining the diatonic nature of the universe, with an ultimate exercise to objectively awaken. Available here.
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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 continuing dialogue between Russell and several of his students, covering topics such as the placebo effect, homeopathy, priest’s magnetism, A, B, and C influences, how to memorize something, the parable of the Talents, and the formation of time measurements.
Student: If someone is going into the hospital, we say things like, we will be praying for you, we will be thinking of you, we love you. Are we saying those things for them, or to make ourselves feel better?
Russell: That is an excellent question. It does make us both feel better, but we also may know about the power of the placebo effect, which may help them heal. That is, if we tell them I am going to be praying for you, and that they will have a speedy recovery, I have inserted data into their mind, and to the extent that they believe that data, the placebo effect may be initiated.
Student: And, what about the water? We watched a movie regarding water in a jar that had different words written on the label, and they said that the water would become those words. Or, if you put something in the water, the water would always remember what you had put in it. I know you have concerns about that being in the movie. I don’t know if you have had a chance to research it, but we were wondering how that relates?
Russell: Ah, yes, the water.
I don’t think that water can read, but if it can, or if it remembers what it has come into contact with, then whatever you do, never drink water again, because everything that has been in it, has been said to it, or has been written on the label of the jar is going to be there.
That being said; I think the water thing is a case of speculation, conjecture, and guess.
Student: I would like to know, if people, through their thoughts, can affect the health of others?
Russell: Only if the others know about it, because they will have the placebo effect. If the others do not know about it, then there can be no influence on them whatsoever. That is, if somebody does voo-doo on them, it will have no effect unless someone tells them that somebody is doing voo-doo on them. So without the knowledge of it, it can have no effect.
I don’t believe in hocus-pocus, but I do believe in the placebo effect. I have witnessed that, and I have done it to myself through self-hypnosis; belief structures are very powerful things.
They have ads on TV that say, this drug gets 15% better results than a placebo. OMG, that means that a sugar tablet cured some people.
But, make no mistake, water is H2O, and I don’t care how you talk to it, it will still be H2O; and I don’t care what label you put on the jar, it will still be H2O.
According to rules and laws, water will never become what people think about it. Unfortunately, some people think that it will.
It all started with homeopathy. Some guy discovered that Quinine produced the same symptoms as Malaria. So he thought that if he gave people Quinine, their body would think that it had Malaria, and as such, would produce something that would fight Malaria. So he started giving people Quinine. The problem was, Quinine killed people. So it was like, well okay, let’s dilute it. So he started giving out dilutions of Quinine, and those dilutions still killed people. So he diluted it some more, and some more, and some more, and some more; and eventually, over time, he discovered that the more he diluted it, the better it worked, which makes no sense.
But because of that, it ended up becoming a belief structure. So now they give people what is called 30C dilution, which means that there is 1 molecule of medicine for every Novemdecillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) molecules of water (that’s a 1 followed by 60 zeros). Holy Moly, that much water would require a container 7 times the volume of the sun, or a container 30 billion times the size of the Earth, which means the medicine has been diluted beyond recognition. And yet, people get healed from it, and they believe that somehow the water, because the medicine was once in it, is going to heal them.
So that is why, people who believe in such nonsense, also believe that water can be affected by what someone thinks about it, or by the label they put on a jar.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is dangerous thinking. It is not true, do not accept it. It is beyond the rules and laws.
Student: What about the last part of the chapter “How can we gain attention?…” in Views from the Real World, where it talks about magnetism, saying, “In ancient times priests were able to cure disease by blessing. Some priests had to lay their hands on the sick person. Some could cure at a short distance, some at a great distance. A ‘priest’ was a man who had mixed substances and could cure others. A priest was a magnetizer. Sick people have not enough mixed substances, not enough magnetism, not enough ‘life’. This ‘mixed substance’ can be seen if it is concentrated. An aura or halo was a real thing and can sometimes be seen at holy places or in churches. Mesmer rediscovered the use of this substance.”
Russell: Yeah, we certainly have emanations. So there could be the possibility that a high enough being could have an influence at distance, because atmospheres can be stretched out and go beyond the confines of the physical body, so that does have some plausibility.
But in truth, that isn’t the way it is. People can only be healed by a priest if they know that the priest is trying to heal them. Again, the placebo effect.
Student: Are you saying that actual healing could be possible if the level of the applier was high enough?
Russell: Yes, perhaps. But no, not likely.
But the placebo effect can.
One of the things we do for people that are old and sick is to bring in some puppies, and let the puppies cure them. Does that make sense to you?
Student: They do that in Mexico City.
However, the puppies do not heal them, but they do make some of them feel better, which gives their body a better chance of healing itself, and as such, the puppies, in a way, have become participants in the healing. But by just having them in the nursing home, does not mean that everyone on the next floor is going to get healed.
I will tell you a true story: A student’s wife got cancer, so she came to Texas for 3 months and we did some laying on of hands, some meditation, and made positive suggestions, which, at the time, seemed pretty miraculous. But she was a willing participant in what we did: receptive to my laying on of hands, receptive to meditation, and receptive to the suggestions that we made; so, maybe it was not miraculous at all … just the placebo effect.
Then, after 3 months, she had to go back to England. Well, how are we going to work on her when she goes back to England? Okay, what we’ll do is, every Sunday when we have our class, we will start the class by getting ourselves into our highest place, and then we will send our thoughts and emanations across the ocean to England. So we did. And since she knew that we were going to be doing that, she would lay down on her bed, at the appropriate time, and get herself into her highest place.
Now, whether or not our emanations ever got out of the room, her laying there on the bed in her highest place, ready to receive them, made her a willing participant, which most likely allowed the healing properties of her own body to heal her, not to mention the placebo effect of knowing that we were also trying to heal her.
And months later, after the cancer had been driven into one spot, they were able to remove it.
But did we do that, or was that just the placebo effect?
So many things may help you heal, even the feeling of love. That is why they take puppies into the nursing homes, because, by feeling the unconditional love that you get from puppies, you will have the proper framework for the healing process to take place, as opposed to being in conditions where you feel suspicion, disliked, or hated.
We create, and affect our own chemistry; afterall, we are chemical factories. So why wouldn’t conducive atmospheres influence our machine? Even our own thoughts can. Here is a pill; it is a miracle cure. It can cure diabetes. It can cure gout. It has just been discovered … and you, my friend, get to be part of the test.
And of course, they give a sugar pill, but in your mind, they give you the real pill, and as such, you know that you are going to be cured. You have suffered so long, and now there is hope, now there is help, oh my goodness, I am taking the pill. I can feel it working. It is going to heal me.
You are activating your own chemistry.
The state of your mind changes the chemistry of your body, and allows the body to work its best, which destroys the disease.
Miraculously, some people get healed by a sugar pill. How do we explain that, except that their belief structures altered their chemistry.
It is not a miracle; it is called the placebo effect people.
Besides, if what people think can affect the health of another, then why didn’t Osama bin Laden just fall down dead? With all the evil thoughts that were being spewed in his direction he should have been riddled with all kinds of illnesses, sicknesses, and disease, right? And, where were all the voo-doo guys that could have cursed him and killed him quickly?
So, the bottom line says, “If you can’t kill-em at a distance, you can’t heal-em at a distance either.”
Student: Thank you Russell, that is so clear.
Russell: Great, I am glad. It is a glorious day when one can cast aside a false belief structure.
Okay, any other questions?
Student: I have been reading, in The Fourth Way, about influences A, B, and C; and I was wondering if you could talk about them?
Russell: Sure. I would be glad to do that.
The influences that are offered by life are called A-influences: the trash needs taking out, you have to go to work, you would like to go fishing, and that sign says no littering, etc. Those are A-influences. They are influences from life like, food, shelter, clothing, and what you need to do to procure them.
Then there are C-influences. C-influences are direct teaching from someone who knows, for example: if you decide that you want to play the violin, you might read a book about how to play the violin, which contains pictures about where to put your fingers, or how to push the bow, etc. But those would not be C-influences, they would be B-influences, because they were not personal instructions. However, if you went to Julliard, and put yourself under the tutelage of a master violin player, then those would be C-influences; because that master violin player could say to you, “Lift your elbow up a little bit more, hold your fingers like this, and push the bow forward in this manner.”
So, if there was someone there giving you direct feedback, or answering your questions, you would be under C-influences.
That master violin player has taken on the role of being a C-influence, and as such, has taught hundreds of people how to play the violin. However, if they wrote a book about violin playing, and put every model and technique in it; even showing pictures of how to push the bow, or where to put your fingers, it would still be a B-influence; because you could not ask the book any questions, and the book could not observe you, and give you tips on what to do.
So, the three influences are simple: C-influence is direct teaching, B-influence is the information left behind in books, and A-influence is whether or not you should wear earplugs at the next rock concert.
Does that work for you?
Student: Yes. That is very concise, and very clear, thank you.
Russell: Any other questions on influences?
Student: Well, right now we are receiving your leadership, so that means you are C-influence for us? Si?
Russell: Si … I mean “C.”
Students: Chuckle …
Student: I have a question. What is the best way to memorize something?
Russell: I will tell you what I do. For example, take The Toast of the Idiots, also known as the Science of Idiotism. If I decided that I wanted to memorize the Toast of the Idiots, I would first write it out on a notepad, so that my moving center started to learn it. Then, I would divide it into what I call ‘mouthfuls.’ Each mouthful would be separated by a slash. For instance, “There are twenty-one…” that is a mouthful, put a slash; “… gradations of reason…” that is another mouthful, put another slash; “…from that of the ordinary man…” slash; “…to that of Our Endlessness,…” slash; “…that is, God.” slash; “No one can reach…” slash; “…the Absolute Reason of God,…” slash.
Got the picture?
Student: Yes, it is like small sentences.
Russell: Well, yes, but not sentences, just mouthfuls. That is, pay no attention to punctuation. Just pay attention to mouthfuls. I don’t want to start with long sentences, I just want to start with mouthfuls.
So, firstly, I break the whole memory work into mouthfuls. And then, secondly, I read each mouthful three times out loud, firstly very slowly, then faster, and then as fast as I can.
Most importantly, I never take my eyes off of the words that I am reading, I do not want to start guessing. That is, I force my eyes to see each word ● “There” – “are” – “twenty-one” ● rather than just saying it once, “There are twenty-one,” and then closing my eyes and starting to guess. I want to make sure that I get the correct words imprinted on my eyes.
So, I never take my eyes off what I am reading. I force myself to see every word as I read them.
Okay. I do each mouthful three times, slower, faster, fastest; saying it aloud, and never taking my eyes off the notepad; never guessing.
I do every mouthful in this way, so that every mouthful gets the same number of repetitions. And, if I make a mistake, get tongue-tied, or for some reason just can’t even read it right, I whistle, to let myself know that I messed up; and, I start that mouthful over, until I am able to read it right three times.
In addition, if I run into a particularly tough mouthful, I might read it 8, 9, or 10 times, until I get it just right.
Once I have done every mouthful three times, I go back and lump the first two mouthfuls together, followed by a bigger slash. Then, the next two mouthfuls, and a bigger slash, and the next two, and the next two, and the next two, etc. So I now have two mouthfuls grouped together. I then read that bigger mouthful: “There are twenty-one gradations of reason…” slowly, faster, and as fast as I can. “…from that of the ordinary man to that of Our Endlessness,…” – whistling at any errors and starting that mouthful over if there are. I go through the entire memory piece two mouthfuls at a time; all the while making sure that I never take my eyes off the mouthful which I am reading.
When that is done, I lump four mouthfuls together; two-two’s.
I now have, “There are twenty-one gradations of reason from that of the ordinary man to that of Our Endlessness.” And I do every group of four, all the way through.
One cool thing about breaking it up into mouthfuls, is that the bigger mouthfuls tend to begin in one paragraph and end in the next. Thus, tying those two paragraphs together, and as such, carries me into the next paragraph with ease.
After doing those four mouthfuls together, I do eight, two groups of four, all the way through … and then sixteen … and then thirty-two … and then sixty-four; and I keep doing that until I have the whole memory piece as one big mouthful.
I am still reading it word for word, again never taking my eyes off the page, first slowly, then faster, and then as fast as I can; and, if I make a mistake, I whistle and start over, until I am able to read that mouthful three times, slowly, fast, faster, with no mistakes.
Having done that, the Toast of the Idiots is pretty much memorized.
Notice that every part of the “Toast” got the same number of repetitions as every other part. Therefore, it is strong all the way through.
In addition, if I am working on a particularly long piece, I will record the entire process in my tape recorder, so that, after I am done, I can play it back and listen to myself doing it.
I often get to the point where I can hear what is coming next on the tape, in my mind; and as such, I know that it is being memorized. And of course, I also hear where I made mistakes, which helps me eliminate them.
Then finally, I will once again get out my notepad, and write the Toast down from memory, and compare it to the original, or to my audio tape, in order to ensure that I have it perfectly.
After the process, the memory work has been embedded correctly in every center: the mouth has said the words correctly, the eyes have seen the words correctly, the ears have heard the words correctly, and the hand has written the words correctly.
Additionally, I will also change inflections as I read so that it is not in monotone.
When it is all said and done, I find that I am able repeat it perfectly any time I wish … and, surprisingly, it did not take me that much time to do.
That is my memory system, and why today, I can quote most of this work word for word.
Student: Thank you Russ!!! That sounds like a great system. It is different from what I have been doing by association. However, your technique sounds like a much better way of memorizing things than mine.
Russell: (slowly) You are most welcome … (faster) You are most welcome … (as fast as you can) You are most welcome.
Students all laugh.
Student: Hi Russell. I also have a question that is related to memory work.
I have observed in myself, after memorizing something, that some time later I forget the first things I have memorized, like the Aphorisms. I don’t have them as sharply as I used to. Any pointers?
Russell: Indeed. Memorization is an ongoing process. We want quality, yet we also want quantity. So, what you do is … once you memorize something, you make sure you repeat it.
That is, you go through a daily process, or a weekly process, of filling the moments in between with your past memory work. For instance: you repeat it while you are driving down the road, or while you are standing in line at the grocery store. You simply fill the moments in between with your past memory work, which will keep it fresh, as well as, imbed it deeper. If you do this, your early memory work will not evaporate.
It is called the law of use as told in the Bible, which inferred, “Whatever you don’t use, you lose.”
Here it is from memory … (boy Gary is going to kill me for getting him tongue tied)!
King James Version:
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
“And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
“But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
“And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
“He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
“His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
“Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Russell: Got it? “Whatever you don’t use, you lose” … not to mention the darkness and gnashing of teeth.
By the way, it is probably ok if some memory work falls away. I used to have some sales presentations memorized, but stopped repeating them when I changed jobs, and now they are gone and I can’t remember them.
However, I will not allow that to happen to the Aphorisms, the DOGTALES, or other memory work that I deem valuable, and as such, I recite them in my brain, which keeps them in my memory, and then, I of course, add more, so that my memory work not only gets bigger and bigger, but allows me to gain more “talents.”
Student: As you know, I went through the book with you and did The Objective Exercise several weeks ago. Ever since then, I have felt really great, even though I am somewhat kind of in a daze, still analyzing what happened to me, and getting more comfortable with the place. However, because of what has been happening to me, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for being found, how grateful I am for your book, and how grateful I am for having you as my teacher.
Russell: I too am glad you made the journey. You are a great student.
Student: With being a musician, and understanding the seven tones of the musical scale, eight if we go from Do to Do, is there any correlation between the seven tones of the musical scale and the seven days of the week, or how they make calendars, or the way that the earth goes around the sun?
Russell: That’s a good question.
The making of calendars is an artificial thing.
Let’s start with the days of the week. The reason they adopted the number seven for the days in a week, is because early man observed seven celestial bodies — the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. So, the number seven held particular significance to him.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were named after the celestial bodies, Saturn, Sun, and Moon; and the other days were named after Germanic gods: Tuesday (Tiw’s day), Wednesday (Woden’s day), Thursday (Thor’s day) and Friday (Freya’s day).
Okay, next we’ll do the months. They started off based on the 29.53 day orbital cycle of the moon, which Julius Caesar’s astronomers, in order to synchronize with the seasons, said there needed to be 12 months in a year, which were named after Roman leaders. Each month initially had 31 days, which of course, had to be adjusted in order to adhere to the equinoxes.
Okay, now onto the year. A ‘day’ is defined as the Earth rotating once on its axis, which the Earth performs 365.24 times a year. However, our calendar year only has 365 days. So, in order to compensate for the extra .24 of a day, which we gained every year, they had to add a day to the calendar every 4 years, during what is called a leap year. But by adding 1 day to the calendar every 4 years, when the actual time accumulated was .96 days (.24 days times 4), the extra .4 days that were acquired every 4 years, added up to an “extra day” acquired every 100 years. So in order to remove that extra day, they created what is called a leap century; and, in the leap year of that leap century, they did not add an extra day, in order to remove the extra day that had been acquired.
Does that help?
Student: Yes. I knew it had to be something like that, and was not based on the seven tones in music. Thank you very much.
Russell: You are welcome.
Any other questions?
Student: My question is, what is the difference between you and me?
Russell: Potentially, there is no difference. All men and women are created equal. We all have the same rights. That’s the beauty of it; we can all awaken.
I don’t know what goes on in your inner world, I can only speak for what goes on in mine. And as such, I do know that there is a stark difference between what went on in my inner world before I woke up, and what goes on in my inner world now that I am awake.
I can stop thoughts, and be silent; and I love it.
I love not having the commentators in there. I love being able to follow a thought. I love being able to have one line of thinking, without distractions. I love having ultimate concentration, and the ability to keep random thoughts out. I enjoy not having negative emotions, petty concerns, grievances, grudges, and the normal irritations of life, in my life.
I love the absence of those things.
Student: I understand, thank you very much.
Russell: My pleasure young man.
That ends today’s class, I will ‘leap’ back here next week!
Students: Laughter … see you then, sir, good night.
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 endeavour to include them in future podcasts.
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Goodbye until next time.
Teachings based upon the works of R. A. Smith and G. I. Gurdjieff.
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