S4/E07: Laying Waste to the Tower of Babel
Published August 12th, 2021
Laying Waste to the Tower of Babel Questions and Answers Part 29:
In this episode, continuing our talks on Work questions and answers, we will narrate a dialogue between Russell and one of his students concerning the Viewing Without Verbalizing exercise, the Objective Laughing and Objective Crying exercises, the speeds of centers, intentional observation, laying waste to the Tower of Babel, and Gurdjieff’s chapter on Fears – identification.
The transcript, as well as any diagrams for this podcast, can be found on the podcast episode page here.
Our new 520 page hardback, entitled The Blueprint of Consciousness, is now available for order 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.
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 one of his students concerning the Viewing Without Verbalizing exercise, the Objective Laughing and Objective Crying exercises, the speeds of centers, intentional observation, laying waste to the Tower of Babel, and Gurdjieff’s chapter on Fears - identification.
Russell: Good evening, do you have any questions for me today?
Student: No, just observations.
Russell: Terrific, that makes my job a lot easier.
Student: I feel like I am supposed to have a lot of questions, but I do not. Is that justification?
Russell: No, that is reality. The more truth, the fewer the questions.
Student: I am still working on the “Viewing Without Verbalizing exercise.” My eyes are beginning to move faster than my thoughts, and as such, there is a period where labeling does not occur, until such time as my intellect catches up.
Russell: That is fantastic.
Student: So, does it sound like I am doing it right?
Russell: Yes, it does.
Student: In addition, I have been spending a lot of time stopping thoughts.
Russell: Very good.
Student: There is a place where I can stop impressions. And a place on the other side of that where even though there is a flood of impressions, it is still without thoughts.
Student: I don’t know what that means.
Russell: It means that the higher parts of your centers are beginning to function; that’s what it means.
You are going to find many things that happen without thought - happen in quiet places; manifestations without inner dialogue and critique.
Student: That sounds quite pleasant.
All the exercises are quite pleasant, with the exception of Orage’s counting exercise. However, I am still performing it for 10 minutes each night.
Russell: Super. That is plenty.
Student: Yeah. I still have some resistance to doing it, but that is fine, I guess.
Russell: Yes it is. Nothing comes without resistance.
Student: Indeed, that is so true.
I do have another question. In thinking about the reins, how may I increase the thickness of my reins, with the aim of increasing the valuation of the work through the Emotional Center?
Russell: By, firstly, becoming more emotional, and secondly, by controlling those emotions.
The Objective Laughing and Objective Crying exercises are good for that.
I once told one student who wanted to be more emotional, to go lock himself in the bathroom and do the Objective Laughing exercise. That is, to make the sounds of laughter until he actually started to laugh, which he did, reporting that he had the best laugh of his life. He then exclaimed, the more he laughed for no reason at all, the funnier it became … and then when he saw himself locked in the bathroom laughing hysterically, he laughed even harder; to where tears came. So, he switched to the Objective Crying exercise, and began to intentionally produce the sounds that people make when they are crying, which evoked his tears even more. He then paused and said, Russ, I now know how to be emotional; and, because of that, I can turn it on at will and turn it off at will. What an amazing exercise. Just by doing what you told me to do, my emotions are in my control, it is like having my finger on a light switch. This waking up stuff is pretty amazing.
Student: I will do that; and, I sense, I will get similar results.
Russell: Terrific. I can’t wait to hear about them.
Life itself is often very funny; and, it is good to laugh. Laughing is kind of artificial self-remembering; that is why we find it easy to remember jokes.
Student: Yes sir, I am going to lock myself in the bathroom, and soon as this call is over.
Russell: Well, you do not have to actually lock yourself in the bathroom. He was in circumstances where the bathroom was his only place of privacy … but, you can, if you wish.
Student: Okay, I got it.
Russell: Gurdjieff said, we are not emotional enough. So we should learn to be emotional.
You can also do something similar with just thoughts.
What I did was think of things that made me emotional. They do not have to be unpleasant thoughts, but at first, mine were. I thought of my mom being run over by a tractor, my kids having their heads cut off, and my dog dying. I know, I know, horrific thoughts, but they worked. Then, I learned to formulate uplifting thoughts, which also made me emotional, and whether they were pleasant or unpleasant, when they came, I directed them. It was like, okay, I am going to ride this horse and direct its movements. Doing so, taught me how to pull on the reins, spur the horse, move left or right, or direct him to the barn. But I had to get him running first.
Student: Wow. That sounds awesome. I will try that.
Russell: If you learn to Objectively Laugh, Objectively Cry, or create emotions in you with just thoughts and control them, a ‘something’ will be generated in you that will transcend description.
Gurdjieff told us that the knowledge may be in the driver, the ability may be in the carriage, but the power is in the horse.
Not to mention the fact that right emotions work 30,000 times faster than instinct and movement, which in turn work 30,000 times faster than thought, and because of that, you have an advantage.
Student: Ahhh. That is why Gurdjieff said, if one feels one’s own existence, he can heal himself, which was the purpose of the “I AM” exercise.
Russell: That is correct. A faster center, doing the work of a slower center, can produce what seems to be a miracle. However, it is not a miracle; it is just a center that does, in one second, eight and a half hours worth of work, whereas the slower center only does one second’s worth of work. Thus, his healing prowess is tremendously sped up.
Student: What an awesome idea. I guess that is why people say, “It came to me in a flash,” or “I caught it without even thinking.”
Okay, so where do we place the emotional energy? Can it be placed anywhere in the body as long as it is conscious and deliberate?
Russell: Yes Ma’am, it can. You can place the emotional “rush” you feel, when you do your “I AM” exercise, in your sprained ankle, in your sore throat, or wherever.
And again, if you have an emotion that is negative, just turn into a positive one. It is like a horse that gets stung by a bee and starts running. All you have to do is direct its gallop, and aim it in the direction that you wish it to go. Do you see what I’m saying?
Student: Yes, I do. I really do.
Russell: Great. Soon, you will be the master of your false personality. I will mention that your false personality does not want you to awaken, because it enjoys living in the world of illusion; the world of make believe.
False personality was attracted to the work because it thought that by being awake, it would have power over other people, instead of having power over oneself. Which is okay in the beginning, but later on, one must come to ‘right’ work; and, to the right reasons for doing the ‘right’ work.
But, as I said, it is okay in the beginning.
Case in point: One student came to the school because she was interested in having a relationship with another student, not because she wanted to work on herself. But that was okay, it brought her here. It got her interested. Then, in order to impress the other student and kindle a relationship, she started working on herself. And, even though she came for the wrong reason, her being here changed her, to where she no longer was doing what she did for fraudulent reasons, but for real reasons.
By the way, she did end up marrying the other student, but not because she was pursuing him, but because, after working on herself and waking up, they had many things in common.
Real work has a way of changing you. Thus, it doesn’t matter why you came, it only matters why you stay.
So, that being said, find ways to be emotional: Objective Laughing, Objective Crying, or conjuring up of thoughts that create joy, gratitude, or fear, etc.; and, once you get the horse moving, pull on the reins and steer it in the direction you wish it to go.
Student: I will sir. I will.
Positive emotions are starting to come more each day, which is quite wonderful. Sometimes they are not associated with thoughts, and sometimes they are.
Russell: Great. You will discover many subtle things about emotions, but mostly you will discover that emotions are about feeling, as opposed to being about sensing or thinking.
Gurdjieff used this example: We get into a taxi cab and the being of the cab driver makes us feel ill-at-ease, and then we get into another taxi cab and the being of that cab driver makes us feel at-ease; something in us emotional feels their being, which either makes us feel ill-at-ease or at-ease.
That is emotion, and it comes without words.
It is a way of perceiving the world that is beyond sight, beyond hearing, beyond taste, beyond touch, and beyond smell, where we actually begin to recognize the world through feeling.
Student: Yes, I can see that. I am just now beginning to feel what things are, which is great. However, I have no idea whether or not my feelings are real or false. But, they are there.
Russell: That is terrific. They will become more discernible, the more often they are experienced. But for now, just keep taking the medicine.
Student: I will.
At present, the only time I register emotions is when they are a bit more intense than usual, and then it is easy for me to say, oh, I think that is an emotion.
Russell: That is law-conformable.
Just remember that the key word is attention; that is what you must acquire. If today you decide to bring attention to your movements, and tomorrow to your sensations, and yet on another day, to your emotions, then do just that. Bring attention to the remembrance of that as often as you can, and keep attention on your centers for as long as you can.
If you say, okay, today I am going to observe my movements, then try to see everything that moves, and confirm what you have seen in your mind.
That might go on for 2, 3, or 4 minutes until you get distracted and forget. If that happens, the key then is to see that you forget and bring yourself back to remembering and try again.
Student: Yes. Repeated efforts towards a definite aim.
So pick one, do one, and, with attention, work on all sides of yourself.
The light of attention will cause things to change.
Say, “Today, I want to register sensations, I want to be aware of everything that I see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. I wish to observe them all.” Of course, minutes after saying that, you will forget, which is law-conformable.
Then, when you see that you forgot, start again.
The times between forgetting will shorten, and the times of remembering will lengthen, until you are able to forget and remember by choice. Then, you will be the master of your Universe.
Student: Wow! What an amazing and simple concept. No blame or frustration for forgetting, just moments of remembrance and restarting. I like that.
Student: I had a moment of doing just that with my daughter while we were making Christmas dinner. And it came out of an attempt I made to observe my sensations.
Russell: Well, fantastic. You are moving in the right direction, just keep doing the things you are doing. And remember, the more often you do them, the better you will get.
Student: Yes sir.
Russell: Okay, how was Sunday’s class?
Student: Well, we worked on internal and external considering. It was fun to be able to gather together and recognize that we each had our own agenda. There was conflict in the group; a palpable desire for authority and control, which was pretty interesting to observe, and those involved did quite well diffusing it.
Our reading was wonderful. We were reading about the three centers that are needed for awakening. Everyone got it and was quite excited; including the students who have not yet gone to Texas, because they saw the real possibility of themselves awakening.
We also discussed outer octaves, as well as the chart of the 6p octave: how the notes of the 6p octave were a configuration of notes in other octaves, which was quite stimulating.
Russell: That is terrific. With that knowledge, you will be able to see what Gurdjieff called, “The-obligatory-gap-aspects-of-the-unbroken-flowing-of-the-whole.”
Student: Yes indeed. We also discussed the gaps, and how the Higher Emotional Center and the Higher Mental Centers begin to function when we awaken, as well as, how The Objective Exercise catapults one past the gaps, which causes that to happen. And when we did, those who have not yet visited you in Texas, became even more excited, especially since they could see the changes in we who have.
All that being said, it was a very productive gathering.
Student: Yes, it was quite remarkable … because we were quite remarkable … because you are quite remarkable.
In association with that, a friend of mine asked me if he could meet you in January, when you visit us, and I said sure, I am certain that you would be most welcoming. He then asked if we could go through the book together before you arrived, which I thought was wonderful.
Russell: You betcha. That will be great practice for you.
Student: I agree. I told him I would call him on Thursday; and, based on his schedule, work out when we can get together ... and yes, it will be great practice for me. To have a chance to work those muscles is quite important, and the possibility of doing that has suddenly just dropped in my lap. Wow, I am going to have the opportunity by teaching someone else, to learn even more.
Russell: Yes, ma’am. Fortunately, you have something objective to teach him that is not up for subjective interpretation. It is an objective study, which is important, because we often come from different parts of the world, and as such, grow up differently. We have different parents, we went to different schools, we received different impressions, and many of us speak different languages. However, with the simple mathematics found in my book, we will share something in common. Something that will be interpreted in the same way, and with it, we will be able to awaken. And when we do, we will no longer be different.
Student: Oh, isn’t that the truth. We were just reading about that in Views from the Real World, regarding the subjectiveness of language, and how, even with the same language, the same words mean different things to different people. No wonder there was a Tower of Babel.
Russell: Yes, ma’am. That is exactly how it is.
Student: Oh, and sometimes it is so sad, because we cannot express it as being otherwise.
Russell: That is correct.
Student: I often wonder if we will be able to lay waste to the Tower of Babel.
Russell: Well, after awakening the world, the Tower of Babel will be no more, as everyone will have common understanding. But, until then, the best we can do is understand ourselves.
Student: Hear, hear.
So, how long will you be staying in January?
Russell: I have no idea what they have me scheduled for.
Student: Are you open to staying a bit longer?
Russell: Of course. I am there to do whatever anyone wants me to do. However, one of the folks in your group asked me if he could fly back with me and spend the remainder of his vacation here; and another student that you do not know, who is coming to visit in January, wanted to come with me to Arizona, which kind of has me somewhat committed; but other than that, I am open to anything.
Student: So your thoughts are to be here for the weekend?
Russell: My thoughts are to have no thoughts at all.
Student: Right, excuse me, yeah, I just put that back on you, didn’t I?
Russell: No problem, like I said, outside of other commitments, whatever anyone needs me to do, I will do. Afterall, my wish is to advance the work of Gurdjieff and help as many people as I can to awaken. So far, the best way of doing that has been for me to take folks one at a time. It is much easier to individually awaken someone, than it is to do lectures and try to awaken a group. I really don’t think I can do much through group therapy, except to give people a warm feeling, which they could have gotten from a hot bath.
Student: Yes, I agree with you. The difference between your visits here, as wonderful as they are, compared to my visits there, are not even close. On my first visit, you meticulously took me through the book and showed me how to awaken, and on my second, you guided me through the Master Exercises. I can now see how, in an auditorium full of people, you could not have done either. Except perhaps, as you said, give them a warm feeling.
Russell: Yes … but yet that could be valuable, because people would be able to see that there is an objective way to awaken; and as such, they might wish to pursue it. But, oh my God, because of the way I customize the teaching, I can’t do it with thousands in an auditorium.
Someday perhaps, I will be able to find a way of arranging my customized teachings to where the journey can be shared with thousands.
Student: Yes. I, too, can see that happening.
Note: Russell’s statement of, “Someday perhaps, I will be able to find a way of arranging my customized teachings to where the journey can be shared with thousands,” has finally come to fruition. His journey to awakening has been placed in The Blueprint of Consciousness, so that everyone, everywhere, can take the journey with him.
Now, back to the talks with a student.
Russell: Well, how is the chapter on Fears - identification in View from the Real World going? I know you wanted to memorize it.
Student: Ah, well, I haven’t been reading it, but I have been listening to tapes of me reading it. Is there anything specific that you would like me to do?
Russell: Other than getting it memorized, no.
Student: Yes, that is what I am slowly, and constantly, working toward.
Russell: Well, that is great. When you commit it to memory, it will no longer be Gurdjieff’s, it will be yours, and you will be able to recite it anytime you wish ... just like I am going to do now, and recite it from memory to you:
Russell, quoting Gurdjieff: Essentuki, 1917, Fears - identification … “Sometimes a man is lost in revolving thoughts which return again and again to the same thing, the same unpleasantness, which he anticipates and which not only will not but cannot happen in reality.
These forebodings of future unpleasantnesses, illnesses, losses, awkward situations often get hold of a man to such an extent that they become waking dreams. People cease to see and hear what actually happens, and if someone succeeds in proving to them that their forebodings and fears were unfounded in some particular instance, they even feel a certain disappointment, as though they were thus deprived of a pleasant expectation.
Very often a man leading a cultured life in cultured surroundings does not realize how big a role fears play in his life. He is afraid of everything: afraid of his servants, afraid of the children of his neighbor, the porter in the entrance hall, the man selling newspapers around the corner, the cab-driver, the shop assistant, a friend he sees in the street and tries to pass unobtrusively so as not to be noticed. And in their turn the children, the servants, the hall porter, and so on, are afraid of him.
And this is so in ordinary, normal times but, at such times as we are going through now, this all-pervading fear becomes clearly visible.
It is no exaggeration to say that a great part of the events of the last year are based on fear and are the results of fear.
Unconscious fear is a very characteristic feature of sleep.
Man is possessed by all that surrounds him because he can never look sufficiently objectively on his relationship to his surroundings.
He can never stand aside and look at himself together with whatever attracts or repels him at the moment. And because of this inability he is identified with everything.
This too is a feature of sleep.
You begin a conversation with someone with the definite aim of getting some Information from him. To attain this aim you must never cease to watch yourself, to remember what you want, to stand aside and look at yourself and the man you are talking to. But you cannot do it. Nine times out of ten you will become identified with the conversation and instead of getting the information you want, you will yourself tell him things you had no intention of telling.
People have no idea how much they are carried away by fear. This fear is not easily defined. More often than not it is fear of awkward situations, fear of what another man may think. At times this fear becomes almost a mania.”
Russell, to the student: And soon, as I said, it will be yours. Then you can carry it with you wherever you go, and everytime you recall it, you will have a greater and deeper understanding of it. I mean, here we are 105 years later, and it still applies. Not to mention that you trained your driver, and gave him some intellectual prowess; real intellectual prowess.
Student: Yes, indeed. That is what I want; intellectual prowess, and I am certain I am going to get it.
As you memorize, sometimes you will move fast, and sometimes you will move slow. But, you are right, as long as you keep moving in a fixed direction you will get it. Therefore, it is no longer a question of if, but of when.
We are like a river. We start off very small and then we grow. We twist and we turn, and sometimes we go in the wrong direction, but we always keep flowing towards the ocean.
Student: I’m on it.
I am also starting my second JigSaw puzzle, 1200 pieces; it is sitting on a drafting table at a precarious angle, so each time I walk into the room, it makes itself known!
Student: My friend is coming over tomorrow, and we will be working on internal and external considering, as well as reading the Commentaries.
One other question. There is a lovely aspect to not being around other people; it is solitudinal. I know that it’s important to be around other people, and to do Second Line work, but sometimes, I just don’t want to be around them, is that okay?
Russell: Certainly. That is okay.
Before I awoke, my center of gravity was in others, but after I awoke, my center of gravity shifted to being within myself. I suppose that's why the image we have of Yogis is of some guy sitting in a cave all by himself on top of a mountain.
Russell: Any other questions for me?
Student: No, my dog is ready to go out, and he won’t stop barking.
Russell: Dogs are wonderful.
Student: Yes they are; they are so sweet.
Russell: Isn’t it amazing that dogs have no reason, and yet, are loyal; and we, as human beings, have reason, and are not.
Student: I have often thought about that.
Fortunately, now that you are awake, you can choose to be loyal, whereas dogs cannot, which makes you even higher than dogs, because for you, loyalty has become a choice.
Student: Yes, indeed.
Well, I look forward to talking with you next week, and then seeing you the week after that.
Thanks for everything, and give my love to everyone at the school.
Russell: You are most welcome; and, I will.
That ends today’s podcast.
Thank you for listening.
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Goodbye until next time.