Precessional Time: Working with Ideas

My third book, Precessional Time and the Evolution of Consciousness is my slimmest (surely a virtue) about how we work with ideas. It has its own conjunctions and disjunctions; where conjunctions are discovered meanings and disjunctions are changes in direction. The book is dominated with the cyclic metaphors of the

  1. Tone Circle of 1st Millennium BC tuning theory (Ernest McClain),
  2. The narrative structure called Ring Composition, found within ancient texts (Mary Douglas) and
  3. The Enneagram brought to the West by George Gurdjieff.

A key power of such cyclic structures is that they belong to a species of Media in which consciousness is both portrayed as a process and freed from the normalising identification with an idea often found in our World View (or paradigm about how “the world” – our environment – works.) As Gurdjieff in particular made clear, identification is part of the world process over which the human mind has to struggle, just like the hero in a mythic tale – within a ring composition – must struggle (as protagonist of the narrative) with an antagonistic force that binds his or her struggle as a demon, dragon, tyrant, etc. preventing a golden fleece, holy grail or other treasure being recovered (Joseph Campbell).

My vision of such structures of meaning, as an essential medium for dis-identification (through John Bennett, student of Gurdjieff, and his student Anthony Blake), enabled me to link the paradigms of different human civilizations with a likely narrative linked to the cosmic phenomenon called the Precession of the Equinoxes or Great Year, a cycle lasting 25920 years. The human predicament would then have to enact civilizations to raise the living world into the realm we then experience with our minds. (I made a film)

It may seem a mystery why working with ideas should be important (it being a line of work placed alongside work on oneself by Gurdjieff), but a core realisation of non-identification is that, the three forces which created the world have recombined. The mind, when it experiences the world, is therefore identified with its is-ness, which appears fixed – a terminus of meaning. It is only when the three forces (shown clearly in the Enneagram) becomes separated to form a journey into meaning (as in Ring Composition) that the intervals between parts of “the world” separate the will, being and function, within situations including ourselves, to so continue, in miniature, the life of a creative universe.

The Enneagram


  1. Ernest McClain, 1976, The Myth of Invariance, New York: Shambhala.
  2. Douglas, Mary,2007, Thinking in Circles.
  3. Peter Ouspensky,1950, In Search of the Miraculous, 285-9, 376-8.
  4. Joseph Campbell, , 1949, Hero with a Thousand Faces.
  5. John Bennett, 1965, Dramatic Universe vol. 3 Man and his Nature.
  6. Anthony Blake, 1996, The Intelligent Enneagram.