Gurdjieff’s Diagram of Everything Living

first created: 28 October 2017

Gurdjieff first presented his ideas to groups in pre-revolutionary Russia. Amongst his carefully chosen students it was the habit to reconstruct talks and diagrams as much as possible, an endeavour that gave us a textbook of Gurdjieff’s ideas called In Search of the Miraculous (P.D. Ouspensky, 1950). This early form of the teaching was radically revised and extended by Gurdjieff, now as an author, during the 1920s, producing All and Everything whose part one was Beelzebub’sTales to his Grandson (G.I. Gurdjieff, 1950). Prior to drawing this diagram just after February 1917, Gurdjieff had been presenting ideas about transformation of energies, human and cosmic, using the musical theory surrounding the octave of eight notes. The Diagram of Everything Living was “still another system of classification… in an altogether different ratio of octaves… [that] leads us beyond the limits of what we call ‘living beings’ both higher [and lower] than living beings. It deals not with individuals but with classes in a very wide sense.”

Figure 1 The Diagram of Everything Living
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Legominism and the Three Worlds

Above: Altaic shaman’s drum depicting the cosmos

The general ordering of the cosmos throughout history was phenomenological, following the very apparent division between the sky and the earth, with the living principle between called a “middle earth”. A summation of its symbolism was placed within Dante’s trilogy The Divine Comedy; of an inferno, purgatory and paradise which were the three worlds of the geocentric experience. But how does it come about that the phenomenological was translated into ancient literature, buildings or, as Gurdjieff names these, legominisms in the literal sense of being made of meaning-making and the naming of things – a power given to Adam but not the angels.

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A Yoga drawn from Celestial Metaphor

  • The sun of the mind at dawn rises from the grip of not knowing.
  • The sun of the mind at dusk drops into exhausted non-attachment.

This “metaphor” was all too real in the India that gave birth to Yoga, since the light of the sun illuminates the objects conceptualized by the mind. Through the illumination of objects, the mind attaches the desire to participate, own, use and identify with objects and scenarios concerning them and other persons.

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Evolving Intelligence of the Biosphere:

An Essay from DuVersity Newsletter 35 – 2014

The Light and Dark, as Value and Fact, could be viewed as reconciled by an evolved mind, within the biosphere. They could indeed be the cause of the arising of proto-minds, since existential situations in the Biosphere are of value for its beings whilst being factual. As Bennett points out, sex and death are innovations of the biospheric world, and we can now date their arrival during the Cambrian “explosion” (around 542 million years ago) when plants and animals (multicellular life forms) innovated sex to reproduce their organisms as a whole as well as regenerating their cells through cell division. Animals, unlike single-celled algae, are able to express action but must die to benefit from generational improvement by natural selection. Only by such means could the three brains of humans, motive, emotive and cognitive, be selected through their effectiveness in adaptation to living conditions within a variety of different biomes.

But there have been problems for humans in their maintaining a shared cultural harmony towards nature and the biosphere, due to the success of their cognitive brain capacity to solve environmental problems based upon facts. Technologies can arise whose consequences may conflict with social values that are somewhat weakly held to. Arguments can break out over values and the impact of technologies and those that wield them, but the factual benefits generally dominate other human views. The environmental argument is being lost whilst technology becomes an ever stronger threat to the biosphere as we know it. The modern world is simply the latest and greatest in which actions often clearly go against valuing the environment over the wealth it can create, and better-off populations have become used, inured and psychically hardened to human and biospheric tragedy.

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Sacred Geometry: Language of the Angels

Pages: 288
Book Size: 8 x 10
ISBN-13: 9781644111185
Imprint: Inner Traditions
On Sale Date: January 5, 2021
Format: Hardcover Book
Illustrations: Full-color throughout

For further details of the book look at the growing Publisher pages for it at Inner Traditions.

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).

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