from Nicoll Commentaries , pp. 1263-4
On one occasion I asked Gurdjieff, through an interpreter, whether it was necessary for everything to be overcome in oneself. He said: “No” and seemed then to speak in an indirect way more of the necessity of creating new attitudes to things so that, so to speak, it was comparable to crossing from one side to the other, as when crossing the road. I understood him to mean that if we remain with our present attitudes we are on one side but if we change attitudes we can go to the other side of ourselves. So I gathered that an attitude is always one-sided. He indicated that this was only possible if you took photographs of yourself. I head at different times later on that taking photographs of oneself was different from merely observing oneself at any particular moment. If your quality of self-observation is sincere and if it is not merely done out of a sense of being told to do it, these observations become liked, collect together, and form gradually a photograph of yourself over a considerable period of time. I think that Ouspensky called this a Time-Photograph or possibly one photograph of your Time-Body. When you have a photograph of yourself in this sense you see yourself as a certain kind of person over many years, perhaps back to childhood, governed by certain attitudes. This increase of consciousness shews the possibility of taking everything in another way, so it could be compared to crossing over to the other side of yourself from that side that has hitherto governed you by means of typical one-sided attitudes. Ouspensky once gave us an example of the following description. He said: “Try to notice what you object to in people, in politics, and so on, and try deliberately to think and talk from the opposite attitude.” You must understand that if we have fixed, acquired attitudes we will judge from those attitudes, in a mechanical, even automatic way, everything that happens. One should be able to read the papers without constantly saying “tut-tut” or feeling angry or depressed. Now, as mechanical people we study how to become more conscious. Amongst other things we have to try to become more conscious of our attitudes which have been laid down in us from early life from imitation of our elders or the romances of the period. Now, the difference between mechanical man and conscious man is that a mechanical man is in the prison of himself, and in this particular case he is imprisoned y his acquired mechanical attitudes, so that he can only see everything from one point of view, and a conscious man is one who is freed from these limiting one-sided attitudes. We understand that a conscious man can see things from different angles and, in fact, he can be conscious in the full swing of the opposites, so that neither one side nor the other side of the opposites governs him exclusively. You all know what it means to meet a man who has very strong and fixed attitudes, who rises to the top of life–that is, a man of limited one-sided being. He is called a strong man. He will judge, he will condemn, he will not forgive, a while side of life which a conscious man will never think of judging, condemning, of so violently not forgiving. All this arises from a lack of consciousness of oneself. One does not realize that one is much the same as the people one is condemning and judging and not forgiving because one is not conscious that one does the same things oneself. One has not observed it. So one can say such a man cannot cross the road and do things from the other side.