After a “little” pause, I have returned to write more posts, and this time, I would like to speak about a topic which seems to be of specific interest to many people, as indicated by the emails I receive.
This topic is on the different “influences” which condition our lives.
Influence is one of those words which is worthwhile to linger on and ponder over.
So, we’ll speak here, about specific types of influences: psychological and behavioral.
Let’s begin with a simple statement: the first thing to be understood is that everything influences everything. This statement is the main premise toward understanding this interesting topic which surely will be of specific interest for the followers of the Gurdjieff teaching.
But, what does it mean to “influence”? Let’s answer this question using the etymological meaning of this word. Influence derives from the Latin term “in-fluere”, namely: to flow inside of something, to insinuate, to flood.
Influence is “the action of something that acts on someone else” – just the thing that I am doing at this moment, on everyone who reads these words. And it is exactly what creates in us everything we hear, see, read, etc.
“Everything influences everything”; so, in one way or another, in every moment, we influence everything and everyone and, at the same time, we are constantly influenced…. by everything and everyone.
Every feeling and every impression influences the perception we have about the world and about ourselves. Everything and everyone influences us, or could help de-condition us, releasing us from many distorted ideas we have about ourselves and, of course the world, including other people. It all depends on the kinds of influence.
It’s all about the difference in “influences”.
Gurdjieff systematized and summarized such a complex topic to three kinds of influences: A, B and C.
The first kind of influences, those of A type, are all the influences we had acquired since our birth – through the customs and traditions, beliefs, trends and superstitions of the time, place, family and society in which we had grown and developed.
Obviously, these kinds of influences are not “designed” to emancipate a human being; indeed, they keep us in a state of a “sleep of consciousness”.
Such kinds of influence are impelled by the race, the ethnicity, the family, and the society in general. These influences are transmitted through imitation, education and current ideas.
They bring a human being to the exactly opposite way of an emancipation, a condition of freedom, harmony and all those values which lead to greater pleasure and beauty; indeed, they keep us in a condition of hypnotic “sleep”, ignorance and mechanicalness which are the origins of every form of identification.
The B influences derive from the C influences (which we’ll speak about), and we acquire them through philosophies, the arts, rituals, religious knowing, and science.
In such kind of influences are “hidden” some “universal truths” which directly send messages to the true nature of a human being, his essence, gradually awakening it and structuring in those who are receptive, a “magnetic center”.
The magnetic center can be compared to the “crystallization” within us, of specific kinds of emotions, values and “extra-human” knowing of an order that doesn’t belong or depend on impermanent trends. Indeed, such kind of values and knowing are atemporal and universal.
All those who seek, specifically those who perform a work on themselves, are driven from this “magnetic center” that stimulates them to seek for those particular feelings and influences which could stop the “thirst” for truth, knowing, and beauty.
But the magnetic center shapes only in those who have an inner predisposition towards such kind of influences. Said in mere words, in some people some “truths” resonate, while in others, it passes totally ignored without leaving any trace.
The C influences come directly from a School of Knowing, the Sacred Science or from an individual who has come into direct contact with such sources.
It is said that such sources exist since time immemorial, before any religion, philosophy, ideology, or science (as we know it today).
There are many kinds of Schools, and in everyone it is possible to achieve the theoretical and practical knowing able to allow (paraphrasing Gurdjieff’s words), to a harmonious development according to a “real knowing” about the principles which drive the world we inhabit.
There are several examples of such Schools such as the Mystery Schools in Egypt, the Pythagorean and others which existed both in the East and the West, of which we haven’t any information. Such schools “emanated” their influences on everyone who had a developed “magnetic center”, about which I’ll speak in a further post.