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June 14, 2011

The SLUGS

On G. I. Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson

 
Section II

3.  The Heart & the Emotional Centre

Beelzebub most frequently refers to humans as“your favorites” and as those three-brained or three-centered beings breeding upon planet Earth: 

“… they, like every other three-brained being of the whole of our Great Universe, have three separately independent spiritualized parts, each of  which has, as a central place for the concentration of all its functioning, a localization of its own which they themselves call a ‘brain’ ….”   (p. 480)

Humans are three-brained beings and impressions arising from within or without will be perceived independently by these three aspects of a person’s presence.  Each brain will experience according to the nature of the impressions and the independent associations or responses evoked.  Gurdjieff refers to these three localizations as: “thinking center, feeling center and moving-motor center.” (p. 1172)  On other occasions, the moving-motor center is referred to as the moving-instinctual center.  This triune distinction is most important to understand.  Humans experience and function mentally, emotionally and physically–enabling thinking, feeling and sensation/action. 

 Beelzebub identifies each brain or center with different anatomical structures where it is localized.  The intellectual or thinking center is associated with “the head of each one of them,” or “as the terrestrial learned call them, the ‘cells-of-the-head-brain.”  The second brain–the moving-instinctual center–is identified with the “vertebral column,” the spinal cord and in particular with the “‘brain notes’ of their spinal marrow.” (p. 779)

 The emotional or feeling center is a third independent brain.  In his Tales, Beelzebub tells an unusual tale about the fall of those three-brained beings on planet Earth and how the center of their emotional life changed: 

“... in the beginning these three-brained beings of the planet Earth ... had this concentration (the emotional center), similarly to us, in the form of an independent brain localized in the region of their what is called ‘breast.’ 

 

“But from the time when the process of their ordinary being-existence began particularly sharply to change for the worse, then Nature ... was compelled, without destroying the functioning itself of this brain of theirs, to change the system of its localization.

 

“That is to say, she gradually dispersed the localization of this organ, which had its concentration in one place in them, into small localizations over the whole of their common presence, but chiefly in the region of what is called the ‘pit of the stomach.’  The totality of these small localizations in this region they themselves at the present time call the solar plexus or the ‘complex of the nodes of the sympathetic nervous system.’”   (pp. 779-780)

Beelzebub in fact does not explicitly state that the heart is this independent brain in the region of the breast. What this brain is, is not commented upon further, at least explicitly.  However, we can draw the inference, which seems fairly straightforward, that the heart was the original center of the emotional life.

However, among the three-brained men-beings on planet Earth, the heart is no longer the center of the emotional life and the emotional reactivity has been dispersed to the solar plexus and other nerves of the sympathetic system. Beelzebub is thus suggesting that humans ordinarily are not properly centered within the heart and the emotional center, but that the solar plexus and “pit of the stomach” became the primary localizations for emotional reactivity.  1

In describing the strange psyche of those three brained beings on planet Earth to his grandson Hassein, Beelzebub, explains how self-love, vanity, egoism, vanity, cunning and so forth, came to be crystallized in the beings’ presences, so that they were no longer capable of experiencing the sacred being-impulses, especially Love.  Instead, the person is typically imprisoned by narcissism in its varied forms. So-called love is based on self-love, centered more in the solar plexus or genitals, than in that “independent brain localized in the region of their what is called ‘breast.’” (p. 780) 

This shift of the emotional center is of profound importance and helps us understand the degradation of the human psyche and why humans no longer experience the “sacred being-impulses.” Beelzebub, like all other Tetartacosmoses within the Universe, has the center of his emotional life within this “independent brain” in the region of “the breast” but unfortunately, humankind’s has dispersed into the “pit of the stomach” and the nerve nodes of the autonomic system.   2    This shift is related to the ‘egoism’ which became so crystallized in those strange three-brained beings and which usurps the role of real ‘I.’  Beelzebub explains: “... this said ‘Unique-property’ egoism usurped the place of the ‘Unique-All-Autocratic-Ruler’ in their general  organization.” (p. 380)


                   1    The sympathetic nervous system consists of two nerve tracts that extend from the base of the skull and run parallel to the vertebral column but outside of it. The nerve tracts branch to different plexuses such as the solar, cardiac and hypogastric plexuses, and then to different organs of the body. The illustration depicts the autonomic nervous system composed of the complementary sympathetic and the para-sympathetic nerves.  The sympathetic system is active during the fight and flight syndrome of arousal, while the para-sympathetic system is dominant during the relaxation response.  The autonomic nervous system exerts a widespread influence on the organs (smooth muscles) and glands of the body, the breath and the heartbeat.  The solar plexus is the largest of the autonomic nerve plexus and a particularly important center for emotional reactivity, related to the organs of the viscera (i.e., the stomach and intestines) and the adrenal glands.  

2  Dr. Holmes’ (2010) series, Within-Without from Zero Points, offers extensive elaborations of “the heart doctrine.”  Book I, The Heart Doctrine: Mystical Views of the Origins and Nature of Human Consciousness, examines the physical, spiritual and divine dimensions of the human heart while drawing from diverse mystical, spiritual and esoteric teachings.  In light of the complexity of ‘the heart doctrine,’ we can understand why Gurdjieff as Beelzebub did not actually name this “independent brain” as being the heart, which people would then imagine that they understood as simply referring to a physical organ.   Gurdjieff, in Views from the Real World (1975), notes: “There do exist inquiring minds, which long for the truth of the heart, seek it, strive to solve the problems set by life, try to penetrate to the essence of things and phenomena and to penetrate into themselves.”  (p. 43)

Beelzebub describes the ‘chief particularity’ of your favorites as their periodic impulse to engage in the horrible processes of “the destruction of each other’s existence,” or ‘war.’   However, he lists other characteristics and impulses related to the same false ‘egoism’ crystallized in their presences, which also became dominant within the strange psyches of your favorites—such things as ‘self-love,’ ‘vanity,’ ‘pride,’ ‘self-conceit,’ ‘credulity,’ ‘suggestibility,’ ‘cunning,’ and much more as illustrated throughout the Tales.  Beelzebub explains that when the false egoism and its secondary impulses were formed in their presences and the impulse of ‘conscience’ no longer functioned in them, then they have since:

 “…always striven and still continue to strive to arrange their welfare, during the process of their ordinary existence, exclusively for them themselves.

 

“It is just this exclusive regard for their own personal welfare that has gradually crystallized in them the already quite particularly unprecedented and peculiar properties of their psyches which I have cited, as for instance ‘cunning,’ ‘contempt,’ ‘hate,’ ‘servility,’ ‘lying,’ ‘flattery,’ and so on, which in their turn, on the one hand are factors for an outer manifestation unbecoming to three-brained beings, and on the other hand are the cause of the gradual destruction of all those inner possibilities of theirs, placed in them by Great Nature, of becoming particles of the whole of the ‘Reasonable Whole.’  (pp. 383-4)

 Certainly, the quality of their presences and of the emotional life of your favorites has degenerated to a level quite unbecoming for a three-brained being.

 One of the qualities that the strange three-brained beings can no longer manifest is that of ‘sincerity,’ either towards others or even to themselves.  Beelzebub elaborates upon how the “ableness-to-be’ sincere degenerated with your favorites’ inventions of castes and classes:

 “As basis for the disappearance from their common presences of data for ‘ableness-to-be’ sincere with other beings similar to themselves, there served just that abnormal form of their mutual relationship long before established there … based on their mutual division into different what are called ‘castes’ or ‘classes.’

 

“When there began among them and soon became inevitable the habit of allocating one another to these various maleficent castes of theirs, then from that time, in the common presence of each one of them, there were gradually crystallized two particular quite opposite what are called ‘organic properties,’ the manifestation of which, little by little, even ceased to be depend on either their ordinary consciousness or on their ‘subconsciousness.’

 

“These two properties consist in this, that they always behave towards each other either, so to say, ‘haughtily’ or ‘servility.’

 

“During the manifestation of both these properties there are paralyzed in them all relations on what are called ‘equal terms’ with anybody whatsoever, thanks to which not only the inner sincere but also even the outer ordinary habitual relations have become established among them in such a way that already it has become quite usual, particularly in recent times, that if someone belongs to a caste considered higher than the caste of another, then in everything and always in relation to this other there arises in him impulses called their either ‘haughtiness’ or ‘contempt’ or ‘patronage’ or ‘condescension,’ and so on.  And if somebody considers his own caste lower than that of another, then there will infallibly arise in him impulses which they call ‘self-abasement,’ ‘false humility,’ ‘sycophancy,’ ‘bootlicking,’ ‘cringing,’ and many other such specific impulses, the totality of which constantly corrodes in their presences what is called ‘awareness-of-one’s-own-individuality,’ which ought to be present in them also.  (pp. 538-539)

 Your favorites no longer have sincere and mutual relations with each other, while maintaining their ‘awareness-of-one’s-own-individuality.’   Instead, their dominant egoism and class-consciousness result in further unbecoming and unnatural attitudes and behaviours towards one another ranging from such ‘haughtiness’ to ‘bootlicking’ and more.  What ‘queer ducks’ they have become!

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