Contemporary philosophy, following the steps of contemporary science, has now become a cognitive and interpretative discipline. As it is the case with contemporary science, contemporary philosophy is engaged in the interpretation of reality. However, the true function of philosophy, as it was the case with the so-called pre-Socratic philosophy, is not the interpretation of reality but rather to supply the tools necessary to help us to live reality, any reality for that matter. Today, Philosophy has lost touch with the real source of life. It is an unfortunate reality that the vivifying and refreshing philosophies of the so-named pre-Socratic era, after having been carefully and adeptly sterilized by post-Socratic schools of thought and, finally, made rigid by the so-proclaimed German intelligentsia, has resulted in a well-decorated mathematical principle. Now they have nothing substantially to offer to a man embarked in search of the real meaning of life. The best illustration of the way in which philosophy has become a mathematicization and artificialization of life is modern philosophy’s definition of Being which reads: “To be is to be the value of a bounded variable.” This definitaion of Being has absolutely no gusto, as it is the case with the elaboations of contemporary philosophy. The fanatic trend of symbolic logic and artificial intelligence is now responsible for philosophy’s final and definitive demise.
The best example of how contemporary philosophy has followed the steps of contemporary science in finding interpretations of reality to fit each end very new theory is in the domain of neurosciences. Philosophers and scientist are now fully engaged in the interpretation of reality in terms of brain functioning and operation. This is more evident in relation to the understanding and interpretation of consciousness exclusively in terms of brain functioning. As concrete examples in the domain of philosophy we can cite the book “Consciousness Explained” published in 1991 by the American philosopher Daniel Dennett. He offers an account of how consciousness arises from interaction of physical and cognitive processes in the brain. And in the domain of science we can cite the works of the late Francis Crick who, together with a scientist from the California Institute of Technology, spent years finding ways to explain consciousness in terms of brain operation. The attempt by these two representatives of contemporary philosophy and science, respectively, as well as many others in these fields of knowledge, is one and the same: To end with the long standing dispute or dualism of soul and matter, now expressed in terms of mind and brain. As Francis Crick himself put it, “the most profound implication of an operational understanding of consciousness is that it will lead to the death of the soul.”
I have intentionally given these examples about interpretation of consciousness because they throw light concerning the difference between contemporary philosophy and science and the Living Teaching exposed in Beelzebub’s Tales. The Living Teaching exposed in the Tales is by not even a remote stretch of imagination concerned with the interpretation of reality. What the Living Teaching in the book does is to help us to understand how to live and exist in a reality that, according to this teaching, is rather abnormal. Beelzebub is not interested in telling his grandson Hassein about the nature of reality; Beelzebub is only interested in teaching Hassein how to survive if he were to live among those unfortunate three-brined beings existing on the planet Earth. The teaching for Hassein is, of course, the teaching for all of us abnormal three-brained beings existing in this remote lunatic corner of the Universe, so far from the Center that is almost beyond the reach of the Holy Emanations of the Most Holy Sun Absolute. If we do not learn the lessons Beelzebub teaches to Hassein, we will remain abnormal as we now are. This is the only reality Beelzebub teaches. And this was the reality the pre-Socratics taught until everything was distorted by the post-Socratics with Aristotle at the head of the distorting committee. No wonder A. R. Orage, the person in charge of rendering into English the original 1950 edition of Beelzebub’s Tales, as commissioned by Mr. Gurdjeiif himself, said that Aristotle was the Lentrohamsanin of Socrates. That says it all.
But how does the Living Teaching departs from what contemporary philosophy is trying to do? How Beelzebub’s Tales provides us with a Living Teaching that helps us exists and survive in this abnormality now known as life on Earth?
Beelzebub’s Tales does it in the same way philosophy in ancient times did it. It does it by inventing a new language. It is through the use of language that we are exposed to the real function of philosophy; namely, provide tools not for interpretation of reality but rather for living reality, as this reality presents to us in our everyday ordinary life.
Mr. Gurdjeiff invented a new language in writing Beelzebub’s Tales. In the first chapter of the book, the “Arousing of Thought,” he tells us what this language is and how he is going to use it to contact whet he calls the real consciousness which, according to his findings, is the Subconscious. This language is the language of “mentation by form,” as opposed to the language of “mentation by thought” which is the language of contemporary philosophy and contemporary science.
But what is in essence this language of “mentation by form?” It is precisely the difference between two forms of “mentations” exposed in the book, namely, “mentation by thought” and “mentation by form.” We are told in Beelzebub’s Tales that “mentation by thought” is the mentation of personality while “mentation by form” is the mentation of essence. As it is elaborated in the book, “mentation by form” is formed in childhood, when essence is being informed and formed. One can also infer that “mentation by thought” brings knowledge while “mentation by form” brings understanding.
Nothing at all in this new language, the language of “mentation by form,” about an interpretation of consciousness in terms of neurons, axons, dendrites or any form of brain functioning. In fact, the consciousness our contemporary philosophers and scientists speak about and use in their numerous “high titillating titillations,’ using the language of “mentation by form” of our esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin, is what Beelzebub designates at the artificial consciousness. Real consciousness, according to the Living Teaching, is the Subconscious and penetration of the Subconscious is only possible, according to the findings of Mr. Gurdjieff, with the language of “mentation by form.”
In order for the Living Teaching exposed in the book to aid us to live in the abnormal reality we ourselves have established on Earth, Beelzebub’s Tales, as it was the case in ancient philosophy, is more concerned with providing the tools, or an appropriate language, to live the kind of abnormal reality prevailing today in ordinary life than in providing an interpretation of reality.
The Living Teaching exposed in Beelzebub’s Tales has nothing to do with what contemporary philosophy has to offer us. The Living Teaching provides us with real Hope, the Hope of real consciousness which is Strength.
This will be the last post for the year 2010. During the year 2011, I will strive hard in order to bring to light what I call the four pillars upon which the Living Teaching exposed in Beelzebub’s Tales rest. These four pillars are: The teaching of the “I;” the teaching of Objective Divine Reason; the teaching of Divine Objective Consciences; the teaching of the way of Love. I will begin with a general exposition on these four pillars and will continue addressing each and everyone of them in greater details.
Happy New Year 2011 to all my invisible friends out there.