The Alchemy of the Two Reasons

Note: I have been navigating through another of the dark periods in my life. They come and they go like two intruders who come in without knocking at the door. I then thought that if I find something of a good quality in Beelzebub’s Tales that could help me to move to a higher scale, then probably I could move into more light in my life. To this effect I asked myself about a high note teaching in the book. It did not take me too long to find such a high note teaching. It is precisely in the chapter “Beelzebub Explains to His Grandson the Significance of the Form and Sequence Which He Chose for Expounding the Information Concerning Man.” The fact that the material I have selected for this blog post is in this chapter is an indication of its importance in relation to our own development. I call this material the alchemy of the two reasons. Here is in my own words a summary of the teaching on the two reasons, as found on pages 1166-1167.

Introduction to the Two Reasons.

There are two reasons in man we are told in Beelzebub’s Tales (BTTHG). They are the reason-of-knowing and the reason-of-understanding. In this post blog I will present a summary of how these two reasons operate and manifest in our searches and in our lives. The emphasis will be on the alchemy related to the formation of both reasons in us.

The Reason-of-knowing functions by comparing randomly stored data found in the periphery of each of the three centers or brains with data currently being formed from the various stimuli coming from both the inner and outer worlds of man.  This reason is mainly the result of a very peculiar characteristic of the educational process consisting in the learning by repetition of a lot of information.  The fact that it bears no relation whatever to Real Life and actual experiencing, but it is only a source of knowledge and/or information, it is designated as “Reason-of- knowing.”

“Reason-of-knowing” is the basis of subjective knowledge, whose main characteristic is effervescence in that one knowledge is substituted by another and this by still another in a sequence that emerges as a perpetual replacement of the old by the new. This is very clear from this statement in BTTHG: “And as for that Reason… … …which I called the Reason-of-knowing, every kind of new impression perceived through this Reason, and likewise every kind of intentionally or simply automatically obtained result from formerly perceived impressions is only temporarily part of the being…”

Reason-of-understanding” functions by internalizing every impression perceived by the three centers in such a way that these impressions become fixed in man’s being. This reason is the result of intentionally actualized being-efforts as we will see later.

The basic difference between these two reasons, is in the fact that every new impression perceived by the “Reason-of-knowing,” as well as any intentional or automatic result arising from previously perceived impressions, are only part of a being possessing this type of reason, temporarily; whereas all information perceived by the “Reason-of-understanding” becomes an indivisible part of the being possessing this type of reason.

Great part of the tragedy of contemporary man, is that the abnormal-lunatic conditions of life everywhere prevailing, as well as the educational process, do not in any way favor the development of the “Reason-of-understanding” in man.  Contemporary civilization seems to only be interested in the development of a “man-machine,” that is, an automaton that thinks and reacts on the basis of an associative comparison of the totality of data stored in the memory of each of the three centers or brains.  “Reason-of-knowing” is designed to serve the “man-machine” very well.

The situation for present-day man, that is, for the man struggling with the so-called information revolution, is even more serious.  Every impression that he receives through the various communication channels, is nothing more than a superficial description of an entity.  Words have become the dominant factor in the mutual relations of men.  Words have replaced the entity and the description has become more important than what is being described.  Even the most basic of feelings, such as those of gratitude, compassion, consideration, and love, have been replaced with the often insincere and almost always automatically self-induced expressions of good manners (“please,” “thank you,” “I am sorry,” “excuse me,” “honey, I love you,” etc, etc).

This language is known in Beelzebub’s Tales as the language of mentation by thought. It is the kind of language that participates in the formation of the “Reason-of-knowing. The exalted importance ascribed to this form of language in the process of life shared in common among men today, stands out as a hindering factor in the development of “Reason-of-understanding.”  The fact is that the formation and development of this Reason have nothing to do with everyday ordinary language and the process of reasoning brought about by association of words or verbal association, which can only contribute to the formation and development of “Reason-of-knowing.” “Reason-of-understanding” is born of the language knowing as the language of mentation by form, the language employed in the realization of the mental process of being-mentation.

Because “Reason-of-understanding” is to being what “Reason-of-knowing” is to thinking and, furthermore, being is to essence what thinking is to personality, it follows that the language of mentation is that of man’s essence while ordinary associative language is that of man’s personality. For this reason, the language of forms is the natural language of feeling function.

That is to say, the language of forms has strict reference to personal experience, to feeling, while in the ordinary associative language born of association of words there is no reference to personal experience, only to mechanical association of words. Real experience is substituted by words, Real Life by a “simulation of life.”

The language of mentation by form is the natural language for the realization of being-mentation, the process of gathering up all experiences and bringing them to the confrontation of the subject under consideration.  Since these experiences have an emotional content, being-mentation is thinking-with-feeling, a process totally different from the ordinary associative thinking process.

Unfortunately, the language of forms is progressively disappearing from the psychic functioning of earthbound three-brained beings.  This type of language makes possible the realization of that act, proper to man, known as intentional being contemplation.  Due to the continuous bombardment of information to which contemporary man is subjected, the realization of the act of intentional being contemplation is becoming increasingly rare.  It will become rarer still when man separates from his natural environment because of technological advances in contemporary civilization.  The end result may very well be that the language of forms will become obsolete.  It will remain existent only in the psychic functioning of certain two-brained beings and in those beings known on Earth as initiates.  If the present trends continue, man will become increasingly attached to a certain few artificial languages in use by modern-day machines.

The important point to consider here is here that growth and development of the personality parallels that of the “Reason-of-knowing.”  Although man’s personality manipulates the aggregate knowledge accumulated during his process of life in common, he does not own it.  It belongs instead, to the specific cultural environment in which man grows, as well as generally-acknowledged cultural heritage of humanity.

Conversely, growth and development of the essence parallels that of the “Reason-of-understanding.”  It is the essence, then, that has the possibility of understanding and manipulating the totality of knowledge related to the cosmic truths accessible to man on Earth since time immemorial. These cosmic truths, by the way, are formulated and reformulated, in accord with the form and degree of reason of each particular age, by men possessing a high degree of Objective Divine Reason.  They are eternal and immutable and not the product of what is nowadays called evolution.

The Alchemy of the Two Reasons:

It is obvious from what has been said so far that one of the reals secrets of life is how these two reasons are formed in man. There is in Beelzebub’s Tales complete and detailed explanations of the alchemy lying behind the formation of these two reasons. Here is in my own words a summary of this very important teaching.

We have see that “Reason-of-knowing” is formed in man not only without the active and conscious participation of his being, but also through the passive assimilation of every impression perceived by his sensory organs.

Conversely, “Reason-of-understanding” is formed in man as a result of impressions engendered by the realization of the mental process known as being-mentation, actualized on the totality of previously perceived impressions having relation with the impression currently being perceived.

Actually, the process of formation of these two reasons conforms in all its ways to the second cosmic law or Law of Three.  The difference lies in the factors which determine the manifestation of the three independent principles of forces.

Regarding the formation of “Reason-of-knowing,” the factors determining both the affirming and the denying principles consists of all of the previously contradictory impressions randomly perceived and stored in any one of the three brains of man; the factors which determine the reconciling principle consist of the impressions currently being perceived.

Similarly, regarding the formation of “Reason-of-understanding,” the factors determining the affirming principle consist of the totality of impressions perceived by the brain which occupies the “center of functioning” at the moment of impression perception.  The factors which determine the denying principle consist of data previously stored in any one of the other two brains.  Finally, the factors determining the reconciling principle consist of the resulting impressions engendered by the being’s predisposition to a full manifestation of his individuality.

It is obvious from this description that the whole key to the formation of the “Reason-of-understanding” is the predisposition to a full manifestation of one’s individuality.

But what is one’s individuality? That is a question I leave open for a new blog.

I only want to give a hint here:

“Eldest of my grandsons! Listen and always remember my strict injunction to you: In life never do as others do. Either do nothing –just go to school-or do something nobody else does” (BTTHG, p.27).


About willmesa

I have been studying and working with the ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff exposed in his Opus Magnum Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. The intention of this blog is to share these ideas with people around the world. For more information about me, please search in Google for Will Mesa
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One Response to The Alchemy of the Two Reasons

  1. Knowing with the top of ‘mind’ – poverty-stricken ‘I’ identifications v what something in me calls Meta-I… Colin

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