“Man is given a definite number of experiences—economizing them, he prolongs his life.” Aphorism inscribed above the walls of the Study House at the Prieuré.
The chapter The Relative Understanding of Time of Beelzebub’s Tales is one of the most difficult chapters in the book. However, with good dedication and attention, we may be able to extract few of the secrets scattered throughout this chapter. Among them is the question of the prolongation of our life span.
The secret to prolong the duration of our being-existence is in changing our relationship with the flow of Time. Time itself cannot change because Time is self-sufficient and self-independent, flowing of itself and by itself, and like the flow of Divine Love, Time flows wholeness and endlessness. This fact is acknowledged in the chapter on the Relativity of Time of Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (BTTHG) with this statement: “It alone can be called and extolled as the ‘ideally-Unique-Subjective-Phenomenon’” (BTTHG, p. 124—All quotes in this article come from the original 1950 Edition of BTTHG). It is in this sense and this sense alone that can be said that Time itself does not exist. For Time it is the same whether we live one hour, one week or two hundred years. But because of its relativity, it is possible to extend the one hour into hundred of hours. And it is us who are responsible for the extension because Time cannot do anything for us. How do we perform the extension? That is the secret to the whole thing. We do it in a very simple and straightforward manner: by living a more conscious life. In other words, the duration of our being-existence is a function of the consciousness and intensity of our lives. The more conscious and intense I live my life the more Time I have available and there is nothing Time can do about it because Time adapts itself to all and everything, no caring at whether how I live my life. The secret is to steal Time from Time with the understanding that it is entirely possible given that Time does not care about you and me or all of us for that matter. That is why Time is called the Merciless HEROPASS, because it cares nothing. Every time I think of the flow of Time, and I say think because we cannot feel or sense the flow of Time, I am reminded of the last words of Rhett Butler to Scarlet O’Hara in the classic “Gone with the Wind,” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Like Rhett, Time does not give a damn. But in order to understand this indifference of Time to all and everything we have to examine closely the two aspects of the subjectivity and relativity of Time.
The first thing we must understand is that “Time itself, no being can either understand by reason or sense by any outer or inner being-function. It cannot even be sensed by any graduation of instinct which arises and is present in every more or less cosmic concentration” (BTTHG, p. 123). This means exactly what it means: Great Nature has not equipped us with an organ that will allow us to sense or even to measure the flow of Time through us objectively. The only way to sense or to measure the flow of Time objectively is by reference to the actualization of cosmic phenomena around us. When I say that I am fifty years old what I am really saying is that I am fifty revolutions of Earth around the Sun. I once filled out an application for a credit card and in the item asking for age I put: Forty-five revolutions of Earth around the Sun. When a lady from the credit card company called me on the phone to ask about my age in order to verify my unusual statement, I told her that because of the subjectivity of Time I could not know how old I was except by the rotation of Earth around the Sun. She understood nothing but went ahead and authorized my credit card. I then told her that I found the charge of fifty dollars per Earth rotations around the Sun too high and to my amazement she reduced the charge to half a rotation. The point here is that I cannot change the amount of rotations of Earth around the Sun for which the biological clock of my machine was designed. But what I ca do is to live those predetermined rotations to be filled of moments of consciousness and intensity. Then the amount of rotations is the same, as it is going to be, but as far as my life is concerned and from the relativity of Time, it is as if I had lived ten times the number of predetermined rotations. But the real question is, how to do it in practice and in actual life? This is the actual topic of this article.
We can do it if we first observe that even though Time is entirely subjective and ever self-sufficient and self-independent in what concerns our inner life, it does however acquires a sense of objectivity that is function of the number of association taking place in that inner life. In other words, the greater the number of associations in our center of consciousness, the less time we have for our life; and conversely, the fewer of associations in our center of consciousness, the more time we have available for our life. Einstein put it very well when asked to give a simple explanation of the relativity of Time: “Five minutes spent on top of a hot oven looks like one hour but one hour spent with a beloved essence-friend looks five minutes.” In the case of the oven the number of associations is higher and Time flows tediously long; in the case of the beloved essence-friend, the number of associations is small and Time flow blissfully short. Fifty years spent in blissfully associations and conscious life may be five hundred years, also spent in blissful associations. The secret then is this: If we want more time for the things we have to do, then we must at all cost reduce the number of associations taking place in our inner life. And this is only possible when I live a more conscious, purposeful, and intense life. Then I can do more things in life because I have less associations and consequently more time. Observe that we cannot stop all associations because as Mr. Gurdjieff well established, “associations are the life of our centers.” If associations stop our life ends or our life ends when associations stop. Stopping all associations is stopping Time for all Time. The secret then is to have fewer associations and therefore more time. And for that we need to live a more conscious, purposeful, intense life. That is, we need more Being. And now we can understand why the duration of our being-existence depends on the graduation of our Being.
Wake up if you want to have more Life and more Time!
There is a totally different and interesting way to look at all this and it is to look in terms of dimensions, as we look to space.
When we look at Time in terms of dimensions, as we are used to look at Space, the first thing we notice if we observe how we live, is that we live in a very narrow-minded, ordinary-boring, one dimension of Time. If we compare this one dimension of Time to the one dimension of Space, we can see that the trajectory of motion of our Life is a straight line. We move from point A to point B in this fastidious trajectory, point A being the moment of birth and point B the moment of death. In between A and B there is “the-terror-of-the-situation” filled with all our infamies and infirmities, and the horrors and terrors and all the lies that accrued from living an unconscious life. This straight line of the first dimension of Time we can call it the Time of our planetary body. We are prisoners living in this first dimension of Time or Time of our planetary body. There is no objective hope in this first dimension of Time. The only hope here is the hope of body which is disease. When we live in the first dimension of Time we live in a hospital or sanitarium. And in order to live this kind of ill-Life we need to kill Time and we do it by inventing all kinds of fast medicines and these medicines are called: alcohol, drugs, sex, museums, theaters, and the most favorite one in contemporary world, shopping malls. Our only objective hope is to move to a higher dimension of Time, to the second dimension of Time. Using the Space analogy, we move from a straight line to a plane. Now we have two points instead of one and this gives simultaneity to the multiple events of our Life. We now live in a world where events occur not sequentially as it is the case of the first dimension or straight line of Time but simultaneously. We have more Time because we have simultaneous events to choose from. We can say that the greater the number of simultaneous events, the greater the freedom to move. If an event in the first dimension of Time is fastidious or boring, in the second dimension we have other events to choose from. Hence, greater freedom of movement and more Time available to us. We prolong the duration of our being-existence by increasing the number of choices available. If in the first dimension of time we contract in Time, in the second we expand in Time. Instead of only alcohol or sex or drug or a shopping center, now we can have alcohol and a friend or sex and love, or shopping mall and conscious direction. If we follow the teaching of Mr. Gurdjieff, we can now say if the first dimension of Time is Time in the planetary body, the second dimension of Time is Time in the body Kesdjan. We move from a narrow-body-minded Life to a Life that is wider in both consciousness and purpose. As the number of choices increases, so does our objective hope. We no longer exist in the hope of the body that is disease but in the hope of consciousness which is strength.
In the chapter on the relativity of Time of BTTHG, pages 129-131, there is a parallel correspondence between Time in the planetary body and in the Kesdjan body and the two principles of existence to which all beings of the Universe are subjected. Time in the planetary body corresponds to the principle “Itoklanos” that Great Nature was forced to actualize with respect to three brained-beings of the planet Earth as a result of the abnormal conditions these beings themselves have created. The principle characteristics of this principle “Itoklanos” is that it is the one that regulates the existence of one- and two-brained beings. Under this principle of existence now our being-existence is at the same level of animals. We exist as animals and we die as animals. Not objective hope for us. Time in the body Kesdjan corresponds to what is called Foolasnitamnian principle. Under regulation of this principle, three brained beings are obliged to exist until the body Kesdajn is crystallized in them. Now, because of our being-existence being regulated by the principle “Itoklanos” we three brained beings of Earth have to sweat and sweat in order to crystallize this second body. This sweat in BTTHG is called “conscious labors” and “intentional suffering.” There is still one more dimension of Time available to us: The third dimension of Time. If the first dimension is a sequential monotony of events and the second dimension a more conscious simultaneity of events, the third dimension introduces a third factor, that of awareness. Now we no longer move simultaneously but we become aware of this simultaneity. Now we can look at the plane of the second dimension from Above. If the geometry of the first dimension of Time is a straight line and that of the second dimension a plane, the one for the third dimensions is an ascending spiral. Now we no longer move linearly or simultaneously, as we do in the first and second dimensions, respectively, but now we move up through an ever increasing spiral. We now elevate ourselves to another dimension from which we can contemplate a world of potentialities in Time. We can in some way see the future now. But since each potentiality is nothing more than a possibility of actualization what we really see is not the future but a potentiality of possible futures. In other words, the future is always about the actualization of possibilities. If the first dimension of Time is Time in the planetary body and the second dimension is Time in the body Kesdjan, the third dimension is Time in the higher being-body or body of the Soul. This is the Time few of us will ever see and even less experience in our Life. This is the Time of Holy Purgatory where we can from Time to Time have a vision of our AL-LOVING ENDLESS ENDLESSNESS. This is the Time of Real Hope, the Time when we can Hope to return of the Source of the All-Embracing of All that exist, the Most Holy Sun Absolute. Blessed are those who attain the Third dimension of Time!
In summary, we cannot change the flow of Time because Time is self-sufficient and self-determined. Time adapts to all conditions and all events, as Time chooses to. What we can do is to change our relationship with Time. We can do like our CREATOR WHO confronted with the merciless action of Time decided to Create the present Universe. We can similarly create our own Universe around us, a Space-Time continuum in which we can have more Time for us without attempting the illusory impossible move to alter Time. But in order to do this we have to become conscious as our CREATOR. Then our being-existence, although restricted and determined by factors external to us, is nonetheless prolonged in Time.
The secret is always the same: A more conscious, purposeful, and intense Life in the present Here-Now.
We then move from a monotonous life characterized by a sequence of –tedious-fastidious-mortifying-event as full-time prisoners of “the-terror-of-the-situation” to a Life characterized by an awareness of a synchronous-simultaneous series of events as full-time dwellers of a world of wanders and marvels and conjuries. As Mr. Gurdjieff said: “Wish or not wish, conjury you must believe because all life consists of conjury.”
Do not hurry, fellow traveler of the Way, and live more intensely right Here and right Now, without fears and desires, right where you are and when you are. BE. Yes, BE and always remember: “Life is real only then, when ‘I am.’”
This is my being-wish for you.