Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Gurdjieff's Machines--mechanical and less mechanical

There are two categories of human beings--mechanical and more mechanical. There is no third category. You read about enlightened human beings, you have heard about them but most of them turn out to be what I call 'mechanical' human beings and rest of us are 'more mechanical' humans.



I was watching TV show Breaking Bad's episode 5 of season 4. Yes, I like the show, the twists and turns and all, but this article is not about the show; so--there is a character called Jesse and another called Mike--these two drive together and since they spend a lot of time Jesse gets bored to death. The fast forward of their journey and what they do in it is shown. If you observe it--it would be clear what I am insinuating towards.

Yes, I know that not all of you have seen the show or remember the episode. It's alright. You must have seen any movie or TV show where a character or a lot of characters spend a lot of time at a place and if their activity is shown as a fast forward of entire time-duration--it would generate the same sense in you as does the aforementioned clip in me.


These characters look like automatons when seen in the fast forward mode. A character changes too many postures in a time span which seems negligible to us since we are observing a fast forward. It happens because you are gaining an advantage in time. 


You realize clearly by observing them that it's not just only they who appear like automatons. If you happen to record all your activities over a span of say 10 hours--and then you watch it doing a quick fast forward you would find that you move like an automaton--randomly based on accidental forces of nature. Your movements are guided mostly by one single factor--'boredom.' This is being suggested in a context where someone sits for an experiment or sits in a regular routine job in office or during his routine around home since morning till evening on an average holiday for observation.


The crucial factor is self-remembering or being almost static. Unless you have an advantage of time over the humans being observed you cannot find out that they are mechanical. Take for example an ant or an insect and observe it for an hour or two--observe its all movements--you would find that it's goaded by random natural forces it's totally mechanical and it has no free-will whatsoever. The same thing is true about us humans but we are so arrogant that we hate to admit that.


Those who have witness consciousness evolved in them are slightly aware and they can observe the others who scarcely remember themselves. It doesn't mean that they have free-will. Actually, they are just less mechanical. In order to understand it lets take an example. As we have already seen that doing a fast forward of movements of characters in a limited space shows peculiar, funny and totally automatic reactions(not 'actions')--there seems to be no free-will. It happens because we have advantage of time--we can peep into their 4-5 hours with-in just 10 minutes. Similarly lets consider demigods in Indian mythology. I prefer them just because I am familiar with Indian mythology and nothing else. A general estimation of age of demigods is given as 10000 human years. Therefore, an average day of demigods is more than the  year of average human beings. There exists some relation between two time scales but that is out of scope of present discussion. Imagine demigods observing a few humans. Humans would move so quickly and mechanically that they would almost look like fast-forwards of the picture we were talking about. It would be apparent to them that humans are moving totally under the influence of random natural forces which act mostly in them as 'boredom.'

Observe yourself. It's easier to understand this with self-observation. If you could remember yourself and watch your actions and postures it would be great. It's difficult to observe thoughts but it's easier to observe postures and actions. If you devote a few hours to self-observation you would find that you change postures too frequently and most of your actions would look like automatic 'reactions' forced by boredom. If you find your observations contrary to my suggestions--there might be two reasons for this: Either you are less mechanical and hence a rare human being or you fail to observe yourself diligently. What it also means is time does slow down for us if we are more aware. It happens all the time but it becomes apparent only when the time difference from those whom we observe is big enough.


That is why Gurdjieff advised to develop resistance in yourself. It could happen when you resist to move in waking life. If you stop and don't move at all--the vehement forces of mind or call it 'boredom' would be hell-bent at killing you. The more you could resist it more 'being' you could develop, which would, in turn make you less and less mechanical. 

image source: here