Volume 140       February 1, 2021


By Professor  Dr. Tan Man-Ho

(An revised excerpt from the original work, Real World Views, Book 4,  by Professor  Dr. Tan Man-Ho entitled "The Critique of Material Reflection, On the Modern Innovation to Old Materialism, the Emergence of Tri-Octave Materialism and Some Remarkable Individuals", September 1975 - December 1975 Discourses, Chapter 4, Section B: 'Some Quotations from Kenneth MacFarlane Walker Relevant to the New Materialism' pp. 140 ~ 144)







1   Here is a doctrine incompatible with all religious beliefs other than those of the pseudo-religion of communism which proclaims it, and it is a doctrine which is spread at the moment when a great historian is assuring us that the outlook for the Western Powers is poor unless there be a spiritual revival.  According to Arnold Toynbee, this alone is capable of resolving our difficulties and of uniting the nations of the world.  Now, if we agree with this historian’s verdict we must also agree with him that it is highly unlikely that the world will ever be conquered and united under any one of the great religious faiths, whether that faith be Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism.  This hope, once widely hold by Christians and by Moslems, has now to be abandoned.”  [Kenneth Walker, A Study of Gurdjieff Teaching, p. 204]


2   “The very stones enjoyed a rudimentary kind of life and were in commerce with their surroundings  –  a fact of which scientists become more fully aware when studying things in terms of fields of force.”  [Kenneth Walker, A Study of Gurdjieff Teaching, p. 126]


3   “It (Gurdjieff’s system) was particularly well suited to the needs of the present day.  All dog-eared theological doctrines had been removed from it and it wore instead the reassuring trappings of materialism, but of a materialism which on closer examination proved to be utterly different from that of science.  Another great advantage of the system was that it was so unlike institutional religion that not even the most relied reactionary to orthodox religion could be offended by it, and yet from its depths came gleams of the same Eternal Truths which glow through the external trappings of religion.”  [Kenneth Walker, A Study of Gurdjieff’s Teaching, p.196]


4   “The Enneagram depicts a series of transformations from the lower to higher, from the coarser to finer.  Now in order that a lower may become transformed into a higher, it must be passive.  That is, it must allow itself to be acted upon by a higher influence.  How else could the food we eat become transformed and re-transformed into higher and higher substances, unless it submitted to the next stages of digestion!  Digestion is transformation.  Work is transformation.  And if the higher influences of the work are to act on man, he must, in one sense, become passive to them and permit them to act on him.  He can realize he cannot do, but he must realize also that Greater Mind exists, otherwise he will be in confusion.  If he does not admit that anything bigger than he exists, he cannot be acted upon and so cannot evolve.  But he must become passive ‑ that is capable of hearing and then of accepting ‑ he must not expect to get beyond his own stage to begin with.  He cannot equal the work.  He cannot equal the forces that are transforming him.  If you reflect, you will see that there must always be something higher than any man, whatever his stage, if evolution is possible, and so there must be a highest that is unattainable.”  [Kenneth Walker, A Study of Gurdjieff Teaching, p.177]


5   “In the Middle Ages it was extremely dangerous for anyone to take an interest in systems of philosophy and psychology which were not countenanced by the all-powerful, and sometimes tyrannical, Church.  Any suspicion that men were meddling with such pagan practices provided sufficient grounds for their immediate arrest and tried for heresy, and the occupation of transforming baser into finer metals provided thinkers with a convenient facade behind which to work.  The interest of the best type of alchemist lay not so much in the changing of lead into gold as in the transformation of man into a new kind of man.  Ouspensky said that it was likely that some of the alchemists were students of ideas very similar to those in which we were now interested.”  [Kenneth Walker, A Study of Gurdjieff Teaching, p.141]


6   "Gurdjieff’s system gives exact knowledge on both these subjects.  It starts by stating there are in all seven different categories of men, the first three including men on an ordinary human level, and the latter four categories being reserved for men who have reached a higher level than the ordinary one.  In other words, men one, two and three are all men in whom no evolution at all has occurred, the only difference between them being with regard to the centre which is most active in them; man number one is a man in whom the moving centre predominates; man number two a man who is ruled by his emotional centre and man number three a man in whom intellectual centre tends to prevail.  Every man is born man one, two or three, but in some individuals the preponderance of one centre over the others is so slight that it is difficult to place them in their appropriate groups.  Such people are well-balanced, but the important thing to remember is that they all stand on the same level of being.

Men four, five and six are quite different from men one, two and three.  They never occur naturally, but are always the products of special knowledge, inner work and struggle.  Man number four will be described later, but man number five is a man who has attained unity, who is in possession of a permanent ‘I’, and who in consequence of this does not alter from hour to hour or even from minute to minute, as we ordinary men and women do.  In G’s words, man number five is a man in whom ‘crystallization’ has taken place around some single motive and because he is a man with a single permanent aim his knowledge partakes of this same uniform character also.  Man number five possesses, in addition to this, true self-consciousness and the capacity to make use of one of the two higher centres; namely, his Higher Emotional Centre.  Man number six has all the qualities of man number five and has attained a still higher level of consciousness, so that in him work not only Higher Emotional but also Higher Intellectual Centre.  In consequence of this he is able to see not only himself but also the Universe objectively.  Yet even a man so highly developed as this may lose all that he has gained, and it is only in man number seven, the highest level of being which man is capable of reaching, that knowledge and being are permanent and can never be lost.  Man number seven was also described by G as being “immortal within the limits of the solar system.”  Man number four should be looked upon as being a man in a state of transition from the ground level of man number one, two or three, to the level of man number five.  There is nothing at all permanent in him beyond his aim.  He like the higher categories of man, never occurs naturally but is always the product of special knowledge, conscious effort and inner struggle.  Ouspensky said that it could be said of man number four that he was beginning to know himself and that his centers were more balanced and worked better than did the centers of men one, two and three.

Another advantage enjoyed by man number four was that he had developed within him a fixed point or what Ouspensky called a “permanent center of gravity” to which everything was referred in him.  He resembled, therefore, a man in possession of a reliable chart and compass, and this was a great boon to him, for even if he failed to do what he set out to do, he at any rate knew the direction in which he had to struggle.

Ouspensky added one more interesting detail to the above description of the seven different categories of men.  He told us that G had said that it sometimes happened that a man skipped that transitional stage of man number four and crystallized out directly as man number five.  Such a man had attained unity, but it might be a unity resting on an entirely unsatisfactory basis, and G had given as an example of this wrong form of crystallization.”  [Kenneth Walker, A Study of Gurdjieff Teaching, p. 152]






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