31 October 2006

A failure at practical living?

A lot of people (practically everybody) seem to think that any consideration of possibilities outside of the social consensus will make you a ‘failure at practical living’. In practice it hasn’t made me so. I am a lot better set-up than my many enemies could have wished and I am sure that my lack of success on social terms (and that of everyone else here) is only due to the hostile social environment.

Of course it is quite true that this is because of what occurred to me on a higher level as the right things to aim at and the right ways to proceed in aiming at them. And that I would not have been on a higher level if I had not, as you know, in a psychologically operative sense, really considered my interests within a finite life not worth defending if (very hypothetically) there was any significant purpose that might override them.

I can only repeat that no description of my past manoeuvres is in any way a prescription of what I think other people should try to imitate. Don’t, on any account, try this at home. Even my 12-year-old manoeuvres were made possible by a relatively centralised psychology, and I shouldn’t think that even those are accessible to most people, even if they wanted them to be.

If anybody wanted to get any higher level psychology they should come here, and if they don’t like that idea, and want to find their own path, in their own way, etc, it is sufficient indication that they will misapply anything that they believe I think, and make their position worse, rather than better, from a higher level point of view.

Of course I regret the fact that, when I was at Somerville, I seemed to drive several people into more occluded and less open-ended positions by my references to the existential uncertainty, e.g. Catholicism (though I find it hard to believe that it was permanent), Methodism (which probably was), and atheistic reductionist socialism (which almost always is permanent). All of these knew me well enough to contemplate the possibility of becoming at least a provisional long-term associate, but rejected the possibility.

Now of course I wish I could get people to become associates in the sense of working here and being partners in the commercial operations without their having to decide that they want to be here permanently. But the belief in society dictates that I should not be given any help, so that people have to override their belief in society at least to the extent of acting against that social rule, and this appears to be virtually impossible.

There is no hope of anyone starting to develop any existential psychology without coming to take advantage of the mildly favourable environment that this place provides; at least here people do not get the continual reinforcement of the worst bits of anti-higher level psychology, which is inevitably provided in any ‘normal’ social environment.

But it takes a long time, and a lot of ‘work’, as Gurdjieff would say, before there is the slightest risk of any perceptible psychological modification, and even then the risks will be slight and easily avoided.

Higher levels play very hard to get.

It is true that there was a time when I wondered if my subconscious was quite au fait with the realities of life in the finite world. One is rather led to think that a subconscious is not very practically-minded, but concerns itself only with airy-fairy considerations. (‘Airy-fairy’ was one of my father’s taunts when I said anything I really meant.) But by that time my subconscious had got me a higher level, so I was prepared to give it the benefit of quite a lot of doubt, and in retrospect I think the subconscious planning did very well, probably as well as possible in the circumstances.