October 21st, 2009
A diagram by Boris Mouravieff from his 1958 monograph, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff and the Work (translated by the Praxis Research Institute).
Mouravieff corrects Ouspensky’s diagram (see previous post), “which is the most important diagram for all who begin studying esotericism. We can see at first glance that it is not complete, and in addition, it contains grave errors” (p27).
Mouravieff’s correction, p31.
In the corrected diagram above, “the [black] arrows represent the influences created in life by life itself. This is the first kind of influence, called ‘A’ influence. It should be noted that the black arrows cover the surface of the circle of life almost evenly.
“Their effect, as with all radiant forces of nature, is inversely proportional to the square of the distance; that is why man is mainly influenced by the arrows closest to him, so that he find himself drawn at any moment by the result of the present moment. The influence of the ‘A’ arrows on involving man is compulsive; driven by them, he wanders within the circle of his life from birth until death.
“The totality of these ‘A’ influences forms the law of accident, and human fate comes under its rule. But if we examine the diagram more closely we will see that each black arrow is neutralised or counterbalanced by another arrow elsewhere that is equal in force and diametrically opposite in direction, so that had the arrows been left to neutralize each other, the general result would equal zero. This means that, taken as a whole, the ‘A’ influences are of an illusory nature, though their effect is real, and for this reason involving man generally takes them for the only reality in life” (p31).
‘E’ represents “the esoteric center, outside the general laws of life” (p32).
‘B’ influences “are thrown into the turmoil of life by the Esoteric Center. These different influences, which have been created outside life are represented in the diagram by white arrows. They are all oriented towards the same direction. Taken together they form a kind of magnetic field.
“Since the ‘A’ influences neutralise each other, the ‘B’ influences form the only reality in life.
“A man taken in isolation… is represented in the schematic diagram by a finely partitioned circle the surface area of which is crossed by fine diagonal lines except for the small clear area. This means that involving man’s nature is not homogeneous; it is a mixture.
“If a man spends his life without distinguishing between ‘A’ and ‘B’ influences, he will end it in the same way as he began — that is to say, mechanically, moved by the law of accident” (p32).
“Every individual is subject to a kind of preparatory test in life. If he is able to discern the ‘B’ influences and their existence, if he enjoys the taste of gathering them and absorbing them, and if he aspires to assimilate them more and more, then his interior nature, which began as a mixture, will, step by step, begin to undergo a certain evolution. Then, if his efforts to absorb the ‘B’ influences are constant and strong enough, a magnetic center begins to form inside him. That magnetic center is represented in the diagram by the small white area.
“If, once born in him and carefully developed, that center embodies itself, then it will exert an influence on the action of the ‘A’ arrows which are, of course, still functioning. This will lead to a change of direction. This deviation may be violent. It normally goes against the general laws of life, provoking conflicts in and around him. If he loses this battle he will emerge with the conviction that the ‘B’ influences are only an illusion, and that the only reality is represented by the ‘A’ influences. Step by step, the magnetic center that has been formed inside him will be re-absorbed and disappear. After this, his new situation will be worse than it was before he had first begun to discern the ‘B’ influences.
“But if he wins that first fight, his magnetic center, consolidated and reinforced, will attract him to a man of ‘C’ influence — stronger than he is and in possession of a stronger magnetic center than his own. Thus, by way of succession, since the man he had met has a relationship with a man of ‘D’ influence, he in his turn will be linked with the Esoteric Center ‘E’.
“From then on, that man will no longer be isolated in life. He will, of course, continue to live as he did before subject to the action of the ‘A’ influences, which will still exert their dominance upon him for a long time; yet, step by step, and thanks to the effect of the chain of influences B-C-D-E, his magnetic center will develop more and more and to the degree that his magnetic center grows he will evade the domination of the law of accident to enter the domain of consciousness” (p32-33).