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Old 07-31-2012, 05:22 PM
jimgwarb jimgwarb is offline
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The Dark Side of the Moon

If human beings were shown what they're really like, they'd either kill one another as vermin, or hang themselves.
- Aldous Huxley

We never look at the ‘dark side of the moon’, the unknown part of ourselves. We never look at ourselves objectively. We aren’t really conscious. We do not know ourselves. But others can say it better than me…

We snuggle into our slumber under the blanket of our cherished, socially-reinforced illusions. The illusion of self-determination, of freedom, of wakefulness, is maintained thanks partly to the presence of what Gurdjieff calls buffers - "They are created," Gurdjieff avers, "not by nature, but by man himself, although involuntarily. The cause of their appearance is the existence in man of many contradictions; contradictions of opinions, feelings, sympathies, words, and actions. If a man throughout the whole of his life were to feel all the contradictions that are within him, he could not live and act as calmly as he lives and acts now. He would have constant friction, constant unrest...If a man were to feel all these contradictions he would feel what he really is. He would feel that he is mad...Buffers are created slowly and gradually. Very many 'buffers' are created artificially through 'education'. Others are created under the hypnotic influence of all surrounding life...It is very hard to live without 'buffers'. But they keep man from the possibility of inner development because 'buffers' are made to lessen shocks and it is only shocks that can lead a man out of the state in which he lives, that is, waken him. 'Buffers' lull a man to sleep, give him the agreeable and peaceful sensation that all will be well, that no contradictions exist and that he can sleep in peace. ''."Buffers." are appliances by means of which a man can always be in the right.' 'Buffers' help a man not to feel his conscience..."
It's astonishing how little of ourselves we feel, even physically. We live in our body and normally sense it very little, in any conscious way. And it's correspondingly amazing how much transpires emotionally and instinctively in us, which we normally do not feel. Most psychologists agree we are driven by unconscious impulses; many acknowledge a "script" driving our responses - but do we sense these patterns in ourselves? The primary forces behind the way we live our lives are cut off from us, under prevailing conditions. Without making a conscious, finely-directed effort to objectively, consistently observe ourselves inwardly and outwardly - self-observation, Gurdjieff called it - we are blind to the very forces that define us. According to Gurdjieff each of us is formed around something he called the Chief Feature, the organizing principle of the personality, and a primary obstacle to awakening. This is a big characteristic, an overall pattern coloring all our behavior, which is often perfectly obvious to our friends and family but - no matter how many times we're told about it - entirely opaque to us. It's our most obvious feature - and we're numb to it!
No matter how supposedly introverted we are, the likelihood is we know ourselves scarcely at all.
Our buffer-hidden contradictions, our mechanicality, our self-concealment - these phenomena could explain a great deal of our swept-along, baffling and violent lives.
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