In Beelzebub's Tales, Gurdjieff refers often to the "crystallizations of the consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer" (poK). This special crystallization is not defined specifically, but by-products of it are listed as "pride, vanity, self-love, egoism, self-conceit, swagger, imagination, bragging, arrogance" and many more similar terms. I have often heard Kundabuffer defined as an organ with special properties that has since been removed, but I have not heard of anyone investigating this ‘crystallization.?Since this crystallization is caused by our surrounding conditions during our preparation for responsible existence, it is in effect put into us mechanically; but it cannot be removed mechanically. I submit that it cannot be removed unless we determine exactly what it is, since for each of us the surrounding conditions were somewhat different.

Recently in teaching a class on esoteric Christianity, I noted that results and understanding from exercises I had given were being lost, even though they had been attained through conscious efforts. This challenged the idea that understanding, in the true sense of the word, is something that becomes a permanent part of oneself. How was this understanding being lost?

One exercise (Labor) had verified that our time, energy, and attention were devoted not to what we wished but to something useless to our development; a second verified that our unconscious aims determined this output of time, energy, and attention. This second exercise was called the Mark—keeping with the idea that for a man with no aim there is no sin. In other words, we were pushing toward our aim; we were just not conscious of what that aim was. Our aim had been input into us without our knowledge or consent. This aim was in fact more powerful than our work aims and quite capable of destroying our work efforts and understanding.

By doing these two exercises, it becomes possible to ‘see?our unconscious aim, or paradigm, so that we can struggle with it. However, we are not objective while under the influence of this aim. Even with help we will not easily admit to these hidden agendas that guide our lives. Seeing how they work indeed reminds one that "vanity and pride are the two giants which go before us and arrange everything." Each person has his own subjective version of this crystallization and may see only one face of it initially.

The only way to correctly approach this is to catalog one’s activities for a period of time—say, one week or longer. At first we will discount many things we do, saying they are necessary for external conditions, but our attitudes will show in all our manifestations. It is the energy we put into things, what our attention stays on, and the amount of time we spend on each activity that will guide us toward this unknown aim. Even our occupation, our relationships, and our hobbies and avocations hold clues to this important data. For most of us, even our interest in the Work is tarnished by this unconscious aim, and in this case it very effectively halts our progress.

Once we see how our results are being erased by this unconscious aim, the "terror of the situation" really begins to come home. Our efforts to see reality are being discarded in favor of our illusions, merely by the constant repetition of these illusions in our minds. These illusions are instilled in us, oftentimes completely by accident, during our childhood and adolescence, and sometimes even later as part of our occupation or schooling. (For example, I had a medical doctor as a massage client; when he was healed of his complaint after seeing me, he said it was coincidence, because massage does not work.)

Conceptually, this seems very simple, but once one experiences emotionally one’s complete slavery to these unknown aims, that one’s entire existence is solely to justify a paradigm that is totally unconscious, then serious desire for change and freedom result. This is what is meant when Jesus says we must hate our mother and father in order to follow him. We must kindle a negative attitude toward this unconscious dogma once we have seen it, constantly striving to recognize the taste of its automatic actions on our psyches. Having an idea of struggling with vanity and pride in a vague way will not help; we must find our specific crystallizations. This is the work of the sacred messengers from above, who "contribute to the destruction" of the poK.

We must work to gain understanding, but what stops it from being discarded? Only our efforts to uncover our hidden paradigms. And certainly becoming free of these inner paradigms will be a favorable change in Being. Otherwise our understanding will be random and incomplete.

KSR 6/12/01

Author's Bio: 

Kevin Roberts

The Kesdjan Foundation