These days I am reading the work of P.D Ouspensky, a Russian philosopher who was a student of Gurdjieff, one of the “disseminators” of the “ancestral” esotericism in the West. In one of his books “In Search of the Miracolous” Gurdjieff explains his point of view on the evolution of humanity and man in relation to the Earth. I found it interesting to share it because, part of what is spoken about organic life, it’s something that we also see in the courses. I have added notes to make the text more clear.
How should evolution be understood?
Someone asked during a meeting: “How should evolution be understood?”
-The evolution of man, answered G., can be understood as the development of those faculties and powers that are never developed by themselves, that is, mechanically. Only this kind of development or growth marks the real evolution of man. There is not, and can not be, any other class of evolution “Consider man in the current degree of his development. Nature has done it as it is and taken collectively, as far as we can see, it will stay that way. Changes that could go against the general demands of nature can only occur in separated units .
“To understand the law of the evolution of man, it is indispensable to grasp that this evolution, beyond to a certain degree, it is not necessary at all, that is to say: in no way necessary for the proper development of nature at a given moment. In more precise terms, the evolution of humanity corresponds to the evolution of the planets, but the evolutionary process of the planets, for us, develops through infinitely long cycles of time. In the space of time that human thinking can encompass, no essential change in the life of the planets can take place, and consequently no essential change in the life of humanity can take place.
“Humanity does not progress, nor does it evolve. What seems to us to be progress or evolution is a partial modification that can be immediately counterbalanced by a modification corresponding in the opposite direction. “Humanity, as well as the rest of organic life, exists on earth for the proper purposes of the earth. And it is exactly what it must be to respond to current needs of the earth.
“Only such a theoretical thought and so far removed from the facts as modern European thought, could conceive the possibility of the evolution of man regardless of nature surrounding, or consider the evolution of man as a gradual conquest of nature. This is completely impossible. Whether he lives, dies, evolves or degenerates, likewise man serves the purposes of nature, or rather, nature is also served — although perhaps for different reasons — of the results of both evolution and degeneration. Humanity considered as a whole can never escape nature, since even fighting against it, man acts in conformity with the purposes of it. The evolution of great human masses is in opposition to the purposes of nature. The evolution of a small percentage of men can be in agreement with these purposes. The man contains in himself the possibility of his evolution. But the evolution of humanity as a whole, that is to say, the development of this possibility in all men, or in most of them, or even in a great number, is not necessary to the designs of the Earth or the planetary world in general, and in fact, this could be detrimental or even fatal. There are, therefore, special forces (of planetary character) that oppose the evolution of the great human masses and that keep them at the level in which they must remain.
For example, the evolution of humanity beyond a certain degree, or more exactly, beyond a certain percentage, would be fatal to the Moon [Note: The Moon is the symbology that Gurdjieff used to explain the “hyperdimensional control system” on the planet, this is, entities of higher evolutionary order nourishing themselves of inferior entities (us) “]. The moon is now nourished by organic life, nourished by humanity. Humanity is a part of organic life; this means that humanity is nourishment for the moon.
If all men become too intelligent, they no longer want to be eaten by the moon.
“But the possibilities of evolution exist and can be developed in isolated individuals, with the help of the appropriate knowledge and methods. Such development can be carried out only in the interests of man, in opposition to forces and, arguably, to the interests of the planetary world. A man has to understand this: that his evolution does not interest but him. No one else is interested. And you mustn’t count on anyone’s help. Because no one is obligated to help you, and no one intends to.
On the contrary, the forces that oppose the evolution of the great human masses also oppose the evolution of each man. It touches each one to avoid them. But if a man can avoid them, humanity cannot do it. You will understand later that all these obstacles are very useful; If they did not exist, it would be necessary to create them intentionally, because only by overcoming the obstacles can a man develop in himself the qualities he needs.
“Such are the basis of a correct concept of the evolution of man. There is no compulsory, mechanical evolution. Evolution is the result of a conscious struggle. Nature does not need this evolution; it doesn’t want it and it fights it. Evolution cannot be necessary but to man himself, to realize his situation and the possibility of changing it, when he realizes that he has powers he never employs, and riches he does not see. And it is in the sense of attaining the possession of these powers and of these riches that evolution is possible. But if all men, or most of them, understood this and wanted to get what belongs to them by birthright, then evolution would become impossible again. What is possible for every man is impossible for the masses.
“The individual has the privilege of being very small, and therefore not to count in the general economy of Nature, where nothing changes that there is a mechanical man of more or less. We can give you an idea of the correlation of comparing magnitudes to that between a microscopic cell and our entire body. The presence or absence of a cell does not change anything in life of the body. We cannot be aware of this, and this cannot influence the life and functions of the organism. Exactly the same way, an individual as such is too small to influence the life of the cosmic organism, with which it is in the same relationship (in terms of size) as that of a cell with all our organism. This is precisely what can allow you to ‘ evolve ‘, which is what your ‘ possibilities ‘ are based on.