George Gurdjieff, among others, pointed out that the vast majority of humans live in a state of delusion, being ignorant of their own nature, of the nature of consciousness, and of the nature of physical reality.
Are you one of the deluded? The deluded, of course, never know that they are deluded.
The existence of the state of delusion is obvious if one is Awakened.
“Awakening” is the term the Gnostics used for their experience, and what they “knew” was that experience. Their cosmological speculations were only attempts to explain it. They had Awakened from the state of delusion.
Awakening is so different from every other state of consciousness that there are no words adequate to describe it. Unless you have Awakened, you cannot believe such an experience is possible, let alone understand it.
However, I can tell you that it is riotously joyful, salvific, liberating, and infinitely desirable, and has nothing to do with any concept you might have of divinity.
The Awakened are transformed into a state of invincible humility.
The state of delusion manifests as a belief that we are solitary individuals, separated from one another and from physical reality; that belief is simply not true.
The state of delusion is maintained by the mental illness of unteachability, which explains most of the current dysfunctionality of our species..
If you believe you have arrived at a final, unalterable truth, you are wrong; you have merely become unteachable.
All the citizens say Aristotle
Has discovered everything
There is to know.
They go inside their houses
And close the doors.
The vast majority of people, those who are deluded and unteachable, are trapped in wishful thinking.
They accept only facts that reinforce what they already believe and find reasons to explain away any facts that contradict what they believe.
If confronted by a contradictory fact, they will often, as Scott Peck pointed out, “shoot the messenger,” hoping the message will go away; it never does.
To combat wishful thinking, Francis Bacon invented the scientific method (actually, he “borrowed” it from a Muslim philosopher).
The key to scientific method is trying to prove yourself wrong; you purposely look for facts that show your hypothesis or belief is inadequate.
The opposite of unteachability is openmindedness.As Scott Peck said, “The path to holiness lies through questioning everything.”
The Awakened (as well as the merely sane) are dedicated to the pursuit of truth, wherever it might lead, knowing that the pursuit will never end. There will never be a Final Truth, a Theory of Everything, an end to science.
One must desire truth so much that one can tolerate living with uncertainty.
Such a dedication to truth is sufficient to give one the functional equivalent of a religion.
Gurdjieff also proposed “Gurdjieff’s Partition”:
All facts are disprovable hypotheses, which are the province of science.
All beliefs and values are nondisprovable hypotheses, which are the province of religion.
To be agnostic, to say, “I do not and cannot know whether a nondisprovable hypothesis (that is, any belief) is true,” is compatible with scientific method; whereas saying “I know a nondisprovable hypothesis is true” (e.g., saying “I know there are no Gods”) is not.
The validity of nondisprovable hypotheses can be tested only by William James’ pragmatism, that is, by asking whether they benefit society.
Awakening happens only when it is needed, not when it is merely wanted (if one can know enough about it to want it). A corollary is Gerald Gardner’s observation that magic cannot be worked for show, but “only in earnest, only in need.”
If all humans were to Awaken, humanity would be transformed into a far more desirable society; I think even physical reality, as we perceive it, would also be transformed.
The goal of the Awakened person is to Awaken at least one other, preferably, many.
There is no technology that can guarantee Awakening, but there is at least one that makes it immensely more probable: working the Great Rite in Truth in full aspect.
(The gods have physical bodies. We are their bodies. That is why they created us.)
That is a Third-Degree Secret only in the way that the tensor calculus is: you have to learn how to do it. The best instruction manual I know of is Sam Wagar’s The Uses of Ecstasy.
If I were to number all this, it would look much more like Wittgenstein.
Obviously, I intend all this as a summary of where my thinking has gotten to so far.
If you understand what I mean by Awakening, please contact me; we need to be in touch.