Gurdjieff International Review

Gurdjieff on Nature

All Living Things Are Tied to One Another


ou must remember that there is nothing dead or inanimate in nature. Everything in its own way is alive, everything in its own way is intelligent and conscious. Only this consciousness and intelligence is expressed in a different way on different levels of being—that is, on different scales. But you must understand once and for all that nothing is dead or inanimate in nature, there are simply different degrees of animation and different scales.[1]

In nature everything is connected, and everything is alive.[2]

Everything absorbs, that is, eats something else, and also itself serves as food. This is what reciprocal exchange means. This reciprocal exchange takes place in everything, in both organic and inorganic matter.[3]

Wherever there is life—beginning with plants (for they too have life), animals, in a word wherever life exists, there is love. Each life is a representative of God. Whoever can see the representative will see Him who is represented. Every life is sensitive to love. Even inanimate things such as flowers, which have no consciousness, understand whether you love them or not. Even unconscious life reacts in a corresponding way to each man and responds to him according to his reactions....

It is very important for a man who works on himself to understand that change can take place in him only if he changes his attitude to the outside world. In general, you don’t know what must be loved....

It is best to begin with the world of plants; try from tomorrow to look at plants in a way you have not looked before.... Plants, like man, have relations between themselves, and relations exist also between plants and men, but they change from time to time. All living things are tied to one another. This includes everything that lives. All things depend on each other.[4]

You and Your Donkey

Although you were created for the purpose of the common-cosmic existence on planets, and although you were created also as “a-field-of-hope” for the future expectations of our Common All-Gracious Creator—that is to say, created with the possibilities of coating in your presence that “Higher-Sacred” for the possible arising of which the whole of our now existing World was just created—and in spite of the said possibilities given to you, that is to say, in spite of your having been created three-brained with possibilities of a logical mentation, yet you do not use this sacred property of yours for the purpose for which it was foreordained, but manifest it as “cunning” towards His other creations, as, for instance, towards your own-donkey.[5]

For [God] there is no difference between the life of men and the life of beings of any other form. Man is life, and the beings of other exterior forms are life.[6]

I repeat, all beings, of all brain systems, without exception, large and small, arising and existing on the Earth or within the Earth, in the air or beneath the waters, are all equally necessary for our Common Creator, for the common harmony of the existence of Everything Existing.

And as all the enumerated forms of beings actualize all together the form of the process required by our Creator for the existence of Everything Existing, the essence of all beings are to Him equally valuable and dear.[7]

On the Destruction of Nature

It never enters the head of any of these unfortunates that these beings whose existence I or we are now destroying, are equally dear to that one, Who has created them, and that if He created these other forms of beings as well as ourselves, it must also have been for some purpose....

If any of them should become aware of this ... then perhaps on the Earth also, would begin to exist the eighteenth personal commandment of our Common Creator which declared: “Love everything that breathes.”[8]

Glory to thee, Lord Creator, for having made the teeth of wolves not like the horns of my dear buffalo, for now I can make several excellent combs for my dear wife.[9]

And when I had become interested in these favorites of yours and had begun to observe and to study their strange psyche, only then did I finally understand to which end both Great Nature herself and the Most High and Most Saintly Individuals always patiently adapt themselves to everything, and concerning this, the following personal opinion was formed in me.

That if these favorites of yours would at least properly ponder over this and serve Nature honestly in this respect, then perhaps their being-self-perfecting might as a consequence proceed automatically even without the participation of their consciousness and in any case, the poor Nature of their ill-fated planet would also not have to ‘puff and blow’ in order to adapt Herself to remain within the common cosmic harmony.

But unfortunately for everything existing in the Megalocosmos, there is no honesty in your favorites even in respect of the fulfillment of their duties to Nature, not even to that Nature to which, strictly speaking, they owe their very existence.[10]

When they began existing in a manner more and more unbecoming for three-brained beings and entirely ceased actualizing in their presences their being-Partkdolg-duty, foreseen by Great Nature, by means of which alone it is possible for three-brained beings to acquire in their presences the data for coating their said higher-parts—and when, in consequence of all this, the quality of their radiations failed to respond to the demands of the Most Great common-cosmic Trogoautoegocratic process—then Great Nature was compelled, for the purpose of ‘equalizing-vibrations,’ gradually to actualize the duration of their existence according to the principle called Itoklanoz, that is the principle upon which in general is actualized the duration of existence of one-brained and two-brained beings who have not the same possibilities as the three-brained beings.[11]

Only about four or five of their centuries ago, such a society was formed also on the continent Asia ... and at their arising this society was called, ‘The-Earth-Is-Equally-Free-for-All.’ But when some dispute shortly afterwards arose among the members, they renamed their society and it later ended its existence under the new name of: ‘The-Earth-Must-Be-Only-for-Men.’[12]

What is Our Responsibility?

Better pull ten hairs a day out of your mother’s head than not help Nature.[13]

The third striving: the conscious striving to know ever more and more concerning the laws of World-creation and World-maintenance.... And the fifth: the striving always to assist the most rapid perfecting of other beings, both those similar to oneself and those of other forms, up to the degree of the sacred ‘Martfotai,’ that is up to the degree of self-individuality.[14]

It goes without saying, God forgives everything—this has even become a law in the World. But His creations—in this case people—must not abuse this All-Gracious and Everywhere-Penetrating Goodness of His; they must not only care for, but even maintain all He has created.[15]

You owe to nature the food you eat which nourishes your life. You must pay for these cosmic substances. You have a debt, an obligation, to repay by conscious work.[16]

What we have to do is to learn to spend our energy economically. Nature formed us so that we could have enough energy to do both kinds of work, ordinary life-work and work on ourselves.[17]

Panoramas of Extraordinary Beauty

I shall never forget the last conversation I had with [Professor Skridlov], on the summit of Mount Bechow....

Although it is not high, this mountain is so situated in relation to the surrounding countryside that from its summit we saw spread out before our eyes an extensive panorama of really extraordinary beauty....

We sat down on a rock and began to eat. Each of us, spellbound by the grandeur of the scenery, silently thought his own thoughts.

Suddenly my glance rested on the face of Professor Skridlov and I saw that tears were streaming from his eyes.

“What’s the matter, old fellow?” I asked him....

“It is very difficult to explain what takes place in me when I see or hear anything majestic which allows no doubt that it proceeds from the actualization of Our Maker Creator. Each time, my tears flow of themselves. I weep, that is to say it weeps in me not from grief, no, but as if from tenderness.”[18]

This holy planet is not only the center of the concentrations of the results of the functioning of all that exists, but it is also now the best, richest, and most beautiful of all the planets of our Universe.... Its atmosphere is always pure like the ‘phenomenal-Sakrooalnian-crystal.’ Everywhere there, every individual with all his presence senses ‘everything external,’ ‘Iskoloonizinernly,’ or as your favorites would say ‘blissfully-delightfully.’

On that holy planet, as the informed say, of springs alone, both mineral and fresh which for purity and naturalness are unequalled on any planet of our Universe, there are about ten thousand. There, from the whole of our Universe are gathered the most beautiful and best songbirds, of which as the informed also say, there are about twelve thousand species. As for the surplanetary formations, such as ‘flowers,’ ‘fruits,’ ‘berries,’ and all others of the same kind, words are inadequate. It can be said that there are collected and acclimatized there almost the whole ‘flora,’ ‘fauna,’ ‘and foscalia’ from all the planets of our Great Universe.

Everywhere on that holy planet, in corresponding gorges, are convenient caves of all kinds of ‘interior form’—made partly by Nature Herself and partly artificially—with striking views from their entrances, and in these caves, there is everything that can be required for a blissful and tranquil existence.[19] □

[1] P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous (1949) NY: Harcourt, Brace, p. 317.

[2] Ibid., p. 322.

[3] G. I. Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World (1973) New York: E. p. Dutton & Co., p. 210.

[4] Ibid., pp. 251–253.

[5] G. I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (1950) NY: Harcourt, Brace, p. 195.

[6] Ibid., p. 193.

[7] Ibid., p. 196.

[8] Ibid., pp. 197–198.

[9] Ibid., p. 858.

[10] Ibid., pp. 1106–1107.

[11] Ibid., pp. 437–438.

[12] Ibid., pp. 1063–1064.

[13] Ibid., p. 432.

[14] Ibid., p. 386.

[15] Ibid., p. 198.

[16] Transcripts of Gurdjieff’s Meetings 1941–1946 (2008) London: Book Studio, p. 4.

[17] C. S. Nott, Teachings of Gurdjieff: The Journal of a Pupil (1962) NY: Weiser, pp. 39–40.

[18] G. I. Gurdjieff, Meetings with Remarkable Men (1963) NY: E. p. Dutton, pp. 244–245.

[19] Beelzebub’s Tales, pp. 746–747.


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Featured: Winter 2019/2020 Issue, Vol. XIV (1)
Revision: August 13, 2020