Gurdjieff International Review
o ordinary knowledge, organic life is a kind of accidental appendage violating the integrity of a mechanical system. Ordinary knowledge does not connect it with anything and draws no conclusions from the fact of its existence. But you should already understand that there is nothing accidental or unnecessary in nature and that there can be nothing; everything has a definite function; everything serves a definite purpose. Thus organic life is an indispensable link in the chain of the worlds which cannot exist without it, just as it cannot exist without them. It has been said before that organic life transmits planetary influences of various kinds to the earth and that it serves to feed the moon and to enable it to grow and strengthen. But the earth also is growing; not in the sense of size but in the sense of greater consciousness, greater receptivity. The planetary influences which were sufficient for her at one period of her existence become insufficient, she needs the reception of finer influences. To receive finer influences a finer, more sensitive receptive apparatus is necessary. Organic life, therefore, has to evolve, to adapt itself to the needs of the planets and the earth....
Organic life on earth is a complex phenomenon in which the separate parts depend upon one another. General growth is possible only on the condition that the ‘end of the branch’ grows. Or, speaking more precisely, there are in organic life tissues which are evolving, and there are tissues which serve as food and medium for those which are evolving. Then there are evolving cells within the evolving tissues, and cells which serve as food and medium for those which are evolving. In each separate evolving cell there are evolving parts and there are parts which serve as food for those which are evolving. But always and in everything it must be remembered that evolution is never guaranteed, it is possible only and it can stop at any moment and in any place.
The evolving part of organic life is humanity. Humanity also has its evolving part but we will speak of this later; in the meantime we will take humanity as a whole. If humanity does not evolve it means that the evolution of organic life will stop and this in its turn will cause the growth of the ray of creation to stop. At the same time if humanity ceases to evolve it becomes useless from the point of view of the aims for which it was created and as such it may be destroyed. In this way the cessation of evolution may mean the destruction of humanity. □
P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching (1949) NY: Harcourt, Brace & Co., pp. 305–306.
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Featured: Winter 2019/2020 Issue, Vol. XIV (1)
Revision: August 13, 2020