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The Fourth Way - P.D.Ouspensky

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The Fourth Way - P.D.Ouspensky

Chapter 1-What the system is about-Study of Psychology-Incompleteness of Man-Study of the World and study of Man- Principle of Scale-Possible Evolution-Self study-Many I's-Division of Functions-Four States of Consciousness-Self-Observation-Self Remembering-Two Higher Functions-Wrong work of the machine-Imagination-Lying-Absence of Will-lack of control-Expression of unpleasant Emotions-Negative Emotions-Change of Attitudes-Observation of Functions-Identification-Considering-Sleep-Prison and Escape-Seven Categories of man-Mechanicalness-Law of Three-Law of Seven-Illusions- We cannot 'do'-Good and Evil-Mortality and conscience-Only a few can develop-A, B and C influences-Magnetic centre- We live in a bad place in the Universe.Ray of Creation-orders of Law.

Before I begin to explain to you in a general way what this system is about, and to talk about our methods, I want particularly to impress on your minds that the most important ideas and principles of the system do not belong to me. This is chiefly what makes them valuable, because if they belonged to me they would be like all other theories invented by ordinary minds-they would give only a subjective view of things.

When I began to write A new Model of the Universe in 1907, I formulated to myself, as many other people have done before and since, that behind the surface of the life which we know lies something much bigger and more important. And I said to myself then, until we know about what lies behind, all our knowledge of life and of ourselves is really negligible. I remember one conversation at that time, when I said 'If it were possible to accept as proven that consciousness  (or, as I should call it now, intelligence) can manifest itself apart from the physical body, many other things could be proved.

Only it cannot be taken as approved.' I realized that manifestations of supernprmal psychology such as thought transference, clairvoyance, the possibility of knowing the future, of looking back into the past, and so on, have not been proved. So I tried to find a method of studying these things, and worked on the line for several years. I found some interesting things in that way, but the results were very elusive; and though several experiments were successful, it was almost impossible to repeat them.

I came to two conclusions in the course of these experiments:first, first, that we do not know enough about ordinary psychology; we cannot study supernornal psychology, because we do not know normal psychology. Secondly I came to the conclusion that certain real knowledge exists; that for some reason they are hidden and this knowledge is hidden. So I began to look for these schools. I travelled in Europe, Egypt, India, Ceylon, Turkey and the Near East; but it was really later, when I had already finished these travels, that I met in Russia during the war a group of people who were studying a cartain system which came originally from Eastern schools. This system began with the study of psychology, exactly as I had realized it must begin.

The chief idea of this system was that we do not use even a small part of our powers and our forces. We have in us, so to speak, a very big and very fine organization, only we do not know how to use it. It this group they employed certain oriental metaphors, and they told me that we have in us a large house full of beautiful furniture, with a library and many other rooms, but we live in the basement and the kitchen and cannot get out of them. If people tell us about what this house has upstairs we do not believe them, or we laugh at them, or we call it superstition or fairy tales or fables.

This system can be divided into study of the world on certain new principles, and study of man. The study of the world and the study of man include in themselves a kind of special language. We try to use ordinary words as we use ordinary conversation, but we attach a slightly different and more precise meaning to them. Study of the world, study of the Universe, is based on the study of some fundemential laws which are not generally known as recognized in science. The two chief laws are the Law of Three and the Law of Seven, which will be explained later. Included in this, and the necessary from this point of view, is the principle od scalke-a principle which does not enter into ordinary scientific study, or enters very little.

The study of man is closely connected with the idea of the evolution of man, but the evolution of man must be understood in a slightly different way from the ordinary. Ordinarily the word evolution applied either to man or to anything else presupposes a kind of mechanical evolution;I mean that certain things, by certain known or unkn own laws, transform into other things, and these other things transform into still others, and so on.But from the point of view of this system there is no such evolution at all.-I do not speak in general, but specifically of man. The evolution of man, if it occurs, can only be the result of knowledge and effort; as long as man knows only what he can know in the ordinary way, there is no evolution for him and there never was any evolution for him.

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Reference: The Fourth Way: P.D.Ouspensky

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