evolution of man is the evolution
of his consciousness. And 'consciousness' cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of
his will, and 'will' cannot
evolve unvoluntarily. The evolution of man is the evolution of
his power of doing, and
'doing' cannot result from things which happen."
G. I. Gurdjieff, as remembered by
P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the
The focus of the January talk was how we live, the need for evolution,
and the practice of self-observation as a beginner’s tool supporting
the discovery of consciousness.
In this second of two linked talks, we will explore one of Gurdjieff’s
most original and provocative offerings: the Food Diagram. A graphic
presentation of human metabolism based on several related ideas, it
proposes that we need three foods to survive and flourish, not just
one, and that each of these foods can enter into an internal process of
refinement that yields awakened minds and hearts, consciousness. The
three foods are the food on our tables, the air we breathe, and
impressions received through the senses. The interaction of these
foods, such that they kindle each other and become progressively more
refined, is alchemy—our own, intimate alchemy. No need to seek it in an
ancient alchemist’s laboratory. We are the laboratory.
As we follow the processes of the Food Diagram, what can we understand
about the evolution of consciousness, real will, and the ability to do
that are free of ego. How are these changes forged? What effort is
required of us?