Part 1
The Human Factory and the Transformation of Impressions

In the previous class we talked about the Human Machine and how it transforms rough or crude substances into finer ones, and that this is related to Artificial or Conscious Shocks which we need to apply to ourselves. Today we are going to study in detail how that occurs.

We have learned that awakening results from consistent, prolonged efforts. These efforts are the ones that are made after a person is already exhausted and feels that they can’t go anymore, but nevertheless they push themselves.

Our Chemical Factory and Conscious Efforts

“…our chemical factory works only for itself. It produces all kinds of very precious materials, but it spends them all on its own existence. It has nothing in reserve and nothing with which to develop itself

So if a person wants to change and become different, if they want to awaken their hidden possibilities, then they cannot rely on the mechanical means of production; they must look for conscious means. But the human being’s organism is such a wonderful invention that everything is taken into consideration, everything has its own key, so to speak…”

-paraphrase from Ch. 9 of The Fourth Way


The Human Factory and the Transformation of Air

“We all breathe the same air. Apart from the elements known to our science the air contains a great number of substances unknown to science, indefinable for it and inaccessible to its observation. But exact analysis is possible both of the air inhaled and of the air exhaled. This exact analysis shows that although the air inhaled by different people is exactly the same, the air exhaled is quite different.

Let us suppose that the air we breathe is composed of 20 different elements unknown to our science. A certain number of these elements are absorbed by every person when they breathe. Let us suppose that 5 of these elements are always absorbed. Consequently the air exhaled by every person is composed of 15 elements; 5 of them have gone to feeding the organism.

But some people exhale not 15 but only 10 elements, that is to say, they absorb 5 more elements. These higher ‘hydrogens’ are present in every small particle of air we inhale. By inhaling air, we introduce these higher ‘hydrogens’ into ourselves, but if our organism does not know how to extract them out of the particles of air, and retain them, then they are exhaled back into the air. If the organism is able to extract and retain them, then they remain in it.

In this way we all breathe the same air but we extract different substances from it. Some extract more, others less. In order to extract more, it is necessary to have in our organism a certain quantity of corresponding fine substances. Then the fine substances contained in the organism act like a magnet on the fine substances contained in the inhaled air.

We come again to the old alchemical law: ‘In order to make gold, it is first of all necessary to have a certain quantity of real gold’. ‘If no gold whatsoever is possessed, then there is no means whatsoever of making it’. The whole of alchemy is nothing but an allegorical description of the human factory and its work of transforming base metals (coarse substances) into precious ones (fine substances).

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.3 of In Search of the Miraculous


Increasing Production by Stopping Leaks

“In the ordinary state the human machine works well enough for maintaining its own life, but as a chemical factory it is unsatisfactory, because it consumes everything it produces; it cannot export or store anything. Yet the development of a person depends on storing the higher matters produced by their machine. So we must think about ways to increase the production.

But before we can think about increasing production we must study the factory from the point of view of waste, for there are many leaking parts in the machines, and if we do not stop these leaks, then increased production will only increase the leaks.

We have already spoken about the leaks… [and we will talk about them more in the next class] But they are all in us, and we must remember that we cannot increase production in our present state, for first of all we must stop all the leaks.

After this is done, it will be useful to learn practical ways of improving the work of the factory.

This is the principle.

There are three stages or three states of this chemical factory:

1. first, how it works in ordinary human being Number 1, 2 and 3,
2. then how it works with one definite kind of effort
3. and, finally, how it works with a second definite kind of effort.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 9 of The Fourth Way


Self-Remembering Affects the Human Factory

“The highest substance produced by the factory is Hydrogen SI-12 and for all its higher functions the factory is able to use only this higher matter. There is, however, a possibility of increasing the output, that is, of enabling the air octave and the impression octave to develop further.

For this purpose it is necessary to create a special kind of ‘artificial shock’ at the point where the beginning of the third octave is arrested. This means that the ‘artificial shock’ must be applied to the note DO-48.

But what is meant by an ‘artificial shock’? It is connected with the moment of the reception of an impression.

The note DO-48 designates the moment when an impression enters our consciousness.

An ‘artificial shock’ at this point means a certain kind of effort made at the moment of receiving an impression.

It has been explained before that in the ordinary conditions of life we do not remember ourselves; we do not remember, that is, we do not feel ourselves, we are not aware of ourselves at the moment of a perception, of an emotion, of a thought or of an action.

If a person understands this and tries to remember themselves, then every impression they receive while remembering themselves will be (so to speak) be doubled.

In an ordinary psychic state we simply look at a street.

[ Self ———————————> the observed phenomenon. ]

But if we remember ourselves, then we do not simply look at the street; we feel that we are looking, as though saying to ourselves: ‘I am looking’.

Instead of one impression of the street there are two impressions,
1. one of the street
2. and another of ourselves looking at it.

[ Self <———————————> the observed phenomenon. ]

This second impression, produced by the fact of our remembering ourselves, is the ‘additional shock’.

Moreover, it very often happens that the additional sensation connected with self-remembering brings with it an element of emotion, that is, the work of the machine attracts a certain amount of ‘carbon’ 12 to the place in question.

Efforts to remember oneself, observation of oneself at the moment of receiving an impression, observation of one’s impressions at the moment of receiving them, registering, so to speak, the reception of impressions and the simultaneous defining of the impressions received, all this taken together doubles the intensity of the impressions and carries DO-48 to RE-24.

At the same time the effort connected with the transition of one note to another and the passage of 48 itself to 24 enables DO-48 of the third octave [Impressions] to come into contact with MI-48 of the second octave [Air] and to give this note the requisite amount of energy necessary for the transition of MI to FA [in the 2nd Octave of Air].

In this way the ‘shock’ given to DO 48 extends also to MI 48 and enables the second octave [of Air] to develop.

MI-48 passes to FA-24; FA-24 passes to SOL-12; SOL-12 passes to LA-6.

LA 6 is the highest matter produced by the organism from air, that is, from the second kind of food.

This however is obtained only by making a conscious effort at the moment an impression is received. It is necessary to understand what this means.”

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.3 of In Search of the Miraculous

Consciously Insulating Ourselves with the Work

“You have heard it said that in this work it is necessary to transform impressions and that this is the essence of the so-called first conscious shock.

…many people do not understand the nature of the first conscious shock, in a practical way and simply say that it means self-remembering.

But a word does not explain what it means.

The transformation of daily life, that is, of its impact upon us, depends on understanding all that has been taught about practical work —about self-observation and work on negative states, work on identifying, and so on.

It is this that insulates us.

When we realize that we do not need to take a thing or a person in the way we are taking them, then we transform something and (at the same time) we insulate ourselves.

Self-remembering, non-identifying and not-considering all help to insulate us from the influences of life.

Acting consciously at a difficult moment has the same effect.

Similarly, if you experience a moment of real consciousness, a moment of self-remembering, you will feel that it is just as if you were insulated from life

…Our task is to try to attract higher states of consciousness, through working in order to achieve them.

-paraphrase from Lecture “COMMENTARY III—Birdlip, June 12, 1941 – ON WORK ON ONESELF” in Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky – Vol. 1


Conscious Effort and the Transformation of Impressions

Something we must understand and remember is the reason or purpose for Transforming Impressions.

If we do not transform impressions, then that ‘food’ (of Impressions) is used by the Ego to create more Egos.

“Undigested impressions are transformed into new psychological aggregates, that is to say, into new “I’s”, new Egos, and this is really serious.

It is necessary to digest the impressions. But how? Through the SUPERLATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE BEING.

Normally the impressions reach the mind and the mind reacts on those impressions. If somebody insults us, we react with desires for revenge; if somebody offers a glass of wine, we react with desires to drink; if a person of the opposite sex tempts us, we feel desires for fornication.

We always react before the impacts of the external world, and this is very serious!

In the assemblies, we have seen how the people hurt each other: one says something, and the other feels alluded to and then reacts violently, saying something worse.

Sometimes, what they say is not something vulgar but subtle, very decent and accompanied by a smile, however, at the bottom the statement carries the frightful venom of a violent reaction.

THERE IS NO LOVE AMONG THE BRETHREN, they have forgotten their own Being, and only live in the world of the Ego, in the world of reactions.

When one forgets one’s own Being, then one reacts violently. If one forget one’s own Being before a bottle of wine, one ends up drunk; if one forgets one’s own Being before a person of the opposite sex, one ends up fornicating; if one forgets one’s own Profound Inner Being before an insulter, one ends up insulting… The most serious thing in life is to forget oneself.

-paraphrase from Paraphrase from ‘The Verb and the Priestly Magistry’ Lecture #16
[“El Verbo y El Magisterio Sacerdotal”] in El Quinto Evagelio


Transforming Impressions and the Intervention of the Consciousness

“Therefore, it is necessary to transform impressions and this could only be possible by INTERVENING between the different vibrations of the external world and the mind, with the Consciousness itself.

When one intervenes between the impressions and the mind, this is called the CONSCIOUSNESS, then it is obvious that impressions are transformed into FORCES AND POWERS OF A SUPERIOR ORDER.

Normally, impressions are formed by a very heavy hydrogen: HYDROGEN-48.

When one intervenes between the impressions and the mind, with the Consciousness, then the Hydrogen-48 is transformed into Hydrogen-24, which serves as the nourishment for the Astral Body.

In the same way, the left over of the Hydrogen-24 is transformed in Hydrogen-12, which serves as the nourishment for the Mental Body.

And finally, the excess of Hydrogen-12 is transformed into Hydrogen-6, which serves as the nourishment for the Causal Body.

However, if one does not transform impressions, then they are mechanically transformed into new psychological aggregates, into new “I’s”.

We have to transform impressions using the Consciousness.

It is very easy to intervene with the Consciousness by putting it between the mind and impressions.

In order to receive impressions with the Consciousness and not with the mind, it is only necessary TO NOT FORGET OURSELVES in a determined instant.

If in any moment somebody says something hurtful with their words, then we must not forget our own Being, we must not allow the mind to react, we must not allow the myself: self-esteem [or self-love], pride, vanity [or conceit], etc, to intervene.

We have to CONCENTRATE OURSELVES UPON THE BEING, so that in those instants only the Being, the Superlative Consciousness of the Being, will be the one that receives the impressions and digest them correctly.

In this way one avoids the horrible reactions that everyone (ourselves and others) have before the impacts of impressions that come from the external world.

In this way impressions are completely transformed, and they are transformed into superior forces, and then we develop marvelously.”

-paraphrase from Paraphrase from ‘The Verb and the Priestly Magistry’ Lecture #16
[“El Verbo y El Magisterio Sacerdotal”] in El Quinto Evagelio


Part 2
Understanding the Advantage of Transforming Impressions

The Human Factory and the Transformation of Impressions

“We have followed the development of the different Octaves… The development third octave, that is, the octave of impressions, begins through a conscious effort.

…For the two octaves of Air & Impressions to develop further, a second conscious shock is needed at a certain point in the machine, a new conscious effort is necessary which will enable the two octaves to continue their development.

The nature of this effort demands special study.

From the point of view of the general work of the machine it can be said, in general, that this effort is connected with the emotional life, that it is a special kind of influence over one’s emotions.

But what this kind of influence really is, and how it has to be produced, can be explained only in connection with a general description of the work of the human factory or the human machine.

The practice of not expressing unpleasant emotions, of not ‘identifying’, of not ‘considering inwardly’, is the preparation for the second effort.

If we now take the work of the human factory as a whole, we will be able to see how we can increase the productivity of the factory at the moments when the production of fine substances is arrested…”

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.3 of In Search of the Miraculous


The First Stage of Work in the Human Factory

“The study of the work of the human organism as a chemical factory shows us three stages in the development of the human machine.

The first stage refers to the work of the human organism as it has been created by nature, that is to say, to the life and functions of human being No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3.

As we have already mentioned, the first octave, that is, the octave of food, develops in a normal way to MI-192. At this point it automatically receives a ‘shock’ from the beginning of the second octave [Air], and its development goes on consecutively to SI-12.

The second octave, that is, the air octave, begins with DO-192 and develops to MI-48 where it stops.

The third octave, that is, the octave of impressions, begins with DO-48 and stops there.

Thus seven notes of the first octave, the three notes of the second, and one note of the third octave represent a complete picture of the work of the ‘human factory’ in its first or natural stage.

Nature has provided only one ‘shock’, that is, the ‘shock’ received from the entrance (or DO) of the second octave [Air] which helps MI of the first octave to pass into FA. But nature did not provide for the second ‘shock’, that is, the ‘shock’ that would help the development of the third octave [Impressions] and thereby enable MI of the second octave to pass into FA.

A person must create this ‘shock’ by their own personal efforts if they desire to increase the output of the fine hydrogens in their organism.

This Artificial ‘Shock’ is also sometimes called the “Second Stage” of the Esoteric Work…

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.4 of In Search of the Miraculous


The Second Stage of Work in the Human Factory and the 1st Volitional or Conscious Shock

“The second stage refers to the work of the human organism when a person creates a conscious volitional ‘shock’ at the point DO-48 [Impressions].

In the first place this volitional ‘shock’ is transmitted to the second octave which develops as far as SOL-12, or even further up to LA-6 and so on, if the work of the organism is sufficiently intense. The same ‘shock’ also enables the third octave (the octave of impressions) to develop which in this event reaches MI-12 [Transformed Impressions].

Thus in the second stage of the work of the human organism, we see the fullest development of the second octave and three notes of the third octave.

The first octave has stopped at the note SI-12 [Sexual Energy], the third at the note MI-12 [Transformed Impressions]. Neither of these octaves can proceed any further without a fresh ‘shock’.

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.4 of In Search of the Miraculous

The Third Stage of Work in the Human Factory and the 2nd Volitional or Conscious Shock

“The nature of this second ‘shock’ cannot be as easily described as the nature of the first volitional ‘shock’ at DO-48 [Impressions]. In order to understand the nature of this ‘shock’ it is necessary to understand the meaning of SI-12 [Sexual Energy] and MI-12 [Transformed Impressions].

The effort which creates this ‘shock’ must consist in work on the emotions, in the transformation and transmutation of the emotions. This transmutation of the emotions will then help the transmutation of [Hydrogen] SI-12 in the human organism. No serious growth, that is, no growth of higher bodies within the organism, is possible without this transmutation.

The idea of this transmutation was known to many ancient teachings as well as to some comparatively recent ones, such as the alchemy of the Middle Ages. But the alchemists spoke of this transmutation in the allegorical forms of the transformation of base metals into precious ones. In reality, however, they meant the transformation of coarse ‘hydrogens’ into finer ones within the human organism…”

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.4 of In Search of the Miraculous


The Possibility of Developing Ourselves

“If we want to develop further, then we must increase the production of higher matters, and in order to do that we must understand and know how to do it, not only theoretically but in actual fact, because it needs a long time to learn how to use this knowledge and to make the right efforts.

…You must understand that the air is saturated with higher hydrogens which, in certain cases, can be retained by the organism in the process of breathing.

…This stage [the 2nd Stage] represents the work of the human machine with one mechanical and one conscious shock.

The third stage shows what happens when a second conscious shock is given at the right place.

The first conscious shock is necessary at DO 48.

The second conscious shock is needed where MI 12 of the Impressions octave has stopped in its development and cannot go on any further by itself.

…The effort must begin from MI 12, so we must understand what MI 12 is psychologically.

We can call it our ordinary emotions, that is to say, all strong emotions that we may have. When our emotions reach a certain degree of intensity, there is MI 12 in them.

But in our present state only our unpleasant emotions actually reach MI 12; our ordinary pleasant emotions usually remain 24. It is not that our intense unpleasant emotions actually are MI 12, but they are based on it and need it in order to be produced. So the beginning of this second effort and preparation for it is work on negative emotions.

…The second conscious shock… is the transformation of negative emotions into positive emotions. It is possible only with long work on self-remembering, when you can be conscious for a long time, and when higher emotional center begins to work. This is what brings us to a higher level of being … MI-12, combined with a special effort, can produce positive emotion.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 9 of The Fourth Way


Nature, Development and Proportions of the 3 Foods

“…nature brings the human being to a certain state and then leaves him to develop himself.

Nature gives man possibilities, but does not develop these possibilities.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 9 of The Fourth Way

“…it must be understood that, just as in many chemical processes, only definite quantities of substances (exactly determined by nature), give compounds of the required quality, so in the human organism the ‘three kinds of food’ must be mixed in definite proportions.

The final substance in the process of the food octave is the substance Hydrogen SI-12, which needs an ‘additional shock’ in order to pass into a new DO. But as three octaves have taken part in the production of this substance their influence is also reflected in the final result by determining its quality.

The quality and quantity can be regulated by regulating the three kinds of food received by the organism.

Only in the presence of a full and harmonious conformity between all three kinds of food, by a strengthening or weakening of the different parts of the process, is the required result obtained. But it is essential to remember that no arbitrary attempts to regulate food, in the literal sense of the word, or breathing can lead to the desired end unless one knows exactly what one is doing and why, and what kind of result it will give. And furthermore, even if a person were to succeed in regulating two components of the process, food and breathing, again this would not be enough, because it is still more important to know how to regulate the food of the third story—’impressions’.

Therefore before even thinking of influencing practically the inner processes it is essential to understand the exact mutual relationship of the substances entering the organism, the nature of the possible ‘shocks’, and the laws governing the transition of notes.

These laws are everywhere the same.

In studying the human being, we study the cosmos, in studying the cosmos we study the human being.”

-Paraphrase from Ch 14.2 of In Search of the Miraculous


Different Octaves and Where We Need to Apply Conscious Shocks

“…it is necessary for both the conscious shocks to be working in order to produce any useful results in the direction of being more awake…

…to produce complete results certainly both shocks must be given, but when the first shock [Self-Remembering] is sufficiently strong then it already produces certain results. But, as a matter of fact, they generally work together, because from the very beginning we must learn not to express negative emotions, and this is already work on the second conscious shock.

The first shock is in the nature of self-remembering, and then it produces struggle with negative emotions, so after some time one actually works on both. The more result you get in one, the more you have to work on the other.

This explains another principle we meet with in the system —that the more one does, the more is expected of one.

It is the same in the Food Diagram— the more one tries to work on self-remembering, the more one must be able to control negative emotions, with the idea of being able in the future to transform negative emotions into positive emotions.”

“This is the general outline of the work of the human organism and of how this work can be improved. It is important to understand where conscious shocks are necessary, because if you understand this then it will help you to understand many other difficulties in the Food Diagram.

You must understand, too, that these three octaves are not of equal force. If you take the force of the food octave, then you will see that it gives certain results, certain effects that can be measured. Although the matter taken from air plays a very important part, the air octave represents a very small quantity of hydrogens, whereas the impressions octave is very powerful and may have an enormous meaning in relation to self-remembering, states of consciousness, emotions, and so on.

So we can say that the relationship of the three octaves is not equal, because one has more substance, another less substance. This is our inner alchemy, the transmutation of base metals into precious metals. But all this alchemy is inside us, not outside.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 9 of The Fourth Way


Taking in Different Types of Impressions

“If these principles of classification and definition are understood in the right way, then many things become clear and comprehensible. No living being can change its food at will, or the air it breathes, or the medium in which it lives. The cosmic order of each being determines its food as well as the air it breathes and the medium in which it lives.

When we talked before about the octaves of food in the three-story factory we saw that all the finer ‘hydrogens’ needed for the working, the growth, and the development of the organism were prepared from three kinds of food, that is, from food in the strict meaning of the word (what is eatable and drinkable), from air which we breathe, and from impressions.

Now let us suppose that we could improve the quality of food and air, to be able to feed, let us say, on ‘hydrogen’ 384 instead of 768 and breathe ‘hydrogen’ 96 instead of 192. How much simpler and easier the preparation of fine matters in the organism would be then. But the whole point is that this is impossible.

…But while it is not possible for a person to improve their food and air one can improve one’s impressions to a very high degree and in this way introduce fine ‘hydrogens’ into the organism. It is precisely on this that the possibility of development is based.

A person is not at all obliged to feed on the dull impressions of H-48, they can have both H-24, H-12, and H-6, and even H-3.

This changes the whole picture and a person who makes higher ‘hydrogens’ the food for the upper story of their machine will certainly differ from one who feeds on the lower ‘hydrogens’.”

-Paraphrase from Ch 16.3 of In Search of the Miraculous

“We speak about awakening and development, and here a cosmic fact comes to our aid.

We cannot improve our food or air, because it is the only food we can eat and air we can breathe.

But we can improve impressions…

How can we do that? Not by traveling, or going to the theatre, or something like that, but simply by awaking, or trying to awaken.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 9 of The Fourth Way



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