The Different Kinds of Influences and the Possibilities of Development

One of the things we want to be sure we understand is the difficulty of finding and staying with these teachings. The Path, and specifically doing our individual work, to develop ourselves, to change from what we ARE into what we ARE NOT, requires tremendous dedication and effort on our part.

This is why we need to understand 1) how to leverage our position, and 2) how to take advantage of beneficial influences while leaving behind those which do not help us on the Path.

In the previous class, we said that we need to understand something:

“…it is impossible to become free from one influence without becoming subject to another. The whole thing (all work upon oneself) consists of choosing the influence to which you wish to subject yourself, and actually falling under this influence.

So, it is necessary to know which influence is the more profitable…”

-paraphrase from Ch. 1.10 of In Search of the Miraculous

Let’s understand this in more detail. Ouspensky says:

“…Why cannot all people develop and become different beings? The answer is very simple. Because they do not want it. Because they do not know about it and will not understand without a long preparation what it means, even if they are told. The chief idea is that in order to become a different being: a person must want it very much and for a very long time. A passing desire or a vague desire based on dissatisfaction with external conditions will not create a sufficient impulse.

The evolution of humanity depends on their understanding of what they may get and what they must give for it. If a person does not want it, or if they do not want it strongly enough, and do not make necessary efforts, then they will never develop. So there is no injustice in this. Why should a person have what they do not want? If a person were forced to become a different being when they are satisfied with what they are, then this would be injustice…”

-paraphrase from Lecture 1 of The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution

What Ouspensky is saying is that it is an injustice for a person to develop who does not want to do so, or (in other words) for God to force us to do something that we do not want to do for ourselves.

So we must want this change, we must want to develop and we must search for the way to do this until we find it…


Influences and the Possibility of Development

So let’s understand what we can do in order to see how to fall under influence that should benefit us so that we may further develop…

“Now if we reflect on the idea that only very few can develop and find hidden possibilities in themselves, then the question naturally arises: What determines the difference? Why do some people have a chance and some people have no chance?

It is quite true that some people have no chance from the very beginning. They are born in such circumstances that they can learn nothing, or they are themselves defective in some way; we exclude them…

We are interested in people who are in normal circumstances, and they themselves must be normal, with ordinary possibilities of learning, understanding and so on.”

This means a person who is not accustomed to: negative emotions, the wrong working of the centers or who doesn’t want to change (or who does not want to give up being identified).

“Now, out of these people only very few will be capable of making even the first step on the path of development. How and why is this so? All people in the ordinary conditions of life live under two kinds of influences.

This must be very well understood and the difference between the two kinds of influences must be very clear.

First there are the influences created in life, desire for riches, fame and so on… [“Type A influences”] The first kind consists of interests and attractions created by life itself; interests of one’s: health, amusements, safety, security, wealth, vanity, pleasures, pride, fame, etc. We call these first kind of influences: “type A influences” [and correspond to the Exoteric Circle].

The second kind consists of interests of a different order aroused by ideas which are not created in life but come originally from Work schools (schools that teach us how to Work upon ourselves). These influences come from outside life, [“type B influences”] and reach a person in the form of literature, art, science, philosophy, and religion.

These influences of the second kind are Conscious in their origin. These influences do not reach a person directly. They are thrown into the general turnover of life, and often pass through many different minds before reaching a person. We call these second kind of influences: “type B influences” [and correspond to the Mesoteric Circle].

In most cases people do not realize the different origin of the influences of the second kind and often explain them as having the same origin as the first kind. Although people may not know of the existence of two kinds of influences, they both act on us and (in one way or another) we respond to them.

We can be more identified with one or with some of the influences of the first kind and not feel influences of the second kind at all. Or we can be attracted and affected by one or another of the influences of the second kind. The result is different in each case.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 1 of The Fourth Way
and Lecture 3, Section 4 of The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution


Type B Influences, the ‘Magnetic Center’ and Further Development

“Type A influences are mechanical from the beginning they relate to material life, the cycles of nature, etc., and not to the Work upon ourselves.

If a person is fully in the power of type A influences, or of one particular type A influence, and quite indifferent to type B influences, then nothing happens to them, and their possibility of development diminishes with every year of their life; and at a certain age (sometimes quite an early age) it disappears completely. This means that people die spiritually, while still physically remaining alive, like the grain that cannot germinate and produce a plant.

But if (on the other hand) a person is not completely in the power of type A influences, and if type B influences attract them and make them feel, think and (as a result) act differently, then the results of the impressions the type B influences produce in them: collect together, attract other influences of the same kind, and grow, occupying a more important place in their mind & life.

What this means is that a person can meet with type B influences or they can pass them by without noticing them, or they can hear them and think that they understand them, use the words and (at the same time) have no real understanding of them at all.

These two influences really determine the further development of a person. If a person accumulates enough type B influences, then the results of these influences crystallize in them and form in them a certain kind of center of attraction which we call magnetic center… The compact mass of memory of these influences attracts to them in a certain direction, or makes them turn in a certain direction.

When the magnetic center is formed in a person it will be easier for them to attract to themselves more type B influences, and not to be distracted by type A influences. With ordinary people type A influences can take so much of their time so that nothing is left for other influences and they are hardly affected at all by type B influences.

But if this ‘magnetic center’ grows in a person, then after some time they meet another person, or a group of people, from whom that person can learn something different, something that is not included in type B influences, and which we call type C influences [corresponding to the Esoteric Circle]. It is said that type C influences can be transferred only by word of mouth, by direct instruction, explanation, and demonstration.

These influences can also be received when one is in the 2 higher states of consciousness, during meditation, or when one is in astral, etc.

“When a person meets with type C influences and is able to absorb them, then it is said that (in one point of themselves that is, in their magnetic center) they have become free from the law of accident.

From this moment the magnetic center has actually played its part. It has brought the person to the situations and circumstances which helped them in their first steps there. From there, the ideas and the teachings slowly begin to penetrate into the different parts of personality and, with time, into the essence.

If a person in whom the magnetic center has grown meets with a group through whom they come into contact with type C influences, then this means that they have made the first step. Then there is a possibility of development for them.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 1 of The Fourth Way
and Lecture 3, Section 4 of The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution


Nature and Our Place in the Universe

“Why is it so difficult for a person to start changing themselves, to come to a possibility of growing? Because, you see, we must remember that a person is created in a very interesting way by nature. They are developed up to a certain point; after this point they must develop themselves. Nature does not develop the human being beyond a certain point.

Later we shall learn in full detail up to what point the human being is developed and how their further development must begin, and we shall see why (from this point of view) they could never develop themselves and why they cannot be developed by nature. But before that we must understand certain general conditions.

It is difficult for a person to even start any kind of work on themselves because they live in a very ‘bad’ place in the universe. At first that must sound like a very strange idea. We do not realize that there are better and worse places in the universe, and we certainly do not realize that we happen to be in almost the worst place. We fail to realize it because, from one point of view, our knowledge of the universe is too complicated. And from another point of view our knowledge of the universe does not take into account real facts.

If we look for the nearest places to us in the universe we realize that we live on the earth [MI], and that the earth is somewhat influenced by the interior of the earth itself [RE] by the Moon and the other Planets of the Solar System [FA].

At the same time we see that the earth is one of the Planets of the Solar System [FA], and that there are bigger planets (probably more powerful than the Earth), and that all these planets (taken together) must somehow affect and control the earth.

Next in scale comes the Sun [SOL], and we realize that the Sun controls all the planets [FA] and the earth [MI] at the same time. If you think from this point of view then you will already have a different idea of the Solar System, although there is nothing new in these things: it is only a question of how to relate one thing to another.

Earth [MI] is one of the planets [FA] of the solar system [SOL] and the Sun [SOL] is one of the stars of the Milky Way [LA]. Beyond that we can take all possible worlds [SI].

This is all we know from the ordinary point of view. As a purely philosophical idea we can add to that a condition or relationship of things to each other, which we call the Absolute [DO], a state in which everything is one.

Now we can express this relation of the interior of the earth [RE] to the surface of the earth [MI], of the earth [MI] to the planets [FA] and so on in a slightly different way.

Looking from the top down, we can begin to understand the vast difference in scale if we compare All Suns [LA] with our Sun [SOL], or Earth [MI] with All Planets [FA].

We can understand that they stand in a certain definite relation of scale to one another.

The smallest is the Inferior or Infernal worlds (the interior of the earth), and beyond this we know nothing.

The whole of this is called the Ray of Creation and specifically the Cosmic Octave. There are other rays, because this ray does not include the whole universe, but since we live on the earth and it passes through the earth we belong to this Ray of Creation.

From this diagram or concept it is clear what is meant by a ‘bad place’ in the universe. The worst place is the infernal worlds (or the interior of the earth), but the surface of the earth is almost as bad. It is like living near the North Pole and trying to use a compass, which explains why so many things are difficult on the earth.

We cannot change or do anything about it, but when we know our place, then we can adapt, and in that way we can escape many things which otherwise we could not escape. But we must not let our imagination run away with us and tell us that we can escape altogether at once.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 1 of The Fourth Way


Introduction to Organic Life on Earth in the Cosmic Octave

“For reasons which are difficult to explain without further study, in the Ray of Creation all these worlds are connected with each other: meaning that influences pass from higher to lower but in the Cosmic Octave of the Ray of Creation in descent there is a gap between Planets and the Earth [the MI-FA Interval].

In order to bridge this gap so that influences from All Planets [FA] could reach the earth [MI] a certain instrument was invented. It is a kind of sensitive film which surrounds the earth, that is to say, Organic Life on Earth [the interval between MI-FA]. So plants, animals and so-called ‘human beings’ serve a definite purpose; they serve for communication between the earth and the planets.

With the help of organic life (which can receive and retain them), planetary influences penetrate into the earth. This is the meaning and reason for organic life on earth.”

In terms of Nature: This is why we exist (to help the Earth receive and retain superior influences)

“We are interested in organic life on earth, because we are on the earth and we (as so-called ‘human beings’) are part of organic life on the earth, so we speak only about earth.

All other planets we may take together as a mass, but we speak differently about the earth. This is the principle of scale. The nearer something is to you the nearer to full scale is your study.”

We can study a room, like this one, noting the number of chairs, the color of the walls, etc., but that is not the same scale as studying the whole building, or the block, or the City or the State/Province or Territory, etc.

“In the same way we can study the Ray of Creation on different scales. We speak about organic life on the earth, but we do not speak about organic life on any other planet; we have no way of studying it except on the earth.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 1 of The Fourth Way


The Desire to Awaken

If what we long for is a different life, a new life, a change of our lives, then we need to have that special ‘longing to be better’ than what we presently are. As we have mentioned, this life change is possible through Awakening Consciousness.

“What is desire to awaken due to? Is it in essence? It is connected with magnetic center.

…We spoke about the magnetic center and about the different influences under which people live.

This brings us to the question of why some people are interested in these ideas, while others are not, what creates this desire to know, the energy to seek? Why are people who live in similar conditions so different, one person is satisfied with ready-made theories and clichés, while another wants to find the truth for themselves?

What is it that explains this difference in people in relation to new ideas, where some people meet with the possibility of acquiring new knowledge and yet they are not interested, while for others it may change the whole trend of their lives?

People come to these and similar ideas in different ways. Some understand something, others take these ideas on an ordinary level (that is, they do not see them any differently or as special). The cause of this difference is that a person lives in mechanical life under two kinds of influences, type A and type B.

What does it mean? It is connected with the idea explained in the beginning, that the human organism is a machine controlled by external influences, by things around them. They may be receptive to one kind of influences and not receptive to another kind.

Most of these influences are created in life itself, by people like themselves. But among them, mixed with them, there are other influences which are not created in life but come from a different source, from people of a higher level of development.

They come in the form of religions, science, philosophical systems, esoteric doctrines, art, all sorts of teachings, and so on. They cannot be distinguished from influences of the first kind outwardly, so it depends on the person themselves and whether they discriminate between the different types of influences or not.

A person can live under only type A influences, that is, influences of the first kind, and disregard type B influences, not be interested in them. But if a person is interested in these influences of the second kind and has absorbed them in sufficient quantity, then a certain process takes place in them. Results of these type B influences, the memory of them, collect separately in a special way and form, as we have said, the magnetic center.

Magnetic center is a combination of certain interests and emotional associations which makes a person turn in a definite direction. It is a certain cycle of ideas and a certain cycle of emotions. This is the origin of interest in this kind of ideas.

-paraphrase from Ch. 4 of The Fourth Way


But how do Machines Awaken?

“If we are mere machines, are we capable of discriminating between truth and falsehood? If so, with what faculty? With the magnetic center.

Human beings are machines, there is no question about that; only they are not quite the same machines as an engine or something of that kind.

You have heard already that a person can live in four states of consciousness, but that in ordinary life they only live in two. These two other states of consciousness can be developed in a person, but they cannot develop by themselves, they have to be developed through knowledge and effort. And the faculty that helps a person to understand and discriminate between different types of influences is the magnetic center.

Now we are speaking about a person before they meet a Work school. A person living in life under ordinary conditions. Those conditions or circumstances may be very different between two people, but, in any conditions, a person lives under the two kinds of influences…

What, again, are type A influences? They are all interests of life, struggle for existence, desires, excitements, possessions, riches, amusements and so on. They are created without Conscious intention and are mechanical both in their origin and in their action.

But at the same time a person also lives under influences originally created in Work schools but thrown into the general mix of life. And these type B influences are a life apart as well. They are arranged for a certain purpose, to serve as ‘lights along the way’.

The rest depends on the person themselves.

All their interests may concentrate only on influences of the first kind, or part of them may remain interested in influences created in life, while another part may be interested in the second kind of influences.

If a person notices and studies them, they may accumulate within them, forming the magnetic center. After some time this magnetic center begins to control and determine their general direction in life and the trend of their interests, or of a part of their interests

Magnetic center means looking for definite things and being on the level of certain things.

But if a person does not notice these influences, they will produce no effect. This is why people are so different.

One person may be very intellectual, they may have studied philosophy, art and so on and at the same time they have no chance if they have no magnetic center. If they come in contact with a Work school, they will not recognize it. And another person may be ‘insufficiently educated’, may not have read so much, may not know so many words, yet if they meet a Work school they may become interested at once.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 4 of The Fourth Way


Awakening, Mechanical Causes and the Magnetic Center?

“Q. Does not our magnetic center depend very largely on mechanical causes?

A. Not quite. As was said, it is a certain combination of interests, and not only interests but also of ideas a person has acquired, a certain knowledge, a certain understanding.

It all enters into the magnetic center. It is mechanical like everything else, but B influences are different in their nature, although (in the beginning) they come mechanically. This is not important.

The important point is whether there is interest in B influences or not. This is how, out of mechanicalness, comes struggle against mechanicalness. Magnetic center helps a person to see, understand and distinguish certain things. Without the help of the magnetic center, a person cannot appreciate the difference between ideas, they cannot say which is better and which worse, which suits them, and which does not…”

-paraphrase from Ch. 4 of The Fourth Way


The Magnetic Center and Distinguishing between Influences

“Accumulation of knowledge does not help to create a magnetic center; magnetic center is a sort of ‘good taste’ with the help of which a person can have a new evaluation of the ideas that come their way. The question is, in this stream of life, to distinguish the two kinds of influences, to feel the difference between them.

If a person does not feel it, if they take type B influences in the same way as type A influences, then they produce the same effect in them and the magnetic center is not formed. Then, there are many dangers, because some of these ideas which make up the second kind of influences are so distorted that they can form a wrong magnetic center.

Magnetic center must be very uniform and very sane to lead somewhere, otherwise it does not lead to anything Conscious.

…The magnetic center lives on type B influences.

Many things a person has learned before may be useful to them when they start applying what they have learned from type B influences, particularly after they have thrown away all that is useless.

In ordinary life a person does not know what to learn and what to discard.

For instance, many things in which people believe have no meaning, but a person often cannot recognize this and takes them all on the same level —both those that have meaning and those that have none.

But in studying oneself according to the methods of the Work and Gnostic Psychology one learns to recognize imaginary values in themselves and, through this, to discover imaginary values outside themselves as well.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 4 of The Fourth Way


The Synthesis of the 3 Influences

“We must not ignore that there are three types of Forces of Influences in the world.

The first, we have type “A INFLUENCES”. They are all of those prejudices of humanity, all those laws of the physical world, all of those rules of business, all of that which is called “family”, “environment”, etc.

The type “B INFLUENCES” are different: they are formed by the currents of esoteric or occultist type of schools, etc., and there exist type “C INFLUENCES” which are formed by, or belong to, what we could call, something completely different from Mechanical Humanity.

Type “C Influences” come directly from CONSCIOUS HUMANITY or from Divine Humanity, from those who have already achieved Self-Realization.

It is clear that these types of “C Influences” would not be accessible to us if they were not first converted into type “B” Influences, because mechanical humanity would not understand a group of RESURRECTED ADEPTS…

…when the student understands by themselves that there are not only type “A” influences, when they comprehend that there exist also type “B” influences and that these can be found in books, allegories, Medieval Alchemists teachings, or in pyramids, niches, ancient tombs, Sphinxes, monoliths, sculptures, paintings, the music of the great masters, etc., then the student begins the search for the DIVINE HUMANITY, where type “C” influences come from.

Type “B” Influences awake in the aspirant a very special emotion, a very intimate emotion which leads them to work upon themselves in order to achieve the AWAKENING OF CONSCIOUSNESS, and thus, some day they will get into the MESOTERIC CIRCLE and later on, to the ESOTERIC CIRCLE.”

-Paraphrase from “Basic Rules of the Precious Gem” Lecture #128 in El Quinto Evagelio



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