Fourth Way Perspectives

Working in the World
The Individual, the Bestial & the Primacy of Nature

Remembering that one of Mr. Gurdjieff's primary principles is the law of reciprocal maintenance, what to make of an article in Nature by an international group of 19 scientists stating that because of global warming and the steady encroachment on creatures' habitats by humans, 15% to 37% of the Earth's 1,103 species will be extinct by 2050?

Essence Duty

Putting this in the context of the argument J. G. Bennett makes in Making a New World that mankind must adhere to the primacy of Nature in its relating to the world opens up a provocative perspective. Bennett writes that every mode of existence in the universe is grouped into 12 essence classes, each class supplying the maintenance for another and both being maintained by a third class. Essence classes are defined not biologically but by their pattern and range of possible experience. Think of the possibilities of one-, two- and three-centered beings. The range of experience of each class extends from the one directly below it to the one above it. Man's range, in this scheme, is from the Two-Brained Beings to the Angelic Host (see table in The Gurdjieff Journal Issue #34). Man as a three-centered being is positioned at the crossroads between the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms and higher forms of inorganic life. It is Man's cosmic duty, performed consciously or mechanically, to receive and transmit energies. (If he does so consciously, then he can use part of these energies for his own self-transformation.) His other duty to those essence classes below him only comes into play as his numbers and actions begin to threaten the extinction of species. It is his responsibility to see to their survival primarily by restraining his actions in their favor and not in his. Bennett makes a very crucial point in this regard:

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