nicolescu nature & gurdjieff

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    Gurdjieff'sPhilosophy ofNature

    BasarabNicolescu

    A particle-physicist's bold,rigorous exploration of therelationship between Gurdjieff scosmological mythos and leadingtheories in physics and cosmology.

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    It is becoming very fashionable almost everywhere to findparallels between modern science and this or thatteaching, this or that philosophical system, this or thatreligion. The more or less hidden sociological root of sucha tendency is quite obvious: the contemporary all-powerful "god" of technoscience is evoked as evidence ofthe "seriousness" of another field of knowledge.Even if the intentions of certain seekers (and I include herethose few who are drawn toward the relationship betweenscience and the Gurdjieff teaching) are not tied to thissociological motivation, there is still a hugemisunderstanding. The methodology and perspective of ateaching, a system of philosophy, or a religion are verydifferent from the methodology and aim of modernscience. To compare results or ideas judged to be similarcan only lead to the worst illusions, to analogies that aresoft and devoid of meaning, and, in the best of cases, toresonances that are felt as "poetic."Nevertheless, the search for a real relationship betweenscience and such fields of study would, in our opinion, beworthwhile. Such a relationship could be established if theteaching, the philosophical system, or the religion inquestion derives from a philosophy of nature.'The fact that Gurdjieff's teaching contains a philosophy ofnature is obvious, and the present study will attempt tosupport that affirmation. The hypothesis of acorrespondence between man and nature is formulatedwithout ambiguity by Gurdjieff:

    It is impossible to study a system of the universewithout studying man. At the same time, it is

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    impossible to study man without studying the universe.Man is an image of the world. He was created by thesame laws which created the whole of the world. Byknowing and understanding himself, he will know andunderstand the whole world, all the laws that createand govern the world. And at the same time, bystudying the world and the laws that govern the world,he will learn and understand the laws which governhim.... The study of the world and the study of manmust therefore run parallel, the one helping the other."

    The comparison between modern science and this type ofphilosophy goes beyond an intellectual exercise. In thefirst place, some great scientific discoveries have beenguided by ideas from a philosophy of nature. Forexample, the role that German Naturphi losophie played inthe discovery of electromagnetism in 1820by Oersted iswell known. Such cases are rare, but it is their existence,not their number, that is highly significant. These casesshow that there is an intrinsic relationship, which is notdevoid of meaning, between nature and a "realistic"philosophy ofnature.A second aspect seems still more important. The absenceof meaning, above all the absence of a value systemguiding technoscience,is perhaps the characteristic trait ofour epoch. It is just in this context that we are going toexamine Gurdjieff'sphilosophy ofnature.

    THE PRINCIPLE OF DISCONTINUITY ANDQUANTUM DISCONTINUITYOne of the most surprising aspects of Gurdjieff'sphilosophy of nature is the central role which it gives to

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    discontinuity, with a direct critical reference, moreover, tocontemporary physics.Indeed, with rare exceptions, continuity is a constant inhuman thought. It is probably based on the evidenceprovided by our sense organs: continuity of our ownbody, continuity of the environment, continuity ofmemory. Itbelongs to the visible domain, to the domain ofconstant forms (or forms evolving in a constant way), tothe domain of objects. Death, natural cataclysms,mutations were, until just recently, considered more asmanifestations of accident, chance, or impenetrablemystery. Science needs a mathematical apparatus for itsdevelopment. Newton and Leibniz discovered such a toolbased on continuity: infinitesimal calculus. For centuries,scientific thought has been nourished by the idea ofcontinuity .Gurdjieff, however, clearly affirms the essential role ofdiscontinuity in nature:

    It is necessary to regard the universe as consisting o fvibrations. These vibrations proceed in all kinds, aspects,and densities of the matter which constitutes theuniverse, from the finest to the coarsest. . .. So that oneof the fundamental propositions of our physics is theco ntinu ity o f vibra tions, although this has never beenprecisely formulated because it has never beenopposed. In certain of the newest theories thisproposition is beginning to be shaken.In this instance the view of ancient knowledge isopposed to that of contemporary science, because at thebase of the understanding of vibrations ancient

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    knowledge places the principle of the discon tinu ity o fvibrations.The principle of the discontinuity of vibrations meansthe definite and necessary characteristic of all vibrationsinnature, whether ascending or descending, to developnot uniformly but with periodical accelerations andretardations.'

    These considerations of Gurdjieffs were formulated inabout 1915, in front of a St. Petersburg group. The date isimportant.jGurdjieff himself was aware of these scientific discoveries,or at least one of the numerous intellectuals among hisgroups in Moscow and St. Petersburg-Ouspensky in alllikelihood - had informed him of the existence of thesediscoveries. The allusion in these texts to "certain mostrecent theories" may thus be explained. According to thishypothesis, Gurdjieff, speaking of "contemporary science, 11would have been referring rather to what we would todaycall "classical science." But beyond questions ofvocabulary, what seems important to us is that Gurdjieffsees the epistemological and philosophical stake of sciencein discontinuity."In evoking this work developed in 1900, Max Planckwrites: "After a few weeks, which were certainly filled bythe most intense work of my life, I had a flash of light inthe darkness in which I was debating with myself, andunexpected perspectives were opened.:" This "flash oflight in the darkness" revealed to him a concept-theelementary quantum of action Caction" is a physicalquantity corresponding to energy multiplied by time)-which was going to revolutionize all of physics and

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    profoundly change our vision of the world. This quantumis expressed by a universal constant (the "Planckconstant") which has a well-determined value and occursby integer multiples.The Planck quantum introduces a discrete, discontinuousstructure of energy. Planck was fully conscious that inbreaking down the old all-powerful concept of continuity,the very foundation of classical realism was thus beingput in question: "This quantum represented .... 'somethingabsolutely new, unsuspected until then, and seemeddestined to revolutionize a theoretical physics based oncontinuity, inherent in all causal relations since thediscovery of infinitesimal calculus by Leibniz andNewton. "6It is important to take into account that the "discontinuity"we are speaking of (whether in regard to quantum theoryor in regard to the cosmology of Gurdjieff) is a pure andfirm discontinuity which has nothing incommon with thepopular usage of this word (the fork of a road, forexample). To try to grasp the full strangeness of the ideaof discontinuity, let us imagine a bird jumping from onebranch to another without passing through anyintermediary point: it would be as if the bird were tosuddenly materialize on one branch, then on another.Evidently, confronting such a possibility, our habitualimagination is blocked. But mathematics can treat this sortof situation rigorously.Quantum discontinuity is an infinitely less rich conceptthan discontinuity in the sense in which it is used in thecosmology of Gurdjieff. There it is presented as thefundamental aspect of one of the two laws regulating all

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    the qualities and properties of the energy manifested at agiven point." 11For a physicist of the nineteenth century, the idea of"degrees of materiality" would not have meant very much.It takes on real substance with the discovery of thequantum world, where laws are radically different fromthose of the macrophysical world. It is the study of theinfinitely small which reveals a degree of materialitydifferent from that of the macrophysical world.This is not the place to discuss quantum laws. But allowus to cite briefly a relevant example.Classical physics recognizes two kinds of objects that arequite distinct: corpuscles** and waves. Classicalcorpuscles are discrete entities, clearly localized in spaceand characterized, from a dynamic point of view, by theirenergy and their momentum. Corpuscles could easily bevisualized as billiard-balls traveling continuously in spaceand time, and describing a very precise trajectory. As forwaves, they were conceived as occupying all of space, in acontinuum. A wave phenomenon can be described as asuperpositioning of periodic waves characterized by aspatial period (wave-length) and by a temporal period. Inthe same way, a wave can be characterized by its"frequencies": a "frequency of vibration" (the inverse of theperiod of oscillation) and a "wave number" (the inverse ofthe wave-length). Waves can thus be readily visualized.Quantum mechanics brought about the completeoverturning of this view. Quantum particles arecorpuscles and waves at the same time. Their dynamiccharacteristics are connected by the formulas of Einstein-Planck (1900-1905) and de Broglie (1924): the energy is

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    proportional to the temporal frequency (the Einstein-Planck formula), and the momentum is proportional tothe wave number (the de Broglie formula). The factor ofproportionality, in both cases, is precisely Planck'sconstant.This representation of a quantum particle defies allattempts to represent itby forms in space and time, for itis obviously impossible to represent something mentallythat would be simultaneously corpuscle and wave. At thesame time, the energy is changing in a discontinuous way.The concepts of continuity and discontinuity are reunitedby nature.

    It must be well understood that the quantum particle is acompletely new entity that cannot be reduced to classicalrepresentations; the quantum particle is not a simplejuxtaposition of corpuscle and wave.y!e can understand the quantum particle as being a unizyof contradictories. Itwould be more correct to affirm thatthis particle is neither a corpuscle nor a wave. The unity ofcontradictories is more than the simple sum of its classicalparts, a summation which is contradictory (from theclassical point of view) and approximate (from thequantum point of view).When Gurdjieff affirms, 'The world consists of vibrationsand matter, or of matter in a state of vibration, of vibratingmatter," 12 and when we remember the role he gives to thefrequency of vibrations, to energy, to discontinuity, it istempting to think of the new quantum entities. Let us bevery clear: we are not affirming that quantum particles

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    can be identified with the "vibrations" Gurdjieff speaksabout (which would in any case be absurd), but that theyappear to be their materialization in the quantum world.At the same time, it is indisputable that the discovery ofthe quantum world gives rational, scientific sense to thenotion of "degree of materiality." Gurdjieff associates thefineness of matter with the frequency of vibrations: 'Theexpression 'density of vibrations' corresponds to'frequency of vibrations' and is used as the opposite of'density of matter'.... Therefore the finest mattercorresponds to the greatest 'density of vibrations. If' 13Indeed, what conceivable relation is there between a chairand a neutrino (a particle with no mass and no electricalcharge which penetrates our macrophysical matterwithout impediment)? It is clear that it is a question of twodifferent worlds-of two different levels of reality,governed by different laws - and that the degree offineness of matter is very different when passing from onelevel to another.The existence of different degrees of matter allows us tosee that there are different kinds of matter, defined exactlyin terms of their degree of materiality. Gurdjieff is not theonly contemporary thinker who has conceived of theexistence of several kinds of matter. Stephane Lupasco(1900-1988), whose philosophy takes quantum mechanicsas its point of departure, deduced, as a consequence of hislogic of energetic antagonism, three types of matter;- ~ + - 1 r: Senergy. 14With regard to the number of types of matter, Gurdjieffmade two apparently contradictory affirmations. In thecollection of his talks recalled by his students, Views From

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    the Real World, he says, "Unity consists of three matters/ISwhereas in In Search of the Miraculous, he affirms that thereare twelve categories of matter ."16 In fact, there is nocontradiction. When Gurdjieff, like Lupasco, speaks ofthree types of matter, he is referring explicitly to the lawof three, which gives structure to all the phenomena ofreality. In this sense, there is no question of a coincidencebetween the numbers advanced by Gurdjieff and Lupasco:to the degree that ~upasco's conclusion is based on a.ternary logic-the included middle-the correspondence~ith file law'"of three is obvious. Finally, considering theidea of materiality in relation to the structure of theuniverse, Gurdjieff, in his cosmology, deduced that theremust necessarily be twelve categories of matter. This willgive scientists work for several centuries.The existence of two matters-macrophysical matter andmicrophysical matter-even if it is not unanimouslyaccepted (or recognized as such) does not unleash fierceopposition either. On the other hand, to speak of"biological matter" or "psychic matter II is enough to bringto a boil a scientific world still dominated by. reductionism. Likewise, not everyone is ready as yet toaccept the affirmation of Lupasco (who, as we will see, isclose to the ideas of Gurdjieff) that every system includesan aspect that is, at one and the same time, macrophysical(iologisal, and psychic.For Gurdjieff, there is nothing completely inert in nature;everything is in movement: 'The speed of vibrations of amatter shows the degree of intelligence of the givenmatter. You must remember that there is ~othing dead or

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    inanimate in nature. Everything in its own way is alive/everything in its own way is intelligent and conscious." 17Though this assertion is, at first sight/ astonishing, it is inaccord with what we observe at the scale of the infinitelysmall. "Inert matter" is an expression of classical sciencewhich has been completely emptied of meaning today.Microphysical matter is everything but "inert matter." Atthe level of the infinitely small, there is a boiling activity/an infinite number of processes, a perpetualtransformation between energy and matter, a continuouscreation of particles and anti-particles. The stupefyingquantity of information and the increasing density ofenergy that one finds in the quantum world show that it ispractically impossible to trace a boundary between theliving and the non-living. It is quite conceivable that aquantum particle possesses its own subjectivity, its ownintelligence, in complex relations of perpetual combat andof continual creation and annihilation taking place with allthe other particles.Gurdjieff often comes back to the problem of theintelligence of matter: "In addition to its cosmic propertie_,@,every substance also possesses Rsychic properti~s, that is,a certain degree of intelligence."!" This explains whycertain substances can contribute to the evolution of man,an evolution which is/ after all, at the very heart of theGurdjieff teaching.For Gurdjieff, there is no separation among matters: "Thefiner matters permeate the coarser ones. "19 An example ofthis is microphysical matter, which penetratesmacrophysical matter. Protons, neutrons, electrons, the

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    quantum vacuum are in us, even if our behavior is farfrom being identical to that of the quantum world.Gurdjieff goes even further in affirming that all thematters of the universe are found in man: "We have in usthe matter of all other worlds. Man is, in the full sense ofthe term, a 'miniature universe'; in him are all the mattersof which the universe consists;"20We can interpret this asmeaning that what is being described is the Gurdjieffianversion of the mystery of the Eucharist.As we can see, the materialism of the Gurdjieff teaching isvery complex, and we have only touched on the mostsuperficial fringe of it-its relation to modern science. Butmake no mistake about it: Gurdjieff's "matters" havemultiple aspects, most of which totally escape themethodology of modern science since they concern,rather, the inner alchemy of man.

    THE LAW OF THREE AND THE NECESSITY FOR ANEW LOGIC

    Since the dawn of time, binary thought, that of "yes" and"no," has dominated man's activity. Aristotelian logic hasreigned for centuries and continues to this day. Certaintraditional teachings (and In particular, Christiantheology) had the potential for a new logic, but thepotential stayed in the hands of a small number ofinitiates. Gurdjieff's teaching on the law of three is relatedto this new logic, which also manifests itself in quantumphysics.According to Gurdjieff, the law of three is "thefundamental law that creates all phenomena in all thediversity of unity of all universes."

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    This is the "Law of Three I I or the law of the threeprinciples or the th r ee fo r ce s. It consists of the fact thatevery phenomenon.... is the result of the combinationor the meeting of three different and opposing forces.Contemporary thought realizes the existence of twoforces and the necessity of these two forces for theproduction of a phenomenon .... No question has everbeen raised as to the third, or if it has been raised it hasscarcely been heard.... The first force may be calledactive or positive; the second, passive or negative; thethird, neutralizing. But these are m erely names, for inreality all three forces are equally active and appear asactive, passive, and neutralizing, only at their meetingpoints, that is to say, only in relation to one another at agive n m om ent. 21

    Before discussing the special character of the thirdprinciple, let us, for a moment, emphasize the character ofthe opposition (or as Lupasco calls it, the "antagonisticcontradiction") between the three principles, to whichGurdjieff constantly returns. In Beelzebub IS Tales to HisGrandson, he describes the law of three as Italaw whichalways flows into a consequence and becomes the cause ofsubsequent consequences, and always functions by threeindependent and quite opposite characteristicmanifestations, latent within it, in properties neither seennor sensed. "22 This other aspect is worth mentioning: thelatent character, invisible and ungraspable, of the threeprinciples. Manifestation can only take place' by means ofthe interaction between the law of three and the law ofseven.

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    The opposition between the three principles is a veritable"contradiction," in the philosophical sense of the term:something which, far from self-destructing, builds itselfthrough antagonistic struggle.It is relatively easy to imagine a contradiction betweentwo terms, but practically impossible (except by a formalmathematical construction) to conceive of a contradictionbetween three terms. Two of three terms lose, by theinclusion of a third term, their own identity. In this sense,we can understand the expression "included middle."Paradoxically, in the logic of the "included middle,"notions of "true" and "false," far from losing their value,are considerably expanded, embracing a number ofphenomena which are much more important than those ofbinary logic.An example taken from quantum physics will illustratethe preceding points simply.In an experiment made, quite obviously, in the world ofmacrophysics, a quantum particle manifests either aswave or as corpuscle, that is to say as one of twocontradictory and antagonistic entities. If we want to usethe usual word "complementarity," it is more theexpression "antagonistic complementarity" whichgoverns, because the properties of waves and corpusclesare mutually exclusive. Now, at its proper level of realityin the quantum world, the quantum particle appears as athird term, neither wave nor corpuscle, but which, at themacrophysical level, is capable of manifesting as a waveor a corpuscle. In this sense, it is a reconciling forcebetween the wave and the corpuscle. But, at the sametime, being neither wave nor corpuscle and manifesting at

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    another level of reality/ it is clearly in contradiction withthe wave or the corpuscle.It should be noted that Ouspensky - one of the mostfamous disciples of Gurdjieff-in his book TertiumOrganum/ published in 1912 in Russia/23 was the firstmodern thinker to have affirmed the importance of theprinciple of the included middle as the fundamental logicof the new science. Deeply enamored at the same time byboth science and tradition/ Ouspensky wrote other booksinspired by science/ of which T he F ou rth D im en sio n, whichappeared in 1909 inSt. Petersburg, had/ among others/ aconsiderable influence upon Russian futurism/ andMalevitch.Earlier I gave as an example of the third term the quantumparticle in its own world: the quantum world. But do wereally see this particle? Have we a direct access to thequantum world? Our ways of measuring are alwaysmacrophysical and we do not really see the quantumparticle. In our accelerators we will reconstruct it, forexample, by its traces. Our own macrophysicalconstitution prevents us from traveling freely in thequantum world and from going to "see" what happensthere.To understand this third term would require a conceptualrevolution. A relatively recent development in particlephysics throws an unexpected light on the third force. Theunification of all the physical interactions seems to requirea space-time whose number of dimensions goes farbeyond the number of dimensions of our own space-time(three dimensions of space and one dimension of time). Itdoesn't matter that this unification could happen only at

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    fabulous levels of energy, never achievable in ouraccelerators. What matters is that such a large number ofdimensions could be reunited by the coherence of physicallaws. Is the manifestation of the third force this largespace-time? Would this third force be the source ofdiscontinuity, of nonseparability and of nonlocality?In relation to this large space-time, we, poor beings livingin four dimensions, are a bit like the two-dimensionalbeings of Edward A. Abbott's conceptual universe,Tlatland/", in relation to the miraculous beings comingfrom a world of three dimensions. But we can understandthis third force precisely if we, as Gurdjieff said, gobeyond the limitations of "the fundamental categories ofour perception of the world of phenomena," that is to say,if we go beyond our sensation of space and time.Gurdjieff's insistence, in his philosophy of nature, on thescientific notions of "dimensions" and "space" and "time"seems to us neither accidental nor a simple coquettishnessof language. In particular, to distinguish the differentcosmoses by the different number of their dimensions ofspace-time" is extremely significant.The "Okidanokh" is a marvelous Gurdjieffian symbol ofthe ternary dynamics and of its manifestation. It isconceived as the "Omnipresent-Active-Element,"26 as the"'Unique- Active- Element' the particularities of which arethe chief cause of everything existing in the Universe'V'Tt"obtains its prime arising .... from the three Holy sourcesof the sacred Theomertmalogos, that is, from theemanation of the Most Holy Sun Absolute .... [It is] thefundamental cause of most of the cosmic phenomena. "28

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    Directly linked to the three principles of the law of three, itis thus normal that "no results of any kind normallyobtained from the processes occurring through thisOmnipresent World-substance can ever be perceived bybeings or sensed by them. "29 But how to reconcile theungraspable character of the three principles of the law ofthree with the fact that the Okidanokh is, all the same, asubstance capable of penetrating all cosmic formations?Indeed, "immediately on entering as a whole into anycosmic unit, there immediately occurs in it what is called'Djartklom,' that is to say, it is dispersed into the threefundamental sources from which it obtained its primearising. "30 The three principles are thus universallypresent. But what is it that confers on the Okidanokh thecharacter of substance? It is certainly not the threeprinciples. So Gurdjieff invents a symbol of etherokri lno,"that prime-source substance with which the wholeUniverse is filled, and .... is the basis for the arising andmaintenance of everything existing">'. It is exactly thisfourth element of Okidanokh which confers on it thecharacter of substance "the proportion of the pure-that is,absolutely unblended - Etherokrilno, which unfailinglyenters into all cosmic formations and there serves, as itwere, for connecting all the active elements of theseformations; and afterwards when its three fundamentalparts reblend then the said proportion of Etherokrilno isre-estab lished. "32The symbol of Okidanokh, let it be said in passing, createsan interesting relationship between the "three" and the"four": the "three" represents the latent invisible andungraspable characteristic of the three principles, whereas

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    the "four" represents the manifestation of the threeprinciples on the plane of matter-energy.A phonetic resemblance can make us think of a possiblerelation between "etherokrilno" and "ether," especially asGurdjieff speaks of "the prime-source substance withwhich the whole Universe is filled." But there is no suchtrue relationship. Ether is a sort of reference absolute,unmovable, a universal system of reference. Etherokrilno,in its relation with Okidanokh, is linked to movement, totransformation, to energetic transmission.We can imagine Okidanokh as a field filling all thecosmoses and whose vibrations will transmute the law ofthree in material manifestations. If the "natural" manseems sensitive to duality, the universe, as far as it isconcerned, certainly needs the three.

    NATURE: UNITY IN DIVERSITYFor Gurdjieff, God was constrained to create the world:There came to our Creator All-Maintainer the forcedneed to create our present existing Megalocosmos, i.e.,our World .... Our Creator Omnipotent once ascertainedthat this same Sun Absolute.... was, although almostimperceptibly yet nevertheless gradually, diminishingin volume .... [The] cause of this gradual diminishing ofthe volume of the Sun Absolute was merely theHeropass, that is, the flow of time itself.P

    Such an assertion might appear, at first glance, amanifestation of Gurdjieff's celebrated humor. But the roleattributed to time is intriguing and makes us think of asimilar idea which appeared in the cosmology of JakobBoehme (1575-1624). With Boehme, God also created the

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    uruverse by constraint-that of his imperious desire toknow himself. Thus, he dies to himself in order to be born,by submitting himself to the cycle of time. The "birth ofCod" is a fundamental aspect of Boehme's doctrine.A number of important resemblances can be foundbetween the philosophy of Gurdjieff and that of Boehme":the law of three and the law of seven as the basis of theircosmologies, the role of discontinuity, the universalexchange of substances, living nature. With Gurdjieff, aswith Boehme, there are two meanings of the word"nature": a "creaturely nature" and a "divine nature". Theidea of nature-which encompasses both divine natureand creaturely nature-refers to the interaction among alllevels of reality. So, with Gurdjieff as with Boehme,materialism and spiritualism are two faces of one and thesame reality.It is striking that, from among the innumerable books andstudies dedicated to the teaching of Gurdjieff, no one hasstudied these resemblances between Boehme's andGurdjieff's ideas. This is not to suggest that Gurdjieff tookthe work of Boehme as his source of inspiration. Theirphilosophies of nature are clearly different and there areeven differences in their similarities (for example, in thedynamic functioning of the law of three and the law ofseven.) But what is clear is the persistence across thecenturies of certain fundamental ideas in the differentphilosophies of nature, a fact which seems to us to be mostimportant to note today, to the degree that the world is insearch of a new philosophy of nature, in harmony withthe discoveries of modern science.

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    At any rate, to return to Gurdjieff's view of Creation: itwas necessary to save the divine world from the action oftime. Thus, the universe was created, an unending chainof systems bound by universal interdependence, whichescapes the action of time in this way. Gurdjieff calls thisuniversal interdependence "the Most Great cosmicTrogoautoegocrat.. .. the true Savior from the law-conformable action of the merciless Heropass, "35or "theTrogoautoegocratic process.. .. in order that. .. . "theexchange of substances" or the "Reciprocal feeding" ofeverything that exists, might proceed in the Universe andthereby that the merciless "Heropass" might not have itsmaleficent effect on the Sun Absolute. 1136The Trogoautoegocratic Process and Bootstrap: Theprinciple of universal interdependence is certainly notfound only in the teaching of Gurdjieff. Itappears in manytraditional teachings. But his convincing exposition of it isindisputably original.A generalized nonseparability characterizes the universeof Gurdjieff: "Everything is dependent on everything else,everything is connected, nothing is separate."37Systems on different scales have their own autonomy, foraccording to the terminology of Gurdjieff, the Absoluteonly intervenes directly at the creation of the first cosmos.The other cosmoses formed themselves freely by self-organizing principles-always, however, in submission tothe law of three and the law of seven. In this way thediversity of the universe is assured. On the other hand, theinteraction of the different cosmoses by means of theuniversal exchange of energy-substances assures unity indiversity. Life itself appears not as an accident, but as a

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    necessity in this universe of universal interdependence. InGurdjieff's account, a "learned being" named Atarnakhput forward the following hypothesis: "In all probability,there exists in the World some law of the reciprocalmaintenance of everything existing. Obviously our livesserve also for maintaining something great or small in theWorld."38Gurdjieff's universe is not a static universe, but a universein perpetual movement and change, not only on thephysical plane, but also on the biological and psychicplanes. Evolution and involution are always at work in thedifferent worlds. And when we consider the importantnumber of different matters characterized by differentdegrees of materiality, we can understand the essentialrole of the universal exchange of substances in evolutionand involution:Thanks just to these processes of "evolution" and"involution" inherent In the sacredHeptaparaparshinokh, there also began to becrystallized and decrystallized in the presences of allthe greatest and smallest cosmic concentrations, allkinds of definite cosmic substances with their owninherent subjective properties, and which objectivescience calls "active elements." And all the results of the"evolution" and "involution" of these active elements,actualizing the Trogoautoegocratic principle ofexistence of everything existing in the Universe bymeans of reciprocal feeding and maintaining eachother's existence, produce the said common-cosmicprocess "Iraniranumange", or, as I have already said,

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    what objective science calls "common-cosmic-exchange-of-substances. "39

    The trogoautoegocratic process of Gurdjieff presents aremarkable correspondence to the "bootstrap II principleformulated in physics around 1960 by the Americanphysicist, Geoffrey Chew." This word "bootstrap II alsoimplies "to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. IITheclosest equivalent in the scientific context would be "self-consistency. "The bootstrap theory appeared as a natural reaction toclassical realism and to the idea closely associated with itof the necessity for motion equ-ations in space-time. Inproposing the radical renunciation of all motionequations, bootstrap theory implies the absence of allfundamental "building blocks" of physical reality.According to bootstrap, the quantum particle has threedifferent roles: (1) a role as constituent of compoundwholes, (2) a role as mediator of the force responsible forthe cohesion of the compound whole, and (3) a role as thecompound system.So, in the bootstrap theory, the part appears at the sametime as the whole. What is put in question in bootstraptheory is the very notion of a particle's identity: itsubstitutes instead the notion of the relationship between"events." It is the relations between events which areresponsible for the appearance of what we call a particle.There is no object in itself, possessing its own identity, thatwe could define in a separate or distinct manner from theother partides. A particle is what it is because all the otherparticles exist at the same time: the attributes of adetermined physical entity are the results of interactions

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    with all the other particles. According to bootstrap, therereally is a "law of reciprocal maintenance" of all quantumparticles. Also, as in the trogoautoegocratic process, asystem is what it is because all the other systems exist atthe same time. The role of self-consistency in theconstruction of reality should be emphasized - a self-consistency which assures the coherence of the All.There are different degrees of generality in theformulation of the bootstrap principle. So the Englishphysicist, Paul Davies, does not hesitate to speak of a"cosmic bootstrap.l'This point of view on the necessity of life is paradoxicallybeing reinforced, not by philosophy, but by science. Herewe wish to speak of the celebrated "anthropic principle"C anthropic' comes from the Greek word anthropos , whichmeans man). There exists a very rich literature on thissubject." We shall limit ourselves to discussing a few of itsaspects in relation to Curdjieff's cosmology.The anthropic principle was introduced by Robert H.Dicke in 1961. Its utility was being demonstrated by theworks of Brandon Carter, Stephen Hawking, John Barrow,Frank Tipler, and other researchers.The anthropic principle is presented today under differentformulations. In spite of this diversity, we can recognize acommon idea which goes through them all: the existenceof a correlation between the appearance of man,"intelligent" life in the cosmos - and so on earth, our onlypoint of reference for this "intelligent" life - and the

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    physical conditions which regulate the evolution of ouruniverse. This correlation seems to be under very strongconstraints: if the value of certain physical constants orthat of parameters appearing in certain laws varies evenslightly, then the physical, chemical, and biologicalconditions which permit the appearance of man on earthare no longer brought together. "The big surprise," writesHubert Reeves, "is that the quasi-totality of fictionaluniverses that can be elaborated on computers byphysicists will be extremely different from our own. Inparticular, they will be absolutely unsuited to engenderliving beings [of biochemical structure]. "56 Brandon Carterhas underlined the importance of the gravitationalcoupling constant, which must be close to theexperimentally observed value so that planets can exist fora sufficiently long time that life can appear on them. Toostrong or too weak a gravitation leads either to ephemeralplanets or quite simply to the impossibility of their beingformed. The coupling constant characterizing stronginteractions-acting in the quantum world-is here again,very precise: "If the force was a little bit less strong than itis.... there would be no more hydrogen available to formstars of the first importance .... If,on the contrary, it weremuch weaker, complex atoms like carbon could notexist. "57A vast self-consistency thus seems to regulate theevolution of the universe, self-consistency concerningphysical interactions as well as the phenomena of life.Galaxies, stars, planets, man, atom, the quantum worldthus seem united by one and the same self-consistency. Inthis sense, the anthropic principle can be considered as a

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    special case of bootstrap and as an illustration of thetrogoautoegocratic process.We should not confuse the self-consistency of theanthropic principle with simple coherence. We couldthink that, from the simple fact that the universe exists,that it "stands," it must necessarily be coherent, and that,in this sense, the anthropic principle is only a trivialaffirmation. But the coherence of our universe is of a veryspecial nature. From the point of view of physics, nothingprevents the same physical laws, by varying the constantsand the parameters applicable to these laws, from creatingdifferent universes where life would be present. Now theextraordinary fact shown by astrophysical studies is that,in order for life to appear, the numerical values of theseconstants and of these parameters must pass throughextremely narrow windows. The anthropic principle,therefore, implicitly poses the dizzying question of theuniqueness of thisworld.In any case, the fact that, for life to appear on a littleplanet, an entire galaxy at least had to be created, openslarge perspectives on the philosophic and poetic plane. Inhis groups in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Gurdjieffinsisted on the fact that life did not appear by theaccidental creation on earth of certain molecularstructures, but that it came from "Above,"from the worldof celestial bodies. Ouspensky comments: "Organic life....began inthe sun. This last was the most important pointbecause once more.... it contradicted the usual modernidea of life having originated so to speak from below. Inhis explanations life came from above.T" This point ofview is completely in accord with the anthropic principle:

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    at least a galaxy had to be present for life to appear, so inthis sense, lifehas a celestialorigin.We are the children ofthe stars.If the origin of lifeis celestial,it is interesting to clarify therelationship between life and the earth. For Gurdjieff, lifeis "the earth's organ of perception."59For him as forKepler, the earth is a living being.r? He even speaks of the"degree ofintelligence"which the earth possesses.s' On thescientific plane, such a point of view may appearcompletely unrealistic ( if not surrealistic). But here too thesurprise comes from science itself. After thoroughresearch, the very serious scientist J ames Lovelockformulated the Gaia hypothesis=: the earth operates like aliving organism. So the biosphere appears as a self-regulating entity, controlling the physical and chemicalenvironment so as to insure the conditions of life. (Thename of Gaia- goddess of the earth among the Greeks-given to this hypothesis, was suggested by the writerWilliamGolding.)Even if the notions of "life"or "intelligence" of the earthare richer in meaning in Gurdjieff's philosophy of naturethan in the Gaia hypothesis, a relation between them cannevertheless be established.Gurdjieff's philosophy of nature, by the relation that itestablishes between life and the earth, succeeds inlinkingtwo scientific hypotheses which are quite different andwhich appear in very different domains: the anthropicprinciple and the Gaiahypothesis.

    GURDJIEFF AND SYSTEMS THEORY

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    A surpnsIng kinship also can be found betweenGurdjieff's thought and systems theory, which was bornsome decades after the formulation of his teaching. Itshould be noted, incidentally, that the word "system"appears in Gurdjieff's vocabulary when he speaks of the"Common-system-harmonious-movement"63, "common-system-harmony, "64 or the "common systematicmovement."6SContemporary systems theory appeared as a rejection ofclassical realism, which was not in conformity with thedata of modern science, and as an attempt to bring aboutorder in the complexity which is manifest in every domainof reality and, in particular, physics. Systems approachesderive from such diverse domains as biology, economics,chemistry, ecology and physics. Of course, we are notreferring here to the technical or mathematical aspects ofthe different systems theories but to systems theory as avision of the world.Implicitly, we have made allusion to the parallels betweenGurdjieff's philosophy of nature and systems theory.Let us sum up these parallels, before broaching thedifferences, which are just as interesting:1. We can conceive of the universe as a great whole, a vastcosmic matrix where everything is in perpetual movementand energetic formation. This All is regulated by universalinterdependence. With Gurdjieff, this interdependence isbrought about by the action of discontinuity, acharacteristic of the law of seven or the law of the octave:"The law of octaves connects all processes of theUniverse."66 This unity is not static; it impliesdifferentiation, diversity, the appearance of hierarchical

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    levels, of relatively independent systems, of "objects"taken as local configurations of energy. With Gurdjieff, itis the existenceof different matter-energies and the actionof the law of three, with its logic of the included middle,which assures the emergence ofthese properties.2. It is the opening of the system,by interaction with othersystems, which prevents its degeneration, its death,through the inevitable degradation of energy, throughincreasing disorder. The "systemof systems"could thus beso constituted as to establish the diversity of the world, ina perpetual and universal energetic exchange, in a vastand unceasing nonseparability, a veritable safeguard ofthe "life" of systems. In the cosmology of Gurdjieff, aspresented by Ouspensky, the opening is created by thecomplex action of the law of seven. We note simply twocharacteristics bound to opening: (1) "Any note of anyoctave may at the same time be any note of any otheroctave passing through it1t67; and (2) "Each note of anyoctave can be regarded as an octave on another plane.Each note of these inner octaves again contains a wholeoctave. "68 This second property gives the chain of systemsa tree-like character.3. As distinct from reductionism, which explains diversityby a substance common to different systems, systemstheory, like Gurdjieff's thought, envisages a commonorganization. This common organization is of an energeticnature, the energy appearing as a unifying concept of"substance"-a "crystallized" form of energy-and to"information"-a "coded" form of energy. In Gurdjief'scosmology, the common organization is due to the jointaction of the law of three and the law of seven. These laws

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    assure the invariance of the energetic structure and by thesame token, the stability of natural systems.4. Natural systems are formed from themselves; theycreate themselves in time. Natural systems avoid anequilibrium which is equivalent to degeneration anddeath, by choosing, through opening toward othersystems, stability in a state of disequilibrium. Sofluctuations become the source of evolution and creation.Self-organization and self-creativity of natural systems arethe indubitable signs of freedom, but this freedomoperates within the limits of its conformity, of itscompatibility with the necessary dynamics of the All.These characteristics are found also in the cosmology ofGurdjieff. Determinism and indeterminism coexist in theuniverse of Gurdjieff. The different cycles of seven canevolve or involve; they can interconnect with themselvesin many ways. Self-organization and self-creativity ofdifferent systems depend on these interconnections. Sosystems can "rise" or "fall" in relation to other systems.Finally, the role of fluctuations is explicitly evoked:The law of octaves explains many phenomena in ourlives which are incomprehensible. First is the principleof the deviation of forces. Second is the fact that nothingin the world stays at the same place, or remains what itwas, everything moves, everything is goingsomewhere, is changing, and inevitably either developsor goes down, weakens or degenerates, that is to say, itmoves along either an ascending or descending line ofoctaves. And third, that in the actual development itselfof both ascending and descending octaves, fluctuations,rises and falls are constantly taking place."

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    As we have already stated, if the parallels betweensystems theory and Gurdjieffs thought are interesting,their differences are alsohighly instructive:1. If systems theory is fascinating in many respects, itnevertheless remains vague and ambiguous when itcomes to the dynamic description of unity in diversity,and of diversity in unity, which it allows. On the otherhand, according to Gurdjieff,"Thenumber of fundamentallaws which govern all processes both in the world and inman is very small.'?" This hypothetico-deductive method,foreshadowed by Kepler, is found in science even today.We postulate a certain number of laws, often veryabstract, mathematical, and therefore far from directlyobservable reality; we deduce the consequences of theselaws and then we compare these consequences to theexperimental data. The fundamental laws of the universe,in Gurdjieff's cosmology, are the law of three and the lawof seven (or of octaves). These laws confer a trulyaxiomatic character on his philosophy of nature. Thedifferent writings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky bearwitness to the fruitfulness of such an approach. It is theabsence of an axiomatic character which remains, in ouropinion, the main weakness of contemporary systemstheory.2. When systems theory speaks of exchange" (ofsubstance, energy, or information), it very obviouslymeans a horizontal exchange which takes place betweensystems belonging to one and the same level (the level ofparticles, the human level, the level of planets). But in theGurdjieffian universe, the vertical exchange which takesplace between systems belonging to different levels is

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    equally conceivable, because these levels possess commonmatter-energy; there exist not one but several matter-energies. The fact that the laws governing different levelsare different explains why vertical exchanges are,nevertheless, so rare and why they are associated withresults of extreme fineness. We can replace the word"level" with the word "cosmos" and propose the sameconsiderations, In adding to it the notion ofsupplementary dimension of space. But systems theorydoes not envisage the existence of several cosmoses.3. For systems theory, time has no characteristic which isspecial in relation to its usual physical properties, whereasGurdjieff introduces a subtle distinction between time andspace. For him, time is the "Ideally-Unique-Subjective-Phenomenon":Time in itself does not exist; there is only the totality ofthe results ensuing from all the cosmic phenomenapresent in a given place. Time itself, no being can eitherunderstand by reason or sense by any outer or innerbeing-function. It cannot even be sensed by anygradation of instinct. ... It is possible to judge Time onlyif one compares real cosmic phenomena which proceedinthe same place and under the same conditions, whereTime is being constated and considered.... Only Timealone has no sense of objectivity because it is not theresult of the fractioning of any definite cosmicphenomena. And it does not issue from anything, butblends always with everything, and becomes self-sufficiently independent; therefore, in the whole of theUniverse, it alone can be called and extolled as the"Ideally -Unique-Subjective- Phenomenon. "71

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    These propositions by Gurdjieff introduce an interestingdialectic between time and nontime, between time and theabolition of time.Considered in isolation, this space-time continuumappears as a sort of approximation, as a subjectivephenomenon linked to a subsystem. Each subsystem,corresponding to a certain degree of materiality, possessesits own space-time. Time associated with a subsystem willbe therefore a "breath,"? characterizing the individualityof this subsystem in the unity of the universe.On the other hand, according to Gurdjieff's definition oftime, if we consider all phenomena in all places in theuniverse, time ceases to exist. The unity of the endlesslinkage of systems escapes the action of time; it is outsidetime.4. In spite of the interaction between systems and theendless linkage of systems, systems theory gives noparticular significance to the place of this system in thewhole of all systems and to the relation of this system withthis whole. For Gurdjieff, on the other hand, these aspectsare essential. To study them, he introduces a principle ofrelativity:The study of the relation of laws to the planes on whichthey are manifested brings us to the study ofrelativity .... But before anything else it is necessary tounderstand the relativity of each thing and of eachmanifestation according to the place it occupies in thecosmic order."

    The choice of the word "relativity" may be surprising.Gurdjieff probably knew Einstein's theory of relativity."Did he choose this word ironically? But, exactly as in

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    Einstein's theory, the diversity of phenomena in differentsystems of reference coexists with the invariance of thelaws of physics in all systems of reference. Likewise, inGurdjieffs cosmology, the great diversity of phenomenabound to their places in different cosmoses coexists withthe invariance of the great cosmic laws, the law of threeand the law of seven. Gurdjieffinsisted on the necessity ofthe study of phenomena of one cosmos as if we wereobserving them from the point of view of the laws ofanother cosmos. Likewise, if we consider the change ofone system of reference to another system of reference,according to Einstein's relativity theory, wedemonstrate-by the diversity of these transformations-the dynamic aspect ofthe laws of invariance.Gurdjieff speaks of an "exact language" whose structureshould be based on the principle of relativity." All theideas of this new language concentrate around a singleidea: that of evolution. "The place in the cosmic order"considered by Gurdjieff in his definition of the principle ofrelativity is, in fact, the "place in the evolutionaryladder."76It is perhaps in keeping with the principle of relativity,with all its implications, that we can note the mostimportant difference between systems theory andGurdjieffs philosophy ofnature.

    THE REASON OF KNOWING AND THE REASON OFUNDERSTANDING IN OUR TIME

    The hegemony of technoscience in our societiesno longerneeds to be demonstrated. It is tied in an undeniablemanner to the notion of "power."

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    But what does knowledge serve? In the name of whatdoes the extraordinary development of technosciencefunction?These questions may seem useless, because the associationbetween the words "technoscience" and "progress" ismade automatically. The word "progress," unhappily, isone of the most ambiguous and noxious words in ourvocabulary.In the absence of a value system, the development oftechnoscience follows its own logic: all that can be donewill be done. If we reflect for a moment, we canunderstand that this logic of technoscience is frightening.The disastrous consequences for our species can beinnumerable and some of them are already present amongus. Several philosophers have not failed to note thedangers of a technoscience which would exclusivelyfollow its own logic.Thus, a philosopher such as Michel Henry is not afraid tosay that technoscience is the cause of a new barbarism:"Life itself is affected, all our values totter, not only theaesthetic, but also the ethical, the sacred - and with themthe very possibility of living each day."?For Curdjieff, the decline and disappearance ofcivilizations is tied to the "disequilibrium between'knowing' and 'being"': "In the history of humanity thereare known many examples when entire civilizations haveperished because knowledge outweighed being or beingoutweighed knowledge.':" Are we not in a world whereknowing far surpasses being?Gurdjieff distinguishes in this way "the reason ofknowing" and "the reason of understanding": "Knowledge

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    IS one thing, understanding IS another thing....Understanding depends on the relation of knowledge tobeing.'?" Gurdjieff ironically refers to the "scientistof newformation,'?" who serves onlyknowing:And especially in Western culture, it is considered thata man may possess great knowledge, for example hemay be an able scientist, make discoveries, advancescience, and at the same time he may be, and has theright to be, a petty, egoistic, caviling, mean, envious,vain, naive, and absent-minded man. It seems to beconsidered here that a professor must always forget hisumbrella everywhere.... And they do not understandthat a man's knowledge depends on the level of hisbeing. If knowledge gets far ahead of being, it becomestheoretical and abstract and inapplicable to life, oractually harmful, because instead of serving life andhelping people the better to struggle with thedifficultiesthey meet, it begins to complicateman's life,brings new difficulties into it, new troubles andcalamities which were not there before. The reason forthis is that knowledge which is not in accordance withbeing can never be large enough for, or sufficientlysuited to, man's real needs. It will always be aknowledge of one th ing together with ignorance ofano ther th ing; a knowledge of the detail , without aknowledge of the whole; a knowledge of the formwithout a knowledge of the essence . .. . A change in thenature of knowledge is possible only with a change inthe nature ofbeing.Sl

    So we see all the importance of Gurdjieff's philosophy ofnature in its definition of "reason of understanding": the

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    relation between the manifestations on the differentplanes of reality, relation between the part and the whole,the relation between form and structure.On the other hand, in Gurdjieff's terminology, the contentof the word "to be" is very precise. It is linked toevolution-a central aspect of Gurdjieff's oral and writtenteaching. Gurdjieff Was revolted by the modernacceptance of the expression "evolution of man." "Onlythought as theoretical and as far removed from fact asmodern European thought could have conceived theevolution of man to be possible ap art fro m su rrou ndingnature, or have regarded the evolution of man as a gradualconquest of na ture. "82 Moreover, the very idea of the"co nq ue st o f na tu re" is absurd and pernicious, and it is thisthat has led us to the disquieting and dangerous characterof technoscience. Man is a part of nature and not theconqueror of a nature outside himself. Inthis sense, each"conquest of nature" can, potentially and paradoxically, bea defeat for man. We should rather envisage a cooperationbetween man and nature. But this cooperation necessarilytakes place through the "reason of understanding."In Beelzebub IS Tales to H is Grandson, Gurdjieff describes insome detail the inner alchemy which leads to the "reasonof understanding, "83 but the full meaning of it requires acomplete and effective knowledge of the Gurdjieffteaching. Here it is enough to say that, for Gurdjieff, the"reason of understanding" fuses organically with a man'sbeing, whereas the "reason of knowing" settles in himmerely as information. In any case, it is the "reason ofunderstanding" in one form or another which could helpin developing the dialogue between science and meaning.

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    The contemporary encounter between science andmeaning is a major event which, in our view, is probablygoing to generate the only true revolution of thiscentury. 84 We are perhaps at the threshold of a newRenaissance, one of whose conditions is exactly thedialogue between science and meaning. More and more,science is discovering its own limits, flowing from its ownmethodology. Science has been able to reveal, in anexemplary way, the signs of nature, but, because of itsown methodology, it is incapable of discovering themeaning of these signs. Science carries with it an immensetechnological development. Technoscience, withdrawninto itself, cut off from philosophy by its dominantposition in our society, can only lead to self-destruction.Our self-destruction is necessarily engendered by theontological incomprehension of the signs of nature, moreand more numerous, more and more powerful, and moreand more active. This ontological incomprehension leadsin its turn to a technological, anarchic development,invariably guided by the concern for efficiency and profit.We must invent a mediator between science and meaning.This mediator can only be a new philosophy of nature.The point of departure for this new philosophy of naturecan only be modern science, but a science which, havingarrived at its own limits, tolerates and even cries out foran ontological opening. The discovery of idea-symbols inquantum physics and in other sciences, as well as theinterpretation of certain major scientific discoveries, opensa fabulous free space where there arises a trans-disciplinary dialogue between past and present, betweenscience and the philosophies of nature, art, tradition, andother forms of knowledge.

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    In a realistic way, in the present state of knowledge, andin the actual state of trends in the philosophic, historical,sociological, or religious domains, a return to the ancientphilosophy of nature is unthinkable. But the study ofcertain philosophies of nature, such as that of Gurdjieff,which show deep parallels with modern science, can be aprecious guide in the search for a philosophy of natureadapted to our time. Gurdjieff's philosophy of nature isundoubtedly ahead of our time, as it has been ahead oncertain aspects of modem science. It can, in any case, helpus in our choice between a new barbarism and a newRenaissance. Only the "reason of understanding" can leadus to this new Renaissance .

    . .=~~

    * Quantum mechanics was born in 1900,with the work ofMax Planck on the radiation of the "black body" (a "blackbody" is a body which completely absorbs electromagneticradiation). As we shall see, this work gave rise, at thecenter of the new physics, to the discontinuous structureof energy. Many other discoveries followed, up to about1915, but it is true that quantum mechanics was notformulated as a theory until about 1920-1930 and, sincethen, it has been the formal basis of modern particlephysics, which extends, and at the same timepresupposes, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory ofrelativity.

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    ** "Corpuscle" was the term used In the early days ofquantum physics.

    A specialist in the theory of elementary particle physics,Basarab Nicolescu is the author of more than a hundredarticles in leading international scientific journals, hasmade numerous contributions to science anthologies andparticipated in several dozen French radio documentarieson science. He has collaborated for many years with G. F.Chew, former Dean of Physics at the University ofCalifornia at Berkeley and founder of the BootstrapTheory. They have jointly published several articles on thetopological framework of Bootstrap Theory.He is the author of several books including Science,Meaning, and Evolution-The Cosmology of Jacob Boehme,translated from the French by Rob Baker, winner of the1992 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best History Book. Hislatest book, Man ife sto o f T ransdis cip lin ar ity is published bythe State University of New York Press. In it, Nicolescuunifies science and the sacred based on what we'velearned from Quantum physics. More information aboutNcolescu' s work is available from his Trans disciplinaryweb site:

    http://perso.c1ub-ntemet.fr/nicol/eiret/http://perso.c1ub-internet.fr/nicol/ciretibiobnibibnen.htm

    E-mail: [email protected]

    48

    http://perso.c1ub-internet.fr/nicol/ciretibiobnibibnen.htmmailto:[email protected]:[email protected]://perso.c1ub-internet.fr/nicol/ciretibiobnibibnen.htm
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    16. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us f 172.17. Ibid'f 317.18. Ouspensky, In S earch o f the M iracu lous, 1 76.19. Ibid., 88.20. Ibid.21. Ibid'f 77.22. Gurdjieff, Bee lz eb ub 's T ale s, 1 39 .23. P. D. Ouspensky, Tertium O r ganum (New York:

    Vintage Books, 1970). Ouspensky also wro te A N ewM odel o f the Universe (N ew York: Vintage Books,1971).

    24. Edwin A. Abbott, Flatland (New York: NewAmerican Library, 1984).25. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us f 77.26. Gurdjieff, Bee lze bu b's T ale s, 1 4 0.27. Ibid., 153.28. Ibid., 138.29. Ibid., 153.

    30. Ibid., 140.31. Ibid., 137.32. Ibid., 142.33. Ibid'f 749.34. Basarab Nicolescu, S cience , M eaning and

    Evo lu tion: The Cosm ology o f Jacob B oehm e (New York:Parabola Booksf 1991).

    35. Curdjieff, Bee lze bu b's T ale sf 785.36. Ibid., 136-37.37. Ouspensky, In S earch o f the M iracu lous, 22.38. Gurdjieff, Bee lz eb ub 's T ale sf 1094-95.

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    39. Ibid., 759.40. Basarab Nicolescu, "Unite et structurehierarchique: la theorie du bootstrap topologique," inN ous, la pa rticu le et le m onde.41. Paul Davies, S uper force: the S earch fo r a GrandUnified Theory of Na tu re (New York: Simon andSchuster, 1984).

    42. Ibid., 195.43. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 208.44. Ibid., 206.45. Ibid., 76.46. Ibid.47. Gurdjieff, B ee lze bu b's Ta le s, 4 77.48. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 208-13.49. Ibid., 206.50. Ibid., 195.51. Ibid., 132.52. Heinz R. Pagels, The Cosmic Code (New York:Bantam Books, 1983),247.

    53. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 283.54. Ibid., 138.55. George Gale, "The Anthropic Principle,"

    S c ie ntific Amer ic an (vol. 245, no. 6, 1981), 114-22; JohnD. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anth rop icC osm olo gica l P rinc ip le (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1986).

    56. John D. Barrow, Frank J . Tipler and M.-O.Monchicourt, L'H omme et le cosmos-Le Principeanthrop ique en astrophysique moderne (Imago, 1984).Afterword by Hubert Reeves, 103.

    57. Ibid., 79-80.58. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 139.

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    59. Ibid'f 138.60. rua, 25.61. Ibid.62. James E. Lovelock, Gaia=A New Look at Life onEarth (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982).63. Gurdjieff, Bee lze bu b's T ale s, 170.64. Ibid., 263.65. Ibid., 951.66. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 285.67. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 139.68. Ibid., 135-36.69. Ibid., 129-30.70. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 122.71. Gurdjieff, Beelz eb ub 's T a le s, 123-24.72. Ouspensky, In S earch of the M iracu lous, 213, 329,

    334.73. Ibid., 89.74. Ibid., 207.75. Ibid., 70.76. Ibid., 71.77. Michel Henry, La barbaric (Paris: Grasset, 1987),9.

    78. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 66-67.79. Ibid., 67.80. Gurdjieff, Bee lze bu b's T ale s, 853.81. Ouspensky, In S ea rch o f th e M ira cu lo us, 65-66.82. Ibid., 57.83. Gurdjieff, Bee lze bu b's T ale s, 1164-67.84. Basarab Nicolescu, La tra nsdiscip lina rite ,manifeste (Paris: Rocher, 1996); Manifesto o fTransdiisciplinarity translated by Karen-Claire Voss.

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    NOTES1. Michel Ambacher, Les Philosoph ies de la Na tu re

    (Presses Universitaires de France, ColI.) "Que sais-jeT', No. 1589, 1974.

    2. P. D. Ouspensky, In S earch o f the M iracu lous:Fragments o f an Unknown Teaching (New York:Harcourt Brace and World/ 1949)/ 75.

    3. Ouspensky, In S earch o f th e M ira culo us, 1 22-23.4. Basarab Nicolescu, N ous, la particu le et le monde (Paris:Le Mail, 1985).5. Max Planck, Initiations i t La phy siq ue (Flammarion,

    1941), 73.6. Ibid., 76.7. G. I.Curdjieff, B eelzebub 's Ta les to H is G ra ndson (New

    York: Harcourt Brace, 1950), 832.8. G. I. Gurdjieff, Views from the Rea l World: Early Ta lks

    As Recollected by H is Pupils (New York: E. P. Dutton,1973), 21.

    9. Ouspensky, In S earch o f the M iraculous/ 86.10. Ibid./ 86.11. Ibid.12. Ibid., 87.13. Ibid./ 170.14. Stephane Lupasco, Le principe d'antagonism e et la

    lo giq ue de l'e ne rg ie (Paris: Rocher 1987), foreword byBasarab Nicolescu; see also George Melhuish, TheP ara do xica l U niverse (Bristol: Rankin Books Ltd.,1959).