Via Tecta (Sacred Way)

From Mister Gurdjieff’s ‘The Herald of Coming Good’ – Modern Man Is Split Into Three Independent ‘Entities’

Eye of the Dragon


‘The general psyche of the modern man is split into three, so to say, completely independent ” entities “, which bear no relation to each other and which are separate both in their functions and in their manifestations, whereas, according to historical data, these three sources formed, in the majority of people, even in the time of the Babylonian civilization, one indivisible whole, which appeared to be at once a common repository of all their perceptions and the radiating Centre of their manifestations.

Because of this one-sided education of the modern man, upon the attainment of his majority, these three entirely independent sources or centers of his life, that is, firstly, the source of his intellectual life, secondly, the source of his ” emotional ” life, and, thirdly, his instinct or ” motor ” centre, instead of fusing inwardly in the normal way to produce common outer manifestations, have become, especially of late, quite independent outward functions, and not only the methods of education of those functions, but also the quality of their manifestations, have become dependent on special outer subjective conditions.

According to the deductions based on detailed experiments made by Mr. Gurdjieff himself, as well as those by many other people who have seriously thought about this question, every really conscious perception and manifestation of man can only result from the simultaneous and coordinate working of the three aforesaid sources, which make up his general individuality, and each of which must fulfill its role, that is, furnish its own share of associations and experiences.

The complete achievement of the requisite and normal manifestation in each distinct case is possible only upon the co-ordination of the activity of all these three sources.

In the modern man, partly owing to his abnormal education during his preparatory age, and partly owing to influences due to certain causes of the generally established abnormal conditions of modern life, the working of his psychic centers during his responsible age is almost entirely disconnected, therefore his intellectual, emotional and instinctive motor functions do not serve as a natural complement and corrective for one another, but, on the contrary, travel along different roads, which rarely meet and for this reason permit very little leisure for obtaining that, which should in reality be understood by the word ” consciousness “, wrongly used by modern people today.

As a result of the lack of coordinated activity on the part of these three separately formed and independently educated parts of man’s general psyche, it has come about that a modern man represents three different men in a single individual; the first of whom thinks in complete isolation from the other parts, the second merely feels, and the third acts only automatically, according to esta­blished or accidental reflexes of his organic functions.

These three men in one should, in accordance with the foresight of Great Nature, represent, taken together in responsible age, one man as he ought to be: the “man­without-inverted-commas “, that is, the real man.

These three, who were deliberately shaped by Great Nature to compose one complete whole, as a consequence of not assuming at the right time the habit of mutual understanding and aid, through the fault of men themselves and of their false education, produce this result that, in the period of responsible manifestations of the modern man, they not only never help one another, but are, on the contrary, automatically compelled to frustrate the plans and intentions of each other; moreover, each of them, by dominating the others in moments of intensive action, appears to be the master of the situation, in this way falsely assuming the responsibilities of the real “I”.

This realization of disconnected and conflicting activity of the centers of origin, which ought to represent the psyche of man, and, at the same time, of the complete absence of even a theoretical conception of the indispensability of an education corresponding to these separate, relatively independent parts, setting aside the ignorance of its practical application, must inevitably lead to the conclusion that man is not master even of himself.

He cannot be master of himself, for not only does he not control these centers, which ought to function in complete subordination to his consciousness, but he does not even know which of his centers governs them all.


From Gurdjieff ’s ‘ The Herald of Coming Good’, Paris, 1933. Page 28 to 30.

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