Monday, October 25, 2021
Confluence and waking sleep     From:  Cassiopaea Glossary

Moravieff uses the term confluence to designate a peculiar hypnotic state in man where he is identified with the mental currents that flow through him and mistaking the thoughts that are engendered from this current as his own thoughts.

Man's submersion into this mental current is what Gurdjieff calls 'waking sleep' or 'relative consciousness' and it is this level of consciousness that an ordinary man is born into, lives his everyday life, and then dies, without ever waking up into more objective states of awareness.

Waking dream

Man lives his waking life in a kind of 'waking dream' where he only dreams that he is awake.  Ordinary physical sleep is a purely subjective state.  However, when man 'wakes up' he is, according to Gurdjieff, still in a 'waking sleep.'   This state of 'waking sleep' is less subjective then ordinary sleep because man can now distinguish between 'I' and 'not I' in the sense that he can recognize objects apart from his physical body, and to a certain extent orientate himself among them in relation to their position and qualities. 

It is in this 'waking sleep' that man lives his life.  He lives, loves, works, raises a family,  etc., in this 'waking sleep' state.  But it cannot be said that man is truly awake in this waking sleep state, because he is still strongly influences by his dreams, and he really lives more in his dreams then anything else.  Particularly it is within this dream state where our unconscious motivations really reside and it is because of this that man is generally unconscious of what truly motivates him while he is living his everyday life.  He is unaware of his true motivations that are the casual forces which propel him in his day to day activities.  He only dreams that he is  aware and thus lies to himself about his true motivations.  Thus his life is a lie.

Ouspensky says:  "All the absurdities and all the contradictions of people, and of human life in general, become explained when we realize that people live in sleep, do everything in sleep, and do not know that they are asleep."

However if man is asked if he is awake then nature plays a curious trick.

Ouspensky says in his book 'The psychology of Mans Possible Evolution' p.32:

"If you ask a man if he is conscious or if you say to him that he is not conscious, he will answer that he is conscious, and that is absurd to say that he is not, because he sees and hears you".

"AND HE WILL BE QUITE RIGHT, ALTHOUGH AT THE SAME TIME QUITE WRONG.  He will be right because your question or your remark has made him vaguely conscious for a moment.  Next moment consciousness will disappear.  But he will remember what you said and what he answered, and he will certainly consider himself conscious."

"In reality, acquiring self consciousness means long and hard work.  How can a man agree to this work if he thinks that he already possess the very thing which is promised him as a result of long and hard work?  Naturally a man will not begin this work and will not consider it necessary until he becomes convinced that he possess neither self consciousness nor all that is concerned with it, that is, unity or individuality, permanent 'I', and Will."  [End Quote]
Concerning this state 'waking sleep' or 'relative consciousness' Gurdjieff says to Ouspensky in the book "In Search Of the Miraculous" 142:

"In order to understand what the difference between states of consciousness is, let us return to the first state of consciousness which is (physical) sleep.  This is an entirely subjective state of consciousness.  A man is immersed in dreams, whether he remembers them or not does not matter.  Even if some real impressions reach him, such as sounds, voices, warmth, cold, the sensation of his own body, they arouse in him only fantastic subjective images.  Then a man wakes up.  At first glance this is quite a different state of consciousness.  He can move, he can talk with other people, he can make calculations ahead, he can see danger and avoid it, and so on.  It stands to reason that he is in a better position then when he was asleep.  But if we go a little more deeply into things, if we take a look into his inner world, into his thoughts, into the causes of his actions, we shall see that he is almost the same state as when he was asleep."

"And it is even worse because in sleep he is passive, that is he cannot do anything.  In the waking state, however, he can do something all the time and the results of all his actions will be reflected upon him or upon those around him.  And yet he does not remember himself.  He is a machine, everything with him happens.

He cannot stop the flow of his thoughts, he cannot control his imagination, his emotions, his attention."

"He lives in a subjective world of   'I love, 'I do not love,'   'I like,' 'I do not like',   'I want,' 'I do not want,'   that is, of what he thinks he likes, at what he thinks he does not like, of what he thinks he wants, of what he thinks he does not want.  The real world is hidden from him by a thick wall of uncontrolled imagination."

"He lives in waking-sleep.  He is asleep.  What is called "clear consciousness" is actually sleep and a far more dangerous sleep than sleep at night in bed.  Let us take some event in the life of humanity.  For instance, war.  What does it signify?  It signifies that several millions of sleeping people are destroying several millions of other sleeping people."

"They would not do this, of course, if they were to wake up.  Everything that takes place is owing to this sleep.   Both states of consciousness, sleep and the (false) waking state, are thus equally subjective.  Only by beginning to remember himself does a man really awaken.  And then all surrounding life acquires for him a different aspect and a different meaning.  He sees that it is a life of sleeping people, a life in sleep.  All that men say and do, they say and do in sleep.  All this can have no value whatsoever.  Only awakening and what leads to awakening has a value in reality.  How many times have I been asked whether wars can be stopped?  Certainly they can. For this it is only necessary that people should awake.  This seems a small thing. It is, however, the most difficult thing there can be because this sleep is induced by our so-called education and maintained by the whole surrounding society."   [End Quote]

On this 'waking sleep' state Mouravieff calls this a state that leads to confluence.

Maurice Nicholl referred to this state of confluence as "mixing of levels," where we mix concepts and ideas that should never be mixed,  leading man to making gross cross-conceptualizations about himself and the world around him,  pushing him further into the abyss of deeper delusional states making him prey for those who wish to manipulate his thinking for their own nefarious purposes.

Excerpt from Mouravieff's book GNOSIS Vol I p. 157:

When man is CONFLUENT, and consequently forgets himself, he is simply carried away by one of the mental currents which pass through him — but he is not conscious of it; he thinks he acts, when in reality he is carried away all the while plunged in mental sleep.  Whenever he practices the 'tresvenic'  (a Russian term relating to 'coming to' after a state of drunkenness), that is, whenever he is present, and as long as this state lasts, he will realize that he is being carried away.  But that is all.

He still continues to be carried away.  Nevertheless, this is a great progress, as it will permit him to constate on the idea: I AM.  By doing this he will make the first effort to attach himself to the permanent by detaching himself from the temporal.  With the formula the I AM, man for the first time can make an effort to resist the many mental currents which carry him away, and for which he is otherwise like a plaything.  It is by this sort of conscious effort that he will start to build his cage — his future command post.

See Identification, Self-Remembering, Subjectivity.

Dictionary definition

CONFLUENCE   [kon-floo-uhns]

  1. a merging of geographical elements, particularly rivers; also called a conflux
  2. a blending together of ideas
  3. a coming together of people or things
  4. a flocking or assemblage of a multitude in one place; a large collection or assemblage; concourse

Parts of speech:  Noun is confluence; adjective is confluent.

  1. The confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers lies just north of St. Louis.
  2. The confluence of John’s logical and Mark’s artistic approaches resulted in an amazing exhibit for the celebration.
  3. It was, without a doubt, the confluence of the political parties that pushed the bill through Congress.


     His eczema began as small patches but quickly became confluent.

Etymology: The common usage of  confluence began in the early 15th century.
It stemmed from the Latin confluentia and from Latin confluere  meaning “to flow together.”

Synonyms:  concurrent, conjunction, convergence, gathering, intersection, juncture, meeting
Antonyms:  divergence, division, divorce, separation, disagreement

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