|Gurdjieff's lifelong question|
Gurdjieff's Lifelong Question
What is the sense and significance of life on Earth,
and human life in particular?
Having asked that specific question from an early age (probably about the time of his grandmother's death – at age 8), and after acquiring a large expanse of knowledge, wisdom and understanding — why did Gurdjieff NEVER offer a simple answer to that specific question?
If you can’t explain it simply,
you don’t understand it well enough.
– Famous saying often (mistakenly) attributed to Einstein. 
Perhaps Gurdjieff NEVER offered an answer to his lifelong question,
because he did not understand it well enough to explain it simply.
Gurdjieff's defenders typically claim that Gurdjieff's question is not a simple question, and claim that Beelzebub's Tales provides Gurdjieff's answer to this non-simple question.
This assumes that:
■ Gurdjieff's question is not a simple question.
■ A simple answer does not exist.
What if both asumptions are incorrect?
■ And it is a simple question.
■ With a simple answer.
Simple answer: To evolve from primitive unconscious procreation to civilized conscious procreation.
Primitive Unconscious Procreation: The same as any animal — any male/female couple procreating instinctively, and without conscious determination. Procreation without being fully informed as to the consequences — to themselves and the child. Unaware of the unconscious forces ensuring survival of life — forces without regard for the child's best interest.
Civilized Conscious Procreation: Difficult to define because it is unknown. Something along the line of a decision by two fully informed individuals who are able to provide, fully, for the child's life from pre-natal stages of life to the age of personal responsibility; and who also are able to commit to the child's best interest.
Psychological Operation (PSYOP)
Hourglass Nebula Image Source
Gurdjieff led a psychological operation — part of a greater psychological operation spanning all of man's existence if not for all of life's existence.
(See: The People of the Secret)
The psychological operation Gurdjieff "fronted", was a Partial Disclosure of conscious intervention — from the consciousness which pre-dates the universe — given by the consciousness of the universe.
- However, the disclosure was cloaked in obscurantism, obfuscation,
- deception, misdirection and omission — all elements of Gurdjieff's writing style.
This Partial Disclosure (the cosmology "revealed" by Gurdjieff) asserts (among other things):
- Matter is derived from consciousness (rather than consciousness being a derivitave of matter).
- Creation passes through multiple levels, known as cosmoi or worlds and finally reaches the level corresponding to Earth.
- Due to special cosmic circumstance, organic life on Earth is necessary for receiving this energy of creation and transforming this into a form that is passed further along, to 'feed' the 'moon,' which is said to be growing.
- All this is seen as a natural process where organic Earth life, including man, performs a function in a cosmic organism, a little like bacteria perform a function in the human digestive system.
- The fact of mankind collectively being required to produce certain 'vibrations' or 'energies' for serving various cosmic purposes is stressed throughout Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales.
- The food in question is described as vibrations generated by intense human experience, for example the experience of violent death.
- While being food is inescapable, man may still modulate the quality of his contribution to the cosmic demand of vibrations.
- With man being less and less conscious, nature found it necessary to substitute quantity for quality of vibrations, thus leading to population explosion and increased incidence of natural catastrophy and war.
- The evolution of humanity beyond a certain point or, to speak more correctly, above a certain percentage, would be fatal for the moon. The moon at present feeds on organic life, on humanity. Humanity is part of organic life; this means that humanity is food for the moon. If all men were to become too intelligent they would not want to be eaten by the moon. [emphasis in original] 
 Cassiopaea Wiki
 Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, p. 64.
- Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
Unconscious Procreation assumes there is no difference between human life and the life of any other animal.
- Continuity of the species takes precedence over the child's best interest.
- Assumes the method of procreation for animals is also appropriate for humans.
- Assumes the wishes of the parents are superior to the child's best interest.
- Unlike other animals, human progeny are neotonic, taking a long time to mature.
- Gurdjieff's “system” teaches how to repair damaged machines (human beings), but makes no mention of avoiding the unconscious process by which “blank slate” newborns become damaged machines.
- Life as we know it is based upon Unconscious Procreation. Sex, one of the most powerful forces influencing life (if not the most powerful influence) is integrally connected to Unconscious Procreation.
Extrapolating from the writings of Gurdjieff/Ouspensky it is easy to understand why unconscious procreation and the evolution of procreation was never considered by either (or at least never written about).
- "The evolution of humanity beyond a certain point or, to speak more correctly, above a certain percentage, would be fatal for the moon. The moon at present feeds on organic life, on humanity. Humanity is part of organic life; this means that humanity is food for the moon. If all men were to become too intelligent they would not want to be eaten by the moon." In Search, p. 64
Osho wrote about the conditioning of children in his book, the book of children, and claims it to be a fundamental problem facing humanity. In chapter 3, Conditioning, he wrote:
- "Does a child not have as much right to privacy and freedom from parental conditioning as the parents expect for themselves? It is one of the most fundamental problems facing humanity today. The future depends on how we solve it. It has never been encountered before. For the first time man has come of age, a certain maturity has happened - and as you become mature you have to face new problems.
- "Slowly, slowly, as man progressed, he became aware of many kinds of slavery. Only recently in the West have we become aware that the greatest slavery is that of the child. It was never thought of before; it is not mentioned in any scripture of the world. Who could have thought … a child and a slave? A slave to his own parents, who love him, who sacrifice themselves for the child? It would have looked ridiculous, utter nonsense!
- "But now, as psychological insight has deepened into the human mind and its functioning, it has become absolutely clear that the child is the most exploited person; nobody has been exploited more than the child. And of course he is being exploited behind a façade of love.
- "And I don't say that the parents are aware that they are exploiting the child, that they are imposing a slavery on the child, that they are destroying the child, that they are making him stupid, unintelligent, that their whole effort of conditioning the child as a Hindu, as a Mohammedan, as a Christian, as a Buddhist, is inhuman; they are not aware of it, but that does not make any difference as far as the facts are concerned. The child is being conditioned by the parents in ugly ways, and of course the child is helpless: he depends on the parents. He cannot rebel, he cannot escape, he cannot protect himself. He is absolutely vulnerable; hence he can be easily exploited.
- "Parental conditioning is the greatest slavery in the world. It has to be completely uprooted, only then will man be able for the first time to be really free, truly free, authentically free, because the child is the father of the man. If the child is brought up in a wrong way then the whole of humanity goes wrong. The child is the seed: if the seed itself is poisoned and corrupted by well-intentioned people, well-wishing people, then there is no hope for a free human individual. Then that dream can never be fulfilled."
Perhaps Gurdjieff privately understood the plight of the child, however the reputed number of children that he fathered (over 100) would seem to discount that possibility.