|Kundabuffer — Beelzebub's Tales|
Since Gurdjieff has choosen to present his ideas in part in the form of allegory, one can read those parts of this book simply as fascinating science-fiction.
The story opens aboard the space ship Karnak. Beelzebub is traveling to a conference where his sage advice is needed on matters of cosmic significance. He is accompanied by his grandson, Hassein, and his old and faithful servant Ahoon.
As they travel, Beelzebub regales Hassein with tales about the Earth, about events in the universe, and about cosmological and psychological law. Beelzebub tells Hassein how he happened to become interested in the planet Earth.
During his youth, he intervened in affairs that were of no concern to him and as punishment was banished to Mars, in a “remote corner of the Universe” (our solar system)
There he builds a telescope in order to study the goings-on on Earth and to observe the strange customs of its inhabitants. He finds man’s inclination to “destroy the existence of others” particularly strange and repugnant. The significance of Mars is perhaps in its distance — that is, one cannot become as easily prejudiced if one has perspective.
Beelzebub then relates an engrossing story about the early life of Earth, which is filled with psychological implications. Due to cosmological disturbances, two fragments broke off from the Earth early in its creation — one was the moon, the other what Gurdjieff calls Anulios which Earthmen do not know exists.
In order to maintain the balance of the universe, it was necessary to ensure that these two satellites remain orbiting around the Earth, and Earthmen were required to give off a certain substance that would facilitate that end.
Fearing that if the Earthmen found out what their function was, they might find no reason for continuing to live, the higher powers implanted an organ in them called Kundabuffer which prevented them from perceiving their true condition.
Later the organ was removed, but unfortunately its consequences remained and they remain to this day.
The Kundabuffer was only intended to prevent man from seeing reality, but it also caused the additional qualities of self-love, vanity, swagger, pride, etc. These qualities are psychological and emotional props which put a cloud over the true nature of man. Hence, man needs a vantage point beyond the cloud, as if from Mars, to see this real nature and to discover there the purpose of his life. Gurdjieff presents this purpose not only as an aim, but as a duty — a duty quite separate from the usual ethical and moral obligations.
"After arriving on the planet Mars, where we had been directed to exist, we gradually began to settle down.
"We were still absorbed in the bustle of organizing all the external necessities for a more or less tolerable existence in surroundings so absolutely foreign to us, when suddenly, on one of our busiest days, the whole planet Mars was shaken, and a little later such an asphyxiating stench arose that at first it seemed as though everything in the Universe had been permeated with something 'unspeakable. '
"After a considerable time, when the stench had finally gone and we came to our senses sufficiently to make out what had happened, we understood that the cause of this terrible phenomenon was that same planet Earth, which occasionally approached so near to Mars that we could observe it clearly, sometimes even without a teskooano.
"For reasons we could not yet grasp, this planet, it transpired, had 'burst' and two fragments broken off from it had flown into space.
"I have already told you that this solar system was then still being formed, and did not yet fully participate in what is called the 'harmony of reciprocal maintenance of all cosmic concentrations.'
"We learned later that in accordance with this general cosmic harmony of reciprocal maintenance of all cosmic concentrations, a comet of vast orbit, which still exists under the name of 'Kondoor,' also had to function in this solar system This comet, although already 'concentrated,' was describing its full orbit for the first time.
"As competent Sacred Individuals later explained to us in confidence, the line of this comet's path had to cross the path of the planet Earth. And as a result of the erroneous calculations of a certain Sacred Individual who dealt with matters of world-creation and world-maintenance, these two concentrations had to pass through the point of intersection of their trajectories at the same moment. Owing to this error, the planet Earth and the comet Kondoor collided, and collided so violently that from the shock, as I have already told you, two large fragments broke off from the planet Earth and flew into space.
"This shock entailed these serious consequences because this planet had arisen so recently that its atmosphere, which might have served as a 'buffer,' had not yet had time to be completely formed around it.
"Of course, my boy, our Endlessness was at once informed of this general cosmic misfortune. And immediately, a full commission of angels and archangels, specialists in the work of world-creation and world-maintenance, under the direction of the Great Archangel Sakaki, was dispatched from the Most Holy Sun Absolute to the solar system Ors.
"The Most High Commission came to our planet Mars, since it was the nearest to the planet Earth, and from there began its investigations.
"The sacred members of this High Commission promptly reassured us by saying that there was no longer any danger of catastrophe on a great cosmic scale.
"And the Arch-Engineer Archangel Algamatant was good enough to explain to us personally that in all probability what had happened was this:
" 'The broken-off fragments of the planet Earth had lost the momentum given by the shock before reaching the limits of this planet's sphere of influence, and hence, according to the law of falling, they had begun to fall back toward their fundamental mass. " 'But they could not actually fall upon their fundamental mass because in the meantime they had come under the cosmic law called the "law of catching up," and were inevitably subject to its influence Therefore they would now have to make regular elliptical orbits around their fundamental mass, just as this mass itself, the planet Earth, made and still makes its orbit around its sun Ors.
" 'And that is how it will always be, unless some new unforeseen catastrophe on a large scale changes it in one way or another.
" 'Glory be to chance,' concluded His Pantameasurability, 'the harmonious general system movement was not unduly disturbed by all this, and the peaceful existence of the system Ors was soon reestablished.'
"Nevertheless, my boy, this Most High Commission, having considered all the available facts and also all the possible consequences, came to the conclusion that, although the fragments of the planet Earth might maintain themselves for the time being in their existing positions, yet in view of certain 'tastartoonarian displacements' envisaged by the commission, they might some day stray from their positions and bring about many irreparable calamities, both for the system Ors and for neighboring solar systems.
"So, to avoid this eventuality, the Most High Commission resolved to take certain measures.
"They decided that the best solution would be for the fundamental mass, that is, the planet Earth, to maintain its detached fragments by constantly sending them the sacred vibrations called 'askokin.'
"The sacred substance askokin can be formed on planets only when both the fundamental cosmic laws operating in them, the sacred 'Heptaparaparshinokh' and the sacred 'Triamazikamno,' act in the 'ilnosoparnian' manner, that is to say, when these two sacred laws in a given cosmic concentration are deflected independently, and also manifest themselves on its surface independently—of course only within certain limits.
"And so, my boy, since a cosmic actualization of this kind was possible only with the sanction of His Endlessness, the Great Archangel Sakaki, accompanied by several other sacred members of that Most High Commission, set off immediately to beseech His Endlessness to give His consent.
"Afterward, when these Sacred Individuals had obtained the sanction of His Endlessness, the ilnosoparnian process was actualized on the planet Earth, still under the direction of the Great Archangel Sakaki. And so from that time on, on that planet, as on many others, there began to arise everything corresponding to the 'ilnosoparno,' thanks to which the detached fragments exist until now without constituting a threat of catastrophe on a universal scale.
"The larger of these two fragments was named 'Loonderperzo' and the smaller 'Anulios'; and the ordinary three-brained beings who arose and were formed on the Earth knew them by these names. But the beings of later times gave them different names at different periods, and more recently the larger fragment has come to be called 'Moon,' but the name of the smaller one was gradually forgotten. As for the beings there now, not only have they no name at all for this smaller fragment, but they do not even suspect its existence.
"It is interesting to note that the beings of a continent on that planet called 'Atlantis,' which later disappeared, still knew of this second fragment of their planet and also called it 'Anulios.' But the beings of the last period of existence of that continent, in whose general presences there were already crystallized the results of the consequences of the properties of the organ called 'kundabuffer' — about which, it now seems, I shall have to explain to you even in great detail — called it 'Kimespai,' which meant 'never allowing one to sleep in peace.'
"The contemporary three-brained beings of this peculiar planet do not know about this former fragment, chiefly because its comparatively small size and its remoteness make it quite invisible to them, and also because no 'grandmother' ever told them that once upon a time any such little 'satellite' of their planet had been known.
"And if one of them should by chance catch sight of it through that excellent yet childish toy of theirs called a 'telescope,' he would pay no attention to it, simply mistaking it for a big 'aerolite.'
"Contemporary beings will probably never see it again, since it has become proper to their nature to see only unreality.
"Let us give them their due, during recent centuries they have indeed most 'artistically' mechanized themselves to see nothing real.
"So, my boy, in due course there began to appear on the planet Earth 'similitudes of the Whole' or, as they are also called, 'microcosmoses,' and from these micro-cosmoses were formed 'oduristolnian' and 'polormedekhtic' vegetation.
"Still later, these microcosmoses began to be grouped, as usually occurs, into various forms of what are called 'tetartocosmoses' of all three-brain-systems And among them arose for the first time just those biped tetartocosmoses whom, a little while ago, you called 'slugs.'
"Some other time I will fully explain to you why and how, during the transition of the fundamental sacred laws into the ilnosoparnian process, similitudes of the Whole arise on planets, and what factors contribute to the formation of the various 'systems of being-brains'; and I will also explain all the laws of world-creation and world-maintenance in general.
"Meanwhile you should know that from the beginning, these three-brained beings who interest you, arising on the planet Earth, had the same possibilities of perfecting the functions needed to acquire being-Reason as have all other forms of tetartocosmoses throughout the whole Universe.
"But later, just during the period when they were gradually beginning to be spiritualized by what is called 'being-instinct' — as also takes place on similar planets of our Great Universe — there befell that misfortune, unforeseen from Above, which was so grievous for them."
Beelzebub sighed deeply and continued his tale "After the actualizing of the 'ilnosoparnian' process on the planet Earth, one year by objective time-calculation went by.
"During this period there were gradually established the corresponding processes of the involution and evolution of everything arising on this planet. "And of course there gradually began to be crystallized in the three-brained beings there the corresponding data for the acquisition of Objective Reason "In short, on that planet also, everything was proceeding in the usual normal order.
"And so, my boy, if the Most High Commission under the supreme direction of the Archangel Sakaki had not gone back again in a year's time, perhaps all the subsequent misunderstandings connected with the three-brained beings arising on that ill-fated planet would not have occurred.
"This second descent of the Most High Commission to the Earth took place because, in spite of the measures they had taken, most of its sacred members were not fully assured of the impossibility of undesirable surprises in the future, and they now wished to verify on the spot the results of their earlier measures.
"The Most High Commission decided in any event, if only to reassure themselves, to take certain additional precautions, including one measure, the consequences of which have not only gradually become a stupendous horror for the three-brained beings of that ill-fated planet, but have even become, so to say, a 'festering sore' for the whole of the Great Universe.
"You know that by this time what is called 'mechanical instinct' had gradually been engendered in them, as is normal in three-brained beings.
"The sacred members of the Most High Commission then reasoned that if this mechanical instinct in the biped three-brained beings of that planet were to develop toward the attainment of Objective Reason, as usually occurs everywhere among three-brained beings, it might possibly happen that they would prematurely comprehend the reason for their presence on that planet and would then make a good deal of trouble; it might happen that once they understood the reason for their arising, namely, that by their existence they should maintain the detached fragments of their planet, and became convinced of their slavery to circumstances utterly foreign to them, they would refuse to continue this existence of theirs and on principle destroy themselves.
"So, my boy, in view of this, the Most High Commission decided, among other things, to implant provisionally in the common presence of the three-brained beings there a special organ with properties that, first, would make them perceive reality 'upside down' and, second, would cause every repeated impression from the outside to crystallize in them data that engender factors for evoking sensations of 'pleasure' and 'enjoyment.'
"Then, with the help of the Universal Arch-Chemist-Physicist, the Angel Looisos, a member of this Most High Commission, they made a 'something' grow in the three-brained beings there, in a special way at the base of their spinal column at the root of their tail — for at that time they still had a tail, and that part of their common presence still kept its normal aspect, expressing the 'fullness of their being-significance' — a 'something' that fostered the arising in them of the properties I just mentioned.
"And this 'something' they then for the first time called the 'organ kundabuffer '
"Having made this organ grow in the presence of the three-brained beings and having made sure that it would work, the Most High Commission of Sacred Individuals, headed by the Archangel Sakaki, returned to the Center, reassured and with clear conscience, while on the planet Earth, which has taken your fancy, the action of this ingenious and astonishing invention began to flourish from the very first day, as the wise Mullah Nasr Eddin would say, like 'the trumpets of Jericho.'
"Now, if you wish to understand even approximately the results of the properties of the organ devised and brought into existence by the incomparable Angel Looisos — blessed be his name to all eternity — you must know about the various manifestations of the three-brained beings of that planet, not only while this 'organ kundabuffer' actually existed in their presence but also later, after its destruction, for, although this astonishing organ and its properties were destroyed in them, the consequences of its properties, for many reasons, began to be crystallized in their presences "But this I will explain to you some other time "Meanwhile it must be said that there was still a third descent of the Most High Commission to that planet three years later, according to objective time-calculation, but on this occasion it was under the direction of the Most Great Arch-Seraph Sevohtartra, since the Most Great Archangel Sakaki had by then become worthy to be the divine Individual he now is, namely, one of the four All-Quarters Maintainers of the whole Universe.
"During this third descent the sacred members of the Most High Commission satisfied themselves by thorough investigation that the precautionary measures they had taken to maintain the existence of the detached fragments of the planet Earth were no longer needed. And so, among other things, again with the help of the Arch-Chemist-Physicist, the Angel Looisos, they destroyed in the presence of three-brained beings there the 'organ kundabuffer' with all its astonishing properties.
"But now let us return to the tale I began. "After this unexpected interruption, when we had recovered from the bewilderment produced by the catastrophe that had menaced that whole solar system, we slowly resumed the settlement of our new place on the planet Mars.
"Little by little we made ourselves familiar with the surrounding nature and adapted ourselves to the existing conditions.
"As I have already said, many of us definitely settled down on Mars; and others either left or prepared to leave for other planets of the same solar system, traveling by the ship Occasion, which had been put at the disposal of the beings of our tribe for interplanetary communication.
"As for me, I remained on the planet Mars with some of my kinsmen and attendants.
"By this time my first 'teskooano' had been set up in the observatory I had constructed there, and I was devoting myself entirely to the organization and development of this observatory of mine, in order to make a more detailed study of the remote concentrations of our Great Universe and of the planets of that solar system. Among the latter, the planet Earth particularly engaged my attention.
"The process of existence on this planet was gradually established, and to all appearances was taking place just as on all other planets.
"But by close observation it could be seen that the number of these three-brained beings was increasing Furthermore, sometimes very strange manifestations of theirs could be observed, they did something from time to time that was never done by three-brained beings on other planets, that is, they would suddenly, without rhyme or reason, begin destroying one another's existence.
"Sometimes this destruction of one another's existence was not limited to one region but took place in several regions at once, and would last not only for one 'dianosk,' but for many, and even for whole 'ornakras'. ("Dianosk" means "day", "ornakra" means "month")
"It was also noticeable at times that, owing to this horrible process of theirs, their numbers rapidly diminished, but at other periods, when there was a lull, their numbers noticeably increased.
"We gradually got used to this last peculiarity of theirs, telling ourselves that obviously, for certain higher considerations, this property must have been given to the organ kundabuffer intentionally by the Most High Commission, because seeing the fecundity of these biped beings, we assumed that large numbers of them would be needed to maintain the 'common-cosmic harmonious movement.'
"Had it not been for this strange peculiarity of theirs, it would never have entered anybody's head that there was something 'fishy' about that planet.
"During the period I am speaking of, I visited most of the planets of that solar system, those already populated and those still unpopulated.
"Personally I liked best of all the three-centered beings dwelling on the planet 'Saturn'. Their outer form is quite unlike ours, resembling that of the bird-being, 'raven.'
"It is interesting to remark, by the way, that for some reason or other these raven-beings are found not only on almost all the planets of this solar system but on most of the planets of our Great Universe where beings of various brain systems arise and are coated with planetary bodies of different forms.
"The verbal intercourse of these raven-beings of the planet Saturn is somewhat like our own. But their way of speaking is the most beautiful I have ever heard.
"It can be compared to the music of our best singers when with all their being they sing in a minor key.
"And as for the quality of their relations with each other — I don't even know how to describe it. It can be known only by existing among them and having the experience oneself.
"All that can be said is that these bird-beings have hearts exactly like those of the angels nearest our Endless Maker and Creator.
"They exist strictly according to the ninth commandment of our Creator: 'Consider everything belonging to another as if it were your own, and so treat it.'
"Later, I must certainly tell you in more detail about those three-brained beings who arise and exist on the planet Saturn, since one of my real friends during the whole period of my exile in that solar system was a being of that planet, who had the exterior coating of a raven and whose name was Harharkh."
We are supposed to believe that in times before Atlantis humans began to figure out that they were nothing more than a transformer of energy to "feed the Moon", and thus became suicidial.
I would venture to say that early humans discovered something more than simply that they were energy transformers designed to feed the Moon.