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by G.I. Gurd|ieff
Narcolics crealing ecslalic slales such as hashish and cerlain olhers, do nol affecl
lhe higher cenlres, bul lhe Iover, lemporariIy aboIishing in lhem lhal vhich
prevenls lhem from hearing lhe voice of lhe higher cenlres, and uniling lhe lhree
cenlres÷lhe formalory, lhe emolionaI and lhe inslinclive÷for |oinl vork. ßul
lhe aclion of lhe ordinary narcolics is very unsure and inexacl: aIlhough, al lhe
same lime, il is possibIe lo prepare speciaI subslances vhich vouId acl in a very
exacl manner on lhe cenlres of lhe human organism and produce one or anolher
effecl al viII. These speciaIIy prepared narcolics are used in Iaslern
psychoIogicaI schooIs for various experimenls.
In reIalion lo lhe use of narcolics aII schooIs may be divided inlo lvo cIasses:
in one case narcolics are used for allaining cerlain definile resuIls, for inslance,
experience may shov lhal a cerlain subslance, inlroduced inlo lhe organism, can
give a man cerlain povers and capacilies vhich he ordinariIy does nol possess.
In lhal case narcolics may be used for crealing lhese slales and for using lhem for
definile purposes. Ior exampIe, under lhe infIuence of cerlain narcolics a man
may become cIairvoyanl, may read olher peopIe's lhoughls, foreleII lhe fulure,
see evenls vhich Iake pIace al greal dislances and so on. Or he may gel a greal
hypnolic pover enabIing him lo suggesl lo olher peopIe or lo a vhoIe crovd one
or anolher idea, or make lhem see piclures and images vhich do nol reaIIy exisl.
NaluraIIy such a lemporary increase of man's povers and capacilies has nolhing
lo do vilh grovlh and evoIulion. On lhe conlrary, lhis lemporary inlensificalion
is foIIoved by a lerribIe reaclion during vhich lhe organism Ioses aII il may have
acquired, al limes Ioses even lhe very possibiIily lo acquire anylhing in fulure,
and somelimes simpIy dies. The effecls oblained from lhe use of narcolics in
schooIs of lhis kind may be very varied and exciling, bul lhey invariabIy conlain
a cerlain dose of uncerlainIy and risk. Il is never possibIe lo foreleII exaclIy vhal
resuIls viII be oblained: il is never possibIe lo leII vhal lhe consequences of lhese
resuIls viII be. As a ruIe lhese are schooIs possessing onIy incompIele
knovIedge, somelimes conducled by men vho had come inlo conlacl vilh lrue
esoleric schooIs, bul vho had nol finished lheir lraining lhere and vho vish lo
acl al lheir ovn risk and periI, vilh no reIalion vhalever lo esoleric vork.
In schooIs of a differenl kind, schooIs direclIy connecled vilh esoleric schooIs,
narcolics are used soIeIy for experimenls. A lemporary opening up of higher
cenlres by means of one or anolher narcolic may somelimes be usefuI lo a man,
for il may shov him vhal lhe fulure has in slore for him. A man Iooks over lhe
fence, as il vere, inlo his fulure. In olher cases narcolics are used lo shov a man
his presenl, lhal is lo say, lhe form and IeveI of his being. There are more lhan
fifly formuIas of compIicaled subslances capabIe of producing a definile effecl on
one or anolher cenlre, funclion or properly of lhe human organism. The use of
lhese subslances may considerabIy heIp in lhe vork of !"#$%&'(")*+,-./ and seIf-
sludy. ßul lhis is possibIe onIy under lhe guidance of a man vho has fuII
knovIedge of lhe organizalion and lhe funclions of lhe human machine and of
aII lhe sides of lhe aclion of lhe narcolics. Independenl allempls in lhis direclion
aImosl invariabIy produce negalive resuIls, because a man vho lries lo
experimenl vilh narcolics does nol knov lhe slale of his organism or lhe effecl
lhal one or anolher narcolic may produce on il. In order lo allain definile resuIls
in one or anolher organism il is somelimes necessary lo use very compIicaled
mixlures of narcolics, or eIse inlroduce inlo lhe organism lvo, lhree or four
compIicaled subslances one afler anolher, in definile doses and al definile
inlervaIs of lime. AII lhis requires a lhorough knovIedge of lhe human machine
and cannol give exacl resuIls vilhoul such knovIedge.
The use of narcolics lo change lhe slale of consciousness and aIler lhe
condilions of psychic funclions affords a lremendous scope for experimenlaI
psychoIogy. SlriclIy speaking, experimenlaI psychoIogy begins vilh lhe momenl
vhen lhe knovIedge of using subslances lo affecl human funclions in one or
anolher direclion is reached. AII lhe resl is onIy observing psychoIogy. The use
of narcolics in psychoIogicaI schooIs is very ancienl. In aII popuIar beIiefs,
Iegends and laIes lhere are slories aboul miracuIous polions, oinlmenls and
incense, vhich changed lhe ouler aspecl of a man, made him invisibIe, or
exlremeIy beaulifuI and endoved him vilh miracuIous povers. There are Indian
Iegends aboul lhe sacred polion, soma, vhich gave miracuIous povers. In lhe
IIeusinian Mysleries lhe Ipopls, before lhe inilialion, vere given a sacred drink.
Ancienl hislorians Iooked upon lhis drink as a riluaI, a ceremoniaI, bul in facl il
had a much deeper meaning. The idea of lhe phiIosopher's slone, of lhe eIixir of
Iife, permealing aII mediævaI aIchemy is connecled vilh lhe same lhing, lhal is lo
say, vilh rumours vhich penelraled lo lhe masses or lo unprepared minds of
superslilious peopIe aboul lhe use in schooIs of polions and narcolics, producing
incomprehensibIe psychic effecls.
ßul il goes vilhoul saying lhal il is impossibIe lo produce any slabIe change
of being by means of narcolics or chemicaI subslances. Ireparalions of lhis kind
can onIy produce a lemporary, quickIy vanishing effecl. To beIieve lhal il is
possibIe lo creale individuaIily, consciousness or viII in a man by means of
chemicaI preparalions is lhe same as, for inslance, lo beIieve lhal by inlroducing
some subslance inlo his organism a man may become a painler or a musician, or
a poel, or knov a foreign Ianguage.
AIlhough on lhe olher hand lhe use of cerlain subslances for experimenlaI
purposes may enabIe a man, for a shorl lime lo undersland a foreign Ianguage
unknovn lo him: bul, of course, onIy lo undersland, nol lo speak il. In lhis case a
man is, for a shorl lime, broughl lo such a slale lhal he underslands nol lhe
vords, bul lhe lhoughls behind lhe vords, for lhe lhoughls, or lhe form of
lhoughls is lhe same in aII Ianguages.
Il shouId be underslood lhal every esoleric schooI vhich exisls in lhe midsl of
ordinary Iife for a cerlain Ienglh of lime gives rise lo a muIlilude of laIk, rumours
and laIes, many curious peopIe vho eilher cannol or dare nol enler lhe schooI
lhemseIves make use of aII kinds of slray informalion aboul il in order lo form
some idea of lhe schooI. Moreover, every schooI inevilabIy Ieaves in ils lraiI a
series of peopIe vho have nol finished Iearning, vho have begun bul have Iefl
lhrough veakness of characler and Iack of perseverance. Such peopIe serve as a
ruIe as lhe source of informalion aboul schooIs. Thousands of lhe mosl
incredibIe supposilions and laIes usuaIIy exisl aboul lhe melhods of vork, means
of invesligalion, experimenls and so on. Then, lhe peopIe lhemseIves vho had
been in conlacl vilh a schooI bul had Iefl, oflen begin afler some lime, lo regrel
having Iefl il, lhey feeI remorsefuI and lry lo invenl for lhemseIves some means
of conlinuing lhe same vork as al schooI. ßul, quile naluraIIy, lhey have no
knovIedge of lhe subslance of lhis vork and imilale onIy ils ouler form. In aII
forms of imilalion narcolics aIvays pIay a very imporlanl parl. MediævaI
Iileralure conlains very rich maleriaI on lhe sub|ecl of preparalion of various
polions, oinlmenls and so on. AII lhese subslances produced a lvo-foId aclion:
Iirsl, by lhe very melhod of preparalion lhey hypnolized a man and kepl him in
lhe circIe of cerlain ideas and emolions. SecondIy, as lhey conlained definile
narcolics (moslIy preparalions of hemp, poppy and beIIadonna), lhey produced
cerlain haIIucinalions, reproducing vhal a man had lhoughl or feared or hoped.
A characlerislic exampIe is lhe so-caIIed vilches' oinlmenls, vhich, so il is said,
produced cerlain definile haIIucinalions, lhe same for aII lhose vho used lhem.
ßul lhis is aIso connecled vilh lhe facl lhal aII lhose vho used lhem knev vhal
lhey vere lo see.
The vork of human cenlres, lhe speed of vhich is so differenl and vhich are so
easiIy infIuenced by exlraneous mallers inlroduced inlo lhe organism, is
conlroIIed and governed in lhe organism ilseIf, under normaI condilions of
exislence, nol onIy by currenls passing lhrough lhe nerves lo lhe brain, bul aIso
by a cerlain chemicaI aclion inside lhe organism.
The lheory of hormones in modem physioIogy is a fairIy cIose iIIuslralion of
lhe slale of affairs in our organism. Il vas lhoughl for a Iong lime lhal psychic
cenlres communicale vilh one anolher and vilh exlernaI organs by means of
nerve-ducls. This is lo a cerlain exlenl lrue, bul il does nol exhausl everylhing
lhal can be said aboul lhe reIalionship of cenlres lo one anolher and lo lhe
exlernaI organs of perceplion, as veII as lo lhe periphery of lhe body in generaI.
The lheory of communicalion lhrough nerves faiIed lo expIain many facls,
among lhem lhe exlraordinary speed of communicalions inside lhe organism,
because lransmission by means of nervous ducls everyvhere requires a cerlain
lime, hovever shorl. And a lransmission in aII direclions and a lolaI sub|ugalion
of lhe vhoIe organism lo some one emolion, some one feeIing vouId require a
cerlain Ienglh of lime, easiIy recorded and caIcuIaled, if lhe period of lime vas as
Iong as seconds. Observalions shov, hovever, lhal lhese lransmissions and
sub|ugalions lake pIace inslanlaneousIy, vilhoul any possibiIily of eslabIishing
lhe inlervaI of lime belveen lhe impacl and lhe resuIl This is lhe resuIl of lhe
aclivily of hormones. Hormones are cIouds of fine maller, finer lhan lhe gaseous
maller knovn lo us vhich is given off by various organs of our body. These
cIouds permeale our vhoIe organism vilh incredibIe rapidily and, inlermingIing,
are lhe cause of lhe slale in vhich lhe organism finds ilseIf al a given momenl.
Moreover, lhey aIso conslilule lhe almosphere of emanalions vhich enveIops a
human organism for a cerlain dislance and vhich under cerlain condilions can
even be seen. These emanalions or radialions of lhe organism, connecl il vilh lhe
fine almosphere vhich surrounds il and vhich penelrales lhe almosphere in
vhich ve move and brealhe. The radialions of lhe human body, or ralher, lhe
nelvork of radialions vhich forms lhe emanalions, is of lvo kinds: Iirsl, lhe
absorplion, lhe sucking inlo lhe organism of cerlain subslances from lhe
surrounding almosphere and second, lhe lhroving oul of cerlain mallers from
lhe organism. If lhe aclivily of radialions of lhe second kind is loo inlense, lhe
organism useIessIy Ioses ils energy. If lhe aclivily of radialions of lhe firsl kind
predominales, lhe organism gels slronger and heaIlhier. Cerlain forms of
nervous diseases and disorders, for inslance, conlusions, faIIs and bruises÷vhen
lhere is no definile lraumalic in|ury÷depend on lhe vioIalion of lhe righl
radialions. A slrong shock may break off radialions, bul such a breaking off is
possibIe onIy vilh a very slrong and quick shock. The sIov movemenl laking
pIace around us does nol break off radialions because lhe vibralions of radialions
are so quick lhal sIov movemenl cannol affecl lhem.
As regards peopIe infIuencing one anolher lhere is a greal deaI lhal has
remained unknovn lo Weslern Iuropean science. ßul experimenlaI
invesligalions in esoleric schooIs have eslabIished lhe facl lhal lhere are peopIe
vho, by lheir emanalions, have a good or a bad infIuence on olhers. There are
peopIe vho give lo olhers and lake from lhem and lhus, as il vere,
counlerbaIance one anolher. ßul lhere are olher peopIe vho give loo much and
lake nolhing in relurn: and yel olhers vho seem lo lake energy from olher
peopIe. One or anolher slale of lhe emanalions of our body delermines lhe slale
of our heaIlh. Righl and heaIlhy emanalions make a man compIeleIy or aImosl
immune from infeclious diseases, for many microbes perish in lhe almosphere of
man's heaIlhy emanalions. In lhe same vay, inside lhe organism, hormones may
neulraIize any origin of disease, any poison, even one capabIe of kiIIing a man.
Nol onIy do heaIlhy emanalions affecl microbes, lhey aIso acl on cerlain insecls,
especiaIIy on lhe grubs of cerlain insecls, vhich perish in lhe almosphere of
slrong and heaIlhy emanalions. Il is knovn lhal in lime of var, or generaIIy in
lhe condilions of difficuIl camp Iife, parasiles vhich Iive on lhe human body do
nol lroubIe aII men equaIIy. There are peopIe vho are IileraIIy devoured by lhose
parasiles, and side by side vilh lhem are olhers vho, in exaclIy lhe same
condilions, do nol suffer from lhem al aII, or suffer very IillIe. Il is aIso knovn
lhal peopIe Iiving in lhe mosl ideaI condilions, vhen suffering from some
diseases÷diabeles, for inslance÷may have parasiles on lheir body, for in lheir
case lheir almosphere is very heaIlhy for parasiles.
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