The Higher Emotional and Intellectual Centers
In addition to the lower centers, Gurdjieff taught that two higher centers existed within man, the higher emotional and the higher intellectual. The first center we shall discuss is the higher emotional center.
The higher emotional center is concerned with actually being ‘present’ to one’s self. Once a person has developed a permanent bridge between the lower and higher emotional centers, he or she becomes a true individual, that is, a person who is essentially free from simple responding to the automatic dictates of the machine. Dwelling in the higher emotional center (situated in E4) endows one with the faculties of self-consciousness, voluntary attention and free-will. Such persons can experience true and eternal feelings because he or she has a stable presence, that is, he or she exists within the eternal ‘Now’ rather than in the past or future. The feeling of self-existence, independent of the body and the programming of the machine, is the first real feeling a man can experience. Further purposeful development of this center allows the unitive energy of Divine Love, E2, to combine with the conscious energy of this center, E4, creating the energy needed for the higher intellectual center.
THE FUNCTIONS OF CENTERS
MOVING EMOTIONAL INTELLECTUAL
PART PART PART
MOVING Automatic Pleasure in Inventing things
CENTER reflexes, movement, and machines,
imitation, love of games, adapting.
limited adapt- acting.
INSTINCTIVE Pleasant and- Blind animal love, Intuitions
CENTER unpleasant instinctive love,
sensations. jealousy, rage,
urge to kill.
SEXUAL Sexual sensations: Sexual attraction Assumptions and
CENTER pleasant or neutral. and gratification perceptions of sex.
or frustration of
EMOTIONAL Mechanical ex- Religious emotions, Artistic creation,
CENTER pression of esthetic emotions, chief seat of the
emotions, emotions moral emotions, magnetic center.
relating to likes conscience.
small daily desires.
INTELLECTUAL Mechanical Desire to know Intellectual
CENTER talking, curiosity and understand, construction,
inquisitiveness, search for know- creative thought,
shrewdness, ledge, higher kinds discovery.
craftiness. of imagination.
True feelings are never negative. a true feeling may vary in its intensity or quality, but is never negative, only positive or impersonal. Once one begins to work with the higher emotional center, one begins to measure himself or herself ‘objectively’, measure oneself from the perspective of the real ‘I’ and not the many ‘Is’ of the machine. The illusory and reflexive nature of the lower emotions is revealed. Using the higher emotional center, a man can distinguish real suffering from the false and useless suffering caused by insults to the false personality. He or she sees the numerous sorrows, fears, sicknesses inflicting his life without attaching to them. One’s inadequacies and failures no longer arouse regret and disappointment. The lower emotions no longer direct one’s life. Detaching from self-imposed and unnecessary sufferings of our machine, allows space for the inflow of conscience and for attunement with the real needs of those surrounding us. Conscience lets us see things for what they are, without coloring by the false personality. Conscience brings us empathy. We begin to experience true joy and satisfaction and feel the true sorrow concerning our banishment within the material world and the difficulty of escape.
The higher intellectual center is concerned with ‘objective’ reason. By ‘objective’ I am referring to the ability to see things without the coloring provided by the lower centers. Objective consciousness allows us to perceive the how and why of the universe at a level equivalent to or beyond the angels and gods.
Essence and Personality
Although Gurdjieff speaks in depth about essence, ‘that which we came into the world with’, and personality, ‘that which we acquire in life through education’; we are only going to briefly mention this important subject.
One goal of normal human development (normal does not mean average), is to bring about a maturation of the essence. Essence refers to the essential nature accompanying each man and woman into the carnate world. Essence is not a blank slate upon which life inscribes its experiences, but is one’s intrinsic identity with its inclinations, aversions, predispositions, skills and so on. Although this cannot be proven, it is likely that one does not change one’s essence between lives, such that essence contains within its energies the emotional lessons of the past.
Essence has to do with time of birth, the position of the stars and planets. It is within essence that man forms the astral or kesdjan body.
Personality refers to the false personality created by the organic functioning of the brain. It is not immortal. Personality develops in a child in defense of the essence, as essence is exposed to thousands of walking zombies. The only problem with the personality is that it begins to think that it is alive and in charge of the machine. False personality is an empty state that is constantly filled with changing ‘Is”. False personality thinks it exists because it is always called by the same name, has the same body and feels the same sensations each day.