The question is: How do we really enter into another person’s position, child, parent, work colleague, friend in need, being able to set aside the contamination that comes from our mechanical reliance on our own point of view?
…When you really remember yourself you understand that others are machines just like you are. And you will enter into their position, put yourself in their place and be able to understand and feel what others think and feel… Approach somebody else with your requirements and nothing except new internal considering can ever be obtained… Ouspensky: In Search of the Miraculous p153
Mr Gurdjieff was very good at noticing patterns of behaviour and therefore types of people—so we understand—but it’s not at all clear how he did it and we are asleep…
It might be useful to be able to acquire his apparent ability—to be able to step back and observe others’ behaviour dispassionately because then it might be possible to adapt one’s own behaviour, as necessary, to context and human difference. It might be useful to be able to analyse one’s own patterns of behaviour—only when we are able to recognise and acknowledge our behaviour fully can there be the slightest possibility of change.
Take the case of a person (a) who presents as being a superior being, is habitually combative and considers it to be some kind of virtue to step on people’s corns to find out how they’ll react—to discover whether they’ll fall short of (a)’s own standards; for them fighting is exciting; they’ll try all means to discover an adversary’s Achilles’ heel to find the way that possesses the most leverage to sink them; they’ll keep poking at it. Like as not they’ll believe that their version of the truth is the only correct one and will constantly seek to put others right. This kind of person will probably have a greatly enlarged sense of self, will constantly ‘make accounts’ and delight in breaking their own rules so as to keep one step ahead of the pack and retain a feeling of superpower. In fact, it may be that they do this out of some buried sense of insecurity that they cannot face up to.
Another kind of person (b) who constantly hops with consummate adroitness from one idea or activity to another, a glutton for collecting obscure ideas, will like to keep moving in order to avoid ever running the risk of getting pinned down. This person likes to think of themselves as a free agent, freely flowing between this & that, roaming the entire field of human knowledge, picking up bits and pieces of treasure trove; they seek out peak experiences to do with action and knowledge but ideas and theories become a substitute for any genuine detailed analysis—they are good at avoiding anything that looks like drudgery. They amplify their sense of potential in order to cover up a basic emptiness. Rejection or failure is never their fault and when cornered they will just say, “OK, you do your thing and I’ll do mine…” Above all they have to maintain the mask of positivity and not acknowledge what might be regarded as failure…
A type of person who combines the characteristics of (a) and (b) is formidable for others to deal with. One thing that they’ll do for a certainty is to reject this analysis: for them it’s too detailed, too complex and too near the bone for comfort. They’ll dismiss it as New Age nonsense and/or as being too intellectual.
But if they took the analysis seriously just for a moment they could decide to enhance their already profound grasp of the world by trying on the behavioural characteristics belonging to other types of humankind. Person (a) could, for instance, make a move towards a permanent and truly objective generosity of spirit, no strings attached, in order to truly empathise with types different from their own; they could learn to give of themselves, selflessly, in ways that meshed with others’ needs. They could adopt that true humility of spirit which is not inverted pride. The danger is that in moving in this direction they simply try to create dependency in others and collect them up into an inner circle of supporters; when their efforts are not appreciated they will become expert incensed manipulators with a strong me-first stance towards the world. They will reject those who seem to fail to respond to their expert counselling.
Person (b) could decide to adopt a permanently high toleration of ambiguity and provisionality that would allow them to be open to the peaceful perception of pattern in detail; taking this further would enable them to make new creative possibilities for themselves and for others. They’d be able to stand well back from things, taking a look before leaping into the fray. Standing back in Meta-I would give them new ideas that would help them to balance complexity and simplicity without ever having the pressing need to be right all the time. Minutely detailed & precise cogitation would become exciting for them.
But, again, the danger with moving in this direction would be that they simply go for a well-developed collection of precious ideas that never cross-fertilise; they become evasive when overwhelmed by ideas or challenged by novelty; their knowledge is worn on the surface as a defence mechanism and they are inclined to retreat into the castle of the ego and pull up the drawbridge, more than happy with their own well-fortified set of ideas.
And there are other types and combinations of types some of which will be alienated by the behaviour of these powerful unrelenting personalities (a) and (b).
To remember your self is to be able to STOP identifying with the world, and all it represents, so as to be able to say, “This is me here now being me here now absolutely without encumbrances…” Imagining that you know what’s needed is an encumbrance; going along with the status quo is an encumbrance; assuming that the needs of others are just the same as your own is an encumbrance… And so on.
Internal considering is equivalent to ‘Mind-reading’ in NLP, or simply talking to yourself in order to sort the world out instead of noticing what is really going on out there. Anything else is a personal construction.