EnneagramFourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky School Education Concerning the Work Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and their students.
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Six Processes: Forces

We are told that all events occurring in the Universe are resolvable into three `forces', and arise from the meeting, accidental or otherwise, of these forces at a particular point in space and time. For an event to happen there must be present an `active' force, a `passive' force, and a `neutralising' force. These three forces together form a `triad'. All movement and change consists just of a linking of successive triads on different levels.

`Force' must be taken in the broadest possible sense. It can refer to matter or energy or to a psychical entity like an emotion, an impression or an aim. In any case it will be some `hydrogen'. A hydrogen, however it may appear to us, is a specific energy.

Some are more visible than others. To illustrate this idea, consider a coin. It bears in itself at least two energies: firstly there is its material existence as a piece of metal; secondly there is its value, which is a higher, more volatile energy. If the coin is dropped into the sea, it remains a piece of metal but this higher energy, its value, immediately dissipates (into all the other coins in the world, each of whose value increases).

A force can be said to have no movement in itself but the potential to create movement when suitably combined with other forces. In reality, of course, everything is in constant flux; strictly speaking there is no such thing as a force in isolation. So to see triads we must look first at events and try to resolve them into forces, rather than vice versa.

The example of the coin shows that we must be careful when specifying the component forces of a triad. A coin may be tossed in order to make a decision, or it may be used to buy something; in each case the coin contributes a different kind of energy to the triad.

A simple example of a triad, in which all three forces are quite visible, is provided by the leavening of dough; the ingredients are flour, water and yeast. Flour is passive: it is the raw material, that which is to be transformed. Yeast is active: it is the agent of transformation. Water is neutralising: it provides a medium in which the flour and yeast can meet and the reaction take place. This example exhibits the rôles generally played by the three forces, by which we can often distinguish them.

The words `active', `passive', and `neutralising' are usefully suggestive, but there are other ways of referring to the forces. `Affirming', denying', and `reconciling' are sometimes used in their place. A hydrogen is sometimes called `carbon', `oxygen', or `nitrogen', according as its rôle in a given triad is active, passive, or neutralising. (This may be connected with the rôles these elements play in organic chemistry.) The forces may also be referred to simply as first, second, and third force, respectively, or symbolically as 1, 2, and 3.

Some Names of the Forces in a Triad

ActivePassiveNeutralising
AffirmingDenyingReconciling
CarbonOxygenNitrogen
FirstSecondThird
123
LifeMatterForm
FatherMotherChild
EffortResistanceAim
FatherSonHoly Spirit
Holy AffirmingHoly DenyingHoly Reconciling
Forces Ordered Triads Ascending and Descending Open and Closed Relationships Opposites The Diagram

Bibliography

  • P. D. Ouspensky, A Record of Meetings
  • Rodney Collin, The Theory of Celestial Influence
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