We have posted this essay without endorsement, but even as a critic of Gurdjieff I find this critique (although useful) inadequate. We have addressed these issues already many times in various blogs.
Here one should point out that Gurdjieff had a brilliant idea, one he may have gotten from sufis, or nineteenth century occultists or groups unknown to us, but whatever the case it has been cogently pointed out that Gurdjieff was a clever ‘Samkhya’ yogi/philosopher and that his system is a higher pastiche of Samkhya with its seven levels and triads or gunas, asubject devolved to incomprehension in legacy traiditions. All the puzzlement over Gurdjieff’s ‘materialism’ vanishes at once, if you realize this: Samkhya is a materialist philosophy, as their enemies always pointed out. Gurdjieff had a clever idea of trying to communicate to modern scientitic materialists with a version of Samkya.. To this we must add that Christianity, or its exotic theology, the Trinity, is another such pastiche of Samkhya: the minute you realize the Christian ‘higher idiocy’of the Trinity is an attempt to consider a theology of the ‘one god’ as the cosmic triad you see at once (without comprehension perhaps) that the two subjects are the same and the Christian version is a lunatic brand of the subject.
Consider the cascade of seven levels; 1?, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96; the level of the one triad at ‘3’ in the sequence shows immediately that the christian theologians couldn’t reify the ‘absolute’ ‘one’ and spoke of the first level cosmic triad, the three.
Whatever the meaning the two are too close for this to be conincidence. Obviously the naked jain yogis (gymnosphists, naked sophists) wanderubg into the roman empire were part of an indian diaspora of yogis and this must somehow have influenced christian theologians.
It is preoposterous yet factual that Gurdjieff is somehow a part of this circus stretcching more amazingly over millennia.
It is worth reading Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe for his take on all this, reconstructed in a remarkable modern context in hundreds of pages of a tour de force version of the same Samkhy obviousl derived from Gurdjieff.
There is a lot to say here but we can quit for today by asking if Gurdjieff himself understood this tradition. Or rather his rendering of the law of seven and three is not a good or reliable version.
The question is, what is a Triad? I suspect after many years that while Gurdjieff rightly pointed to this tradition, it has remained misunderstood, even by figures like Gurdjiefff. The law of three makes no sense in any version I have ever read. That’s about what Gurdjieff in fact said, the triad is not comprehensible as such to the mind of homo sapiens, but somehow the legacy was injected into history there to diffuse in search of comprehension.
It is too easy to say the triad requires a higher state of consciousness. Men of higher consciousness don’t seem to undertand it either. The key is in front of us, but lost, and the gunas of the Indic version are so watered down as to be meaningless.
the triad is differnt from the dyad, pace Bennett, but the two are often confused, and, indeed,people using dialectic (cf. marxists, hegelians, and others) often stumled into triadic intuitions, but in all cases the result is muddled. Bennett cleverly escapes in the he points to ‘triads’ without really having to define them.
more on this in another post…