Publisher’s Preface 5
Part One
The living Human Being 9
The Socio-Psychological Worlds 20
On Spontaneity 40
Confess and Concent 49
About the Two Truth 58
The Socio-Psychological Worlds 68
To Take and to Give 81
Credo 93
Part Two
Human Body 103
The Theater of Life 116
The technology
of Life or Who Lives Whom 139
Human Life 153
Part Three
The Subject & the “Laws of Life” 175
Space within Space 187
About the Tendencies of Disembodiment
and Embodiment in Spiritual Development 205
On Unique and Typical 223
Publisher’s preface
The book that you are holding in your hands brings you a new name from Russia along with the new expression of the universal spiritual knowledge. A new spiritual teacher—what is he bringing? What good can come from Galilee, the province of Rome? Or from Russia that for almost a century has built countless prison camps for her best and most valuable people? Still in her hidden and sacred dimensions that same Russia remained attentive to the spiritual influences and inspirations from both the West and the Hast and it gave to the world a number of great mystics such as Elena Blavatsky. G.I. Gurdjieff, A.N. Schmidt, P.D. Ouspensky and Daniel Andreyev. In the second part of our century Russia carried on the work of purification and transformation of the spiritual substance, which expressed itself in the under-ground spiritual revival in Russia during the Sixties and Seventies when the author of The Art of Living received his initiations and set himself up for his mission.
The profession of a spiritual teacher is the rarest profession on earth. As a rule, that kind of people come at the time of confusion and crisis of orientation when an urgent need of the new paths emer-ges and an unseen cosmic valve opens up revealing to humanity that which it never knew before. Destinies of those people are unusual due to the fact of the resistance that they have to overcome and the inertia of the outdated but still tenacious concepts and rituals. They add to human life new meaning and lead to a renewed equilibrium on the invisible cosmic scales marking the beginning of an epoch. The first ones who recognize them are resonantly attuned to this very teacher and his message. A recognition takes place through a sight or a voice, or a delicate influence and is always a miracle. Each time the seeker must overcome his expectations of the known, familiar and habitual. The destruction of the old temple and the erection of the new temple must take place in him. This work meets resistance in those parts of the psyche which are responsible for stability and balance of the whole. The very basis of human existence, the philosophical, ethical and aesthetic criteria are shaken up, and a human being discovers the new heaven and new earth heralded by the teacher.
Such a mission has been accepted and carried out by Igor Kalinauskas. He made the West his spiritual fatherland and has received all the necessary sanctions and initiations from his visible and invisible instructors, and the East has remained his inner homeland as well. He went through serious self-tests and self inquiries not in the wilderness of the forests and caves but in the desert of contemporary society, among its miasma and cataclysms. And he managed to materialize a spiritual School with captivating ideas and mature spiritual practice which attracted thousands of followers both in Russia and abroad.
The highlights of Igor’s destiny were: his calling as a theatrical producer (he graduated from the Stshukin College of Theatrical Arts), his work in theater as a producer and artists, his devotion to practical psychology and work with victims of the accident of nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, then creation of a unique spiritual School in Russia based on the psychological ideas and psycho-technical methods developed by Igor, in the first place, on the method of the Fire Flower, and. finally, his aspiration for the spiritual incantations which took the shape of his collaboration with Olga Tkachenko. Igor is the founder of the famous vocal duet ‘Zikr’ known both in Russia and abroad, a bold experiment of spiritual testimony with no mediators, no musical instruments and no words, just Igor’s and Olga’s voices.
Another facet of his multifaceted gift has been manifested in his numerous presentations and conversations. This book is composed of transcriptions of his presentations and conversations. Here we see Igor as a practical psychologist and metaphysician who has reached the limits of the intellectual and samadhi experience and who has shown himself as being capable of finding rich and metaphorical language for outlining his innovative ideas. Igor is an experienced conversationalist and dialectician who can create new concepts for the expression of the inexpressible when they are needed, though he in the first place is a spiritual practitioner who realizes that any spiritual progress begins with transformation of consciousness. His me-thod of the Fire Flower allows one to differentiate energy soundings of people, space and objects and makes possible modeling of the social circumstances and the states of consciousness. This method secures the inflow of valuable information through resonance and harmonious relations with the surrounding world.
Igor seems to be in a permanent battle with the authority of the Great Average and the Common Denominator, taking the risk of defending unique and not yet established knowledge under the condition that it can help people. As a person who has been educated in Soviet totalitarian hell, he is especially sensitive to the danger of the spiritual dictatorship and irresponsibility of those who undertake to lead people. He stands up against rigid hierarchical models and exalted claims and he demonstrates professionalism and ethical tact in every step along the way of realization of the unique essence innate to each human being. He turns his followers towards their own situation breaking the stereotype of the expectation that comes with a spi-ritual teacher and the leadership from outside.
A reader who has opened this book with precocious curiosity not knowing what to expect, a new light or new troubles from Russia, should be ready to meet a friend who respectfully followed the steps of the leading mystics from the West and the East, who has assimilated their thoughts and experiences, who asks meaningful questions and finds solutions and answers where it seemed there are none and cannot be any whatsoever. I wish the reader of this book many wonderful discoveries!
A.R. For Olga Tkachenko How strangely the world is arranged. How passionately.


The Living Human Being
We were now sitting and laughing… Well, today I feel like a living monument. I realize that I should not appear in public any more, I am only a hindrance. However, I am still alive.
I intentionally began with this little joke. There is such a psychological predisposition: when books are written and there are disciples, followers and foes around, when the image has been created, then, the cause of all of this would look better as a monument or a photograph. Why is this so? One does not think much about this problem until one runs into it.
Yesterday, after a show based on Chekhov’s corresponden-ces, I had a conversation with one of the actors. We spoke of how difficult it is to visualize the living Pushkin, Lermontov or Chekhov unless you read their letters, diaries and personal do-cuments. It is very difficult to visualize a living human being, and what is most interesting is that one experiences the same difficulties when one tries to visualize oneself as a living human being. All of you have probably tried to do this. We are inclined to do this in same way as we do everything else in the world, namely, we put this person in a frame holding only that which we accept in him, which we can understand and which corresponds with our perceptions, our image and knowledge of who he should be. It is difficult for a human being to deal with himself and especially to deal with another person without that kind of framing. That is a concept which we have agreed to identify as “psycho-pathology of everyday life.” Of course, this is a conventional name. I do not have in mind the medical aspect of this problem. We deal here with the difficulty of perceiving a human being as a living one.
10 The Art of Living
It is well known that in many spiritual traditions the highest achievement is to truly experience oneself, i.e. fully experience oneself as a part of humanity. It is believed that the easiest thing is to experience oneself as a part of the cosmos, and this is why we now have so many people (it is no longer more forbidden in Russia) who get their spiritual instruction directly from the cosmos. Even more people learn not from the whole cosmos, but from the star Orion or from the 12th or the 24th level of reality. Even those concrete sources are being broken into little bits so that they can be measured and comprehended. To experience oneself in fullness as a part of emptiness is considered a more profound achievement. However, to see oneself as a part of humanity is believed to be the most difficult thing.
Why? Because it is more difficult to explain a living human being in terms of a restrictive concept than to explain the world, because a human being contains such a range of characteristics, that it is almost impossible to fully grasp. This situation is reflected in one of the most paradoxical Buddhist parables.
A Buddhist master arrived at a village and the following morning he set off for another village. He said: “How do I get there?” They said to him: “You must make a detour. Although the road straight through the forest is shorter, no one has gone that way for many years.” “Why?” he asked them and they said: “There is a man hiding there who made an oath to avenge the murder of his brother by killing thirty people. He has already killed twenty-nine and for several years no one has gone that way. He has been waiting for his last victim for several years.” Naturally, the Buddhist master chose the shortest path. The terrible murderer jumped down from a tree and said: “You holy man, is it possible that they did not warn you that I sit here and wait for my thirtieth victim? I have made an oath and I must fulfill it. I will have to kill you, holy man. Why did you behave so foolishly?” Well, isn’t that really foolish? Try to imagine yourself in this situation. You have been warned. Would you still go? However the master went. And he said: “I have arrived so that you kill me and finally be freed from your oath.” The man was shocked. He became a student of that master and later he was glorified as one of the prominent Buddhist masters.
How can it be that a murderer, who consciously murdered twenty-nine people, in the end became a Buddhist master? How can it be that the prostitute Mary Magdaline became a saint? How can it be that many saints, having lived half of their lives as bohemians,
Part One 11
suddenly became saints? We are so accustomed to these things that we seldom think about them. However, icons hanging in the churches and people are praying to these saints with dubious biographies.
Take Pushkin for example. Our great poet was a terrible Don Juan. Humanity includes, at one end, Hitler and some kinds of destitute drunkards and drug addicts, and, on the other end. Mohammed, Jesus and Teacher Moria.
And all these contradictions exist in full in every person present here. If some of you are convinced that you have no share in those things that pertain to all of humanity, then you are living in a world of illusion. Simply there has not yet been an occasion (a situation, condition, guidance, or social suggestion) which would cause all which is within you, though hidden from you, to manifest itself. All is contained in us because we are created according to the image and likeness of God. To the single image and to the only likeness.
The real question is whether we ourselves are in charge of all that wealth or whether we have only illusions that we are in charge of all that wealth while busying ourselves, all our life, with attempts to prove that this is not in us and that is not in us, and that too. Still all those things are in all of us. They are there. We all are made of human beings and not of anything else. Even if we have teachers from the star Orion, this would not change our situation, because we ourselves are made of human beings.
When one feels an urge to examine the question of what the human being is, it becomes clear that, in order to answer this question more or less professionally, one needs more courage then is needed to jump with a saber into the middle of a crowd of enemies. You read books by various sages, scientists, and thinkers, and you see, if you want to see, that they themselves have set a limit to their inquisitiveness. They have set up a frame for themselves and within that frame they have profoundly examined their object. We see that the same principle directly or implicitly determines the process of acquiring knowledge about the human being: in order to grasp the human being one needs to murder him. One has to reduce him to a corpse. Of course, there is no need for a physical murder. What is needed is to cut away the extras, everything that is excessive from our point of view. That which remains is studied as “the human being.”
Naturally, in everyday reality, we do not have such courage and we do not have the love and the knowledge that would permit
12 The Art of Living
us to perceive the human being as fully alive. Therefore people, during their history, have created numerous devices which allow them to avoid this confrontation with the living human being
The first device of this type is the most famous and it is familiar to everybody. It is the concept of “Us” and “Them.” “They” are immediately separated from “Us.” Think of whom you include in the group of “Us” and where all the others are placed. The group of people that comprise “Us” is the frame through which you look at yourself and at another person. Everything that is “They” is omitted. There are many criteria for definition of “Us” and “Them.” “They” are the ones who do not believe in this, or that, or in any of our beliefs. “They” are those who do not live in the right way. “They” are those who do not act in the right way. “They” are those who are dishonest, who are such and such. They, they. they… Where do we live? In a small group, we have “Us,” and we are surrounded by “Them.” We are a small part of humanity? They are all around “Us.” Those who are “Us” are few. The smaller the group of “Us” is, the larger is the “T.” There are very few people who are like “I.” and” We” are surrounded by “Them.”
In world literature and in the arts there is this theme: he or she is bound by the power of love to one of “Them.” One falls in love with an enemy. Well, he fell in love and betrayed his comrades. What kind of love is it!? Shouldn’t they both be beheaded” They should both be punished from this side and from the other side if one of them did not succeed in drawing the other person to the right side. For example, look at the way the Muslims do it. If someone converts somebody else to the Muslim faith, he gets forgiveness of all of his sins. One may sin as much as one wants. Because if you draw a human being into “Our” group, make him part of “Us,” this makes you a big person and this is a great accomplishment. All of “Us” behave this way. And the rest happens among “Us.” Here you are, preparing to become instructors, the salesmen of psychological goods, and you find yourselves in an awkward situation. You are unable to arrange things in such a way that you have in your group only customers belonging to “Us.” The majority of those who come belong to the other group, to “Them.”
Our foremost desire is to turn all of “Them” into “Us.” A person comes in order to get a certain product, in our case, to learn how to keep under control his inner state. However. I know many instructors who completely forget about this. They have no lime to teach and no desire to stick to their business commitments. It is
Part One 13
more important for them to turn “Them” into “Us.”They are pleased when a person shows good results in a test. Well that could be pleasant although not very pleasant. And what happens when somebody says: “I want to join the School.* I want to obey the Law of the School?” What is the outcome of that? It is like going to a store where pineapples are sold. You came to buy pineapples. However, they were pulling your leg. It turned out that you had joined the Communist party. And the pineapples, as it happened, were mostly rotten. Nevertheless, you are now one of “Us.” What if every supermarket, instead of being proud of selling good products, were proud that it drew in a large number of people. This is the first pathology and a real fraud. However, who will confess that he is a cheat? Nobody here wants to cheat; the people in our store are honest.
An attempt to clarify, on the first contact with a person, whether he is one of “Us” or one of “Them,” and if he is not one of “Us,” to draw him in, is the first fundamental pathology of our dayly life. I will explain this. Let us say that you like a person. It looks that he likes you too. However, it turns out that this is not enough. One needs to find out whether he is “Ours” or not “Ours.” And if he is not one of “Us,” there is a need to make him one of “Us.” And if it turns out that he is not one of “Us,” and does not want to be one of “Us.” but wants to draw me into his group, this shows that he does not love me, or does not love in the proper way. or does not love enough, and that altogether he is an insidious person. Therefore, a divorce is inevitable. This fable’s moral is: if you want to avoid these kinds of disappointments, do not go to somebody else’s team. Stick to our team. If this is so important to you, then begin by defining: who is “Ours” and who is “not Ours.” Carried ad absurdum, this principle makes father to inform on his son. son to inform on his father, makes mother to reject her children and children to reject their parents. You know how it was
* School is a European Esoteric spiritual tradition. Its activities are traced in back to the ancient Greece in the time of Socrates. First Principle of the School is: “Every human being is a transmuter of the limitless ocean of Knowledge and Power.” Second Prinsiple is: “Learn yourself as a part of the world and the world as a part of yourself.” Third Principle is: ‘Move from the realm of effects into the realm of causes skipping negative emotions.” For more detailed information see the following books by Igor Kalinauskas: One ro One with the World, Discourses with rhc Master, and The Spiritual Community, St.-Peterburg, Meduza Publishing House
14 The Art of Living
in our country not long ago. Now how should one live with an alien person? How should one live not among “Us?” And simply, how should one live among living people? This very question has been an object of inquiry of the sages of all ages. This is the toughest thing after all. It is almost impossible. In order to do this one should perceive of oneself as a living person too. as one who has everything in himself, and as one who is ready to travel in socio-psychological strata and be an insider everywhere. But isn’t this opportunism? That is what they say about me.
He is an actor, they say. He will adapt himself everywhere. Among thieves he is a thief, among actors he is an actor, among spiritual seekers he is a spiritual seeker. Now who is he in reality? Someone at a meeting asked me a question, “Igor Nikolayevich, tell us, are you a black magician or a white magician?” I answered them: “I am none of those.” That is very difficult. Because, wherever I go, they begin with this question, directly or indirectly, this way or that way. Are you one of “Us” or one of “Them?” Nobody wants to know a human being as he is in himself. They want to figure out what kind of “We” one belongs to. Often, while dealing with people, you realize that they do not know what their father, mother, wife, husband or children look like. They do not know this and have never thought about it. The important thing for them is that everybody around them be pan of “Us.” Everything should be smooth. You go home and you want nothing to irritate you, nothing to disturb you. And later one asks: “Oh. where did it come from?” How did it happened that these parents have these children? And vice versa, how did it come that those children have those parents? And why are brides so nice and wives so terrible? And why are all bridegrooms so charming and husbands such bums? Why? For this very reason.
Some people say, let us divide human beings into men and women, and let us discuss masculine and feminine principles, their advantages and disadvantages. Well, not everything is seen only in black and white. “We” are women and “We” are men. Show me a man who has nothing feminine in himself or a woman who has nothing masculine in herself. I do not know such a person.
So it is very difficult to meet a living person. Not because he is hiding but because we are running away from him.
This is the first fundamental reason that can, figuratively speaking, be considered a source of the “psycho-pathology of everyday life.” This is why astrological charts are so successful. The
Part One 15
simpler they are, the better. Notice that astrology as a science attracts only a very few people. Now one draws a chart on a computer. Imagine how long it took to draw a chart before computers came into use. Here is what we can find in magazines:
“What is your sign?”
“I am a Libra, and your sign?”
“I am a Capricorn.”
“And how are we getting along?”
“Not very well, good-bye.”
“And what is your year?”
“The year of the Tiger, and yours?”
“The year of the Monkey.”
“Monkeys always take advantage of Tigers, good-bye.”
“Wait, 1 do not want to cheat on you.”
” You will. That is what’s in the chart.”
Here is where the socionics in the Weisband-Onufrienko version and many similar versions come from. They offer descriptions: who fits whom, who does not fit and why.
“Which type are you?”
“I am Hugo. And which type are you?”
“I am Stirlitz. and excuse me, you cannot talk like that, because that style does not correspond to your description. Hugos do not speak that way.”
Any material which gives people an opportunity to avoid, quickly, without any problems, and with references to an autho­rity, the smallest chance of meeting a living human being was, is and will be the most required merchandise in the psychological shop. Whether we like it or not this is the way it was, is and will be. This will last a very long time, as long as humanity lasts. And they seem to be such innocent pastimes, horoscope charts and socionics. don’t they? Everything is so funny, as in a mad house.
” What is your sign?”
“I’m an Aquarius. And what is yours? “
“I’m a Cancer.”
And you say this is not pathology!
Surely it is. You walk the streets, ride buses, subways and the only thing you hear is: Aquarius, Tiger, Aries. Now you hear more and more often references to such names as: Hamlet, Stirlitz. Zhukov. Before there were at least only simple Russian Basils and Peters. There is nothing of that kind now. I think the time is approaching when everyone will wear a sign with all needed information in order

16 The Art of Living
not to be approached by alien people and everything will be clear at once: here is an Aquarius, a year of the Ape, Don Quixote, dominance 28, temperament—a sanguine person. All data are given in order to avoid an interactions with alien people. And those who are “Ours” should be recognized immediately. It is convenient this way. Imagine, soon there will be no more living people. Only monuments. It is clear at first sight where “We” are, and where “They” are. And this is done not arbitrarily but scientifically: “This is not just my subjective language, this has been proven by the science!”
Well, I think, I have clarified this aspect. Of course, one could go into the bedroom and look at how it works in the most intimate situations. However I will save this for some future occasion. I will give you room for your own creativity so that you can make your own discoveries and find this virus in the most unexpected places. Indeed, it is omnipresent. It is there, even where there is no room for it.
The next psycho-pathological virus of our routine life is the multi-faceted character of human being. I myself helped to spread this virus. I will clarify my point: man has masks, he has various faces for social roles, he has individuality, he has essence, he has a Divine spark, he has this, he has that, and so forth. One can ask: what is wrong with the statement that man has a lot of things? This cannot be a cause of pathology. Just the opposite, and you, Igor Nikolayevich. in your books and lectures have taught us that every interaction should lead to the awakening of the essence. Now let us assume, that it has been awakened. What now? Should we cut off all the rest? No one should not, according to the same teaching. Should one worry and ask why we give our personality control over our essence? Is it our sin? Yes, it is. Why so? Because the essence is more important. And who said that? I, for example, did not say that. You cannot find that in my books. I did not say that it is more important. However, I spoke of assisting the essence.
And what is the result? As a result we have an additional means of reducing the living human being to a smaller, more restrictive, concept: “This is not I, this is my personality. I am fighting with my personality. What else do you want from me? The fight is not yet over, but I know that the essence is here.” “This is not you, they say to me. this is your personality. And now, they say, I see your essence. It is completely different. It is not you, it is your type of nervous system, the speed of your reactions, the specific organism you have. This is not you, it is just your alter ego, this is not you it is just your super ego.” And it goes on and on and on: this is not you…
Part One 17
Such is the second grand “pathology of everyday life.” I might be wrong and it could be that among you there are some people who never pronounced these words: “This is not you, this is not me.” This is not you, I know that it is not you. It is a part of you. Imagine yourself approaching a birch-tree and talking to it in such a manner: “This little branch is not you. However, the trunk is you. Let us cut off this branch.” It would not come to one’s mind to talk this way to a tree. But we will talk this way to a human being, especially when he belongs to our group. It is interesting, that “We” never talk in such a way to “Them.” “They” are always “They.” The favorite pastime in the circle of “We” is to explain to a person that he is not fully himself and to prove this to him. Remember this notorious phrase:
“You could not have done this.”
“But I did it.”
“No. you could not have done it. It is somebody’s bad influence. It seems that they have sneaked in and corrupted you.”
“Have I done it? No, that was a blackout. You know that I could not have done it. Never!”
So we have gathered together into our “We,” and there is nobody else anywhere. Thus, “We” are not fully “Us,” and “They” are not fully “Them.” What should “We” do? We should find our personal “Lord God.” And not only our “Lord,” but also other people’s too. “We” should regularly ask “Him” questions, and “He” will prophesy. And “We” will pretend that we believe “Him.” “We” cannot disbelieve “Him.” If “We” disbelieve Him, then who will believe? Even when “We” are “Us” and “He” is “Us,” still something is wrong with “Him.” “He” may be all right on the second level, however on the third level something is wrong. And on the first level, look at “His” present embodiment. This is not the right shape for Him…
Thus, we may determine our next virus as an “it-is-not-fully-you” virus. And, naturally, an “it-is-not-fully-I” virus too. It is not I. who came to see you. It is a Master who visited you through me. I confess. I have used this formula and have done it with great success. If it is not you, who visits me, then who is it? Yes, this one—who is he after all? If he is not the Master, then who is the Master? A monument? A cloud made of thin air? Now let us see how love, which can sometimes still be met. has been ruined, even among Us. “I love you, but you are not fully you. Something must be done with you because I love you.”
“Whom do you love?”
18 The Art of Living
“You. But you are not fully you.”
“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, /And thus the native hue ofresolution / Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,” but in return “Wev are secure. It is not enough that we have erected one wall of “We.” We have the second wall, the second line of fortification that is even stronger. We say: “Everybod} is not fully all right, even “We” are not fully “We.”‘
Here is another problem: what should be done with a human being if there is nothing that needs to be done? Imagine: here is a human being facing you. No need to teach him, no need to learn from him, no need to correct his defects since they are his inverted merits. You take one of his defects and turn it into a merit. So then what should be done with him? Nothing. Simply, he is to be loved.
Now how can one love a person and do nothing to try to change that person? The Ancients said: this is what love is about. This is love when you do not need to try to change a per-son, when you just want to be with that person and to dwell in reality together. Some say, this is the love which is strong as death, love of which we all dream. However in order for it to be what it is, one must say that he, as he is, possesses all he has and more. What he does not have, I don’t know, because I simply do not see it. Once again. I leave you room for your own creativity. Look for your own concrete examples. What else can one invent? We are at to the point, at the very core. We have unveiled everything. Pathology—how it can be here?
So. you are not you and I am not me. That is the second fundamental cause of the “pathology of everyday life.” However, there is one more cause that belongs to the realm of values and of the relationship with time and space.
Who can be sure that now, this very moment and in this very place, everything goes fine, all right, O.K.? Who can be sure that he was born in the right time and place? Who is sure that the apples in his garden are sweeter? That in the neighboring state everything is as it is in ours? Who is happy here today? Or as they say “here and now?” Remember. I used to tell you a parable that Leo Tolstoy liked. A man came to a sage and said: “I have three questions: What time is the most important, which person is the most important, and what business is the most important one?” The sage answered: “The most important time is the present because the past is over and the future is not yet here, the most important man is the one with whom you have business right now.” So I say: the most important man is each of us. For each present here and now, according to that sage, the most
Part One 19
important people are all the others present here. And the time, right now, this very hour is the most important for each of us. “What business is the most important?” The sage said: “Love between you and that man is the most important.” So, if we would trust that sage, love between us is the most important business at the present moment. And there is no thing more important in the world.
Who will trust that? And even if one “trusts” this story, who will live that way? Therefore this virus, not without reason, creates an additional cause for the escape from life.
“No, you obviously are not the man, that I need.” “Tomorrow? What is the profit from “tomorrow?” There is no future with you.” “And you? Sorry that I did not meet you four weeks ago or even last year.” “Perhaps we have a chance to figure it out in, say, three years…”
And now everybody is gone. I am alone, but even the current “I” is not yet the right “I.” I know, after about six month of intensive work on myself, I will… And I remember, fifteen years ago there was a man… but now nobody is left. Emptiness.
So, what is the result? What is the real outcome of all this? Life in emptiness where there is nothing alive and unpredictable, including myself. And with all that to rush to the opposite shore of the river, as the ancient Egyptians used to say. To the opposite shore of Nile. Remember what is on the opposite shore. The Kingdom of the Dead. There everything is under control. Everything is calculated, predicted…
Sometimes I recall one of my friends who whenever he ate an apple, a pear, grapes, a cucumber or a tomato used to quote: “Like a living being speaking with living beings.” Here he was an alive being who loved that feeling of being alive because he felt in this very moment simply alive and didn’t feel any shortcomings either in himself or in an apple.
Here a riot of reasoning begins. Then what—is everything perfect in this most perfect of the worlds? And one should do nothing! Look at the birch-tree that grows, fighting for its room, while a dozen young maple-trees have withered next to it. The birch-tree is big, and the maple-trees are small. A natural course of events.
And what is the natural course of events? The brightest people who are working on this question believe that the natural course of events is a course of events where things manifest themselves spontaneously, in love and in the union of one living being with
20 The Art of Living

another living being, Pavel Florensky* has a remarkabl meditation on two powers. First, the power of nature, of which w are afraid, because it is controlled by the natural course of event: This power possesses the force of life. And then there is the powe of spirit which does not possess the force of life since spirit i incorporeal. Spirit can only structure this boiling pot of life Florensky writes that only the cooperation of these two power creates a genuine sanctity. This is extremely complex even in Iheor) This is so because one additional thing is involved, namely, society Thus, the social structuring of a human being and of a human life i the next big problem related to our theme.
The Socio-Psychological Worlds
Human life contains a system of more or less constrictei psychological worlds. As a rule a human being dwells within thes worlds all his life and from them he draws confidence of hi uniqueness and of his value. A socio-psychological world is formet gradually. Its growth begins in a family circle and then it include friends of the family. Later, a subconscious selection of friend becomes part of this process. This subconscious selection of friend begins in kindergarten and it involves the individual features, typ of informational metabolism, temperament, etc. A predominan role in this selective process is played by the cultural traits of th human beings belonging to different socio-psychological worlds each with its own criteria of what is possible and impossible and what is permissible and impermissible and its attitude towards human being and human live. Every socio-psychologica world has its own hierarchy of values and complex reaction towards other people’s behavior. This is a sort of continual ion o
* Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky (1882—1943). a Russian religious philosopher and a scientist. He is the author of numerous works on theology, philosophy aesthetic, linguistics, math, natural science and archeology of culture. His works include Foundation and Affirmation of Truth. The Iconostasis. The Commoi’ Huma, Roots of Idealism, Macrocosmos and Microcosmos.
Part One 21
the theme which we have discussed: “We” and “They,” though this time we approach it not from the outside but from the inside of a human being’s life. And what do we see in this case? When people begin interacting, each of them defends his own world and intrusions into a man’s world are considered to be a threat to the man himself. In this way, the man’s “I” begins playing the role of “We.”
With very few exceptions, man never leaves his socio-psychological world even when he has no contacts with the personal representatives of that world. If we extract a man from his customary surroundings and insert him into a situation where he has no contacts with a person of his socio-psy-chological world, he will adapt his behavior to the new situation. However, inwardly, he will not leave his own world. There are very few exceptions to this. Why is this so? What does it mean to leave one’s own world? To leave one’s own world is to reject oneself. As we know, self-rejection as a conscious goal is used only in some transformational esoteric traditions. Traditions of power accumulation, meditation traditions and traditions of situational manipulation never seriously set such a goal because they realize, and thousands of years of experience prove it. that no more complex goal can be set for a human being then to transcend oneself, to hatch from the egg of one’s socio-psychological world, even if you manage to create the proper motivation for him. The goal of transferring from one world to another, not just of adapting to it, not only of becoming a spy in the alien world, but of a real transfer, is a goal of such a level of complexity (in case one sees it as a practical, not of a merely theoretical goal) that, frankly speaking, in my own life, I have not faced a more complex goal. This is why we say that a man, who has set himself up on a path in a spiritual tradition, from a certain point ceases to be a man as we understand this word in our everyday experience. He really becomes a “no-man.” Even he may not realize this fact. However, right away he starts receiving from his milieu (if he remains among people) numerous negative signs indicating that now he is an outsider and that he fits none of the normal socio-psychological worlds. In case a man does not realize that, then it turns out that entering a tradition with a goal of becoming stronger, of raising the level of one’s self-realization, he gets only negative reactions. He has problems even with that which he was capable of performing naturally and spontaneously before. He sharply feels that he is more lonely, abandoned, and incapable than ever before. This is why people, who declare that they

22 The Art of Living
learn directly from the cosmos, are in a much better situation than those who really study. They subconsciously control the degree of their transformation, and they do not have to leave their socio-psychological world, they do not have to leave themselves. On the contrary, the Lord God comes down directly to them. And this is why even the sincerely faithful people belonging to the same religion differ so much from each other that one even begins to doubt that they are believers, because their faith takes shape of what is considered a norm in their socio-psychologicai world.
There is nothing else to which man is so attached as to his socio-psychological world. It is not an artificial attachment that he can look at negatively and simply declare that it is no god. It is neither good, nor bad. It is the ground on which a man has been brought up and with which he is connected by his roots, by all his being. He himself is that world. And when we say: “You should see yourself as part of the world and the world, as part of yourself.” then, strictly speaking, we should preoccupy ourselves not with the universe, not even with the biosphere or noosphere. We should be busy studying our socio-psychological world, the world in which we dwell, where we have made a real claim. If a man did not do this, then the rest is just role playing. If one does not know himself in that quality one cannot even think of any further self-knowledge.
And what happens as a result of that attachment? It produces violence. Looking back at almost two years of our theater’s work we have discovered an unexpected phenomenon. Ideally, a iheater is a group of creative individuals. They are expected to be unique, extravagant, different from each another, but unified by an artistic idea. And what happened was that though we all worked with great devotion and produced good quality products. I experienced a permanent dissatisfaction. This lasted until the so called pedagogical part of our work ended. When I became free from the position of an instructor, I suddenly realized that all that time I had been committing violence in relation to the actors. I have been trying to make them live in my world.
Theater is an extremely complex phenomenon because, on the one hand, it is a collective enterprise, and on the other hand, everybody is supposed to be an individual. By not accepting their socio-psychological world because I do not like it and being in the positions of a leading producer and instructor, I began willy-nilly to impose on them the concepts that are part of my world. And since I belong to a world that, by its nature, is an esoteric one, this created
Part One 23
for those people a situation of a mockery. They depended on me and that was the character of our work. I could not demand of them more then what they have been doing, because they already worked with the utmost devotion giving themselves fully up to the theater and they produced good quality work too. while I was all the time dissatisfied with them. When the norms of one socio-psychological world are imposed on people belonging to another socio-psychological world violence is produced. It is a very subtle unconscious violence. There are some blatant forms of violence like, for instance, that based on the slogan: “Our faith is the best.” This slogan works best with a club. Those who do not belong to our faith must be hammered with clubs and urgently saved because they are wrong. And this is not the worst situation since at least here you can see what that man wants from you. and what kind of a club he has in his hand. You can also take a club and fight back. The most terrible thing begins when nobody understands the nature of the conflict, and the entire situation ends in a mess. This happens because the very sensation of violence is interpreted inadequately. However, the sensation is there, and while there are masochists and conformists who greatly enjoy that violence, and pretend that they have accepted everything, and get high on that, but this in no way means that they have transferred from one world to another.
Imagine a situation when somebody always says: “Yes, tea­cher, yes,” but nothing happens; everybody sees that he is not sincere and is just pretending. He adapted to a situation that he was unable to avoid, but there is nothing healthy in his situation. On the other hand, from a subjective point of view it could be a sincere attitude if unawareness of committing violence is mixed with sincerity: a man may simply not be aware that he acts with violence. In modern life’s conditions people constantly mix together. In offices, in parties, in study groups, completely different individuals belonging to different socio-psychological worlds gather together. And if a group has a leader, then the group is divided into those whom he likes most, those whom he likes just a little, and finally those whom he does not like at all. And if this leader does not understand that this “liking-dis-liking” is resulting not from his profession or from the situation in which people have come under a convention of purchasing some goods be it knowledge, skills, information, etc.. then a violence begins. However in such a situation a leader has no right to interfere with a person’s wav of
24 The Art of Living
life. This person is neither a disciple, nor a follower and only came to purchase a piece of merchandise. You have offered him that piece of merchandise but you have no right to interfere with his life. You may use your powers of persuasion; it is everybody s right to promote their own world, but never interfere! Those who work in the field of practical psychology should, must remember that man’s socio-psychological world is his ground. It is that where he grew up, where he dwells, what nourishes him. You must feel and understand that in order to avoid any violence in your professional activity.
There is only one case when a human being can give you the right to interfere in his life and it is when he declares that he wants to move from his socio-psychological world into a different world, let us say. the world of a School. Only in this case, and only if one possesses the proper qualifications and knowledge of how this gradually happens, can one obtain the right to interfere with someone’s life. I do not know of other situations when such rights might be transferred to anybody
Now let us examine one more popular situation: people in love. What should one do with wives and husbands? Two people fell in love with each other and have decided to be together, but they are from different socio-psychological worlds. Of course, in the first place they themselves and the psychologists with whom they may consult not understanding why their love does not express itself adequately and happily in their lives, they will first of all turn to what? They will turn to the study of their individual compatibility, they will try to explore whether they fit together according to their types, horoscopes, temperaments, i.e. they will explore various problems of the individual compati-bility.
Now let us imagine that everything is perfect, and that according to horoscopes, socionics, and psycho-energy factors everything fits perfectly together. However, things do not work in spite of all that. And it turns out that one can give an adequate explanation to this situation only when he understands the fact that they belong to different socio-psychological worlds. Overcoming this alienation is extremely difficult. The problem is whether their mutual life is possible, and whether they are capable of building a third socio-psychological world, because through a simple mixture of their two worlds nothing could be achieved. They must transcend the limits of their worlds and build on that material a third world or to find that third world together. Otherwise they will be in a permanent struggle. Even if one of them is inclined to be
Part One 25
subordinate to the other and the other person wants to lead, i.e. when one of them does not feel subjugation as violence but, on the contrary, as a relief, the struggle will still continue. It is like putting a tropical plant with its soil and a plant from a northern country with its soil into the same flowerpot. What happens in such a case is any- body’s guess: nobody really knows. The soil is different and the microbes are different, and the climate conditions are different, everything is different, though both plants are birch-trees, for example. That might be a most fitting couple, but what about a pine-tree and a palm-tree?
There is. a unique work of a French psychologist, unfortunately I cannot recall his name, published in the journal “Ame-rica.” He took part in the exploits of Thor Heyerdahl on the rafts “Ra-I” and “Ra-II.” He studied a problem of compatibility in the crew, and he came to a conclusion that in the extreme situation of limited space and in the extreme conditions of human activity practically all differences between people can be transcended: racial, faith, language, and age. All differences but one which he called “cultural horizon.” He considered this barrier unbreakable. I think that the content of this concept coincides with the socio-psychological world.
When we think of “cultural horizons,” we instantly say: “So what? Give those human beings proper opportunity to get education, to read books, to look around, then they will develop and their cultural horizons will match.” I disagree with that. That is all possible but the socio-psychological worlds are incompatible, not because they look differently at the culture. Let us take cultural equals who are equally well read and educated. In the most unexpected situations one will react inadequately from the point of view of the other. This will bring about irritation and indignation:
“You exploded for no reason.”
“What do you mean: ‘for no reason?'”
“You have violated a sacred thing!”
“What sacred thing?”
In his world it is a sacred thing, and in the other’s world it is just nothing. Who is right? Both are, the violation was not de­liberate. Who is right, a Russian who speaks Russian or a Frenchman who speaks French? They speak their languages. Their native languages. Of course, one can learn foreign languages, this will facilitate communication, but in order to study the language of
26 The Art of Living
an alien socio-psychological world much more effort is needed. Sometimes, an unthinkable amount of effort. There are worlds that do not intersect in any place though externally they look like very similar. One of the most widely spread forms of the pathological attitude towards everyday life can be found in this kind of misunderstanding resulting of a lack of understanding, knowledge and correct perception of that aspect of human wholeness.
I believe that this fact creates a foundation for one of the most powerful drives in the spiritual community, namely, a search of a world in which we could all dwell as brothers and sisters, without becoming identical—of a universal world in its relation to all the others worlds. This might be an illusion and it might be impossible because we do not know whether this agrees with human nature. However, there is such a motivation. And it is not a problem of the third participant of a dialogue, it is a life problem. It is a problem that produces the celebrated principle of human relations: “Flies must be kept off of meat.” This principle is necessary when people belonging to different socio-psychological worlds want to do business together. At the same time it becomes a hindrance for a person striving for an integrity, leave alone totality. This separation makes possible mutual activity, and this is a plus. However, the same separation does not allow to integrate one’s own subjective reality outside of one’s own socio-psychological world, and this is a minus. It will be a minus from the point of view of such an objective, i.e. if one thinks of reaching integrity, wholeness. It is a tremendous problem. I believe you all have read about this problem in the sacred texts but did not notice it there It is tremendous because it is a living texture of human life. It is neither a product of imagination nor a social convention, neither a social role nor a defense mechanism—it is personality itself. It is a personality’s soil, air, nourishment, it is his mother’s womb. Hatching out of this womb, leaving it and cutting the navel-string, one ceases to be a human being in a flat sense of this word; one becomes a “no-man.” From that point he is doomed because there is no way back. He won’t be able to hide it even if he wants to. Nobody can hide the world in which he lives and is deeply rooted. It is more then just to hide yourself, because this is the very you, your inseparable part. Only because of the unknown, mysterious influences, some people develop a motive for leaving this world. There is a reason why most of those who have started on the way of discipleship, around the third year of that trail say: “If only I knew
Part One 27
how difficult it is I would never have started.” A majority of them leave around that time. Some leave with gratitude. Others, when leaving, want to discredit their leader; they go away because they feel that a few more steps and the door will shut up and there will be no way back. It is a road with no return. A man who abandoned his socio-psy-chological world has abandoned himself in the common sense of this word. This is not a movement through social strata, as when one moves from the lower stratum up, when a peasant becomes an artist or a manual worker becomes a scholar. It is not a vertical ladder of social ascent which in fact is not vertical.
In my youth I had a good friend, a girl from a family of a head of a state department. I often visited their home. He was a head of a state department, which was an impressive position at that time in our rigidly fixed administrative system. However, he was a homeless child raised in an institution for homeless children. And his wife was also raised in such an institution. He remained a boy from an institution until the time I met him. He never left his socio-psychological world although it has been a tremendous transformation in terms of his social status. However, he remained himself. He learned a new role but never abandoned his soil. He enjoyed his position and had no problems with his employees because he used his administrative power to make others fall under his world. It was an indistinct violence of which he himself was unaware. Imagine a well-bred intellectual from a family that counts three generations of intellectuals, a family with its own rules of behavior, he goes to a reception and finds out that the manners of the people there are rough. So he is forced to adapt his behavior to that style and to participate in those “remarkable” folk conversations.
Human dependence is one thing and the professional, social, and functional dependence, another thing. This human de­pendence forces me to be not myself, to play somebody’s game, to imitate somebody’s socio-psychological world in which values radically differ from my own. What is important in that alien world is of no importance in my world and vice versa. This is not reducible to the mere value structure because the value structure is only a skeleton and my socio-cultural world is my flesh, my breath. it penetrates all the details of behavior, of thinking and dreaming. As soon as a human being becomes spontaneous (and spontaneity is the only state of a human being in which he is alive, i.e. it is a moment of his full self-reali-zation) he instantly discovers his socio-cultural world. It is almost impossible to abandon one’s socio-psychological world. A human being is happy, natural and
28 The Art of Living
spontaneous only inside of this socio-cultural world. Or in a situation in which his socio-psychological world is taken for granted. This is what is to take a person for what he is. And this too is an extremely hard thing. How can one accept a person into his socio-psychological world? In what sense can he be accepted? One can accept him in a given situation and for a very short period of time. Once I have found myself in a company of professional thieves and have spent four hours in their party. I could stay for a few hours in this role, and I have discovered that they have their own dignity, honor, sincerity, kindness, etc. They even invited me to be their partner. One can spend a few hours with bums and professional tramps. I lived two years with sportsmen in comple- te symbiosis. And so on. and so forth. However, I have a cognitive motive, as long as it is not exhausted, as long ) learn something new about this world. I can endure it. when I have a safety-valve, and what if I don’t have this safety-valve? I consider this problem as a much more fundamental then all the problems of personal interaction that have been described in socionics, transaction analysis and group psychology.
Those disciplines deal with the functional layers, those are not the profound levels of human interaction, while man’s belonging to a socio-psychological world, a degree of compatibility of iwo or more socio-psychological worlds that is a profound level of human relations. So far this problem has been solved with one method, method of separating fly’s from cutlet, i.e. through a sacrifice in which you sacrifice that which is for everybody of the utmost importance: one’s integrity. It goes without saying that human being’s integrity can be achieved only within his socio-psychological world. Now, we can understand that all classes and guild organizations of society in the past carried a quite positive psychological content. In the old times aristocrats were aristocrats, merchants were merchants, industrialists were industrialists, and clerks were clerks. And they did not travel in alien socio-psychological worlds because they sensed that this would not take them anywhere. And the ideal of the vertical ascent was feasible only for only a few charismatic persons, and only their children or grandchildren could take real roots in those strata.
Formally, we all belong to an abstract group named “Soviet people.” Nobody knows what those words signify. We are unable to find out. where are our kin, where are those who belong to the same world to which we belong, we do not even know how 10 find
Part One 29
them. Who is from the same regiment? However, only among such people one can have a real feeling of completeness and this could be a marvelous situation in case one does not to go beyond this type of conditioning. Though it is not just a conditioning, it is one’s soil, air. life, nature. And all that has not been brought in from the outside. No. it is an inseparable part, an essential part of ourselves. This is why teaching people the technique of a dialogue is one of the most progressive forms of interaction between people belonging to various socio-psychological worlds. This can be done with a minimal harm for the integrity of everybody and with some mutual gain. I am curious how you live over there and you want to know how do we live over here, and we may live without breaking into each others socio-psychological world. We may work together and interact on the basis of a mutual cognitive interest. This situation can lead to an interaction without violence when one has knowledge regarding the existence of the other and there is a genuine interest without a judgment of who is better, who is above. and who is below. This happens when we agree that it might be this way or that way. On the ground of that interest one can discover a variety of life forms. Human life is not something identical for everybody, its texture contains quite different, wonderfully different, details. Then, if we make effort moving in a marked direction, we shall understand why Buddhist master went to the forest in spite of a danger of having his head cut off. And we will understand why a man, who deliberately murdered twenty nine persons, later became a Buddhist master. And then we will understand why a prostitute named Mary Magdaline later became a saint. They did this on the basis of that knowledge. Without the knowledge of the variety of socio-psychological worlds, and understanding that the socio-psychological world is an inseparable, essential part of an individuality, we cannot understand the paradoxes of the spiritual approach to the world, people and interpersonal relations. And we cannot have a taste of that socio-psychological world in which those contradictions do not destroy the individual and do not exist antagonistically, as well as that God’s world, or the world of Love, in which two things are one thing while remaining two things. This is a celebrated fact from the world of Love. However, it is extremely difficult to live that way. It requires great deal of attention, awareness and genuine interest towards different ways of life. This does not mean that by understanding the rules of your life I have accepted them for my
30 The Art of Living
own life. However, recognizing the rights of every way of life is a real way towards the fulfillment of Christ’s commandment “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“Love thy enemy” is a most mysterious commandment. Only by admitting the rights of absolutely distinct socio-psychologica! worlds as part of the living texture of life can we come near to that. We can do this either rationally or emotionally. To can come close to the real meaning of the commandment: “Love thy enemy.”
Since all of you are professionally or semi-professionally preoccupied with a practical constructive psychology, I think you should constantly remind yourselves of the socio-psycholo-gical worlds and you should start looking at people and human lite from that perspective. You should notice and learn to see those socio-psychological worlds and learn to recognize their right for existence. You should learn to enter into a dialogue with them even if they are very different from you. This, perhaps, is the most important thing in the work of a practical psychologist as well as in any other type of work with people. To leave one’s socio-psychological world is to abandon oneself, one’s own personality, and to be fully transformed from the levels of which we are aware to the levels of which we are not aware. Such levels are also present in a human being because he is alive. And that which is alive, as it is well known, is alive because it contains in itself a mystery. That mystery is intended neither for understanding, nor for awareness, it is there only in order to be preserved.
Q: How can the border lines of a socio-psychologica) world be drawn? There are millions of people and everybody has his socio-psychological world. How could the border lines between these worlds be determined.
I.N.: There are fewer socio-psychological worlds than there are people. They are determined in a simple manner: as soon as you find yourself in an alien socio-psychological world, you immediately begin to see the borders of your own. Take for example the world of the professional homeless people. Some of them have abandoned the world where they have been born, and some of them were born inside of their present world. I talked to a homeless person who, before he became homeless, belonged to a entirely different socio-psychological world. He was a college graduate, an engineer, he used to work as a chief mechanic in a firm, though later he destroyed himself with alcohol, became an alcoholic. Everybody turned away from him including his
Part One 31
family. He was about to perish. However, his fate brought him into a world of professional homeless people and he took roots in that world. He has a personality, a peculiar one, but a personality. He developed all the aspects of a personality, of an integral human being. It is a unique world to which he belongs. I was impressed by his very special perception of space. He and his new comrades perceived the territory their country as a large apartment. They were moving around that territory with a remarkable ease, and they had precise knowledge of when and where to go. They lived in a distinct psychological world with their own value system and their own spontaneous reactions. This is not just a social world, or a social stratum, it is something quite different. We should make this distinction clear for ourselves.
We know that society is made of different strata. There is a stratum of managers. In a theatrical world, once you become a producer in a head theater in one of the Soviet Republics, this makes you a part of that stratum for the rest of your life. And if you are a producer in a regional theater, then you will stay in this world to the end of your life too. Being a producer I know this very well. If you are a producer of a town theater, then in order to move from the world of the town theaters into a world of regional theaters, one has to sacrifice the achieved status in the town theater. It is a different story. Here we deal not with a socio-psychological world, but with a social stratum. And we are discussing the world in which a human being dwells psychologically in most cases not being aware of it. As a rule one thinks that everybody lives the way he lives and that any sharp deviation from that way of life is abnormal. We want to belong to the largest “We.” Therefore, we want that everybody lives like “Us” or at least similarly. Subconsciously we are convinced that all people, though some are more and some are less secure materially and morally, all love, hate, quarrel, lie. etc. in a similar way. However, this is not the case. People tell lies differently depending on their socio-psychological world. And they tell truth also differently. And they love differently. And they deceive differently. And they make friends differently. However, in every socio-psychological world there is friendship, kindness, and a code of honor, though they are sometimes extremely different from each other.
Here is a real story that happened to me. Once I found myself in an absolutely alien town named Salsk, brought there by the complex circumstances of my life. I spent all day on business and in the
32 The Art of Living
evening I went to a restaurant across the street from my hotel. I did not know what everybody in town knew, namely, that this was a “spot” of a local gang. Everybody was avoiding that place and I found myself in the “spot.” I was fortunate that I am an actor and that I have the necessary experience. I pretended that I was a tough guy from a big city who, due to unfortunate circumstances, had come to that God forsaken place. I behaved properly and they took me for a person from their world. They asked me who I was and I said I was a producer. Then they asked me if that was my nickname and I said yes. In their socio-psychological world they have a way of testing people by fright. I knew this and 1 passed the test. As soon as they determined that I was an insider, they interpreted everything in their own way. Whatever I said they translated into their own language. So we were sitting in Salsk, drinking vodka. They told me what an awful place the town was, and asked me why I was there and what my plans were. I told them that I was looking for a job. And they said that there were no jobs in town. I said that I had no luck and that I would get out of there the next day. Then their chief said to me that I was O.K. and that he liked me. He said that they had a plan to rob some place and that they would take me into a partnership Do you realize what was it for them to make me such an offer? It was like sharing with me cash. They took me into a share. Simple like that. Can you appreciate the full measure of their dignity and kindness? I could not make them take more than ten rubles from me to foot the bill for our dinner, even though my share was over thirty rubles. And all this has happened inside of their world.
Now let us look at this situation from outside. When I came to my hotel I told them what happened to me. They said that I was lucky to get out of that place alive. I asked them to wake me up in the morning for the first bus, and I collapsed in my room. They woke me up at 5 A.M. for the first bus that took me away from that town and I saved my skin. Can you imagine what would have happened to me if I did not take part in the planned robbery? They would have treated me as a spy and you know what they do with spies. Every world has its own rules that determine what one may and what one may not do, and what should or should not be. Look, for instance, at the word “corruption” from that perspective. By the way, it is a remarkable concept. You can see that almost everything can be treated as “corruption” or as “non-corruption.” All depends on the socio-psychological world from which you look at this word. From a set of twenty to thirty socio-psychological worlds, which I
Part One 33
have practically studied, some would consider a certain act, taken from literature, as corruption and others, as non-cor-ruption. And this is true with everything. In some socio-psy-chological worlds ••friendship” is an equivalent to what in my own socio-psychological world is “fight.” There are kindred and there are alien socio-psychological worlds, and those worlds are not necessarily situated in the same social stratum. They do not depend on a person’s social status. The same world can include people from both the top and the bottom of society. There are worlds in which one can find representatives of the most distinct social strata, nevertheless, it is one and the same socio-psychological world, and this world determines so much in a human being that it is not possible to separate him from his world.
Our lives are much more typical then we all think, though we might be offended by this idea. Once Gurdjieff said: “We all are really different, but different in a different way.” To find our true uniqueness is extremely difficult, and you might wonder if it is worthwhile to search for it. I assure you that after you find what it is that makes you so unique, you will not experience much happiness. As soon as you discover it, this discovery will increase your loneliness. There, where you are really unique, you are alone. You will search all your life for a person with the same uniqueness. For a human being there is no punishment more painful then isolation. And that isolation is not necessarily a physical isolation, it can be also a psychological, a cognitive one. Imagine a scientist whom only three persons in the entire world can understand. The first one of those three lives in New Zealand, the second one. in Russia, and the third one, in the United States, and he is from Cambridge. Only those four can understand each other in the entire world and nobody else. Can you imagine how important their contacts are for them. The people of the “work,” who professionally belong to a spiritual community and who do that “work” professionally relate to each other in a similar way . When we meet, you could not imagine what a happiness it brings! No matter to what tradition we belong. We can communicate with one another there are so few of us around! Therefore, you should think before discovering your uniqueness, whether it is worthwhile to learn about your uniqueness? Still you are not protected from learning that from somebody, it can happen accidentally or on purpose. We live in this ambiguity: on the one hand, we want to discover, to manifest our uniqueness, but, on
34 Tfte Art of Living
the other hand, God forbid! Or think about discovering your real socio-psychological world. What if nobody from that world is around? It is being said that man dreads to know himself more then anything else in the world; it is an instinctive self-defense mechanism. To know oneself, to discover one’s uniqueness is to increase one’s loneliness.
Q: What conditions this self-defense?
I.N.: It is activated by the mechanism of self-protection.
Q: How is it manifesting itself?
I.N.: Through society. Man is “made of people.” Singles as a rule do not produce children.
Q: Can one abandon one’s socio-psychological world without being socially integral?
I.N.: You can abandon that what you have. If you do not know your socio-psychological world, how can you abandon it? When you have no money, it is easy to say that you do not need them, but when you do have money, that is a different story What does it mean that I possess my own world? It means that I am there not unconsciously, but I consciously know where I am from, where are my roots, my soil, my air.
Q: How to achieve this awareness?
I.N.: On the one hand, the shortest way is to do it by traveling through various socio-psychological worlds. By doing so you gradually learn where are you from. On the other hand, by accumulating knowledge, one can do it through self-reflection, though this way requires a great courage since he may find out that he is not exactly from a place where he thought he is. It is the same situation. Man wants to know the truth about himself and simultaneously he does not want to know it. Otherwise all psychologists would be geniuses, though there are only a few geniuses in the history of psychology. One needs an immense boldness in order to strive for truth in psychology. Because lear­ning something about people, you instantly learn the sarm- thing about yourself.
Q: You say that in the human being something wants to know and something does not want to know. Howewer, it is not the same thing: that what wants and that what does not want.
I.N.: You know there is an old saying: “That what searches in us is that what we search.” This is a spiritual longing. I have a remarkable friend. From time to time he disappears, then he reappears and says: “During the time of my absence I have thought
Part One 35
il over and I have decided: spirituality is fiction. One should do business, make money, live normally like people do.” Then he says: “However, I feel some strange spiritual longing and I came to you for help once again. You understand?” He is a remarkable man because he can see it, he can see these and other things too, that which does not want in him and that which wants. He is not hiding from that struggle and does not imitate its external circumstances. He can already see what it is inside of him, and this is very important.
Q: What does he want and what does he not want?
I.N.: He wants to grow up and he wants to be eternally a child. Why we are missing so much our childhood? Because it is free. Love is tree in our childhood. We are given everything and we are not responsible for anything. And now imagine that you hatched out of that egg, and you are left one to one with the world. What is the tytle of that my book? One to One with the World. Now .we must be responsible for everything and there is no “We.” I have three friends who have done this. Once we stood on the balcony with one of those friends, smoking cigarettes. And one of us said: “Look, we have worked and studied for twenty years. We have reached what we wanted to reach, and where are we now?” We simultaneously have pronounced the same phrase using the same words. We said: “Life is a strange business.” This is where we are, and this is much harder than that which was before. As long as you move everything is clear: “The goal is there. I am here, and there is the road.” And when one reaches the goal, when the goal is achieved, you cannot invent another goal, because to create a goal you have to have a certain amount of illusions. Then only a strange thing remains: to live. The last words of my master was: “One should live.” And that is the hardest. Because nothing works automatically except for biological requirements of the body. Those requirements can. in principle, be suppressed. You also know that at any moment you can turn on the program of self-distraction and then quite naturally die. This is in your power and it stimulates you well. That is a different life. I never am lazy to explain to anyone that this is neither to the better nor to the worst, neither higher nor lower, it is a different way of existence in the world. It means to dwell in the world alone, not in the sense that you are in a hermitage, in a cave, but in the sense that you are alone, one to one with the world. I went through the process of birth three times. What was in theory I have put into practice. And you
34 The Art of Living
the other hand, God forbid! Or think about discovering your real socio-psychological world. What if nobody from that world is around? It is being said that man dreads to know himself more then anything else in the world; it is an instinctive self-defense mechanism. To know oneself, to discover one’s uniqueness is to increase one’s loneliness.
Q: What conditions this self-defense?
I.N.: It is activated by the mechanism of self-protection.
Q: How is it manifesting itself?
I.N.: Through society. Man is “made of people.” Singles as a rule do not produce children.
Q: Can one abandon one’s socio-psychological world without being socially integral?
I.N.: You can abandon that what you have. If you do not know your socio-psychological world, how can you abandon it? When you have no money, it is easy to say that you do not need them, but when you do have money, that is a different story What does it mean that I possess my own world? It means that I am there not unconsciously, but I consciously know where I am from, where are my roots, my soil, my air.
Q: How to achieve this awareness?
I.N.: On the one hand, the shortest way is to do it by traveling through various socio-psychoiogical worlds. By doing so you gradually learn where are you from. On the other hand, by accumulating knowledge, one can do it through self-reflection, though this way requires a great courage since he may find out that he is not exactly from a place where he thought he is. It is the same situation. Man wants to know the truth about himself and simultaneously he does not want to know it. Otherwise all psychologists would be geniuses, though there are only a few geniuses in the history of psychology. One needs an immense boldness in order to strive for truth in psychology. Because lear­ning something about people, you instantly learn the same thing about yourself.
Q: You say that in the human being something wants to know and something does not want to know. Howewer, it is not the same thing: that what wants and that what does not want.
I.N.: You know there is an old saying: “That what searches in us is that what we search.” This is a spiritual longing. I have a remarkable friend. From time to time he disappears, then he reappears and says: “During the time of my absence I have thought
Pan One 35
il over and I have decided: spirituality is fiction. One should do business, make money, live normally like people do.” Then he says: “However, I feel some strange spiritual longing and I came to you for help once again. You understand?” He is a remarkable man because he can see it, he can see these and other things too, that which does not want in him and that which wants. He is not hiding from that struggle and does not imitate its external circumstances. He can already see what it is inside of him, and this is very important.
Q: What does he want and what does he not want?
I.N.: He wants to grow up and he wants to be eternally a child. Why we are missing so much our childhood? Because it is free. Love is free in our childhood. We are given everything and we are not responsible for anything. And now imagine that you hatched out of that egg, and you are left one to one with the world. What is the tytle of that my book? One to One with the World. Now .we must be responsible for everything and there is no “We.” I have three friends who have done this. Once we stood on the balcony with one of those friends, smoking cigarettes. And one of us said: “Look, we have worked and studied for twenty years. We have reached what we wanted to reach, and where are we now?” We simultaneously have pronounced the same phrase using the same words. We said: “Life is a strange business.” This is where we are, and this is much harder than that which was before. As long as you move everything is clear: “The goal is there. I am here, and there is the road.” And when one reaches the goal, when the goal is achieved, you cannot invent another goal, because to create a goal you have to have a certain amount of illusions. Then only a strange thing remains: to live. The last words of my master was: “One should live.” And that is the hardest. Because nothing works automatically except for biological requirements of the body. Those requirements can. in principle, be suppressed. You also know that at any moment you can turn on the program of self-distraction and then quite naturally die. This is in your power and it stimulates you well. 1 hat is a different life. I never am lazy to explain to anyone that this is neither to the better nor to the worst, neither higher nor lower, it is a different way of existence in the world. It means to dwell in the world alone, not in the sense that you are in a hermitage, in a cave, but in the sense that you are alone, one to one with the world. I went through the process of birth three times. What was in theory I have put into practice. And you
36 The Art of Living
know, those who know me for a long time, they began noticing that I gradually stopped promoting this life. While I progressed, the information that I have been giving out, had this slight flavor of promotion. All that information has been aimed at convincing the others. Now, I have acquired an air of warning, as if I want to say, “think whether it is worthwhile.” When I ended my own spiritual journey, my voice has acquired this tone of warning, though I am not sorry for anything. Only now, after all those years have passed, I began to see those things which get clear after one’s journey has ended. I talk from the position of the one whose journey has ended. From this point everything takes a completely different shape. I know many people who do all they can in order never to come to the end. They postpone everything and they put it up into the next life, into the next incarnation or subconsciously break something in order not to get to the end. It is not by my merit that I reached the end. It was a combination of inner and outer circumstances that [ had this longing, and that the reflex of a researcher overcame the orientation reflex in me I was born this way. However. I have reached the end of my journey and perhaps because of that I talk differently.
I.N.: Who was happy when Christ has been crucified according to the will of his Father9
Q: Were Jews happy?
I.N.: Father had a holiday because His Son was able to accomplish his task. Remember his prayer: “Let this cap pass me by. but let it be Thy will and not my will.” What Jewish people have to do with this? Father wanted this! And Son went to except and to fulfill it! Ladies and gentlemen, believers in God! God wanted that! Father made a holiday and this holiday is still going on. You go to the Cathedral of St. Sophia and look at the original frescos where they have been restored. You will see how they gradually managed to change a holiday into gloom, sadness and suffering. Do you know why the Great Prince Vladimir has chosen for Russia the Orthodox Christian faith? Because it was joyous and beautiful, because of its festive character!
Who’s holiday was it when Buddha left his body? Ananda’s and all the disciple’s, because in the last days Ananda had finally received the enlightenment. And Buddha’s too, because he could finally depart.
If even death can be a holiday, what should one say about life? Is not the greatest pathology of everyday life this quasi-
Part One 37
ordinary quality of life which deprives us of the most important thing for the sake of which we came to this world—the joy of existence? What for have we abandoned it? Who took it away from us? “Cogito. ergo sum.” Actually one should say: “I think therefore I may not exist.” It can be interpreted this way. One may ask: “Who has stolen my emotions? Who took away my vitality? Who took away the joy of existence?” An anonymous creature named “our civilization?” An incognito named “the circumstances?” And if it has been stolen by an incognito, then why we should not take it back? Especially since anyway there is no master for .that which has been stolen. Nothing can get in our way — neither Soviet regime nor any other rule, neither poverty nor richness, neither knowledge nor its absence. Let us enjoy this life. This does not mean that everything in our life will be perfect, that you would be exempt of suffering, torment, sadness—-no, you will be not. However, it would mean that this entire building entitled “life” will have a foundation named “the joy of existence.” And now we live without any foundation. Sometimes we are asked: “What is life?” An experience in a dialogue? Some people answer this question with a joke: “Life is protein’s existence in a shit.” Life is a non-stable, open, self-destructive system.
There was a remarkable generation of psychologists and philosophers, such as Fromm, Frankl, Maslow, who went through the horror of the twentieth century and who have shared with humanity a common but a remarkable truth: “Life’s meaning is in life itself.” Life contains that meaning itself. The Word about the Word, addressed to the Word. And if that has been lost, then there are no other meanings. Then life is a fight. A battle. A straggle for harvest, for a place under the sun, for a career, for power, for knowledge.
There is a wonderful book by an African writer. It tells about the healers who began regressing into the competitors and destroyer of other healers. This is a beautiful symbol of modern life: universal competition. All people are divided into winners, losers and judges. Remember. I used to say for many years: “Think! Why so many people are playing chess but the world champion is one person?” Finally, last year or one before the last I answered this question because nobody could. It is so because the idea of our civilization is competition! There must be only one winner. He will have his monument being erected during his
38 The Art of Living
lifetime. An we will model our lives after him. If this is nol right, then according to whom should we model our lives? According to ourselves. I have mentioned a holiday and this made me slightly moody. Yes, I myself have been caught into a trap of seriousness, pseudo-seriousness. I am too a child of this civilization, I was it. If it were not the School, I would continue to think that the most important thing is to be bright and to have plenty of knowledge. And I would sell myself out the way many remarkable people do. Simply sell out.
If there is a Devil then that Devil is knowledge. People exchange knowledge for love, friendship, ideals, honesty, dignity, and even for their soul. They mortify their soul. They give away everything. Nobody dies any more for love. Nobody gets mad because of passion.
Have you been in a madhouse? I visited it for man> years because my brother was ill. I listened to what they were talking about, what were their interests. They do not talk about love, passion, excitement. They discuss knowledge and power, because power is also a symbol of knowledge. So remember that in our world the greatest Devil is knowledge. I do not promote ignorance. I suggest that which Nicolas from Cuza* has been suggesting, namely, the learned absence of knowledge. That which Socrates has been preaching. And they have lived in the time when the world of emotions had an equal value with the world of knowledge. What a holiday in the psychologically empty world of knowledge! Please explain this to me in the emptiness, empty as the emptiness! The highest knowledge in all serious spiritual traditions is an empty room with mirror walls. It is a symbol of the highest, of the absolute knowledge.
I don’t know anything, I just can make an empty room. And that is why at any moment of time I know everything what it is needed for this moment of time. “I know” in that sense in which we got accustomed to know. I like to read, to digest information, I like knowledge, but the principle, the symbol of the heights knowledge, absolute knowledge is emptiness. The world of knowledge is empty from the psychological point of view. Try to get in it and to stay there. Did you try? I did. All of us want to have a holiday, we say
that we want. We miss it but first of all we have no time. A

* Nikolas of Cuza (1401 —1464), a theologian and philosopher of the early Renaissance. The author of The Pursuit of Truth, The Realm of Faith, etc.
Part One 39
remarkable book by Erich Fromm Running from Freedom speaks of a tremendous thirst for work that is being suggested to a human being by the Lutheran. Protestant version of Catholicism. Do you know how many holidays they had in the Middle Age, in the so called Dark Age? The holidays in which everybody took part? No less then one month of holidays! They remembered everything at that time, while we and the Americans have two holidays of that kind per annum. On the other hand, one can go to a stadium in order to hit somebody with a bottle at the head.
We often speak of the uncontrolled, unmotivated aggression. Of course you get the aggression, if, when one is an infant, he is taught and instructed to give up emotions. We do not allow children to laugh, to cry, to have fun. We make robots out of children. You see a little child in the street and he is already a robot. Is this not awful! He is a Zombie. Here they are. Zombies. We are Zombies ourselves. Neither KGB nor CIA will do to us what we will do to ourselves.
One enjoys holidays but they might by frightening too. Though with the booze it should go smoothly. And without it? No it would not work without. And each time we need more and more of the alcohol. Master taught us to burn it in ourselves. Fifty percent of those who have learned this are simply alcoholics. Twenty-five per cent are sober. They have learned something. And they teach others with the similar results. Sometimes the results are even lower.
So we cannot live without knowledge. However knowledge has to have a practical orientation. It must have a volume. Otherwise it will happen exactly like in case of Ramacharaka who wrote on meditation. We sit in our room in order to meditate. However. Ramacharaka has been writing of a meditation in the outdoors and under the supervision of an experienced instructor. Therefore this meditation does not work for us. What can we do? We are surrounded by radio-waves, leave alone radiation, chemistry, emancipation. Our heads are jammed with information that has been pushed there nobody knows what for. As a result, uncontrolled material gets from our subconscious into consciousness. Though spontaneity is, of course, a good thing but one must also have food. However, we were not taught the right way of eating either. Therefore we have zero energy. Both the holiday and spontaneity require a tremendous amount of free emotional energy.
40 The Art of Living
The ancients used to say: “One should not ignore wealth that can serve as a fertilizer for one’s spiritual growth.” One should remember that experiencing a holiday is a productive waste of energy. The more you deposit the more you get back. In the realm of inner experiences this rule works 100 percent without failure.

(A funny chapter)
What does it mean to be spontaneous? It means that I do what I want to at a given moment. And nothing else. If you read Illusions, the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, a wonderful book by Richard Bach*, you will see that it is all based on that. Properly speaking, the only thing one must learn seriously is spontaneity. One should let oneself to be spontaneous. This is what attracts us in little children under five provided, of course, that they are living in a more or less normal situation. We are attracted precisely by the spontaneity of their behavior and the ultimate spontaneity of their every act. And when we grow up. we consciously come to the idea that spontaneous behavior is the only behavior that can straighten one’s self-esteem and self-realization. We try to behave spontaneously but in most cases we fail. And this is where pathology begins. In the strict sense of the word, any distortion of spontaneity is pathology. It is psycho-pathology. We have agreed on that and I remind you once again, since I know it, that to remember and to be attentive is the hardest functions to be performed in this body. I would also like to remind you that we use the notion of psycho-pathology in the context of “psycho-pathology of ordinary life.” i.e.. not in the medical sense of the word but in that sense, which hampers one’s full-bodied self-realization and sensation of oneself as a subject and a self-sufficient individuality.
Now you see me and you are listening to me. Well, what can you be afraid of? Let each of you examine himself inside

* Richard Bach, an American writer, author of the following books: Seagalf named Johnathan Livingstone, Illusions. The Only One. Bridge Across the Eternity, etc.
Part One 41
and outside. Who here is free and spontaneous? What kind of fear do you experience? Where has it come from? You should blame your parents for that fear because it is exactly your parents who explained to you what behavior is good and what is bad. They punished and encouraged you. It was the same in kindergarten, at school and so on. And each of us knows or suspects that, generally speaking, he is not what he is supposed to be.
And since he is not quite what he is supposed to be, or he is not of that kind at all, he should look after himself. Many parents use this favorite expression: “You should look after yourself. Why do you not look after yourself?” And what is “to look after oneself?” It means to allow in oneself an overseer, or an inspector, you may call him what you wish, that will be watching all the time how one behaves, sits, gesticulates, moves and so on and so forth.
When can one be occupied with something other than himself?
What comes out of this? Two people meet. They are longing for lively human contact and profound mutual understanding. One of them is trying to guess how the other person wants him to behave. The other one is also anxious to guess the same thing. One of them sees, “His behavior is wrong.” The other person is looking at the first one, “Something is wrong with his behavior …” Do you understand?
You ask me, “What should I do?”
You are either to jump into the water and swim or continue walking on the shore thinking, “Is it proper for me to swim? Is it a proper place? What will people say? Why did I jump into the water? Am I swimming in style?” Do we realize that the most of our prohibitions are outdated and concern children but not us?
Do we realize that most people are perfectly indifferent to the way we behave? It is so because in reality everybody is preoccupied with himself and his own fears. If we realize that, then it would be easy to understand that our wishes are as common as the wishes of other people.
One may be spontaneous and that will not result in punishment. Nobody will deprive you of your cake and lock you up at home. You will be allowed to go for a walk in the street or to the cinema if you wish.
This fear is a tremendous source of ordinary life’s pathology. To this pyramid of childish fears the speculative conceptions of a more advanced age are being added. Once you gaze at that pyramid attentively, calmly and maturely, it begins falling apart by itself.
42 The Art of Living
Some of you may wish to fall asleep now and in this place. Go ahead, sleep. The subject can be grasped even better in the state of semi-drowsiness. In that state your speculations are turned off, and are not in control any more, they do not ask: “What does he say? Can it be true? How shall I understand all that?”
We face a great problem because we were taught to behave. And we immediately want to reprove a free man’s behavior. At the same time we want to behave the way he does, but we are afraid because he is a hooligan, an imprudent and ill-bred person. The relaxed manners of foreigners that cause our admiration are far from being spontaneous. From our point of view, they are free because they live in a democratic society. However spontaneity over there is a problem of the same kind as it is here. Were it not so, then thousands of people would not be driven into stadiums to yell and scream under the pretense of listening to music.
The increase in neuroticism is a tremendous problem of the modern city. The latest research data of American psychologists show that with all the differences in their life-style and behavior, they have the same level of neuroticism. This problem comes from the infringement of the emotional and sensual realms. The Japanese have begun to create recreational parks for adults in which they can allow themselves a maximum of spontaneity: they can shout, roll in mud, run along the path, compete, and fight. They find this really beneficial for people’s personal lives, as well as for business. We are subordinated by various conventions and rigidly control our own behavior, and we spend a tremendous amount of energy on that control because we are afraid of punishment. Because of his fear, man stops trusting his own emotions and he cannot free himself from self-control and cannot be spontaneous even when he is at home.
This infringement of the emotional and sensual aspects of life lowers our vigor. It brings up a curious paradox: grandmo-thers are more energetic than grandchildren. Sometimes we look at a grandmother and get delighted by her cheerfulness, activity and energy, and when we look at a grandson we think: here is an old man.
Americans need spontaneity in order to want everything and not to be attached to anything. We need spontaneity in order to get a real desire for something. Where have you seen really obsessed people in our time? Or have you seen many falling in love with God? Where are modern Leilas and Medzhnuns? When Leila is saying: “I will now put an end to my life, this message will reach him and he will put an end to his life, and we will be happy.”
Part One 43
We are reading books that were written for entirely different human beings whose emotional world was much larger and stronger than their rational world. Until the seventeenth century there was no society on Earth where discourse would prevail over feeling. That kind of society did not exist! Therefore those thinkers who were capable of putting their emotions into logical formula, such as Lao-tzu, are astonishing us up to now. “Great Square, he said, does not have angles!” So why is it praised so much? Or: “He who goes ahead of me goes behind me?” What is this? What would Decartes say to Lao-tzu on that matter? After all, this is an expression of emotions, not of thoughts.
It is said that Euclid invented geometry. He did not invent anything. He lived in an emotional world illuminated by a few sparks of rationality. We, on the other hand, have lived for three hundred years in a world of rationality illuminated by a few sparks of emotions. Why do we jump at this Zen, at this Buddhism, at Sufism, at Hassidism and at all the other “isms” and exotic traditions? We like them just because we are looking for the world of emotions, the lost Paradise. However, when we adopt a tradition, what do we do with it? We explain these traditions the way we explain thing which we can understand. That is why we get Tai-Chi from Nizhnyi Novgorod, Buddhism from Ivanovo-Franko. Yoga from Kiev. This happens because we rely upon reason, speculation, and rational conventions which became irrational, because their origin is hidden in the darkness of the subconscious. Why is it forbidden to laugh in the street? Who will explain this to me0 Everybody knows that this is indecent. And now who will explain to me why is it indecent?
Nobody can explain why. I often burst out in laughter. You may think I am mad. And they all instruct me: “Of course, you are the Master but you are among people and I am walking next to you. What will they think of me?” I stop laughing and begin talking loudly in an emotional manner: “What is going on? People are perishing! The population is getting neurotic!” “Yes, you are the Master. Of course, I am your disciple, but do not do this please!” “I am your disciple, of course, but do it when nobody can see us!” Is this not pathology? What is wrong in laughing in the street? Who is harmed by it? Do you think it will violate the traffic rules or create the danger of an accident? No. However, everybody knows: laughter is a disorder. In the theater or in the movies, when I am amused I laugh! And everyone stops watching the movie, and
44 The Art of Living
becomes disinterested in what is going on in it. They are concerned with the question: “Why does somebody allow himself to burst out in laughter?!”
You know if we would erect monuments to somebody on every street corner, those should be monuments to Decartes. Through all of Europe. And in America too. In every intersection. He is the leader of our civilization. Who said—Lenin? Lenin was a passionate farm worker, he was badly brought up, and he often used bad language. When he called Hegel an imperialistic scum, he underlined it twice in his note book and wrote three exclamation marks! Now Decartes… Cogito ergo sum. One may smile but he should not show his teeth. “‘Why not? Have you got ugly teeth?” “No. my teeth are O.K. but it is not the way it should be done.” “I have bad teeth but I smile anyway.”
We are laughing now with such ease, but I will see how you laugh in front of people when you go out from here. You see. if you do not possess normal full-bodied emotions, if your spontaneity is in limbo then, excuse me, then even while making love with a beloved one: cogito ergo sum—excuse me once again. That is the meaning of the saying: “The Truth, like a wife, we love in darkness.” We do it in darkness so that nobody can see us. The Japanese solved this problem with the help of huge recreational parks for adults. And the grown-ups watch cartoons for children.
Where are the last resources of spontaneity? There are no more resources. We are pumping the last drops. So how can one learn to be creative? There is no way. Then we say: all right, there is no need to possess such spontaneity. There are those whose spontaneous behavior will be different. So let it be different!
Now look at reason and emotions. We have already figured out that we all have different rational capacities. Let us now realize that we are also different emotionally! We need not pretend that we are always restrained and well brought up. You know what the rate of psychological impotence is? Seventy percent. And what are the statistics for Sweden? Eighty two percent. And what is the rates for psychological frigidity? In Lithuania, fifty-five percent and in Sweden, sixty to sixty-five percent. And why is it so high? Because both at home and at work our life is restricted by conventions. The outcome is terrifying. It is a global catastrophe. And as a result we have a decline in culture and in the arts. This is because both culture and the arts have their roots in the world of emotions. However nobody said: “I experience emotions, therefore I exist.”
Part One 45
All right. Buddha made some allusions to that point but this was long-long ago. And Decartes or, speaking in a more precise way. our image of Decartes, is our man
On the surface this looks like a simple thing to understand. However I could fully grasp it only after I had worked for two years in the clinic for the victims of Chernobyl. In that clinic I have learned that the reticular formation has an intimate relationship with the part of the brain that is in charge of our emotional sphere. And the first distortion experienced by those who worked in Chernobyl cleaning up after the accident, was the distortion of the emotional and sensual spheres, of the world of emotional experiences. Emotional experiences, as we know, are the basic source of knowledge. Only the emotions can retain the integrity of the attitude, the spatial integrity of consciousness, the integrity of our subjective reality as such in spite of the incompleteness, fragmentation, duality and differentiation of our constructive logical activity.
Now look around and notice how the world gets simplified. There are fewer and fewer people enjoying themselves, say, in the sharing of feelings inspired by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. And there are more people enjoying themselves in sharing the emotions of something like that: “O my blue-eyed little girl!” The impoverishment of the emotional and sensual spheres is the reason for neurosis. This impoverishment manifests itself in lesser and lesser spontaneity of behavior. And this decrease of spontaneity brings about still another result: human being as a subject less and less realizes his own value. The value of the very fact of life goes down. He desperately attempts to hold on to the external features of life, such as social status, prestige, image, “social wrapping,” in order to prove to himself his functional and social value. Some are lucky having very expensive, pretty “wrapping,” others have no luck. However the human being’is still alive. If you want somehow to help yourself in this matter, if you really want to help others, if you want to achieve a maximum of efficiency in learning the method of mastering control over differentiated functional states of consciousness… Well, cunning people would call it something like “Controlled Meditational, Transcendental, Vital. Astral, Mental, etc.” Let us think of some sly pretty trade mark name! Let us re-wrap it so that it would be more attractive! Let us wrap it in something expensive! And let us link the control of this method with the problem of spontaneity, and of the revitalization
46 The Art of Living
and reanimation of our emotions, but not emotionalizing! Notice that today emotions are often interpreted as a kind of hysteria. What we call “emotions” would put a professional psychologist into a melancholic frame of mind. Attending a theater, watching a movie, or listening to that kind of music one would think: where can one get so many doctors in order to cure all those people from neurosis and hysteria?
Then one visits a doctor. Those doctors, who are older then I, are still tolerable, but those, who are younger, are themselves in trouble. I remember a young colleague in our clinic who used to burst into tears over the way things were. When I came to the clinic there were three of us in the department: two doctors-interns, a young lady and a young man, and I had a very remote, to say the least, relation to medicine. For two months there were only three of us. And there were fifty patients. We had not a single complaint. And throughout these two months Natasha had been constantly crying while the two of us continued to work. Our patients were only men. So I suggest that you, who are present here, plunge into this problem using all available means because one has little to say here and a lot to do. I do not know how it is with you but I still find myself at times losing touch with spontaneity.
“And we don’t?” (Laughter among the audience).
I.N.: The important thing is not the words but what really takes place here. In general, a promotion of the healthy lifestyle. You may ask. “what kind of a promotion?” Here it is: If you feel like laughing, go ahead and laugh. If you feel like sobbing, sob. If you feel like sitting backwards in your chairs, do so! If you do not harm anybody in a direct sense of this word, then you may do anything you want. This is what a healthy lifestyle means. Do you know why I have been attracting many tough high executives and business people? They would treat me to good food and would talk to me this way: “Hey Igor, tell me how old are you?” I would say: “Forty eight.” “And how is it that you are in such good shape?” they would ask. And I would say: “I simply laugh when I feel like laughing and 1 cry when I feel like crying. That’s all.” Do you follow me? That is why I can endure three days of psychological stress and he cannot because he is over-controlled. This is why I find interest in life and he doesn’t. You see. the sun is still shining for me and for him it is not. And this is the main advantage of the method of differentiated functional states. One needs understanding so that he can extend his sphere of emotions.
Part One 47
There is a need for increasing spontaneity in your behavior and in the open emotionalizing that leads to the extension of the range of your experience. That is indeed a healthy lifestyle!
We have examined today another source of “psycho-patho­logy of everyday life.” The cause is the infringement of the sphere of emotions during the last three or four hundred years of development of our civilization, the dominance of conventional behavior that stays in the way of a human being’s spontaneous and meaningful self-expression. One can see the consequences of that even when, forgive me for being indecent, one locks himself up in a little room in .order to empty his belly. Try this out for yourself. Even there you are not free.
We are not spontaneous not only when we are facing the world or conversing with our friends on the spiritual matters but even when alone. This is why it is so difficult to understand what the spiritual impulse means, what is a moment of truth, what is resonance. I have heard so much, even from my closest disciples, about what these things mean to them, that if I tried to restrain my laughter each time I would have exploded from all of these stories.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, can one move on the spiritual path in a mini-skirt?
I.N.: A mini-skirt is very convenient. Moving on a spiritual path in a mini-skirt—that is wonderful! And you know how comfortable one is without pants! I remember I worked in Vilna in a summer camp. I didn’t put on my pants for two months. I worked in a swimming suit. I worked liked a tiger. Spontaneous!
At times it makes sense to grip oneself by the hair and pull oneself out the swamp, and at other times shocking behavior is fully suitable if you know why you do it and understand that this is a temporary measure. Later you will find the needed proportions. You will see that often there is a good reason even in shocking behavior. I have a recollection of which I am proud. I was the son of a Public Procurator of the Railroads, and my friend was the son of a university professor and a head librarian. And what did we do? We stole flowers. We stole not from private people, but from the State. We crawled on Lenin Plaza and cut roses with scissors. We stole fifty-six roses; I vividly remember the number! At that time Lenin’s statue was facing KGB headquarters while his hand was pointing at the conservatory, it is not standing over there any longer, and the place was swarming with militia­men and KGB-men. The purpose of this act was to enter a local
48 The Art of Living
disco the next day, and in a pause between dances, when the boys were standing at one side and the girls at the other side, to throw those roses at the feet of a good person. And what is interesting: nobody reproached me for this, not even alluded to it. Neither children, nor teachers during my school years or later, when I had transferred to an evening school, none reproached me for this act or even hinted to it. Now I know when I became a psychologist, it was on that day. I realized that I can do something out of the way and with no effort on my side and not a single person will ever say a word to me.
This happened when I was in the eighth grade of a privileged Eighth secondary school in Vilna. And later, when I attended the anniversary gatherings of graduated students, when I met teachers, classmates—neither the next day, nor ten years later nobody reminded me of that situation. And what had I actually done? Imagine it. My friend Yurka opened the door with a foot. I entered with a huge bunch of roses, nobody knew that I had cut them on Lenin Plaza. I approached her, not even a beloved one, a friend, whom I had offended without any intention of harming her. And she was a handicapped person, you see, I only wanted to ask for forgiveness, and I decided to ask in such a way. I went through the hall, said “Please excuse me.” threw the flowers, turned around and left. Everybody stood and looked dead silent. That was psychology! My friend and I had put our fathers and their careers at risk. Those who only by a miracle had survived the years of Stalin’s terror. And we put ourselves at risk. What for? For the sake of those fifty-six roses?
What for? I ask myself now. For the sake of a sensation of freedom. We wanted that sensation and so we stole the flowers. Perhaps that’s why we had a little less fear in us, a little less of the basic social fear, than other children of our age had. You know, perhaps we had done it because of a misconception regarding the position of our parents. We thought that it would not hurt them. We were so naive! Of course, it was shocking behavior. It was an absolutely silly risk from the rational, but not from the emotional point of view. You see, we were brought up in our former state, and in our whole civilization, as warriors. We looked at everything from the perspective of a fight. We fought with nature and took control over it. However we simply forget the words of my
Part One 49
not very favorite writer Alexey Maximovich Gorky*: “A human being is created for happiness like a bird for flight.'” It is our distinctive feature. And what did we do with the festivity? Why is everybody so worried? Why did they teach us to be so serious about everything? Moreover, they convinced us that this attitude is a serious one. And that was a lie! A maniacal state is not a state of seriousness and the excitement of drugs is not a happy and relaxed state. We have lost the feeling of a partnership even with ourselves. I always say, “if a man is not happy because he is alive what can he be happy about?”
The state of festivity is possible only under one condition: it is next to you. it does not require something special. You must admit that you are of value in and of yourself, and that you are self-content and independent of any presumed circumstances. You are of value in and of yourself because you are in a human body, because you are alive. Because you want or don’t want. You can think if you want to and don’t have to think if you don’t want to. You are a human being. An image of humanity. And you are surrounded by human beings. That is great luck! Let us rejoice, my fellow human beings!
Confess And Consent
It is very important for me to remind you that everything I am talking about is seen from a certain point where I am located and which is unknown to you. Otherwise you will get a distorted perspective. The mechanism of psychological defense will be activated and as a result instead of a benefit there might be, perhaps, not a real damage but certainly some depressive reaction. In order to avoid this depressive reaction and intellectual frustration, remember that this is seen from a certain place. So when reflecting on this information do not loose from your sight
* Maxim Gorky (Alexey Maximovich Peshkov) (1868—1936). a Russian Soviet writer and a public figure, the founder and the first President of the Writer’s Union
of the USSR
50 The Art of Living
the source of it—the living author. Do not forget that he is alive, do you understand? Otherwise this could result in grave consequences. Once a friend of mine wrote a poem and it had an excellent epigraph:
She: I wish to fall in love with a monument of the Tzar Peter. He: Evidently, it is time for the girl to get married.
What does it have to do with our subject? There is a direct connection, even if it is only a poetic image or a joke. One must always remember the starting point, that which we have agreed to call the “psycho-pathology of ordinary life” and which begins with our taking a living person with all the unpredictability and mystery-inherent in him or her and reducing that living thing to a single conceptual structure that is easy and convenient for the mind
Understanding the psycho-pathology of ordinary life is the central question for a human being who attempts to comprehend what is the life in which he is caught, and who is the person in whom the spark of awareness makes its home, and what is the nature of the human relationships into which he has been drawn.
I am using the passive forms of the verb because as soon as we begin to reflect, we discover what Gurdjieff used to say: “The chief illusion is the illusion of doing.” We live in this illusion until we begin to seriously think about our lives. As soon as we start thinking about our lives, we realize that we are in a passive position.
You have found yourself in this life. You did not come here on your own. but you have found yourself in it. You have entered that life as a self aware consciousness, as “I am.” You have found yourself entangled in relationships. Therefore in order to begin understanding the nature of your life, you must take the very first step on your own, because nobody will take it for you. You should confess before your own reasoning that you are an inactive person. And only when you confess it before your reasoning, can you experience it emotionally. This experience is an interval between words, or between inhaling and exhaling. It is a gap between worlds. It is necessary that you admit that you are in a passive position in life to your reasoning. Remember, for your mind there are no riddles in it. You must see your passive relation to life, but as soon as your reason brings you to that point, you will begin to suppress that moment by not allowing yourself to admit it. Thus,
Part One 51
we do not give ourselves a chance to experience it and to begin a conscious life. In a strict sense of the word, a conscious life begins with realizing that we did not have it before. And no matter how much we pity the years of our previous life with all the beautiful and horrible things which they contained, we should admit that they were unconscious, no matter how many years we have lived. If you are able to confess to your reason and to be joyous to the fact that, thanks to lucky circumstances, “the supreme powers,” you have reached in your life that point of confession, and even if you are 80 years old, it is great luck. From that very point, from that self-awareness you have obtained real ground for self-respect. From now on you are no longer a slave. You are no longer a button operated mechanism with no self-respect whatsoever. You are no longer forced to create an illusion of self-respect by drawing from surrounding people a confirmation that you are worth of respect. This is so because respect, and a true genuine self-respect, are born in a man when he stops being an inactive person, and therefore an unconscious being, and makes the first steps in the direction of becoming an active person in life, and of becoming the author of himself, of his life and his relationship with life.
For you to take the first steps in the direction of that moment you not only need understanding, but also consent, because without consent there will be no corresponding inner experience, and without inner experience there will be no awareness. When such an experience brings about an awareness of your passivity, you finally have a chance to become an active person. And then all our talks about the actions directed at overcoming “the psycho-pathology of everyday life” will have real meaning and we will have a chance to gradually build a real “I myself which will rest on a foundation of self-respect.
Without that confession there is no self-respect, and without self-respect there is no awareness of one’s value, no self-edu-cation and no genuine “self whatsoever. Observations show that many people reach this point but lack power to go farther because they are not ready to give up their previous experience. If one recognizes that up to this moment he was not present, then he admits that all his previous experiences do not belong to him. It happened to him, but it was not him. Then there would be no need for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, psychoanalysis or psychotherapy because they are needed by people who are inactive and who live in illusion. However. when life no longer “happens” to a person, when life has a direction
52 The Art of Living
not towards the person but from him, when he m reality begins to be the author, then a huge mountain of imagined and real problems will instantly disappear, because they are not your problems. They are the problems of those and of that which led, governed, and hypnotized you. Those problems are not yours anymore.
What are the main concepts that were incorporated in us during the process of socialization and which make us believe in the illusion that we act on our own? There are two of those concepts: self-ness and pride.
What do they mean?
The first is an illusion named “I can do everything myself. Not only can I do everything myself, but in reality I am making independent decisions, I do things by myself, I make choices by myself, I refuse and I agree by myself.” Where does this illusion come from? Recall your childhood, if you can. Remember how a child refuses the help of his parents for the first time and walks by himself. This is a great event in human life which almost nobody remembers. We are “made” so well that we do not remember the most important things. We do not remember the most important things and when I work with people on various problems in self-remembering. I realize that they remember everything but the most important events in their life. Why? Because these memories are pushed out in the first place. One might think that that was great positive emotional experience, first self-sustained steps. Do you remember the behavior of parents in this situation: how they rejoice and what do they do immediately after that? They begin to worry that their child has become too independent. Later, not only the parents, but other people begin worrying: “Isn’t this teenager too bold?”; “Isn’t this young man too bold?”; “Is not this young lady too bold?”; “Isn’t this forty year old man too bold?” Prior to that moment everybody wanted you to become independent and to walk by yourself.
That moment, one of the most significant in your life, took place: you moved away from your parents* hands and said: “I myself!” and you not only have said this but you actually have made these several steps by yourself. Never in the future will you be allowed to take such steps and remain unpunished—unless you consciously focus on this problem. From that point on your parents and surrounding people will do everything to prove to you that you cannot do anything independently.
At some point in our lives we all have experienced that feeling of genuine self-ness. On that ground of a truly experienced feeling
Part One 53
of genuine self-ness grows a gigantic building of pseudo-self-ness. Deep in our subconscious we dream of freeing ourselves of all those hands which support us, lead us, and give directions. Then we can experience once again that tremendous pleasure of “I myself.” This wish gives us a chance.
However, as life goes on. we find that the fulfillment of our wishes is beyond the scope of our capabilities and our personal achievement, and we see that we all depend on great number of things.
Our further self-sustained psychological moves are controlled by the ancient and notorious method of reward and punishment.
Next we experience a similar moment of explosion during our teens when that ardent desire to be oneself expresses in us objectively for an unknown reason though subjectively we believe that we understand it.
Once again we make an effort to free ourselves from all those hands. What stands in our way? First of all we realize that our self-determination depends on our ability to earn money. Our civilization has moved away from that moment when at the age of fourteen or fifteen, a man becomes financially independent. Here one runs into a host of problems of property possession, problems that haunt a Soviet person (and I believe not only him) sometimes up to the end of his life. What does it mean to possess an apartment? That is something from the world of fantasy. I got my own apartment only this year. What is that economic independence when one does not have to ask his parents for money, when, on the contrary, one may say: “Mom, Dad. I do not need money from you. Save that money for your retirement.” We are all products of just an opposite upbringing: not only do we neglect our duty of helping our parents but for some strange reason at the age of thirty or forty we say: “Why don’t my parents help me? If they do not want to help me. why do they not help my children?” And since we are positioned in life in such a way that at this point almost nobody is self-determined (except for those who had no luck in life, though were lucky psychologically), we get no more spontaneous chances for freeing ourselves from other people’s hands and for declaring “I myself.” The process of socialization provides no more reasons for that. Now our childhood is over. From that point on, the coexistence of an allegedly mature person with an eternal child who constantly wants something from somebody begins in us.
54 The Art of Living
eA permanent irritation resulting from our unwillingness to acknowledge that we are neither independent nor self-determined produces in us an unquenchable desire to blame somebody. Further on it becomes increasingly difficult to make those moves which lead to self-determination, because one has to do that which I mentioned in the beginning, namely, to recognize that he is engaged in an illusory activity. It is not easy to make this acknowledgment, because you can say that everybody else is guilty: the state is guilty for paying a miserable salary. Fate is guilty for providing the wrong family and the wrong social strata. Those who had luck and who live well are guilty too. Your parents are guilty for wrong upbringing. The school is guilty and the college is guilty for giving the wrong education. This way the external, artificial demands take precedence over internal guidance and the problem of grown up children arises. I have an acquaintance who is a very talented man. He waited for his inheritance for forty-four years and would not make a single independent move against his mother’s will because his mother controlled that inheritance. Now, by current standards, those forty or fifty thousand rubles which he received is a very modest amount, and considering the fact that, while he was waiting for that money, he broke down psychologically and physically because he was noi doing what he wanted, it is a negligible amount. He did not live a human life, but was wasting himself while he waited for the inheritance. I see that man as a symbol of a wasted life although some people, who looked at him from aside, said: “See how well he lives!” He is an example of an eternally promising man, who never meets his own expectations or anybody else’s expectations. So what can one do to get rid of that constant irritation and latent dissatisfaction arising from the unconscious feeling that you are not yourself and that you are being about led by somebody else? Only one thing: trust your own mind, comprehend and accept. And you should not be afraid of a breakdown, depression, pessimism, and cynicism. If you have love, aspiration and meaningfulness, then you will be able to make the first and then the second independent steps. You will free yourself of all those hands which are supporting and leading you, and you will throw away the crutches, even though it is very difficult. Then you will understand what self-determination is. Then you will learn what it was that you really wanted all that time. And what is “I myself!”
Then you will learn how difficult it is to break away from that big Mommy that we call society. And at this point it is determined whether you will ever grow up and become an adult. It will be
Part One 55
determined whether you want to be the fish that creates a lake for itself and puts water in it or you prefer to jump into a ready made lake, to swim and to frolic in it complaining from time to time: “They have never given me a chance to live independently!” A human being is a spoiled creature indeed. Human life, in spite of all its nuisances, is a very pleasant greenhouse in which human beings are being raised. If this greenhouse were not destroyed from time to time by global catastrophes, we would endlessly live this way divided into two very unequal groups: approximately one hundred grown up human beings named “priests” to every one hundred million children. This is how it has always been, no matter how depressing this recognition may be to us. In studies of troops of monkeys, and of animals in general, it has been found that there are very few leaders. Some are born to become dominant individuals, and that is final. This is a demand of nature, otherwise the whole pack will perish. So please think about whether you really want that self-ness, self-determination for yourself. There will be nobody to whom you can address your complaints.
The second concept is that which we call pride. Let us once again look back into our childhood and find out where it comes from. It seems that there is no reason for it to appear. When this question arises, I always remember one of the characters from Dostoyevsky’s novel “Brothers Karamazov,” Snegirev, and the famous scene in which Alyosha offers money to Snegirev. Do you remember that scene? A poor and unfortunate man is in a desperate situation: his child is ill. And then, quite sincerely. Alyosha Karamazov, who is inclined to that emotion of sincere compassion, offers him money so that he can help his child. Do you remember what Snegirev did? He began stamping on that money with his feet and shouting that although he is poor, he is also proud. Dostoyevsky remarkably described the entire mechanism of pride, a passion which, in non-extreme situations, is usually softly veiled in men.
We can see that pride is the reversed side of the first concept: on the one side it is self-ness and, on the other side, it is pride. When I. having in my possession a complex psychological defense which protects among other things my right to be present in this world, I must say: “Help!” though I long ago rejected all props. I must confess that I am not self-determined, I must say: “Teach me,” “Help me,” “Save me,” “I am here because I am nothing!,” “Take me as a corpse in your hands of the one who washes the corpses.”
56 The Art of Living
Here pride raises its head and asks: why would I ask for all that? Why should I be grateful? I would rather strain myself and remain independent. When in a Sufi tradition a man wants to become a disciple of a sheik and comes to see him, he pronounces the following words: “Take me as a corpse in your hands of the one who washes the corpses.” In all serious traditions there is a test for a novice to determine if he truly wants to be a disciple. The first thing which must be clarified is whether a man can give up his pride and whether he realizes that he is unable to reach his goal by himself. And that is why he sought a teacher.
This is the most delicate moment for the teacher and lor the disciple who approached him. Why? Because if that, teacher or a person who is taken for a teacher, did not go through that act of confession, which we discussed earlier, if he did not experience himself as a non-being, then he might be living in an illusion in spite of all his qualifications. Then he resembles one of my acquaintances from Kiev, a psychologist and University graduate who worked as a psychology consultant at a research institute. I asked him how his job was and he replied “Ech, I have to stir them up!” Here we see a manifestation of that which we have named: a spiritual gruppenfurer.
A disciple is a tremendous test for a teacher as is the teacher for a disciple. Only the disciple’s conversion can precisely determine what kind of a teacher one is. The difference here is like the one between true faith and love of God and pseudo-love. We either want to find an ideal daddy and hide behind his back or we really want to become self-determined. I will share a personal problem with you: I had a difficult relationship with my father. Generally speaking, my father is a composite: a certain number of men have succeeded my biological father in aiding my development on the path of life. They were all wonderful people. But this has always been a problem for me: the lack of a paternal element for me.
And so I had become a Master, and was happy that the event had occurred. I wanted to learn very much because I knew that I would be caught in the paws of my followers: at that time 1 had thirty seven disciples and I was a “great master.” I had already felt that, in a little while, they would fatally ensnare me in this role. I felt that soon I would not be able to move a finger independently, since every little thing I would think about would be immediately carried out by them. Their main concern was to keep me in an ideal condition: “This is our most ideal man.”
Part One 57
Everything seemed to go fine at first. And then in about eight or ten hours I started thinking: “Why is nothing happening? Why is it that I feel so good?” In other words, everything I seemed to know about this situation—that my intention was to surrender myself and to become a pupil—seemed to be wrong And then I realized that, being a person of the highest qualification, the Master caught me during the first few minutes. Already from the fifth minute he presented me with my own project, the ideal father. 1 turned into a child, letting the whole day pass by before I realized that I had been ensnared, that the lesson had already begun, and that I was still very far from acquiring the “self.” I had already turned into: “daddy, daddy, daddy!.” The ideal one. I have come to work, to learn, to take the next steps in my development, but I ended up in a state of repose. This is how such a tough entity as pride can turn out to have such delicate forms. You must realize that this is a natural pride. To go to a Master and to be ensnared in the projection of the ideal parent—is this not a case of delicate pride? It is similar to that of a supposed teacher or mentor when he begins to use or take advantage of the projection of the parent being carried out through him.
When the situation comes to such a delicate form, when you poke at the wall of pride but the inner shield does not allow you to penetrate it. and you are stuck in a situation where you discover that you as an adult do not exist, then it is necessary to make a determined effort. Then the time comes to realize that all your life, until the moment of this “self realization, is one big baby-bottle and all of your terrible misfortunes and sufferings are a baby bottle. As Gurdjieff has said: “There is nothing that a person loves more and with which he parts with greater difficulty as with his sufferings!.” They are all so typical of each other and, in the large score, as it turns out, similar to each other for all people. When mammy takes you away from her breast—oh, isn’t that such a tragedy. All this suffering makes me think of a person who was in danger of being killed by being crushed by a car, who ended up merely hitting his knee and being hurt by that.
This is indeed life in the womb of society. This is why I have reminded you from the very beginning about the place from which this is seen. Because from inside the womb you cannot see any pathology. Everything that I have talked to you about is not pathology, it is life! This is what it is like! And this is why it is wonderful that we are all alive. We live, grow, develop and accumulate knowledge because were are protected by its womb.
58 The Art of Living
I am grateful to the fate that I was able to be born.
I am grateful to my mother.
1 am grateful to my father.
The wish to be born is a wonderful wish only until you reach the point where you begin to condemn your mother—it is not her fault that you are not yet born; you live in her. we all live in her and have a chance. And you talk about pride and self-ness… I was in the same position myself until I scrambled out of it. And this is maybe the most important and the most valuable thing that I learned in my life and which I speak about today for the first time. And I feel ashamed that along with everybody else I have often condemned my mother. Wise people from bygone times have said: “When you approach the gates, you detach yourself from everything. And only after passing through the gates begin you to be attached to everything once again.” Great is our mother, great and patient and equally loving all of her children who are in her womb. We have a father too. But we will find out about him later, when we leave the womb.
And we were conceived immaculately, but not in the biological sense of the word. This is it for now. I will end now on this note. Several times I came near the situation where I could say this somewhere to someone aloud, and so I am very grateful to you because you are direct participants in this discussion, just as I am myself; it is you. with the combinations of your qualities and with your determination who have brought out these words, these thoughts, this understanding and this maternal love.
Thank you all. I

book which is entitled On Cult. In this book he ingeniously formulated a problem which, in a sort of ontological manner, reveals the source of compelled falsehood with which our daily life is filled. If we are talking about the “psycho-pathology of ordinary
Part One 59
life,” to be sure, we cannot pass such a problem by as falsehood. Let us begin with the analysis of the phenomenon of falsehood, painfully familiar to everyone as a manifestation of the “pathology of everyday life,” with a profound ontological principle discovered by Father Pavel Florensky.
What constitutes the main idea of Florensky? It is that the human entity combines two truths within itself. The problem of the mutual activity and realization of these two truths in a human being is solved only with the endless development and evolution of each of these two truths, all the way up to their absolute realization. And only with the absolute realization of these two truths does spiritual synthesis and transfiguration occur.
From this position, one can view human life as the interaction between these two truths, in which one of them is, at various times, grasped more and the other less, and the compromises that are built between them. It seems to me that Florensky gives a key to understanding the process of the development and progress of civilization, especially ours, which is generally known as the Western European.
So what is the nature of these two truths?
Florensky formulates them in the following way: the truth of being and the truth of meaning. Being is the absolute strength of life, without the energy of which no occurrence could be possible. And meaning is an image, a measurement, a spirit. In other words. Florensky in this long ago elaborated theme reaches deeply into its deepest foundations and with all the power of his genius, witnesses this controversial but imperative principle. We have already spoken with you about the tragedy of the drastic downfall of the world of experience in European civilization from the seventeenth century, that is, from the epoch of the Enlightenment, when the great slogan “Cogito ergo sum” was brought out. Now we can look at this situation, in the view of Florensky’s approach, as the prevalence of meaning over existence. Of course this began earlier. It began in the Middle Ages when the Christian teaching transformed into the Church. The esoteric part of the Church narrowed down all of its problematic issues to the issue of the triumph of the spirit over the body. And in the seventeenth century, it was all brought with the aid of Protestantism and Lutheranism to a state of extreme materialization. This history, which began back in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the history of spirit which is afraid of flesh, the history of meaning which is so afraid of the incarnate being—this is
60 The Art of Living
the history of our consciousness regardless of whether or not we have ever philosophized in our lives or not. This fills the daily life of the human being who lives in this civilization, up 10 the minute details. I hope that in today’s discussion we will be able to see that this abstract philosophical problem is in reality the real living fabric of our consciousness and determines a great many things in our daily life. The most important is the causal source of falsehood and deception, falsehood as decep-tion. falsehood as self-delusion, falsehood as an ideology promoted by the society, the falsehood of unstable morals which cannot bear the criticism of reason, although it was created by reason, and the falsehood of pseudo-religiosity and pseudo-mysticism. I think that every person, who tortuously seeks for life without falsehood, should bend his knees before Florensky for his remarkable ability to determine, in such an exhaustingly exact manner, the primary source of this falsehood. What is the case here?
Let us pass on from the abstract to the concrete. Reality— nature, flesh—is the source of energy, the energy to live, the energy to create, destroy, the energy which knows no boundaries, which knows no self-constraint, the energy of force, and the energy of passion. Pavel Florensky quotes a Russian poet Valery Bryusov who compares passion with death because of its force of destruction. This system of images reflects on the energy of the Earth.
When we discuss the first center, the vital center, and the Tantra system we put ourselves in a very comical position. Because if we suddenly seriously touch this source, if we allow ourselves to become this energy, this passion and this life, we would probably burn up as a butterfly burns up in a candle’s flame. We all read and watch with pleasure when we are shown or it is hinted to us that we have something special in ourselves. In reality we do possess these qualities while we are alive. However, being a product of West European civilization, we are desperately mortified by it, we have been frightened by ten or eleven centuries of moralizing instruction about it that it is frightening, that it is a sin, that it is a destructive power, that it is a beast which must be harnessed.
I often like to tell a story concerning this. I had a team of tough guys, with good training which was very willing to work. Once I told them: “Folks, why don’t we let this animal go free for once? Why is it that, up until now, we have only talked about it. We have all the technology, we won’t die and we’ll take all the necessary precautions beforehand.” They said: “All right, let’s do it.”
Part One 61
And we decided to fulfill this task. So what happened? What came out was a sma-a-ali skinny mouse that went “squeak, squeak, squeak.” This is why I understand those conceptual artists who depict a woman riding a tiger. In Riga there is a very interesting artist, a master of yoga. He has a wonderful painting “Madonna with a baby tiger”: instead of a child he has painted a baby tiger. This tiger is like the remembrance of existence, a remembrance of passion, a remembrance of the mighty power of life. When we encounter in our lives a person who, by chance, contains within himself a certain quantity of energy which surpasses the average level, the statistical norm of adaptation to the energy of existence, we become frightened. Even though there is nothing to be frightened of. This subjugation of nature is manifested in human psychology, in the social conventions, and in the literal violence against nature, i.e. in the ecological violence, and in disregard of the nature that fills up all of our being. We have carried out violence against ourselves and the world by poorly understanding the interaction between flesh and spirit. And the greater part of our falsehood, passed on to us from our parents and our grandparents and carried on by us to our children, originates here. For this is indeed the primary falsehood. Florensky’s great heroic feat in the thoughts and in the feelings consists in the fact that he was one of the first who said that existence is truth and meaning is truth. The human being is great particularly for the reason that he contains the two truths combined and acting in him. However when deprived of his “enemy”—the truth of existence—the second truth, the truth of meaning, becomes smaller, shorter. It becomes reduced and adapted to its dead partner and is degraded into a pragmatic insignificant element. So the tiger turns into a mouse and its countenance, as an embodiment of the truth of meaning, turns into an average face, a mask, or into a larva. As a result, we have a creature which has neither reason nor spirit. And this is the main source of the spiritual crisis of contemporary Western humanity. It is Western not in the sense that it is in the West, but because of “Cogito ergo sum” triumph over there and everywhere where, dogmatically, the spirit is set over the flesh. As a result the inevitable degradation of the human being takes place as well as diminution of his greatness and loss of the meaning of his existence. Because falsehood, as it is well known, is the favorite child of death.
This truth is so grandiose that it is almost impossible to perceive it at once. The mechanisms of psychological defense, which
62 The Art of Living
we have discussed, instantly emerges and swiftly urges it into our subconscious.
To some of you it may sound blasphemous, but during my entire conscious life I’ve said: “one should eat.” I have heard a lot of sarcastic remarks in regard to this idea and once I even read a treatise criticizing the pseudo-teaching of Igor Kalinauskas. The entire treatise was aimed at unmasking me for stating: “one should eat.” It accused me of preaching Epicureanism and so on. and it contained many other accusations. However, I think I am saying the very same things which Florensky said but in common words. Our regeneration, our life, and our existence in this body depends, not on the problems of liberating ourselves from morals or from totalitarian ideologies of some kind, though this is also needed, but on liberating ourselves from pseudo-religiosiiy and pseudo-mysticism. Our salvation is in finding a way to reality, to life and to passions from the very point where we are now. Therefore the School is working with fire energy, with what is called the Fire Body as well as the Fire Armor, or the “Lion in Desert”-there is such a name too.
We will never save our children and our grandchildren without this. Without this, we will never save and revive nature, which we have raped, and no “dacha’s spots” will help. We will never get rid of the fundamental basis of our lies.
I love Porphyry Korneyevich Ivanov* very much. For me, Porphyry Korneyevich is an embodiment of the wholeness of reality. But look at what is made of him by his followers… They transform Porphyry Korneyevich more and more into his opposite, i.e make him into what they are. For the second time in our meetings I remind you of that remarkable man who, standing barefooted in the snow.
* Porfiry Korneyevich Ivanov (1898—1983), a unique explorer of new ways of human evolution and transformation. At the age of 35, being a poorely educated miner, he was absorbed by a problem of the meaning of human life and began a series of experiments on himself perusing the idea of determining the optional conditions for human heath, happiness, and forcefulness. These experiments have been described in his books, dieries and talks. He concluded that the meaning of human life is in reunion with nature enacted through air, water and earth. Ivanov has elaborated a system of practical recomendations which make up the first step towards the union of a human being with nature which secure his personal health. Those recomendationd were given a consice expression in 12 principles entitled A Child. His credo was: “It is easy to die—one has to learn how to live.”
Part One 63
talked to one of Hitler’s generals. The astonishment he aroused in people was so great that the Nazi’s didn’t even touch him. These kind of men do not exist anymore. Please show me a follower of Porphyry Korneyevich who. even in the slightest degree, has approximated his participation in reality.
What is today’s diet if not a poorly concealed asceticism and mortification of the flesh? What are today’s diseases? In the most cases they are mortifying the flesh. What does the football cult mean? Everything in the world stops and the TV broadcasts football exclusively all over the world. What is this? Gentlemen, what kind of event is it a football game? Who is a sportsman? What is a striptease? What is pornography? They are fruits of a sickly consciousness which cannot understand why it is sickly. A mold on the body of nature. An aggressive, militant mold, transforming into mold everything which is alive and surrounds it. Listen to those “scientists,” those “thinkers,” they do not realize even for one instant what is going to happen with nature, with this flesh of the Earth. They do not worry about this, they left it out of their consideration. People like Albert Schweitzer* is one of a few. Teilhard de Chardin** and Vernadsky*** have spoken about it, but look at how it was interpreted! “Noosphere is a sphere of reason.” What kind of reason? Reason, strictly speaking, is an alliance of spirit and flesh.
* Albert Schweitzer (1875—1965) a distinguished German-French (French of German descend) thinker, humanist, organist, musicologist, philosopher, theologian, pastor, physician, and public figure. In 1913 he organized and subsidized a hospital in Lamboren Gabon where he worked until the end of his life. In 1953 he has been awarded Peace Hoble Prize of 1952 His main works include: Culture and Ethics, The Awe Before Life, The Mysticism of St. Peter.
** Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881—1955), a French teologian and scientist, whose ideas and works significantly contributed to the scientific, philosophic, and religious thought of the XX century. In 40 years of his scientific activity, Teilhard de Chardan wrote more than 250 works. In his works he strengthened the idea of unity of Intelligence and Matter. Developing the theory of Orthoge- nesis, he wrote of the primordial striving of the consciousness towards the summit of progress, the point of Omega. *** Vladimir Ivanovitch Vernadsky (1862—1945), a prominent Russian natural scientist and thinker, a founder of Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Radiogeology, and the doctrine of Biosphere and Noosphere. Vernadsky was one of the founders of the theory Antropocosmism. He developed a notion of the evolution and the idea of the growth of Intelligence in the Universe.
64 The Art of Living
This is the condition for the eternal embodiment of every kind of truth, the truth of being and the truth of meaning. However, we are constantly trying to find an image in a desert. We are constantly forgetting the great Oriental wisdom that to be born in a human body is great luck. For thanks to the body spirit partakes in nature and in existence. Yes of course, the passion can tear up everything. However, a fleshless spirit, transformed into reflection, can annihilate all that is alive, for what does flesh mean to him? It is its antagonist and that’s all. And we will never get with this away in our attempt to find one instead of finding both unless we hear people like Florensky and experience the necessity of merging in ourselves these two limitless truths, of obtaining the wholeness of life. If we follow Florensky further, we come to the conclusion that reaching the confines of reality, we understand that its confines is truth and only by reaching the boundaries of truth will we understand that the confines of truth is reality. And then God will be revealed to us. And then we will understand that Michelangelo knew something about it. Then we can touch the frescoes of Sistine Chapel for there both being and meaning are reflected in unity.
I have heard the “refined connoisseurs” of Michelangelo art talking the following way: “Excellent, but why is there so much flesh on them? Couldn’t he make them skinnier and more subtle? God is a sound man with muscles and Adam is also a sound man with muscles. And Eve is a village woman.” Their delicate laste is upset, you know. We got certain things confused in the eleventh century. And in the seventeenth century they were absolutely muddled up. We mixed up the fear of ignorance, which is awful, of course, with the fear of life. And under the pretext of fighting with ignorance we began fighting with life. And when there is no real power left in us, we push the relics forward in the shape of an ideal of human body. However, nobody has given a thought to what happens to this “cogito” when it is placed into a relic. And when we are trying to recapture the ideal embodiment of sanctity, we think of Francis of Assisi with birds sitting on his shoulders and animals surrounding him. Then we remember Seraphim Sarovsky and Sergei Radonezhsky* who lived in a forest and did not conflict with the so-called hostile surroundings: bears and deer visited them
* Sergy Radonezhsky (1314—1392) and Seraphim Sarovsky (1759—1833) are the two most revered canonized Saints of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Part One 65
and everything was fine. I would like to remind you once again of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. Go there and look at the original frescoes and compare that with what is there now. There was’a fullness and a feeling of the necessity for the simultaneous co­existence and the mutual endless development of these two principles, being and meaning. And now see how the being has been gradually ruined. The last splash was in the time of the Renaissance when the idea of spirit had been linked with the ancient idea of being. There, the meeting of Christianity and Antiquity took place and the result was the Renaissance. And then we were afraid once again. And I think that now we are at the threshold of our own Renaissance. We are on the threshold of our returning to the wholeness of being, and of the understanding of the unity of two great truths: the truth of being and the truth of meaning. If it is not so. then we face death, Chernobyl, and the dying Aral Sea.
That is why. when you turn to certain texts and read the words of that great sages of humanity, you should be careful not to automatically cut off everything that “does not relate” to the spirit. There is a great distance between the real spirit and that which we now name “the spirit.” A certain aroma surrounds our “spirit” and is left there. And then this striking contradiction becomes more or less clear: it seems that man and humanity become stronger, more knowledgeable, and mightier, but in reality they are much weaker. The joy of life has been replaced by fear. The fear and the lie are twins. When we say: lie, then fear appears already.
Therefore, speaking positively and trying to answer our favorite question: “How can one live with all of this?” one gets to even greater complications than on the level of comprehension. It is difficult to understand this. To actualize it is even more difficult. I do not think that in the lifetime of one generation we can take a decisive step in that direction in the sense of actualization. However, I think that in the life time of our generation, i.e. those who live now. there is a chance to take a decisive step in the direction of comprehension. In the first place, this can be done, not by preaching, but by the effort of obtaining that quality in which those two truths are present in one’s everyday life. At the beginning it is, of course, frightening. It requires tremendous effort and skill to pass it on and to explain it to other people in some adequate way. We know that for grasping the truth there is no need for words. Words are needed in order to pass this truth on to another person. And one must understand that such a decision and such an effort leads to the fundamental restructuring
66 The Art of Living
of one’s entire everyday life and a fundamental revision of one’s very attitude to life and to himself. However, I take the liberty of declaring that this is the greatest spiritual exploit of our time. Here I put my Master and Florensky next one another. One is a Sufi master, with his funny ways (funny to a European person): his simulation of not knowing the Russian language, his accent, and his Sufi way of bringing everything down to the earth. The other is an Orthodox priest, thinker, scientist, refined handsome man. “a Byzantine,” as he was called by the churchmen. One, in his subtle refined philosophical language, stated the great truth about human beings, that man is a manifestation of two truths, the truth of being and the truth of meaning while the other, passing a cup around the circle, laughing, when he is asked: “What is the most important thing?” replies: “One should live.” And both of them come from the same place.
What do I think makes a spiritual community attractive? It is attractive as a socio-psychological world where one has a chance to meet, to understand, to love and to be on friendly terms with representatives of various different socio-psycholo-gical worlds, nations, epochs and places. And this is the best proof that humanity can build a super-world that includes within itself an ease with all other worlds, at least the majority of the human worlds. A spiritual community is capable of accomplishing this because throughout history it has preserved, speaking in the language of Pavel Florensky, a knowledge of the two truths of human nature. The knowledge of the ultimate development of being, and the knowledge of the ultimate development of meaning. It is a knowledge that spirit and flesh are two inseparable though contradictory essences of men and of human life. This knowledge contains no or almost no lies. It carries almost no fear or no fear at all in its highest achievements. I even have problems addressing you today because the living texture of communication is constantly being distorted by a reference to authority. Today I cannot si and in front of you alone. There are three of us: Florensky. Mirsabay Kimbatbaev and I. I could not leave them behind today when I came to see you. And perhaps this carries some meaning and some life. Perhaps, it will help some of you to grasp the nature of your fears, and therefore, the nature of your lies. And by grasping the nature of your fears and your lies you may understand the nature of other persons fears and lies. The three of us are different, however, I am “made of them.” Yesterday we talked about our Mother. And today it happens that we talk about our Father. It is not without
Part One 67
reason that, in all true traditions being and meaning, truth and passion are inseparable. And that which integrates them into a human being and into humanity is the image of our Father. It is a stern image from our point of view. Imagine what integrity, what totality one has to possess in order for these two truths, the truth of being and the truth of meaning to be realized eternally and simultaneously in Him. What power and what wisdom He must possess. And He should have something else, which is yet unknown to us. on which we are only beginning to reflect. However, today we are already at the beginning of our journey, a difficult journey, leading to our Father.
We have decided anyway that this is madness. Whether you trust me or not it is all the same. We grow up in a world where all that does not exist: neither hate nor love exist here in their fullness. Only hope has survived and it is scarcely alive. Therefore it is difficult for us to develop a real wish for it. And even more difficult to attain it. However we have it as a potentiality because we are human beings. We are human beings, you see, and we possess it. We have it in spite of anybody’s wish. This potentiality can be destroyed only with the destruction of a human being. And this is our chance and basis for growing in ourselves at least a shadow, a mirror reflection of those two great truths, a spiritual aspiration and faith. Only relentless aspiration plus relentless realism can bring us to the materialization of being and to the materialization of meaning. But it must be a relentless-towards-oneself realism and a relentless aspiration, the unmerciful “why?” Otherwise relentless aspiration without relentless realism will produce sentimental realism, self-pity, and all kinds of different shelters and psychological hot-houses, etc. While relentless realism without relentless aspiration will result in cynicism, knowledge for the sake of knowledge, loss of the remnants of love, and suicide.
Florensky’s words make up a testimony to humanity containing two truth, the truth of being and the truth of meaning. This is the source of human greatness and the source of all human tragedies. And this is beautiful. In such a way the idea of what is called the third birth is being revealed. However, do not get pseudo-serious. Because if you do not test it with your emotions, if you do not allow yourself to experience this if, guided by your reflection, you begin to “analytically research” this, nothing will come out of it. It will be pushed out. rationalized, and schematized. As my Teacher told me on the evening of my initiation when giving me five
68 The Art of Living
pages of a text: “This will become either an additional piece of information or the beginning of a new life.” So, in order that this information does not turn into little coins in a money-box, be emotional, cry and laugh about it. And do not hide from each other what you have done since yesterday. You want to know how one can discuss this? Do it any possible way. Only do not let it die in the grave of your reflection.
Socio-Psychological Worlds
(a continuation)

The subject of socio-psychological worlds is a key concept of our practical work. One should, in the first place, clearly distinguish between the socio-psychological worlds and the vertical structure of society, i.e. social strata. As the observations show, a person who succeeds in his social career, begins to pull people from his socio-psychological world towards himself. In the years of the so called “beautiful stagnation,” the Brezhnev’s epoch, I had one little opportunity to peep into the world of the officials on the level of the State Department. The interesting fact was that those officials were getting together, not on the basis of the social hierarchy, but on the basis of their socio-psycholo-gical worlds.
This is the first thing that should be clarified because one cannot discriminate socio-psychological worlds according to the principle of “higher-lower,” “Higher-lower” is the hierarchical structure of society itself, the social structure. Socio-psycho-logical worlds can be looked at through the criteria of “higher-lower” only if one uses some criteria of self-accomplishment or some ethical constructions from the personal point of view or from the point of view of somebody’s ideals. Then one can make a statement of the kind: “this is lower and that is higher.” However, these worlds are neither higher nor lower as such. As a matter of fact, they are on the same level, and members of the same socio-psychological world can be people of completely different social strata. This is very vivid to those who like fishing in the winter through a hole in the ice. There on the ice nobody knows who is an army general and who is
Part One 69
a yard-keeper. However, people are united by such things as jargon, funny words, system of evaluation and style of behavior.
All those who are present here, have to a certain extent touched on a special world. It is a world which does not borrow its principles, life styles, evaluations, ethics, and morals from the Great Average. For instance, the principle that every form is empty and that, from the point of view of a certain knowledge, it can be filled with any content. And here is the first trap: you see the norms of behavior of a person next to you are like yours and you make a conclusion that this person is like you. Only after dealing with him directly, you discover that unfortunately the content of that form is completely different. This moment discloses your capability to see at once not only a form of behavior, interaction, or style, but the content which fills that form, and this is, perhaps, the most important moment. Let us say. that there are two very similar worlds, one world conditionally could be called “bohemian.” It is a world of people dealing with the arts and living in the arts, though not really in the arts because they do not work very much and they do not have lofty and sincere intentions to serve the arts but they are somehow near arts. And why? Because the world of the arts, being a closed world and not a large one, permits some degree of freedom in the society according to the principle of keeping the specialists aloof. The smaller a group of those specialists is the greater their freedom is. As a rule, people use only those levels of freedom which equip them with “freedom from” and only a very few, thanks to their understanding or to some participation in the spiritual context, use “freedom to.” In the world surrounding the arts one can behave somewhat more arrogantly from the point of view of other worlds and this is somehow forgiven and permitted tor them. You have heard these words, “Artists! What can one do with them?” At some time in your life, however, with this seemingly defamatory word “artist” comes some envy. It is so because an artist is allowed to do some things which would be punished if other people were to do them. For example, if you are drunk and pass out in the street, the local police will drag you off to the drunk tank. You know what kind of consequences will follow. However if you are, let’s say, a famous artist, this will bring some other consequences. Although it is the same situation. He is allowed and we are not. And. actually, the mutual envy of various worlds to each other is, in the first place, based on what is allowed in those worlds and what is not. There is a world that has almost the same
70 The Art of Living
status and is very close to the ”boliemian.” This is a world of scholars and scientists. And again, it is not the world of those serving science, like my boss, who says that all that a real scientist can allow himself, is to go to the movie or to the theater once in a week. And if he allows himself more, he is an upper class person. In the same way that people surround the arts, people surround the sciences. They are not seriously involved in the sciences, but are near those who are. And once again, there is a definite level of freedom; they have their own society and a distinct style. Their style coincides in form with the style of the bohemians, nevertheless the content is slightly different. However strange it may seem, even in its seemingly most mean manifestations, the content, the inside is different. There is the world of the Mafia. Not the Mafia in the American or Italian sense of the word with guns and other similar accessories, but the Mafia as a service establishment. We are one of a few countries in the world where the service personnel control the client. Everything in our country is turned upside down. There are also the necessary people. They have levels of freedom too, but these levels of freedom are only for the inner folks. They are hidden from outsiders, creating a closed world. And there is a world which, from our point of view can seem primitive and might be called patriarchal. In the cities you can find them and perhaps mix them with peasants. You may discover with astonishment that the level of their freedom is close to zero. And it might make a very strong positive impression because it has very strict rules. However, in that world, violations of the level of freedom are hidden, even from those who belong to that world, and therefore hypocrisy flourishes there. One can violate the rules, but nobody should know. Thus, the best way to get around in a new socio-psychological world is on the basis of the level of freedom. What freedoms are allowed? And under what conditions are freedoms allowed? Why a man in this world is free in relation to the Great Average or, on the contrary, he is not free in relation to some average idea of what freedom means. This is the most important point for an analysis of the socio-psychological world and for a practical understanding of the reactions and behavior of a man. And, of course, inside of that world one needs to try to discriminate between the “free-dom from” and the “freedom to.” Although man, when he succeeds in discovering some level of freedom, seldom begins to think what here is “to” and what is “from.” All want to be “free from” at once. The moment when a man wants to leave his
Part One 71
socio-psychological world because of certain reasons, such as his professional orientation or a lack of positive encouragement in this his own world compared to what is allowed in another world, that moment is very important.
There are people who, because of various circumstances, move from one world to another a number of times throughout their lives. Those people are like a pie that has seven sides, instead of the usual circular shape. There was time when this kind of pie was baked in Russia. It was called “kulebiaka” and it had seven sides and in every section there was a different filling. These people contain a contradiction within themselves and they pass through different, loosely connected socio-psychologi-cal worlds. It seems that they have the potential to build a new world, but in reality they are alien everywhere. We are also alien everywhere. The more seriously we are preoccupied with psychology the more alien we are. The most interesting thing is that since we are dealing with practical and constructive psychology, we are alien even among the majority of psychologists. According to one proverb, “A pack of wolves recognizes the alien wolf by its smell.” It is extremely difficult to control all our manifestations in the world to which you belong and of which you may not be fully aware. It is even more difficult to control and to perform a role taken from an alien world. To leave behind one’s socio-psychological world is to leave oneself behind. A socio-psychological world is a sort of river or lake or fishbowl in which one dwells like a fish. If you jump out of your fishbowl, you must get precisely into another fishbowl and mimic the behavior and appearance of one of the local fish. You have an option of jumping out and creating your own fishbowl the way I, Igor Nikolayevich, have been creating the School to be a huge fishbowl in which I feel like a fish. It is a new socio-psychological world. This moment is most complex because in order to understand other worlds you have to be familiar with your own. People often talk about the stable awareness, de-identification, instrumentality, type of informational metabolism, value structure of a person, but the most important thing is to develop an awareness of your socio-psychological world, to trace it out in yourself. It is very difficult but most productive because then you will adequately understand many things in your life and many situations, which have occurred to you, will come before you in a new light. You will read books differently and you will talk with people differently, because you will begin to understand that they
72 The Art of Living
all reveal information about the socio-psychological world. I asked myself this question: why do producers come so close to this? Yesterday, I watched a television show produced by a woman. She had problems with the theater, and she invented a marvelous thing, a workshop named “The Producer’s Analysis of Classical Plays and a Creative System of Education.” The show looked at a play from the point of view of what is going on there. A theatrical production is the very creation of the worlds. Some producers attempt to recreate the author’s world, while other producers use the plays in order to embody their own worlds. However, the bottom line is the same: in a few hours one has to create a persuasive socio-psychological world. Naturally, a psychologist, a recent university graduate, has no idea of such a thing as the socio-psychological world. He comes from his own world and he goes into his own world. Therefore, the best understanding of this concept is reached by people from the arts. When Lotman* or Bachtin*” write on literature in general way, everybody reads them as if it is a philosophical revelation. This happens not because it is some kind of unexpected philosophy, but because it is a constructive philosophy and, like any constructive psychology, these works have a practical goal. When Bachtin writes about a chronotype as a specific element of a piece of art, he develops an idea that time and space in a piece of art have their specific qualities. We have noticed that a person, who is preoccupied with psycho-energy, develops a completely different sense of time. He begins to have more intensive inner experiences and therefore his day, from morning till evening, is filled with an immense experience. This signifies a transition from one human time frame into another. How do you want to work with each other if in the evening you feel that what happened in the morning was something very remote from you, while another person only wakes up in the evening? He lives completely different life and has an entirely different concept of time. In a similar way, a person who has never left his native town is one type of person, and a person, for whom to jump into a plane and to fly to a remote place one thousand kilometers away, and to earn a lot of money there is not a big problem, is a completely different type of person. He lives in a different time and in a different space Thus,
* Yury Michaylovitch Lotman (1922—1993). the brilliant researcher of Russian culture, literary critic, philosopher, the head of Tartu School of semiotics. Estonia. List of his works exceeds 800 titles.
Part One 73
there is one additional characteristic of the socio-psychological world: a different chronotype for every world. There are socio-psychological worlds in which people begin to think about retirement from the age of twenty five. They have to go thirty years until they retire, but they are already worried about it and they make plans to obtain good retirement benefits. This is how things are looked at in their socio-psychological world. And then there is the idea of time. There are socio-psychological worlds in which a person who allows himself more than onejob per annum is considered to be not a serious man and a rootless person. And there are socio-psychological worlds in which a person who has not been employed in twenty or thirty places is not a man at all. This should all be remembered when we think of what is normal and what is a distortion of the norm.
I told you how I communicated with a real bum. For him the entire Soviet Union was like a huge apartment. He knew exactly where he should live in February or any other part of the year. From our point of view those places are very distant, but for him the Soviet Union was one territory. And if the borders open up, he will feel even more free. One person, who often used to go on business trips, told me that he had met a hippie in Brussels. He asked him where he was going and the hippie replied that he was going to walk to Paris. And when he was asked why. the hippie said that hejust felt like walking to Paris. A month later he met him in Paris. He came by foot. For us this is nonsense. However, soon we too may face the problem of reaching the countries of CIS by foot.
Do you think, that all people over there are like that, that they all enjoy that kind of freedom? No, that is not so. Not because it is prohibited but because this idea does not cross their minds. They think: “Why should I knock around Europe? I am comfortable here at home, in my garden. I went to Paris once, in my youth, in order to tell my grandchildren about it.” But we think that our life is determined entirely by external circumstances. We think that we don’t live in the right county, or that we are living at the wrong time, while over there life is as it should be. It is exactly the same over there only they are richer and they have more political and economic freedom. However, the socio-psychological worlds have more resemblance then we could imagine. And when you travel you will not feel right until you meet somebody of your kind. Perhaps they will be from a different country, but they will be from your socio-psychological world. And you will be surprised when
74 The Art of Living
you discover to what extent you are related with each other. There is a world, the theatrical world which I know well. Whenever I go any place inside the country or any place outside, what do I need to do? I need to go to a nearby theater; in a theater I am at home. I can enter any theater, any normal theater that operates by the law of the Great Average and tell them that I am a producer and soon they will ask me if I would like coffee.
There are worlds which go beyond national borders, and there are worlds that are not only closed as socio-psychological worlds but they are also closed to people other nationalities. I have one acquaintance, a producer, she is a Lithuanian and works in Minsk. She married in Minsk and brought her husband to her country, to her farm, to her parents in order to introduce him. He is an intelligent person, and they treated him to a drink. He dues not drink much, but they urged him to drink. The man decided that for the sake of his wife and his new relatives he would have a drink. He does not visit them any more because they told his wife that he was a drunkard and that she should not bring him around any more. However, in Minsk he only drinks on holidays. His in-laws think he is a drunkard, and there is no way to prove the truth. Do you feel at home among foreigners and a stranger among your own people? Where are our people and where are the strangers? Only instinct brings us to our people. Where do you feel more at ease? Among what kind of people? That is your people. That is your world. If you feel well, that is your world. And everybody knows perfectly well where he really is comfortable, free, relaxed and. what is most important, spontaneous. Whatever you do there, you hit the target! What you dislike, everybody dislikes! What you like, everybody likes! That is why it is a sacred thing when someone returns to see his village after being away. He feels wonderful. He stays there and is our representative. If he becomes too accustomed to life there, he will not be our representative anymore and he will not be our pride. He is a traitor. It is the same formula: “He is one of us, a prominent person, but lives in an alien world. He does not fee! well there. He must be dying to get home! And if he has become too accustomed to the lifestyle there, he is a traitor. He is a mean person who has forgotten his own people. He has forsaken them.” So when we try to understand the socio-psychological world, we touch on a texture of life which one cannot even think of trying to cut into pieces. We might become friends with one group of people and by this action we increase our separation from other groups of people.
Pan One 75
This is a very delicate matter. And a man is not guilty if he was born not in the world where you were. This is an intricate thing when we remember that at one time men lived in tribes. Psychologically, you will see that all forms of cooperation, conscious and subconscious, exist now. Some of them are on the surface, others are found deeper and still others are found even deeper. This is the story of every human being and of humanity as a whole. There is an image of humanity in every man and “he is made of people.” And when one decides to leave one’s world because of some reasons, one must strongly remember a formula suitable to this situation: “And he burned everything he worshipped and worshipped everything he has burned.” To do this is to experience a sincere gratitude to all people “of whom we are made.” Leaving them, moving to another world, one must give thanks to all these people because somewhere there among them or somewhere in the structure of their mutual relationship, the impulse to move to the other world was born. When I seriously practiced “self-remembering” for the first time, I realized that my first teacher was my grandmother. I did not realize it until I was thirty, but, alas, she was not around any more and I could not even go to her and thank her.
These are the people “of whom I am made” and they all stay one next to the other. I am them. Yuri Michailovich Lotman and my grandmother, and uncle Misha who taught me metal work, and Vladimir Fedorovich with whom I worked in the theater, and so on. All of them are me. In some miraculous, mysterious way I have resulted from all of this. And if you look that way, first, at yourself and then, away from yourself, you will never find yourself engaged in empty accusations or empty antagonism regarding whose world is better. And then you can talk to a man in his own language. As practice shows, that it is the most difficult art of all the arts in the world to talk to a man in the language of his own world. Then there will be no need for someone to become a revolutionary-bolshevik, or a socialist-revolutionary or some other kind of an ideological reformer and to slash oneself with a sword. Even those whom we damn inwardly, whom we see as people who ruined our life. Though you have allowed this somehow. Did it happen due to some circumstances or some wish, or some compromise—there are so many options. How many of us sinned when trying to set mother against father or father against mother from the height of our knowledge. And so on and so forth. You know, this is a part of life and it is impossible to be faultless in this aspect. Life cannot be
76 The Art of Living
improved because it is perfect. And the entire problem is in us. To what extent we understand the entirety of this perfection? To what extent do we see the possibility for the movement inside of the living texture of life towards that what, from our point of view, more corresponds the concept of human being and human life, and to what extend we have courage to respect that which we are leaving behind. Not respecting that which one leaves behind is the same as not respecting the womb of one’s mother. We left it behind us, too. Here we have a very subtle situation which requires the ultimate attention, the ultimate power of memory, the ultimate preciseness of action and comprehension. The matter is not what is bad and what is good, one needs to give up this criteria “good” or “bad,” “higher” or “lower” and to approach things in a different way: all those things which are called good and bad, higher and lower and so forth are cast together in a boiling kettle of a stew called “life” and I have a plan to get what I want out of this boiling kettle. Well, if I have a plan to do something with my life and if I, in addition, have found someone else, who fits this plan, then we can unite, and from that point of view we can look at this life Then something which moves me towards my goal will emerge, and from the primordial living chaos of life I choose direction and make a leap towards reality. Every community of a socio-psychological world always wishes that its representatives break through to a position that is seen as a higher position. All that is alive intends to occupy some room. Every socio-psycho-logical world longs to extend to the whole of humanity.
It is one thing to work, for example, in a factory. The factory, however, is not a world, it is a factory. You can be whatever you want but as far as you came to the factory, you establish some minimal amount of contacts and then you leave. The world, since you have entered it, demands that you study its laws and, if you want to live in it, you must adapt yourself to it, you must become similar to those who are in this world. You have to put yourself into the limits of permitted norms of freedom. There is a diversity, but it is in the limits of permitted borders. And the world is larger than the people that compose it. The world is composed of traditions and social inheritance— it is a bulk of things.
Raise hands those for whom keeping a goat on the balcony of a tall city building, with the purpose of feeding children with the goat milk, is a normal event. Is there anyone for whom this looks normal? Now, how many peasants do we have among us? One, two.
Part One 77
three, four—here is something of a peasant in your line and the rest have nothing at all. I can ask a lot of questions of this kind. Because I am preoccupied with it. It came suddenly to my mind when I was fourteen and since than, when I saw a man from the other world with whom I was not familiar, I used to cancel everything! I did my best in order to meet him. to visit him, at least once, to talk to his parents and only after that I could relax. Because it was not a theoretical world, I had to immerse into it and then to return back safe and sound.
Usually man does not realize all that. Now, after you have received from me this new tool, you can remember hundreds of instances from your own and other people’s experiences when somebody is tormented by the fact that he is lacked up in an alien world, he does not understand what they want from him. and they do not understand why he does not obey the rules… You see, this is not a simple situation. Our culture does not operate with this idea. It is present neither in our mind nor in the texture of our psyche. Nobody taught us this things although the modern world with great intensity mixes people belonging to different socio-psychological worlds, and we have to search for a normal solution of the problem of people fitting together… This is a work for the psychologists, teachers, people doing social planning, therapists, etc.
The problem which we are discussing now is not of the conventional norms that are identical almost for everybody. This is an entirely new socio-psychological world and you can enter it provided you have an admission card. And what is that admission card? Each time it is something different. You visit a spiritual community, they look at you and ask: “Do you have the admission card?” “Why?”—and they explain. This way I learned that I already have eight initiation passes needed for the admission. And I did not know that I had them.
How do they distinguish these admission cards, how one knows that you have them? How they communicate between themselves? God knows. However every world requires a special ID. If you develop a fast grasp of what is that ID, then—knock-knock—and you are inside. Later you will anyway give -yourself away—”OOPS! We have admitted an alien person!”—and then you find yourself in another story. However, you remain yourself. This is not an awfully difficult thing, actually it is quite simple, but somehow it does not come to mind. They are aware of it while you are not. We think that our brain is our property, a subjective room
78 The Art of Living
for our consciousness. Still things enter our mind and leave it too. One has to get rid of that internal space—it should be locked and he must be in charge of what comes in and what goes out. This is frightening because there is a psychological problem of people who imagine that they are being watched, followed, manipulated. However, there are things which escape any control. On our side we have first of all those who belong to our socio-psychological world. In any crowd you will instantly recognize those belonging to our world, their appearance might surprise you, nevertheless you will recognize them. You will find them in a Railroad Station, in a train during a long journey and in an unknown town.
Once I heard a story from a man who went in his car abroad driving through East European socialist countries. In Poland he discovered that he is followed by a car with the Soviet plats. So he was followed. He kept cool for a long time after which he stopped his car and waited. The other car came nearby and a man from that car said to him: “Listen friend, let us travel together.” Those two did not fit together. One guy wanted to travel alone and the other guy could not stand traveling alone, he needed somebod> for a company. Another story: “Let us live together.” Where together, in your world or in mine? Or in a third world? Or should we travel? This is crucially important to understand, when you are inviting somebody to be together—where together?
I want to share with you some of my reflections which may help us tomorrow to address the “Father” theme. Often people are trying to create a new world, especially when they love each other, or to find a solution when they live in two contradicting worlds, to find a new world. It is well known that any attempt to build a world for two is doomed because this is not a new world but an escape from the world. And since the escape from oneself is an escape from one’s socio-psychological world, then it is clear that one cannot escape from oneself. I know that this produces a lot of tragedies. If we look at the world literature, we will realize that most of it is being nourished by those impossibilities. Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the beginning of the play discovers that his mother is quite different from what he thought she is, looking at his father, and that she is quite comfortable with Claudius. By the way, only very few people realize this. When talking about Hamlet I instantly remember several life stories in which a similar thing happens: a son or a daughter discover to their great surprise that their parent is quite comfortable with a new partner. To build a new world in this case
Part One 79
means to find a new world that potentially can become a common home for those two, three or ten people. This is a creative, i.e. non-standard work. I often think why these particular persons join our groups, why they become disciples. I familiarize myself with the world which is a result of the multiple activity. To create a world does not mean to control it. The world is a living thing. However, I can rightfully declare that the world of the School is an outcome of my personal impulse. In a certain sense I am its parent though it does not mean that I understand everything in it and that I wished and planned everything exactly the way it is. If I wished and planned that way. nothing would come out of that. I have discovered it with the help of my Teacher. And why I have been looking for it? Because I have been thrown out of the world which was supposed to be my home. Those who have gathered over here have been thrown out of their worlds. Most of them were lost, homeless. They wanted to find a world that would satisfy their need, that has existed somewhere, sometimes, or even exists now. but is not available in the local area. And they began acting. There are only two ways to act. One way is to move in space, if it can be solved by changing place, the other way is to start creating one’s own world. In other words, one has to search for others who are homeless, like oneself, and to establish all kinds of associations based on friendship, ideas, business, etc. One has to get involved with some kind of activities, with some kind of societies, circles, theaters. One has to help this world to grow, to become embodied. It will surprise you the way everything that is alive surprises us. The creation of this world took me twenty years and then I needed three more years to figure out what is it. and then I needed three more years to realize that it is good because it is alive, and if I do not like some thing in it, that does not matter. If it had only things which I like, then it would be not a world but a construction, a work of art. a sterile world. When we look at God as a Demiurge, i.e. the Creator of the world, then we speak of God Father. When we make a goal of creating a world, even a small one. we become identified with God the Father. When we simply speak of the Father, we get caught between Good and the Father. li is so because that father whose voice we hear from the mother’s womb is already God. He seems to be and not to be, and he is something doing with mother. Imagine the situation of a fetus that already possesses some kind of perception in mother’s womb feeling that nearby, though invisibly, there is somebody besides the mother. And when we are
80 The Art of Living
being born and leave the mother, we get acquainted with the Father. There are two parents. Father is in a way an infernal creature with whom one is supposed to get acquainted. The one possessing some kind of power. Later we may discover that the father loves mother, but this will happen later. So this father, the real one, the biological father, or sometimes not a biological, but our father anyway is presumably the author of the world into which we come leaving our mother’s womb. Presumably, because in our culture, according to the principle of social inheritance, according to the power that he possesses in his relation to us, we live in a patriarchal world.
This lasted very long. Now when growing up, we ask sometimes, in what way does the father relate to this? Sometiines we pity him for that, sometimes he awakes in us a certain emotion of unsatisfied expectations, almost disdain, or let us put it this way: sometimes we discover that the mother, she is a father as well. It happens this way too. And we find that, actually, the author of this world is someone else. And then we get a projection in which God appears as the ideal father, i.e., first of all, the omnipotent one, for he must be the author of this world and its creator. And the forgiving, because a child should be forgiven, he is not guilty as far as he is a child. Well, he dropped a cup. And then—seeing and perceiving everything, for he must guess what we cannot even say. And the omniscient too because he must give answers on all our questions. I.e., an ideal father. Then an absolutely wild story can occur when a real father and an ideal father are not the right fathers and when there was no lack with the father. However, this all happens in mother’s womb. Now who is the Father that walks outside of the social womb when we say: this life is our mother’s womb and it is our mother17 What does he hear from the other side? Who is he who touches our mother, who kisses her, embraces her, who besides us makes her so happy, who besides us is she waiting for? With whom she betrays us while we are sitting in her womb? Whom do we envy so much still in the womb and with whom do we compete while still in the womb? Who is he who has more rights than we? Who is our father? Today I will restrict myself to only asking these questions, but I would like you to think about your father during the time between our today’s and tomorrow’s meetings. And those who consider themselves fatherless should think about this, too. You had a father. Think about that layer of life’s impressions that are being formed in a child in
Part One 81
mother’s womb in relation to somebody. One is not aware of this though it is being sealed in us forever, this complicated feeling towards father. Relations towards the father are never simple. Even if it is mutual understanding, it is different from that relations which one has with the mother. Without this new awareness of your relations with father and with mother, and the differences between these experiences, without this new attitude towards it, you will never obtain the living flesh of your next birth, of your next father and next mother. I would never dare to talk to the entirely unknown people, not knowing their personal life stories, about the “pathology of the everyday life” if I had no positive suggestion. Because one can present this subject in a way that you would never get out of it to the end of your life. The main point is that, getting familiar with this theme, turning it around in different manners from a place where one can see it. one produces a positive aspiration. Not without a reason we have met with Pavel Florensky and we talk about Mother and Father not only in the light of our original birth, but also in the perspective of our future, our second birth.
To Take And To Give
Our poet Ivan Krvlov wrote a remarkable fable:

A pig under an ancient Oak-tree
Having eaten acorns to his heart’s content.
Fell asleep under the Oak-tree,
Then woke up. opened his eyes and began
Destroying the roots of the Oak-tree.
The Oak-tree in this fable talked to that pig and explained that acorns are growing on it, but the pig ignored all this information. In
* Ivan Andreyevich Krylov (1769—1844). a Russian writer, an author of fables, a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Science. N.V. Gogol designated Krylov’s fables as “a national book of wisdom.”
82 The Art of Living
this poem there is a harsh truth concerning the two life principles: the productive principle and the principle of consumption. Those principles operate also in human relations. We may say that the principle of consumption is an infantile principle because it comes from the relations with the mother, from the initial relations that can be described in the following way: “Mommy is warm! Milk is sweet! I suck it! I suck it! What a paradise!” The productive principle is the father’s principle; in order to win father’s approval, encouragement and love one has to do something, i.e. to be productive. In this perspective and according to the way people create their relations with the world, one may speak of two kinds of people. There are those who, in any relationship, are looking for a mother. They are looking for the initial way of interaction with mother, the way of consumption. Those people behave carelessly, sincerely, and quite cruelly. They consume and they do not feel any gratitude in the real sense of that word, because who thanks mother for her milk? When confronted with a situation that they would normally be expected to show gratitude, they experience a tremendous tension, frustration, almost a hysteria, and they passionately wish to avoid such a situation. There was such a case in my life. Once I saved my friend life. He had troubles, he called me and I came. During the following week he did everything possible to arrange interruptions in our contacts, even random contacts. Usually we qualify this type of behavior as betrayal, a strange betrayal. It was only many years later that I fully understood that there was no intention in this. It is an instinct of a man who emotionally, on the level of human relations, could not give anything, though he was most generous on the material level and was capable of helping and sharing with a friend everything he had. This is the way the process of his development went; he could only take. I do not believe that he should be judged for that. Of course he could be condemned, if one does not know why these things happen. They can be condemned if one does not know that there are people of that type who forever stay with their mothers and who are emotionally fatherless. They do not have any feelings for the father or any love that from the very beginning is based on gratitude and on activity. As it is said in King Solomon’s proverbs: “Remember the testament of your mother and the instructions of your father.” Do you see here a crucial difference? We live in the time and in a society where the institution of the family has undergone serious deformation. In the Soviet Union during
Part One 83
the nineteen-twenties, a little known sexual revolution took place. It has been orchestrated by Klara Zetkin and Alexandra Kolontay. They had a theory that closeness between man and woman is like drinking a glass of cold water when it is hot. We thought that it all came to us from the West, but we had our own free love movement in the Soviet Union.
There have been times when one could run into the local registration office, get married in the morning and get a divorce in the evening. That was the state policy and those were the state’s registration offices, so we are pioneers in that too. This has been not a casual situation, it has been a deliberate policy to destroy everything to the very foundation and then to build on these ruins something different. This policy has been aimed at destruction of the family too, so that something different would be built instead. What we have managed to build instead we all know. When I was a boy. I worked in a factory where meetings of the local Communist Party, Communist Youth organization, and the Trade Union were held. Wives filed complaints on their husbands for allegedly having love affairs on the side or for neglecting their marital duties, and all this has been taken as a quite serious matter. I have taken part in a meeting of the departmental Communist Youth organization where a complaint of a girl who allegedly had been used and then abandoned by a boy. who was a member of the Communist Youth Organization, was discussed. We men were on his side, but when he stood up and said: “I am not guilty, she seduced me,” we all voted for expelling him from the Communist Youth organization.
A family in Russia has become a sort of communal affair, and the consequences of that can be seen up to a present time. It is funny and frightening at the same time. The bottom line, however, is that by destroying the institution of the family, we have created the phenomenon of fatherlessness and motherlessr.ess. There are people who, in the realm of emotional life and human relations, are unable of taking. And there are those who always give, but are unable to take. They are sort of a motherless people who don’t know mother’s love. They are unable to take what they are offered, even though it is an absolutely unselfish mother’s gift, because they do not know what to do with it. This is one of the most serious causes of the “psycho-pathology of everyday life.” We often destroy the roots of that oak-tree that nourishes us while it is alive. I think that it is a grave problem in the area of informal intimate relations
84 The Art of Living
between parents and children, husbands and wives, and those who are in love. It is a serious defect of the emotional world and it is very difficult to correct and to compensate for. In order to compensate this disfunction of the emotional world, a highly qualified specialist has to apply a large amount of conscious effort. We all are big children, we ourselves and humanity in general. We look at the nature as if it is our mother and we take and take and take. And of course, our mother gives us what we demand though she is exhausted by our sucking mouths. We are reluctant to be born for the second time because we are awaited over there by our father, i.e. the world that will immediately put on us tremendous demands, because father’s love manifests itself in demands. Father, in this sense, sets the limits, marks the borders and instructs us in doing, acting, and creating. To be born for the second time is to find oneself face to face with world. Mother is at hand, she is nearby, but here is also a father. At one time I had a favorite question: where are the spiritual seekers who are over 30-35 years? Up to 30, there are many of them, and then, when they are older there are only a few of them. Where they disappear all of a sudden? They disappear in the social womb because there comes time to do something, to attend the father, the world, to take the responsibility for oneself, and they do not want it. It is time to return something, to produce, even the way the oak-tree produces acorns for a pig. What if this pig will begin destroying the roots? Would it not be wiser to produce nothing so that the pig could not destroy anything. One has to strive for father’s love, father does not love the way mother does and he should not. Father’s love expresses itself sternly and demandingly; one should work for it. I am not discussing those instances when a father himself is like a child, he seems to be a father and at the same time he is not a father, nevertheless somebody will come into one’s life who will be instead of a father. Now here in your second birth and you cannot hide from the father. Here is the world. It is in front of you with all of its beauty, truth, love and justice. In a certain sense we may say, that when there are both mother and father, then the unity and fullness of those two aspects, of being and meaning, is possible because being is after all mother’s power, and meaning, father’s measure. A person who lacks father’s element can neither restrict himself nor organize himself, he cannot act out of his own impulse, i.e. he has no “self” and cannot have it. He cannot obtain it in his first birth or in his second birth or in the third one of which
Part One 85
we will talk further on. For “self always has limits, this word actually means “limited” and limited from within. This is a limitation, though not an obstacle created by the others; it is a limitation established by oneself and that, strictly speaking, is determined by the knowledge of oneself. Therefore a love for oneself is feasible since one cannot love anything that is limitless, measureless, faceless, and when we read a poetic version of those thoughts given by the so called ancient authors, we cannot visualize the reality of those occurrences. Ask any spiritual seeker: “Do you want have the second birth?” “Of course,” he will say, “And the third birth too.” He wants to be “thrice born” like a “triple hero.” However, if the reality of what he is to meet is explained and demonstrated to him when he is given an analysis of his relations with his own first father, and if he is told that he has to meet a much sterner father and that it would be not easy to obtain his love, would he then look for a second birth, let alone a third one? Things have been not yet clarified with the first father. This is where it comes from: man has been replaced with a woman. The world will ask you: what have you done with your mother, with your nature, what price has the reality paid for you? And why you did not come out of hiding in a womb for such a long time? And why have you offended your dear mother? You will have to answer, and explain, and understand, and listen your father’s instructions, and learn, and become yourself, and sign the list of your deeds. This is why to know and to accumulate knowledge is pleasant and exciting for many while one is reluctant to become wise. Therefore in a certain sense of the word one may say that a man who has not been born from a social womb is fatherless because he does not know his father. When one hears about the father (even before he is born) and experiences him through the mother, one does not feel anything but fear. Instead of learning to love the father the way mother loves him, one develops an envy towards mother and a desire to take away the mother from the father. This might seem an allegory in the style of Erich Fromm, however, that which we do with the nature and which we are trying to prove as the unavoidable relations with the nature, is that not an attempt to take away our mother from our father, take away nature from the world and deprive nature of that love? Yes, every man potentially comes Jrom God, and this is being said not for consolation but in order to remind everybody of his potentiality and responsibility, because this is father’s instruction and not mother’s testament. How can a
86 The Art of Living
person who does not do anything and does not apply any effort in order to actualize his potentiality count on his father’s love? How can he think that he will not harm his mother? How can he count on love? He cannot because he does not have any share in father’s love for mother and mother’s love for father, he has no share in that, he only attempts to destroy all that blindly, passionately and aggressively, because that love is for him not a joy but a reproach. Jesus said to his Father: “Let it be not the way I want, but the way You want it.” And when we say: to put the Law chosen by one in a free act of love above oneself this is also a step towards the Father. And when we say that love is the limit of any technology, of any knowledge, of any method, this too is a step towards the Father, because the Father sets limits while mother’s love, as it is well known, has no limits and should not have them if it is a mother’s love. And when we justify a man who betrays his mother and his father are we not justifying ourselves? Is this not that about which Bible says, first remove the splinter from your own eye before you attempt to take out the grain of sand from your neighbor’s eye. And when people come to you, then who are you if you give them law and knowledge, image and limits? We say: this is the Father, or to be precise, this all is being done in Father’s name. When we talk about the Spirit being dead, about the destruction of spirituality, don’t we say that the testament of your mother and the instructions of your father were forgotten? And perhaps here, more then anywhere else, is the cause of pathology of the everyday life. It is in the loss of the father’s and mother’s elements, in the loss of the correlation between the consumption and production. It is a great idea of Florensky of two truths: the truth of being and the truth of meaning. You remember, Sidorov quoting the ancient idea: ‘From two you become one,” Here I should put a question mark and ask both myself and all of you: “When we will become one from two?” Only when it happens, we could consider ourselves grown up people and could cleanse our life of the pathology, which we were talking about, in its diversified manifestations. Of course, there is one more ancient saying: “By increasing knowledge, one increases sadness.” Of course, it is very difficult and unusual to constantly strive one’s soul, to be involved in a constant soul’s work. It is good to read this in a poem: “The soul must labor day and night, day and night.” We are now working here for three or four days and, you know, some of us are thinking of downing a few shots of vodka and relaxing, or turning on some loud music, or even of going far away.
Part One 87
The work of a soul is agonizing until that soul does not know love. It is agonizing and the awareness is agonizing for the comprehension or. to speak more precisely, the animation of thoughts, of the meaning, the creation of the meaning—this what the work of the soul is. the soul’s labor, not the intellectual one. Though it is agonizing, however without it a human soul would never know love. Without it, besides of worries of body and some agitation of thought which is known under common term “the love fervor.” nothing will be revealed to you. Of course, one would prefer to take wings right away. One would like to have it at once, the way it was in the epoch when one could have it without any effort. Marina Tsvetayeva* wrote beautiful lines: “You cannot take my living soul, elusive like down.” You see, none can escape that which the ancients have stated and which has been remarkably expressed by Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky** “To make that which is difficult, routine, to make that which is routine, easy, to make that which is easy, beautiful.” This way one can obtain the “living soul, elusive like down.” Tsvetayeva, of course, was a great woman, precisely a woman, the rarest case in the world of art. Nevertheless, one wants it like in our childhood: to stick to one’s mother. It is good if you are ready for the sake of this “I want” to work, to create.
What makes the “work” in a common sense of that word different from the word “work” which I use? When I want something to such extent that I am ready for the sake of it to labor, then this is a creative work: to work for the sake of “I want.” But to work without “I want” is the same thing as to love without “I love.” And that is why in this seemingly simple sentence “do only that what you want to do” is a testimony of a great feat. There is no harder task on Earth then this one. All of your “I want” for the sake of which you are ready to act, most probably would not harm anybody, while those of your “I want” for the sake of which you did nothing, they will live in you like unborn wishes. For even our wishes need a mother and mother’s love simply because I want it and they need the father’s power who would say: you have to do
* Marina Ivanovna Tsvetayeva (1892-1941). a distinctive Russian poet and literary
** Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky (Alexseyev) (1863—1938), a theatrical
producer, an actor, a mentor, a theatrical theorist, and the author of the system of
actor’s training known as “Stanislavsky system”. In 1898 Stanislavsky founded the
Moscow Drama Theater
88 The Art of Living
this, my dear son, my daughter. This is what creativity is: a distance between a design and its embodiment. And the creative act is that combination of father’s and mother’s elements, of the world and the nature, of meaning and being, spirit and flesh. Otherwise it will be “a pig under an ancient Oak-tree having eaten acorns to its heart’s content,” who after she fell asleep and digested the food, woke up, opened her eyes and began solving the task of increasing the efficiency in getting down the entire Oak-tree and appropriating all the acorns, forgetting that those acorns grow on that tree and not just have fallen down from the moon. This reminds a joke about a madhouse. Madmen have been pretending that they are apples, climbed the tree, and one of the shouted: “Mary, have you ripened?”- “Yes.”- “Then jump!”—Bang!!!—”Peter, have you ripened?”- -“Yes.”- “Then jump!”—Bang!!!
Now I have expressed this thought, image, feeling and awareness. I do not think that it is a reason for sadness. Why be sad? “A sadness is eating my heart. I am ruined by it. I want to see the Father.”
What can one say about this? “Search and you will find.” It is a joyous labor because is creativity, it is a labor according to the testaments, since every man comes from God, and in the first place every man has to remember this. Once my son came to me and said: “Bah! Then I am from God too!” For a long time, he said, I thought of other people that they are from God, and I have forgotten that I am too from him. and that it is the primal thing, and I should begin with myself, find something in myself and make work that which is from God, i.e. from Father, because it is clear what comes from Mother, it has been given in technologies, in socionics, in horoscopes, all that comes from Mother, from nature. However, I myself have to construct the building.
That is what father is. He says: go ahead and do it. let us do it together. Let us do! Everything comes from God, but not everything is directed to God.
Q: What language our father and mother talk?
I.N.: You have a father and a mother. They talk differently. For example, I hold thunderstorm for a symbol. Sky and earth love each other. In what language they love each other? They use different languages.
Q: Could you talk about the mechanisms?
I.N.: I have talked a lot about that. In the course of our discourses I can only repeat that what I said today. You know that

Part One 89
one can look at this problem using the language of the interaction of two principles: father’s and mother’s.
Q: The theme of the socio-psychological worlds seems to follow the previous mutual relations of the fraternal and maternal elements in their interaction. Is this recollection correct?
I.N.: Not exactly. We discussed today how the fraternal and the maternal principles manifest themselves in the emotional relations. This does not depend on belonging to a particular socio-psychological world. In any socio-psychological world one finds people who are capable only of taking, i.e. who are familiar only with mother’s love and who relate to another person as to a mother, and in any socio-psychological world one sees those who can only give. i.e. they are familiar only with father’s love and relate to others as to a father.
Q: Forgive me. I had in mind a process of this world’s creation. After all it has been at some point created.
I.N.: When and where this is a different story in each concrete -case. And we receive these worlds, as a rule, in the process of social inheritance. I was telling you that this problem has never been discussed by a science, therefore I know neither researches nor people who dedicated themselves to researching that problem. namely, of how the socio-psychological worlds emerge and how they develop in time and space?
Another problem is how we inherit the socio-psychological worlds? Of course, this begins in the family and then, in the family circle. This is the most important part of the family, of the family circle: relatives, friends, and all those with whom we get in touch through their styles, methods of reflection, and their value structures, as well as through the system of mutual relations. We learn all this when we are under five. We know that by the age of seven one is practically formed as a character, a nature, as a pure being. One even manages to rehearse all the future plots of his life. Observe children when they are playing. They have already performed everything: how do they marry, what kind of family they will have, what career they will make, how they are going to die. I have seen children playing a funeral. They have rehearsed all their life in advance, and the main question is of what kind of plots they thought of, how those plots were colored, to what extend life will support all this or allow some changes. Practical psychologists should not neglect the world of children in the ages from three to seven or even earlier. At that age, the entire concrete life psychology with all the variations is being
90 The An of Living
formed. Then comes the stage of social education, this is the next stage. In the children’s world one can better distinguish the sources, a socio-psychological world, a degree of attachment to that world, and to what extent they are dissolved in it. Later it is more difficult to see all that. If you will learn to relate to children as equals, they will tell you so much that no Erich Fromm would imagine.
This is fantastic if one looks without prejudice at how the children are rehearsing their future life. And there you can see, whether child’s mother was a mother, whether there was mother’s love present, and it is of no importance whether it came from a mother or from a father, what is important is whether it was mother’s love which had no limitations, no conditions. And you can also see if there was father’s love present, and it is of no importance whether it came from a mother or from a father, or from a grandfather or grandmother, but it was father’s love that which determines the limits, teaches to act in the name of your “I want.” A lot depends on that, on that structure, though this structure determines not so much the basis of the socio-psychological world, but rather, of the emotional world, i.e. the structure of man’s soul.
Q: And what about spontaneity?
I.N.: Spontaneity without love is nothing but whim, diffusion. The way knowledge without love is simply death. It has no limits. Then comes the question of what kind of spontaneity it is, is it divided or undivided in itself, are the father and mother together, or it is a father alone and a mother alone, or they are in conflict with each other?
Q: How does one build his relations with the father?
I.N.: The way the father does it with the mother. At first, in mother’s womb, one establishes relation with father through mother. The primary, profound, and original impressions, the primary structure of consciousness is being formed through mother’s perception of the father, i.e. as a reaction to her relations with the father. As we know, all mother’s reactions are being impressed in that growing brain, in the womb. This is a great responsibility of the mother and of a pregnant women in general And this is our great responsibility to the nature, including the social nature, because nature is also a womb, a second womb, man’s second mother, the big mother. Everything is impressed in us. We are tied up with the nature the way the child is tied up with his mother in her womb. These engravings can be transformed through a soul’s labor, through awareness and self-knowledge.
Part One 91
I am talking presently not about love in a global sense of that word but as a certain present or absent quality. Love as a profound inner experience in a sense unites one with the object of love: with nature, human being or the world. A feeling does not unite, it singles out an object but it does not connect. Feeling is always “I.” it is my feeling therefore it is “I.” while the inner experience is something else, it is different, it is the third element. Here am I, then there is the Second, and love is the Third element. This experience unites. This why we always say that formation of any community. from a couple to a collective, is based on neither ideas nor even business, it is based on shared experience. “I have done everything for you!” “So what? You have done it. you wanted this, you wanted to express yourself as a father or a mother. But tell me, do we share anything together?”
I had complex relations with my father. There was a piece of shared experiences. He used to walk me and my brother to a kindergarten that was near his office. On the way he used to tell us fairy tales which he himself created for us. This was our shared experience. My entire love for my father is focused in this fragment, because nothing else we had in common. Later when he left us and did not live with us any more, we had a shared experience based on what he told me about philosophy. The inner experiences unite. not the feelings. Feelings, being the “I,” can come and go. The experience does not go away. Not a single experience disappears. Therefore we say that the cultivated experience is a work, experience is soul’s labor, creativity, soul’s creativity. The experiences do not disappear. They transform our soul’s essence. A soul is the totality of that which has been experienced. And this is love. Love as a feeling is, perhaps, a desire to possess. Or it is an envy in the form of love. Feeling is something that comes and goes. The experience will never vanish: that which you have experienced together, even if you want, you cannot throw away.
In a rational way we may say that experience is the third voice of love.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, it happens that a certain inner urge to give suddenly disappears.
I.N.: There are beautiful words related to this subject: “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack.” To give is mother’s nature; how can one rationalize on that? Mother does not think: I have fed him in vain.
92 The Art of Living
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, as long as a man is in a large womb and perceives everything through Mother, how can he meet the Father?
I.N.: He perceives Mother’s love for Father. And her happiness is from that fact that father loves her. And from that comes the wish to meet the Father. It might be that this wish to meet the Father that is what the wish to be born is, it might be a spiritual call for birth, for the meeting with the Father.
Q: And what about spiritual longing?
I.N.: Well, this image can consists of everything one wants. Can you specify what do you mean?
Q: The inner freedom…
I.N.: Something should be done but there is no one to answer such questions. Father can answer those questions. Mother does not know what to do. She loves. Feeds, warms, defends, and protects.
Q: And what if there is no father?
I.N.: There is no such a thing as absence of a father. If he is not in family, if he left or is just unknown, look around intently, he is always around.
Q: Perhaps one can do without a father?
I.N.: A father is needed; he is the one whom you will ask what to do. And then you will do what he tells you. A father represents the will; when we appeal to God: “Thy will be done!”, we appeal to our fathers. Will is needed, instruction is needed in order to develop in oneself this quality. Therefore without father there is no self-limitation, self-discipline, self-motivated activity. What is whirn? It is a reaction to the fact of distortion of the original blessedness, it is an irritation in regard to the unfulfilled desire. And this is very hard. Especially when a young man grows up without a father, when mother prevents him from seeing his father, and he does not meet his father, not only his blood father but does not even meet any man who might give him father’s element. For women it is hard too. Those persons remain children; “Give, give, give!” And in all the women they look for a mother being unable to give and only capable of taking. And there are those who can only give and are not capable of taking. That is neither good nor bad; it is the way it is.
Q: The third birth…
I.N.: According to one Greek myth, the gods descended to the Earth, loved the women of the Earth and had given life to half-gods. The third birth is similar to this.
Part One 93
Let us look once again, perhaps more generally, at ordinary life. There is the famous “Diamond scroll” by Hermis Trismigistus, Trice-Born, a great commandment… “As above so below, as below so above.” And there is a Mahayana Buddhist concept that “Nirvana is Sansara and Sansara is Nirvana.” And according to Lao-tzu, the “Great Square has no angles.” These three concepts, in my view, deal with the same subject. We are accustomed to arrange events, values, experiences, even our life time on the vertical scale. We say without even thinking: “this is higher, this is lower, this is even higher, this is even lower.” We never think that this type of relationship with life deprives us of a chance to discover the unity of life and being. And even the very expressions “ordinary life,” “everyday life,” “life routine” (in Russian “byt”) contain in themselves a flavor of “such a sad necessity.” Something that is not needed, not necessary, “what can one do,” as if it is a price we pay for the moments of exaltation, for those lofty revelations, for those beautiful experiences which happen sometimes in our life. When during these transitions we are remembering our life, we can recollect no more then three unusual month. Our “enthusiasm” lasted no longer then three month. Any kind of “enthusiasm,” including love experience. Three days, three weeks, three month, never longer. Why three? It is such a quality of our psyche… And the rest? Holes, holes, holes, not filled with anything, nothing but this average, everyday, routine life—without any mysticism. If from ten years of my life I remember something significant, let us say, three month, then what have I been doing nine years and nine month? Was I sleeping?
The most important part of all that is the ordinary life. Why it is most important? Because it turns out that there is almost no life. We talk about it so much, we turn it around this way and that way. we look at it from the point of view of social canons, concepts—we have been talking and talking… transaction analy-sis. inter-type relations, small groups, socionics. And what is the bottom line? Is it not that we have dreamed it all?
We have seen in our dream a lot of things. Socio-dynamics. inter-type relations, we have seen in our dream Igor Nikolayevich Kalinauskas together with Zigmund Ivanovich Freud. So what?
94 The Art of Living
Perhaps in ten years these ten days will not survive even as ten minutes of reminiscences. Truly, Great Square has no angles… Therefore, probably, one must begin with waking up, one must sleep less in order to memorize at least five year out of ten. I think sometimes that the idea to live eternally, to be young eternally appears because people do not live. It seems, well, to be sure, ten years passed by, but when you begin to recollect, well, three months is all that you can remember… How much it is needed to gather 10 years of life. One need to live 400 years in order to collect 10 years of awareness. 400 years! This kind of life. I was lucky, I got sacred books in my hands just in the right time. Since I woke up, it was when I was six years old. since than I remember everything. Everything was interesting, one does not want to white anything out, to exclude… And being precise, only when I met my Teacher and studied to the point when 1 could examine my life, only then I got my life back in its full volume… Today’s day is passing by, it is already past three P.M., we woke up a long time ago. if not according to the clock then at least psychologically… and one must keep living until midnight… You know, here we have a completely different feeling of life. You wake up in the morning and think: my God, I have a meeting with the instructors today… It is already six P.M., one has a long life ahead and so much is behind. There are people: nothing happens to them in weeks, and you—last Monday you lived your previous life. I recall a parable about a righteous man who has been warned by God that in a certain day the river will be poisoned and all people will loose their minds. He made for himself a water reservoir in the mountains, saved some water in it, and in the appointed day people all lost their minds. He drank his water for one month, two month, three month… and then his “enthu-siasm” has ended. He drank the water from the river and lost his mind and became mad like everybody.
On Saturday one meets friends. They say: “This week was blank. We saw each other last Saturday—that was yesterday ” This is the way we live, like in the “Diamond Scroll” by Hermis Trismegist: “as above so below, as below so above.”
Or the Buddhist wisdom: “Sansara is Nirvana, Nirvana is Sansara.” That is a routine. Or: “Great Square has no angles”—this too is true.
Now if you wake up then you could see other peoples dreams. Or you can become a psychologist in the original sense of that word: “the science of the soul.”
Part One 95
My Teacher, after he graduated from Moscow State University, went to see the famous psychologist Professor Leontyev.* He said: “Professor, I want to practice psychology.” And he shared with Professor Leontyev those ideas which he presently puts into practice in New York. Leontyev listened to him and then said: “Young man, you want to practice psychology as the science of the human soul. Unfortunately, I have nothing to offer you. We have age psychology, psychology of emotions, medical psychology, etc. That which you are looking for, I am sorry to say. we do not have.” But what kind of psychology can sleeping men have, anyway? They watch common dreams and their thoughts are more or less stylish.
All that I have told you during our nine meetings, all that is my subjective truth. I have earned it and became aware of it, and all that has a meaning and a real content and is constructive and positive only if one overcomes the pathological division of life into ordinary and not ordinary. This discrimination is the greatest pathology itself. There is neither ordinary nor non-ordinary life. There is life and it is said that there is an afterlife, which we will see after we die. At present, however, there is no other life except the one we are living now. We can sleep though our entire life enjoying some days, hours, and minutes and we can create big theories treating everything as just the rehearsal for that moment. However, one can also live this life, and that is completely different story. I will tell you the truth that when I have heard for the first time that “Nasreddin” means “unique” and that in the Orient Nasreddin is considered to be the spiri- tual summit, i.e. super-Nasreddin, that even Buddha could not reach that point. I felt myself a complete idiot… I began to read, to re-read all available parables and legends about this Khodja Nasreddin and the remarkable book by Leonid Soloviov I learned by heart. Read. I felt that I am imagining things, shaping myself after some odd model though there is nothing truthful, nothing real in it. I would like to thank my Master, who answering a question which even needn’t be pronounced, he said: “One must live!” I was shocked by that even more. I though: what else we are doing over here? We live, don’t we? Who asked us whether we want or we do not want? Not long ago it suddenly
* Alexey Nikolayevich Leontyev (1903-1979), a prominent Soviet psychologist. His main works were dedicated to the problems of genesis, biological evolution and the development of the psyche
96 The Art of Living
fleshed through my mind: yes, indeed, one must live. It turns out that nobody wants it because it is the most difficult, the most interesting, the most mysterious, the most spiritual, the most mystical, and the most occult—whatever you want—most of the most! This most of everything is to live. It is clear that Herrnis was indeed the Trismegist, the trice born, he finally came to a discovery and decided: “If I tell them simply that one should live, everybody in this ancient Egypt including the Pharaoh will laugh at me.” He decided to do it in a clever way. And he said: “As above so below, as below so above.” He named this “A Diamond Scroll.” Everybody can interpret this the way he wants. And the Buddhist sage has been thinking, thinking and finally hinted: “Nirvana is Sansara and Sansara is Nirvana.” Now you guys think of what I have said. However Lao-tzu has done it the best way sitting on a bull back to front. He simply said: “Great Square has no angles” so that everybody understood. And here is the paradox. We want million things, we want that and we want this, however we do not want to live. Not very much. Yes, some want to live long though they do not know for what purpose. We are so brainwashed with this ideas of ordinary and not ordinary, routine and not routine. You know, we have read good books, in that books nobody pisses or shits, or sleeps, or eats, or if one even eats something, then he eats things which one would not find in stores. And we have been explained that this is a condensed life. That is what we want: something condensed. Mix it with little water and here it is life. Well, now we are sitting here and talking, this is also life, it goes on and on. Checking your watch, you realize that it is not too late yet… Checking some other watch, you see nothing, all is enigma, mystery… I think, that the most important thing which one should learn is—to live. To feel the living texture of life. It exists everywhere, in any form, at any moment. Reading religious texts one finds a question: what is grace? I think, this is grace, it is here, always present whatever you do, in whatever situation you would get. I understand Aurabindo and the Mo-ther, they completely gave up sleeping… it is pity to stop feeling this contact with the texture of life even for a few hours; this is the top pleasure—of consciousness, body, and spirit, this is the ambrosia, the food of gods, and ii is not somewhere, in the other time and space, it is here.
One should wake up the way we are waking up in that moments of our life which we can never forget. Everybody has something in his life, that he never forgets. Everybody has this
Part One 97
feeling: I lived. I was alive at that time! I lived! I was alive for half an hour, three days, that week, that night… It is wrong that one should permanently live this way. it is wrong that one needs some emotional kick, some vibration in the body, some itching in the head, and that otherwise there will be no such a feeling. Then the yogis are idiots, when they say: “A glassy surface of a lake, a mirror ancl peace of mind.” This is needed in order to enter, to merge with this living texture, to experience this bliss, to feel the taste… And then we can play that game in the ordinary life or the extraordinary life. All this is nonsense, the world is perfect, truly perfect, and we are perfect too, truly perfect. Humanity is still young, all this structure of social inheritance, the so called upbringing, the so called education—all this is imperfect, still young, but in all times. all nations have produced—in accordance with the great law of dispersion—Lao-tzu, Hermis. Sankara. Not so long ago, our contemporary Vernadsky. being ill, has seen in a dream his destination… And there is such a fairy-tale “A Little Hunchback Horse.” you remember how a hero has rejuvenated over there?.. Where did he jump to? Into boiling water. Into life. And where did he jump from there, what was the fixture? An ice-cold pot of the meaning. And here is Ivan-Tzarevitch. He woke up!
There is. indeed, a sense in making efforts in this direction, in the direction of the one who woke up, because everything become completely different: the mystery of death, the biological and social age. One gets dizzy even when talking about that which is revealed over there. It is frightening though not in a sense that someone will get frightened or will be punished for saying “no.” Why you are alive, why?.. And it is painful then, very painful. Although I similarly sense my identity with this—I am trying to express this in a more contemporary and more simple words—being an interpreter, the way Sankara was, though a domestic brand. However, there are some things in which the most accurate statement seems to be rough and wounding the texture of life. Of course, it is hard to picture at first, one feels loneliness and pain and strange fatigue, one has ho get accustomed to this… One has to cherish oneself with some delicate motive, the vertical dimension should not be killed at once, one should gradually bring together heaven and earth, top and bottom, Sansara and Nirvana. It all depends on luck, on chance, on what and whom one can hears. And this is good! It is good because one should not forget anything neither consciously nor unconsciously. It is also good because you
98 The Art of Living
are alive and everything around you is alive too, and the meaning is being revealed literally in everything. If one says in a different language these words: “God is in everything,” then all those renowned sayings reveal their living profound meaning and flesh. Sometimes we think that the goal of our strivings is that which is “better,” or “the top,” or “the bottom.” This happens in our childhood as a result of the projections, say, the ideological projections and million of other projections. The bottom line, however, is that in those projections we are trying to get rid of that which we perceive as unpleasant, heavy, bad, etc., we are trying to focus on good things, on the ideal, and this leads us into a delusion, and because of that we miss our life. Of course, Buddha was right giving us an eightfold path leading towards liberation and freedom from suffering, though the problem is not in getting rid of something. Yes, you could liberate yourself from suffering and reach Nirvana, but you will lose Sansara. Sansara is Nirvana and Nirvana is Sansara. The objective is not to get rid of something but in finding a meaning for everything, in co-experiencing all that is alive,
Imagine that you get rid of grass or a particular type of a tree, then the forest would not be the same. Can you get rid of a season, let say, spring or winter? How can one remove something from the world? Even in the case when it is possible, would it be better, more perfect? No, it would not. The entire history of humanity proves that any attempt to remove a part from a whole produces wounds, blood, pain, and losses. In order to see that, one should try to wake up.
But there is no need to torture oneself with these odd questions; you may just simply remain asleep. If you woke up, and if you really lived every moment of your life, then you have nothing to get rid of. What is it that you can get rid of? Life? Do you want to cut out for yourself a nice suite from this living texture? Those are strange questions for a living human being. Life is not an occupation or a profession. It is not knowledge. To live is to live. Whatever one attempts to say about this, until one drinks this nectar, until one touches on that continuous living texture, on this omnipresence, all that could be said about it would be: “Remember those moments when you were living. Wake up, remember, and think: those moments are made not only of bliss but also of suffering…” It is hard when you forget nothing and nothing throw out. when you remember ten years—all ten years: it is life, hard and happy, fortunate and unfortunate—all that is life. Then a vertical
Part One 99
axis disappears: “as above so below, as below so above.” then there is neither “below” nor “above.” “Sansara is Nirvana and Nirvana is Sansara.” since there is neither of them. And “Great Square has no angles,” indeed it has no angles. There is only a living texture of life. And if this has happened, then you will feel the wounds on that living texture, the artificial growths, all that which we name “pathology.” The bottom line is whether one is asleep or alive, whether he wants to live or he has surrendered. If he wants to live and wants to wake up, then, whatever happens, he did not surrender and, and if he does not want to live and to wake up, then he has surrendered and rejected the gift—the awareness that every man comes from God, every soul comes from Father… The psycho-pathology of everyday life consists in the very idea of everyday life. As long as it exists, there is a pathology, because this is the main symptom of the illness that manifests itself in the following words: “I do not want to live, I do not want to be alive, I do not want to be a human being.” Instead of a human being we are a homunculus, a social persona, an individual, anything but a living human being.
There is one more theme which I would like to discuss with you during this session. It can be expressed in two concise words: “work” and “love.” If I try to bridge the ideas, then I may say that in my inner world I speak of “being” and of “meaning.” When we discuss human being then it all comes to that: “love” is “being” and “work” is “meaning.” It is not so easy to determine where being is and where meaning is. The practice of real communication with people shows that as soon as the leader stresses love, everybody becomes euphoric and excited. People bump into each other in the effort to subjugate everything to love. Then they get tired and disappointed, and everybody goes to work thinking that once again it did not work out the way they wanted. And as soon as the leader stresses work and provides a certain support for this idea, then people become excited about work. They begin working and continue for three months. After three months they are exhausted. They dream about love thinking they have worked so much without any result. What is the problem? What if instead of saying: ‘”all is work” or “all is love” we say: “All is creativity.” Let us merge creativity with work. Now let us make a little shift in the direction of creativity. I think that in this case the people’s enthusiasm will be exhausted in three weeks or even in a shorter time. Everybody will be completely drained and they will say: to Hell with creativity. This shall happen because creativity as
100 The Art of Living
a principle of life is, to quote Mr Vasilyuk* “a permanent experience of the ultimate complexity of the inner world and the ultimate harshness of the outer world” Translating this into the language of Pavel Florensky, we get: “the ultimate and simultaneous embodiment of the truth of being and of the truth of meaning.” Thus, what is it that we have as a result? To make work a principle of life is to be engaged in a permanent battle. To elevate love to a principle of life is to make everything fall apart because one cannot live constantly in euphoria. To make creativity a life’s principle is to overstrain oneself. Then there will be no place for any joy. Creativity is a permanent torture, hopeless situation, or a fatal triangle for a sleeping human being. “If you turn right, you will die. If you turn left, you will lose your mind. If you go straight ahead, you will find nothing.” Where should one go? One should sil down and wake up in this very place, on this very intersection. Thus, there is only one work and there is only one love and it is to become a living human being in the full meaning of this word, to embody in yourself the image of man and also the image and likeness in which you have been created, the image of God. The rest is a minor problem. Each time when pronouncing or thinking of work we should think of meaning. Work is meaningful only when it leads to awakening. Each time when talking about love we should think of meaning: love is only that which leads to the love of life, of life’s living texture. Each time when we pronounce the word creativity, we should remember, that every kind of creativity only has a meaning when it leads to a living human being. Thus, we have three questions: what is work, what is love, and what is creativity? And depending on what the answers are, we have the corresponding work, love and creativity. Then we have to add the fourth question: what is joy? Joy is partaking of life. It is the ambrosia, the food of gods. Every time we speak of joy. festivity, and pleasure, we speak of the meaning of bliss in the partaking of life. We have four questions. You can ask these four questions and find your answers in any life situation. To know these four questions, and to remember what is their essential meaning is to possess all the knowledge my Master possessed. He knew these four questions. At any moment and in any situation, do not forget to ask these four
* Fedor Efimivich Vasiluk. a contemporary Russian psychologist. The author of the book Psychology of Inner Experience (The. Analysis of Handling the Critical Svtuations).
Part One 101
questions and to answer them. The answers belong to a concrete problem. The questions belong to the world. Then, perhaps, you would not think so sadly about life. Life is a beautiful, marvelous thing. It is the Heavenly Bride. This is the Mystery of marriage, of betrothal with life, flesh from flesh, blood from blood. We all are Initiates, though not all of us know that. We live, and this is the highest initiation: to be born and to live. There is no higher initiation. This is the way I see it, and this is my subjective truth. To those who like it, I wish it.


Here is a fruit
of concentration: Life’s pace
is a permanent exception. There are no rules
for inspiration. The light has been poured
for God’s manifestation.

102 The Art of Living
The spiral is thrown
from the rock into the sky, The rowlock squeaks
is it truth or non-truth? Water lilies, lilies
flourish attractively… It has been paid for everything,
and life is forgotten.
Cry or don’t
what difference does it make? Was it worthwhile or not? Life, a sly prank, will sing the song its own way.
Everybody’s life
has ascent, vision, A leap
similar to the heavenly one. Heart’s blessed prophesy, A sound of the most sacred string, A mask falls down and an angels face Is being consumed with divine flame. That day, that hour,
or a short moment— The bet of the meeting with Truth.

The Human Body
It has been said that to be born in a human body is a great luck Also it has been said that man is created in God’s image and likeness. Like all other great teachers of humanity. Jesus has been incarnated in the human body.
Most of us, however, think of something biological when we speak about the “body.” By doing so we narrow the concept of the body, juxtaposing it with the soul or spirit, which we interpret as something alien and external to the body. It is a habit that makes us distinguish between that which is beautiful and not beautiful, corporal and not corporal. However, when we try to use in our reflection the concept of the body in the same way as we reflect on other objects, like in physics with “material objects” and “nuclear objects,” and when we make this transition of meaning and try to understand that it is great luck to be born in a human body and that the spiritual leaders of humanity were incarnate in human body, then we could switch from the ordinary level of perception of the idea of “human body” to another level of perception.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the term “body” also is being used to designate other levels of human existence: the astral body, the casual body, and even the bodhi body. This has been done not without a reason, since in the final analysis, the idea of the body is a means of putting limits to our individual self, i.e. the exclusive and unique individual life of everybody. When we perceive the body as a necessary presence of a form, a necessary presence of a limit, then we understand a real beauty of this work of art and a real chance of perceiving a human being in its integrity. We can progress on our way which we have chosen by introducing the idea of the instrumentality. In this way, we will be able to comprehend the actuality of every aspect of the body named the “human being.”
We are used to seeing the words dealing with human being as having only a single meaning. If we speak of a “thought.” we hope

104 The Art of Living
that everybody conceives it as identical in volume, in meaning, in function and in its actual content. In fact it doesn’t happen this way at all because this word signifies at least ten entirely different things, processes and ideas. We say “soul” and this is rather a poetic generalization of many different phenomena. We say “flesh” and it seems that the word has one single meaning, but it is again not so because we also say “in flesh,” “incarnate,” “incarnation” and so forth.
Limitation is a feature of every form. And there is a limitation of consciousness. Not without a purpose Mr.Mamardashvili* noticed that all that could be said definite of consciousness is that it is something that is limited. If we summarize all that we can definitely and unconditionally state about human being, it will be that he is something that has a limit or confines. Such a definition necessarily brings about the following reflex of perception: we ask: in what way is he limited? Can’t one transcend this limitation? But transcendence is not a negation of the limitation. Even the bodhi body, that aspect which is considered as the most subtle aspect of the great integrity named “human being,” is limited.
We get accustomed to interpret “border” as “limit” or “obstacle” and we see it as a synonym of “cage.” However:
“any form is empty and any emptiness is formless,”
“Great Square has no angles,”
11 11 1
as above so below, as below so above,
“Sansara is Nirvana, Nirvana is Sansara.”
Now turning to subjective convictions born from my personal experiences, I say: everything that we have in each of us, the totality of our ideas, considerations, experiences and impressions related to the human being (and therefore related to ourselves) can only be re-evaluated when we try to develop a new and unusual attitude towards the idea of “a border.” This re-evaluation must begin with understanding and the inner experience of the fact that the human being, like everything that is manifested, has limits.
The idea of dissolution in the limitless is an escapist idea, an idea of weakness or of a tragic awareness that man is separated from
* Merab Konstantinivich Mamardashvili (1930—1990), a prominent Georgian philosopher. J. P. Vernan called him “Georgian Socrates.” The main topic of his works was the phenomenon of consciousness, the disclosure of the spiritual potentials of a human being. (See Bernard Murchland. The Mind of Mamardashvili, Ohaio, 1991, Kettering Foundation.
Part Two 105
God though he is made in God’s image and likeness. However, b> this very fact he is limited in space, he is limited in knowledge, and he is in no way limitless. Yes, he is limited. If the Great Average could comprehend this seemingly simple idea, neither “communism’ nor the concepts of the formation of a “new” human being, nor an> of these kinds of experiments with human beings would be possible In a narrower perspective, this understanding is the only thing thai stops the pendulum swinging between self-belittling and megalomania. In fact it is not pettiness or greatness that matters, bui limitation. Not a limitation in the common sense of the word, bui limitation per se. Therefore before one speaks of the conscious interaction with reality (though that conscious interaction is also a figure of speech because we ourselves are reality) one needs a direct inner experience that in fact connects us with reality. Spiritual seekers are using different means leading to the acquisition of this inner experience, since, as it is commonly known, only experience unites while feeling separates. Only in a total experience of oneself as reality one can comprehend such ideas as: “Sansara is Nirvana, Nirvana is Sansara” and “Great Square has no angles.”
One needs not only to comprehend this but to embody in oneself a total experience of oneself as reality and that is a ver> difficult task because inner experience is an extremely intimate event. One cannot share this experience with anybody, one can sometimes reveal it. Experience is a unique thing, it belongs to a subject and only to him.
“In order to contemplate truth one does not need words, words are needed to transmit it.” In order to share the experience one has to embody it in one’s own existence.
“Enlightenment does not happen as a result of work, but il never happens without work” (Osho). Thus, in order to embody this experience, in order to create conditions for such an event one musi first of all realize that the human being (like everything that is manifested) is limited in all the aspects of his totality. To reach those boundaries is the number one task. But one cannot leave those confines. When leaving them, one ceases to exist. This total death. destruction of a form and destruction of confines is nothing bui a subtle longing for suicide. Suicide is condemned as the heaviest sin in all religions and spiritual traditions, because it is seen as an attempt to assassinate the incarnate Spirit.
So we are limited. The question is now, how to reach and recognize oneself? This is one of the fundamental questions.
106 The Art of Living
The process of socialization rests on two illusions: an illusion that the confines are set from the outside and an illusion of the limitlessness of human potentials. The first illusion is based on the fact that the human being as a biological and social creature is “made of people” and therefore one human being is super-sensitive to another. Indeed in the process of growth and socialization limitations are being set from outside. At first those are limitations of the mother’s womb, then the limitations of one’s own body (when the infant begins to realize that it is his little finger, his eyes. etc.). Then one perceives the limitations of the world’s image determined by the father, mother and other significant people. Those limits constantly expand and so the second illusion arises, the illusion of expansion, growth and progress. The confines widen and it seems that the expansion and development is only deterred by the others. An illusion of the eternal expansion is being formed in the process of living, gaining knowledge and growing up. In most cases, we are so ignorant of our real confines that it is easy to imagine that to reach them one needs thousands of incarnations. In eighty 1o one hundred years it is absolutely impossible to reach one’s confines with a speed that is set by the Great Average. Let us not forget that in order to initiate this process one has to get such an idea into one’s head. The second illusion takes care of preventing most of the people from comprehending that idea. This illusion is based on the empirical experience of expansion that creates a feeling of man’s limitless potential for spiritual growth and his limitless ability to increase knowledge, so that only the resistance of the external reality sets for him temporary limits. He is inclined to believe that by overcoming this resistance one can acquire a limitless power.
The illusion of endless expansion, plus an absolutely vicious idea of our limitlessness, put into our consciousness a mechanism that motivates belief in a miracle, in limitless possibilities and creates conditions in which a human being can never arrive at the idea of limitation and can never get a chance to reflect on oneself as an integral being, as a body. This is how it happens that a human being gets used to considering his body only that which is limited by the skin. Even when he meets in spiritual, esoteric literature such concepts as “astral body” or “mental body,” he omits the word “body” and speaks of “the astral plane,” “the mental plane,” etc. He went out to “the astral plane.” Who went out? The “point of awareness?”
Part Two 107
That is absurd. The point of awareness, as it is known, is zero in a system of coordinate of a whole. Thus, the global idea, the concept and the meaning are the “limitations.” It is extreme!) difficult to understand this idea. First of all, it is psychologicall} difficult and then it is practically difficult because one must be able to find or to create such a micro-social structure, or a group working on this concept. This is tremendously complicated because there is a great number of sidhi. “the flowers along the way,” and our intellect does nothing else but serves our appetite. Ii is a most difficult thing to activate our need in total self-realization, to transfer oneself from social programming to the programming b> the spiritual community this is the most complex independent goal Only when the real limitation is discovered from within is there a chance to touch on reality as such, the reality that is external in relation to its own limitation.
All of you have heard about the seven covers of Maya. In one of the ancient texts it is said that these seven covers are seven bodies physical, energy, vital, astral, mental, casual and the body of bodhi Seven bodies, seven covers, seven alleged confines. In this way, still other illusion of movement and expansion emerge which in fact is nothing else but a transition from a small cell to a slightly bigger one. In order to realize one’s limitation one has to go through experience. This is one way. The second way is to break straight through, figuratively speaking, not by comprehending oneself but b> gaining the inner experience. Like Maharshi*. He experienced himself as a whole, he discovered himself as the realit) and he encountered his presence in it as the highest value. These few words describe his entire experiences. It seems that easy but, as we know, Maharshi is unique. He has a lot of followers, but I still have not heard that any of them made it. The inner experience is an individual one. In order to overcome a standard program one needs another program to be inserted into him in a special way. When “transcendence” is mentioned, it is necessary to clarify in regard
* Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi (1979—1950), one of the greatest spiritual teachers of India of the first part of 20th century. He discovered a method of Divinization through the spiritual Self-inquiry (vichara). The core of that method is not a rational but a metaphysical question “Who am I?” According the standards of Hinduism. Maharshi has reached during his life the highest degree of Divinization (See: Genrich Zimmer, The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi with the Introduction by Carl Young).
108 The Art of Living
to which of the imaginary borders this transcendence takes place. If it is a withdrawal from the limitations of that which we usually call the physical body, it will be one kind of transcendence; if it is a withdrawal from the habitual “I-concept,” it will be the other type; if it is a withdrawal from the limitations typical for the psycho-energy relationship, it will be the third type; but all those withdrawals are after all only the illusions of withdrawal One cannot withdraw from oneself in the direct meaning of this word. To withdraw from oneself is to cease to exist, to destroy oneself, lo lose one’s shape. Even the body of bodhi has its limitations. Therefore when with a new method or a system of organization in a field of consciousness, the development of psycho-energy or functional resources of the body, somebody discovers that he went out somewhere, then first of all it would be worthwhile to think that he made a hole in a wall between two cells. Only in such a case this event can mark a new beginning. If one believes that he went out into the open cosmos so that now he can communicate directly with the cosmos, with God, with teachers from the star Orion, then it is bullshit based on ignorance. It is not just ignorance but a programmed protective system which was inserted into him in the process of socialization. Only children, who have grown up in extraordinary families where the unusual limits have been set. only they can instantly switch to different programs.
Thus, these two illusions of the externally set limits and of the limitlessness have produced the idea of false progress, the idea of boundlessness. Condemning the political and criminal boundlessness, we sympathize with this idea of boundlessness in relation to a human being. This is what should be treated as spiritual communism or fascism. It is the very same idea, that in society produces communism, fascism and all other systems aimed at changing the proportions of a human being, shaping people according to a premeditated ideal. Now this idea has been transplanted into a spiritual dimension. To have a limit is not “bad” because only through it we learn about the existence of the whole. Only by reflecting on the limit as the essential thing can we experience a reunion with reality. It was once rationally expressed in a formula: the movement of the whole in the whole in the point of the coordinator through zero transition. In this sense we are immortal. There is no need for other proofs of immortality. The trap begins when we reduce the concept of the body to the limits set by the skin.
Part Two 109
The next problem with the concept of the “body” consists in the fact that we are neither comprehending it nor experiencing it We have entrusted the study of this limited by the skin object to the “specialists.” Since we do not study it. we receive all information about it mostly from the outside. We do not experience it and therefore we are not connected with it as subjects, hence it is noi ours in the strict sense of the word. Neither the physical body not the other seven bodies belong to us, they belong to Maya and in this sense they are alien to us.
The point is that we are born first biologically, second, socially and third, spiritually. All of those bodies are given to us personal!) and we must be masters of them. All that was created in God’s image and likeness! With our first attempt to take hold of it, it is said to us: let us help you, let us take charge of it instead of you This is similar to the military extension syndrome: it is good in the army because there is nothing to worry about; everything is scheduled and taken care of. Life in the Great Average is established on that very principle: give us this, this and this too and in exchange we will make you free. “Freedom from.” as it is well known, is the greatest temptation. For what purpose is it being offered? In order that one be easily manipulated and adapted into society, thai he would conscientiously follow the rules of the Great Average study and follow social conventions. For doing that one is freed from responsibility because there is a boss, a leader and he takes all the responsibilities. Of course one may say from the point of view of the reincarnation theory: well, this is my karma, in this incarnation my body is used by those who want it and I have no business in it. 1 am only a taxi driver. In exchange I have been free of responsibility for this huge, incredible household and I have rested in limitlessness as much as I wanted. This is how the anxiety arises: make something with me, free me from myself!
Does turning away from a difficult and sometimes tragic task of comprehending oneself as the image and likeness of God and from experiencing oneself not mean turning away from the mosi important work and the most important destiny? This becomes available for comprehension, understanding and inner experience only when the simple principle of the limitation of all that exists is adapted. This is so because the image and likeness already imply a limitation. And then—yes! Man is great, indeed great, he is an amazing product, an amazing creature! However, it turns out that in reality most of the people prefer to experience themselves small
110 The Art of Living
megalomania is also a way of feeling small. It is being done in a very simple way: a new name, a great name is given to the poinl-sized “I.” Now, I am Napoleon. An empty “I” next to a full-bodied and great name. Why should one want to know his own possessions, to understand his household, to experience oneself, since it is well known that, on the level of social needs, fear of oneself is the main regulator of behavior. Only through overcoming that fear and making the decision to be a master,” you will understand that man is not a “matrioshka-doir with one body inside another in a random order. No he is not that.
“Great Square has no angles,”
Once I shared with you a secret of real action: the mystery of real action is that it is enacted by the reality. This is not a tautology. This contains a mystery, the mystery is inherent in reality and it is not meant to be solved. It might be experienced, stored and communicated. The inexpressible is beyond expression though it is embodied. Here is a chance, however, we tend to ignore it and get stuck in a rut. We are trying to express “everything,” where “everything” is interpreted by us as the reality as such, and are missing an opportunity to experience, to feel, and to grasp intuitively the other possibilities of interaction of the whole with the whole.
While meditating, reflecting in this perspective on the concept of “love,” first of all we should see that it has two aspects: love as a feeling and love as an inner experience. Love as a feeling is an expansion, it has been described in literature, psychology, it has been witnessed by the arts. Only turning to the idea of “divine love” we discover love as an inner experience and it opens up the possibility of touching another person. Abby Silg* said: “Love is an elimination of a distance.” In love as an inner experience we may discover our true limitation. In other words, we may discover ourselves. In love as a feeling we cannot discover ourselves. Love as a feeling has a direction, it is an action, in the feeling we discover only our potentials. The more complex the expression of the i’eeling is. the greater its mobilization, the greater is the awakening of different potentials for our functioning. At the same time in love as an inner experience we have a chance to discover ourselves. One cannot discover oneself without another person. What does it mean to discover oneself? It means to get beyond one’s limits at least in
* Abu Silg is a name given to the author of this book at his Sufi initiation.
Part Two 111
one aspect. In case of a total experience one can discover oneself in all aspects, to experience oneself and to reach out to other people This is a birth, a very subtle state, it is subtle because discovering oneself in the inner experience as the reality you discover the realit> of another person. Then a moment comes when two become one remaining at the same time two. It was once said about this experience that it is a place where God lives. It is a place in which two become one remaining at the same time two.
Experience gives us a chance to observe the Law of the Pearl in respect to the outer world as well as in respect to the so called inner world. It is a law according to which the old is not replaced by the new, and every new layer does not cancel the old one. This is how. layer after layer, a pearl is formed. Only in such a case, experiencing and comprehending oneself and another person, will you be formed into a whole. But if you are acting unconsciously following the direction into the limitlessness then you will abolish every preceding level on the ground that it is out-dated and not needed any more Then there will always be emptiness behind you and nothing solid will be formed. Then the peace that leads to the experience of being in the reality will never come to you because there will be nothing that could remain peaceful. There will be no Human Body as your body and there will only be anxiety under the name of “progress.” It goes without saying that the concepts produced b> anxiety will be reflective to it.
Limitlessness or, literally speaking, the absence of any kind of body and of any limitation is a lack of incarnation and a lack of the “image and likeness.” There is a certain psychological anxiety that is called “my I.” It is empty and abstract. If this “I” does not become a zero point of a coordinator to which things, that are identifiable and limited, stick then in the strict sense of the word one does not exist Then there is only life as a certain psychological anxiety produced by different causes. And there is a certain unrest around this “I.” The true “I” plus the untrue “I” equals zero. This I is needed only as an initial crystal in a saturated mixture of the real and vital texture of life in the process of the formation of this jewel of creation. Il may be the case that the core of the jewel is an ordinary grain of sand, one of many. Likewise the center of this jewel of creation i.e the Human Body, is a similar trifle, the I. With what incredible reverence do we address this little trifle which is called self-consciousness? There is only one thing that should be done with it: il should be brought to a zero mark, i.e. calmed down. It should be
112 The Art of Living
placed in the center of the system of the coordinates. It should be stabilized so that one could build upon it layer after layer until it becomes a truly complete body and reaches its full limitations—until one experiences oneself as a whole, for it is said “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Is this not a splendid idea! If we have loved ourselves for this psychological anxiety related to the dichotomy “I” vs. “non-I,” true “I” vs. untrue “I,” then we are capable of loving our neighbor only in a similar fashion; no more and no less then that. It only seems that the neighbor is so far away that there is nothing else one can do except physically bumping into him for the illusion of closeness. We are actually close to one another, but in a lotally different manner. Only when the work on the discovering and identifying oneself as a body and consequently as a reality goes on continuously, in that case any functional activity, from the gratification of our needs to the observance of social conventions, facilitates that work. As a result of this work, the position of a person, living in society, turns out to be much more profitable than the position of a hermit. Being in a world turns out to be a situation much more fit for peacefulness, for a balanced position of that stimulating substance which is called “I am.” It is so because a large variety of situations enables one, in case he has a creative attitude towards life, to balance various gravitational forces and to hold the “I am” in a stable position: in a calm zero position and in the center of the system of coordinates. To become available to oneself as a reality means to be available to oneself as a body. To whatever degree you are the master of the body that was given to you, to the same degree you are present in the reality.
This point, which has been brilliantly expressed by Pavel Florensky who wrote of the two-sided truth of a man: man represents two equally valid truths: the truth of being and the truth of meaning. Therefore from the point of view of being, we are already present in all the fullness of image and likeness. But from the point of view of meaning we should become that being, i.e. we must build up on ourselves that reality which we already are. This is the meaning of the spiritual feat: the creation of oneself for oneself. It is well known that you cannot take a part away without destroying the whole. A part in the whole has qualities which do not exist without the whole. Detaching a part from the whole changes that part, turning it into something separate and also changes the very whole that ceases to be what it was. Actually there are no “unessential details” and therefore it is absurd to reject
Part Two 113
something for the sake of the improvement. When one rejects a pan of oneself, one immediately becomes somebody else and thai somebody will be forced again to solve the problem of self-improvement and of rejecting something else. What will remain after all this? The empty I, the psychological anxiety named “life.” From the point of view of meaning, all kinds of manipulation are conceivable, even rejection of the very “I” if you have discovered for yourself that this makes sense, but nothing will happen to your being, everything has happened already. Your being is the fullness of meaning and the fullness of meaning is the fullness of experiencing yourself as reality, i.e. the body. Then these two, being and meaning balance each other. From the moment when the true balance is achieved, a real development begins as well as dwelling in reality, when you are given the entirety of “freedom FOR” without any “freedom FROM.” When the experience, which is named “samadhi.” the enlightenment takes place, then those words signify only one thing: the volume of being and the volume of meaning coincide. Only under the condition of such a coincidence one may discover the real trajectory of the movement, provided there is a movement. One can experience the presence or the absence of thai movement, as it was enacted subjectively and objectively in reality. only by acquiring one’s body subjectively i.e. through meaning and existence. The presence of those two truths, the truth of being, existing independently of the subject i.e. independently of his bod\ that is created in the image and likeness, and the truth of meaning that can be proportionate and disproportionate with being determines the situation of a human being. It determines the situation in which a human being has to conceive himself as a being and as a Body, otherwise he is doomed to be enslaved by at leasi seven kinds of illusions.
Inner experience is the source of what was declared and presented now. One cannot communicate the experience but can assist in creating a situation in which a similar experience which take place in other people. It is known that structuring takes place in the whole system simultaneously. The structuring which is being presently generated by me and received by you does not depend on either understanding, or resonance. Strictly speaking, it does noi depend on anything because it is not a part of meaning but a part of being. How much this structuring will stay in you. in your body, how much it will influence your being, depends on your intelligent activity, on your efforts. I want to point out once again that I am
114 The Art of Living
delighted to have shared Pavel Florensky’s idea of the two human truths.
Q: Do you have that which you have named “life as a psychological anxiety?”
I.N.: Naturally I possess life, but for me life is work in the sense that has already been discussed today. Then the psychological anxiety exists only as a problem that emerges as a result of the point of the coordinator shifting away from the zero position and as a result of monitoring the following process of “I” remaining zero or acquiring its own content. When it is being said that “I” is a stimulating element for the accumulation of meaning, and meaning is in experiencing oneself as a being, in conceiving oneself, then it is a situation in which, from the point of view of the outer observer, you are a “beast'” (literally “no-man” A.S.) It has been said that truth once having been expressed often looks like its opposite.
“An elephant is stronger than a man, a tiger can eat more than a man, a man is created in order to learn.” This saying has the same meaning: man has been created in order that meaning becomes commensurate to being. Therefore, by uttering “I Am.” ! may convey nothing because it is zero or I can transmit a message that I really exist, that I have comprehended my human body, and that body and meaning are now commensurate.
Q: Could one say that when Christ said : I am the Way, this had the very same meaning?
I.N.: That is right. But in a social perspective it is much more appropriate to interpret this the following way: only Christ is the way, only Christ is the justice, only He is the truth. But then who is Maharshi? A heretic?
Q: Man, dwelling in the body – is this not merely a body? I.N.. That which you call “not merely a body” is the body. All that is body as reality.
Q: Then what is death from this point of view? Does it mean that a man transforms his state?

Part Two 115
I.N.: What does it mean that he died? We can only assume thai we know the answer to that question because we are still alive. One can only create hypotheses using evidences which we consider to be reliable. Is the destruction of that which we call a biological bod\ death on the level of being? Hardly. What about the level of meaning? Quite possible. It might not be necessarily so but it is possible. When solving this problem for oneself perhaps one should approach it with a certain method. Which hypothesis will stimulate you more strongly? Stimulating the production of a meaning which is commensurate to being. If I am stimulated by the horror of endless incarnations then I will work with the maximal intensity If this hypothesis pacifies me, makes me think that there is still some time, then for this particular objective that hypothesis is not suited One can evaluate this situation only by keeping in mind the main objective. Gurdjieff has noticed that for an Oriental person the idea of reincarnation is the stimulus for a faster achievement; at the same time Christ, apprehending the nature of the Great Average in an Occidental person, announced: now or never. The point is that the personalized core which determines the spiritual activity is the same, and that is why the individuals, whom we name “those who achieved,” never “fight” between themselves, which is not the case of their followers. The core is one but there are various path leading towards it. Strictly speaking, it is of no importance what will happen after the so-called death. It does not bother me at all. From the time I began to work, and I did not care about it. I like work and that is why I do not need this kind of stimulation, there is no gap here between life and being. And in the case when one becomes aware of one’s goal but feels that psychological anxiety distracts one all the time, it makes sense to choose that hypothesis which stimulates more. In this case death is really the best teacher. For people who are full of vitality, fear of death is one of the strongest stimulus activating search for immortality. But I am not interested at all in the problem of immortality as such.
Q: Could we revert to the question of love?
I.N.: First of all one needs to understand that feelings divide while the inner experiences unite. Feelings are a certain way of self-affirmation, reaffirmation of one’s existence, for I experience feelings directed “at” somebody. But that somebody, at whom the feeling is directed, he (or she) is something else. However, the experiences unite. Therefore love as an experience is as strong as death because it implies a union with another person. The experience creates 3
116 The Art of Living
sensation of a seeming disappearance; the fear and the reflections on “who enchanted whom” and “who bewitched whom” are mixed. Various defense systems begin to work and then again a division comes in. Of course, in reality nobody disappears, you only step over the habitual borders of your subjectivity set from the exterior and you open immeasurable horizons inside yourself. Then the “I” that begins to move in those vast spaces gets afraid though it should just stay in a zero position and accumulate layer after layer.
The Theater Of Life
Everyone is familiar with Shakespeare’s statement “All the world is a stage / And all the men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts.” I would like to disagree with this. I think in our time I have serious enough reasons to disagree with this.
After many years of practice, reflection and experiments in various forms in the field of theater, I came to a conclusion that the borderline between theater and no-theater is the spectator. 1 have been lucky to have studied at Stshukin Theatrical School in an absolutely blessed epoch. After I graduated, my teacher Alexander Mikhailovich Palamishev said to me: “All right, go ahead and tell me what those ideas of yours are because I have only heard rumors, rumors, rumors…” I spoke to him and he said: “That’s very interesting. See only that you do not cross the borderline where the theater ends and something else begins.”
This was in 1971. Since then I have frequently reflected upon those words and have directed all my theatrical efforts to that end, to the search of that ultimate borderline. Then, through no fault of mine. I could not work in theater for several years and returned to theater in 1989. And today my deep conviction is that the borderline of the theater is the spectator. When there is a spectator, there is a theater. When there is no spectator, it is an end to the theater. When the theatrical people are trying to eliminate a spectator as such, to extract him from his position as a spectator, to deprive him of his right to see, think and understand in his own way, when they try to force him to participate in the action according to the rules set by
Part Two 117
the theater, then I think the theater ends and something reminiscent of a mystery begins. It seems to me that in the beginning of this century, notably in Russia, namely, in Theatrical Russia, the following incident took place: a centaur had been born named “the Mystery Theater.” That was nonsense, like “hot ice-cream,” because mystery rejects the spectator’s position in principle. In mystery there is no spectator as such and cannot be. Mystery is an act of initiation or instruction through a situation and ritual. So even if one spectator will be allowed on a thousand of participants, mystery will have no place. Observers, like journalists and cameramen, were not admitted to the mystery events, not because the myster) contained terrible secrets or things that would horrify normal people. No, they were not admitted for the simple reason that the mystery act. even a tiny one for twenty people is very difficult to combine with even one observer. In a strict sense of the word, it is impossible. The spectator must be drawn into the mystery and nobody knows what the result will be. In Russia that incident took place as a consequence of the fact that at the end of the last centurx Eastern esoteric sciences, such as Yoga. Raja-Yoga, etc.. became fashionable. An example of that is Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky, who, as we know, has borrowed (let us use this understatement) most of the exercises from the famous work Raja-Yoga by Ramacharaka. without making any reference to that book and used them in his book, An Actor’s Work on Oneself. Moreover he did it verbatim, which is easy to establish by comparing the texts Now being a genius and familiarizing himself with the principles of Raja-Yoga via his son’s tutor, he realized that this is precisely the constructive psychology which is needed to propel the actors profession forward.
We know of some other even less successful borrowings. As a result such a centaur was born. Unfortunately, I do not remember who first used this term “Mystery Theater.” but from that ver> moment this centaur’s life began and he is still living as a legend And in our time. I can still hear theatrical people “wishing” that the mystery theater be re-established. This leads to a violence in regard to the spectators. Even such prominent masters like Grotovsky* and
* E. Grotowski (born in 1933), a Polish producer, theorist and inovator of the theatrical art. In 1965-1983 he was a head of the studio “Theatrical Laboratory” in
118 The Art of Living
Brook* made these kind of attempts. Gro tovsky stumbled on that borderline and simply went beyond the limitations of the theater. Brook stumbled too and returned to theater. So those of you, who find this convincing, will accept the presence of the spectators as a criteria to whether it is theater or not.
Now let us reflect on the popular quotation from Shakespeare: “All the world is a stage / And all the men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts.” The following questions arise: Who is the author of the play? Who is the producer? Who is the stage master? Who watches this show? Who is the spectator? Now you see that this harmless poetic image, after it becomes popular and enters mass consciousness, creates an ambiguity. If I am a spectator in the theater of life (let us assume for ourselves the humblest position), then where did I come from? If I am an actor in the theater of life, then where is my home? If I am a megalomaniac and I consider myself an author of the play, then where is that reality which I embody through this play as my project? If I am on the side of the theater, then I have a project that is based on some reality. You may say to me: what if it is a spiritual theater, i.e. the testimonial theater in the sense that was used by Florensky and Gurdjieff, i.e. art as a testimony. But then I live not in this world. Then I live in some other world, the world beyond this world and I testify my other-worldliness in this world through the arts. So a very dangerous, from the psychological point of view, situation occurs; as soon as a human being for various reasons sincerely agrees with Shakespeare, not just mentally agrees, but as a life program, then the construction of life begins. And the construction of the human being begins also.
After all, what exactly is the show? It is a unique world with its own chronoiype and its own inner rules. A producer is fond of his profession because he has a delicate feeling of being a demi- urge. A living thing is being created by him out of nothing, out of many nothings and it exists, it breathes and lures people into itself. This approach leads to the following exciting project: “We will destroy the whole world of violence. We will level it and then we will build..” It is a fine project for an exciting play if enacted on a theatrical stage. But if someone looks at life as a theater and “produces life”
* Peter Brook (born in 1925), a prominent English producer. He staged in King’s Schakespeare Theter William Schakespear’s plays Hamlet (1955), King Leai (1965). Since 1974 he is a head of the International experimental workshop in Paris.
Part Two 119
and turns people into actors and everybody plays a role determined by him. then we get an aesthetic violence. There is an interesting play by Evgeny Schwartz entitled “The Dragon.” I have produced it tour times. I am madly in love with it. Being a student and studying in the Department of Theatrical Production. I wrote mosl of my papers on that play. It really is a beautiful work. I made an absolutely unmistakable thing, I determined the super-task for thai play in the following manner: “Nobody will bring us liberation. neither God, nor Tzar, nor hero.” At the end of the play Lancelot. the hero who killed the dragon (according to Schwartz and to the play, not to the producer Zakharov) says to everybody preseni to the executioners, and to their victims: “I love you ALL! And sinct’ I love you. we will be happy. We will be very happy after all!” Then the crew starts applauding. I made the curtain jerk as if it is closing and the audience begins applauding too.
This happens on stage. But in life, when people take life for theater, they erect monuments to Lancelot and these monuments art-still standing around here in Russia, not all of them have been cast down yet. We were instructed on those monuments, we were told “You should model your life according to them,” i.e. here is an ideal performer of the role and you are a young artist just starting up and if you want to be a hero then go ahead and rehearse, suppress yourself, restrict yourself, drive inward all that does not fit the idea but be and correspond to the model. This is the social aspect of the play in the theater of life.
The second aspect of this problem is even more complex and could arouse in some people a negative reaction, but I remind you once again, I am expressing here my personal opinion.
In the so-called esoteric literature of various traditions, we read about psycho-technical means of structuring our inner reality and we find (under different names and practically in all traditions) h mentioning of the necessity of bringing into our own iriner realit) the so-called uninterested observer. This is necessary for the development of a stable self-consciousness or for a crystallization the names of which vary among the various esoteric traditions. Now let us consider that if a person plays a role of the uninterested observer, then he is a scholar. Then life turns into a technological act, i.e. we have an initial product, at the end we want to get y different product, and in order that the technology can be applied, we use the uninterested observer in ourselves or we use for this purpose a mentor, no matter what he would be called. A mentor is
120 The Art of Living
also a kind of an uninterested observer. If our inner observer suddenly becomes an interested observer (it is very difficult to be an uninterested observer in regards to oneself) then he would become a spectator. Then this whole process, the technological, one turns into a show and the entire life of that character turns into realization of a certain project. Do you see how attractive it sounds? I will honestly confess to you, six to eight years ago I used to say with excitement that one has to view one’s life as an integral unity; one must have a general plan and realize that plan. I am after all both, a producer and an actor. If I view my own life as an act of my creation i.e. I have in me my own “I” which has nothing to do with this technology, except that I possess it more or less efficiently, then the actor is my instrument. I am simultaneously both, a producer and an author and all that, i.e. life, is a stage ground. But in this case what should one do with the love for one’s neighbor? One thing is when all this psychological restructuring takes place in the conditions of a closed, specialized, professional, social setting i.e. an ashram or a monastery, where you are extracted from the normal stream of life, the one which we respectfully call the Great Average. J It is like a person going to an secondary school or institution where taking a leave of absence is not allowed, finishing it and appearing before us with new qualities. This is his inner problem, what kind of! “qualities” are they. Gurdjieff, for instance, used to say: “The aim of 1 any spiritual teaching is in a certain sense to make a person into an | actor.” Why? Because the aim of any spiritual technology | 0 of transformation (if this expression is appropriate) is in separating U!a subject from his instrument. The instrument is something standard. In many ways it is that limitation which one can perceive, b and some people even say that we can understand the reasons why r1’we were given the particular instrument that is our physical type or (i essence. Why was I born at this time, in this place, as a man and not j as a woman, or on the opposite, as a woman and not as a man1′ Why i do I have such capabilities while lacking the others? All this looks as : a supreme plan, the undoing of one’s karma or something else in the« same fashion. Here again is the supreme plan.
*3′ \ have a conviction formed in me that even for the figurative ‘* comparison or for the sake of some analogy one may not say that all ‘\ the world is a stage and all the men and women are merely players, “that they have their exits and their entrances, and that one human *’:ibeing plays many roles. People usually perform their social roles in a ^’play which was not written by them. Only a few of us can bring
Part Two 121
something new in the established way of performing this or thai social role of mother, father, son, daughter, passer-by, employee. boss, etc. It is very seldom that somebody can bring in something new. It is a kind of ritualized theater, just like the theater “Kabuki/ everything is passed down by a tradition. A father played the role, his son is playing the same role, and a son of the son plays il too, and this has already gone on for ten generations. Yamoto the Tenth plays this role in exactly the same way as Yamoto the First He has just a slightly different body, a slightly different voice, a slightly different eyes, but basically all is the same.
These role mechanisms have been well studied not only b\ Americans but also by German social psychologists, and in our social psychology much has been done in this area. Still, in self-defense we do not admit that these are roles and we are constant!) trying to forget that we did not create them, and that it took us a long time to learn them. Those who learned them well, made successful careers; those who learned them poorly, have problems with their social adaptation. Adaptation is a frightening word. I worked in a clinic and I know what adaptation is and how il becomes a slightly frightening word when it is used with the diagnosis of disturbance in the social adaptation. Therefore, if we are trying to bring enlightenment into our lives, and into the lives of those whom we communicate with, then our goal is to leave the theater of life and just live. This is very difficult. I have only recenth understood what my Master said to me when to all kinds of trick) questions, not only to me but to other people in my presence, he would say: “One must live!” He spoke simply, in a Sufi manner, bui now I understand that it is an incredibly difficult thing because theater is all around us! Then I understood, in retrospective, wh) from my childhood on I loved the theater so much and why 1 became a professional producer and an actor. I would never have become a psychologist if my theatrical career had not been intentionally interrupted because in the theater I clearly know, no matter how funny it may sound, that I live and I do not perform a rigidly determined role. I came to the theater, I am a producer There is no such social rigidly determined role as “a producer’ because a producer is a quite unique specialist, and since he is quite unique then he has a much greater level of freedom in performing his role than, say, when he is a pedestrian in the street and must obey the rules for pedestrians. Or when I am an actor. I rehearse
122 The Art of Living
and again I feel my subjectivity. I live even when I act on stage, because my activity is free.
Of course, this is only true when I am not working in a theater with a producer for whom a living person is a hindrance and who wants to make out of that person a doll and to rigidly program him. We know those kind of “producers/’ For a very long time, we have looked at their portraits and monuments. They were producers on a grand scale. It turns out that any personal, individual and subjective creativity has much more to do with life, even if this creativity is a theatrical one, than the so-called life which has much more to do with theater. Is this not why we have a permanent sensation that we are being watched: either by the KGB, or by the heavens, or by other planets, or by somebody from the astral, mental or vital dimension? We are constantly being watched! If I am not being watched then there must be something wrong with me. But this is an unhealthy feeling for an actor! Being an actor, a professional, being involved in professional activities, he must in one way or another perceive with the sixth, the seventh, the twenty-eighth sense that he is being looked at, heard, seen, perceived and experienced i.e. that he is constantly involved in a dialogue with the audience. If, forgive me, he is not healthy enough and is externally carried away on the stage, then it becomes boring. He experiences something over there and we are sitting back over here and that is it. As we know, an actor’s gift is based on a mysterious human capability, on the so-called influence. This is why one actor comes out onto the stage and affects everybody in the theater up to the highest balcony and that is why another actor who is more handsome, has more character, more voice and other things too, comes out onto the stagf, and nobody cares.
Furthermore, we like so much the sensation that everything is predetermined. An actor coming out in the first act knows in advance what will happen in the last act because the play was written not by him but by the author! We want the author of the theater of life to exist! Those who belief in the great mystery oi’God. sometimes accidentally turn Him simply into a figure of a leader, though a heavenly one, a producer of this show, a creator of this play. Is this not a humiliation for God? And is this not a ground for some people to perceive themselves as gods on earth?
Let us choose which theater to go to. We may live and sometimes go to a theater for the sake of the aesthetic pleasure of sharing feelings with the actor and for the sake of a mysterious
Part Two 123
interaction between the one who creates and the other who perceive the creation because they are inseparably linked with each other They really need each other! Or let us never go to the theater, never watch movies and never watch TV. Why should we do it knowing that it is a substitute of life! Now if we are involved with the theater, if we are already actors playing roles in a play that has noi been written by us, then the movies, the theater and TV are, after all, life. Richard Bach in his Illusions, the Adventures of a Reluctani Messiah, says: why do people go and watch all of these things at the movies? They are simply finding a substitute of life for themselves Then art is no longer art, it is a drug. You have received a boring role in a play of life, but we will invent for you a funny little plot and we will allow you to identify yourself with a hero or a heroine for a couple of hours so that you could live their lives.
These are some of my thoughts. Now I would like to move from a monologue to interaction. It could be that you would like to ask some questions, to get something clarified, to express a point of yours. Let us try to make a little scuffle out of it or vise versa let us reach a unanimous agreement or a reserved bewilderment… Do you follow what I am saying now? Does it not mean that I am trying to produce beforehand and to determine all possible options. I am an experienced person. I give many talks, and in all circumstances 1 say this is a play, and that is a play, and that too. and whatever you would say to me will also be a play, and I am fully prepared for that That is the most frightening. On the one hand, all the mechanisms of psychological defense created by man during the time of his existence are playing an unconditionally positive role giving him a chance to survive and adapt to all situations. But on the other hand those very mechanisms prevent him from being developed. Do you remember what happened to the Teutonic Knights on the ice of the Tchudsky Lake? They were forced onto the ice and their armor made them too heavy and awkward to fight on the ice. We, too, are sometimes so heavily defended and so highly adapted to life that if we were forced onto the ice of Tchudsky Lake, we would certainh lose a battle to Alexander Nevsky.
From this point come two attitudes that look like complete opposites. One attitude is based on the statement that life is beautiful by itself, but people are not worthy of it. or not all are worthy of it. or we are worthy of it and they are not. Naturally these are different approaches. The second attitude, which you rarely see. and you all certainly know it. states that people are
124 The Art of Living
deserving a lot more than what they get but they are forced to live lives unworthy of people. And who is guilty of that? The theater. Not that theater which is art but the theater into which life has been transformed.
Q: There is a third position: all people must be happy and we must help them to understand it.
I.N.: I am very accurate with the statements of “must.” I am reluctant to speak this way and I do not think that it is tactful to state that people must be happy. To whom they have obliged themselves to be happy?
Q: Then can they be happy?
I.N.: Firstly, people can be happy if they want to be. Secondly, they can be happy if they have certain opportunities for it. The second question is that of helping people. But who are we to help them? At the time when I used to step out as an author of a certain psycho-technical methodology I was always telling people: this is a product, this is a tool, and this is merchandise. You bought this tool, now what you do with it is your problem. Yes, I am personally convinced that it is a good tool. 1 am personally convinced that with its help one can solve many personal problems. It does not mean that you must do it. I may put myself into a certain position and declare: I help-ed people. Many people have told me that 1 have helped them. I worked as a clinical psychologist at a clinic with people from Chernobyl, this was my job to help them. They told me that I had helped them, but it was my job and I should not forget it. If I forget that it was my job I can suddenly and unexpectedly slide to the position of a benefactor of humanity. Then from a professional who is concerned with the quality of his knowledge and his efforts. I will be transformed into a social symbol who is concerned with his prestige, image, the number of his followers and his bodyguard. This is a very subtle matter. As my teacher said: if you plan to become a prophet, be ready that at the end you will be crucified. It is a part of the profession. After all, we are not saying that a person in a dangerous profession will save humanity. Of course, we pay respect to his personal courage, but we all remember that it is a profession. We all remember that besides purely human qualities he should have corresponding professional qualities, otherwise his claims have no foundation.
Now regarding the problem of how one can change a given situation. First of all. I personally try to live and not play a role in the theater of life. Secondly, whenever possible and with mutual
Part Two 125
consent I try to help those who are close to me in some way or another. They are a small number of people who are close to me noi necessarily because they are blood relatives but rather because the} are spiritually kindred people, and I, thanks to my qualifications, can do something for them as a specialist, to help them realize their personal aspirations. I do not think that one can guide somebody on the Path. One must move on it by oneself. One passes it practically by oneself. However, one can become prepared so that one would be ready to the utmost degree and fully equipped.
If I was a professional politician I would search the ways for a political solution of these kinds of problems. Fortunately. I do like my profession and that is why I restrict myself in my political claims I do not feel that I am talented in this field. I am even less qualified in it. The only thing that I can do is to suggest and to share trul> sincerely those insights and those ideas which I have discovered for myself moving through life. Perhaps it could be of help to somebody.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, if I may, I would like to share two following reflections on the concept of raising the inner observer in oneself. You have spoken of the ultimate situation of when the inner observer becomes identical with the full content of one’s I. Then we have the consequences which you have spoken about. But as a rule it is not being done that way because if along with such psycho-technics you are given the concept of the universal compassion to all that exists, then apart from this uninvolved spectator, the religion that uses this esotericism, this esoteric psycho-technics, gives us the spiritual vector. And secondly, the following idea occurs. You talked about the need to take away the role limitations, you said that a really free development in its fullness is feasible only when the limitations are taken away, although at the same time they serve as a certain mechanism of appliance. Here simply is the following analogy: why did nature arrange it in such a way that our subconscious which is the bearer of creativity or of a construction of new perceptions, why is it sealed with a thick lid oi” our consciousness which does not let these creative ideas break onto the surface? Why should it have been arranged that way? I find the following point of view the most attractive. It is not my own, but 1 read somewhere that this is an analogy of how the mechanism ol biological mutations in an organism is controlled, because only a mutation could lead to a new stage of development of a biological species. But at the same time for every million mutations only one is.
126 The Art of Living
successful. It might be similar in the case when these limitations are taken away.
I.N.: Speaking about the observer I pointed at two options: when he is truly dispassionate, then he is a scholar. I did not look in detail at the instance of transformation of life into an experiment. When I spoke about role behavior I did not say that it should be canceled. I did not do this because social life is impossible without conventions. And role behavior is based on conventional contracts, the help of which enables us bring together numerous distinct individual impulses in a certain combined activity and, among other things, in our coexistence. I have spoken of the necessity of finding the way of desidentifying oneself with it. One must find the way of separating in oneself an instrument, i.e. a typical device by which one does it, from the one who does it, i.e. subject.
Now let us examine whether the observer can become your content.
In the book which I am now working on there is an epigraph by Abu Silg: “How strangely the world is made. How passionately!” I think then that when we, contemporary people, try to read something into the ancient texts, which deal with calmness, with emptiness, with the unshakable lake Chita, and about the cup which should be forged in order to light up the flame, we bring into that our neurotic problems and try to say that the cup should be lit, however the fire in it cannot be lit under any circumstances. The ancients had a different problem: they dealt with people who did not live that rational, conventional life which we live. They were those to whom that word was addressed. Stressing the moment of structuring the inner reality is completely different from what rationalism has done to us. One can say that the creative principle is in the subconscious. One can say like P. V. Simonov that this is super-conscious and that in principle it cannot be controlled for those reasons which were defined by us as a mutation. One can speak in a different way. One can say that the rationale of evolution of the so called Western European civilization and the rationalism, not only as a way of knowledge, but as a way of life and the mode of acting, i.e., the famous “Cogito ergo sum” brought us to the situation in which rationalism has replaced the whole consciousness. You can see that the level ofheurosis of the population of Russia is not much different from that of the USA and Great Britain. I spoke to some American therapists. With all the differences between their and our life conditions, people visit those therapists and pay them
Part Two 12″
money, a lot of money, and have the same problems as we do. I have in mmd the psychological problems that make people visit therapists here. They are exactly the same! We made a scarecrow out of our irrational part and we made it not in 1917, but in the seventeenth century! We were already caught. We replaced the whole man, who was passionate like the whole world, with a homunculus, which is reduced to “Cogito ergo sum.” and all the rest does not exist. Here is my point: I think that the meaning and the function of the theater is in recovering this lost wholeness. The problem is: what is the difference between playing a game and theatrical acting? Life, after all, is a game; wherever you look everywhere you see a game. Where is that borderline which separates the theatrical acting from play of life and from a child’s game? You remember playing Krishna? I think, the question musl be put the following way: is there such a theater of sacred rituals which detects and expresses the integral meaning of human existence and which begins to detect them in their integral unity, in a hologram, in their authenticity. If so, then everything will, probably, be more clear and understandable…
I.N.: Clear, yes, but I doubt that it will be more understandable. However, one can put it this way: “Everything is game, besides testimony of Holy Ghost.”
You see, the meaning of a game is game. We must hear the harmony of being through theatrical acting taken in its holography We must perceive this harmony in its wholeness. There is in addition exit to archetypes, i.e. sources of our existence—to there where a hologram of all our existence exists and a choice of that place where we were sent by Lord God.
I.N.: I do not think that you asked a question. You presented your point of view. I suppose I too can in this situation present m\ point of view. It is, at some point, close to yours, at some points differs.
When I say that it is necessary to abandon the theater of life. 1 imply or rather not merely imply but say it directly that one musl live. To live means to stop being an actor, to eliminate the spectator Do you know what does it mean to get rid of the spectator? It means to become total, to be conditioned only from inside, if conditioning is needed, and I think that it is needed for life. When I speak of today’s theater, then, yes, we are looking for the possibilities and different names for the theater. Now we are calling it the “ritual theater,” or “ritual acting,” and we have created a piece entitled
128 The Art of Living •
“The Song of Songs.” We discovered an exciting thing: to impersonate wholeness on the stage is as difficult as to do it in life. There were twelve of us at the end of 1989. Now there are two of us. The reason for this is not an external one. The reason is that a person reaches a certain point, where we do our next job and he stops and says: “That’s it, I cannot go on. Something in me is changing and I am afraid. I am not used to having a profession penetrate me so deeply.” However, I fully agree with you that not only theater, but art in general, when understood as a testimony of true being (self-expression is also an art. but of a different kind) in the context in which Florensky wrote: an icon is a testimony, a direct testimonial icon, or as Gurdjieff spoke about Mona Lisa, about the Sphinx. This art requires a certain professionalism but of a different kind, i.e. the person who makes the testimony should ritualize his life. He should believe in what he is going to testify. At the moment of his appearance on the stage he confirms to a lot of limitations i.e. he is in practically the same position in which are actors of the ritual theaters known in world history: Kabuki, the Greek theater, when it was a profession which imposed great limitations on their way of life. It is life of a witness on the border of two worlds, like Baba-Yaga. At one point, as an archetype, as you say. before she was made frightful and terrible, she lived on the border line between, this world and the other world. There she met heroes, gave them instructions, fed them, offered them a bath, sent them to their heroic deeds, met them on their way back from their victories and walked them to the border like a border guard. An artist, if he wants to be a witness, also has to be a border guard. He should live on the border, and there is no escape for him; he cannot become either a spiritual seeker, or a spiritual follower, or a successful socially functioning personality. He is on the border and that is his tragedy. Though this is also his calling and also the specificity of his profession, he must understand that, if this is his profession, this aspect is a part of it. After all there are many concepts related to the theater. There are not many theaters. Because the theater is made of its people. Like in every real enterprise people are the primary thing. And it is not easy for people to do this, especially since all around is theater and not life. There is no nutrition for it. Then life begins in the backstage of the theater. Here is a remarkable definition: theater is a diagnosis. What is your occupation? Theater. This is a diagnosis. I am not really answering your question deeply enough but I hope you understand the reason
Part Two 129
for this, it is a very intimate discussion of a creed and when one talks about it publicly one has to slightly lower the level of discussion.
Q: I have a concrete question in regard to archetypes. Both. Fromm and Jung have said that a child from the age of two can already draw a picture of a person. Therefore I have the following question: everything that has been said here was said about the inner world of man, about the self. Here is Erich Fromm: he writes aboui ourselves and about love towards ourselves. The first question is How can I love myself if for seventy years I have been led by somebody? I was told to go over there, make it this way and you will get your salary. I did not think about myself. Please explain how one could think about oneself. The second question. A person who can protect those things, which you have right now talked about, is a kind person and an extremely powerful one. This combination is virtually impossible. If he is kind he is not strong. Or he is ver\ strong but cruel! And here is my second question: how can one be both kind and strong? How can one develop this in oneself psychologically?
I.N.: I will try to show my attitude, understanding, and insighi in regard to this problem because here one cannot get away with mere understanding. It is an excellent question because this question touches on the main point, and I will begin with the second part of it. It is well known in theater that the most difficult role to play is that of the strong and kind person. The most unique gift of an actor is to be convincing, captivating, and emotional in a role of a strong and a kind person. Absence of self-love is the most importam psycho-the-rapeutic. psychoanalytical and practical problem of all therapists who work in the region which is called the Western or West European civilization. First of all, in order to fall in love with oneself, one should discover oneself. The majority of specialists agree that in order to discover oneself, from the very beginning one needs an insanely loving mother who loves you because it is you and who would never say to you that you are an “idiot” and “underdeveloped” and more awful words which unfortunatel> parents say to their children when they are angry with them or for pedagogical reasons. In the case where an unconditionally loving mother is not available, then the outcome will be Pavlik Morozov who informed on his father or some boy from the Hitler-youth. II” not that then the following would happen: a school would have to compensate my self-evaluation. But at school too I heard more about my shortcomings than about my positive points. I was taughi
130 The Art of Living
from my childhood to look at myself negatively. Nobody told me to do it in a positive way. If I tried with a healthy instinct of the human soul to compensate my shortcomings with self-praise, then I might even have been given the belt. Once I saw a terrible show from North Korea. An hour of a weekly self-criticism. Children often were led by a twelve year old girl in a red tie, and everyone stood up in front of the others and talked about his shortcomings. The believer who is sincere and kind-hearted, has at least one consolation; he knows that God is unconditionally merciful and that He loves him and will forgive all his sins.
Leave alone those instances when even loving parents discuss the shape of the nose, ears, height or complexion of their children. Isn’t this theater!.. “You are not good enough for the role of my child, due to your physical appearance.” That is why a man rushes about all his life with a greater or lesser degree of neurosis and with megalomania for its compensation. The later appears when one begins hating oneself to the extreme: “You know who am I! You wouldn’t guess! I have teachers from the star Orion! Visitors from the outer dimensions have made contacts with me! Ho-ho! That’s how it is!” He also has the complex of an insignificant person: “What can I do? I cannot do anything: X. is right, and Y. is right, and my boss is right, and my spouse is right, and my child is right, and the State is right. Everybody is all right. And me… Make something with me!”
You know when I was deprived of the right to do my favorite job, one of my acquaintances suggested to me: “Igor, go to a piant as a psychologist, I will give you an idea which will grant you a reputation and then you will get on with this.” I asked: “What kind of idea?” “Put on some airs and walk around without taking salary. Tell them this is your trial period. Allow yourself two weeks. During the first week walk around with a hearty appearance in a department which you select. Choose it at once—which department you need for your experiment. Walk around there, make notes, lose yourself in thoughts, as if you are daydreaming, but make sure that the workers see you all the time. Lose weight and stop shaving. Then in a weeks time, on Monday, shave yourself and walk to the plant with a happy, rested and well-fed appearance and with a large folder in your hand. Walk through the department in such a way that all the workers see you, go to the director. Tell him: “I know how to raise the level of productivity by at least twenty per cent. The main problem is that you have wrong color proportions according to
Part Two 131
Lucher.” After that give them a lot of baloney about who Lucher is Then the scarce means which are needed for the improvemem should be discussed because you have already been to the factory’s storage and found out what kind of paint they have there and of what color. And of course, this particular color is needed, according to Lucher. After that the department is painted, according to your suggestions, on Saturday and Sunday. On weekends, everything is painted and aired after which within the next two weeks the productivity goes up twenty to thirty per cent.” Here it is this idea, J do not need it any more, I give this idea to anyone who wants to begin this career.
Why? It is very simple. In what way did I help most of all those people at Chernobyl? I simply sat there and listened to that fellow. the peasant, who ended up being in that awful catastrophe. Now he does not understand, why he always wants to cry, why does he noi blow, why is his wife unhappy. He used to come to my office, used to sit down and talk and talk, and cry, and weep, wipe his nose. He was not afraid that I would tell him: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, you are a man, a forerunner of production and here you are crying, after you have done so much for the benefit of people…’ Generally speaking, that is right, that is how it is. but he does noi need it. What he needs is atl-en-tion. That is all! And this is help You do not have to do anything with him—only listen to him and pretend that you love him. At least a little bit, if you cannot love him in reality.
Is it possible to love someone else without loving yourself? No’ It is im-poss-i-ble. You can force yourself to feel benevolent towards people. To love them without loving yourself is impossible. This means that you should find such a source, such surroundings, such n micro-world in which your strong points are seen and your weak points are not particularly noticed and not because of the pedagogical reasons. You will find it if you understand that this is the most important thing that should be found in life. Some people are very lucky. They find that in the family, at home Generally speaking that is what the family exists for. It is a place where my strong points overshadow my weaker points. What is the wisdom of lovers? What is the great and infinite wisdom of a person in love? For him the strong points overshadow the weak points That is what love is all about, the removal of distance. How is n possible to eliminate distance if you are preoccupied with re­educating, re-forming and bringing another person to perfection”
132 The Art of Living
He is an object and you are the subject. You should realize that he is perfect from the very beginning, and that is it. We are all perfect, because we are created in the image and likeness of God. That is one thing. We are the image of the whole humanity, that is the second thing. Is this not a sufficient ground for human greatness? More than sufficient. Let your own merits overshadow for you your shortcomings. Then the weak points themselves would be transformed in some way. For instance, I worked with sportsmen for two years. Do you know what is the most perfect method in a big sport? You should not occupy yourself with upgrading your weak points, you should develop the strong ones! The sportsmen have discovered that idea, while many parents cannot see that. They have not got the idea yet.
One can try to suggest in this sense such an idea, someone may
probably like it and someone will say: I thought this way but could
not find the right words for it. Because it is really so. It is
impossible to enact love. This is the best proof that life is not theater. That would be impossible. Even on the stage it is always difficult to do. As long as one touches on love, in the theatrical art a lot of problems arise. You all know this. Once E.I. Veselnitskaya remarkably said: the border of every technology is love. As long as there is love there is no technology and cannot be. For technology is meant to be used for work with an object. For example, one can work with a body, with a psycho-energy. One can work with a consciousness, with thought, with memory, even with a vestibular apparatus, but not with a human being. We should remember this very well to prevent a regression of a specialist into somebody who declares: “I will save you! You do not understand, but I understand what you need and I will save you.”
Q: With the advance of years it is more difficult to love both yourself and others. Can you suggest something concerning this matter from the field of practical psychology?
I.N.: You know I think this problem does not relate to age restrictions. It could be that for a person who asked this question subjectively it looks exactly this way, that with the age it is more difficult to love. But from my experience of relationships with people I must say that these problems are equally difficult and complicated for people of all ages, from the very young to the very advanced. What can one recommend in this case? I shall repeat once more the same recommendation which I can give to all, because in every concrete case one can try to listen to a person, Iry to
Pan Two 133
understand where and how it happened and what can help to overcome it. First of all, look for a situation, look for people. Man is made of people and not of anything else. That is why, with whom he communicates, with whom he lives, of that kind he practically is. in his active realization. The difference is only in the level of integrity, of wholeness, and of reality. You should search for your own micro-society, that kind of micro-society where your merits are more appreciated by people than your dements, where your merits would overshadow all the rest. I cannot give any other kind of suggestion.
Q: If the goal is spirituality, how can one guide the young people into it? It is much more difficult, both for us and for them than to simply live life as it goes. Simplification becomes the way of life.
I.N.: I do not think that spirituality is a goal. The goal, the movement towards the goal. A principle of movement towards the goal requires an effort of will, an existence motivated by a goal i.e subjugation of all circumstances in life to the achievement of the goal. I do not think that spirituality is in this sense a goal which one can reach by the effort of will. I think that spirituality is. first of all. an experience leading towards the search, aspirations to thai meaning of life which would, without any references to anything allow me to discover a permanent meaning to my own. personal, singular, unique life. Spirituality is an awakening of a soul i.e. love is an occurrence, not the goal. The other question: one can try to create conditions which will increase the possibility of this kind of occurrence. That is what may be the goal. In this sense, of course, conditions are being created. There are a great many varied traditions which created the outer circle of education, i.e. that which we call an asylum where a person can go for help, for emotional support. Then if the aspiration increases in him, he can set himself up on the Path, he can get some education or initiation. But tht-spiritual aspiration is an occurrence. I doubt that those who sei tor themselves a goal of becoming spiritual will become spiritual This is the same as planning to fall in love. Though one can facilitate it i.e. create such conditions in which this occurrence is the mosi probable.
Q: How do you explain to yourself and to the others tht possibility of a contact with the traditional Orthodox Church?
I.N.. On the level of personal love and a personal inner occurrence, it is first of all, of course, the acquaintance with the
134 The Art of Living
ideas of Pavel Florensky. On the level of personal communication, in my life I had only one serious experience of communication with a monk, a cloistered monk. He thought that I am too bold in my practice and too open in its presentation. I shared with him my belief that time, place and people in this case are favorable for that. Although I cannot disagree with him, as well as with the representatives of other religions, who have dedicated themselves to a religion professionally, that various occult practices carry a danger in themselves only when a person is instructed by someone who is not a qualified specialist. That is so because any practice of that kind involves a complex system that, through sharing with other systems all general methodological and technological aspects, takes into consideration first of all the singularity of a human being, and of course in our time one can find here redundancy and waste. However, I think that this is an inevitable condition of our time. I would recommend for the use with the masses of people only those kinds of psycho-technology in quality and safety of which I am confident and only in that case when the recommendations on prevention of the potential harm are followed and therefore there is no danger for people.
Q: The common situation: when all relatives leave home besides, for example, a wife, she stops “loving her stomach.” Is this a symptom of lack of love for oneself?
I.N.: You mean that she stops cooking? I do not understand “to stop loving one’s stomach.” She stops cooking… I do not think that this is a symptom of a lack of love for oneself. I think that to cook is not an ideal obligation, but a calling. It is good when members of a family share this obligation, when there are a few people in a family, they should do it in shifts, even better when somebody loves doing it and this is really good.
To prepare food is—I am may be a gourmand or all ancient texts must be right—a sacred act. You know that sometimes it would be better to say to your wife: “You know, let us go out to have a bite, or let us buy something ready-made, or let me fix some simple food and you rest today. In the mood you are today it is better that you do not cook.” To prepare food is not a routine thing. It is not a kind of the occult occupation. It is the supreme form of
Part Two 135
occultism. There is a remarkable Sufi parable from a collection of Sufi educational parables by Idries Shah* .
“There was a tomb of a great holy man. which was looked after by his deputy, his inheritor. A crowd of pilgrims used to come to his tomb to perform a ritual, receiving personal blessings from an official representative but nothing happened to them. Those who visited a tea house nearby to get a cup of tea and to eat a bowl of pilaf things did happen to them. There was a cook over there!”
Q: What personal meaning do you find in this meeting? I.N.: 1 am a man, I am made of people. In such a situation sometimes a real need appears to activate in oneself a maximal efficiency of intellectual and other capabilities in order to honestly, sincerely and responsibly answer the questions and to share one’s thoughts. I am in principle a person who speaks, I cannot write on paper Everything that is called my books has been spoken in public and 1 myself sometimes listen with great interest to what I say.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, please tell us about your Path.
I.N.: It may be because I fell in love with the theater very earl\ and very early began to be preoccupied with theater that happened when 1 was twelve it seems that 1 have forever felt the differenct1 between “playing someone” and “being someone.” This is one aspect. The second aspect is that I always loved and respected professionals in any area. The third, I do not know the reasons wh> I began to study psychology and philosophy independently when 1 was fourteen. For over twenty years I have had to constantly overcome a headache because of a scalp and brain trauma that 1 received in my childhood. For a reason unknown to me, from seven years old I preferred making an acquaintance with people to anv other occupation. Coming back from the army I experienced the first deep crisis of the meaning of life, because from the age of fourteen it was obvious to me that people are compelled to live life not worthy of them, and I. after going through the army, simph did not know how to live and how to organize at least for myself y worthy life not at the expense of others, but through a certain effort.
In 1968 I met my teacher, now I can with ease give his name which is Arkady Rovner a graduate of Moscow State University, a
* Idries Shah, a contemporary Sufi scholar. He was born in 1924 in a family tracing its roots from Prophet Muhammad, the Persian dinasty of Sasanids. and further dowr> to 122 B.C Idries Shah is the author of the following books: The Thinkers of the Orient. Sufism. The Way of Suites, and others.
136 The An of Living
psychologist, who is now a Doctor of Theosophy at New York University, a writer. This was the beginning of the conscious path of study. I was not a very capable student, for the first nine years of the external circle of study, I spent eleven years. Then I began to comprehend somewhat better and the second nine years I went through in nine years. After twenty years of study I have found out that which I wanted to find out, I have learned that what I wanted to learn, and from that time I am a happy man. Perhaps what played the most important role was that everything what I have acquired as information, I have immediately turned into experience. I wanted TO BE. Most of all I was afraid of being caught at playing the role of a follower of certain tradition. I wanted TO BE. I searched and found, or created, situations that demanded from me extreme effort, extreme concentration and actualization of everything that I have found. In this I was greatly “helped” out by the well-known organization. Really, if you remember in Castaneda’s book “a petty tyrant is a good fortune for the warrior.” I had such a good fortune and a free one too because I continued my activities in the theater. The theater, as it is well known was not an art in our country, officially it was a tribune, an ideological institution and we all were the warriors on the ideological front. Because I was, in the eyes of the officials, a maverick of the ideological front, -I preached a certain bourgeois psychology, which of course is sharply different from the non-bourgeois, so I was given a lot of troubles. But that is an unessential moment. I was once again very lucky in life, I met a living bearer of a very complicated, very tough, but real tradition. With the permission of my tradition I went through the learning in the old manner i.e. in a very tough manner, although not as tough as for instance the author of the book The Third Eye*, He sat for three days at the entrance of a monastery at the age of seven, he was not allowed to eat or to sleep and only at night was he allowed to lie on his side and he was brought a bowl of tsampa soup. He was seven years old! Nobody solemnly accompanied him. His father said to him on the previous day: “If they do not take you into the
* Tnosli Labsang Rampa. a contemporary mystic, a sage, a Tibetan lama, and a gifted writer. Because of political situation in his country, he was forced to le;ive his homeland in the young age. Labsang Rampa wrote in his books The Third Eye, You are Eternal, Cave of the Ancients and many others about the religion, culture and everyday life of the inhabitants of Tibet.
Part Two 137
monastery, do not bother coming back. Forget that you have a home.” In the morning when he was leaving a servant said to him “Walk quietly or you will wake someone.” The boy was only seven years old! You and I—we meditate for two hours, preferably in the lying position and are already tired. In general I am the lucky one. 1 loved to live this way and so I lived.
Q: How do you suggest to relate to the shortcomings in man?
I.N.: I suggest first to determine the proportions. From what point of view are these things defined as shortcomings. Then to decide how to relate to them. In general there is a radical prescription: “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” “Mine is the revenge and I will punish you for your sins.”
Q: What is your attitude to people’s shortcomings.
I.N.: My attitude is very simple if it “smells” I move aside. 1 simply avoid communication with individuals whom I dislike for some reason. There are many people and everyone can find his own circle of friends.
Q: How must one communicate with a person in whom one can see a lot of shortcomings, for example if he is your husband?
I.N.: If being a husband is a role in a play, be patient like acton, are patient whilst playing a wife or a husband with a person who you would not even say hello to in the wings. The salary goes with this. If they are really husband and wife, then love that person, love each other, communicate one with the other and everything will be all right.
Q: Would the decision to simply part be a bad idea?
I.N.: Here I am a very subjective person. I think that it would be a much better idea, from the point of view of the soul, for ever\ member of this conflict to part in an amicable way rather than to stay together for any reason. I have observed that many times and J have seen that often children are used as an excuse for staying together. Children are paying a very high price for this. However this is my subjective position.
Q: Do you have works in pedagogy, if you have then which one? If you do not would you be kind enough to tell us who your like-minded authors are? Tell us about the children in your school.
I.N.: And what of this pedagogy? I understand, you mean something specific. Of the children in our school… Our position is. very simple, what can we really give to our children? To give. 1 mean loving them, of course. The world in which we live. Nothing else They cannot be cheated. This is on a psychological level. Now the
138 The Art of Living
specialists have appeared who have begun to teach the elements of psycho-technics to children between twelve and fourteen.
Q: You said that at fourteen you understood that people live an unworthy life…
I.N.: I did not. This is what I have just started to understand now. Then, I just had a feeling of it. It was not an understanding. It was a feeling. It was an emotion.
Q: Did you make this conclusion from looking at the people you knew, did people tell you about it or you found out about this injustice some other way?
I.N.: No, I simply liked people very much, but I did not like the life they led. You know, very often I had conflicts in the theater when I worked there. I used to tell them : You know, I like to work in the theater very much, but I do not want to live with you! I was rebuked: you do not live a common life with your team! But I work with that team. Do you have any complaints regarding my work9 Regarding the quality of the rehearsals, the shows? No. But I do not want to live a life of that team. I do not like the level of its life.
Q: Please tell me whether The Tibetan Book of Death can be used only for a choice of the best incarnation or it can be used more broadly? After all, many things of the three bordo correspond to contemporary reality.
I.N.: I like this book very much. Unfortunately, I did not talk to the specialists i.e. people who are professionals in this area. Do you know why I like this book? To simplify this situation and to express it in a graphic way let us say: a man with a special training has directed you in your final journey, then he contacts you and speaks to you: “Peter. Peter, do not forget my instructions. Here is your first day. You will have such and such experiences. Your chances are such and such. You must do this and this… Ah, Peter!.. Peter, this is the twenty-eighth day!..” and this will continue for forty-nine days! On the forty-ninth day he would say: “Peter I have taught you badly. Excuse me, choose at least a mother!”
Just for this I like it. You know it is very human. Behind all of these complicated images and terminology in which it is very difficult to orient without special training, there is a human willingness to help! This human respect: Yes, I have taught you, yes, I have taught you badly because you could not do anything. I am guilty of this and I honestly work out my forty-nine days.
Parting with you before saying good-bye I would very much like to sincerely wish those who were captivated by what ha;; been
Part Two 139
said, to get rid of and to overcome the theatrical way of life and to love theater on the stage.
The Technology of Life
or Who Lives Whom
Let us look at human life as an industry of some kind Although this approach definitely simplifies our thought, and makes it too functional, it gives us an opportunity to comprehend the1 whole of the known material, probably in a slightly unexpected way The first affirmation is that, in some aspects, one can see the processes of life as a thing that has its own laws, or as some-mechanism that is external in relation to man. We can take a stand that will give us this point of view. It does not mean that I give life’ some definition. I suggest that you try to see what develops from this position. On what foundation can one take this stand and try to use it? There are two initial foundations that are needed for this. The first foundation is connected to the necessity to remind oneself thai “man is made of people.” This is a fundamental statement. Righi away, I want to inform you that I do not pretend that I claim possession of the final truth. Everything that will be said here is my own position; it is my totally subjective approach to these problems, and I do not claim any degree of objectivity. “Man is made’ of people.” This is neither a simple metaphor nor simply an image Bringing this problem for myself to the utmost clarity, I have chosen a standpoint that makes me think that man, in the literary meaning of the word, in all aspects, is made of people. I will not develop this point in detail, because this point alone would be enough to make us talk for a long time. Then you would argue or agree with me However, from my point of view, for a person who is interested in constructive aspects of psychology, that can help us to answer the’ questions: “What can be done?”, “How can it be done?”, and “In what sequence will it be done?”, it is very important to bring this awareness to the absolutely natural state of consciousness in relation to any problems which has to do with human life. It is clear that “man is made of his ancestors.” It is clear that “man is made of
140 The Art of Living
his family.” It is clear that man is made of his circle, which consists of a family in the broad sense of this word. i.e. relatives, acquaintances, friends, and parents. Then he is made of the company of those who are his age. Then we should add educators, teachers at school and so on. Then we should think of the images of ideal people who influence his development. One of the most important elements of the body of human personality is that socio-psychological world in which he went through the process of socialization. So “man is made of people” but we know that, with all of this, he is unique, though we will not try to clarify right now where his uniqueness comes from. It is everything that is connected with the word “self and also everything that is connected with the concept of an individuality in the instrumental sense of the word, which we call subjectivity, self-consciousness, self-awareness, and self-identity. And he is already surrounded by a “ready life.” When he discovers this for himself for the first time, he does not simply clash with it, because when we clash with this in our infancy, or in early childhood, we accept this as a natural thing. We do not ask questions like these: Why should I listen to my mother? Why is this woman my mother? Why should I live the way she tells me to live? Why is this man my father? Why should I do things that he demands of me? Such a moment comes in a teenager’s life when suddenly the awareness appears that “here I am” and the story under the title “One must live this way” begins. Why must one live exactly this way? What for must one live exactly this way? Why exactly at this time? Why specifically in this country? Why precisely in this family? Why definitely in this socio-psy-chological world? Why am I not Chinese? Why was I not born in a family of big bosses? Why was I born in a family with a small income or, on the other hand, why was I born in a family with a large income? Other people live totally differently and what is considered normal for me is unusual to them.
Here is the first moment of an attempt to perceive oneself as oneself, as something unique, something subjective. If you remember this experience, it was exactly as follows: I was taken and thrown into all that. And we remember this as a heavy, difficult, dramatic moment in the life of each person. From this moment begins either a constant correlation between me and life, or a constant striving to adapt to such a degree so that all of these questions would cease. First moment: a juxtaposition arises within me: this is me and this is life. The second moment: the duality
Part Two 141
disappears: this is life and this life is me. “Well, what can one do’.’ One cannot do anything.” Once, when at that age I reacted sharply to life, grown-ups told me their favorite saying: “Don’t worry, lift-will break you.” The mere existence of such an expression alread\ shows that life, which is mentioned in this saying, is hostile in regard to human beings because it breaks him. Why are there no sayings such as: “Life will cherish you,” “Life will fill you with happiness,’ while “Life will break you” exists, and exists as one of the most important moments of the parental upbringing? “Why should n break me and not I break it?” I always asked. I took this stand and 1 said: “However, we’ll see who will break whom!” This was my fatal position. Why? Because from that moment on up until now I am still fighting with it and with a ready made life, which was not chosen b\ me and not created by me. I came to the most profound conviction that there are no unworthy people but there are lives unworthy of people which they are compelled to live. Notice again that there is a wonderful expression in Russian language: “We art’ living this life.” Why do we say that “we are living it.” and not “it is living us?” Why is it that whenever we do not forget about the subject, about man in the strict sense of the word, a personal man, a unique man, the only one in the whole of the universe, immediately this conflict comes out, and what can one do about it? If you wani to remain a subject, you have to understand that you can do something with it and then it is always and forever so and this is just the content of your presence in this world. Here is life; it is given to you. Life is predetermined. Here you are. but you are not given to yourself if you do not do the appropriate inner work. You are not given to yourself because everyone reminds you: I gave you life, we gave you life. The State says: “We gave you the opportunity to become a man.” They have in mind personality and functionality “We gave you the opportunity to communicate with the Hol\ Ghost.” We give you this. We give you that. Everyone gives me something, but what do they take in exchange? After all, it cannot be that they give, but do not take anything. What do they take from me? They take from me myself because everything is given, do you understand? It is given in a ready made form. I did not choose this. 1 did not do this. It was given and I will be told up to my final da> that it is good, that it should be this way, and that my goal is to adapt to all that is given to me and then I will get everything. What “everything?” Acceptance, career, territory, well-being; I will be given these things if I behave well. Here is a slogan which we
142 The Art of Living
hear from our childhood: “If you behave well, we will give you….” You might have asked them: “And if I behave badly you will not give it to me?” and they replied: “we will not.” What kind of mother are you? What kind of father are you? Is there anyone who will just give something because I need it, because I asked for it, but not for something in return? Then we are forced to bring discrimination and demarcation: here is your life, which is given to you. andeilher it will break you, or you will break it. And here is a reality which you will or will not obtain. It is not given to you by anyone. You have this opportunity to obtain a reality in yourself and for yourself. This is your own subjective opportunity. And this is the meaning of all true spiritual traditions. There is an absolutely remarkable Sufi expression: “A man is created in order that he should learn.” In what sense? Just in this sense: Man came here in order to take, to obtain, to reveal for himself reality, personally for himself, in order to be needed by himself in the first place. We were persuaded for a long time that if we feel that we are needed by someone, that means that we live well. That means that everything is perfect and we must be happy. Yes, it is not bad when we are needed by someone. It would be good to know who needs us and for what purpose in every individual case. But the most important question is: “What do I need myself for?” not “Why do I need this life?” Nobody has asked me this question. To leave this life voluntarily is an option, of course; it is a manifestation of self-ness, but that will not answer the question: “Why am I here? Why do I exist in general?” For no reason. I was called here. I was given all this, but why am I here0 After all, deep inside oneself, everyone wants to know that at least on the very last day before leaving everything. Why do you think we go to all of these fortune-tellers, astrologers, and sociologists and ask them questions about ourselves. Actually, we ask: why am I here? Not my generation, not my people, not humanity in general, but me. It is necessary to obtain a certain subjective experience of truth in which one’s own value will be revealed. Perhaps the awkward expression “reality-in-oneself-for-oneself,” is the influence of the followers of Hegel. However, I think that without meeting oneself, it is impossible to avoid being broken by life. After all, I do not want it to break me because supposedly it was given to me for some purpose. Or perhaps I was deceived in my very early childhood when I was told that I was given something9 Then one would want to adapt the concept that in reality life is a punishment because one’s own soul is still imperfect and that is
Part Two 143
why one is forced to be born again and again so that one works through one’s karma to one’s end. Then one will be placed somewhere there in a better worlds as a reward for this torments. A beautiful concept: life is given to us so that we would be tormented No! Life could be tormenting, that is quite acceptable, but it is not given just to torment us. It could be tormenting due to circumstances, due to time, due to my aspirations, due to my assertions and finally due to my claims. But it should not tormenl and torture me. It should not take away my ownership of myself and the need for myself. Life itself will not answer this question because it is mechanical, due to the fact that it is placed outside of me. Yes, 1 can participate and I can try to change something in the mechanism of my life, my friends, a certain number of people, but not a ver\ large number of people. That is all that I can do in relation to life, illusions of “re-making” life disappear quite soon. We know from history and have experienced it ourselves that the attempts to change or reconstruct life, to build it according to a model somehow fail. Maybe we should not try to do it. Maybe one should understand that life is not the primary cause of itself. There are masses of people who are worthy in themselves and in very complex and sad circumstances they do not lose the fullness of reality. There are masses of people who live, from our point of view, in ideal circumstances, but do not have any fullness of reality. Not long ago Olga Petrovna and I had the opportunity to take part in a very interesting event. We were invited to a Conference which was organized by Canadian Chri-stians. What is interesting is thai they were exceedingly rich businessmen, even by Canadian standards. We communicat-ed with them very closely for two and a half days, i.e. from morning till night for two days and for another half a day. What was amazing is that when they tried to explain to us, moreover quite sincerely, how they come to God and to faith they first told the story about how they spent fifteen to twenty years getting rich. When finally they had become rich, they discovered that the questions: “Who am I?” and “Why am I?” did not vanish These grown-up, solid persons, most of them being over fifty, and socially well-established, speak and react emotionally on the level of teenagers and. quite naturally, they think that they will save and convert all of us. It was difficult for them to perceive that we also had faith. They were convinced that after having received everything from life only, it is possible to grasp that life has taken everything away from them. One remarkable person said a wonderful thing
144 The Art of Living
“I grew up in a poor family. When I was a teenager I decided: I would endure anything except being poor.” He is a talented, energetic, well-educated person, he made it and became one of the major businessmen, a member of a Board of Directors. Meanwhile, his children grew up, his daughters became adults and got married. When he finally breathed freely: “Good, now I stand firmly on my feet, I am self-sufficient and now I can have children, raise them, educate them and give them some kind of life.” Meanwhile his children had already grown up and were already dreaming of the same thing of which he dreamt, namely, of being rich at any cost. Those people are rich, materially rich, but no matter how much we would earn, we are still poor in our souls, until we do not possess ourselves. Until then, life breaks us.
After this rather lengthy introduction we can move on directly to our subject, i.e. the technology of life process. How does this all take place? I do not know if there are such works, I have not run across one that would calculate how many scripts of life there are in general. This is the initial or starting position of a specific person: how many possible projects of life does he have? I do not think there are very many. Through conversations and comunication with people 1 came to the conclusion that on the average only three or maybe four visible variations, filled with concrete motivation and value dominants, can be mapped out. Let us say that here is this stage ending with a prize. Then comes the following stage. At the end comes that kind of prize. Then at the very end comes this kind of prize and then you will have “everything that you need.” What next? I have not heard of even one script of life in which there will be a continuation after the moment of “then you have everything you need.”
Now imagine that I do not have an independent subjective position in regard to life. Can I have a genuine wish to complete this script and reach the point of “having everything that I need?” There is nothing further on. There is no script further on. So, if 1 relate life to something in which I am “inserted.” then “to have all that is needed” means: now let us try this script: “Now you will live for your children and what you have not accomplished, they will do. The song you did not finish, they will sing; they will simply be obliged to do this.” Now good, children have grown up. I am still alive. I still do not have everything which I need. Children have not reached their full potential and the grandchildren are still >oung. This childhood can continue endlessly. Then
Part Two 145
ideally, subconsciously, although I do not like this word “subconsciously,” inside yourself you would prefer that the momem “everything that is needed for life is already here” will never come Many people go through this technological period just m the following manner. I received a ready script of life which does noi depend on me. In this script the final scene is: “You have everything that is needed for life.” But what do I do up to this moment in the script? After all up until now I do not “have everything that is needed for life.” Up until this point life moves by itself. Here is a vast area for your independent research. These simple word constructions are unique. We have got accustomed to them and we do not even reflect on their meaning. But this stereotype creates a quite concrete psychological world. The funny thing is that the social inheritance and social programming are based on these clichfis. We all enjoy reading; reading is exciting. But we knou that a script, or the time in the script, can be compressed. If this is my position: “here I am and there is life.” then I can comprehend the script, say. the one forced on me in my childhood. It is so easy to pretend that you are a realized person. Indeed, one does not need twenty years to perform this role. One must just stand up and say: “1 already have everything that is needed in life.” Now dear comrades parents, managers, bosses, educators, psychotherapists, what is next? What will happen now? From this very moment the challenge begins and so begins the unready life that you are creating.
I am being asked about my tradition. What for am I giving m> interest to that, and what actually did I achieve? I say: “You kno\\ what I did achieve? Every moment of time I have everything which 1 need for that moment.” All my troubles started with this. I am asked: “And what is that you do then?”, “So how do you live?” and “Can one live this way?” “Yes. one can! Why shouldn’t one? After all I did not do anything wrong: I did not rob anyone. I did not kill I did not live at somebody’s expense. I lived according to the rules which were acceptable in the society where I lived.” My only trick was that I did not report right away to everybody that I have different relations with life, and that I stayed longer than others in the period of adolescence, where it is possible to say: “I will not let 11 break me.” Life gave me a script, and I complete it in two days while it has been planned for a whole year.
I call such a move a necessary of desidentification with life Many ask me: “Should one perform all the way?” in the sense of pretending, acting. I say: “No, why should one?” A chess player
146 The Art of Living
plays chess. Does anybody call him names: “you are an actor, you perform, you pretend, you cheat?” He plays chess. A man who plays social life as a chess player, is he pretending? No! He only sees the chess board, chess pieces, his opponent, and he knows the balance of power. Since all the scripts are modeled after sport (such is the civilization in which we live) I either win or lose. It turns out that I am thrown over here in order that I take part in various competitions. Life as a sport. I worked with sportsmen for two years, and I was compelled to live with them. I did not want that kind of life. I told them from the outset: “I like this job, but I do not like your life. I will not live your life.” They let me live my own way because they needed me as a specialist. I worked for twenty years in the theater and all that time I was given the same troubles in every theater where I have worked. A director together with the head producer or with the representative of the party organization would call for me and say: “Igor Nikolayevich, you are a good producer, but you are separating yourself from the life of the collective.” I said to them: “I work in this community, but I live in a different community, why should I live here?” There is something called private life. Nevertheless we were persuaded by various theorists that one can do without it and that there is only collective life. However, private life exists and without it there is no individual. Thus, one should not desidentify oneself with one’s private life. Because it is you. This is the only place where everything is your own, even if you would later say: “After all, this is not what I wanted.” But you had a choice of with whom you wanted to be friends, with whom to communicate informally, whom to love, whom to hate, etc. You could organize your private world independently, and nobody would punish you for making a choice. If you choose your country’s ruler, then you will be told: no! Personally, you have one choice. But in your private life you do not need more choices; you need your personal choice You need one choice. You are a soloist in your private life, and the rest of life is not yours, and you should perform in that life. In order that you are not confused by the word “perform” let us say: one must work on that. As Gurdjieff used to say: “Why throw out this car, let us fix it and take a ride in it wherever we need to go. It is a perfect car if you understand how it works.” Of course, my happy optimism does not mean that it is easy and simple. No! I repeat once again that life can be tormenting too. But if it does not get you, but you get il, then that pain and torment does not crush you, because that pain is the
Part Two 147
resistance of the material. That pain is the resistance of the circumstances to our project, because the project of life can be onl> private, personal, and intimate. Not long ago this word “subjective” was a bad word. But it is the most beautiful, subjective, that has the right to exist not only in daydreaming (though daydreaming has rights to exist) but as a project A project is always subjective. Il cannot be proven logically. Why did you paint this picture this way’.’ Why did you make this sculpture this way? Why did you write a symphony? So the life since it has been given to me, why I may noi turn it into an object of my own art. Then, of course, comes the questions of who is more talented, who will create the sculpture, and who will compose the symphony. The impossible project is the collective project of life. Because the collective project of life is a subtle violence, or convention, you cannot build a private life into it Because then the private life fades away, and we say that this man is not needed by himself any more.
Such is the moment of the necessary desidentification with thai part of everything that is called life that has nothing to do with m> subjectivity, that is given to me. that all the time for some reason wants to break me, and that all the way says to me: “Get ready!’ and at the end distributes prizes or on the contrary does not give prizes because I came to finish last. One must work with this ver> life, and in order to work with it creatively, one has to have a project.
Let us now move to the next point. Let us suppose that we have remembered our teens, filled those years with the rational reflection and without waiting for the moment when we will “have everything that is needed for life,” we decided to live our life in such a way thai it would not be living us. Often a man does not live his life, but the life lives him. You follow me? Life broke him. smashed him, squared him, i.e. man is passive in relation to life, and life is something mystical, mysterious, and merciless, say, like the KGB. What is needed is, on the contrary, that I live, perhaps even in a liaison with life, though it is a question of love, of mutual attraction.
Let us remember all that and tell ourselves: “I already have everything that is needed for life.” What is needed for life? The comprehensive list is simple enough, it is made of two things: I and life. I invent a project and I obtain the necessary knowledge of how to accomplish it. I have an object for admiration, life. I begin mv private activities. The other problem is that this interaction also can be of a different kind i.e. it is quite possible that you will spend all
148 The Art of Living
your life in a struggle with life, all your private life. When I say “to live one’s life” I speak of only private life. There is no any other subjective life. When I worked with sportsmen, I was able to help several of them in winning a big prize for running with a simple method. I said to them: “When you run do not think of the time, there is a man in charge of measuring time. He will tell you after the finish. Forget!” They forgot and improved their results by one hundredths or two hundredths. The same thing happens with that part of life which is not private: there are men who are especially in charge of studying, measuring it, and announcing the results. So the project depends only on you. Neither psychoanalysis, nor parental programming, nor Groff s* matrixes, nor socionic types, nor astrological predictions, none of these will tell you what should be your life’s script and whether it should be at all. It can be conceived only if you have eliminated the predetermination and escaped the ambiguity of the situation of not knowing where you are and where your life is. Either it is a love project related to the world or a love project related to oneself or it is an attempt to establish a mutual relationship… This is creativity. As Pavel Simonov** wrote: “Person’s creativity appears only for the purpose of to serving the dominating need.” But when one has a project of life, then comes the opportunity for self-development, self-improvement: all true “selves” emerge only in this case. As long as my life lives me, there is no place for “selves.” I shout: “I, myself, have lived my life'” My
* Stanislaw Groff, M.D.. a famous American scholar of the Czech descent, a founder and President of the International Transpersonal Association. He is one of the brightest representatives of the Transpersonal Psyhology. His theoretical and practical researches are based on the study of the altered states of consciousness produced by the psychedelic means and through the non-phannacological meihods of the Depth Psychotherapy. His main works include: Realms of Human Unconscious: Observation from the LSD Research, 1976, N.Y., Viking Press, Psychologic Traspei’sonnelle, 1984, Monaco. Rocher; Beyond Mind, Birth Di’ath and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, 1985, Albany, State University of New York Press.
** Pavel Vasilyevich Simonov (born in 1924) is a well known Russian Soviet psysiologist, member of Russian Academy of Sciences and Director of the Institute of the Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology. His main works on the neurophysiology of emotions and the problems of the higher nervous activity include: The Emotional Brain. The Motivated Brain, The Method ofK.S. Stanislavsky and the Physiology of Emotions.
Part Two 149
life? What kind of “my life?” I lived the life of my generation, m\ clan, my colleagues, and my company. What kind of my life is it?
It turns out that very many people even fail to live their family life. They live a life of an exemplary family, of an unhappy family, or of a happy family. A family is a social cell. Since it is a social cell it is also not a private life. Anyone can interfere with life. There art1 those here who remember family life being discussed at Trade Union and Party Committees. I happened to witness it when as a boy 1 worked in a factory. There was a small booklet, sorry I don’l remember the time and place of publication entitled Psychological Regulation of Social Behavior. That booklet contained short articles of a referential type with references to the literature of the “Psychology of interrogation.” Such a funny booklet; it was chosen for a State award.
There are people who understand perfectly well, soberl> understand how to thrust on people things that the state needs at a given moment, calling those things “life.” Unless people remember about the “subject” and dignity, and remember that the reason for a human being’s existence is he himself. If he himself does not exist there is nothing to speak about. One can just easily manipulate him Once I got acquainted with an original project dealing with the increase of the birth rate in our country. You may think it included a plan of financial encouragement or the improvement of living, conditions? No! It included production of a melodramatic film thai would establish a conception of abortion as an evil thing and would defame those who do not want to raise their children in poverty, in basements, etc. Radio shows, newspaper stories with the same idea were assumed as a part of this project. This project had a financial backing. The psychologists were busy preparing such a “dish.”
They were psychologists, but they believed that life is noi the private business of a person. We have everything for life at hand for we have instantly both, ourselves and life. This is why managers react so negatively to the word-combination ‘life-technology’. We say that in extreme situations people should be given help in developing of behavior technology. But isn’t it true that the life which is “living us” is a permanent extreme situation for the human being? A permanent one. even if he has an annual income of four hundred million. The rich really do cry. The entire country is stuck to the TV sets watching the one hundred and sixty eighth series ol soap opera. What is happening on the screen? What has this
150 The Art of Living
retired woman on social security, who had worked as a typist her entire life, to do with Marianna? But she will never sleep soundly unless she knows the continuation of the story. What is it? Marianna “is lived” by a fancy life. And my mother has lived another kind of life, a poor and unattractive one. But she still has compassion for Marianna because they are in the same position and the technology is the same, and compassion is possible because they are not living their lives, their life is “living them,” the so-called “their life.” The life’s idea cannot be presented as an instruction. One cannot tell a person: “Here is a plan for your life, it is a present for you.” Neither can one open a shop of ‘life-ideas’: “Look, we have five hundred life ideas on the shelf. Choose any one you like, take it free of charge and put it into your life.” This will not be a life idea, but a script again. The life idea should be conceived. But probably it is possible to show a person how one can be and how to dare to be. “Come on, lad! Do not fear, girl! Be bold! To live your own life is difficult but wonderful.”
Q: Could you tell us more about performing? I am not sure how to put it precisely and whether I have understood it correctly that you suggest performing life? How will it manifest in different periods of person’s life?
I.N.; To perform is work. It can be art, perhaps, creativity based on a good knowledge of rules, it can be the art of calculation, or the art of catching the luck, as they say, by its tail. It can be the art of waiting for luck. When I worked with groups even at that time, I started to gamble for some time studying what the rules of balance between knowledge and luck were. I tried to gamble without identifying myself with the role. Just try to play any game for gain deliberately and sincerely wishing your partner to win. This will contradict the natural course of events. No matter how altruistic or humanistic or whatever you may be, this will be hard to accomplish. Either your partner will be offended and say: “Why are you playing a give-away game? Why are you letting me down? I have lost interest to this game.” Or you yourself will finally say: “Oh, oh, oh, it seems that I am I losing!” and you will forget about your intention to lose. It is not a competition in the sense in which we were saying that it is a game as the essence of a personal life’s period, it is the process of self-affirmation. For a person, preoccupied with self-expressing, it is impossible to gamble, because: “And where am I?” Just like for someone, in the next life’s stage, when essence is the
Parr Two 15)
source of energy, it is impossible to sit at the table and to play… 11 may be possible, of course, but it will be like swindling.
I love theater, because I see a mystery in it. I am sure that theater is not what we usually think it is, it has not yet expressed itself fully… But theater is half art, half life, and life in the game period is half theater. But if you would understand, if ii becomes an inner experience for everyone that a personal period is a game period, then this period will become no less valuable than the period of individuality. No less exciting and no less emotional’ “What is our life? A game!” the life of those who are at that age period. Of course, being a gambler is always a risk, because one is afraid of losing. But what about excitement, creativity, boldness’ It is safer to give up the game. But it would mean giving up a personality* in social sense. Giving up being a personality would mean giving up preparing oneself for the next period, the period of essence. It is just like rejecting individuality in the first period, for example dedicating one’s life to asceticism from the age of twelve or fourteen up to twenty seven or becoming a yogi, for example. This will mean only one thing, namely, that by the moment when personality is “turned on” in you, you will have nothing in store Likewise, to reject a game during the period of personality will lead to the next crisis. It will leave you in the age period between thirt\ seven to forty with scanty life supplies. You would wish to be guided again, to be played with, but who will need you then? This is called generation. Gamblers are a generation. The generation has changed so the figures have changed and the players have changed Sometimes even the game and the rules change. And as long as the figures and the players are the same, this is the same generation. Ii means that a politician under forty is a gambler, and after forty he is like Sherlock Holmes. In short, you can purposely play from that position which enables you to elicit for yourself different consequences.
Q: Don’t you think that a game dries a person up and deprives him of emotional experiences?
* “Personality,” “essence.” “individuality” — special terminology accepted by the School. Individuality represents human being’s relationship with the world when he is percieved as a part of nature. Personalty represents the social relationships of a concrete human being. Essence represents the relationships between a human being and the world as an interaction of two complete entities.
152 The Art of Living
I.N.: A game is a marvelous source of emotional experiences. I will tell you, that I had a highly deserving individuality, which was quite rough and beautiful, as I see it. I have been an actor, and a sportsman, and I have had love affairs, so everything was as it was supposed to be. I am not using the word “game” in its commonplace meaning “who gets whom?” I think of a game as an art, joy, passion, and boldness. A woman player is a player in the sense that when you come across such a partner it is stylish and magnificent. If you lose, she leaves you. Either you have to start it all over again, or to turn into a significant chess piece like queen, king or at least a bishop… I think I had won this big game by the age of thirty seven, as the future had shown. You know, sometimes people ask: “How can I become famous, attractive, etc.?” If one would set a goal to become famous, it means one hundred per cent that he turns into a chess piece, because it is a question of selling oneself. In fact it is very easy to become famous, one just has to calculate precisely where he can get the best price for himself. I consider fame in this sense a price which has been paid for you. The greater the price, the more famous you are. “He costs us millions!” A signed contract is one thing, and fame is a quite different thing, it is a prize. You get a prize (luring your individuality period on the running track in the literal or metaphorical sense of these words, or you win a big game in the period of personality. Or you witness something of reality in the period of essence. But in my opinion there is another more interesting social situation which I would call “to become somebody.” This can bring along some side effects such as fame, distinction, celebrity. Setting for himself the task “to become somebody” one should not sell himself out neither directly, nor secretly. This requires a certain inner determination and a project on a border of the of achievable in one’s imagination, not just a dream, you know of a kind: “it would be good to be…,” but a real project… A project to become a Persian Shah, I think, is fully attainable. If this project was conceived, say no later then at the age of thirty, one can perform such a role. In this sense some Sufi traditions have simply marked certain landmarks: today he is a professor: tomorrow, a thief; the day after tomorrow, an academician. How did they do this? They were capable of playing this game. It is a tradition of controlling the situation. It is the tradition of players.
Q: If one is not a player (actor or gambler), what should he do?
I.N.: Then sell yourself out.
Part Two 153
Q: How should one determine whether he is a player or he is not?
I.N.: That is simple. If you are searching your own way, then you are a player. And if you are following a direction, then you are a chess piece.
Q: And what about a child?
I.N.: Encourage in him an ardor. Ardor, risk, boldness to pla> games, desire to win, give him prizes for that. Until the age of seven, he should try all of that. He should run in miniature all three periods of life. It is desirable that he does it with the positive balance, you understand? “Eh! I will take my chance and enjoy myself!” Their are people for whom everything in their lives runs smoothly, sa> they enjoy good luck, and then suddenly “Oops!”, everything goes, upside down. Why so? Because they made a mistake in the transition, did not carry that charge during the point of transition and here they are… This is Mrs. Luck, she is either a mother, when they say: “The child has been tired.” or. a girlfriend, when they say “He seized her by the tail.” Why by the tail. I do not know, perhaps. she has such a gown, you know, the one with the train.
-ru tt t ‘f
The Human Life
There is a suggestion to discuss life. Naturally, human life What meaning is there in discussing some other life? We do noi know about it. Let us try to define the initial positions. The first position is self-realization. We can describe it as two basic processes the process of self-affirmation and the process of self-expression. If we look at life from the point of view of self-affirmation we will fact-such problems as a life project, a script of life, the resistance of the material of life. We will study the active relationships between the human being and the given situation. If we will look at self-realization from the point of view of self-expression, then we will have to discuss the inner reality of the human being, the richness of that reality, and the sufficiency or insufficiency of his instrumental equipment for externalizing his inner reality. Further on, we will discuss the spectators in the different meanings of this word, i.e. we will talk about life as a theater, and about a man as an actor. It is
154 The Art of Living
very important to check out for oneself these two points. There are two different moments in the self-realization process and, as we have seen it from practice, observation, and literature, very often man does not reflect on the fact that these are two essentially dii’ferent moments of his wish: to find and fulfill the meaning of his personal, individual life. We can put even more emphasis on this problem and say that there are two basic models: the “paranoia” project, which is characterized by a goal, movement, overcoming, and accomplishing, and the “hysteria project” with a desire to demonstrate, to attract attention, a thirst for success and fame.
We must remember that we have divided these two processes only for the purpose of analysis. In real life they are interwoven. However it is very important to figure out which one dominates this very concrete moment in you, or in those who approach you with their problems, what bothers them, what it is that they are missing: self-affirmation or self-expression? This is a point of departure. Let
us look at the problems of life and the search for its meaning from
% this point of view. I will not refer now to Victor Frankl , who wrote
extensively about the problems of existential crisis and the problems of the search for meaning. I will not talk about transcendence, overcoming the limitations of the self, of one’s ego. That is a different question. This is a purely spiritual problem. To what extend a man has something above him, first of all, is a question of faith. Every crisis of the meaning of life is connected wilh the problem of faith. Especially when one is on the spiritual path. Working out every stage of the spiritual path in any tradition, whether it is a tradition of power or a tradition of meditation, whether it is a tradition of management or a tradition of transformation, man goes through a certain crisis which corresponds to that concrete stage. It happens like this because the primary goal, the first goal on the spiritual path, is meeting with oneself. The main “clinch,” the main difficult moment on the spiritual path of any tradition is the moment of meeting with
*Victor Frankl is an American psychiatrist with a philosophical frame of mind. He is a creator of a new trend in Psychiatric. Logotherapy. According to Logotherapy. human search of meaning of life is the primary motivational force. The existential psychotherapy of Victor Frankl raises the problem of the ultimate meaning. (Victor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logothetapy. New York. Washington Square Press, 1963).
Part Two 155
oneself. When a person sees himself fully and soberly: from his ver\ positive to his most negative features, i.e. when he sees himself as a reality placed outside of himself. Very often people forget aboui this. When a person meets with himself, i.e. when he begins to set himself, gradually releasing psychological defenses, taking the form of various illusions about himself—that is the most serious inner experience. One should not forget that there is also the one who sees all that, i.e. the subject per se. Were this not so there would be no chances. When the subject is not present or he is forgotten, depression comes in, suicidal intentions and a flight away from spirituality. “Why did I take this on? I would have lived peacefully it is perfectly normal. People live all around and do not think aboui anything, they are happy and cheerful.” But there is the somebodv who sees all this and all this work is done for his sake. Because generally speaking, none of us can discover anything fundamental!) new in himself. We all, in a certain sense, have the entire set of characteristics in ourselves. We are all liars, traitors, thieves and murderers in varying degrees. Likewise we are all heroes, geniuses, prophets and saints in varying degrees. Every person has this entire layout in potentiality. Alas, life as it is offered nowadays by the Great Average to the majority of people, is not worthy of them as people. And all progress, when understanding progress as the growth of culture rather than civilization, consists of perfecting lift-so that it is more and more worthy of the human being as the likeness and image of God. This is indeed true progress, the perfection of life itself. Then one can pose the second question, thai of the human being as the image and likeness of humanity or as the image and likeness of God. That is why this is the most critical thing, which can happen, not only on the spiritual path but in the circumstances of the so called ordinary life as well. First of all, one must remember that there is somebody who sees himself and all of this is done especially for him. The one who sees, has a chance to relate to his life and to himself, consciously and with awareness This begins with the following questions: what is given to me? whai do I want? and how do I fulfill it? Here arises the problem of self-expression. What should one express? Should you express the wholeness revealed to you? Then one should express the whole range of oneself. And through that one should express the whole scope of oneself, the whole scope of a human being. If one will nol express the whole scope, then it is not a self-expression, but a piece cut out from oneself and contrived, which one substitutes for
156 The Art of Living
oneself, i.e. this is an image for others. This is where many people get caught, sometimes very good people with very good intentions. How does the “guru complex” come about? Man discovers in himself greatness, and it is really there. And he begins to create a “majestic image” of himself, thinking that if he demonstrates only his positive part, expressing only it, this will be self-expression. However, the crisis of meaning does not stop with this trick. What should one do with all the rest that one saw in oneself? Push it out again? Again, with the help of the mechanisms of psychological defense, put it somewhere in order to forget it? To forget after all is impossible. So then one has to search again for a round-about way, which is what everybody does, who does not have reflection and who does not have appropriate knowledge. Not he himself—notice that (remember Sigmund Freud!)—but his subconscious searches for all possible clever ways to realize, to self-express that which cannot be realized because of that part of the knowledge of oneself lhat is denied by the ideal model of oneself. If, after all, I really want to realize meaning through self-expression, i.e. that part of the meaning of life which can be realized through self-expression, then I must find socially acceptable forms of the expression of the whole. As in this famous example: “Your Master opened the door whilst drunk!” “But he did open it after all.” This is a particularly difficult and creative goal.
In this sense we may again recall Shakespeare who said. “All the world is a stage and the people are the actors.” You can make this role of a man, the role in the sense that you are walking the path of self-expression, a multi-faceted one, just like Shakespeare did. Or you can attempt to create a petty image which will not give you any satisfaction. If you have decided after all to follow the way of self-expression, follow it to the end. If there is a drive and a need, follow it to the end. Find the proper, preferably socially acceptable forms in the situation of social security. The external conditions needed for self-expression should be either found or created. It must be conditions of social security, because the fear of oneself amounts to the fear of others. This is that fear which begins in relation to one’s parents: what if Mother finds out that I thought something bad? Self-expression has a second danger which occurs when the other one, the one who was met and who could see i.e. the pure subject, is not present. In that case, self-expression is substituted by the problem of removal of social hindrance, and the fixed ideas appear such as: “Let us break all the taboos. In this way we will free
Part Two 157
ourselves.” People do not, however, free themselves in this way. As is well known from the experiences of various groups, sects, etc.. this path does not lead to liberation. This is because the one who does this is not present. Only the leader gets a buzz from it because he curbs people with the fact that he saw them break the taboos. All right, now he can “put on the squeeze” and blackmail them. Those were the principles of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and of the Nazi Party in Germany—to tie everyone up with a crime. To transgress the moral norms. Dostoyevsky wrote brilliantly about this in his Crime and Punishment and The Demons. Thus the problem of self-expression has two sides. If it is connected with the fact that a meeting with oneself occurred and a person emerges who has the courage to see himself in the full spectrum, then it is a creative act of self-expression. Out of this can be created literature theater, spiritual image. Path, picture, music, poetry, anything you want. A new life. New relationships. Such a person could become a psychotherapist who realizes that he has everything which his clienl has, and that he should build a relationship not according to the principle: “I will now treat you” but according to the principle: “M> dear, I am the same as you are. You merely got stuck on this little part of yourself, while you have a whole spectrum in yourself. Let us communicate.” In this way one can help people very much.
If this subject, the one who has been called the stable self-consciousness, is missing, then the problem of self-expression is always reduced either to hysterics, i.e. attraction of attention to oneself at any cost, either with emotional affectation, or with psychological exhibitionism, i.e. getting pleasure from disclosure oneself in public or with the violation of norms in the name of the very process of the violating, which also does not lead anywhere Well, you have stepped over that norm once, so what? The norm did not disappear because of that fact. Society did not change. Then ii becomes necessary to practice self-censoring, i.e. to return to the place where one began. In this case, what was the sense in the acquisition of self-knowledge? Then it is really better not to acquire self-knowledge but to live as all people live, both sinners and saints, having everything mixed together.
One can also create an image of oneself and maintain it strictly, and then it would be as you find it in Rajneesh: “Your saints stink.’ They reek of a meaning which is obsolete and rotting with incompleteness. Read the lives of Saints. The majority of them gave at least half of their lives to self-expression. What kind of people
158 The Art of Living
turned, as a rule, into real Saints? Those who have already expressed everything. What is left, is pure self-consciousness, nothing else. All the rest he has already expressed, belched out, danced away. etc. That is one moment. Can one live a whole life only on self-expression, not losing life’s meaning? There are such people who remain children throughout their lives. They manage in a way to get stuck in the period of individuality. We say: “actors.” already in the professional sense of the word. However, they do not eKpress themselves. The profession of an actor is a performing one. When an actor or an actress only express themselves, it results, as it is well known, in a short lasting elevation. Some experience it in their youth, some in the middle-age. An actor is playing the role of himself. And he is interesting because, for certain reasons, either he is an unusual person or a spectator can observe in him a tough life’s experience. In this way. the spectator is given the chance to identify with him, discovering in him that which he hides inside himself, from himself, and from others. There are also a playwright and a producer involved. This is why it is not true when in life people say about somebody: “Hey, you actor, what role are you playing?” In the strict sense of the word, we should understand that this comparison is a shaky one. The actor as a profession and the actor in real life are totally different things. Being an actor in life is an act of self-expression, while being an actor on the stage, is performing art. It is the same situation with a pianist or a violinist. Yes indeed, one can see in the performance the reflection of individuality. He is an artist, a master, there is in him a moment of correlation between personality and craftsmanship. But if he is only a performer, his human qualities may not have any relation to his performing qualities. In life it is not possible to perform anything because there is no author. With the exception of conventional roles where the author is society itself. In this case, the author is society, the producer is the peer group, while the person in the passive position is the performer. It is a notorious position: “I am not myself, the horse does not belong to me, and I am not the coachman.” That means that the responsibility is not on me. since I did not make up the roles. I did not create this life. I am not a producer Others produce: my father, my mother, my boss, my social group, the authority, the state, the party, the people. This is why I say: “Life should not be turned into a theater.” What does it mean, turning life in a real sense into theater? It is turning a human being from a living person into the performer of a role, depriving him of the qualities of
Part Two 159
a subject. Private life cannot be a theater because it does not contain roles. One may of course attempt to play another person’s role What kind of person do you want me to be? All right, I will try. Bui as we know, this does not last long and always ends in tears. Social life contains a certain element of theater. In this sense Shakespeare is right in suggesting that there are roles, there is a producer, there is. an author and there is a performer. Then a question arises: “What is the right attitude towards social life?” Should it be a professional attitude? Should one approach life the way a good actor approaches a role, creatively, professionally, thinking it through, working on it. rehearsing. A certain part of our life, which could be called socialization, actually is the rehearsal of the future show. Up to the age of seven, as it is well known, children are acting out their whole life from the beginning to the end, to the funeral. The script of life is created by that age. Here is Virginia loanovna. She is a brave person. Her courage permits me to use her as an example. When she was five years old, she conceived an image of her advanced age: she saw herself sitting in a rocking chair covered in a plaid rug and with a geranium standing on her window-sill. So she had a script. She just began her life and she already had an image of how she would die She knew how she would create a family, raise her children, make » career. Observe the children, they play all this out in a condensed time period, i.e. the rehearsal period is extremely short. The> rehearse for seven years then they live for seventy years. The sho\\ lasts for the remaining sixty-three years. Some have quite a long run while others have a short one. However, one could play this game with different rules. One could be in the world and simultaneous!) be outside of it. Though this is a question of belonging to something beyond the Great Average. It is a problem of being a part of a Spiritual Tradition, of belonging to a Spiritual Society, in which roles are not set by the Great Average. One plays that game when one has the Law, first over oneself and then inside oneself. One acts according to one’s own rules because he sees where the producer the author, the text and the performer are. It is his instrumentality It is Ivan Ivanych Ivanov whose assistance I am using in order functionally fulfill this part of my life. Therefore sometimes I say: if an actor is a professional, and the theater is a place for real art, noi a show-factory, not an ideological pulpit, then sometimes there will be more life over there than in what is usually called a normal life. It is so because in such a theater one finds creativity, and creativity according to definition, is not part of the script. Creativity is a
160 The Art of Living
spiritual part of every human being’s life, a part in which nothing could be acted because nothing is predetermined. Why does the artist break loose from society? According to definition, he is asocial. An artist belongs to that part of life which has no underlying script, and not much conventional rigidity. Then we say: “Oh yes, they are bohemians.” It is our envy which speaks. We envy them for their lifestyle. They have far fewer ready texts, script resources and clichfi plots, that which is called “obligation,” “duty,” They are indebted only to their calling and not to anything else, only to that Divine spark that is given to them and that should be not allowed, because not everybody has been granted with the gift of an artist, or a musician, or an actor, or a writer. This is an entirely different part of life, peripheral for the Great Average. Kant was a philosopher, he had a very strict, formal life, typical of a middle class person. Townspeople in Konnigsburg would check their clocks when Kant at 7 a.m. walked to the University. And they would set their clocks. This is reflected in his biography. He himself kept the books on his expenses for food, within plus/minus half a pfenning and wrote everything down. At the same time he was a philosopher. That is normal. If, with this lifestyle, he had tried to be an artist, nothing would have come of it, because according to definition, the artist is an Author. Of course, he must still learn a number of roles. But he reduced the conventional to a minimum. This should be well understood. Otherwise you would have a sudden crisis about the meaning of life. For what reason did you come here? I always said: “Do not practice psychology because it will complicate your life up to the limit. However if you begin to practice it, you should go to the very end.” Otherwise it will be gibberish. Otherwise you will become more helpless than all common people, who never practice anything, because they do not reflect on anything. They are dragged by the stream of life. God be with them. In any event, everything runs from birth to death, the initial and the final points are well known. But if you begin to study, you must become aware of the necessity to keep it up relying only upon the subject, upon yourself, upon your true uniqueness. The only support you can get in this moment is your faith. No other support exists and cannot exist. If one denies faith one must become a superman, about whom Nietzsche wrote his book, a God-man, a creator from the beginning to the end, i.e. a round-the-clock creator. Even while walking along the street in the role of a passer-by, you still must create this role and not perform from a ready script. What I said here has to do
Part Two 16)
only with preparing oneself for acquiring the new quality of a self-reflecting person, to that stage in which one begins to form the meaning of life.
The second compound part of self-realization is self-affirmation. What does self-affirmation mean? It comes from a simple idea, that a man can create either a thing or a product which will outlive him. This is a paradox. Here I take in my hand a book which I wrote myself: Igor Kalinauskas Face to Face with the World. And I think: “I will die and this will stay. And who wrote it? And for what reason? After all this is my death. Created by myself.” I have myself produced something which will outlive me. i.e. if I am a reflective man I understand that this is a reminder of death. So whai can one do? Should I boast that I wrote a book, or should I never see it and ask that nobody would remind me of it because I shall die and the book will remain. Here I sit in my study and look at the books. In most cases, children outlive their parents. I will die and h will stay. But I have brought it to life as if I had simply planted a tree. If no accidents happen in this place, this tree will also outlive me. These are obvious things. We do plenty of things not suspecting that they will outlive us. A man, for instance, wants to get an apartment. Finally he gets it. And the apartment will outlast him Nowadays of course it is not absolutely certain. Today they build so poorly that it may not outlast its owner. But in the old days the> used to build for centuries. And there are a lot of things which existed before me in this world and will exist after me. This is whai self-affirmation is. It occurs anyway whether one cares about it or not. Thus self-affirmation can also be unconscious and has a character of paranoia, in a good sense of this word, before it turns into pathology. It is strongly motivated, for example, as in a desire to conquer a certain territory during one’s life. To become firmK established as a unique human being, a person, or as a “soul of the company,” or just the opposite, an unpleasant person, a highwayman. To enter history. To exit history, what is more difficult by the way. To become a part of history “in ships, lines of poems, and other long lasting deeds” (V. Mayakovsky). There is heap ol long lasting deeds in which we take part. And sometimes we are not even asked whether we agree to participate. Recently we all helped Everybody had a little share in that. We have participated in tru annihilation of the Soviet Union. Now we participate in the creation of an independent Ukraine because we are citizens of this country We are doing something over here and it will outlive us. There is a
162 The Art of Living
reversed side of self-affirmation. I know people who consciously avoid this. They do nothing which can outlast them. Though they constantly instruct us, in terms of socialization, social programming, and social inheritance, that we leave our mark in history. One came, checked in and left. And this is wonderful. He is such a celebrity, he is famous! In this case though the material carrier decomposed a long time ago. but he is remembered. It does not matter how is he remembered. And over there in the heavens he is not left alone. Recently there was such a TV show. Mathematicians from Novosibirsk used the I-Ching, not for fortune-telling, but as an algorithm of thought. The research was called “binary math.” In the study of viruses, for example, new forms of viruses were predicted with this book’s help. It turned out that it is an excellent scientific, cognitive methodology. Thus, from the point of view of the methodology of the I-Ching, man is a collector of information. Then one gets rid of the material carrier and exists as the informational energy system, he is just a transmitter of information. This is also an interesting model. But it still means that we all are preoccupied with self-affirmation and willy-nilly have to do so because man is meant to learn, as the cosmic beings say. Now for what purpose must he learn? In order to spread his knowledge through the cosmos. If one looks at the meaning of life from this point of view, then one has to “learn, learn, and learn.” Man cannot give up self-affirmation because he, like every living thing, has in himself something which we call territorial imperative. He cannot exist without his territory in the physical sense of the word, in the social sense of the word, and in the philosophical sense of the word. Man, as long as he is a man, cannot live nowhere. Our consciousness has its limitation and every manifestation in this universe also has a limitation. Therefore he is always somewhere because he brings that limitation to the level of material manifestation, on the social level and on the ideal level. If he has not enough territory, he naturally is in a negative situation. And if one has too much territory, he is again in a negative situation. Though everybody seems to think that if he gets a ten room apartment he will feel fine. I am not sure of that. Some people. yes, would feel fine. When I rented a three room apartment, I thought: “What luck, what fortune, and so inexpensive! But what will I do in three rooms, alone?” It turned out not to be too bad, it was just right. And if I had five rooms? I do not know. Will I be able to fill up five rooms? But for some people, forty rooms would be fine. I know very rich people. They live in two room apartments, in
Part Two 163
terribly cramped, dirty conditions. Ten years ago they could have bought six room apartments, but they did not. All the time they find reasons for that. Well, they cannot. They are afraid. They are afraid of changing their situation. Say, their ideal or territorial situation is scarce while the social situation has suddenly changed to the better—everything is closely connected. The acquisition of material territory instantly changes the social territory. The acquisition of social territory changes the ideal territory, and vice versa. Because all of this is an manifestation of the same rule: all that is alive tends to take up territory.
We know that some plants feel comfortable next to others in the thickness of the forest while others prefer the open fields. onl\ there they feel fine. Some flowers grow well in the meadow amongsi the other flowers, and others, only in a flower bed. Thus we can reduce the problem of self-affirmation to two aspects: the first aspect is to go beyond the limits of an individual’s history, beyond “birth-death” and the limits of the individual life. The second aspect is the territorial one. The territorial aspect is a complicated matter especially on a social level. It is a colossal thing. Some people easil> adapt to circumstances, easily make contacts. Others find it difficult There are different initial conditions and different socio psychological worlds. A large number of problems is bound to occur within the social dimension. The reason for this, in the first place, is that we identify ourselves as social beings rather than as spiritual or material beings. In the material sense, we forget, even with our own children, that a human being should have an individual space. A monograph by Kitaev-Smyk describes what happens with cosmonauts during experiments when they are deprived of personal space. People just put their heads into their lockers in order to sta> in their own individual space if only for a while. The need for solitude has been taken into consideration from time immemorial in monasteries. Everybody had a small but private cell. But. in our socialist society, it was advocated that people should live communally, in the communal apartments. This was very good: the more people in one room the better control. Men. was spying on men. The social pressure increased. But social pressure should also have a limit, even from the point of view of management. Because when the pressure is too strong a man is crushed at this level. As a result some people riot, the others break down. Why do Western countries have tremendous problems with the emotional realm” Because the social pressure there is much higher than here. Because
164 The Art of Living
work takes a more important place there than here. At work as in theater one finds subordination, discipline and a high level of competition.
The problems of self-affirmation are the problems of the resistance of the material as well. Let us take a simple act of self-affirmation. I took a piece of clay and molded a cup from it. I overcame the resistance of the material. From a rough clay, I made something. This is the most pliable material. The most simple way of self-affirmation is through my palm. I stained it and left a print on the wall of a cave. This print will remain for thousands of years. The archaeologists will study it. There is my palm. It outlived me for three and a half thousands years.
But your entire live can be a self-affirmation if you have such an intention, if you want to live an absolutely original life shaped according to your personal script or according to a rare script which was not approved by the art directors of this society and was not allowed to be performed. Or if you live your life according an ideologically alien script, then you must also get, or take the right to, the authorship of your own life. In this sense, the model of the movies or theater is very close to that situation in which a man, who wants to be the author of his own life, finds himself. In this theater one does not know how much time he needs for staging the planned show and playing in it. Another thing is the “spiritual plan.” On the second or the third layers there is the least resistance. People think this way. That is why temptation is so great. There everyone feels himself an author: lapse into meditation and make up whatever you want. This is the projection of dreams. Everything is so simple and elegant. The resistance of the material is almost zero in most cases. Though even in dreams we know that there is a resistance. The other way to avoid the resistance of the material is the so-called “simple life.” “Back to nature.” Only when a man can actualize it in life, does he realize that there is also a tremendous resistance: there is no hot water and the cold water is pouring from the sky in too large an amount. The beasts are running around, and this, and that and the other. Everything must be done from the very beginning. The entire civilization must be started from the very beginning. One cannot exist by just running around in the forest. One cannot sleep under a bush. Before there were wild beasts and now there are beasts running on two legs. They are also dangerous beasts.
I remember in my childhood, I used to go fishing in Lithuania. When there was a need to spend the night outdoors, I simply
Part Two 165
wrapped myself in my raincoat and lay down under any tree and slept peacefully. I was not afraid of animals, there were absolutel> no dangerous people. Then, with every passing year, this feeling of security diminished because there were more and more people and among these were those who did not control their behavior and were aggressive. Now one needs to climb up a tree in order to sleep in the forest. It is no longer safe to sleep under a tree. In Lithuania, nature has preserved these features of paradise. There are practically no wild beasts over there. If a wolf finds his way. one in the whole of Lithuania, he probably would not step on you. If one does not lie under the oak, the wild boar will not approach you either. In sandv soils there are also no snakes. But people… That is why a man instinctively senses that self-affirmation is a more complicated thing. more risky, requiring much more effort, much more concentration much more knowledge, patience, tenacity and understanding Thai is why everybody is tempted to avoid self-affirmation and to live only at the expense of self-expression. It happens this way because in self-expression one needs to overcome only one’s shyness and one’s fear: the fear of seeing oneself as a whole and the shame of condemnation from someone who misunderstands. Though he is sincere, but sincerity, as you know, is needed not by everybody and not at all times. That is why. in Lithuania, it is not a big thing to go to the lake and swim in the nude, but. in Middle Asia, it is a big event. A risk in self-expression is a risk of not finding the social strata one needs, i.e. to lose social security. Therefore if we have gathered a group in which we express ourselves in turns one after the other or all together, we provide ourselves with a safe place for self-expression.
If somebody begins to talk now about the third level of realit} or his experience yesterday of the “school stream” in the hear! chakra, everybody will react normally. Well some people may argue “Maybe it only seemed so to you?” Nobody will laugh at him, shake a finger at him, thinking that he is crazy. But if he does the same thing at work, this self-expression will bring some tension and mosi likely unwanted consequences in the future. A person’s need for self-expression might, nevertheless, be satisfied in a small group of people, i.e. in more congenial social environment.
It is well known, the idea of creating the plane for one’s life arises in a situation where one experiences a crisis of the meaning of life. This condition is necessary but not sufficient: The second condition for this is creation of a script. Did the script-time end or
166 The Art of Living
did it not? Was the script interrupted or broken off or not? I will not talk about the script from Bern’s* point of view. I will discuss it in a more general way (those of you who are interested might read the book Games People Play.) Until the age of seven, a person plays out his entire life, being completely unaware of it. The entire script of his future life is formed in his subconscious mind. It might be a script of a failure, it might be the script of a success, it might be the script of an Ugly Duckling or of Little Red Riding Hood. In Bern’s book there are some typical scripts. One can research the most typical scripts in our social reality. Or, the connection of the typical scripts with the socio-psychological worlds which is creating them. Or the connection of scripts with family conditions, the connection of scripts with the development of self-evaluation in early childhood. etc.
But the most important thing is how much a person, in his conscious efforts, corresponds or does not correspond with his subconscious script. All psychological dynamics, the conflict dynamics are built on the clash between the inner script, which is as a rule not comprehended, and the conscious efforts. Say, a person is a sportsman. He dreams of being a champion but, according to his subconscious script, he should always lose. As a looser, he will play out his role and will get his psychological reward from il. For example, in his early childhood he was emotionally supported by his parents only when he failed. These cases are well known. So a conflict appears in him between the normal orientation of consciousness to win, and the orientation of his subconscious mind to fail, for if he wins he will be punished. This man does not realize this himself. However, the dynamics of the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious longings begins to develop in him and, either because of intrigue, or because of a trauma he suffers in a most important moment, or for some other cause, he docs not become a champion. Though he seems to have done everything in his power to become a champion. That is why it is very good to have among friends a qualified practical psychologists, it does not matter how he calls himself. It is important that he can help you like a mirror. Because without you he cannot do it. Nobody can calculate the script of a man if he has not observed for long enough time the dynamics of his conflicting actions, but even in this case a
* Erich Bern is a well known American psychoterapist and theorist of the psychoanalisis.
Part Two 167
psychologist must explore his conscious aims. If one is willing to do this, one must find a person whom he really trusts since one will have to recall certain things from his early childhood and talk about them with this person.
However, if a psychologist manages to pull out from his subconscious mind the script, which was formed at the age of seven, one could understand almost all the dramas of his life—everything which was subjectively conceived as drama, failure, and conflict. All this will be located in the gap between the script and the conscious orientation. The most happy people are those who do not have this gap and in whom, for some reason, the script and the conscious orientation match. For them everything is like clockwork. Their inner world is most relieved, because that which their consciousness wants and that which is in their nature, i.e. their subconscious script, coincide. There are those lucky ones. I have observed them personally. Fantastic! As long as the script does not end. If the scripi of these people exhausts, the crisis of the meaning of life becomes a super-catastrophe. Because of the exhausted script it is the end of their entire life. There is nothing to live for. There is no mechanism which we are accustomed to see as natural, there is nothing which is managed not even by the consciousness or by the circumstances of our life, but by the subconscious energy, by subconscious orientation, i.e. by our nature. As long as the subconscious script is exhausted, a person finds himself in a silly situation. And what musi one do now? This is the crisis of meaning of life. That is all. The other alternative is when a contradiction between the conscious aim and the script is so sharp that one must either shoot oneself or do something about it…
At this very moment a person is saying: “I seem not to be in need of myself.” Because we all are always objectively or subjectively needed by someone. We are needed either by the State or our parents, by our children or our friends, or at our jobs as specialists. But I have a need for myself only as long as I am moved by this inner energy. Then I can overcome obstacles, I can struggle and do anything else. As soon as this stops functioning from inside rational coaxing for some reason does not help. I understand everything but 1 have nothing to act with. The energy does not work. This might be a crisis according to a schedule i.e. a crisis having to do with the transition from childhood to the period of individuality, or from individuality to personality, or from personality to the period of essence. The crises “according to
168 The Art of Living
schedule” could be more or less severe to the extent they coincide or do not coincide with the energy of the script. Let us take an extreme case. It is the case in which a person “decides” to practice spirituality. Either it is a part of his script, or he makes it up for himself, or he suddenly has an idea. As Gurdjieff used to say, this influence, coming from outside the limits of the Great Average, penetrates into the personality of a human being at the time of the breaking of the “machine.” Then it becomes transformed with the help of the system of motivations and gets attached to a certain actual need and goes ahead at full speed—and one finds himself not knowing where he actually is. Then one begins to be seriously preoccupied with this. Say, he is lucky, he has good natural capabilities. And where does this bring him? The intensity of life increases. The script gets exhausted much faster. The very same thing happens to the artists by calling and of any profession. They also exhaust their subconscious script very easily and then something begins… Why are there so many freaks among artists? Their script ends because of the increased intensity of their experience. The ability to use what has been given to them more flexibly, with a larger scope of social freedom, the ability to overcome the resistance of the material of the given life, provides the chance to fulfill everything that was in the script. It could bring full happiness—to reach the goal of one’s script. But we know already that the intent of the script might be unhappiness, suffering and complete failure. Everything depends on what kind of scripi it is. There are people whom, according to their script, everyone must hate. There are such scripts. This is a very subtle matter. Not as simple as in Bern’s book. Naturally this is a popular book. He wrote it just in order to make people think about it, that such a problem exists. It is wonderful that he did it. But in reality it is a much more subtle matter. One should begin with Groff. with the matrix: intra-uterine existence, labor, passage through the birth canal, cutting the umbilical cord. The pre-natal matrix is the beginning of the script. A lot depends upon that and then, on the dynamics of the relationship with the mother. Then upon the dynamic of the relationship with oneself and the management of the body. Then upon the dynamic of the relationship with the father. Then upon the dynamic of the relationship with the family, including all the relatives. Then upon the dynamics of the relationship with the social microcosm, i.e. backyard, street, nursery school, preschool. And at the age of seven, when the child enters the first grade of school in Russia, he is
Part Two 169
already a mature person and there is only about 10% left for social adaptation. To pull this script out from the subconscious mind is very difficult. Still one can notice, by looking at one’s life, that he is. going around in circles. Some situations in one’s life are being repeated all the time. Someone seems to have left a certain situation behind and then—oops!—he comes back to it. The situations which are being repeated in one’s life are the situations of the script. Thev were packaged into the script. It is very important to understand this. Ideally, the adult in you must overcome, through comprehension, both a parent and a child. One must integrate into himself, the parents’ as well as child’s helplessness. If one can integrate it fully then he becomes a balanced adult person. Thus the first element of the real project of life, the psychologically concrete one. is integrating a parent and a child within oneself.
The second element of the project is connected with the goal We have said that the goal is a dangerous thing because it does nol automatically give us meaning. The achievement as meaning is a very ambiguous thing. Having achieved a goal one loses it, because it has been already achieved and therefore it has disappeared. If one cannot achieve the goal, then frustration takes place as well as a breakdown in connection with his helplessness and impotence, i.e the meaning of the achievement is lost and the gravity of claims goes down while the level of expectation does not diminish. We know that what I expect from myself in reality should ideally coincide with my claims, though this never happens. A gap always exists however small. Nevertheless, if the level of expectation is much higher than the level of claims, this also is not a very comfortable situation for the very reason that a man overstrains himself in that, which he can do with one move. He cannot see that it is easy. When my claims are higher than my expectations, that is a different story. Then I simpl> do nothing. I can find numerous explanations of why I cannoi achieve something. I cannot because of this, and that, and the other… Then we have a situation of unrecognized genius. “I am. generally speaking, a genius, but the right conditions were not fixed for me, the initial setting was wrong, the socio-psychological environment was wrong, low living standards, the wrong State, and the wrong time in which I was born…” When your claims are higher then the level of expectations, this situation is easier to deal with And what if it is lower? Then you aim at the little sparrows from a cannon. Then a person makes a lot of effort for no good reason.. Why does he strain himself so much? This reminds me of an oriental
170 The Art of Living
market place. You approach a sales-person with a huge pile of watermelons. “I would like to buy all of them at your price.” The answer is: “And then what shall I do? I will have to go home to my village.” He purposely came here to the market to stay for a month or two. To live in the city. To spend time with friends. This is exactly the case when the level of claims is lower than the level of expectation. “Let me do it for you right away.” “No, no This should take at least three years. You say “right away.” That is improper and wrong.” It has been said: “Easy comes, easy goes.” Numerous enlightened teachers have said: “Why do you waste your time? One step and you are enlightened.” But almost nobody can do it. “That is wrong, that is too easy.”
So the second element of life’s project is the analysis of the proportion between expectations and claims. If one claims a thing which requires a number of years of uninterrupted efforts then one must expect a long run. Forget about—bang! bang!—and the result is in your pocket. One cannot take a violin and start playing at once like Pagamni. It is impossible. Even if one has a perfect ear: but what about the fingers and the instrument? It is impossible to start dancing classical ballet just like that. One should know oneself, one’s own abilities and expectations, and not create a project which requires 20 years of work if one cannot wait more than half a year. One should choose a project which can be fulfilled in half a year. Or one should create a super-intensive technology in order to beat time.
However, to do so one must have the appropriate skills, strengths, health, ability to concentrate and ability to sustain psychological pressure. There are processes which cannot be speeded up and there are processes which can be speeded up by using a more progressive technology. Even when one sets a certain goal for himself and forms a project in accordance to that goal, one must not forget to secure a meaning overlapping the attainment of this goal. In order not to find oneself as in that classic example where people live in barracks, in darkness, in terrible conditions and dream of the time when they will finally get an apartment and begin to live happily. They receive an apartment for the family—and the family breaks down. This is because the goal was achieved. The meaning of a communal existence disappeared. For the meaning as it turned out was not to get an apartment but to struggle shoulder to shoulder to get this apartment. And here is a broader example. People who went to war young and then returned home victorious, had problems living a normal life after that. Or take what I observed
Part Two 171
while working with people from Chernobyl. One is a hero. For three, four, six months, he is the center of attention. Then everything is over. The damage of the accident was repaired. What should one do now? How can one come back to a normal life? Therefore, for any goal you make, you must in advance provide a meaning overlapping this goal. Otherwise you will have fun but will not solve the problem of meaning. The movement, aspiration toward goal, climbing up the mountain is an interesting thing by itself. This is an example of work for the sake of work. I will climb up first and then… Well, one climbs up. Still there is a need to begin from the very beginning. On the top of the mountain, as well as at the foot, one must figure out meaning. One must conceive of it or adapt it How can one assign the meaning? Through affiliation with tradition Through faith, hope and love. There is no other way to acquire eternal values, eternal meaning than through love and faith. The meaning is superior to any conceivable goal. Striving for meaning for the creation of meaning, begins with love and faith. Fear produces such concepts as duty, self-control, self-restriction. Thai childish fear which begins with the first fits of mother’s labor and ends with stern figures of father and mother from whom everything in the world depends (having in mind the first period of life), thai fear cannot be the source of meaning. Only when that fear is supplanted by love, ideally from these very parents and from thai very world to which you somehow have been pushed from a wonderful mother womb. This love for you is transformed to your ability to love yourself and others. Love creates faith and creates the function of the creation of meaning. Therefore religion is the greatest creation of human existence. For God is merciful and. according to definition, loves everybody from the very beginning That is why Christianity is so attractive, because Jesus has already redeemed all our sins. Of all those who were living then, of those who had been living before, of those who live now. That very idea ol” liberation from sin through the Son of God is an idea of initiating love for Him. In order that He could love Himself. This is religion This is the sacred level of religious consciousness. This is the chance to create meaning personally, in one’s heart, as it is said in Spiritua! tradition. That is the religious and spiritual consciousness—thai which Florensky named the sacred activity. It is the activity of the creation of meaning. For this activity is in life from very beginning As soon as God ceased to be a projection of the threatening father and the threatening mother, who are punishing, and became the
172 The Art of Living
Beloved One, in the form of Truth, Jesus, or Virgin Mary, then the greatest revolution in the history of humanity occurred. Love surpassed fear. And meaning became available to anyone who came to faith. Like eternal life. For eternal life is the meaning. And the Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom of the never-ending meaning. Of the never-ceasing depth, volume and the never-ceasing immortal movement, the infinite movement of life. Life is eternal. L-ife in meaning and in love. And there are no other sources of creation of meaning besides love. There are not and cannot be.
This is the most sacred grain of spirituality. This is the cause by which the Spiritual Community existed, exists and will exist. It is needed for humanity because it is a source of meanings superior to any goal. And at moments of crisis, caused by certain reasons (today we touched some of them), one, in the first place, should address the source of love, i.e. that one in which your adventures always and unconditionally overshadow your shortcomings. They are preferred to your shortcomings. This is the meaning of addressing religion. The religion of love not the religion of fear. This is the meaning of addressing spirituality. And this is the meaning of addressing those who love us. For only loving us saves us from meaninglessness. Nobody else can save us from this. Therefore, He is the Savior, Jesus. For He saved humanity from meaninglessness. Recall the dawn of the Roman Empire when all the goals of Empire were reached. When all beings were divided into animals, under-people and people. The later, having everything, being perverted beyond limits, gratifying all their desires because everything was available. All goals were attained.
Only love and meaning can help to solve the goal of integrating the child and the parent within oneself and of conceiving an adult bearing within himself the meaning of his own life. For if we do not have the meaning in ourselves i.e. the Temple of God in our soul, in our heart, nothing saves us from meaninglessness. Whatever social organizations, whatever noble calls, whatever capacity for work or, vice versa, laziness, whatever meditations—nothing, if we do not acquire meaning in ourselves, i.e. Kingdom of God in ourselves. It became especially clear to me when we had a chance to attend the Congress of Christians in Moscow. Then I thought: a single preacher, only in South Korea, has converted hundreds of thousands of people. How did he manage it? He had extracted from all the complex problems of Christianity the core element: “‘Let Christ into your heart. Let Him exercise in your heart that for the
Part Two 173
sake of which He has appeared, to exercise love to you. Let Him love you as he himself has promised, and then you will love yourself and acquire the Kingdom of God inside of you.” Thus, you will become a man whose meaning of life is in yourself. In your heart. In your soul.
The main point is that this is the main watershed in the historv of humanity. And in the history of every human being. In ever} human life. The watershed behind which the fear ceases to be the main regulator. If it does not happen a man does not become a grown up. He is now a parent, now a child. As a parent he tortures himself trying to live according to a tradition which absolutely disagrees with his grown up life. As a child he is rebelling all the time and moving in the direction of self-distraction. He is trying to fulfill the abstract “freedom from” according to the principle: “Give! ] deserve it. Give! Give!” It is impossible to substitute this love with any social control and it is impossible to give a human being thf meaning of life through any social pressure. No social projects will work. The most noble goals will turn into their opposites if the essential event does not take place. If one does not find meaning in himself, the Kingdom of God within oneself. That means obtaining your Lord who loves you and who is loved by you, and obtaining your World, and your Truth. Then you breath freely and happily— Thy Will be done!
174 The Art of Living

From the collection The Autumn of Faith

How can one remain oneself
in the middle of the game? While all traces are swept away
not by the destiny. The voice of truth is quiet—
the noise is furious. Once again a soloist lulled.
And only a rumble of choristers. A multiheaded chorus
is omniscient. Lonely, I am ashamed
like that one who is naked, I abuse my throat.
My voice is wild. Only by the morning
I see the holy face.

Live by immortality of your soul Above the abyss of separation. Do not extinguish fire of love, Sustain the torture of satisfaction.
A star burns, it will burn out, But its light isn’t getting older. A wave will merge with a shore. But the sea will live forever.
Do not extinguish fire of love. Being afraid of the heart’s torture. Live by immortality of your soul Above the abyss of separation.

The Subject & the “Laws of Life”
I have a feeling that the most demanding current problem is the encountering the reality of the spiritual world. Why do I consider this problem a crucial one? Our tradition, which we call “the School,” belongs to a group of traditions of spiritual transformation. As in any tradition of that kind, one finds in it the following difficulty: the lack of any canonical description of the disciple, the teacher and the Way. The fact is that in this period of historical time I am playing the role of a supposed or alleged leader I am doing the work that has been entrusted to me, namely, speaking in a most conventional way, of the embodiment of the School on the ground level and of materialization of the tradition in living people, in our contemporaries, on this territory and in present time. Here arises a complicated psychological situation: on the one hand, there seems to be a living leader. On the other hand, his manifestation as a human being does not fit into a concluded explanatory cycle. According to the laws of group psychology, attempts are made to transfer and canonize the leader’s personality in order to obtain that very canon which does not exist in the tradition. In most instances I have been intentionally wrecking all those attempts of canonizing as soon as a steady image appears (I consider this to be one of the essential parts of my work). Therefore all kinds of negative responses and evaluations arose along with the attempts to create of me a canonized leader figure or to create a canon from an image of another leader, especially in the view of a growing number of leaders. Some see Johnas as the clearest embodiment of a leader, some see Eve and some, Virga. The whole problem is that the absence of a canon is not an accident. We know that human consciousness in its archaic layers intends to get focused on the center, on the voice of a leader, on a leader’s image, on the leader.
176 The Art of Living
If we turn to the works of professor Bolotov, we see that the idea of leadership encompasses, to say the least, all living nature. The way professor Bolotov made his discovery is wonderful. While he was sitting and watching fry swim, a simple thought came to his mind: “Why are these little ones moving simultaneously? Once—to the right, once—to the left.” He fish-ed out a group of fry, placed them in a large fish-bowl, and divided that group in two halves. One half was still poking about while the other half became slack and eventually came to the surface dead. The half that survived he divided into two halves again. And he continued that until there was only one fry alive. That one didn’t die even when alone. Next he placed it into a glass capsule, then into a metal one and so on. He put the capsule into an arbitrarily chosen group of fry. and all the fry followed it.
Later working on this problem he came to the conclusion that any living and integral system has a leader-cell. Whether it is a group of people or a flock of birds, whether these are the cells of one of the organs, a heart or, say, a liver, or of the whole organism, whether a human or a dog’s organism—every-where the principle of the leading cell operates. This is a very cruel discovery. However, in social psychology it was determined long ago that every group has a leader. I remember my friend Gena Koziyr crying in Daugavpils after we had a session on the technology of the mental process, in which we discussed the fact that every group has a leader. He was so deeply offended by this, that he was crying with the “scarce male tears.” However, this is a fact which is easy to verify. Anybody can conduct that experiment with a group of fry. This brings to our attention a great spiritual problem. According to a very basic principle and the first moral postulate of many spiritual doctrines, every soul is potentially Divine. What should one do with this postulate in a situation of leadership?
Everybody knows that there was Buddha, and he had a great number of disciples, but he was one. There was Bodhidharma, he had a great number of disciples. However. Buddha, as we know from the texts, was at least a more or less presentable man and he matched some canonical expectations of saintliness. while Bodhidharma was an absolutely fearful person. Yes, he was so fearful and had such manners that if he entered this place now, you would hardly recognize him as a spiritual leader. Then there was Jesus. Crowds followed him, and he chose his twelve closest disciples out of those crowds. Wherever we look we will not find a company
Part Three 177
There was one Osho* , one Gurdjieff. Ouspensky** could not put up with it and went aside. Then, before his death, he directed all his followers to Gurdjieff. Thus, there is always one person, a leader.
It is an enormous problem. Do you remember: one of the Buddha’s closest disciples Ananda, who spent thirty years besidf Buddha, could not become enlightened. Only when Buddha had passed away and everybody was sobbing. Ananda burst into laughter and became enlightened-he was so attached to Buddha. I have shown here examples of more or less canonized doctrines, i.e. ones that are clearly outlined and bordered within society, delimited by the very shape of the existence of that tradition. However, we are not delimited in such a way. We do not have people doing the work of gurus professionally. Even I am not a professional in this sense. 1 am an actor, a producer, a psychologist and play other roles too. I do not allow myself to be simply a guru. This would not be right. In order to overcome, in the spiritual sense, this natural law of a leader-cell, it was necessary to find very delicate and very complicated methods of working that would allow those who follow the leader to meet with themselves, to discover their own uniqueness, to go through this very hard inner experience and to embody their subjectivity. This first cruel fact of a living incarnation requires from the leader a clear and precise knowledge of the laws of interaction with his disciples, followers and friends. Otherwise n would be impossible to implement the principle: “every soul is potentially Divine.” It is necessary that a person should find “himself” in all those situations which allow him to embody the essence one’s own subjectivity, its uniqueness. This is one factor Another complex factor is that everything that relates to spirituality. being originally destined for a person, must find its way to him through the external reality. But how can it get to a person under the cover of an instrumentality, an external conditioning, culture, civilization, time, place and through other people? For the last
* Osho Radjneesh or Bhagavan Sri Radjneesh (1931—1990), an enlightened Master of our time. His talks with his disciples were transcribed and published in numerous books. ** Peter Demiariovitch Ouspensky (1878—1947) was a Russian desciple of legendary Georgy Gurdjieff. Ouspensky’s book “In Search of the Miraculous” (N.Y., Harcourt, 1949) played an important role in spreading Gurdjieff’s ideas in the West. He also is the author of the following books: Trrtium Orgamim. The New Model of (he Universe. The Fourth Way, Psychology of the Man’s Possible Evolution.
178 The Art of Living
three hundred years we have been living under the statement: “Cogito ergo sum.” i.e. our civilization is built on this principle. Thus, it is inevitable that we turn the spiritual matter into the material of our consciousness (sometimes, into the material of our imagination, but this happens mostly with women), i.e. we turn it into the material of our subjective reality, and, as a rule, of the reality of a discursive subjective construction. However, when we meet people who were brought up in the Oriental culture, we see that, in their case, everything begins with the images and only afterwards comes rational discourse. In our culture, on the other hand, a concept is the starting point and the image follows it. In St.-Petersburg, when I had worked with Master Tyn, this manifested itself very clearly.
He would say:
“Imagine that you are a snake.”
I answered:
“Done. So what?”
For me it was nothing. However, for him imagining himself as a snake had a great number of consequences. In a same way when I told him:
“Imagine that you immerse you “point-like I” into infinity.”
Master Tin would answer:
“So what?”
I said:
“What do you mean by ‘so what?'”
And he said:
“And you imagine that you are a snake.”
This is a question of the kind of books we read, of mutual relationships, of the means by which we are involved with reality. We are involved in a different way, and for us it is a problem of taking the images seriously.
Yes, in our civilization, images are useful but for whom? For artists, actors, musicians, etc.
“Johnas. imagine that you are a rooster.” Immediately you assume that they want to offend you, to turn you into an actor. “And now imagine that your body is stretched into infinity.” See, you have an abnormal response. We do not appreciate images. Even when I am talking to professional artists, poets, and composers. despite the fact that they are artistically gifted, they feel a kind of “inferiority,” especially when they are not in a moment of creative inspiration. That is why all of them enjoy theorizing. Victor
Part Three 179
Apukhtin was brought up in the Orient, however he is not an Oriental person although he likes to theorize about his entirely abstract works. Or we have in Kiev Vitaly Serdiukov. He may suddenly start to draw some signs, some hieroglyphics, he may start to give me his concept on this matter. For some reason they consider the image as insufficient. However, does reality itself, with the exception of texts, talk to us in the language of concepts? The reality as such. You are sitting, I am standing, and there, behind the window, is evening. Here is a flower and another one. Here is a tape-recorder. Here is a grand piano. Is it not a grand piano? Is it a harpsichord? All these objects are visual real objects or pictures And the world talks to us mostly in this language, but we do not hear it. We see it, we even feel it, but we do not perceive it as a texl conveyed through the language of images. Look, what a unique country Japan is. It became a super-state. However, for the Japanese image comes first, and the concept follows the image. Our lack of seriousness in regard to images forces us to draw a sharp dividing line between all that which we call spirituality (everybody has his own idea of it) and all that which we call ordinary life. This way our personal spirituality falls out of life. It does not dissolve in life or pierce through it. There is no mutual transformation. Rather there is violence against the living texture of life, its adjustment to the conceptual apparatus of “spirituality.” The alternative is the rational “unmasking” of spirituality. And as a result there are no spiritual seekers older than thirty-five. A book which I often remember for various reasons is called The Ocean of Pleasure for a Wise Man. Among other things it says: “One should not evade richness and abundance which are nutrition and fertilization for spiritual growth.” Let us make an effort and take it not as a conceptual formula but as a text made up of images. Take “richness” not as a concept but as an image. Richness as an image always means abundance: richness of color, richness of experience, richness of feelings.
“Richness and abundance.” Is it an image of abundance’.’ We simply do not know what the abundance is. We have read something about it in books, especially in fairy tales. Who can visualize abundance? What is it as an image?
“Something which we do not need anymore.”
I.N.: It is surely so. Richness means abundance. It is when 1 have everything and I have so much that I can share it with somebody. And abundance is a state which resembles the situation
180 The Art of Living
in our mother’s womb. As soon as we want something, we have it. And if we do not have it instantly available to us, then we get angry. “Richness and abundance are serving you”—take note, not belonging but serving you—as means, as servants, “giving you nutrition and fertilization,” just like manure. What is the best fertilizer for “spiritual growth?” One should not evade this, being preoccupied with the problem of one’s own spiritual growth. However, what is the objective reason that allows us to shirk away from the living texture of life? This reason is very simple. What do you need for your life? Here is the list of all that is necessary and sufficient: you and life.
If you are not present and there is only life, then “life is living you.” You become the nutrition and the fertilizer for life and nothing else. Your life is living you. It is nourished by you, like war is nourished by the “cannon-fodder.” The person who is not present as a subject does not resist life. Such a person is the food and the fertilizer, the “life-fodder.” He is the means for life itself. Life is on its own, and it is living you.
If you are present and life is not present, then everything that is manifested gets in your way. Your body gets in your way, and your clothing, and the fact that you must eat. Why, as Virginia says, wouldn’t people invent pills? You swallow a pill and there’s no need to eat for a week. Why are there all these traffic rules and air pollution, these terrible cities and the stunted trees. The cave has been made wrongly and the monastery has been built wrongly. Everything is wrong. Then there is only one way: to submerge into oneself. One always imagines this way or rather an illusion of such an escape. And one submerges deeper and deeper… into fantasies and foul mystical reflections.
You (the subject) and life—that is all that is needed and sufficient. Life resists you in everything. It resists you psychologically since you did not make this decision—to live. You did not determine what kind of life you would find. Besides that, life has numerous so called objective laws, cosmic predetermination, etc., while you are unique as a subject. Why the State destroys or make hardly available any kind of knowledge about the subject? Do you understand—why? Life is against you anyway. “Life will break” you or “life will teach” you. Why we have no such sayings as: “life will cherish you” or “life will warm you” or “life will fall in love with you?” Sorry, we do not have them.

Part Three 181
At first, my parents and later, all the others who were my social parents, said to me: “Life will break you, surrender to it. Be good and you will have everything that is needed for life.”
Remember the crises of the teens, the teenager’s trauma when for the first time in his life he has the experience of his own subjectivness.
“I already have everything I need, so why do you adults brainwash me? Why are you breaking me? I have all that is needed!” —”No, you have not become a human being yet. You musi do that, and that, and you always must, must, must… And you musi also die with dignity.” What a strange object is life if I constantly owe something to somebody… And here the spiritualists come and they say: “Be happy, praise life, laugh, dance, sing, meditate.” So J am caught in a complex situation—here I constantly owe something to the others, and what about other places?
What is spirituality? How can one live by it? I have a young friend Zhenya. He is a remarkable man because he is in a state of permanent meditation and at the same time he is doing business. He-is successful in both occupations. His partners see him as a spaced out person. They think: “All right, we will cheat him, we will sneak around him, we will sell him bad merchandise. He is a vegetable.” Do you also think that he is a vegetable? In fact he is a unique-business executive. Otherwise, he is in complete meditation. One gets the impression that he is on drugs around the clock. However, he is sharp as a business man. One might think that he would always be late to meetings, but he is always on time. One might think that he would fail in everything he does. At the same time he has taken an oath to obey the Laws of the School. Furthermore, he finds time1 to work on his psycho-energy. Thanks to some special circumstances a certain interpenetration has taken place in him, i.e there is no division between spirituality, on the one hand, and “the terrible life which one should live,” on the other hand. He manages to combine “this terrible life in which I must do something” with “there is something in which I am free.” Is that not beautiful? When I originally met him, he also dreamt of building a shelter in the forests, i.e. he had the problem of separation. Then he begins gradually to solve it. This is what transformation is. If we put a mighty receiver here, a TV, and then attach it to an antenna, we will receive a tremendous amount of diverse information. It does nol matter whether our receiver is in an old monastery, in the library, in the street of Vilna, or on the summit of mount Everest. The essential
182 The Art of Living
thing is the quality of the receiver. We must remember that in order to receive this information it must be produced, packaged and transmitted—all at a tremendous expense. But in order to receive it, all we need is a good receiver and antenna. Spirituality is present everywhere. It is real. It is neither an imagination nor a fantasy, although fantasy too can produce some effect. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, highly respected by all of us, studied philosophy, before he became involved into revolutionary activity. In his Philosophical Notebooks, he placed “nota bene” next to Hegel’s statement: “That which seems is objective.” Was he not clever?
We are so accustomed to the idea that “subjective” means “non-existent.” “untrue.” “not real.” that together with the water of “clerical idealism,” as our “comrades” used to say, we have poured out ourselves, i.e. the subject. The only object which is left is life and that life “lives us.” However, if we exist as a reality, then the “subjective” is that reality, it is true, and it has all the features of reality. And if the subjective has all the features of reality, than dialectical materialism turns into full solipsism, because if there is something outside of reality, then what is it? If the subjective is not real, then reality is not a unity. Then the entire construction shall simply collapse.
When we talk about a building, what do we have in mind? Recently I saw a wonderful clip on TV on prince Trubetskoy. He was a prince and also a sculptor. Many of his contemporaries did not like him. A critic Stasov and a scupltor Antokolsky assaulted him. When commissioned to create a monument of the Emperor Alexander III, he created a gigantic monument, a unique horseback figure of the Emperor. He did not read books in principle—alter he completed his education of a nobleman. Then he said: “I shall not read books anymore.” He used to say that the most subtle knowledge is to be found in human beings, in nature, in life. He was a most interesting man.
When we say that from the point of view of our tradition (and of many others too) knowledge exists only in people, that a book only gives us a cause for reflection—that should be taken literally.
Spiritual knowledge is in principle aimed at the uniqueness and singularity of every person. This gives us a hint for comprehending how spiritual knowledge exists and what the essence of such knowledge is. When we say, that any manifestation is already knowledge, we are speaking about spiritual knowledge. This is not only a beautiful yellow rose that has been presented to rne by
Part Three 183
someone here. It is certainly very nice. It is also a piece of knowledge. He is not only cute boy named Sergey. He is a piece of knowledge. This is not only a group of people, that wants to hear what Igor Nicholaevich Kalinauskas has to say. This is also knowledge. The whole present situation is knowledge. And this chair, and this coat of arms, all this is knowledge —not in a metaphorical sense, because we instantly want to protect ourselves “He uses figurative terms.” No, I speak literally. Therefore, spiritual knowledge is always unique knowledge, a singular, preserving along with its objectiveness the fragrance of the subject, the fragrance of the person, who has embodied this knowledge. Therefore the knowledge of spiritual meters cannot be received. I can give a rose to somebody. However, in order for a person, receiving this rose, to accept it as knowledge, he should exist, and abide in the spiritual realm. Not only should one see himself living, but one should also see himself present in reality, i.e. be aware of the reality present in him. Therefore, life, which is “here is life and here are we,” can be represented as some trajectory of a movement, i.e. as a lint1 (although there are alternatives which we “miss,” and which may be discovered by extraneous observers as a kind of an opportunity which was not put to life, still the line has been actualized): here he was born, there he died. As on a tomb-stone: the date and the year “His life ran as a straight line!”
From the spiritual point of view, our presence in the world can be seen as a chain of events that do not form any kind of a line, i.e it is a set of situations, each being induced by an event. The events are clutched together. However it is impossible to form a line out of chrysanthemums. It is possible to make a pattern but it is impossible to form a line. For chrysanthemums are not points, they are-explosions. This is how it is in the spiritual realm. It is an object which is commonly called “the presence in the world.” A part of this presence is called life. And life can be divided into private, social, internal, etc.
“Time unfolds knowledge in space,” as Tartang Tulku* said All that has been revealed is knowledge, our entire presence in the
* Tartang Tullku. Reference is made to his book Time. Space, and Knowladge. A New Vision of Reality. Dharina Publishing, 1978. Tartang Tullku Rinpotshe is a religious teacher from the monastery Tartang in Eastern Tibet. He recieved his education in philosophy and practics of Tibetan Buddhism from the greatest spiritual teachers of the East. In 1959 Tullku was forced to immigrate to India. Since 1969 he
184 The Art of Living
world creates a pattern. And from this point of view there is no biography in the sense in which we have accepted it—was born, studied, was married, had children, died. How are biographies created? An alien observer analyzed the life of Rodin “objectively,” cutting off all, that was “sticking out,” and actually made out Rodin’s biography. And what did he get? Rodin is one thing and Rodin’s personal life is another. Everything starts falling apart, stops being live, is crashed into pieces, the connection is broken. After you start existing in this world, you acquire clairvoyance, but it is not a clairvoyance which is a unique instrumental ability. It is that clairvoyance which enables you to see everything around yourself, in yourself, above yourself, and underneath yourself clearly. It enables you to see events, situations, and the connections between them, the place of life in all this. This brings great pleasure: “In fact my parents did a good job. They performed such a remarkable feat. They gave birth to me.” Certainly, because they are socially doomed, they tried to deceive me and to tell me, that everything is reducable to a set of rules and conventions. They are parents like any other parents. Father, mother, social parents— tutors, educators, stewards, instructors—they are trying to drive me into their cave. However, each soul is potentially divine, and one day it may uncover oneself, explode. Everyone in his teens experienced such a moment, and we all acted. We felt that they were palming off something wrong on us. They were giving us something small instead of all that belonged to us. One day you may blossom out, but first you must be born again, born in regard to life, realize, that life is life, and you are yourself. And then, coming out of the second womb, out of life as a womb, you acquire the whole totality. In order to do this is not necessary to abandon life. One has to climb out of life and see, that there is yet this, and this, and this and that in fact the presence in the world is indeed a fascinating adventure.
And then a lot of things which we were not able to understand before will become clear to us. Why it is possible to drink vodka and in spite of that grow spiritually? Why it is possible not to drink, not to eat. not to love, only meditate and still regress spiritually:’ And why neither this, nor that, nor the twenty third, nor the hundred-lives in the USA. Tartang Tullku has established a number of Meditation Centers and Instituts Nyungma (the most ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition) where various workshops in philosophy and practics of Buddhist tradition are conducted. He is also an author of numerous books.
Part Three 185
and-fiftieth, nor all the rest is necessary. For only two components—you and the world, you and life—are necessary and sufficient. And all the rest is an absolutely personal, wonderful canvas, but not a line. The line, the image of life as a line, is induced by the idea of achieving, instead of comprehending. It is induced by the idea, that knowledge exists as an object, separate, allocated, calculated, and independent from the Universe. Then the library is the only knowledge. And what is the rest? Perhaps, I will be able to share with you my opinion concerning different kinds of mysticism For me the question of my presence in the world is a very difficult question. This is clear to those who remember that I had to work as a very professional psychic for several years. For me it was a question of preserving freedom and I worked in very serious laboratories. Therefore when I talk about foul mysticism, I do not deny telepathy, telekinesis, bio-treatment, diagnostics, etc. No. I was involved in all that. And I also understand, that as soon as we place all these attributes of foul mysticism separately, we find ourselves in the same situation as we find in spirituality and spirituality in us. So the people emerge who are officially certified as psychics. And the life of these people is terrible, because they owe so much that the> can never pay back. That’s why they have a problem: can you imagine a profession worse than test-pilot? A profession in a social sense. They have set hours for work. They have got registers to fill and taxes to pay. What is their source of income? Bio-correction And if we do not withdraw it, leaving it where it is, then everything is extra-sensorial, everything is correction, anything you imagine is clairvoyance and levitation. If only you were really attentive. Well, once a week you would see the levitation of some objects at your kitchen, if you come to the kitchen occasionally. The kitchen is the power center. Recently I gave a talk in St.-Petersburg. I was asked how one should cook? I told them: “To prepare food is not jusi occultism, it is much more difficult.” Indeed, it is all here. What do we need for this? We need two objects: yourself and your tools. If you are not present, then the tools are not present, and what is present? The body, consciousness, “I.” “Do something to me! I cannot do it myself. Create a good body for me, good consciousness, energy, and psycho-emotional sphere.” However, if you are the tools, then the rule of necessity and sufficiency is observed. What TV set can be compared with it, what kind of antennas?! It is even better than satellite TV. And it is not given somewhere “there.” but everything is present here. The same is true
186 The Art of Living
in the case of life. If you are not present, you are simply a food for life, life is living you. And in the case of the tools: if you are not present, then anyone who wants and who is able, uses those tools. ” Wicked manipulators, Satan worshipers, vampires.” Some say that there is such an opinion that I, doing all this, suck out your energy, charge up myself. Although no one knows what for. The vampire is a fictional image. And I think, that there is nothing more frightening than richness and abundance. For it is very hard to turn them into food and fertilizers. The Lord has given us life, existence, this wonderful world and magnificent tools at hand for free. We did nothing for it. Well, our parents took some pains, but what about us? And there is so much of it, that it does not even come lo our mind to engage ourselves in it. There is so much of it, that we do not take care of it, and once we have lost it, we cry on the grave.
“The temple of God is within you,” said Jesus. He was absolutely correct in the literal sense of these words. As all spiritualists, he used a literal language. However, we have been taught that all the knowledge is in books. In addition it is in a possession of some “specially enlightened persons.”
This book is only a ground for your reflections. What was not exposed that is not exposed, what was not stated that is not stated. There is such a remarkable expression, it formerly hanged in all Soviet libraries: “You should love a book—the source of knowledge.” You should love yourself—you are the source of knowledge. For we are that source of knowledge. And therefore there is only one limiting condition for spiritual self-realization—the quality of instruments. Some need a re-translator named the teacher, tutor, guru, vision, voice, heavenly bride etc. The others need the mechanic, the specialist, who will say: “You have this, this, and this, here wires should be soldered because one of them fell of in your childhood. These parts should be rearranged,” i.e. these people need the technical, technological spiritual practice. Which way should it be done so that it works smoothly? They are not interested in transmitters, they are interested in the way they can use that which is given. Therefore some are looking for a master who will repair their machine and the others are looking for papa or mama who will console them and tell them: “That will be next time and now you should rest. Everything will be okay later.”
As Abu Silg said: “All people came from God but not all of them move towards God.”

Part Three 187
Space within Space
This theme appeared for of two reasons: first of all. because ii finally occurred to me how to express it in words. Second, because interaction with people shows that most of them—even on the simplest common level—do not perceive space. What does thai mean? It means that all of us, due to the peculiarities of our culture and to the process of socialization, which we all go through, looking through the rational consciousness as the basis of perception, perceive the world as consisting of objects. And we perceive ourselves as an object in space.
Some people, for some reason, can perceive something as a process but only as a process of movement in time. Such a way of life does not create tension and conflict until we begin to develop that which we call the psycho-energetic apparatus. The psycho-energetic apparatus, as you know, has its own language, its own way of perception, and its own method of relating to the world-essentially different from that which we have mastered in the process of life and to which we got accustomed. The matter is that the psycho-energetic, contrary to all other instruments, is not an object but space. And that is why consciousness, in order to receive adequately sound and rationalized information, must make a transition to a different principle of self-perceptions. If one does noi make such a transition, then consciousness keeps working the old way and cannot reproduce adequately the information received through psycho-energy. This results in what I call the “total mystification.”
What does one need to do in order to help his consciousness’.’ First of all, it is necessary to understand in which direction it should be transformed. One has to switch to a different picture of the world: to a space picture of the world, i.e. perceive the entire world as space and to see that this space is a single whole and that we abide in it. What is the object in such a picture of the world? It is condensed space. Every object can be seen from this point of view as the result of pressure, as condensed space. Take away the power of cohesion and pressure and it will fall apart and transform into a nuclear cloud or something like that. When the ancients said thai the entire world of objects is an illusion created by our
188 The Ait of Living
consciousness, they were very close to the truth. Our consciousness also is a result of social pressure. We also reside in social space as something limited, i.e. as objects formed by pressure. In order to switch to the spatial way of residing in the world, one has to stop looking at oneself from the outside, i.e. seeing oneself as an object, as a puppet.
What begins to happen as a result of such a change in the self-perception? Fears are activated: the fear of disappearing, of being dissolved—physically or intellectually. Psycho-energy does not have clear borders. And not to have borders is the most fearful thing which the consciousness can imagine. For this process to go on normally, we speak of crystallization, stable self-consciousness, and the doted “I.” And when we begin perceiving ourselves as a space within space and not as an object in space and begin to perceive ourselves as reality, then we become aware of our borders in different contexts as the result of different kinds of pressure coming from outside. Then we can control this pressure. We can take this pressure off altogether. We can change the configuration of this pressure and change its form because a form is a determined by this very pressure.
Then we can arrive at the understanding that we have a remarkable structure entitled “The Fire Flower,” which we are cultivating within ourselves. Then we can understand that when we develop the firy pulsation to the full disappearance of the feeling of the body—this is not the extreme inner experience and not a special state of consciousness, but a moment of real resonance with space; the normal self-perception of a man who has decided to rest his inner reality on the psycho-energetic device. Now we understand that this resonance is not a technical resonance, such as when one source of radiation has attuned itself to another one and they resound through space. This resonance is an entering of space, i.e. it is a normal perception of reality. I hope you remember that we have defined what a simple picture of reality is: it is the space in which an event and presence take place. A more complicated model of this kind has been elaborated by TartangTulku: “Time unrolls knowledge in space.” If we. in addition, recall Mr. Kozyrev’s theory of time as a material body which, speaking precisely, is the carrier of all those powers in which we are interested, then remarkable things can occure. If we have attained such a state, such a quality of being, such an image of the world, then what I saw with my own eyes is possible in reality: a man put his arm into a wall and than took it
Part Three 189
out. I saw it with my eyes. Then everything which Richard Bach was talking about in his “Illusions, the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah ” is available. Then it is feasible to change the form of one’s body. Then it becomes clear why people possessing this quality see themselves in a mirror quite differently compered to the way they are seen by the people around them.
There is such a striking paradox: if a man even slightly pierces through his cover and radiates and resounds with space, then he can at his wish produce that image of himself which he can make other people see. Or he can produce the various images of himself to meel the expectations of different people, or by the circumstances and needs of the given moment of reality. Then we realize that every person is in reality an event in the Universe because he is that kind of dot of coagulation which can resound with space, get dissolved without dissolving—not losing subjectivity, on the contrary, at the top of realization of his subjectivness. If we take as a point of departure the understanding that each of us is space in space and not an objects in space, then all these miraculous visions get the normal rational explanation. The object is finite, the object is a dot. the object is limited, the object is lost in infinity, the object is losi among another objects, the object is trying to create the illusion thai walls here create a separate space. The object is separated and therefore infernally damned, damned to distraction, to disintegration. It is the law of objects. However, space does noi disintegrate since it is an entity and it is omnipresent. If you accept this fact as a part of your picture of the world—first, as an intellectual effort, then, as an apprehension and inner experience, as self-perception, including the quality of existence and the presence, then you have completely different thoughts, completely differeni feelings, completely different inner experience and then you reall) have a need in psycho-energy. For psycho-energy secures this resonance. Then you don’t need any falsifications and projections of consciousness in order to shape objects from the endless stream of knowledge (in the true sense of the word), knowledge as life, from this endless resonance with the endless volumes, i.e. you do not need projections for snatching out pieces, pressing and shaping them and creating some relevant interpretation. One can toy with these things but this does not become the only way of relating to the world. You understand that to be present as an object is not the only way of being present in the world. One can be present in the world as a space, i.e. just be in resonance. It is a spatial feeling of oneself and
190 The Art of Living
this is the feeling of true merging with reality, not an imaginative merging. You already know that psycho-energy is not an illusion, that it is a real thing. Through this real thing one can get to real resonance. Of course, one’s consciousness should be very strong, very elaborated, and well integrated in order to prevent being dispersed into pieces. Nevertheless, if one’s consciousness is prepared, if it is sufficiently structured, then one discovers the option of that what is called knowledge without knowing, possession without possessing. Then there is no need to worry about “how do I look”—in all the meanings of this word, both direct and figurative. One can put on an image, one can create an image— everything works, these are social games. However, as a subject I understand that I “do not have any appearance.” How one can see space? Space is space. As a subject I understand that I am being constantly changed, I look differently all the time, every second of my being, because eternity, with which I resound, breathes. Actually, in that place there is no such concept as “how do I look,” in that place there is only the question: with what kind of event in reality do I now resound, in what am I involved, how do I maintain the resonance, what is the way to ensure the correct movement of the whole, in the whole, in the point of the coordinate through zero-passage—how do I accomplish all this the proper way. This is what hatching from oneself means, the hatching from oneself as an object; ceasing to be an object.
Everything begins with a trifle. In St.-Petersburg, Olga has noticed that our School people, even our experienced instructors, do not perceive and absolutely do not react to a situation, to its own dynamics—because they do not have the feeling of space as such. And therefore they allow themselves to neglect their own lives. They turn their dwellings into pigsty, if even that.
Attention to space must be cultivated. When a person does not perceive it, he does not care where he is. how he is, what he is, and in what kind of pigsty he lives. If he perceives space—then he understands that the first item in the list of his expenses (material, psychological, and intellectual expenses) —the cash-box into which he must put his savings in the first place—is space. Remember, that when we complete the “Flower,” we return the firy balls wifh our love to space. When I hear innovators who are dying to change the classic form of the “Flower,” —there is nothing wrong with it, of course. However this means that they do not perceive this formula. They do not fully comprehend it. They do not understand that
Part Three 19!
everything is considered in the view of interactions with space. Actually, the “Fire Flower” is a key by which the door leading from me towards reality, from me, towards space, can be opened. This is where the strength of this method is. The effects, which this method produces on the simply technical level, are connected to the fact thai man, not realizing it (and an instructor often does not realize this too), increases the resonance between himself and space, i.e. reality All these possibilities are present in each of us; there are different configuration of those possibilities and everybody has his own talent. There are various degrees of a person’s involvement with space.
The following brilliant lines of Pasternak’s poem contain the absolutely exact formula:
To attract love of space, to hear a call of the future.
“Love of space.” That what resonance with reality is. This is the metaphoric and artistic formula. This is the world of love. That world of which we have heard from prominent people on all the times, of all nations and religious, philosophers, and religious thinkers, secular geniuses and enlightened people. All of them spoke the same: that man is an event in the Universe. An event. And all of them said that space it the central thing.
All of you have heard about prana. What is prana? How man;, different opinions exist about prana, and why there is a lot of prana over here and too little prana over there. Since we are still captives of the understanding of ourselves as an object in space, prana for us is only the power acting on us from outside. We make one step— and there is only space. Here everything is clear: we all are in space Now let us make the next step: we ourselves are space. After all. even from the point of view of the correlation of the quantity of matter and emptiness—every object is empty; emptiness is dominating. After all, it is a nuclear cloud and it contains more holes than nuclear particles. Because those particles themselves also appear in space and disappear there.
For what reason should we create an illusion about the infinity of the space of consciousness (according to the principle of a mirror reflecting a mirror), if we can just recall that we have a psycho-energetic apparatus and turn it on. What is the problem? The problem is pressure. The pressure of gravity, the pressure of
192 The Art of Living
repulsion, the pressure of social powers, the pressure of intellectual powers. However, this is all hopeless until we really enter that resonance, until we begin perceiving ourselves, in the first place, as space within space. Then the pressure remains, however, our relations with this pressure are different. When each of us is able to fill up the space of this room, there will be no problems left. Well, since nobody fills it up, why shouldn’t I? To control the pressure— this is the passage to complete inner conditioning.
Then we will be able to speak about self-consciousness at full extent because self-consciousness is not a result of pressure but the result of the interaction with space. And the higher the level of resonance with space is the higher is the level of consciousness.
Humanity all along the way of its evolution has busied itself with a very important thing. Before one ceases to be an object, one must be it. Man cannot at once be born as a space. It may happen but it is rather an exception and there are only a few examples of it. First, one gets some pressure in order to become a crystal, and only then could he get a release. In the light of this understanding, many texts which have fascinated us. many myths, legends, and mystification are acquiring an absolutely balanced (not extravagant but balanced) real content.
I recall my favorite parable about a man who thinks that he is a rye seed. When he understands that he is not a rye seed he, nevertheless, is not sure whether a rooster knows about it
It is completely irrelevant whether people surrounding you agree with this your state or not. Because this is not a problem of creating pressure that would have a direction. After all, what the interaction with people is? It is a process of handing them a description of yourself in such a way that they would act in accordance with that description.
Most interactions are based on the exchanging of descriptions. If you have transferred to the spatial presence, then you will be interested not in your self-description, because such a description does not exist at all. You might just like to know, how you are being seen by others and you will get an opportunity to obtain a plenty of very valuable information and various revelations and knowledge.
“Time unrolls knowledge in space.” said Tartang Tulku. This is the place where we can release ourselves from the necessity of mystification, exaltations, visions, etc. You will understand that everything we accepted as information about “how it is in reality” is only a hint about a different principle of presence. It is a story about
Part Three 193
that what can and must be done in order to obtain one’s human, profound, spiritual essence, and to come to perception of oneself as space within space.
What is preventing us from obtaining it? Most of all. certainly, our selfness. Selfness as a view of oneself from outside. Selfness as a look at the one who is not controllable by will. You remember, we said that religious feeling is only then religious feeling when we say Thy will be done! After all, what is resonance? Resonance is somebody’s will: the will of reality or my will? That which will happen to me, if I begin to be present in the \vorld this way, whose-will will it be? But there is no such a concept as “will,” you understand? “Will” is also the headway of pressure, towards oneself or towards others. What kind of will? I can say that an event takes place. I may be included in this volume and may be not included,— and that is it. This is difficult to explain with words. And therefore-let us not spend energy on contemplation of what will happen if…
Let us look at the fact: we all are in space. Nevertheless, we— at least the prevailing majority of us—were never taught to relate to space as to the whole. Except for one case: when there is not enough of a personal space. Therefore, when one lives in a communal apartment or when one is squeezed in an overcrowded bus, then one can say: “There is not enough room for me.”
I understand that it is very difficult for you today: the subject we have touched is a kind of intrusion in that what one’s consciousness thinks of itself. After all, in spite of the fact that we-are working on the problem of interaction with our own consciousness for a long a time, to say that it is not your boss, thai you are the boss of your consciousness—would be a great impudence.
And that is why, when information, which cannot be rejected by consciousness because it is rational, natural and to the point. enters you, then all your structures of subconscious defense naturally become activated. Man cannot speak about the spiritual Path, about transformation, until he achieves his first real victory and becomes a master of his consciousness. Otherwise, he is nol really capable of transforming himself. Until then, everything which he has consumed on the level of experience, comprehension, impression, information, life’s experience, and so on and so forth-all this goes down into the subconscious. If there were no spatial interactions we would have no chance to awake. After all, when wt1 hear that Gurdjieff and the others declare that man is asleep
194 The Art of Living
nothing could be said against it. Naturally, he is asleep. Consciousness does not sleep. (In this text I use the term “consciousness” with certain limitations having in mind the rational part of consciousness.) He is asleep—the man, the subject, and the event in the Universe. And since consciousness is largely the result of social pressure, the entire social influence puts us more and more to sleep every moment of time. When we are told: “Sleep well, dear comrade,” we should understand that it is not because these are our enemies and they do not want us to get spiritually actualized—they are not enemies, they are asleep too. The so called “simple people” are very often much more spiritually developed. They are much more subjective, because their consciousness is fashioned better then ours, it is less contradictory, less fragmented, and they are closer to reality, to the spatial presence in the world. Therefore “fool” is an ambiguous concept. It was always this way: one is seemingly a fool but, nevertheless, he knows something which we do not know. A madmen too: on the one hand, they are fearful, and on the other hand, there are such people who look more like sages than crazy ones. In their system a reliance on spatial presence in the world—the compensation-—is stronger. This happens by the force of necessity. Our problem is that it would become necessary not as a pretense but in reality. Where can one find motivation which will make it absolutely necessary for him to become a space within space? How could this happen if everything around forces him to become an object, because consciousness does everything automatically. This is not so easy. Now when you hear these things from me, it is simple. I hear now what I say and become astonished: this is so simple, why couldn’t I verbalize it before? Do you realize that I had to make my consciousness agree to pronounce these words, because it (my consciousness) also wants to command (like every instrument; and the body also wants to command, and psycho-energy wants to command)?
A classical example: a man due to his talent, efficiency or some other reason makes a leap in the area of psycho-energy, gets different esoteric visions, and presents them as real. However, one could be asleep under the guidance of psycho-energy. One can be asleep being guided by a body (especially if it is exhausted by the outrageous behavior of our consciousness in relation to the body). In all cases, the original demand is not being abolished: YOUR presence. And when you are present, then you may change the quality of existence. However, if you are not present, then one can
Part Three 195
just talk about this matter and even this is not very desirable because this conversation is dangerous from the point of view of the awareness of the space, the competing instrument may take over and then what will the consciousness itself do—frighten you with a ghosi of insanity? The body will suddenly cease to have that dense support from outside, which it became accustomed to, and will begin to be frightened with the fear of death.
That which we are presently discussing—the spatial method of existence—is the final stege of the School’s education. To cultivate in oneself the love of space, the feeling of space, etc., while being guided by those psycho-energetic opportunities which exist—this is the problem which one really needs to solve. Stopping watches from a distance and performing other experiments—one can live without that. However, one cannot live without space, for all of us are in it. Our relation to space (whether we want it or not, understand it or not, comprehend or not) is like our relation to water, bread, air; we all are in it. We all need fresh air. We all drink water, and we want ii to be tasty, harmless, containing all what is required.
You know, there are things value of which we fully perceive only when we lose them, when they are not around… or when they are get spoiled: air, water, space.
Space, besides, is a place where we live as subjects; and it is the place where God lives. However, what can we do if we turn space into a dump (conditionally speaking). We also divided it by the vertical cut: the way we divided the space surrounding us (with buildings, walls, streets, etc.) the same way we have divided all of space—we have the top, the bottom, the astral-mental space Consciousness ‘cannot treat that place differently. It must cut, dismember, put fences in space—transform it into a set of objects, at least, into chest of drawers. Here you find this and in another drawer you find that. However, space is indivisible. Space is not a thing which has borders. One can create an illusion of bordered space, but space as such is a single whole. This is the key to all the possibilities of which you have ever read in books. You just need to open the door and enter this resonance. For this you need, first, to be, and second, to be spatial.
As long you look at yourself as object, you look at the world through the surface of this object. You look at yourself, comprehend yourself as an object, and generate film. It is as if we were in the plastic bags and are looking at the world through the plastic.
196 The Art of Living
Yesterday Valya said to me: “I look around—everything is normal, but some people are either washed out or just shining.” She did not know how to name it, but thanks to some talent or some inner work she distinguished people related to space from those not related to it. She just saw with her eyes. This is good: with no visions, i.e., people unpacked and people packed—they are different people.
The process of dropping our wrappings, certainly, evolves: we train our psycho-energy, we work, and we have in our cover more and more “holes” through which we get through to space, because psycho-energy cannot exist in wrapping, i.e. it can exist but only the way it was before you felt the need to train it. However, to go on with this image, some people train psycho-energy, but the wrapping is strong and begins to puff out. People are airy balls. Man is hanging about inside while the ball is growing, and he begins to see visions… “I have caught the multifaceted structure!”—but it was the multifaceted structure that caught him.
This is, of course, an image but this image expresses the main idea of spatal existence: everything is the result of a pressure, everything which is manifested, which is shaped. “Any form is empty, any emptiness is shaped,” said the Sixth Patriarch of Zen. That is how it is. However, Great Square does not have angles for the great square is a symbol of space which does not have angles.
If you try to picture the situation, the world, yourself, and all that surrounds you as an interplay of different pressures in space, then you, possibly, will be able to learn where this pressure comes from every time. And how—the form is being created. Perhaps you could use this form creatively, then an event might take place in which consciousness will not be occupied all the time with this maniacal activity of increasing its power over man but will be happily engaged in creating forms on the basis of resonance; with space.
Spatial interaction is needed if one wants to be a professional of the School. Everybody has his own sphere, but you must be a professional and this interaction should become your main concern.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, you did not touch on the idea of the space of knowledge as the space of death.
I.N.: Shakespeare said in the words of one of his characters: “All the world is a stage and ali the people are players.” From the point of view of objects, these are terrifying words. I have said already that life is not a theater. And when life is turned into a
Part Three 197
theater, then violence is committed against people. However, if one looks at it from the aspect of spatial being then the entire world of objects is theater.
Knowledge is death. There are people of death and there are people of life. People of death worship knowledge (that which we are used to call knowledge) because it is all wrapped. It is not even knowledge. It is an object named “knowledge.” Put together all the libraries of the world… These are objects. This is only a hint to knowledge. It is a recollection of knowledge but not knowledge in the true sense of the word: people are knowledge.
The man of life is always, in this manner or that, striving towards space. He is, in this way or that, taking care of space. He is a man of love because love does not need to be transformed into an object. Nobody identifies an object which is associated with love with love itself. (Except for fetishists but they are crazy people.) Everybody understands that this is only an object which reminds us of a beautiful feeling.
Thus, knowledge (that which people are accustomed to call knowledge) is amde of those objects which remind us of love between men and reality.
Once my Teacher said to me: “A book is not an instruction, a book is an occasion for reflections. A book is a hint, a little door which one can open and feel oneself as at home.”
Human relations, even very intimate ones, look in the space perspective the following way: two things knock at one another However, fortunately, there are holes. Holes are of a greai importance. Do you know what in the human body plays the most important role? Little holes. That is why the entire love of objects is limited to the following: I am opening a little door to my little hole What a valuable exchange. Otherwise everything would be closed: 1 see nothing, I hear nothing, I feel nothing. Nevertheless, space penetrates into us through these holes.
And knowledge that is not being used in accordance to its purpose, i.e. as a recollection or reminder of love, but as construction of fences and enclosures, is for us death in a form of space. Think about what our consciousness is filled with? It is a storage. A head which is full of books. What in the world is noi there! But for what purpose? Only for one reason—to be filled up God forbid that there be emptiness. Emptiness immediately will resonate with space. A pinhole. A hole.

198 The Art of Living
When I am a space and you are a space, then resonance and interpenetrating take place. And all that happens in an even larger space. This is a completely different life. When you discover this approach you don’t need all these libraries and reference books anymore. Every moment you will have everything you need for that moment. You will have it naturally. And it cannot be any other way. However, we are accustomed to taking everything for granted, even that which we will never need. We prefer “to sigh, to moan, and to groan under the burden of an irksome life” but not to be free, empty and filled with life and reality. Then we will see each other according to the laws of space and not according to the law of objects. This is a completely different story.
You know, sometimes in my work, and in my personal circumstances, I must deliberately take the position of an object. Lately, when I do this, it has bad either physical, or psychological, or intellectual effect on me. However, I understand perfectly well that there will be no completed man unless he at first does undergo pressure and then is formed. All the same, man should be accomplished and then he might open himself up and became space. And this is done the following way: objects knock at each other. In order to make an object, one must affect matter, shape it with the help of an instrument.
In order to create a human being, one must influence a growing organism and shape it in the form of a man. This form is spectacular! I quote Shakespeare once more: “What a splendid creature is man.” That is so because in this form there is everything needed to make a step to complete reality. I love Shakespeare very much as an author, a poet, and a playwright. And when I began talking about space, quotations, quotations and quotations from Shakespeare cropped up. When one looks at it this way, a completely different meaning is revealed. The same way one discovers a profound meaning in Lao Tzu’s declaration “Great Square does not have angles” and in many other things. “He who goes ahead of me goes behind me” and vice versa: “He who goes behind me goes ahead of me.” All these mystified concepts open up to the full extend of their capacity, and life opens up too. Life ceases to be a object one should constantly suffer through. To make life… But there is no need to make it. Making it, we die. And not making it, we live. When my Master was telling me: “The clean one is dirty, the dirty one is alive,” he did not have in mind that one should not wash oneself. When we say: “Perfection is death,” it has one
Part Three 199
meaning from the point of view of the object; from the point of view of space death is perfection. When one dies as an object and is reborn as space. It is very dangerous to discuss these things in the language of objects. Here one must sing Zikr,* create parables, and write poems.
The unequaled and unique Nasreddin lived this way. That is why all respectable mystics in the world recognize his spiritual achievements as the most exalted. Even if he was never incarnate, his image is the greatest revelation and the most profound truth.
He was a cheerful person. He played in this world of objects as he wanted. He was god, playful god, laughing god. He was god-not an object. Each of us can be god, in every of us there is god bui one should let him out. To become god one simply needs to stop being an object. Its is very difficult to accomplish in reality, because one needs first of all to win a combat with consciousness, not to destroy consciousness but to become its master. After all, it has a master, you are the master.
Can you imagine that such a staggering thing as human form has no master. Using Gurdjieffs metaphor, we could speak of a beautiful horse and a beautiful carriage rushing nobody knows to where and nobody knows why. Somebody will instantly take charge over that carriage or the horse will presume that it is the master and will drag the carriage somewhere to the meadows in order to enjoy its freedom. But the horse cannot free itself from the carriage. They are tied together. Were the consciousness able to get disconnected This is a fixed idea of our consciousness—to get disconnected and to live independently, without body and free of any psycho-energy Look how many abstruse, wise, and clever books were written aboul this dream of consciousness. If only their authors could understand what they were writing about. They had been dreaming of consciousness’ separate existence and complaining that everything gets in its way. Everything becomes a hindrance. When a part of a certain whole sees itself as the whole, then, naturally, everything will interfere. When a form imagines that it is content… then ajar would quiver if we poured some liquid into it.
However, when a master, i.e. a subject, is present, then a startling beauty is revealed, and can hear once again Shakespeare’s words: “What a splended creature is man.” There is a beautiful
* ‘Zikr” is a sacred Sufi group technic. the communication with God, invocation of the Higher Reality, service and witnessing of the spiritual reality.

200 The Art of Living

translation of Shakespeare by Morozov. He has translated Shakespeare into his own language. Such juicy images. If one remembers Hamlet saying: “Time is out of its joints. O what a damned misfortune that I am born to fix this injury.” That from the point of view of objects is simply an artistic image. One can write volumes of research and dissertations on the matter of what Shakespeare wanted to express with these words. One can be immersed in endless interpretations of them. However, from the point of view of spatial perception there is nothing here to interpret. The meaning is clear—word for word. Delusion comes from the art of interpreting. This is why it has been said: much knowledge— much sorrow. The knowledge of that kind constantly increases a distance between myself and reality. Because the interpretation also requires an interpretation. And where is something which is beyond interpretation? Where is reality as such?
Reality as such reveals itself through the love for space. Of course, from the point of view of the world of objects, you become more vulnerable and odd. You seem to have less strength, less of will power. You suffer from the external frost and pressure, and people disapprove everything you do. However, if you get stronger in your position, then you obtain that fundamental element—the joy of existence. You get joyous because you are present, you were born, you are alive. If you do not experience that joy, you would not have any other joy—only interpretations of the phenomenon of joy. The very fact that I am alive is the source of joy. If you do not have that joy, then you are lacking the foundation of a healthy psyche. It is absent because man placed interpretations between himself and the world.
A man looks at a beautiful orange. He can appreciate it. smell it, cut it, and eat it. It is an endless source of joy and pleasure—both aesthetic and sensual. One can also use it as an object of philosophical reflection, disclose a symbolic message hidden in it: here is the “Fire Flower” and an image of a sun. You can do with it whatever you want. A poet can extract from it a book of sonnets. However, a man eats this orange and thinks: “God, what a horrible life, what will I eat tomorrow?” But it is said: “The God’s bird dopesn’t know neither sorrow, nor labor.”
Of course, spatial reality, besides joy, contains everything which life should contain. However, the very fact that it is a space of love, the very chance of testifying it is already beautiful. It is the joy of exploring this world all over again, of seeing and hearing objects
Part Three 201
clearly and richly—without a screen, without interpretation and oily spots.
When I was approaching this door I felt some vibrations. 1 thought: “Did they put on a taped Zikr instead of conversing?” ) came closer and heard: the Zikr has been sung here. Space—thai was the sound here. This is what the music of the spheres is. This is the resonance of space. It is not filled with words. It is filled with volume, with music. When one hears the other as music… I’ll tell you, it is rapture. And then words become what they must be. They become an object of reminiscent of music. They become a storehouse of recollections. And then poetry, the arts in general art1 revealed to us as a testimony of love. And you begin to understand that art is that very transition between pure spatial perception and consciousness. This is a kind of place where consciousness and psycho-energy love each other.
They say: you are lucky, you have intimate relationships with reality. However, intimate relationships between instruments, the emphatic one, appear only when these instruments, first of all, are impregnated with space, with the music of space. Then alternate’ perception appears. The alternate sensation of a body, of psycho-energy, of consciousness—the alternate system of relationship. Now they have one thing in common—life in space.
I will remind you of the famous parable of a skill without skill A bow master aimed at the pots and broke them in two. A Zen monk was passing by. The Master made fun of him: “Well, what can you do, you idler, parasite, beggar. Look, how beautiful it is.” And it was beautiful indeed to see how the master broke a jug with an arrow.
“I wish you would learn how to do this.”
The monk answered:
“Excuse me, I never tried that, it is very difficult for me. therefore I will stand on the very edge of the cliff.” He took thai position above the gulf. Then he said again: “Exuse me, I never shoot. It’s very difficult. Therefore, I will close my eyes when shooting an arrow.”
And a pot was broken by his arrow right in two pieces.
This is a parable but in reality this kind of vital possibilities are open for a person who abides in space! He discovers new aspects and fantastic opportunities in himself! Then it becomes clear that a clever mind is a good thing and not a hindrance.
202 The Art of Living
Q: What is the essential difference between the attitude towards resonance in the world of objects and in space?
I.N.: In the world of objects, resonance is “I,” a recipient is an object. I have many different details, and I am turning the tuning knob. And if I am space, then I can reinforce any part of sounding space. Any part, especially that part which can be best reinforced with my instrument. This is so because in reality there is no difference between me and space. No difference, according to definition. If I am a space within space, then what is the difference between us? Space is nothing but space. Where is a point and where is eternity? Shape is that which makes me an object. However that shape is not as rigid as we think.
We all know Georgian performing tradition. Where did they all come from? Somebody went far away, then returned to Georgia and established a tradition. He gathered students and began teaching actors. For example, there is an actor who changes his face. I know this actor, but I was asked not to reveal his name. It is a sort of self-entertainment: he sits and his nose, eyes, and neck change their shapes. What is his secret? The secret is that he discovered a method of spatial relation to himself. He can alter his shape even on the corporal level. A scientist would ask whether he changes “in reality” or not? That is not the point. He changes for us, we sec him changing. There are other methods of doing that, for example, with psycho-energy. Everybody knows that, everybody saw it. One might say that those are faces of other incarnations. This could be the case, why not? Interpretation is a gay and irresponsible occupation because it is the interpretation of reality and not the reality itself. *** “A blame against the Father can be forgiven and a blame against the Son, but the blame against the Holy Ghost will be never forgiven. “
The manipulation of reality is a very complex problem leave alone the interpretation of reality. See. how many books have been written and how many more will still be written.
That is why a man who wants to approach reality, needs to combine in himself rational, logical knowledge with artistic knowledge. One should know the arts. This is a must, if he wants to move along a spiritual path. By only knowing the arts, i.e. possessing knowledge in esoteric psychology, philosophy, knowing and feeling the arts—you can more or less adequately read those texts which you call esoteric, spiritual. They are created that way.
I read some information regarding a certain ancient Tibetan text. Computer research has shown that if you skip every second
Part Three 203
word—this text makes more sense, if you skip two words of every three—it makes even more sense, if you read it right to left—thai will be even better. The man who created this text had no computer Still he accomplished that. He did not separate thought and image, concept and feeling.
This is totality. Totality is nothing frightening in itself. Why are you frightened by it all the time?
On that level one can break through to space. One can practically comprehend the entire path beginning with the “Fire-Flower,” contemplation of the “White Bird,” then the loss of sensation in the body, and the ability to live without that feeling, then vibrations, etc. Do you want to know why it is a dangerous thing, if it is not organized properly as a professional work? Because it is approximating the music of reality, the music of space.
What else matters? If only all people were like this! When you are a sort of space and you are surrounded with objects, you know that they are not objects, you do not only know it—you see it. You. like every normal loving person (every essence is a loving person), wish to help and to share what you have with others. And they say why do you interfere with my personal life? Don’t wake me!
Khodja Nasreddin* could accomplish it. How could he accomplish it? His life, even as it has been described by Soloviev in his book, was filled with endless wanderings, endless tasks However, it was so lovely and cheerfully written that most people (even the esoterically grounded people) overlooked the fact thai Nasreddin worked all his life on various tasks. He was asked to do certain things either by a wandering dervish who was almosi incorporeal or by someone else. Once Shah asked him to go to India. So he always was at work.
And his wife, with a lot of children, has always been at home She was taking care of them. People asked, why did he have such a disagreeable wife. Why did Socrates have such an ill-tempered wife0 Of course, one becomes disagreeable if the husband is always away.
Speaking of space one cannot ignore the so called daily routine Look at a man who turns his back to the food he prepares. I have always said that preparing food takes the most exalted esoteric wisdom. It is a great art. a smashing thing! This is why the so called advanced men of various traditions fixed their own food.
Q: What does one do when there is nothing in the refrigerator.
I.N.: This never happens.
Q: But it used to happen.
204 The Art of Living
I.N.: O yes, there was one remarkable case. Once our former St. Petersburg landlady and our present one decided to fix dinner for us. While we were at work, they prepared dinner.
I had never eaten anything of the kind. It was just zero. The meat was no meat and the salad was no salad. Just zero. They had emptied everything and retained the appearance.
I said: “Marina, come and join us at the table.” And she answered: “Thanks, but we do not want to.” And they walked around all dizzy.
After that we had to prepare that food once again in order to save the ingredients. It is just ignoble and not dervish-like to throw away food. However, we had to do everything over again because there was nothing to eat. It was not a no-food, it was the emptiness, everything had been eaten up. Although it looked very impressive, meat and everything. This is not a fairy tale.
Once I tried to explain to women what it means to prepare food. We had a field session on the shore of a lake. The men went “on business” and I have explained to the women how one does it. Every woman had written a program—what her man must do after dinner. They have sealed these programs in envelops. After the men had finished their dinner, I saw only the women’s big eyes, because the men began acting exactly according to what the women had written in their programs. They did not deviate from what had been ordered by their women even a bit. One woman wrote: “I want him to fall asleep right after dinner.” He ate and fell asleep. The food programmed the men—the program entered them through a hole. Since the master is absent, the programmed food becomes the master
If you are not lazy you can. after eating food fixed by somebody else, learn so much about this person’s “sincere” feelings towards you that often it would be better to fix your own food and to eat it. There are numerous wonderful systems, one of the most original ones is urino-therapy. What is it based upon? On the understanding that if I am an object, then everything that enters me brings into me that which is “not me.” Thus, if I want to give some rest to my mechanism of transforming the world into me, ihen I have to close all the holes in me. Then nothing enters me. I remember a multi-millionaire who lives in a shelter and controls his business from it. Why does he need money? He needs it in order to create a canned preserve out of his own life.
Part Three 205
Here is another hole called “soul” or “heart of a soul.” This is also a hole which people seal up in numerous ways: from various mania to “I do not feel anything, I do not hear anybody, I do noi experience anything.” This way one shields all the doors with casi iron.
Instead of attracting the love of space we are at constant war with it. Because it is huge and we are small. And that is wrong. We are so big that you cannot even imagine it. Everybody is an event Let us ask: what is real in reality? Space, event, time. Every human being is an event—in case he is present. And if he is not present, that is a different story. That is what we call “he was not claimed.” A letter arrived but nobody claimed it.
About the Tendencies
of Disembodiment and Embodiment
in Spiritual Development
r r
One can take a risk and try to divide all spiritual ideas, traditions, and teachings into two groups. The first one can bf defined as the tendency toward disembodiment. It is a widespread one, the most popular in the history of humanity. What is it about’.’ It is based on the assumption that the spiritual goal of man’s inner life is the disembodiment of Spirit. Ideally this should lead up to full disembodiment, i.e. up to liberation not only from the physical body but from all other bodies too, right up to merging with the Absolute (I will speak now about debatable enough things but you—those who already know me—you know that I always speak from the first person and I speak about that of which I am sure, what I have-personally come to through my life and reflection). I think that the dominant appeal of the idea of disembodiment as the spiritual ideal is connected to the fear of death. If one takes the basic motivation ol this idea. I think that it is connected to the fear of death, to the fear of the inevitability of this event. And under the influence of the mechanism of psychological defense, for the sake of reducing the tension of the expectation of the inescapable end, comes the idea tc die beforehand and, so to say, deliberately. And to die in a sense
206 The Art of Living
which increases self-evaluation to the limit, to die through disembodiment.
As you can guess, I am certainly not a supporter of this idea. I do not condemn it. do not say that it is good or bad… I think that I understand its inner reasons. I have often observed people who either by meditation or through prayer, or by some other psycho-technical practice were able to activate in themselves that level of sensibility which, as a rule, is constantly not activated. Running into the delicate, conditionally speaking, manifestations of reality, they have found a large space for self-realization and for increasing of their self-evaluation. They have contacted various entities and have naturally considered them as being more developed than themselves. (Especially since, as a rule, people do not encounter those who are of their own kind.) And this way they have joined the large .global movement for disembodiment. And they have disembodied themselves. In the beginning, they destroyed themselves as integral personalities, so to say, then they abandoned people…
And there is, naturally, the opposite tendency, much less popular and more difficult for inner experience, the spiritual development as the embodiment of Spirit. Here we face the following situation: in order to accept the idea of the embodiment of Spirit as an idea of spiritual development, first of all, one should change the basic thesis, namely, that Spirit, being incarnate, began, so to say. falling away; one has to reject the idea that in the beginning the universe was a dot, something single, and that the differentiation of this monad is the Fall of the Absoluie, its fragmentation, its hardening. Not so often one finds a direct appraisal of this idea. However, in a hidden form there is always an evaluation in the sense that the departure from the Absolute is the Fall.
However, let us recall the initial text. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. “What kind of Word was it?
This Word was “I want.” I want to incarnate. From this position, the perception of the Absolute as the endlessness becomes possible: He is the endlessness of differentiation, the endlessness of the layers of space, the endlessness of manifestations and forms filled with spiritual content.
The idea of disembodiment is clear. This is a step back. There was a single, indivisible, inexpressible One: then He began to divide, to incarnate layer after layer (for instance, as the Ray of Creation,

Part Three 207
according to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky). And we are constantly building the paradigm of the ascent as a paradigm of disembodiment. And, vice versa, the paradigm of the descent as a paradigm of the embodiment. Here it is a simple idea of the struggle with flesh as such and a complex idea of merging with the Absolute through the rejection of personal existence.
And the reverse process, in which the paradigm of the ascent is built as the paradigm of the ultimate embodiment, the ultimate immersion into flesh of the endlessness of possible forms—this idea is less popular and much harder for attainment as an personal experience. That is so because in this process we cannot build for ourselves the trajectory which ends with something. Reality cannot end, because the embodiment is endlessly unfolding in time, space and knowledge. Reality is indeed potentially endless. As it is seen in psychological practice, fear of endlessness for most people is stronger than fear of the finite. It is not without reason that a legend of damnation through immortality exists.
However, the opportunity to see endlessness exists, although this vision would be not static, i.e. it is the vision not of a fixed picture but of a process. It is such a total vision of the whole in which the inner comprehension is based on the permanent inner experience of dynamics and of materialization.
Presently I cannot introduce these ideas in a better reasoned speech (if reasoning is possible at all in this area) but I have a feeling that the inner, subjective reality of a human being, his ultimate self-identity, is fundamentally a process and that the “dot-fixated” self-identification (“I is I”) is only a mark in this stream. Here a river is, flowing and if one throws a piece of wood into it, then this piece of wood, flowing in the river is an image (a mark) of our perception of our self-identity: this way one can trace himself, however, as “I.” Our “I” as such is a river, a process of embodiment.
Naturally, for the verbal-logical form of comprehension this is almost imperceivable—because of the discursive character of our rational process, and because some time passes by before we create a description. However, there is such a form of reflection as inner experience. Here there might be a confusion in terms. To substitute the term “reflection” for the term “experience” is somehow not very common. Let’s say. this is a form of self-perception. And if we develop in ourselves this form of self-perception, then we potentially have the opportunity to perceive ourselves through experience in a process, i.e. of perceiving ourselves not as a mark under the name
208 The Art of Living
“I” but as a stream in the stream of reality. This way one can get the inner, subjective ground for the perceiving the concept of the spiritual development as embodiment and not as disembodiment. Naturally, this is much more difficult. In what sense is this more difficult? First of all. there is very scarce information on this, too few texts and living bearers of this approach. The second difficulty is that in this approach the so called “rough” levels of reality turn out to be the most difficult for perceiving and transformation. Even if we use the concept that all those levels of reality which we call “the physical body,” “physical reality” (these words are very conventional) are more dense, then let us look at this density not as a hardness but as growth of the of the might of embodiment. In order to do it, one needs to overcome the fatal attitude towards reality, towards the so called “dense” reality. This fatality manifests itself in the opinion that this “dense” reality is doomed, that it is a temporary vessel because all of us face death. We see how plants, animals, and people perish, how cities and cultures disappear. Perceived through a fear of death, this very fact makes us, inwardly, at our deepest line, negative in regard to the so called “dense” reality. In most cases we do not even ponder whether we can look at this any other way. Everything seems to be clear. Although almost all who are interested in this problem know about “The Emerald Table” and that “as above so below, as below so above,” and that “Sansara is Nirvana and Nirvana is Sansara.” Florensky writes that at the gates the easy way of accent ends and the difficult way of descent begins. That is in all serious sources, we found the idea of different apprehension of the unity and of the other apprehension of the very idea of movement, the movement as embodiment and as the increase of the might of embodiment. However, it is somehow slipped over us for it does not allow us to escape the problem of personality, i.e. the social problem for we are made of people. We are fatally made of people whom we did not choose, we were fatally born in this time, in this place, in this socio-psychological world, which means fate, fate, fate. The bottom line is the original absence of our subjectivity. And what can I do with that? If I was born in the beginning of February it means according to the horoscope that I am an Aquarius. If I am an Aquarius then… What can I do if I was born in such and such a socio-psychological world and therefore my profound value system has such and such characteristics. Whai can I do if 1 is made of these people and therefore I have the Oedipus complex or Elektra complex, and this is why I project the problems
Part Three 209
of my relationship with my mother onto all women and I project the problems of my relationship with my father onto all men and so on. and so forth which indicates a complete fatality. And on the level of individuality, of my corporal uniqueness I have such a reaction time, such an attention span, this kind of body, this shape of eyes. Again fatality, again fate, again I am not present here as a subject. And I. due to the so called objective circumstances, received this kind of education and did not get the other one, read this kind of books and those books I did not read. Therefore as soon as we run into the idea of disembodiment we feel a big relief. For all this fatality loses any meaning and the tension is taken off because everything turns out to be, in general, not important. And it has no significance, we will all become dust and that is it. However, there is something where, at the moment of perceiving, I as a subject am present, and here everything is seemingly within my power, especially if my will is in accordance with the will of the Absolute. This too is a rejection of psychological tension as well as the rejection of a deliberate choice Then, what should one do with the statement that to be born in a human body is the greatest fortune?.. Then what should one do with any meaning of human existence—not only in a form of humanity but in the individual, personal form as well?
Then what should one do with this huge heap of spirituality in the form of the embodied world? How we manage… We are so well built that, ignoring this heap, we create for ourselves the illusion of some spirituality behind the limits of this world… And what can il be behind the limits of this world? The tenth, twelve, sixteenth levels? However, if it is even the millionth level, it is still one thing, for if it is not one and the same, then all spiritual ideas simply mean nothing. All of them built on this foundation. On that one which is the whole. Not sole but the whole.
Q: Can it be understood that you reject the idea of disembodiment as the spiritual way?
I.N.: First of all, I said in the beginning that 1 share my thoughts with you not in order to cancel the of idea of disembodiment. For one can scarcely accomplish embodiment and transfiguration without familiarizing oneself with all of this process in reversed order. I think that if we look at this question as a practical task, then, obviously, this familiarity is necessarily Besides, my position in this question agrees with what in my book “One to One with the World” has been named “a Map of the
210 The Art of Living
Ancient ones” or “A Map of States of Consciousness.” I do not want to be simplified.
Another thing is that presently, in my inner practice, in my efforts to understand and perceive things, and in my communication with people, this is a much more pressing problem because it has been less elaborated both, on the level of comprehension and on the level of practical realization. What bothers me in the first place is that now. when all this knowledge is available in texts, instructions, and preliminary presentations, the idea of disembodiment attracts people to such an extent that they do not even ponder reversed tendency of this universal process. Perhaps, I emphasize this tendency, although my emphasis reveals only the urgency of this notion for the me presently,
Q: Is it possible for a man with all his problems and shortcomings to embody Holy Spirit?
I.N.: Let us examine the traditional problem: what is man. “Man is created in the image and likeness of God.” Let us reflect on this well-known statement. What does it mean “in the image and likeness?” For me, the internal meaning of those words is thai man. like the world, is the incarnate Spirit. It also means that the “I” in us. which I see as a process, is the very incarnate Spirit. And if a man has such an internal aspiration, thirst, and “I want,” he can reconnect the initial moment within himself, the moment of pure Spirit and the moment of incarnation of this Spirit in the unity of process. He can experience himself as this process of incarnation and find the meaningful aspects of this, including the technological ones.
Q: Since the laws of nature control man on the subconscious level, how can he incarnate Spirit while remaining in a body i.e. how can he expose his body to the control of Spirit?
I.N.: On the one side, strictly speaking, you are formally right stating that there are laws of nature and that man as a natural body is subordinate to those laws. On the other side, man also belongs to a social domain and this domain does not absolutely coincide with that which we all. to put it mildly, are accustomed to calling nature. And. in addition to this, man belongs to the intellectual realm (the rational aspect of man). To a certain extent, man belongs to and shares in all these aspects of human nature.
In order to answer your question in the simplest way. 1 shall remind you of the remarkable definition of Pavel Vasilievich
Part Three 211
Simonov*: “The supreme nervous activity is indeed supreme.” Indeed. It means that its structural purpose is to manage or at least coordinate all other forms that are somehow structurally inferior This is first thing.
The second thing is that the world surrounding us, which we are accustomed to calling our milieu, constantly changes. It changes not only according to biological, so to say, natural reasons but also because of the effect of human activities; and in some instances the world becomes very aggressive… And if we do not use our resources, which are given to us by our birth (actually, not by birth but according to the definition that we are homo sapiens), and if we do not change our relationship with our body (when I say “body” 1 mean the entire scope of this concept including its biological aspect as well) to be in accordance with the goals which we set for ourselves, i.e. to those meanings which we want to activate by our presence in this world, then… then only disembodiment is left to us.
Q: Do you want to say that on the way of embodiment, the essential transformation of the biological body is possible?
I.N.: Yes, I am sure it is. I do not say that I have succeeded in that. However, the longer I am preoccupied with this the more my confidence increases. I would even say that inwardly, subjectively I am convinced that this way has great opportunities from the poini of view of the mutual relationship between the individual and the world.
Q: And to which stream of energy you are connected? Did you not loose your spiritual roots?
I.N.: This is a good question. Those who have known me for a long time and who have heard me and read my books, know that 1 do not use this terminology and I will explain why. This terminolog) does not suit that causal system which is utilized by the tradition to which I belong. I am not discussing whether it is good or bad. 1 know people who use this terminology as an opportunity to solve their problems when they are setting their goals and determining meanings. That is why I cannot answer your question in the suggested way. However, I can say something different: as the volume of the resonant interaction between the subjective reality
* P.V. Simonov is a well known Russian Soviet psycho-physiologist, M.D. and member of the Academy of Science of the USSR. P. M. Yershov is a M. A. in Art Criticism and a producer. The reference is made to the book by P.V. Simonov. P. M. Yershov Temperament. Character. Personality, Moscow, Nauka Publishers. 1984.
212 The An of Living
and the objective reality, or between an individual and the world increases—if there is a developed reflection on the level of intellect or inner experience or even on the level of feelings and sensations (which is also needed or else you get washed out and the interpretations, which do not correspond to anything but your subjective problematic, come forth), the confidence that this is the way. that it is in principle possible, and that this way too is directed toward the comprehension of truth—this confidence increases. It increases only at expanse of the resonant interaction. Yes, of course you are absolutely right that a man who is on the spiritual path in any tradition (if it is not a refuge but the path) he loses something. It is so because all roads are with no return from a certain moment. Being transformed, he loses the natural character of his presence among people, but not, of his presence in the world. And he can return that natural character of his presence—he can do it in principle, but how? I have no such wish, that is why I did not elaborate on this question. The texts and the traditions tell us that it is possible as a matter of principle. For example, Khodja Nasreddin illustrates this situation.
Q: And what about the criteria for the reconstruction of man in this way—has it been reconsidered by you? A little bit to the left or a little bit to the right. What is the criteria of where we should go?
I.N.: Man can go only there where he wants to go.
From the formal point of view, this is a rough simplification but it is so. We are so afraid of “I want.” Suddenly the book by Richard Bach “Illusions, the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” which deals with the problem of “I want” came to my mind. Why is it suggested to us that if I fulfill all my “I want,” it will inevitably clash with the “I want” of other people and I will find myself in a /one of constant confrontation? Of course, none of us wants ihis to happen. However, we forget, i.e. we do not forget but some of us lose sight of the simple fact that my “I want” does not conflict with the “I want” of other people, but the ways of realization of my “I want” might be impulsive, good, socially condemned or supported; one culture supports some ways, another culture, on the contrary, denounces… However, these are means and they turn us 10 the problem of psychological armament, to the “how,” not to a question of canceling my “I want.”
Q: And what about criminal laws punishing the forbidden “I want?”

Part Three 2B
I.N.: This a remarkable question. It is a enormous theme. From the point of view of that which is now known in today’s psychology, man cannot act from “I do not want,” this is nonsense, for the engine from the point of view of contemporary psychology is need Need as a need man comprehends seldom, especially if he does not know about it. He comprehends himself as a set of “I want,” i.e.. motives. The competitive struggle between motives depending on value structure, personal orientation, social restrictions, taboos and the entire dynamics of the psyche, is derived from this T want.” Lei us reduce psychoanalysis to a primitive scheme: libido turned inside, libido turned outside, mortido turned inside, mortido turned outside. As always, as a result there are four positions, that is the way it has been from antiquity. Four is the number of the initial causes when one speaks about the psychology.
You said—criminal law. However, if a man —let’s take an extreme case—wants to steal, i.e. violate the law, even if he says to himself: “I want to do this,” it does not mean that this is his real ‘want’. For we know about the system of psychological defense. The initial strong mechanism is the so called defense motivation, i.e when the motive is being shaped by our reflection in a way which suites itself. This is suitable for this particular person. And now lei us assume that he is able with somebody’s help to identify, in the social dimension, his primary “I want.” And you can suggest to him a number of ways of performing this “want.” Naturally he will chose the less punishable way. That is why the question of armament for life and of personal armament in the technological sense comes to. on the one side, a liberation from the larger and larger mechanism of defense in regard to the perception of our motivation, and, on the other hand, to a larger and larger provision for the variety of means and methods of the embodiment of this “want.” In the reasonable limits of reflection, this will bring us to the point where the forbidden—in the absolute sense of the word “prohibition—I want” simply does not emerge… In this respect we are all alike.
The set of social, biological and ideal needs, if one uses the classification of Simonov, is not as numerous and not as diverse And if we attract super-consciousness as the process of creative psychological mutations, then the very same Simonov suggests thai super-consciousness serves only the actual need, the activated one. If we look at the entire subconscious with all that has been said about it by psychoanalysts, what will we see? We will see only a conflict between the static and the process, between the initial genetic
214 The Art of Living
stamps—from my birth, in which I, as a subject was not present with my subjective dynamics, a subject who is in constant conflict with this static.
If we give a man the technology—the way of exposing his confrontations, of removing these confrontations, then —I have seen it myself—this conflict is removed. Then the situation with no conflicts between the conscious and the subconscious is possible. Why is it so? Because the immobility not corresponding lo the development of this subject is removed. That is, it is easy to say: “that is all.” In reality, it is extremely difficult. However, if the motivation is comprehension it is possible. If one has motivation of achievement it is practically impossible—man has not enough time because the motivation of achievement strengthens the subjective inner experience of limitation of time. And then you realize that your day and your twenty-four hours subjectively become equal to a month of your friend’s time. Then you understand that life is measured —from the point of view of inner experience—not by the number of times Earth revolves around Sun, but by an amount of subjective events. You crossed from one time to another.
Then the question of you as a being limited in time, as measured by the number of times the Earth circles the Sun while you exist as a biological unity, as a biological body, will be removed. And you will have a chance to succeed. For that chance, naturally, you will have to give up a great amount of achievement motivation. And you will have to rely in this on that which the ancients called God’s will.
This self-creativity, i.e. creativity directed at oneself, is the most active manifestation of subjectivity. And since we increase the activity of a person—we increase the semantic activity of his presence in this world, we increase his self-evaluation, not at the expense of his achievements but at the expense of the fact that he begins to see himself in the subjectiveness of his embodiment.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, I have read that self-consciousness is being taken out of subjective and objective reality put into psychologically empty space… And how is this done practically’.’
I.N.: First of all, one needs to have a real “why,” i.e. to have a wish and to have a meaning of “I wish” and “why.” Secondly, it is not a question of technology as if one can present it and pass it on. It is a question of the extension of the volume of resonance. And it is a question of being of a given tradition and of transforming the interaction with the world. Trust me. everything which can be said
Part Three 215
with words I have honestly said. And when I now read my first book “One to One with the World.” the ten discourses about the School, 1 understand that I can add nothing to it. I don’t have new words to explain these subjective experiences. For they are subjective experiences, and their objectification, i.e. creation a product of some new quality, is always the hardest problem.
Q: You want to say that in your tradition a human being will necessarily discover that?
I.N.: No, this might or might not happen. It all depends on the question “to what extent you are immersed into it, to what extent you are present in that…” As soon as you put this question in the present form—it becomes an achievement motive. Do you follow me? And as soon it becomes the motive of achievement, you leave the tradition, you turn the marginal problems into the central, as for instance the question of the achievement that is in charge of the laws of the tradition. What does it mean that you have embraced a tradition? In this concrete case I should determine for myself thai the motive of comprehension is the chief object, while the motive of achievement is conditional, depending on the fate, on God’s determination. However, these are not my problems, they are not so acute. If I am in a given tradition, then this tradition attempts to be determined by the way of embodiment. I direct all my energy, all the energy of my vital requirements—from the most biological to the most ideal ones—towards comprehension. I strive, learn, or it is being revealed to me in my inner experience, that all the energ) which a possess is given to me for the sake of comprehension and transformation, not for the sake of achievement.
Q: A human being has a profound “I want” of which he does not even suspect. How it can be defined?
I.N.: No need to define anything. No matter whether you define it or not, it still exists or does not exist. If it were so easy, then one could technologically satisfy the needs of a concrete human being and, through manipulation with punishment or reward, ont could give him a desirable shape… You know what is wonderful’. The historical practice of tyranny proves that—from the ancient times to the most recent—nothing comes out of this. Take a simpk example. There are people who are so susceptible to hypnotic influence that they can be brought to a state of somnambulism. No\\ imagine that somebody sets up a dummy, puts a knife in a man’; hand, when he is in that state, and tells him: “This is your enemy
him.” Then the that man thrusts the knife into that dummy. Tru
216 The Art of Living
next time they place a man in front of him, give that killer a cardboard knife and tell him: “This is the enemy. Kill him.” And again that the man thrusts the cardboard knife into the man in front of him, although with less confidence. Then they place a man in front of the hypnotized killer, give the killer a real knife and the man does not kill, he gets hysterical. Those of you who are familiar with hypnosis know that here is the beginning of a profound inner conflict. And some of them kill. And even the wisest military specialists cannot predict, who will kill and who will not. Only with the help of the anti-scientific methods can they determine who is capable of killing.
What is the bottom line of all this? The bottom line is thai there are levels in a human being’s psyche, which are not accessible for manipulation even on that level. Therefore people who are looking for this kind of killer, spend more energy not on educating them, but on finding the potential candidates.
Q: Could you please tell us what these profound structures are based on?
I.N.: In the most cases, I have neither the desire nor the time nor the “want” to deal with profound forms of consciousness due to the fact that I too am in a process and that I am developing different interests. I am happy just because of that very fact. At one time it gave me inspirations in my own interests—it helped me in my lectures, presentations, and texts. The existence of this problem demonstrates that our fear of manipulation and these endless appeals, creation of various norms and rule, does not lead anywhere except to the manipulation of public opinion or of a certain group opinion. This fact has not been given a sufficient rational ground Even on a strongly formalized level there is something that is beyond superficial social dynamics. Therefore, the sensation which has recently been created over neuro-linguistic programming has already been extinguished or it will be in the near future. That is again an idea of human programming, the idea of computerized programming, and it inevitably bounces against the man as a process and—his unpredictability.
Q: But nevertheless predetermination objectively exists.
I.N.: For me subjectively and objectively it is not quite that which it is conventionally. If I am really a subject then the objectivity of the world depends on me to the same degree I depend on it. If I really am a subject, the way I understand it, then I am involved with reality. Therefore my removal from this reality
Part Three 217
changes it and my presence in it changes it. Predetermination exists, of course. The predetermination… What does it consist of? The predetermination is that which is being constantly supported by society and which is in us mechanistic, conventional, and predictable. Predetermination is advantageous for a social structure because the more predictable our behavior is the better all the structures of social relationship function. Therefore the idea of predetermination is supported all the time.
Of course, predetermination exists. I did not choose, if we cast away certain mystical speculations, in what family to be born, in whal kind of a body, birthday date and sex. However, this predetermination is very instrumental. Let us imagine that I was given an ax. This is, let us say. only an instrument. Here I am, here is nature and here is an ax. I can improve this ax for my purposes or 1 can complain: what can I do with an ax? People, we know, made the wooden ornaments with an ax, shaved with it, etc. They worked with it, they did not see that ax as a fatality but rather as some limitation in the choice of the means of materialization.
Q: Do you admit that other approaches to spirituality can be truthful too? The canonical ones, for instance.
I.N.: I admit everything is at attempt of describing the diversity of reality which man can interact with. I reject everything because 1 find the description which I use in my tradition more convenient. Of course, I have my subjective opinions simply as a specialist, a conditional specialist, in this very area. I believe that some descriptions lead to wrong interpretations, some descriptions are more accurate, some of them were created through the combination of a practice and an effort to avoid one’s own inner problems; some of them were just constructed. All descriptions correspond to something but all descriptions do not exhaust reality. Therefore 1 use that language, that system of description which I know very well, have checked in my personal practice and which belongs tc that tradition of which I am a product. I really like my tradition Very much.
Various limitations at the input complicate the process oi transformation. This is the principal position. Moreover, in tht beginning various limitations unintentionally assert the existence oi non-spiritual objects in the world. And this contradicts the main spiritual position that the entire world is incarnate Spirit.
216 The Art of Living
next time they place a man in front of him, give that killer a cardboard knife and tell him: “This is the enemy. Kill him.” And again that the man thrusts the cardboard knife into the man in front of him, although with less confidence. Then they place a man in front of the hypnotized killer, give the killer a real knife and the man does not kill, he gets hysterical. Those of you who are familiar with hypnosis know that here is the beginning of a profound inner conflict. And some of them kill. And even the wisest military specialists cannot predict, who will kill and who will not. Only with the help of the anti-scientific methods can they determine who is capable of killing.
What is the bottom line of all this? The bottom line is thai there are levels in a human being’s psyche, which are not accessible for manipulation even on that level. Therefore people who are looking for this kind of killer, spend more energy not on educating them, but on finding the potential candidates.
Q: Could you please tell us what these profound structures are based on?
I.N.: In the most cases, I have neither the desire nor the time nor the “want” to deal with profound forms of consciousness due to the fact that I too am in a process and that I am developing different interests. I am happy just because of that very fact. At one time it gave me inspirations in my own interests—it helped me in my lectures, presentations, and texts. The existence of this problem demonstrates that our fear of manipulation and these endless appeals, creation of various norms and rule, does not lead anywhere except to the manipulation of public opinion or of a certain group opinion. This fact has not been given a sufficient rational ground Even on a strongly formalized level there is something that is beyond superficial social dynamics. Therefore, the sensation which has recently been created over neuro-linguistic programming has already been extinguished or it will be in the near future. That is again an idea of human programming, the idea of computerized programming, and it inevitably bounces against the man as a process and—his unpredictability.
Q: But nevertheless predetermination objectively exists.
I.N.: For me subjectively and objectively it is not quite that which it is conventionally. If I am really a subject then the objectivity of the world depends on me to the same degree I depend on it. If I really am a subject, the way I understand it, then I am involved with reality. Therefore my removal from this reality
Part Three 217
changes it and my presence in it changes it. Predetermination exists, of course. The predetermination… What does it consist of? The predetermination is that which is being constantly supported b> society and which is in us mechanistic, conventional, and predictable. Predetermination is advantageous for a social structure because the more predictable our behavior is the better all the structures of social relationship function. Therefore the idea of predetermination is supported all the time.
Of course, predetermination exists. I did not choose, if we cast away certain mystical speculations, in what family to be born, in whal kind of a body, birthday date and sex. However, this predetermination is very instrumental. Let us imagine that I was given an ax. This is, let us say. only an instrument. Here I am, here is nature and here is an ax. I can improve this ax for my purposes or I can complain: what can I do with an ax? People, we know, made the wooden ornaments with an ax, shaved with it, etc. They worked with it, they did not see that ax as a fatality but rather as some limitation in the choice of the means of materialization.
Q: Do you admit that other approaches to spirituality can be truthful too? The canonical ones, for instance.
I.N.: I admit everything is at attempt of describing the diversity of reality which man can interact with. I reject everything because 1 find the description which I use in my tradition more convenient. Of course, I have my subjective opinions simply as a specialist, a conditional specialist, in this very area. I believe that some descriptions lead to wrong interpretations, some descriptions are more accurate, some of them were created through the combination of a practice and an effort to avoid one’s own inner problems; some of them were just constructed. All descriptions correspond to something but all descriptions do not exhaust reality. Therefore 1 use that language, that system of description which I know very well, have checked in my personal practice and which belongs to that tradition of which I am a product. I really like my tradition Very much.
Various limitations at the input complicate the process oi transformation. This is the principal position. Moreover, in tht beginning various limitations unintentionally assert the existence oi non-spiritual objects in the world. And this contradicts the main spiritual position that the entire world is incarnate Spirit.

218 The Art of Living
Q: How does one get on the path? In your book I found only the theoretical information regarding that problem. How can one do it practically?
I.N.: One shouldn’t get on the path. As my teacher used to say, a book is not a manual. Any book, even the most remarkable, is only a cause for reflection. My books contain only one thing—they contain my absolutely sincere and honest attempt to share with you what I can share on the level of words. They have nothing else. “Thus spoke Igor Nikolayevich Kalinauskas…” So what? Many have spoken many things. If this produced in you a kind of echo, if something became resonant in you, that is not to merit, it is yours. I only make sure that there is nothing in them which can become a weapon against anybody. This is my professional principle.
Q: How one can combine your statements that “man is man” and “man is incarnate Spirit?” Do you agree that here is humanity’s global conflict and tragedy?
I.N.: When I say that man is man, I have in mind that his physical, fiery and other bodies or aspects create one unit called “man.” However, when one speaks about incarnation, then, undoubtedly, man is incarnate Spirit. And he is not only incarnate but incarnate in the image and likeness of God. In other words, he is one of the most perfect incarnations…
Q: However, man is man, and not Spirit.
I.N.: No. Man is a remarkable form of the incarnation of Spirit. Some people prefer him to a kitten or a little puppy. Although not everybody does. I know people who like cats more than human beings.
Q.: When did you discover the “Fire Flower?”
I.N.: It happened in the city named Daugavpils in March or May of 1972. We had a habit: we used to spend Friday nights discussing the most exciting problems. This way the method of qualitative structures had suddenly emerged… Then we discovered a rhythm of actions by which information suddenly appears. One of those nights I suddenly began talking about the “Flower.” When we tried to rationalize it, we found only one definition, namely, that information was received through ecstasy. Using contemporary conventional language we may say that it was. naturally, an entry into a stream. A resonant interaction with the tradition—on all levels of the manifold aspects of reality—brings about the necessary knowledge (if one calls it knowledge) or necessary understanding (if
Part Three 219
one calls it understanding) or necessary experience (if one calls il experience) along with the actualization of a real necessity.
Q: I wonder whether there are analogies to the “Fire Flo- wer?”
I.N.: A lot of people were later searching for the analogy. The only analogue which was found was the old Chinese psycho-technical system under the name of the “Golden Flower.” However, it deals with the other kind of energy. It deals with what according to our notion today is mental energy. Therefore, it is different Nevertheless, they have gold… Again, all depends on how we understand this. Later, after years passed and I became acquainted with many people of those traditions—the real bearers, I understood that “gold,” “golden Buddha”—does not mean gold for them in the real sense, for them it can be a concentration of sun light. Therefore, one should compare these things very carefully. This is the only analogy which we have found for the period time from the momenl we received information till today. No other analogy has been found. And I must say we have not met yet any other tradition. beside Agni Yoga working with the fire energy directly or with whai is conditionally called the “fiery body.” I think, it is connected with the fact that working with this kind of energy leads to direct transformations not only on the level of the psyche and consciousness but also on the level of psycho-physiology. And this is what scares many people.
Q: What is the goal of the spiritual path?
I.N.: The goal?
Q: Yes, the goal. For example, the maximum of embodiment of Spirit—as a goal.
I.N.: When we say “the goal” we assume that there is an end as an achievement, the end. When we say “meaning” we suppose thai the comprehension which at the same time is transformation, does not have any end. even a logical one. It might be that such a meaning can be seen in the complete incarnation of Spirit, or, as wf say it in the language of the Tradition, an ability to fill any form with this content. That might be the meaning, not the goal.
Q: How can it be, however, that every human “I want” is holy’.’ It might bring harm to other people?
I.N.: I said, first of all, not “every human.” I said every “want” is holy. Then I said: not all the ways of activation of this “want” are permissible.
Q: What if one has a need to kill?
220 The Art of Living
I.N.: You know psychology badly. There is no such need, there is such a method of satisfying the need of sublimation, if there is a suppressed need. However, a human being does not have a need—as a need—to kill… At times a concrete human being experiences the deficiency of means. This is a level of social impediment, etc. This is a different theme. Not any “want” (not a defensive, but a true “want”) is sacred. An absence of knowledge and means for the embodiment of that “want” is another problem. Here the “psycho-pathology of everyday life” begins.
Q: A human being has a tremendous number of desires. Can one embody all of them?
I.N.: From the point of view of an external observer, he surely can. However, from the point of view of self-cognition, in the first place I suggest that you turn to self-study in order to clarify that a lot of objects, which you are convinced that you want, are only defense motives. If you, in familiarizing yourself and entering into a dialogue with yourself as with a subject, would do that, you will realize that the problem is not the excess of “want” but the lack of these “I want.” As a result, a single “want” through the defense motivation transforms into a whole bunch of “want.” Though this entire bunch is on one branch. When a man is profoundly preoccupied with this work, in a certain time he finds himself in a fantastic situation. It becomes obvious that he wants close to nothing. And then he comes to the “I want to have T want'” situation. It turns out that much of the defensive “I want” operate on the button principle, i.e. they are stimulated by external conditioning. If you eliminate that external conditioning, then you will realize that “from within” man want almost nothing. Although this is connected with different problems: with man’s relationship to the world—direct, indirect, biological, non-biological.
Q: Spirit and subject. You constantly use those concepts. What are they? What is the relationship between Spirit and subject.
I.N.: “I—Spirit” is a river, and “I” as a subject with self-reflection, the T am.'” is a mark on that stream. I cannot add more to that.
Q: You see the subject as a mark?
I.N.: Not the subject, but his perception of himself.
Q: One can single out two opinions: the first one suggests that man. at any moment of his life, has available to himself everything that he needs for his development: he only needs to look with
Part Three 221
attention and take those lessons that come to him. Another opinion is: in order to obtain something one has to do a heroic deed.
I.N.: I got it. Potentially, on a level of subjective experience, indeed, any moment of life contains sufficient energy for embodiment. This does not happen in reality for the simple reason that, as a result of social pressure, man gives up the biological relationship with the world, the resonant relationship with the world, and he enters the conventional social world. It is not a complete transition—he is unable to do this completely even if he-attempts it—but is being done to a certain degree. The conventional social world is based on removal most of the tensions rooted in potential doubts in the life model accepted by a society. This is one-thing. The other thing is that in order to get an access to this entire: “household” and work with them, one must go through study with those who are in charge of it, have all the necessary means and have-the desire and opportunity to pass them on to you. Such is my position. The tension is being loosened at every moment of time This girl is holding her hand on your shoulder, releasing your tension—not because she intended to do that but instinctively. Look around at the space over here. In seems that we have here small groups, friends, and people on their own. However, are you all preoccupied with increasing the general and individual tension? No Intellectually you are preoccupied with releasing, releasing, releasing that tension, while Igor Nikolayevich is preoccupied with raising, raising it… Here is the entire dynamics of our communication.
It is possible that the attractiveness of the tradition of disembodiment is in its ability to gradually ease any kind of tension, including that which is known as the “languishing of Spirit”—while-a person, who entered it. progresses on the Way. Do not forget thai this languishing is a desire to be embodied.

222 The Art of Living
From the collection “Autumn of Faith “
Though not a swindler. Identified—
Late Not awaited any more.
The length
of a shot— An arrow. Pray fervently.
And that was all.

Property for a beggar
Like a not-wanted fellow-traveller.
To wander along the soul
That what’s my property.
And every day
Like in on the New Year’s eve. Old stuff—out of the windows. And into the New Year— Like into a new home Putting everything on stake.
Part Three 223
On Unique and Typical

Let us begin with two trivial statements. The first one is thai every human being is unique. When he dies, the entire unique universe also dies with him. Second statement is that every human being contains a significant amount of that which is typical, which is, accessible for an external observer and researcher. Therefore, then1 is a huge number of explanatory systems that attempt to single oui in a human being that which is predictable. They include the scientific psychological typologies, among them the typology of the informational metabolism and typology of temperaments Astrological typologies which presently are nearly accepted as scientific ones are also among them. Those typologies which are created for fun and do not claim to be scientific are also included For example, people are divided into four groups: the exiled, the prize winners, the wreckers and the aborigines. The exiled are those who are sent to the Earth for their sins. Therefore they dislike everything over here, complain and criticize everything. Awarded with prize are those who were sent to the Earth from the lower universes for some merits. They are excited about everything and admire everything: “Great! Exciting! Fantastic!” Wreckers do nol get excited and do not criticize. They mind their business. They icnow why they are here and what should they do. And aborigines are those who permanently live here. They protect the first group, comfort the second and catch the third.
There is an even simpler typology: one of my friends divided people into two groups: complaining and harmful. There art harmful complainers and complaining harm-doers. People constantly attempt to create explanatory systems which would enhance man’s orientation, first of all, among other people in ordei to reduce the complexity of their subjective world by including therr into a class which is already known.
This external and shallow approach serves many people as tht only method of explanation of themselves.
“Why did you do that?”
“Because I am an Aquarius.”
“And you?”
“And I was born in the year of Arias.”
224 The Art of Living
“And you?”
“And I have such and such type of information metabolism and such and such type of nervous activity. “
People’s attraction to this kind of explanatory pattern is very strong.
Lately, I became greatly interested in this phenomenon. People are constantly trying to spread their influence in world and among people as a part of that world, in a way that increases the level of predictability. When a piece of information takes shape in a way which enables us to expand our level of predictability, then we hold on to it, in most of cases regardless of its quality. Most fake systems are based exactly on their ability to satisfy people’s need not so much for knowledge and for truth, but rather for assurance that what we feel about the future and about the persons with whom we are concerned coincides with what actually happens.
The other night a saw an American video film. There was a remarkable incident in it when the hero, a writer, wrote a delective novel. He was a pretty famous writer who he had crisis, some kind of artistic block. So in order to overcome that crisis he became involved in an adventure and based his new book’s plot on that real adventure. His publisher told him: “It is a good book but I liked your previous books more.” The writer was curious: “Why?” and the publisher answered: “Because in those books everything was predictable.”
This seems to be a paradox. It is a detective novel, isn’t it? One would think what pleasure could be found in a detective novel where everything is known in advance? It turns out that there is a certain demand for this: these books have their readers who want to read them not for the sake of being muddled up in the labyrinths of cunning constructions, but for the sake of guessing what is going to happen ten-twenty-thirty steps ahead and by that increasing their self-evaluation: “How clever am I!” I foresaw everything and even this well known writer could not baffle me.
Sometimes an impression springs up that the time will come when science and the other means of human comprehension will develop to such an extent that one will be able to explain everything. If one puts everything together: genetics, the typology of informational metabolism, the typology of temperament.1., the typology of individuality—the fingerprint will be the only unique object left in the world. Because the human appearance, as we can see watching TV, is now a repeatable thing. There are now a large
Part Three 225
number of clubs of doubles and the shows of doubles. I recently heard part of one broadcast, they said that the film was produced b> an Englishmen and it was about that October event of 1917, aboui how it happened, and they chose a man from a bureau of Lenin’s doubles for the role of Lenin.
It turns out that the only uniqueness is the fingerprints. Two identical persons have not been found yet. But if this is also only for the time being?
Let us look at it from the other side, from the side of thf subjective world of man, i.e. from the side of what man knows about himself. Here we run into the same paradox. Does man really wanl to know himself? No, he does not. He wants to put inside, i.e. into his inner world, some explanatory system which will explain himself to him with an ever growing degree of predictability.
During one of my presentations I said: “People often say: Oh. God. why is this world so complicated, so endless, and so unpredictable—this entire universe where we are a speck of dust on a grain of sand!?” However, the very same world is there on the other side, i.e. inside man. As huge, endless, complicated, and unpredictable.
It turns out that man as a self-conscious being, as “I,” as a retlection of himself, is a border creature. He does not live inside his subjective world for he is afraid of it. He is afraid of it not occasionally but constantly because his inner unpredictability is connected to a fear of the endless, a fear of himself, and a fear of the final, i.e. to the basic adjusting fears by which the control of the1 satisfaction of our needs is done.
He also does not live in the objective world because there is the same endlessness, unpredictability and complexity. So. where one can find then the “real I” of a man? This definition is a very doubtful one: the “real I of man”—as if there is the untrue I. This is a debatable question. I am not very sure that it is legitimate to make such a differentiation. The point is that man as a self-conscious being does not live either in his subjective reality or outside of it And the most interesting thing is that the development of differenl kinds of techniques, he does not even want to live in his body. Give people this option and they will all leave bodies. Because the bod) also creates a lot of problems for the reason that one cannot full) comprehend it. The most interesting thing is that nobody has an) illusions with regard to the comprehension of his own body. Hen everyone understands that it is impossible. To fully comprehend oui
226 The Art of Living
own body is simply impossible. A great number of sciences study it and it is just impossible to combine all that information and to place it in one basket. The self-conscious essence of man, his “I,” wants to be nowhere. It wants to build—there is such an subconscious tendency—some little fence, some image of it, closed, absolutely unpredictable and absolutely impenetrable to the influences coming from the outer world. It is a common craze nowadays to explain all unpleasant things by the idea that somebody influenced me: through overlook, slander, malevolent impulse, bio-field, harmful spots in space, dark powers of the astral or vital plane—this is all the same; the wish to become impenetrable to outer influences and shield oneself from inner complications. We are constantly trying to build a capsule beyond the space of subjective reality, beyond the space of objective reality, and preferably even out of time. In no place. This is what the limitation of our reason is, the rational interaction with the world and with ourselves. Following the voice of reason, however strange it might sound, we unavoidably find ourselves in the emptiness. In this “no place” there is a closed, convenient, undisputed and impenetrable capsule named “I.” This is what the dream about perfection is. Look attentively and calmly at the majority of suggested systems under the names “self-perfection,” “self-cognition.” and it turns out that this “self strives in the extreme to that state, to a life in nowhere. It is easy to do this. There are a lot of systems of practical psychology in which “I” is being reduced to a dot and this dot calmly and confidently rids itself of all limitations of the outer and inner world, of time and space, and then you can travel wherever you want, to any planet, in any time but, as is said in a wise Tibetan book “Ocean of Pleasure for a Wise Man” at the very end of it; “All these expressions are conditional.” or. as it is said in the end of the “Tibetan Book of Death”: “Do not forget that all of these are projections of your consciousness.”
Here we have a really paradoxical situation. We speak about mimitability and uniqueness so much. We assume in our declarations that we want to obtain this inimitability and uniqueness. However, if one investigates this question without prejudice, then he gets to the opposite: we want to disappear as a uniqueness or at least to reduce our own uniqueness to a dot. When we reduce it to a dot then we find ourselves absolutely invulnerable in this emptiness. It is not complicated to create an experience of full disidentification with any kind of your own materiality from the thinnest to the roughest: you will find yourself “in dark, like
Part Three 227
darkness, darkness, in empty, like emptiness, emptiness.” You recall creation of world according to Effel: “In dark, like darkness, darkness, in empty, like emptiness, emptiness, there was God.” Here is a “godlike” state. You are reduced to a dot and “dark, like darkness, darkness in empty, like emptiness, emptiness,” and now you can experience yourself whom you like: if you wish to be God— why not? However, at what cost may it happen? By giving up of uniqueness one can shape it all up properly, beautifully, intellectually—for instance, in the spirit of Tibetan traditions one can name it Nirvana. It will be your “returning from a separate 1 into the Absolute,” “dissolution in the primordial,” in other words, disappearance and disembodiment.
Zigmund Freud said in regard to this that this is the action of mortido, i.e. a subconscious aspiration towards death. However, since physical death which, so to say, waits for all of us, somehow this does not inspire us, with the exception of ill people having a craving for suicide, we make a brave maneuver and in our spiritual. I underline, spiritual search we look for a non-existance in order to forestall this death and to die beforehand, psychologically. This wa> we treat the world as perishable. Then it is easier give it up.
Then the question of most typical aspiration for a human being is reduced to one thing: for every man, disregarding his fingerprints, is typical to strive to a disappearance from both worlds, notice: from the world of inner reality as well as from the world of outer reality It looks this way. And we thank nature that as long as we are corporal, this trick does not work.
Many of you, probably, read or heard about the fakirs of India who bring their bodies to such a condition that their students carr> them around like furniture, blow the dust away from them. The} actually neither eat nor drink, get dried and transformed into mummies so that only their eyes show that they are still alive Attempts at self-elimination and liberation, the idea that the body is sinful—this is the same as the idea of disappearing from this world People think that they can disappear from this world, which the\ define as the lower one, in order to abide in another world, which they define as the higher one. However, the authority which is renown everywhere with no exception, the famous Hermis Trismegistus said: “As above so below, as below, so above.”
It is known from the testimonies of people who succeeded in some interactions with other levels of reality, unreachable for thf
228 The Art of Living
majority, that the only wish of these incorporeal beings is to obtain a body.
It is known from other respectable sources that to be born in a human body is a great lack from the point of view of karma and reincarnations, because the human body is a distinguished creation providing an opportunity to solve all karmic problems.
So why do we want so much, in spite of this, to run away? Because we are very young. According to the boldest assumptions, a man of reflections, i.e. perceiving himself as a subject, is forty thousand years old. Therefore, if one uses the analogy of the periods of human life, our historical age can be tentatively compared with the age fourteen, i.e. a teenager. As it is well known, the teenager crisis, connected with the hormonal changes in body, is very often accompanied by the idea of suicide, destructive behavior, and unmotivated aggression.
Look at humanity in general and you will see this teenager with all the psychological catastrophes, look at yourself and you will see the very same teenager who tries to escape from the dealing with the problems of abiding in this world.
This way we can boldly assume that the uniqueness of man as a category consists in the very fact that he comprehends and reflects on himself as abiding in two realities. This is his principal position. It means that the uniqueness of a single person is first of all in his boldness in regard to himself, i.e. to his subjective reality—as far as this man has decided to meet himself. That is why in all serious spiritual traditions it has been stated: the number one problem is to meet oneself. This requires tremendous courage, persistent work, guidance, tutoring and merciless aspiration.
And one more aspect. The more man studies that which is typical in himself, the more the acting person, the one who studies, gets developed and becomes tempered. The more man is preoccupied with a search for his own uniqueness, the more that which searches, i.e. the typical is being developed. This is the second paradox in our situation. If you remember the entire range of ideas, from “the Temple of God is inside of you.” to “The one who is looking for you is that which you are looking for,” than you would understand that the complication of the situation here is, in the first place, in the fact that there is the necessity of the Other One. In order to meet oneself one must meet the Other One. You need him so that he can help you to comprehend all that is typical, all the mechanisms given to you. The more you can comprehend this the
Part Three 229
more will develop that which is not a mechanism, but your essence, and the less you will wish to escape from your body, from this world. The more you will wish to stay not in the emptiness but in the absolutely filled up psychological space, i.e. to be absolutely penetrable and to obtain strength, peace and confidence in this.
To be penetrable means that there are no restrictions at the entrance, restrictions exist only at the exit. The restrictions at the exit are that what your morals are, your notion of what you have to or have not to do, what should be and what should not be done— everything which is determined by the meaning created by you, and if the entire mechanistic part turns into restrictions at the entrance, then the meaning is not needed and the work of the soul is not needed. Man follows the rules and increases his own self-evaluation However, those rules are mechanical, they are at the entrance. The more you yield to them the more you correspond to them. Because everything that does not correspond to the rules does not enter into you. These rules are used as walls, as a capsule or as prison cell, according to Gurdjieff. And your entire “self-cognition” consists in digging a hole through the wall from one cell to the other and in believing that you are now free.
Therefore, we must not only comprehend ourselves, not only be aware of ourselves, must make our part of this qualified activity. I like this word very much, I am grateful to V.M. Yershov and P.V Simonov for naming this very clearly: one needs qualification in regard to life. Qualification in regard to oneself consists of thai which I aspire to find in myself, not the uniqueness which is impossible, because who in me will comprehend my uniqueness? Only that which is typical in me, my mechanism. And what my mechanism can do with my uniqueness? They might only become afraid because any mechanism acts on the principle of maximal predictability.
Qualification is in knowing of one’s typicality, one’s mechanistic part, or. as Gurdjieff and Ouspensky used to say, one’s machine for obtaining a master of it, a man controlling the wheel, who will drive that car where he needs and will command: will be capable of repairing it. improving it, etc.
When a system suggests such an opportunity to you, this system, from my point of view, is the system of real action, the system of the active development of an active person. This becomes especially obvious in extreme situations. You know, I worked in a clinic in Chernobyl clean up of the accident. There one could see at
230 The Art of Living
once that those who were grounded for some reason in this position, they acted. And they were active in regard to treatment, they collected information about what should be done in order to neutralize trauma, to forestall the development of side effects. They were busy. The most interesting thing was that psychologically the most valuable clients of the hospital were people who had a bad diagnosis. They were not occupied with anything except searching for the means of stealing of at least a bit of life, and they have done a lot. Some of them worked for the social justice, others provided for their relatives, they were active although physically they were indeed in a bad shape.
People who did not know how much radiation they had received, in most cases were falling into the passive state under the name: “do something with me.” You have not done enough, you did something wrong, all the same, I do not feel well, do something else, give me more pills, the foreign pills, send me to a resort And gradually they tuned into professional neurotic patients.
Sometimes I visit a clinic and see a lot of familiar faces—those are professional patients. They will be ill for a long time, maybe forever. There is nothing else is left for them in this position. The position in which all our society under the name of Soviet people was diligently pushed was the position: “Do something with me.” And if you do something on your own, then they would say: “Careful: you are sticking out! We do not need your initiative! They on the top know everything better.”
We can think of any other regime only not in our territory which brought people to a totalitarian government. All these regimes are based on one thing—on the human wish to disappear. I remember, I was astonished by this for the first time in military service. There are people who are not professional military people, not specialists, but those who feel absolutely perfect in the military and there is no way to drive them of the military. I spoke to them a lot trying to perceive their inner motivation, I found it out later: everything is very good, no need to be concerned about oneself and one’s life. One will be fed on schedule, dressed as required, and get paid his salary. Everything is scheduled from morning till evening. And then I read in the literature that subjectively man feels himself maximally free when he is objectively, i.e. from the point of view of the outer observer, a slave. People with a passive approach: “do something with me” feel best when everything is decided for them. When everything is scheduled and the future is scheduled too. This
Part Three 231
amount of time will pass—you will get a star, then another star.. Your salary will increase and everything will be good. However, when such people get in a situation with minimal predictability, with no stability, i.e. in a catastrophic situation or into a point of bifurcation, they become absolutely helpless.
So why we are afraid of uniqueness? We are afraid of it not only in ourselves but in others too.
On one side, oh, uniqueness!—a man with unique capabilities, or a unique appearance, or a unique gift. However, on the other side, we push them away as much as possible. Let them unite with themselves and give us their production. We will use this production with pleasure, but it is impossible to live with them. Nothing is known for sure. Today they are in one mood, tomorrow, in another Make your paintings, compose your music, show your painting and your music, but do not show yourself. Because it is impossible to live with you.
Well if it could be so. But what do we do when living together with our beloved ones, relatives, and neighbors? What does one do with the other? The same thing.
“You better stop showing off. You should be like John. You should correspond to my image of you.”
“If I fell in love with you. you should become the kind of person I want you to be.”
“What kind of family is it if I come home and my wife has revelations!? What are those revelation for me if I am hungry?”
“What kind of man is he? He says: ‘I quit my job because it spiritually burdens me. I will meditate.'”
A lover could talk like this. Even this would be hard to take And here is a husband!
All this is natural. How could we live together? We would just get adjusted to each other. And we get adjusted in accordance to rule of convention, i.e. according to the norms on which we have agreed, which are seemingly above us. We all know what we should be like. This is like it is in the world literature—a million clashes between feelings and duty. Because duty is something else, situated out of me. No matter how often we hear that true duty is what you do even when nobody else sees you—we can agree with this on the level of convention but we cannot experience this on a subjective level because it has nothing to do with our subjectivity.
And the more of these conventions we have, the more complicated this social world is. the more alienated a man is from
232 The Art of Living
himself, as K. Marx used to say on this matter. And this is perfectly correct, by the way.
And now the alienation of essential energies. Who needs this person besides me? Nobody. Why will I engage myself in that? Here is the social regulator of the disappearance of uniqueness. Only when we are still young and looking for a partner is some uniqueness permissible.
“I am so unique. Look at my eyes.”
“Look, what muscles, what intellect I have.”
Society still permits some uniqueness until twenty-five—thirty, Later it is all over. All will be finished. Uniqueness will be part of in the past. Enough of it. If you are great go to the great ones. If you are not the great one—live here. You are allowed to have that much and you are allowed that much. And we stick to our word.
“Why should I bother if nobody needs it?”
What should I do if my own mother needs not my uniqueness, but an obedient convenient child with whom nothing happens?
One father recently boasted: “I have an excellent son (his son is 12 years old). He listens to me without asking questions. Everything I tell him he does. Such a nice boy.” If mommy does not need my uniqueness, if daddy does not need my uniqueness, if a beloved one does not need my uniqueness, if society does not need my uniqueness—who needs my uniqueness?
That is where the problem is. And here the spiritual longing begins. This is what forces us to search as long as we are alive as subjects, to search for some place where we are needed for our uniqueness, where we are the only ones, inimitable, where there are no others like us. Or, where we are told that our uniqueness, independently of any embodiment, our essence is immortal and needed by the Cosmos, the Universe, Absolute or Lord God.
There is an ideal parent and an ideal lover who needs you because you are inimitable, unique.
Here is what creates the difficulty: what if I did not find it, what if I had no luck? Who needs my subjective uniqueness? It is very difficult for a person to convince himself that he needs himself— especially if nobody else needs him. It requires a heroic attitude: I will remain here in spite of everything. I will not dissolve into non-existence because I am in need of myself as a unique entity. However, this is a creative position and it produces a tremendous amount of difficulty, including that of coping with everyday life, psychological, and spiritual.
Part Three 233
How much love has a person towards himself, the unique one? How long can he stand the fact that his uniqueness has not been claimed by anyone, has not been needed? This is the criteria of his spiritual strength. The other option is to realize at a certain age— and I can see those among us who belong to that age group—that one has lived his life for some external cause. He was busy, busy, busy, but has he ever been himself?
Of course, it is my position, my view, my understanding for today, but I think that the entire dynamics of man’s inner life or. using the language of the ancients, the dynamics of enlightenment, consists not in taking oneself out of this world, this body, this connection, this mutual dependence, this penetrability but, first of all. in needing oneself and then, others.
At the same time that which is typical is socially supported, it is needed by society, it is always in demand. For example, the typology of informational metabolism, so called Socionics. Socionics is the organization of demand: everybody wants to have a type of informational metabolism which is part of his group of four or forms a pair with him next to him.
Man rushes into this socionic club, however he is unneeded there as a uniqueness. He is needed there as a representative of a definite type of informational metabolism and that is all. Many of those who are present here have witnessed scenes of that kind:
“You cannot talk this way.”
“Because you have that kind of informational metabolism and your kind of informational metabolism cannot talk this way. And you cannot sit next to this man. He is a troublesome person for you You must sit over there.”
Knowledge, of course, is power. However, knowledge with no love is that kind of power which will necessarily lead you to death Either to psychological death or to death of the essence or just to regular death, i.e. suicide on account of detecting the absolute absence of oneself.
Such is our dual nature. On the one side, we are looking for, so to say, pleasure (“keif), and I this is where join the humanity Especially since the 17th century, after it has been announced “cogito ergo sum,” we subdue nature, rule over the world making it more and more convenient for us. Well, who will now say that y warm bathroom is worse than going somewhere under a bush in the winter? It is seemingly obvious but it has its reverse side!
234 The Art of Living
During these centuries our consciousness has been developing in the direction of violence against reality. In the direction of the power principle. We cannot wait for gifts from nature, our goal is to take them from her. And we have been taking. However, we are a part of nature as well, even if some day we liberate ourselves from the so called physical body!
Even if one imagines oneself a bodiless energy-informa-tional entity, that violates nature, then in the same way he would violate himself because one cannot commit violence against the world not harming oneself. Here is an excellent illustration: the trial is currently going on against a rapist from Rostov who raped (he was a sexual maniac) and killed many people. For twenty years he couldn’t be caught. He is quite a respectable man, a college graduate, a member of the Communist Party. He has children. He has been on TV. Such a normal, comely person. On the level of conventions, conventional behavior, he is indiscernible as lone as he is able to hide this other part of his personality. Nevertheless, inside he is destroyed, he is already a wild beast inside. What is the sense of all our conventional civilization “cogito ergo sum,” if such abnormality is unrecognizable in it? And vice versa, if it is possible in it to diagnose a healthy man, only because he is of a different trend of thoughts, as a sluggish schizophrenic and put him in the mad house? So what kind of civilization is this? It is civilization of violence against the world. Why? Well, again because this is easier, it allows us to depart from uniqueness. We reduce ourselves to what is typical. You see, the knowledge which we call “cogito ergo sum,”-is a statistical knowledge, the knowledge of the most probable things. And this knowledge has struggled and will be struggling with any kind of uniqueness. There is a half-legend half-truth that the President of the Academy of Science keeps a diamond with a fly inside of it like in amber in his safe. It was found like this. They keep it in secret so that nobody will ever learn about it. Even if it is only a legend, it is all the same a reflection of the state of consciousness on which our civilization rests. If there is a fact which contradicts our knowledge, it should be eliminated, annihilated. If it is not annihilated at once, than it should be hidden in a safe place. Nevertheless it will turn up somewhere by itself, at least in rumors. And then the critical mass of these facts will produce a revolution and we will understand that the world is unique and not typical. This was accomplished by Ilya Prigozhin and his followers when they introduced the point of bifurcation and the concept that the
Part Three 235
core of the world is neither typical nor statistical but unique. All these last three hundred years we have unintentionally learned to look at ourselves statistically. And our ideals have been statistical and hierarchical. Millions play chess but a champion is one. Why he is only one? How can it be explained from the point of view ol equality the idea preached by Decartes and Co. Why is it so? Why is he alone? This destroys the entire point. What are those hundreds oi millions who play chess doing? Do they strive to get there too? He is alone. The only opportunity to be unique is not to be a unique man. One can be a unique chess player, a unique runner, a unique artist, a unique ruler, a unique leader because these are all social positions. They are all Champions, victors of the victors. And they must all run along one path trying to outrun one another. Otherwise there will be no progress. This is the only meaning suggested to us by the rational culture of life. And those who leave the track, who will never reach the summit of the pyramid, even the smallest one—what shall they do? Call teachers for Orion? So what is the result? Nothing again, because this is not the uniqueness of the person but the uniqueness of his connection. He has such a connection. And the others do not have such a connection. However, it is not he who is unique. His connection is unique. It is similar to somebody saying: I am a unique person because I personally know the president. You personally know him, so what? All right, you have such a close relations with him. he is your buddy, so what? And where are you? How does it characterize you, your human uniqueness, your subjective world, your spirit, your godliness? I get really upset when people, who seem to be sincerely religious, forget the simple thing that God created man in His image and likeness. If man is a creation of God one must handle him differently, mustn’t one?
“But it is only I who knows it.” As in the joke: there was a patient in a mad house who thought that he was a wheat grain. He was cured and recovered. The doctors talked to him:
“Well, now do you know that you are not a wheat grain?”
“Of course, thanks, doctors. How silly I was.”
“So go home now.”
In twenty minutes he ran back pale from fear, his eyes bulging out.
“What happen to you?”
“There was a rooster at the gate!”
“So what, don’t you know that you are not a wheat grain?”
“I know it but the rooster doesn’t.”
236 The Art of Living
This is the power of “We.” If there are very few of those who
also know that I am unique, it is difficult not to be afraid of a
A friend of mine was afraid of such a rooster although he never thought that he was a wheat grain. This is the problem of not being
in demand.
And that is why people go to any place so easily, under any flag, under any pseudo-truth, under any mystification if there is a hint that they are needed there as they are. For the sake of this one j can cast off everything. Nobody needs you and there your boss, teacher, guru, bio-psycic speaks to you. All of them—a teacher from Orion, the Holy Bride, the Incarnate Logos—are telling you: “We need you, you.” They are ascribing to themselves the functions of God. Is it God the ideal for us? The one who sees everybody in his inimitability. Nevertheless, if you would try to address this person attributing to himself god qualities with your problem at 4 a.m. with no advance notice—usual he open his door? It is difficult to be God. And to be next to God is difficult too for the same reason. It is inconvenient to live together with him. As with any unique person— to live together is inconvenient. We are thought already that life must be convenient so that the soul. God forbid, does not get ill, does not overwork, life should be convenient, calm. They should pat him on the back: you are good, you have suffered, you are a victim of the epoch, you are a victim of circumstances, you are a victim of violence, you are a victim of ideology, you are a victim of misunderstanding, you are a victim, a victim, a victim. Well, if I am a victim, I must get a bonus. I saw such people. On one side, there is social injustice. Well, to all of those who were over there in this part of Ukraine at least once an ID was given stating “A Participant of the Clean Up of the Accident in Chernobyl.” I meet a man whose participation was this kind: once he spent 8 hours on the border of the zone checking IDs. Just once! Now he is an official victim. And I am sure, there are a lot of people who are really suffering from local radiation fall-out which is only now beginning: the cloud passed by and somewhere fell down. But they had not been in the zone, the compensation was not given to them. That is convention. The people who were included in the statistics recognition received the status of victim and the rest, did not.
A diamond cannot have a fly inside. An exalted person cannot be rational. A person who uses a dirty words cannot be spiritual. A scientist cannot be stupid, he has a Diploma of Doctor of Sciences,
Part Three 237
etc. We all know this. The more we know the better. And in spite of that we are caught in a trap and we never meet ourselves. Although there are some new discoveries. It is said that in the moment of death every person has a minute of meeting himself. They say that the world is just. That independently from anything else, in the very last moment, this grace is granted to us.
So we come not to preaching the irrationalism but to the understanding of what Mamardashvili said: “The only thing we can say with a degree of certainty about consciousness is that it is limited.” And if each of us could understand that consciousness is not endless, in contrast to our subjective realm and the objective world, but separated and quite limited, even the most refined consciousness, a kind of Sankara’s consciousness, and the utmost which our individual consciousness can do is to discover its borders, then we would have a chance to meet ourselves. Why? Because consciousness, including such its aspects as the subconscious and the super-consciousness, is a social function, and therefore, is conventional at its core. Secondly, it is discursive, i.e., it can arrange things orderly either in line or hierarchically. Therefore, consciousness cannot create the picture of the world which is correctly stated by Castaneda. Consciousness can create only a description of the world. Only the imagination of an artist can create a picture of the world, the picture, in the full meaning of the word, where all is seen at once. That is a picture of the world. One cannot investigate it because it is impossible to describe it. As soon as we begin to describe it the picture turns into a description. As if one would try to describe the mysterious painting “Demon” by Vrubel One can look at it. contemplate, enjoy, and experience. However, as soon as we begin to describe it, it becomes our interpretation and an effort to turn a picture into a description. In regard to some pictures and art works thousands of books have been written. The descriptions of the works by Leo Tolstoy—in all languages-wouldn’t get into this hall. Nevertheless, some live by this, earn money creating descriptions of that which is not meant for description at all. Why so? Because of the mania with regards to consciousness. Consciousness is an excellent thing, one can develop it. learn how to use it. Nevertheless one must understand that it is limited in its possibilities. The so called conscious effort does not lead to spiritual unity.
Once our theater participated in a forum which had been planned as an international event but it was not. It had a motto
238 The Art of Living
“For the Spiritual Magnitude of Humanity.” Nevertheless, some people perceived what really was happening there, and remarkably changed this motto to: “For the Spiritual Solitude of Humanity.” It is impossible to unite by a conscious effort.
Consciousness, being discursive, will always separate you from the object which your consciousness is pointing at. Why has a small book by, an almost unknown at that psychologist-consultant from Simferopol, Vasiluk become such a hit in psychology? Because he demonstrated that the meaning, i.e. the basis of human existence, is an outcome of experience and not comprehension. The meaning of existence is the foundation of every other meaning.
So it is a product of experience. Poor Decartes. Can you imagine what happened to him in his grave, how many times he turned around there? It turns out that “cogito ergo sum” is wrong, that one should say “I experience and for that reason I exist” as a semantic being, as essence. Then it is clear that there is no need to be afraid of computers, they are unable to create sense. One cannot share experience if it is not shared. Narration about experience cannot substitute the experience. Therefore, it is impossible even theoretically, to became a Yogi by reading a book. For you did not sit next to the Yogi practitioner in his cave ashram and did not breath the air of Himalayas. You read the description of his experiences.
A book can push you in the direction of a search for a situation which will provoke a similar experience. Otherwise the meaning disappears and one is left with mere technology. And technology is, as it is known, a double-edged sword. It can benefit one person and harm another. The very same technology. Whatever it is. According to Kievan White Magic, the technology of the “Fire Flower” is used for deliverance from witchery, from the evil eye. I am blamed for that, but what do I have to do with all of that? This is technology. It does not depend on anybody how it will be used. Even the effectiveness of technology depends on what product you intend to make with it.
One can hammer nails with a microscope. I doubt whether it is worth making a microscope for this purpose. Wouldn’t it easier to make a hammer? That is in regard to the question of the effectiveness of technology. Thus living in this socio-psychological world named Western-European civilization we dwell in a statistical world. And in the statistical world, in our human employment office, the demand for the typical constantly grows while the
Part Three 239
demand for the unique constantly decreases. And naturally, as a re­action and challenge, we have that which we call the ecological catastrophe and the disruption of the ecology of the human being as a subject of nature, i.e. the disruption of the ecology of the subjective reality.
All of this is the result of the lack of demand for uniqueness Therefore, one cannot get rid of charlatans, pseudo-mysticism, and of anything else which somehow relates to a demand for uniqueness Let us separate charlatans from non-charlatans!
This is impossible. Who will separate them? Who will be the expert? And from what point of view will we evaluate the harm and benefit of those sermons and activities? From the point of view of “cogito ergo sum?” Yes, this is a deviation from the development of functional opportunities and it is socially punishable but imperishable.
In the USA they have the same amount of neurosis as we do The reason is the same. We are all one civilization although under different covers. The essence of relationship of man to man and of a person towards himself is the same.
I have made a slightly catastrophic presentation. I think later we will try to turn it in the direction of a constructive search, we will try to answer the following question: what one can do if one has already become thoughtful of it? If one has already come to that point. As my teacher used to say: when the spiritual path begins in a man? At the point where he looks at his life and asks himself: what is this? Is that it? Is there nothing besides this? Is this why I have been summoned to this world? It cannot be so! He intuitively feels that it is a deception. And when man intuitively feels that he is cheated and instead of an entire life was given a small piece under the name of socially successful functioning, then he wants something else.
Where can I find that something else? And how?—this is already a different theme.
Q: Can you give us at least an approximate percentage of unique people?
I.N.: 1 want to answer your question with a parable.
“A man talked to God, having such an opportunity, and asked him to show him the greatest military leader in the world. God showed him a shoemaker who was sitting somewhere in a small town, in some side street repairing shoes.
“This is a shoemaker!”
240 The Art of Living
“If he were a military leader, he would have become the greatest military leader in the world.”
There is no percentage of unique people. If we would stand in the position of percentage, i.e. in the position of statistics, then what kind of uniqueness of a man can we discuss. Then we are instantly dividing people into blockheads and elite. Every man is unique. Society is unable to create opportunities for all unique people. This is a different problem. It is a problem of the imperfection of humanity as a social organism.
Q: And to be unique doesn’t it mean to be an egotist?
I.N.: We are discussing here only the functional uniqueness, i.e. a talent. There will be always a certain diversity since every mind is inimitable and unique, but we are not talking about the uniqueness of a man as a man. Speaking of egotism, I think, that the very concept of egotism is an instrumental concept used in social programming and in social manipulation. This concept contradicts two facts. Fact number one: whatever man does, he does it in order to satisfy his needs. It has been scientifically proven that a human being is unable to do anything, including being an altruist, that would not satisfy a certain need that he has. The second fact has been discussed in “Genetics of Altruism” by V.P. Efroimson. The author has shown that altruism, if it is looked at in the perspective of the evolutionary process, enhances evolution more then the so called egotism. Therefore the egotism should be looked at as an instrument. Egotism and altruism are a pair of social concepts used in social programming, social management, etc.
Do not forget that we began our discussion with our love of God and of our divine essence, of our likeness to God. Love in any form is a shortening or a complete elimination of the psychological distance between you and the object of your love. This is, in my opinion, the most precise definition of love as a specific part of human life. Love always presupposes a courage, a certain courage in eliminating a distance at least in one thing, with one person, eliminating the tremendous amount of psychological defense built up by our consciousness.
Therefore not everybody can love God the way Jesus or Francis of Assisi loved him, because not everybody has such courage and such a power of love and selflessness. It goes without saying that faith is something different. One may say that then: is no faith without love. And one may say a contrary thing, namely, that faith can exist without love. There are different attitudes towards
Part Three 241
this matter, including different attitudes among religious philosophers. I presume, although I cannot be absolutely certain about this, that faith is rooted in some special human quality. Such is my insight.
Our civilization, which took its final shape in the 17th century, has been deprived of a certain detail, and because of its absence we do not know what faith is. We may build rational concepts in regard to that fact and we may torture ourselves because we want and are unable to have faith, but all is in vain. I have seen in my life two or three persons who were men of faith. It is very unusual. They were people of faith and they lived not by love but by faith. Although there are a very few persons too who live by love. Because it is dangerous. In the society and in the civilization, where we live, it is. dangerous. The reason can be that our consciousness is too young What is forty thousand years of human history!? And the developed consciousness is only eight to ten thousand years old. This is a trifle We know nothing yet about ourselves—such is my impression Therefore we have no complete pictures, all that we have are various descriptions. Because we do not know ourselves. We do not know ourselves, not in the sense that we do not know ourselves rationally—we do not have the experience of ourselves. We were not given to ourselves in the inner experience. Considering the fact that the inner experience has been discredited as a means of relationship with reality, i.e. society has discredited the inner experience in order to strengthen its control over its members. I believe we should see great changes in the future.
Q: Perhaps we should conceive ourselves on a different level of reality? Perhaps we are unable to get instant knowledge of ourselves?
I.N.: I believe that we are here in order to live.
I hold on to a philosophy illustrated by a Sufi saying: “An elephant is stronger then a man, a tiger can eat more then a man. A man is born in order to learn.” Speaking of progress I believe that it is a human being’s movement towards himself. How much humanity has approximated itself—this establishes the degree of humanity’s real progress. I think that those desperate searches for the exotic third party in our dialogue with the world, our expectation of visitors from other planets, of some entities, some agents who will solve our problems—all that comes from our unwillingness to face reality. I do not reject the possibility that those visitors or agents can exist. I met such persons and I communicated with people who have
242 The Art of Living
had real inner experiences of other aspects of reality. However all that is sidhi, the flowers along the road, as the Hindus say. Or as the coachmen with whom I worked used to say—he was couching the sportsmen who specialized in jumping: “Will that result in better jumping?” So: will we come closer to ourselves? We are great experts in running away from ourselves. Our entire civilization is a human being’s attempt to run away from himself. We hide from ourselves in business, in other people, anything you want. We move not towards ourselves but away from ourselves. We are longing for disembodiment.
On the other hand, we have already established that to run into oneself is also an illusion, and this means that there is no escape. However to run towards ourselves in order to become aware of our greatness not as an executive, not in a view of social position or some special talent, but as simply a human being—that is a different story. His Majesty Human Being is a junction of two kinds of eternity: the eternity of the subjective reality and the eternity of the objective reality. He is that willy-nilly and this is a fact. This is the way he is made. And in his awareness he either runs away from that fact or comes close to it. That which is typical of us, let us say our typical psychological resourcefulness, depends on the mechanisms of our social inheritance, on the socio-psychological world into which we were born, on the correlation of some brain structures between themselves, etc. We can take into consideration a tremendous amount of varied information. This mechanism is not a riddle for us.
Although it is not so easy to handle our uniqueness, which is produced by the process of fitting together two kinds of eternity, two universes, the universe of unique subjectiveness and the universe of the world. I am convinced that it is a movement towards ourselves. I am an optimist. I think humanity will come to the inner experience of that meeting. I see in that the meaning of humanity’s and of the individual human existence. However this is my personal knowledge. I do not claim that I have the final truth. This is my inner experience.
Q: What about creativity—is it not one of the manifestations of uniqueness?
I.N.: When we say that creativity is one of the human abilities, then, naturally, it is one of the abilities. And when we say that creativity is a special gift (in arts, in science), then it is a uniqueness.
Part Three 243
There is no second Leo Tolstoy, or Van Gouge, or Beethoven, or Landau, or Newton, or Einstein.
Q: Is Tolstoy unique only from the point of view of society?
I.N.: Like you, Tolstoy is unique as a human being. In addition he is unique as a writer. I see it as two different things. I realize thai this is an arguable position, but I see him this way.
Q: Could you comment on the statement: to believe in God is necessarily a unity of three: Church, God and Faith, and if one member is missing, then something is distorted in your picture of the world.
I.N.: You know, if you are a believer, you do not necessarily believe in conformance with a certain concept or a commonly excepted tradition. A believer is not necessarily a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew.
Once I defined my religiosity the following way. I trust God. but I do not believe in God. This is the way I am religious. But tht-main problem is our ability to believe.
Q: Could you explain: “I trust God, but I do not believe in God.”
I.N.: It is a description of my faith. Faith is an inner experience It escapes description. I trust God. Whatever paper I write on this subject, it will be a description which cannot stand for the inner experience.
Q: About the statement: one trusts God, one does not believe in God. Everything that we have comes from God.
I.N.: It is not very important whether we understand correctly or incorrectly. It depends on the subject of understanding and on its social significance in a given socio-psychological world. It could be that correct understanding is important, and it could be unimportant as well. I said today that that which we consider the main and unique—our consciousness, or more precisely its rational part—is the most insignificant part of a human being.
This has been brilliantly expressed by P.V. Simonov. He wrote our thinking performs the only work—it serves our needs. It does not do anything else. Only in the inner experience can one conceive of the meaning of life, the meaning of some action, or the meaning of consciousness itself. And the meaning of oneself one can discover only in the inner experience. Look attentively around. People do not unite by feelings only by inner experiences, even the negative ones Hard, negative but experienced together—unites. Therefore a man. on the one side, complains that his life with another man is terrible,
244 The Art of Living
unbearable. And on the other side, he cannot break witli him because they went together through a lot of experiences and towards the others he has only feelings. And what are the feelings? They move from me to you, from you to me. Nevertheless they do not intersect. And experience is that which unites. Therefore, experience is that which transforms persons and their consciousness through the creation of a new meaning. And you are trying to translate a problem of belief into the language of consciousness.
Q: Believing in God and trusting God. There is belief and here is belief. God and God. If at this point something has been distorted within a man then he must have a completely different picture of the world, a different vision of the world, is this not so?
I.N.: A man who has faith has one attitude, a man who does not have faith has another. A man who loves is one person, a man who does not love is the another. A man who knows is one man. that one who does not know is another. Nevertheless the most difficult thing here is to know what you mean when you say: “To believe in God.”
Q: And what do you mean by that?
I.N.: I mean nothing. I just trust God. It does not relate to the sphere of my consciousness. Therefore. I cannot imply anything here. This is my experience that gives me a definite meaning. To describe this experience… Perhaps sometimes towards the end of the life. Because this is a very intimate thing. This is like describing a night with a beloved one. It is very intimate. I am referring to the famous tradition that exists everywhere of people falling in love with God. Those people are mad to an alien observer. They are really mad people because they gave that, what in everyday life is called mind, to God. They don’t need it. They gave it up. “God, take what I don’t need, I can live without it. Love is enough for me.” Nevertheless they create a certain meaning, and that is why we give alms to them, in spite of all our rationalism and skepticism we feel that they are holy people. Their existence makes our life more meaningful.
In a way we all want love but only a few venture to love, because it is madness. Much easier is some emotional contact, resonance, convention, friendship or passion. To agree on something beautiful and to name it love. And the distance will remain. In order not to be afraid. The only situation in which it is impossible to hold distance is the intimate relationship. Although I know people who control their energy to the extent that they can do
Part Three 245
all of this with no physical movements at the distance of three meters. Only to avoid the real interaction, to preserve distance. And they name it the small tantra—an art to do this from a distance. You see some people run away from reality even this way. Our consciousness serves our needs including the need for security, i.e. for the guaranteed future. That is our main goal. To get a guarantee of safety. Any charlatan, first of all, gives that guarantee. Nobody knows that there are no guarantees for that. But he gives it Therefore, technology should be called technology, consciousness-consciousness, faith—faith, love—love, and a human being—a human being because neither he nor reality can be covered by a description. There is a beautiful formula: “Each description of reality corresponds to something in reality, although all descriptions in the world do not cover the reality.” Because reality is not a description. It is not discursive. It is totally present. It is not a description hence it transcends description. It transcends—in a direct meaning of that beautiful word. Therefore it can only be reflected. And a human being is a reflection of reality. His subjective reality is as eternal as is the objective reality, and it is unique, because it is his private singular reflection.
And this contains a tragedy—with a human being an unique and inimitable world passes away. Not a single piece of art can be recreated. Only a copy could be made but you could not do the same piece—it is unique according to definition. And a human being is unique according to definition.
Q: I am puzzled. Perhaps we are capable of loving and of reducing, to various degrees, the psychological distance. One can fall in love with a human being. Being an expert in a specific area one can fall in love with his subject. One can meditate. For instance. I can fall in love with a table, but how one can fall in love with oneself? Where is the object of love?
I.N.: I can only share with you my individual experience. You want to know, what helped me make a decisive move in my relationship with myself, to reduce the distance in relationship with myself? Two kinds of comprehension. These was not only comprehension but also inner experience, but one can speak of two kinds of comprehension. First comprehension: I have within me everything that any human being has, any—from one whom I cannot stand, the worst criminal, libertine, foul, or monster to the one whom I adore, about whom I think: “O God, I will never become like him” such as Saint Francis of Assisi. All of this is within
246 The Art of Living
me. And whatever I do, I cannot avoid this. All of this exists. If I cut off from one side, from my bad side, so to say, it will automatically bring a reduction on my other side. This is a pendulum, swinging between megalomania and the complex of small man. One must stop this pendulum, this swinging and say: I am neither big, nor small, neither good, nor bad. I am initially just a human being. This is the first experience. Then the problem appeared: how one can love that human being if he is of that kind? It doesn’t mean at all that everything should be actualized. I don’t want to be in the company of rapists and murderers. I want to share company with Mozart and Bach. And then something happened. I could not find the words.
I looked at those with whom I would like to share company and I recognized in them people who have everything in themselves. In Saint Francis of Assisi, for instance, there is a sadist and masochist. However they somehow used all these aspects in a way that would produce a positive result. And at that point I was seized by love. And it was an answer to all these questions. For love is that which turns all these aspects into a miracle. Remember Akhmatova: “If one would know from what refuse the flowers grow not knowing shame.” So, if one would know all his diapason not knowing fear then if love happens to him, one reveals that love can transform and incarnate all this material in what it likes. If there is love. And if there is no love then everything is in the hands of society, fn the social-psychological world you where you were born, kind of education you received, in your life’s circumstances. The result depends on how society uses it, on what buttons and keys it presses. It presses this one—here is a boss, it presses that one—here is a holy man.
There is a remarkable invitational Taoist parable. When I heard it for the first time I got a slight shock.
A wandering monk, a holy man and not just a holy man but a Zen Master stayed in a village for the night. And he asked in the morning: “How can I get to the other village?” He was told “Actually, there is a direct way through the forest but one shouldn’t go that way. You must walk around.” He asked: “Why?” “There is a man living in that forest. He pledged to kill thirty men in order to get revenge for the killing of his brother. He has killed twenty nine already, there is one more left. Therefore no one goes there. Everybody knows that he lives there.” And Master, naturally, went directly to the forest. This awful killer jumped down from a tree and said: “Holy man, what are you doing? You have been warned. I
Part Three 247
have made a pledge and I must stick to it. I must kill you. I don’t wish to kill a holy man.” And Master said: “I came to liberate you Do what you must!”
And, in simple language, the killer became hysterical, while in scientific language, he had a super-stress, or. to say it in a better way, he experienced catharsis. As a result he went through the deepest experience, which is called enlightenment. He fell on his knees before the monk and asked permission to be his disciple Later he became one of the greatest Tao Masters.
Taoists can perplex us. So do study the sources of your enthusiasm, I mean, the traditions. I know people who say: “Oh! Taoists! Oh! Zen!” I tell them this parable. A ritual killer made one of the most serious contributions to your favorite tradition. He made a pledge and killed absolutely innocent people, then became a great Master. What is this? Immorality, of which Zen-Buddhists and Taoists especially are often blamed? What is this? This is a very painful separation of that which is socially conditioned in man from that which is called essence, the spiritual essence. For if we do not believe that every man is from God, then we share company with comrade Procreates and comrade Lenin. Everybody should be perfected. And if they should be perfected then somebody knows how to do this. And the one who knows how it should be done is perfect by definition. If one believes in God, or trusts God, then one must stand this terrifying fact that loving humanity one cannot turn it into a reservation: one must love everybody, or admit that he cannot love humanity—he is just not able. Then do love those who are of your group. Then one must say: I love my own people, those who are a part of my “We.” Then sooner or later one cannot avoid entering the confrontation: “Us” vs. “Them.” Therefore, in the serious spiritual traditions experiencing oneself, not knowing onesell but experiencing oneself as a part of humanity, is considered as the highest spiritual achievement. One should experience oneself as a part of emptiness, i.e. as non-being —this is considered the simplest The next step is to experience oneself as the World, as the Cosmos as a part of the Cosmos. And the most difficult is to experience oneself as a part of humanity and not as a part of “We.” Otherwise “They” will stand in the way. And “They” must, if not sent to prison camps, then at least be thrown away from the spiritual domain.
Now let us see what opportunities one can imagine in the course of manifestation of the uniqueness of a human being and of the acceptance of this uniqueness.
248 The Art of Living
Let’s try to look at this problem not from the perspective of the question “what” but from the perspective of the question “how.” Here is a following complication. The point is that from the point of view of the spiritual traditions, at least of many of them, the answer to the question “how” is determined by the answer to the question “for what?” This is of course somehow unusual to the way of thinking all of us were taught. My teacher at the very beginning of our interaction explained it this way: “Imagine three people who received the same amount of material and the same plan for a building. Each one has built a building and, although from the point of view of formal perception these are absolutely similar buildings, everyone of us, with no special training, with no special extrasensory means, who enters these buildings will immediately sense that they are different. Let us say, one has built a fortress—to defend himself from the rest of the world. Upon entering this building one will feel it at once. Everything related to the external walls will be a little thicker, and that which is inside will be a little thinner. Anyway, he will unconsciously redistribute the same amount of material, and although he will build the building according to the plan, it will create an impression of a safe and reliable building. The one who builds his building in order to entertain guests will have a different building, and the one who had in mind a cozy place, he will have still another building.
This is a simple example of the relationship between “how” and “why.” I believe that the problem of many people who are trying to do something in this direction is that they are not capable of giving themselves a convincing answer to the question of why they do something. Why did I come here to the presentation by Igor Nikolayevich Kalinauskas? Independently of the extent to which we are aware of the answer to that “why,” the question is being asked by everybody. There is not a single human being who does not reflect on the meaning of his activity and who would not answer the question “why.”
The distortion of reflection on the meaning of this is a serious psychiatric illness. This problem can be approached from two positions. On the one hand, one can in some way define from the inside his own “why?” or. using theatrical language, define what Stanislavsky called a super-task—that which secures a continuity of action. That “why?” creates a continuous chain of action. Then one could also discover the super-task, using the language of Stanislavsky, i.e. the subconscious “why?,” which executes a general
Part Three 249
selection in reality and creates the so called model of the future, of that which we desire. And here we open a very interesting page in the book entitled “A Human Being.”
Since a human being has a very well developed mechanism of the outpacing reflection, much more developed then in animals, and since he also has consciousness, therefore a great role in his activity is played by his idea of the future. This phenomenon is well known in esoteric psychology and it has been defined in a very simple manner: the causes of human actions are in the future, and the means by which he chooses come from the past. Here is the fundamental difference between the methods of description and self-reflection, used by the majority, and those which are the foundation of esoteric constructive psychology. The causes of human actions are in the future. However, that future is inside of us, i.e. the causes of our actions are our models of the desirable future which is being, projected as a real future and as a guaranteed future. The entire complex of projections, connected with the outstripping reflection. i.e. the image of the future for ourselves and of the future in general—such are the causes of our today’s actions. They are the psychological causes.
We cannot understand why a human being has acted this way or that, and explain this behavior through his past: by his circumstances, biography, character, temperament, informational metabolism, the socio-psychological world that formed him. That is impossible, this tremendous bulk of high quality information does not work practically neither influencing a human being, nor inside of him, if we neglect the fact that the cause of our actions is in an image of the future.
The better we know that psychological future, the more efficient are our actions in the direction of self-realization, self-manifestation and self-transformation, and of the person who helps or guides us and of the one who’s help we have requested. If you really want to change the behavior of a human being or change yourselves, you have to change the image of the future. And this is the main “how?” And this is a simple psychological answer to a question “why” in the spiritual reality “if you know ‘why’ you will instantly know ‘how’.” Instead we are taught to create a supply of various recipes, algorithms, and technologies “just in case.” Since we do not know what we will actually need, we are constantly arming ourselves. P.M. Yershov and P.V. Simonov write about our “specific need for psychological fortification.” We swallow up all the
250 The Art of Living
information we can, about human beings, from cheap mysticism to the loftiest spirituality, somewhere in the middle is common sense, science and personal experience, and we realize that this is insufficient. The analysis of the material which I have managed to study during many years leads to a simple conclusion, namely, that the main error of practical psychology, i.e. the psychology which man uses practically for himself or for others, lies in ignoring a simple fact which is known and described in scientific psychology as the mechanism of the outrunning reflection. Using that knowledge in my work with victims of Chernobyl, I managed to discover and to describe such the mechanism of psychological adaptation as the guaranteed negative future.
My Teacher used to say: “You may forget anything you want, but always, in any state, in any degree of altered consciousness you should remember the question “why?”
When we repeat the appeal: “one should live and be present here and now,” i.e. to be in the present, to master the art of being present in the world in the present tense, we should remember that we cannot do it practically not knowing the psychological image of the future. Nothing can be accomplished consciously if we do not know the image of the past, i.e. the degree that your conscious striving is determined by, the degree of awareness of the real psychological image of the future which you carry in yourself. The better you grasp this image, the more conscious you are in your actions. The less you understand, the less conscious you are in your actions, the more you depend on external influences. There is an internal conditioning and there is an external conditioning. The less you know the image of your future, the more you are subjected to the external conditioning. Then you accept some attractive image of the future that comes from outside and is echoed within you, not even trying to understand how it corresponds, or does not correspond, to your inner image and you. naturally, are tied up to that image and to the person who authored that image of the future, because the image is not in your hands but in the hands of a teaching, a guru, a psychologist, leader or teacher. Here room is being created for manipulation. And at that point everything depends only on the honesty of the man whose image of the future you have accepted. Or on the qualifications of that man, because that person can be very honest but absolutely unqualified. He may be sincerely, honestly asking you to follow him into a certain future, that he has no idea of how to reach. Therefore we are attracted to
Part Three 251
traditions that have rich past. We think that this rich past is the token of a rich future. But what is the difference? We deal with a tradition either through its living bearers or in the form of texts, or in the form of a stream of information. The last is true for those who can really communicate with this stream of information. Strictly speaking is there any difference whether a tradition was born ten years ago or ten thousand years ago? No difference. The entire question is whether or not it is really qualified to secure the advancement to the future that it has suggested.
You will tell me: there is a way of rejecting any model of the future and of telling: here I am today and now and that is it. I do not want anything else. This is the same kind of self-deception which we have already spoken about. A man cannot cease to be a man. He stops being human only when he dies. Even this is unknown. So this is just self-deception. This too should be guaranteed by our picture of the future. There are people on whom “bricks fall down” all the time. They constantly attract misfortune. This indicates that these people have some problems with the mechanism which predicts events. Normally man does not comprehend this sudden change of mind: “I would rather fly on the next flight.” Normally a man instinctively foresees: “I would rather walk on the other side of the street today.” And just that very day on the side of the street where he has always walked suddenly—bang!—a balcony falls down, etc. Normally man was really created for happiness, as A. M. Gorky used to say. Normally he foresees things much better than we can even imagine. Here is a famous, and my very favorite expression “Man proposes but fortunately disposes he not.” Imagine that all our suppositions (I have in mind speculative suppositions) become reality. The world would long ago have disappeared, fallen apart, perished. Fortunately disposes not speculation but our wholeness and our totality. And our totality, as long as it is not distorted, as long as we nourish it, establishes such relationship with reality that we all can only dream about. And we already have these relationship. In this sense, the spiritual traditions tell us: you are already enlightened, you only have to experience it. This is all that is needed. All of you over here are enlightened. This is unconditionally so because our totality exists anyway although we are doing our best to distort it. as well as our nature, since totality is the human nature. And in spite of all the ecological outrage which we have brought to our inner nature, it is still in us, it did not perish and I doubt that it will ever perish. Rather we may perish, I mean, our material carriers
252 The Art of Living
Humanity will rather perish than destroy nature. I think that is clear enough. That is only human megalomania. “We are so strong that we can destroy nature/” Do not worry, in the right moment nature will destroy us, she will not spare us. Unlike us. nature does not care. It has no model of the future. But we have. Therefore we care, we are not indifferent. There is a simple parable:
“Sir, what will you drink—milk or water?”
“I do not care—milk will do.”
This “I do not care” is an illusion. We all care because the entire value structure, the hierarchy of values according to which we make our choices in the present time, is tied up with the image of the future. Thus, we have two absolutely real options available to everybody. At least two options—I am speaking of the most obvious options.
We can try to further, in all ways, the totality of our existence in the world. We can trust ourselves, our likeness to God, thanks to which we are on such short terms with reality that our young forty thousand year old consciousness, that boasts like a teenager: “I know everything, I myself, I myself.” this consciousness, when compared to our totality, it should simply know it’s modest role and serve our needs. However, when we understand life, not as a movement towards a goal, not as a satisfaction of our needs in the hierarchical struggle of motives, but as our presence in the world, as an existence, as our holistic presence in reality, then we realize that our reflection and the most sophisticated intellect and even a very sophisticated reflection, i.e. self-consciousness, are useful to the degree they support, develop, and enhance our totality. Here is a metaphor: we can cut and shape a tree and manipulate it according to our plan. We can do all that while it is still a tree. If we go beyond that limit, then the tree is ruined and becomes dry wood. The same thing happens to a human being. Up to a certain point we can, extract a certain part from ourselves, cherish it, be excited about it. busy ourselves with it, give it different shapes, but if we cross the border—it will be death.
We want to experience the fullness of reality in which our uniqueness can be expressed not as an accident, but as an inner joy and happiness. As long as we limit our totality, deprive it of freedom, our uniqueness is an unfortunate accident. It stands in our way. One wishes to be like the others. One thinks: why am I so different, why nobody can understand me. and I myself do not understand me? Thus, if we want to experience happiness and joy
Part Three 253
because of our uniqueness, we must move to a point where our total presence, given to us in the beginning, by the very fact of our birth, becomes a foundation for our awareness about ourselves and the world.
This should be our foundation, along with all the fortifications and instruments, given to us by nature, society, and evolution—this is all that is needed for concrete and partial ends. These instruments will never replace the totality of existence, which guides us through life without any mystical complications. You simply will walk to the other side of the building when the balcony collapses on this side And you will say: God, I was lucky, just by accident.
I believe that this fullness, in a certain sense, is described by words such as “grace,” “baraka,” etc. This is the foundation on which a human being can build himself independently of the functional significance, as a uniqueness and as a fact of unique existence: this foundation is manifested in a movement towards a perception of oneself as a totality and in a trust in that perception. What creates the obstacle of our trust? Our thinking. Thinking is not pictorial, it is discursive and descriptive. While you read a description, the present moment passes away, although life does not stop. One can do it by uniting two elements in oneself. First of all one has to replace the narrow concept of intuition as a pure phenomenon of super- consciousness with a perception of it as a totality of existence in the world. The other element is the visualization of the future in the fullness of its aspects, as desired, projected, and guaranteed. When those two inner actions take place, then you will be present in your “why” and you will know all your “how,” they will simply emerge. We all have experienced a surprise when a needed book we had searched for such a long time turned out to be next to us!
I recall a remarkable story that happened to me when I was in Moscow at school. I used to live with my friend, also a student, in his place and we had long philosophical discussions. We used to say “What a pity that we don’t have the Gospel handy, it would be so good to have it, let us ask around, perhaps somebody will lend it to us.” This was in 1968. A few days passed. One day I turned my head and there was a pile of books with the Gospel on top. I said to my friend: “Here is the Gospel.” He was surprised and said: “I completely forgot that I had it.”
God in us is exactly that reality is in us. And this is our totality speaking in another language. This is the foundation of that which we call a human being, the foundation of the real uniqueness of
254 The Art of Living
every single person’s life. This is how life manifests its uniqueness without referring to the future generations. And this, the only and unique life which you have today, receives a genuine sense of meaning when it rests on the inner experience of your reality, of your presence in the world as a fullness and perfection, because reality is perfect. It is in this sense that it has been said: the world is perfect. All kinds of illusions and concepts dealing with the alteration of the world are, speaking in archaic language, blasphemy, and speaking in modern language, a kind of megalomania. The world is perfect as reality, and this does not mean that in this world there is nothing to do because everything has been done. On the contrary, this world has a tremendous room lor all kinds of activities because of the very fact that it is perfect as a reality. And every man is perfect as a reality. Therefore he has tremendous amount of room, not for altering himself in accordance with some external ideal, but for opening himself up and for reaching life and reality. Then, independently of the functional descriptions of your life, your life manifests to you your own perfection. Whatever your life may be, it leads to a road that brings you to yourself and makes you realize that you are not worse off and not any different from those whom you admire and consider great. You are similarly great. Do you know when I had this experience? It happened in Lithuania. There were pine-trees, the sandy shore of a lake, it was summer—everything was beautiful. There, in those surroundings I was reading Rajneesh whom I love dearly, and suddenly it happened to me. I was laughed for eight hours aloud and then for seven hours inwardly. I could not stop laughing. You understand? My “why?” was ultimately realized because it turned out that it has always been with me. But it took me twenty years to get to that point, twenty years of learning and almost forty years of life. It happened not long ago. only ‘en or twelve years ago. Then I had the wish to somehow help every human being in experiencing what I had experienced, not just the elite, the chosen esoteric group, but people like all of us. We all have it due to the fact of our presence in the world. It is the intimate relation with perfection as such. We have that perfection and the world in ourselves as reality. We are distracted from it by our mechanistic life. We think that since this life is imperfect from the point of view of our desires, therefore and accordingly, reality is imperfect too. However, reality is perfect and it has a completely different relationship with life. If you live your life not in order to run after
Part Three 255
the escaping title of “champion” and not in order to lament over the title of “loser,” but in order to move towards yourself, then you can fill any mode of life. You can fill it with your own context, with yourself, and constantly move towards life and reality, eliminate the distance between them. And then you can experience more and more intensively the fullness of reality which allows you to view life in a different light even as a very dramatic history. People whom we admire and worship did not have luxurious lives from then childhood. They had hard lives too.
St. Francis of Assisi lived a most difficult life… Our lives when compared to his life are very easy. And that life did not prevent him from being present in reality and experiencing the perfection of the world, loving God and conversing with animals, and from being present in general. This did not prevent the Pope from rising from his armchair and walking to meet him… This is a real power, this, power is stronger then any other power, because it is real. It is that which we were born for, which we were given. Given by this reality We were made human beings. We are not always given human conditions of life, we depend on the circumstances of time and place But we are given the privilege of being human beings. And if, inside your picture of the future, you will place yourself happy and joyful in the fullness of reality, then you will find that road to “how?”
If, in your picture of the future, you have created an image of a suffering loser in the social races then you will never reach thai reality, even if you would be next to Buddha or Christ. For it is said: “One can live a thousand years next to Buddha and fulfill all his instructions and nothing will happen.” Here is what the way towards faith is. It is a difficult way. In a way, all of us want it However, our social aspect avoids it at any cost. “Social” means “that which annihilates the uniqueness. Unfortunately, society as a social organism cannot consist of unique ones. It does not know how to deal with them, how one can live them?
Therefore social life in effect demands an annihilation of uniqueness. We spoke about that. The less unique one is in life the more chances one has for success. And the being is longing and appealing, the spirit is longing and is discontent all the time because the being demands the expression of its uniqueness. And this can be resolved. One can approach it. Then not just any information will come in tlocks but only the sacred type will come, in the guise of teachers and books, everything you want, and voices as well, everybody will receive everything you want. However, everything
256 The Art of Living
will be deposited into one bank as my teacher said. He used to say: “You must pay for everything in life. The only problem is whether you have selected your bank or you do not even know where you resources are going.”
The only real money which a human being has is his life. This is money. Real money. Its value does not go down. This is our golden stock, the years, hours, minutes, seconds, instants of our life. We pay with this money. If we are paying to the bank of reality, then we are perfect. Then we move towards the accomplishment of our reality or we have already reached it. And if we throw it around in other different places, then our life does not even work out, leave alone reality. Who is talking about reality? We have nothing 1o eat, Igor Nikolayevich!
So what is the bottom line? The bottom line is that we have two main “why?” One is related to the disclosure of our uniqueness through understanding, awareness and inner experience of the fact that a mechanistic life is not everything that was given to a human being. It is only one aspect of man’s presence in the world. And there is that something, which we have called reality, a full realization, a complete presence, totality. This is one of these “why?” The other “why?” is aimed at a better life. And here is a trap. What does it mean to have a better life? Here we see duality. Our striving gets confused, divided, fractu-red, and we lose power. A better life or a worse life— how does one judge what is better and what is worse?
How can one chose reality for oneself as a subjective, internally experienced truth, the predominance of reality over life? How can one realize that life is an aspect of reality and not the other way around? Here a problem of faith arises. It is a question of man’s religion. And this is a real ground of religious activity or, in the words of Florensky, of the sacred activity and as a specific activity not reducible lo any other form of activity. Religion secures that awareness and thai inner experience. If a human being is religious, he keeps regular prayers. Prayer is a sacred activity, an activity that creates meaning. This happens if he is praying and not bargaining with God: I will give you this and you give me that. You know, there is a wonderful parable about a merchant who found himself shipwrecked. He prayed to God and God came to him. The merchant said to God: save me and I will build a church for you, a most remarkable church. And God saved him. However, the merchant is, after all, a merchant. Once again he was traveling and again ended up in a shipwreck. Again he prayed to God and God came. He said: save me and I will build two
Part Three 257
churches for you. God said: This time no deal. Sorry, pal. I cannot help. I have worked for an entire year in order to gather all of you. people of your type, on this ship.
When we recognize God’s mercy, grace and the perfection of the world as a reality, the we can recognize and experience or at least understand (although this is the smallest which we can do) that all our misfortunes are like the pain of a man who was saved from a fatal accident, but has slightly sprained his knee.
There are two essentially different models of life. They have always been around in eras. And they are connected with our “why?” Why am I here? I am here in order to live my life in the best and the most successful way I can according to the criteria of society. As soon as you want to live a good life you instantly need a purpose. You cannot just live your life. You need a purpose. You have to live your life for your children, for your country, for your people, for humanity, i.e. you need an ideology because, without an ideology you can do nothing. And do you need faith? As soon as. you ask “why?”—you immediately get into a debate, into morality-amorality. of what is good—what is bad. What is right—what is wrong. This argument has been going on for centuries, so many books have been written, so many speeches have been delivered, and nothing has essentially changed. Nothing can essentially be changed because such a life is a mechanical part of our entirety. This is that what is typical of us and not unique. To have such a life we only need the psychological instruments and not even all of those. Today life is so complex that one needs psychic options, sidhi, space aliens, this. that. Why do we need them? Oh, because life is so difficult. It is impossible just to let ends meet, one must live life to the fullest and not just reside. One must adopt ideologies that wear tear somehow me or you out. There are no such problems in the fullness of being. Then life is a means, your own, not someone else’s, a means in itself One needs neither movement towards himself as a being, nor the realization of this meeting, the realization of your own fullness of being and uniqueness. Then, firstly, despite all its problems, complications, and pain, it takes its rightful place that it should take—not more no less. And, secondarily, you are more effective because you and it-this is not the same thing. You stopped being paranoia, speaking rudely, one who is all obsessed with one thing:I will die, I will die. I will die, I must hurry I must hurry, the children are growing up. There is a kind of corridor and at the end of it an electric bulb under the name “a happy future for future
258 The Art of Living
generations.” All Russia is stack to its TV sets: watching “The Rich Also Cry.” Of course, they cry. Are they really rich?
There is a famous parable. Once upon a time there were two princes. One of them gave up his half of the inheritance and became a wandering monk. And the other one became a king. One year passed and they got together. The king said to his brother: “You are a hero, a giant of the Spirit. You sacrificed everything for the sake of truth.”
He answered: “I am not at all a hero, I am a prudent egoist. I have exchanged dung for a diamond. You are really the hero.”
We all are heroes. We want to break away from all this and but stay like horses in blinders. We want to escape but something blocks us all the time.
“O.K. Well, I will do this and that and then I will begin to live the spiritual life.”
Nothing will happen, you will continue to worry the same way about whether the important moment and the main turn of events will occur or if there won’t be a revelation of a wider reality than the mechanistic life. Until you dissociate with this kind of life, you won’t find yourself, you will always stay in the very same life which you identify yourself with because you will always find your thoughts, your consciousness there. This is that which endlessly produces suffering. Because I am not present there. There is consciousness and life. And who am I? Can you really find yourself in your consciousness? No, you will not find yourself there. Will you be able to find yourself in your life? No. You will find there Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov or Peter Petrovich Petrov who were born in such and such a year and in such and such place. You might discover the biography of a person, of a social being, one’s functional merits, materialization of biological and social programs. Nevertheless you will not find the uniqueness of yourself there. And then any educated psychologist will be able to evaluate you. to predict you and to manipulate you, if it can be called manipulation. Oh, but it is all predictable. In this life the more successful it is the more predictable it is. And here is the subtlety we were talking about, a dissociation from life—which does not mean death or perishing into non-existance. To dissociate from life means to be reborn, to obtain reality and to live one’s own life.
The opportunity to be reborn in reality is that which, strictly speaking, enlightenment is. When man discovers oneself as a reality. And then one says: thank you life for being that which you were and for bringing me up to this point. Whatever you are you guided me to this point.
Part Three 259
“And he burned everything which he worshipped and worshipped that which was burnt.” Why in spiritual communities are manipulations with the past forbidden? And the question “what if?” is considered absurd. It would have been that which would have been. The greatest esoteric truth: that which happens—happens and which does not happen—does not happen. On this issue one can write a hundred volumes of philosophical speculation. And essentially, the bottom line is: that which happens—happens, that which does not happen—does not happen.
Where is your aspiration pointed? If you can’t turn from the full blindness of the mechanistic life to the search for yourself in reality—nobody will be able to help you: neither books, nor the most sophisticated teachers, gurus, nor ancient traditions, nobody Help initially has already been given. You were born. This is that what help is. You dwell in the world—this is what help is. This is what grace is. Stretch out your hand—here it is, here it is. It is not somewhere out there, it is here, now. presently.
Of course, it requires effort. Sometimes it is very painful Because when we were made, i.e. socialized—it wasn’t there. We do not have those habits, the mechanisms needed for this, nothing has been saved for reality. However hard our life is, it is familiar to us, it is predictable, understandable, and explainable. No matter what psychologists say. Everybody, as you know, knows himself better, then it seems to him. We have settled in this life, taking root in it. we are connected with it through our experience, including the experiences with the “minus” sign. And I say to you:
“Get off the train.”
“What for9”
“Oh, because over there is the entire world!”
“Really? How interesting! Great! And is Buddha there and Christ too? And Mohammed? Well, I will get out on the next stop.”
“There will be no stop. You must jump.”
“Jump? And what if break my legs?”
Well, it is good to look out the window. How beautiful is this world, lo-o-ok…
O-o-ops. we have arrived. Funeral. And he never got of the a coach.
Remember how it is in Castaneda? “Jump, he said, you have matured, jump.”
It will not happen by itself. One must jump. And what does it mean to jump? To jump means to make the inner effort, to trust, to
260 The Art of Living
believe that there is something besides that which is called life in the sense of the personal life story. It must become a value. And in order for it to become a value it must be included in the picture of the future. Otherwise it does not become a value. This is the answer to all of “how?”
A person says: yes very interesting. He comes to lectures, to classes, meditates, spends money, performs rituals but nothing happens. Why? Because this is not inserted in the picture of the future and. so does not have value. Therefore it is better to do it after death. All good things will be after death. This is named; “Do not bother me. Let me live the way I live.”
“Yes, I live terribly, awfully. And after death we will devote ourselves to spirituality. Reality… Later, later. First I must get a college degree, earn a lot of money. Household, family, children, grandchildren. A good place in graveyard, a good monument should be erected for me, I will be remembered. And then…”
And what if this “then” does not exist? What if it is the last chance and the only one too? Then one will lost out there… One woman communicated with voices, and a “heavenly bride” visited her—a truly real contact, all was checked out, he told her his biography, it was found in the archives. As a boy he had been sent to a monastery. He lived his life there, died. Now he is stack to second level as a incorporeal entity because he did not actualize his uniqueness. Now he sticks to those who are alive in order to catch something through them. And you say: what is body. It is a great fortune.
So, first of all, one should look into the character of one’s aspiration. If you want to improve, to perfect your life you need a simple constructive psychology. Knowledge of social dynamics, the role characteristics of social behavior. Carnegy and Co. You will be effective, because you will not stuff your head with ‘extra merchandise” like meditation. These “extra things” are not meant for the functional life.
If you are aspiring for reality, for uniqueness—then jump. Jump off the train of the mechanistic life, jump off it. It will move perfectly without you, that’s what is striking. And it really depends little on you in relation to this life. These are the social conditions, productive forces. Did it depend on us that in August 1991 the Communist Party ceased to exist and suddenly died? Or the end of the Soviet Union—a great country, the last Empire? No. In a strict sense of the word—no. it did not depend on us. And it shouldn’t
Part Three 261
have. There were enough people for this, those who, according to fate, were in the right time and in the right place. Did our life change as a result of this? Yes. Did we choose it? No. It is a historical necessity. One should evaluate this matter well and contemplate it. Then life will be “successful” in given times, places and circumstances. And reality—it is your own. Nobody will give it to you, and nobody can take it from you. This is your personal act. And it depends only on you, not on anyone else, not even on God! Because He already gave it to you! It is not what one needs to earn or reach and, therefore, what can be postponed. It is here and now and everyone has it. And if you do not do it, do not want it—it is personally your event, your personal relation to reality. And if you do it—jump into it, then there is a need for teachers, gurus, books etc. And then you will already know what is it.
Over there you will not worry about how to avoid miscalculation, how to chose the best teacher, and what if he cheats There you will be in a completely different position. And there you can obtain everything: love with no distance, faith with no doubts, knowledge with no speculation. And the main thing—you will obtain yourself in all your wholeness and uniqueness. Only one thing was substituted for us—the future. And until we will not find this substitution and not take it away, we are in hands of manipulators. And this manipulator’s name is not Kashpirovsky and not the government. The name of this manipulator is the life which we are living, which lives us.
Bread and spectators—that is it. Or: fear and love reign in the world. Or: cake and lash. And plus-minus psychological support Nothing else. This is the great manipulator—the ready made mechanistic life. It might be more or less human but it is never, and cannot ever be fully human by definition, for it is only a means of perceiving reality, only a part of our existence in the world. And if you do not jump and do not enter into that which is given to you-into this very same wholeness of reality—all the rest… Whatever exotic wrapping it would have—it wouldn’t help. Because life holds the bridle and is in control. And until you take its place all this gear will go where life takes it and not where you want it to go. And then one may say: and what about free will? And invent concepts on this subject. What kind of free will, what are you talking about? There is no need for this concept in reality, one feels immediately that one has freedom of will. Because there you are.
262 The Art of Living
I speak to you absolutely sincerely, without any artifice, any control. I have, thanks to God. now the inner permission for that From yesterday evening till this evening I contemplated many things, thinking—if I can call “thinking” this process of going through pictures. I even had a thought to run away today so that someone would come and say that Igor Nikolayevich was ill and there would be no presentation today.
Every specialist in psychology, if his professional morality permits the usage of his knowledge for ruling people, can rule them. And all speeches on morality and amorality would be wasted on him—he would still do this. And he would be able to do this. It is only a question of qualification. He will do this as long as you are a horse, and life is a coach-driver. One should switch their places around. One should reverse them. i.e. put into the relation they were originally conceived. You must be the coachmen and life—a horse and this is not a question of arming oneself for the social battle. It is a question of the inner action, the inner experience. And from the time it happened to me—it is the only thing I try to do when I am asked to help. This is wonderful. This is indeed wonderful. And they never lied, those who experienced it and tried to tell us about it. It is really wonderful. No matter how difficult life is. No matter how painful it sometimes was but when one has it… Well, how one can describe this with words?
The only technological chain which I was able to formulate was that real manipulation consists of an image of future. Why do the children who struggle with their parents become, with time, very much like them? And, they behave the same way with their children forgetting how they did not like it? Because the social inheritance develops according to the picture of the future. The picture comes from the mother and father. There is no one’s own picture. And then this famous expression appears: “Well, what can one do?” Nothing can be done, such is the situation. Especially since the psychologists also write that this is so. Americans in this sense are fellows with no doubts. What is transactional analysis? It is a way to assure us that we have no other choice besides that which was programmed. There are many books on this matter and they make a lot of money. On what? On assumption that there is no other choice in this life. The better you know this the more successfully you live your life. What is NLP? We are convinced that if a neuro-linguistic programmer does not help—you yourself will not be able to help either. Because you have a rigid predisposition and set patterns. It is a structure. The only
Part Three 263
matter with which psychology is preoccupied is to convince us that we need it, there is nothing else. The classical example, you know which one? A man comes for psychological help. The psychologist sees perfectly well he might be cured in one hour but then the client will not come again. And what about his fee? So he begins, instead of taking care of the problem the person came to him with, a concrete one. which can be solved in an hour, he discovers ten other problems of which the client had no even guess. Then the client comes to him ten more times. And it happens very often that the problem for which he came the first time was not even touched because all the time new problems emerged. All of psychoanalysis sets on this. For years and years people visit their analysts to lay down on a couch and keep talking. It would be much better to go to one’s friend, lay down on a coach and talk. Health and happiness to all friends! And ahead at a full speed! That is the best psychoanalyst. We do not need them and you do not need me. It is I who need you because I want to share all this with you. If you were not around would I howl at the moon like a jackal? Or talk to the trees about the I-concept? We only need one thing: ourselves. We need courage to jump. This is what we are shon of. We are so tightly programmed that jumping into reality is considered a heroic deed by us. And no need to do anything else When the concrete people come to do the concrete work I try to guess the right moment to give this very friendly push. To help them to jump. “Let’s do it. dear, you want it.”- “Oh, I am afraid, Igor Nikolayevich.”- -“Let” do. Do not forget to pull a hoop.”
Q: We have been talking here: of life and reality being inter- woven and man needs to eat and to drink. You jump but these needs are left anyway and you have again these levers with the help of which you defend yourself. What can one do?
I.N.: Wonderful, in this case life has a different taste. Well, if one takes separately: raw rice, raw carrot, raw meat, butter, onion, garlic, berries, coriander, and pepper, he may eat all these ingredients by one. And he may also start a fire, put these ingredients into a pot, cook and fry in butter and make pilaf. You have a different taste.
Thus, reality is that very fire on which one can prepare life, the living life, which one can live not just spend. This has a different taste. And of course, one must live.
You remember words one of the patriarchs: “Before I received enlightenment I used to split logs and carry water and since I received enlightenment I split logs and carry water.”
264 The Art of Living
Naturally. “Love comes and goes while one wants to eat all the time.” Nevertheless, there is different taste. In the old days I loved to stand in front of the auditorium and boast: ”I reached everything I wanted to reach, I can do everything what I wanted to do and I know everything that I wanted to know. This is the honest truth.” I was asked: “So what did you reach?” I said: “I enjoy life., it is interesting, I have another taste, and that is all. Nothing special… I do not demonstrate levitation, I do not perform telekinesis and I do not need it. What for? It is good this way also.”—”Did you go to outer space?”- -“No.”- -“Why not?”- -“I like it here just as well, you see.”
Q: Here in life what is needed is will, patience and surpassing. If something like this is needed in being?
I.N.: What is needed is a merciless striving, merciless to oneself. And transfiguration. Comprehension and transfiguration—this is the formula for being. Comprehension and transfiguration—and one is impossible without the other. And, of course, the possibility to endure the necessity of being transparent for the world, otherwise the being slips off. And this can be terrifying at first. And then it is not bad, one gets accustomed to it.
Q: To be transparent means to be light, weightless and immaterial.
I.N.: Really? Do I look very weightless? True, I lost flesh a little bit but not to such extent.
Q: To be transparent—in what way?
I.N.: That is to be total. You see: to put everything that builds fences on its place and to become total, open to the world, to people, to reality and to one’s inner reality and to the outer reality and to life. Then one can see that they are tightly interconnected. A lot of beautiful things are being revealed. Everything you read in books with such enthusiasm it exists in reality but in a different place. Remember what Gurdjieff said: “Guys, we are all really unique and inimitable but completely in a different place.” He spoke about this. I do not reveal anything new. I simply try to say it with other words, with words of today, maybe, more of today’s thai what I have experienced and learned myself because this all is known, you read it many times by yourselves but did not recognize it because the cover prevented you from recognizing, you did not know what is inside, or you did not recognize the words, the situation, etc. And in reality everyone speaks about the same thing.
As my teacher said: Buddha said that, Christ said that, Gurdjieff said that, I said something else, everybody has something to say.
Part Three 265
Q: Nevertheless one can lie about everything that one says and there is no way to check it.
I.N.: Of course one can invent fantasy and one can be. And if you are “to be” then you don’t need any fantasy because reality is so fantastic that no fantasy can be compared with it and all this can be objectificated. The funniest thing is that it that it might be objectificated and even proven by strictly scientific methods.
Life simply becomes different. It looks different from that perspective, you see it. You are in it, you are not sealed in it. While you are in reality, you see it, and when you see it you have a completely different opportunity then when you sit in it.
Q: Nevertheless everybody has his own way, his own experience.
I.N.: That is your freedom. Of course, it is good that you are looking for your own way. Therefore, there is a need for practice Comprehension and transfiguration are impossible without practice As Rajneesh said: “One must work a lot in order to get enlightenment, although it happens not because of this work but without this work it never can happen.” One needs practice, objectiflcation of one’s fantasies. Otherwise you be immersed in the subjective reality, there is much more freedom over there, you will lose the resonance between the subjective and objective realities, such a peculiar form of separateness.
Objectiflcation is needed, of course. It is the most difficult to obtain. Not everybody likes it. This is what requires nine to ten years of effort. Exactly for getting it. for having transfiguration. and transfiguration is not possible without practice.
Q: You see. I heard this point of view, that one should behave honestly, mercilessly honestly, ultimately honestly in relation to one’s life. You demonstrate or I think you demonstrate some irony or lack of seriousness. A kind of chuckle. How do you think it would be better to behave in regard to life?
I.N.: If I were to say this on the level of a formula then I would stick to the formula that one must combine merciless realism with merciless aspiration, i.e. one must simultaneously be a merciless realist and a merciless romantic. And only this way holding these two forces parallel one can walk on the blade of a razor. Such is my position. Now about my ironical way of expression, of a kind of chuckle etc.-yes I am prone to laughter. I am an ironical man, with lack of seriousness in life. I think, that seriousness is a kind of illness. Reading books. I was astonished by the fact that almost all of those who received enlightenment were laughing when they received their enlightenment.
266 The Art of Living
And they were wildly laughing all day long around the clock. I thought, why did they laugh, what was funny? Enlightenment… When something of that kind happened to me, I already told you about it, I laughed aloud eight hours aloud and then in order do not scare people, seven hours to myself. This lack of seriousness is not irresponsible. I can be very serious like all people. But when I speak to you I don’t want to get into the trap of a preacher who possesses a monopoly on truth thank to some merits, or experience, etc. and who, putting on an air, imposes his ideas on the masses. “A mad man must be merry otherwise he is a mentally ill.” (Abu Silg)
I always stick to the following position: I mind my own business. Those who are interested can join me. For it is a great art for a leader to escape that image which followers want to put on him and want to fasten to you.
I can be very serious. My pupil know this. Nevertheless I try do not be fastened. I think to be serious means not to have a certain look and certain intonations. The seriousness is a very intimate matter. Since I talk to you now at the limits of the permissive for myself intimacy I can say that I laugh and giggle at some point in order to hide my hesitation. I always tried to avoid this kind of conversations. I was taught this way by my teacher. When J have studied for the first three years, nobody knew about it but I and my teacher. But some need appears now, some level of honesty is reached in our mutual relationships, so I am trying to reach the bottom line of sincerity with you. behind which begins the intimacy of the kind that I even cannot talk about.
Q: Igor Nikolayevich, how can a realist be a romantic and, vice versa, a romantic be a realist?
I.N.: These are not opposites. What is Romanticism? It is striving, it is faith, I mean, striving as thirst. If you lose Realism you will be transformed into an exalted creature who in himself and for herself is all right, but creates many problems for surrounding people and gradually begins to live at their expense.
If you are just a merciless realist you can easily slip down to cynicism and cynicism is the and annihilation of holiness which in its turn is becoming a dried tree. Therefore one must hold these two lines in the equal tension. All sharp esoteric and religious thinkers express in their texts the understanding and experience that duality of the situation of man is essential.
Q: What is the main thing on the path?
Part Three 267
I.N.: The spiritual path in any tradition—is a thirst for learning. As long as that thirst exists, man is on the path. If there is no thirst, he stops. The thirst for learning is essential, if one does not have it there is no way to defeat arrogance, selfishness and the wish to be a winner. When one wants to drink he does not ask about the interaction between reality and life, he just drinks!..
Well, the thirst for learning, as far as I observed people, is the most difficult thing. When a man is about thirty or thirty-five something breaks down in him because of the social pressure and programming. This thirst disappears and very many people at this very age interrupt their path. The thirst reappears to some of them later. Nevertheless, the advancement was interrupted. The path which brings nowhere is not the path but the illusion. I reached the end of the path and I am very happy because I wanted to know very much what is “beyond.” And I learned.
Q: Is God necessarily present at the School? Because he is different in different spiritual traditions. And people revere different Gods.
I.N.: I will tell about myself using my example. I always was an unbeliever in the religious sense of this word… I really like very much only one formula from Vadjayana that God is the Absolute Person temporally governing the cycle, i.e. personified God—that is such a job. Nevertheless, at some point something has changed in me and I trust God, I trust Him. However, I am consistent and therefore know that God does not have attributes and I do not name him. That is what my religion consists of.
And I understand that my teacher was a really wise teacher anbd very qualified because he planted this seed and it naturally grew in me through mantra: “Thy Will be done.” And that is it. The precise mantra. There is no “whose?” In a sense of attributes. I came to my religion, i.e. not to mine in a sense that I invented it but in a sense that it is the one which lives in me. I trust Him: I have direct reasons my own intimate ones.
Q: Does it mean that one must only believe and there is no need to perform the religious rituals depending on belief?
I.N.: This is not simple: just to believe… I highly respect sincerely believing people of any religion and I have a lot of friends good friends from different religious belief.
Q: Could you explain the phenomena of mystification.
I.N.: A very good question. For I, probably, did not express my thought thoroughly.
268 The Art of Living
What did I have in mind when speaking on mystification? If you remember, Vivekananda following a direct instruction of Ramakrishna, made a colossal work in America and in Europe in order to free yoga of the mystification which Englishmen have put on it. And therefore he gave a colossal impulse to the real yoga tradition in Europe and America. And he died from heart attack on his way back. Now, as I understand it, there is a big social demand and there is a mass of people who fulfill this order, who continue the tradition of Soviet manipulation of people, i.e. the tradition of ignorance as a policy.
Therefore, masses of people are busy with giving simple, clear knowledge needed to people: elementary, psychological, practical knowledge, under such cover, in such vestige that people simply are not able to understand them without preparation. And I try to find the most simple, the most precise words in order to give people at least some amount of information to prevent them from falling into the hands of charlatans. Some minimal amount in order to help them to reject the position “make something of me.” At this stage, it might not touch you personally but I have seen so many victims of this approach right up to clinical victims.
I think, that keeping people in ignorance as a policy is the most awful one.
In this sense I try to do everything so that people have an opportunity to touch the pure sources and what was initially called revelation. And I think that in any case most of my acquaintances and friends from other traditions, the other religions are unanimous with me and do the same.
I always was. am and will be an advocate of that approach in which society if it wants to develop in a human way must favor the development of the activity of the subject, the activity and not the passivity. Then we will become ill less often, and our relationship will be much better and we will do twice as many things and life will be more interesting.
St. -Petersburg—Kiev 1991-1993