A Quotation from Bennett

This quotation from J. G. Bennett's "Gurdjieff: Making A New World", Turnstone, ISBN 0-85500-067-8, discusses his understanding of the "cosmoses" within the "Ray of Creation" described by Gurdjieff, with whom he communicated for 30 years. It bears a remarkable resemblance to Zach Gold's expression of the paradigm.

The conception is of a creation which is not dualistic nor monistic either. The existing world is continuous interaction between different gradations of materiality and spirituality - twelve in all. Each of these represents a different mode of experience, a different possibility of manifestation of the Divine Purpose, a different role in the entire scheme of things. Between these different levels of existance there is a perpetual exchange of substances. This cosmic exchange by which there occurs aggregation, disaggregation, the becoming more active and more conscious, the dissolving and becoming more inert, and even dissolution into the primary state is the universal process of energy transformation. This is all very much as it is viewed by physical science in our present day, with the all-important distinction, however, that the transformation of substances, for Gurdjieff, does not stop at the physical world or even the world of life, but goes all the way through to the experiences of thought and feeling and to the higher spiritual experiences of love, union and creativity. All of these represent qualities associated with different states of the universal energy system of the world.

This is in itself not an idea for which Gurdjieff could or would have claimed originality; it was entertained by many people at the end of the nineteenth century. In the varieties of pan-psychism which philosophers have tried to introduce, there is some attempt to account for the coexistence of psychic or conscious processes with material or energetic processes by postulating one single substance. Where Gurdjieff's concept mainly differs - and it is an important feature of his system - is in presenting the different states of existence as each complete in itself and representing, as it were, a certain plateau or level which, while exhibiting inner variations, is still very different from the levels above and below. This is connected with his doctrine of cosmoses, or individualized states of existence, which are all constructed according to the same cosmic model and differ only in size and their external functions.