ON THE ELEPHANT'S KNEE
On The Elephant's Knee is a new title by Thomas Easley, delineating a system of typological evaluation of human personality, developed by a Tradition called Foundation Knowledge, originating with the Mystic Cosmologist G. I. Gurdjieff. The following is a brief introduction to the origins of the Tradition and content of the book. We will be adding a fuller description of this interesting title very soon.
On The Elephant's Knee
By Thomas Easley
1998, 186 Pages.
Triple "e" Productions ISBN 1-889211-06-0
Price $25.00 Available through the SEEKER'S SANCTUM, go to the category: OTHER'S PRODUCTS.
Origins of Foundation Knowledge
Foundation Knowledge, as presented On The Elephant's Knee, traces back to the work of G. I. Gurdjieff, a mystic, cosmologist, philosopher, born in 1866 in the Calladacian Greek quarter of Alexandropol on the Russian side of the Russo-Turkish border. Gurdjieff, as a young man, manifested a natural inclination towards spiritual philosophies, having spent time in both Christian and Islamic monasteries which led him to found an organization called the "Seekers of Truth," dedicated to unveiling the ancient esoteric traditions of the great civilizations of the past. In the course of their search for this ancient invaluable wisdom, Gurdjieff and his compatriots scoured the Middle and Eastern worlds, from Egypt through Arabia, Persia, India, and Tibet for living schools or teachers of this ancient wisdom. Gurdjieff was fortunate enough to have traveled these regions at a time when living masters and traditions existed as they rarely do today, and privileged to have studied at such places as the Sarmoung Monastery in Tibet where he is purported to have had some of his most profound insights. By the year 1914, Gurdjieff had synthesized his twenty years of practice and research into a cohesive transformational and cosmological system known today as the "Fourth Way." (For complete information and bibliographies on Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way organizations, see www.gurdjieff.org)
The origins of this system as gleaned through Gurdjieff's extensive travels and studies are based upon the ancient perennial philosophy represented by the esoteric traditions of all great cultures. Like Pythagoras, father of the Western esoteric, scientific, and philosophical traditions, Gurdjieff was fortunate in his search to have been exposed to and initiated into a variety of ancient traditions, allowing him to recognize the inherent similarities and foundations upon which all esoteric traditions are based. The primary traditions to which Gurdjieff was exposed were Sufism (Islamic Mysticism), Orthodox Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as traditions of magic and esoteric science existent since ancient times in Egypt, Persia and India.
The aspects and structure of Foundation Knowledge presented in this book show a direct correlation in form and terminology to specific representations of perennial, traditional knowledge in several of the above mentioned traditions. For instance, in the category of body type, all characteristics are delimited according to their planetary characteristics (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) without regard for the addition of the "more recently discovered" planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). This procedure is based upon the traditional (as seen in Vedic, Chaldean and Egyptian astrology) approach which sees the aggregate of the primary seven planets (including Sun and Moon as observed luminaries from the perspective of Earth) as an inherent aspect of Universal order, referred to by Gurdjieff as the Law of Seven.
The center of focus (intellectual, emotional, instinctual, and moving) which is determined through the system of analysis presented in The Elephant’s Knee is correlative to what are known as the subtle bodies in traditional knowledge (roughly translated from various ancient traditions as the psychic or mental body, the astral or emotional body, the physical body, and the etheric body or more abstractly defined body).
The concepts presented as Alchemy in Foundation Knowledge are clearly identifiable as terminology stemming from ancient esoteric traditions intent on the analysis of the composition of the psycho-spiritual elements of the human being. Alchemy is the ancient science of recognition and combination of elements, both physical and psycho-spiritual, with the intention of the manipulation of the base elements into purer and more refined elements. Alchemy is the source and foundation of what is now modern chemistry (without the spiritual and psychological interpretations, of course, nor with the more profound physical transmutative capabilities).
The category of Chief Feature is a bit harder to correlate with the traditional systems, mostly due to the fact that Chief Feature is of a lower order causative factor, unlike the others categories which represent a more primary order of causation. This means that Chief Feature is influenced more heavily by circumstance, environment, society and the like, compared to the other categories which are more cosmically predetermined. Besides this, Chief Feature , being a more superficial psychological phenomenon is, in most traditions, discussed in the introductory moral teachings and codes which form prerequisites for the more profound teachings which follow. Some examples of this are the Buddha’s Noble Eight-Fold Path and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which first direct the aspirant towards a moral purification overcoming the negative aspects of the ego such as those represented in the Christian tradition as the seven deadly sins.
Lastly, Essence is the equivalent of what we, in the Western traditions, would call the soul, the essence or core of our individualized personality. This is not to be confused with the concept of Spirit, absolute nature, Atman or Self, which in all perennial philosophies takes on a unified, all-pervasive element devoid of any superficial personality characteristics. Essence defines the core of our psychological being, who we are in this world, which defines our role and purpose on this planet, equivalent to dharma in the Indian, Vedic philosophy.
The analysis derived by the Elephant’s Knee is one based upon ancient fundamental principles of structure and form in the world of manifest reality. It simply reveals fundamental aspects of human personality based upon universal causative principles of order and correspondence, proven to be true by traditions which have survived for over 5,000 years. In a world of chaos and confusion, The Elephant’s Knee offers a system of understanding and insight which could, without exaggeration, transform the limited perspective of the common man into something similar to the perspective and vision of the sages of ancient times.
The Enneagram is a archetypal hieroglyphic symbol of a universal symbolic language containing within its diagrammatic representation the summation of the totality of the primary laws of the universe. It was said by Gurdjieff that this symbol was revealed to him by monks in a ancient, hidden monastery, perhaps the Sarmoung Monastery mentioned above. A correct understanding of the laws of interpretation of this diagram will allow one to cognize and understand the fundamental nature and process of any phenomenon in the universe, as well as its interrelations with all other phenomena.
The enneagram is composed of three archetypal symbols. First is the circle, the symbol of Unity or Oneness, the completion of one full cycle or the fulfillment of the process of manifestation of any phenomenon whether microcosmic or macrocosmic. In many traditions this Unity is called God or the Absolute, in the Vedic tradition it is the Samhita, in the Egyptian, Nun, the primal unmanifest cosmic ocean.
Second is the equilateral triangle, the representation of what Gurdjieff referred to as the Law of Three, called in India the Mother because of its role as the creator of manifest reality out of the transcendent powers of Unity, the circle. The Law of Three is the universal law of manifestation of force through polarity, with its triune aspects of positivity, negativity, and neutrality. This law is seen represented symbolically in every traditional system, such as in the Christian Holy Trinity, the Hindu triumvirate of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (the creative, preserving and destructive forces of nature), the Vedic Rishi, Devata and Chandas, and the Egyptian Atum-Re, Shu and Tefnut. It is also seen in modern science in the protons, neutrons and electrons of chemistry, in the threefold constituents of atomic physics called quarks, and in the three primary colors of the light spectrum.
The third archetypal pattern represents what Gurdjieff called the Law of Seven, or the Law of Octaves. All of reality is composed of vibratory frequencies, and the Law of Seven, also called the Law of Vibration is the fundamental archetypal matrix upon which every manifest form in the cosmos from the most subtle to the most dense is constructed. The Law of Octaves also defines every process and relationship in the universe, being the foundation of all natural law and universal order. Manifestations of this law of nature can be seen in the seven notes of the musical scale, the seven colors of the rainbow, the seven chakras of the human psycho-physiological system, the seven Archangels and seven Elohim, universal creative powers, and, of course, the seven sacred planets used in this system.
The combination of these three hieroglyphs creates the enneagram, a circle with nine points on the circumference, formed by the combination of the equilateral triangle and the symmetrical pattern of six flowing lines. These nine points are representative
of the nine great principles of creation, called the Neteru in Egyptian cosmology or represented by the Tetraktys in Pythagorean cosmology (with the addition of the tenth point symbolizing Unity or completion as represented here by the circle). This fundamental cosmic calculator represents the relationship of Unity to the Law of Three and the Law of Seven, and a complete understanding of it allows the cognition of the essential nature of any phenomenon or process in the universe. The enneagram, in itself, is a complete cosmos, and every organism, form, or process, being a reflection or hologram of the wholeness of the cosmos may thereby be represented in its totality by the enneagram.