Identity

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					                                         Identity
 “A woman, in her proper place, is the most powerful force in the world.”1 I know that

some people, especially women, are offended by this statement, but take a moment and try

to look at this idea objectively. “A woman, in her proper place, is the most powerful force

in the world.” What is “a woman‟s proper place in the world?” For that matter, what is

anyone’s “place in the world?” What we must be clear about is that this applies to all of us,

men and women alike and that each of us has “a place in the world.” We must come to

understand that we are all needed here and that our place in the world is related to what we

are needed for. It is our identity, who we are, that defines what we are needed for, and

what we can be used for. It is our identity that establishes our “place,” our role in the

world.2 This identity is shaped by many factors including the sex of the body into which

we are born. The world depends on all of us finding our place, our role, our reason for

being here and taking responsibility for doing that which is required of us.

 I begin with this statement about a woman‟s place in the world because I want to draw

your attention to the Denying Force, and especially the role of the Denying Force in the

creative process. Notice the difference when I re-phrase it to say: “The Denying Force in

its proper place, is the most powerful force in the world.” Phrased this way, with nothing

in it to react to personally, you may even begin to see that this is so from your own

experience. For example, you may have seen for yourself how suction, a vacuum, is often

a more effective force than pressure. You may have heard it said that when people came

to ask him for something, Mr. Gurdjieff would often tell them, “…must make vacuum.”3

In other words, you may have already seen and experienced for yourselves that when we

need something higher to enter in, we need to become empty and receptive, so that there is
a place in us as well as a way for the higher to enter. It is in the nature of this Work is for

us to draw into ourselves that which is needed as opposed to having it pushed onto us.

 The theme for today‟s talk can be summed up in the question, “What is the role of the

Denying Force in the creative process?” After a brief discussion of what is meant by the

“creative process,” I want to approach this question from three different points of view. I

will begin with an examination of the Denying Force in the creative process as a role, taken

by some entity, acting as an agent in the world for the Higher Powers. Secondly, I want to

look at the role of the Denying Force in the creative process as it relates to the Triad of

Identity in the context of J. G. Bennett‟s study of Systematics. Finally, I want to look at

this question from the point of view of the human experience of the role of Denying Force

in the creative process and to speak about what it means to be a free agent in the creative

process.

 The creative process that I am speaking about is described by the Triad of Involution, the

1 – 2 – 3 triad. It is through the Triad of Involution that the creative purposes of the Higher

Powers are manifested in the world. Throughout this talk, I will speak of the creative

process as a cycle of activity that is initiated intentionally and willingly performed by a

conscious entity in order to make something possible that was not possible before. Here

the First Force initiates the creative cycle, the Second Force performs the creative act and

the Third Force represents the manifestation of further possibilities in the world. When we

look at creation on a cosmic scale, we must see that the Higher Powers have no physical

presence in the world. As a result, the Denying Force comes to be a role played out

through the physical presence of some being, some entity that is willing and able to

manifest the creative will of the Higher Powers in the world.4




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 A simple illustration of the nature of the Involving Triad and the creative cycle on a

human scale is in the example of the conception, gestation and birth of a child. In this

illustration, human reproduction is described as a 1 – 2 – 3 triad in which the First Force is

a man, acting on the Second Force, a woman, in order to produce a child, the Third or

Reconciling Force in the triad. It is in the context of this Involving Triad that I have come

to connect “a woman‟s place in the world” with the role of the Second, or Denying Force.

It is also in this context that we can begin to see how and why the Denying Force, in its

proper place, is the “most powerful force in the world.”

 While the First Force has the single quality of Affirmation, the Second Force has the dual

qualities of Denial and Receptivity. These two qualities are always present in the Second

Force and in this case, its nature is to begin with Denial and end with Receptivity. That is

to say that in so far as a woman is acting as the Second Force in a creative cycle, her role

begins with Denial. She must begin by denying all men because she cannot, and must not,

allow herself to be receptive to all of them. From this place of denial she is able to exercise

discrimination which allows her to choose to be Receptive to the one she chooses. In this

way the transition from Denial to Receptivity is the result of a woman‟s discrimination.

When a woman chooses with discrimination, conception – in the right way of it – is

allowed to occur. This capacity for discrimination and choice is where the power of “a

woman in her proper place” is to be seen. Discrimination between possibilities followed by

a conscious choice to draw in what is needed for manifestation is what I am calling the

“most powerful force in the world.”

 This illustration of a woman, in the role of the Denying force within the Triad of

Involution brings out one other important quality of the central position in the creative

cycle. In the process of conceiving, carrying and giving birth to a child, there is also a


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necessary element of growth for the woman as an individual. That is to say that in addition

to the growth of the baby within there is also a very necessary process of growth for the

woman herself. This is because a woman is not, as she is at the point of conception, either

ready for, or capable of giving birth to and nurturing a child. This capability can only be

developed during the course of her pregnancy. This new capability is needed at t the end of

her term when the child is born and the pattern is complete.

  It is important to understand that this description is not limited to that of a woman‟s role

in the process of human reproduction; it is in fact, a model for the role of the Denying

Force in all creative cycles, including those higher and lower than our own place in the

scale of the cosmos. At the center of every creative triad there is an entity that takes on the

role of the Denying Force. This entity must first deny all affirmation in order to allow for

discrimination and choice. This choice is first to be receptive to affirmation in general and

second to be receptive to a specific affirmation. When Affirmation and Denial are brought

together in the right way through the discrimination and choice of the entity in the role of

the Denying Force the seed of a new creation is created. Following this conception, there

is a period of growth and preparation for the entity that has assumed the role of Denying

Force. At the end of this period of growth and preparation there is the birth or

manifestation of a pattern or possibility in the world. In this talk I will be referring to the

entity in the role of Denying Force as an agent or agency.

  I want to look now at the Triad of Identity, the 1 – 3 – 2 triad in order to better understand

the connection between agency, as I have just described it, and identity. Mr. Bennett

describes the Triad of Identity, the 2 – 3 – 1 triad, in the following terms: “Because there is

no direct contact between them, the Active Force cannot act upon the Receptive Force, but

rather enables it to be what it is. When interpreted upon the scale of universal existence,


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the triad 2 – 3 – 1 enables every entity to fulfill its cosmic role.”5   He also says that “We

are what we are by virtue of our own affirmation of existence. We are what we are, by

reason of the place we occupy in the universal affirmation of Being. The affirmation of

our own existence isolates us from other entities, unless it is compensated by the self-

denial that enables us to merge with the universal affirmation through which we can

participate in true Being.”6 It is through realizing and accepting our identity that we can

become an agent for the creative purposes of the Higher Powers. It is through the

realization of our Identity that we are able to become receptive to universal Affirmation

and to fulfill the role in the world for which we are needed.

  The Triad of Identity, the 2 – 3 – 1 triad is initiated by the Second or Denying Force. In

this way it is characterized by the two qualities of the Second Force that I have already

spoken about, Denial and Receptivity. The initiation of the 2 – 3 – 1 triad by the Denying

Force results in the denial, by the entity at the center of the creative process, of everything

outside of itself. Mr. Bennett speaks of this quality of the Triad of Identity as making a

statement of “I am this and not that.”7 This denial of everything outside of oneself is the

foundation of Identity. It not only establishes separation but it also enables the necessary

resistance to being changed, modified or absorbed by the rest of existence. In the denial of

all else a distinct Identity is allowed to be established. Only an entity with a distinct

Identity, separate from all else, will be capable of being receptive to outside forces without

losing itself. When Identity is established, an entity can then choose to be receptive to an

outside Affirmation in such a way as to fulfill its role, its purpose in the world. It is by

fulfilling a cosmic role through the realization of Identity that an entity becomes an agent in

the world for the Will of a Higher Power.




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  Because it is static and does not move either up or down the scale of existence, the Triad

of Identity is one of the more difficult triads to describe and to understand in a practical

way. There is a simple illustration that may help make the Triad of Identity more practical

and less theoretical. If we take, for example, the Identity of a hammer that is to be used to

nail two boards together we can see that in order for the hammer to “fulfill its cosmic role,”

it must possess all of the qualities of Identity that I have outlined so far. First of all it must

be distinctly separate and different from the other materials. Secondly, it must be able to

withstand the forces that would change it in the process of being used. In other words it

cannot allow itself to be deformed by the blow or melded into the substance of the nail or it

will lose its identity as a hammer. Finally, it must be receptive to being used, and because

it cannot “will itself” to drive a nail on its own, the hammer must be receptive to a Will

outside of itself to apply it to the purpose for which it was created. From the viewpoint of

the hammer in this illustration, this Will comes from a higher world, in this case from the

place in the cosmos where humans exist and work. It is the acceptance of this Will that

allows the hammer to become an agent for the creative purposes of mankind.

  At this point, I would like to introduce an idea from Mr. Bennett‟s study of Systematics

that will allow us to explore the Triad of Identity, in the context of the creative cycle, in more

depth. In Elementary Systematics, Mr. Bennett suggested that we could examine any triad

more closely by looking at each point in turn with the idea that each of the three forces of the

triad is, in itself, the initiating force for its own “triad within a triad.”8 That is to say that for

each of the three forces that provide shocks in an enneagram, there is a corresponding triad

initiated by the force that provided the shock. In this way the Force that initiates a creative

cycle forms a subordinate triad at DO.9 The Force in the second position forms another

subordinate triad, at the interval between MI and FA, initiated by the central force in the


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original triad. The Force in the last position forms a third subordinate triad at the interval

between SOL and LA – the place that Gurdjieff calls the Harnel-aoot.10

  In the 1 – 2 – 3 Triad, the creative triad that I have been speaking about, the Affirming

Force provides the shock that sounds the DO for the cycle. The subordinate triad that is

formed at DO is then initiated by the Affirming Force. There are two triads that are

initiated by the Affirming Force. One is the Triad of Interaction, the 1 – 3 – 2 triad and the

other is the Triad of Involution, the 1 – 2 – 3 triad. In the Triad of Interaction the Third

Force stands between the Affirming and Denying forces preventing them from working

directly upon one another. Because the Triad of Interaction ends in Denying Force, it is

static and will not continue on or reproduce itself because it cannot provide a strong enough

affirmation to create the pattern necessary for initiating further creative triads. The

1 – 2 – 3 triad or the Triad of Involution is one in which the Active Force acts upon the

Passive Force to obtain a result. This triad is able to continue on and to expand because the

Affirming Force that sounds the DO provides enough energy for the triad to manifest a

pattern capable of becoming a source for future expanding triads. It is for this reason that I

have identified the 1 – 2 – 3 triad as the first subordinate triad in the creative cycle.

    It is the Denying or Receptive Force in the second position of the Triad of Involution

that provides the shock that occurs between MI and FA in the creative cycle. There are two

triads that could form a subordinate triad there, the Triad of Evolution, 2 – 1 – 3 and the

Triad of Identity, 2 – 3 – 1. Because the 2 – 1 – 3 triad is one that rises up the scale of

existence, returning to essence as opposed to expanding into materiality, it is not what we

are looking for as the central force in the creative process. This means that the subordinate

triad here must be the Triad of Identity, the 2 – 3 – 1 triad.




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 The 2 – 3 – 1 triad is, by nature, static and does not make anything “happen.” As the

force at the center of the creative cycle, this triad allows, among other things, for it to be

possible for conscious choice to enter into the creative process. Mr. Bennett says that the

nature of the Triad of Identity is that “… affirmation does not act upon or change the

receptive element, but rather enables it to be what it is.”11 In the 2 – 3 – 1 triad the Third

Force stands between and separates the Denying Force from the Affirming Force. In this

triad, Affirmation and Denial are held apart, in tension, with the Third Force between them.

It is the quality of the Third Force in the Triad of Identity that allows for the most

important quality of agency, discrimination. Because it is connected with the Third Force,

this effort of discrimination allows the agent to have intention, an opening up to a

connection with the Will of the Higher, allowing for the possibility of conscious choice.

This discrimination is, in the end, an awareness of the difference in significance between

the available possibilities. It is discrimination, with intention, that allows the agent the

possibility of making significant choices between different Affirmations. When choices

are made consciously, with discrimination and intention, the agent is able to become a free

agent in the creative process.

 The final shock in the creative cycle is provided by the Reconciling Force at the interval

between SOL and LA. There are two triads that begin with the Reconciling Force, the

Triad of Freedom, 3 – 2 – 1 and the Triad of Order, 3 – 1 – 2. Because the nature of the

involving cycle is to drive deeper into existence, coming under more and more laws and

restrictions, it is clearly not a Triad of Freedom – which allows for escape from the laws of

existence – that forms the subordinate triad here. Because the purpose of the creative cycle

is to establish possibilities, the Triad of Order, the 3 – 1 – 2 triad must be the subordinate

triad here. Mr. Bennett says that one of the fundamental properties of the Triad of Order is


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to “hold apart that which is possible from that which is impossible.”12 When the tension

between the first two subordinate triads in the creative cycle, formed at DO and the MI-FA

interval is held properly, the effect of the Triad of Order as the third subordinate triad, at

the interval between SOL and LA, is to reconcile that tension. This reconciliation results in

the manifestation of a pattern that makes possible that which was not possible before. This

pattern contains an impulse that has the capacity for providing a source for the creation of

further 1 – 2 – 3 triads.

  All of this brings us to the last idea that I want to take up today and that is the idea of free

agency. In order to begin to understand this for myself I found that it was first necessary to

be very clear about the difference between Affirmation and Will. According to Mr.

Bennett, Affirmation is “One of the three Cosmic Impulses through which the Transfinite

Will is manifested.”13 This means that Affirmation is distinct from Will, a distinction

which allows Affirmation to be a vehicle for the Will of the Higher. Affirmation then, as

the initiating force of the 1 – 2 – 3 triad provides a point of entry for the Will of the Higher

into the creative process. There is a role for human beings to play as the Affirming Force

at the point of initiation of a 1 – 2 – 3 triad in just the same way that there is a role for

human beings to play as the Denying Force at the center of the 1 – 2 – 3 triad. In order for

a man to assume the role of Affirming Force in the right way, he must first come to be

connected with intention, that is to say that he must come to be open to a connection with

the Will of the Higher Powers and be willing to take responsibility for the role of Affirming

Force in the creative process.

  This means that there is a difference between those creative cycles in which the entity

that assumes the role of Affirming Force is conscious and has intention and those cycles in

which that entity is operating unconsciously or automatically. When the entity responsible


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for the role of Affirming Force is not conscious or connected with intention, then the

process of creation can still unfold, but it can unfold only mechanically. Only when the

entity in the role of Affirmation is open to, and connected with a higher Will is the purpose

of the Higher Powers able to enter into the process of creation. Mr. Bennett says that “In

moments of awareness, the True Self realizes that the process [Cosmic Involution]

concerns it own existence and that it can come under the action of a Divine Affirmation

that could transform its own nature. Through its ability to participate in this triad [the

1 – 2 -3 triad] that has its origin in World XII, the Self has a creative power of its own.

This is the Triad of Creativity.”14

 Those who would assume the role of either Affirming Force or Denying Force in the

creative process must open themselves up to the Will of the Higher in order to separate

from their mechanical self-will and become free agents. In so far as human beings must

take on the role of denying force in the creative process, we are obliged to pay for our

“arising and individuality”15 by performing as agents in the creative process. It is possible

for us to go beyond this obligation and, by our own efforts, wake up and become free

agents in the creative process. This is also needed in the world and one of the highest

aspirations for a human being is to become a free agent in the creative process.

  I would like to finish by sharing something of my own experience of the creative process

as I have outlined it today. After many years of meeting and working at movements in

borrowed and rented spaces, the community here decided to design and build a movements

barn up at Jolly farm. This barn was intended to be, and was being built to serve as a

“sacred space” for the community. When complete it would be used for meetings,

movements, music, morning exercise, meditation and other events of a spiritual nature. In




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short, we had, as a community, chosen to be receptive to an Affirmation to “build a

cathedral.”

 We were working one day with a theme having to do with “being God for material

objects.” There was a pile of fresh, rough-cut pine 2 x 4‟s that we were using to build the

walls. As I handled them I slowly became aware that each one had been, up until very

recently, part of a living tree. I began to feel a connection with those trees whose lives had

been cut short to make the 2 x 4‟s. I had a clear picture in my mind of trees growing,

digging their roots into the earth, stretching their branches to the sun, fully and willingly

fulfilling their role in the creative process. Now, because humans beings had cut them

down, the existence of those trees had been brought to a hazardous place from which they

would either go up or down in the scale of the cosmos. I began to see that I was the

determining factor in this. If I failed to cut and fit them properly into place, they would end

up as scrap and the lives of those trees would have been wasted. On the other hand, if I

was able fit them properly into place, they would become part of a building that would, in

time, be able to serve a higher cosmic purpose.

 Throughout the morning the sense of the life that had been in these boards became

stronger and clearer. At one of the stops, I found myself with a 2 x 4 in hand, with a clear

awareness of the tree that had recently given up its life so that I might have this wood to

work with. I was responsible for cutting, fitting and guiding it into a place that would

enable it to serve a much higher purpose than was ever possible for it as a tree. I came to

see that I was, for that tree, a Higher Power with intention and purpose. I was causing it to

be used to construct a movements hall where somewhere in the future, movements would

be performed, music would be played and people would have the opportunity to see, hear

and participate in both. In the moment of seeing my role in that creative process, I also


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became aware of myself as a “material object” in the hand of some Higher Power, and that I

too was being guided into a place in the world where I was needed to manifest the purposes

of that Higher Power. It became clear that the work that I had done up to that point had

been preparation and that I had chosen to be receptive to this role. With that realization,

the present moment expanded and I had a vision of a future in which I was in an open

movements class with people in the balcony of the movements hall watching and listening.

In this vision the purpose of the building as a sacred space for our Work together as a

community had been fulfilled and it was being used for its intended purpose.

 More than 10 years passed, and I found myself sitting, after an open movements class, at

the end of a summer seminar, at the back of that movements hall, listening to one of Mr.

DeHartmann‟s compositions being played on the piano. There came a moment where I felt

the unmistakable touch of connection with the past. I found myself looking back to the

moment that I have just described where I saw my old self, in the past, straining to see

forward to that very moment in the present. The contact between the two changed my

awareness of time and the 10 years between past and present came together in a single

expanded present moment.

 It is our Identity that allows us to serve our intended purpose, to fulfill our intended role

in the world. This Identity begins with difference; I am this and not that. This difference,

this separation allows us to become established in the world, to stand firm against all that

would take us over, to change us into what we are not. Once this separation is established

it is then possible for us to make the choice to become a receptive, willing agent for the

Will of a Higher Power. As human beings this is our “proper place,” and it is needed in the

world. This role is something for which we must accept responsibility. It is by taking

responsibility for intentionally participating in our role in the world that we become free


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agents, meaning not that we are free to do as we wish, but rather that we can freely

participate in the unfolding of the purpose of the Will of the Higher Powers in their creative

endeavors on the earth.

  Intelligent beings are needed at the center of both the Evolutionary and Involutionary

processes. Such beings have a vital role to play in the service of the aim and purpose of

existence. In the Evolutionary cycle, this place is characterized by decision. In the

Involutionary cycle, this place is characterized by beings who choose to accept the role of

agent for the Higher Powers so that they may fulfill their creative purposes in the world. It

is through discrimination and choice at the center of the creative process that we can

become more than unconscious tools, we can become free agents in the creative process.

In this way, when human beings consciously and willingly take on the role of the Denying

Force in the creative process they become “the most powerful force in the world.”

August 19, 2005
Camp Caravan
T. White
Edited July 19, 2006 (Identity28.doc)




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References:
1
  Allen, Cliff. Attributed.
2
  Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
  Volume II, Pg. 114.
3
  Bennett, J. G. Transformation. Claymont Communications, Charles Town, WV. 1978. Pg. 57. Bennett
  phrases this (discussing help), “Gurdjieff explained it by saying, „nature hates vacuum. When you make
  empty, help will enter.‟”
4
  Eliot, George. Stradavarius. “ ‟Tis God gives skill, But not without men‟s hands: He could not make
   Antonio Stradavari‟s violins Without Antonio.”
5
   Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II, Pg. 114.
6
   Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II, Pg. 114.
7
  Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
  Volume II, Pg. 114
8
  Bennett, J. G. Elementary Systematics. Bennett Books. Santa Fe, NM. 1993. Pg. 40.
9
  Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II, Pg. 83.
10
   Gurdjieff, G. I. Beelzebub‟s Tales to His Grandson. Penguin Arkana. New York, New York. Pg 754.
11
   Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II, Pg. 114
12
   Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II, Pg. 106.
13
   Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II. Pg. 341.
14
   Bennett, J. G. The Dramatic Universe. Claymont Communications. Charles Town, WV. 1987.
   Volume II. Pg. 158.
15
   Gurdjieff, G. I. Beelzebub‟s Tales to His Grandson. Penguin Arkana. New York, New York. Pg 386.




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