The view of our life as tri-brained, which entered with Gurdjieff circa 1915 and was recapitulated in the 1950s by science, is a perspective capable of reconciling human values and new technologies. In Gurdjieff’s ‘hydrogens’, electromagnetic bonding energies are delimiters of material states, from mass-less to mass-based, which helps us understand both life and brain function, including “psychic and spiritual matters.”
In his view of ‘worlds’, the quantum nature of our Universe is inferred, involution and evolution may be seen as motions and reconciliations of time, and the triadic nature of consciousness and conscious transformation may be studied.
The Triune Brain
Primarily for survival, brains initially create images from blendings of multi-dimensional sensory images concerned with multiple material levels and ranges of vibration, from which meanings are derived. In the second brain, this leads to the emergent sense of self with its difficulty of separating inner sensation from interpersonal life. The third brain creates abstract images of outer and inner life, deriving principles from them and initiating action. Its hazards concern the power to also build images which are nonresonant with life. New perspectives, such as the scientific method and the Gurdjieff Work, provide hope for reconciliation of this condition.
Consciousness as the Coalition of Images
The biological appearance of brained life, capable of digesting images and reconciling time, of witnessing life itself, of self-determined movement through three-dimensional space and the memory of it, represented a Great Turning. Elemental blended awareness was enhanced by the sense of self-other of the second brain and the sense of I of the third brain. Eventually, third brain consciousness could abstract each brain’s hunting for what?, how? and why? Thus, the human third brain, when it demonstrates its complete and successively appearing hierarchy of capacities, unfolds an image which is a step by step model of the scientific method of inquiry.
The Digestion of Food, Air and Impressions: A Metaphor for Human Transformation
Three-brained digestion is an octavic process requiring directed attention. Each brain extracts meaning from impressions, which intentional digestion makes increasingly coherent. This feeds and grows the sense of self-other, wherein the acts of self-remembering and self-observation cultivate a reemergence of conscience and a separate witnessing presence. When personal effort is made, a process of confrontation and verification is set in motion, leading to growth of being, and the appearance of will or “I.” This may be further transformed, through work on self with others, special exercises, compassion and service, into egoless “I am” and a possible return to higher levels of existence.