One-third of one's time should be spent in pondering.

Gurdjieff International Review

Discussion on "Good and Evil"

with A. R. Orage

November 12th [1927] — Part 2 of 3


Orage: We will continue with Good and Evil in order to try to reach firmer conclusions than we arrived at last week. Our present views are wholly subjective; tell me your family income for two generations, the schools you have gone to and so on and I will tell you your real ideas on good and evil. Does there exist in the objective world any element corresponding to our subjective good or evil? It's too bad that the stimulation of these evenings so often fades leaving nothing. First let's have questions.

Alan Brown: I remember once we were given three stages of morals, and eventually right and wrong. These weren't mentioned last week except when it was said that until we have objective conscience we have no sense of good and evil, but only of right and wrong, as though these latter were lower states. It seemed to me that much of our discussion was of right and wrong.

Orage: Right and wrong are subject to pragmatic proof.

Brown: But in seeking for an absolute, can't we say that pragmatic judgment may come from objective understanding?

Orage: Oh no. Any result in a world that is perpetually becoming may depend on where you draw your line and say that at that point something is right or wrong; but later on this judgment may be reversed. The only center in which absolute judgments are possible is the one where we feel our absolute identity—in the emotional center. Instinctive judgments are based on like and dislike; the intellect says right or wrong. They are both based on the absolute center—the emotional. This says if the thing is good or evil.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]

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