Black Friday

Black Friday is a term which the media has created. It is ‘a day of bargains on the busiest shopping day of the year.’ Huge sales, massive discounts, hurry, deals, will end monday. All this language has a huge influence on those receiving it. Just check out the news story’s that were delivered yesterday and you will clearly see how people become effected and influenced by the media and consumerism.

George Gurdjieff says that; ‘Man is a machine and is completely controlled by external influences. All the people you see, all the people you know, all the people you may get to know, are machines, actual machines working solely under the power of external influences.’ Any of you who have seen any ‘Black Friday’ footage will be able to verify instantly that those individuals who partook of the retail madness were completely under some external influence, that being the media and the giant corporations who want their money.

The above paragraph may seem cynical and pessimistic but I assure you it’s not. Black Friday is an extreme example, a clear indication of what control the media has over those who allow it. I have spoken before about this and many are trying to help people see whats happening in the world today.

So where do we fit into all this? If you waited for a shop to open because of the huge sales, rushed in to grab something that you don’t really need and assaulted someone who tried to grab your stuff. Then you are under the influence of the media and Black Friday. If you have heard before that individuals are influenced by the world around them, by people, by planets and stars and many other variables then you are aware of the situation.

KNOW THYSELF is one of the simplest pieces of spiritual advice one can receive. If you don’t know that you are under the influence of the world around you then how can you do anything to remedy it. If you watch adverts on T.V and find yourself half dazed walking to the shop and buying something you don’t need, then you will struggle to do anything about it. But if after reading this you observe what happens if you watch a news programme with death and destruction on it. If you pay attention to how you feel after an advert inadvertently telling you that your not good enough because you don’t own their product, you will see what influence these impressions have on you.

One of Gurdjieff’s followers asks a very important questions in regards this subject, and one we can all learn from, especially someone who punched their fellow man for a cheap television:

‘Can a man stop being a machine?’ Gurdjieff’s response sheds a stunning light on our current situation.

‘It is possible to stop being a machine, but for that it is necessary first of all to know the machine. A machine, a real machine, does not know itself and cannot know itself. When a machine knows itself it is then no longer a machine, at least, not so much a machine as it was before. It already begins to be responsible for its actions.’

I would appreciate any comments you might have on this subject. Post them here on WordPress or alternatively on my Facebook page. Even if you disagree with the above or have some criticism I would love to hear your thoughts.



Filed under Gurdjieff, Harmonious Development, Language, The Mind, Words

4 responses to “Black Friday

  1. Szilvia

    Very interesting Lewis, and so true. Glad,that I am not a machine. Still something struggling with all the influence I get from the outside world. What do you suggest what actions can one take to stop being a machine? How can one shield oneself from all that’s happening in the world? Is it meditation, some other spiritual practices or techniques? X


    • Thanks for your comment Szilvi, some very good points and questions you raise.

      How to stop being a machine? The first and most vital thing to do is verify and realise clearly and without any doubt that one is actually a machine and is influenced from everywhere and by everything. I would direct you back to the post and to Gurdjieff’s answer to Ouspensky’s question about how one can stop being a machine. When we start observing ourselves and our reactions to things, becoming aware of emotional responses and recurring thoughts, we are already beginning to make efforts towards awakening.

      How to shield oneself from all thats happening in the world? I would say again that it is important to see the clear picture, the situation in its entirety. This is a long and slow process but one that is most important. I will share another quote from Gurdjieff and hope this gives you some clarity:

      “You do not realise your own situation. You are in prison. All you can wish for, if you are a sensible person, is to escape. But how to escape? It is necessary to tunnel under a wall. One man can do nothing. But lets suppose there are ten or twenty people. If they work in turn and if one covers another they can complete the tunnel and escape.
      Furthermore, no one cannot escape from prison without the help of those who have escaped before. Only they can say in what way escape is possible or can send tools, files, or whatever may be necessary.”

      Gurdjieff is telling us here that we must find like-minded people to associate with. Find others who are equally eager to wake up and cease being a machine. If you can find a group of people who are all striving after a similar aim then it will become more achievable than working by yourself. Also, find a spiritual path to follow if you are so inclined. Great masters of the ages have all left their own escape roots form prison, and following those who went before us and escaped will again be easier than digging alone.

      Meditation is very important. You can perform this simple technique upon awakening or before going to bed. It allows the mind to settle before one immerses oneself in life or after a hectic day, depending on the time you do it. Controlling the mind is one of the biggest obstacles to awakening.

      A very simple practice is called Thought Observation and most spiritual paths would practice this. It is as follows:

      Sit in a comfortable posture and close your eyes and control your breathing. Turn your attention to the blackness of your eyelids and the emptiness of your mind, and then practice becoming a passive observer of your thoughts. Let the thoughts come and go without becoming attached to them. If you find yourself being pulled away, then refocus your attention to the backs of your eyelids and become an observer again. You can practice this for five or ten minutes to begin with and build up slowly to fifteen minutes as you feel comfortable.


  2. Matthew

    Good post as always, media, society and the powers that be feed us constantly with ideas that we need to have this, need to do that, be seen here etc, it is Consumerism. But if people realised the truth that all we think we want is not truly needed then what would happen to economies if people stopped spending so frivolously?


    • Thanks for the comment Matthew.
      I would be interested to see what would happen if people stopped spending so frivolously. The economy is a man made concept after all. It is what is needed for any hint of change to occur. But like you say consumerism is big business and companies will do anything to keep it in the public eye. It would be great if more communities were to come together and become self-sufficient growing their own food and not having to rely on the big supermarkets. Who knows what the future will hold…


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