Chapter 5: Wakefulness Is Life
We go on living, absolutely inattentive to what is happening around us. Yes, we have become very efficient in doing our things. What we are doing, we have become so efficient in doing that we don’t need any awareness to do it. It has become mechanical, automatic. We function like robots. We are not men yet; we are machines.
That’s what George Gurdjieff used to say again and again, that man as he exists is a machine. He offended many people, because nobody likes to be called a machine. Machines like to be called gods; then they feel very happy, puffed up. Gurdjieff used to call people machines, and he was right. If you watch yourself you will know how mechanically you behave.
The Russian psychologist Pavlov, and the American psychologist Skinner, are ninety-nine point nine percent right about man: they believe that man is a beautiful machine, that’s all. There is no soul in him. I say ninety-nine point nine percent they are right; they only miss by a very small margin. In that small margin are the buddhas, the awakened ones. But they can be forgiven, because Pavlov never came across a buddha - he came across millions of people like you.
Skinner has been studying men and rats and finds no difference. Rats are simple beings, that’s all. Man is a little more complicated. Man is a highly sophisticated machine, rats are simple machines. It is easier to study rats; that’s why psychologists go on studying rats. They study rats and they conclude about man - and their conclusions are almost right. I say “almost,” mind you, because that point one percent is the most important phenomenon that has happened: a Buddha, a Jesus, a Mohammed. These few awakened people are the real men, but where can B.F. Skinner find a buddha? Certainly not in America.
I have heard.
A man asked a rabbi, “Why didn’t Jesus choose to be born in twentieth-century America?”
The rabbi shrugged his shoulders and said, “In America? It would have been impossible. Where can you find a virgin, firstly? And secondly, where will you find three wise men?”
And without a virgin mother and three wise men, how can Jesus be born?
I have heard.
In a church, the priest asked the audience, “Please stand up, all the women who are virgins!”
Just one woman with a small baby girl stood up. Certainly she was a mother, and the priest said, “Do you think yourself to be a virgin? You are a mother!”
She said, “Yes, I am - but this girl is a virgin, and she cannot stand on her own.”