Chapter 8: The Complementariness of Opposites
Animals are just natural; they are neither perverted nor are they transformed. Never do they become sub-animal, and never super-animal. They are just animals. Man is a flexible potentiality: he can fall below nature, can be perverted, can become mad. He can transcend nature, can become superhuman, can become a buddha.
Another thing: animals are born with their nature. In a way they are born perfect. An animal is born developed. Man is born without any nature and is not developed at the time of birth; he develops, then many possibilities open, and there is a great range of possibilities. Man is born undeveloped - not only mentally, but even bodily he is born undeveloped. No animal child is born with an undeveloped body; the body is complete. That’s why, when the animal child is born, he is capable of living even without parents.
But man’s child is born undeveloped, and even in the physiological structure many things develop only after he is born - and it takes years. In the mother’s womb he is not completely developed, and because of that the “mother” is born - because mothering continues. If the child were born completely developed then there would be no mothering. The whole institution of the family developed - and consequently the whole society, the whole society was born - because the child is born undeveloped. He has to be looked after, taken care of. Only after twenty years will he really be out of the womb. In these twenty years he will need a family, loving care, a society in which to develop. This will be a greater womb.
Even when he is physically complete, mentally he is not. He will have to develop his mind. Really, the average mind is never beyond fourteen years of age. The average mind, the average mental age, is thirteen and a half. A person who is physically seventy, is mentally thirteen and a half. The mind remains in such a primitive, primary state. Body becomes complete, mind remains incomplete, and spirit is not even touched. Man dies without ever having evolved any spirit.
Whenever someone asked Gurdjieff, “Have we souls?” he would say, “No. Sometimes it happens that a man has a soul. Only sometimes does it happen.” Gurdjieff would say, “Only sometimes, rarely does it happen that a man has a soul. You are not even complete minds, so how can you have a soul?”
A body incomplete cannot have a mind, a mind incomplete cannot have a soul, and a soul incomplete cannot realize the divine. Really, body works as a womb for the mind, and mind works as a womb for the spirit, then spirit works as a womb for godliness. So man is not born fixed, complete. He is born only as a multi-potentiality, and he can fall down - below nature. He can be more animalistic than any animal and he can be a superhuman being also, he can be just divine. There is this range of possibilities.
Now you can do two things. If your mind becomes negative, suppressive, you go on fighting things which are not “good.” So you fight sex, you fight anger, you fight greed, you fight jealousy, you fight violence - you go on fighting. But when a person is fighting violence he will never be nonviolent, because to fight violence one needs to be violent.