First, a quote from Mr. Gurdjieff from "Fragments of an Unknown Teaching", otherwise known as "In Search of the Miraculous", page 89:
But besides ordinary chemistry there exists another, a special chemistry, or alchemy if you like, which studies matter taking into consideration its cosmic properties. As has been said before, the cosmic properties of each substance are determined first, by its place, and secondly by the force which is acting through it at the given moment... each substance can be the conductor of any one of the three forces and, in accordance with this, it can be active passive or neutralizing. And it can be neither the first, nor the second, nor the third if no forces manifesting through it at a given moment or if it is taken without relation to the manifestation of forces. In this way every substance appears, as it were, for different aspects or states. In this connection it must be noted that when we speak of matter we do not speak of chemical elements. The special chemistry of which I speak looks upon every substance having a separate function, even the most complex, as an element. In this way only is it possible to study the cosmic properties of matter, because all complex compounds have their own cosmic purpose and significance. From this point of view and Madame of a given substance is the smallest amount of the given substance which retains all of its chemical, physical, and cosmic properties. Consequently the size of the "atom of different substances is not the same. And in some cases an "atom" may be a particle even visible to the naked eye.
"The four aspects or states of every substance have different names.
"When the substance is the conductor of the first or the active force, it is called "carbon", and, like the carbon of chemistry, it is designated by the letter C.
"when a substance is the conductor of the second or the passive force, it is called "oxygen", and, like the oxygen of chemistry, it is designated by the letter O.
"When a substance the conductor of the third or neutralizing force, it is called "nitrogen," and, like the nitrogen of chemistry, it is designated by the letter N.
"When a substance is taken without relation to the force manifesting through it, it is called "hydrogen", and, like the hydrogen of chemistry, it is designated by the letter H.
"The active, the passive, and the neutralizing forces are designated by the figures 1, 2, 3, and the substances by the letters C,O,N, and H. These designations must be understood.
Question: "do these four elements correspond to the old for alchemical elements, fire, air, water, earth?"
Mr. Gurdjieff: "Yes, they do correspond, but we will use these. You will understand why afterwards.
Previously we have talked about hydrogen, which accounts for 89 % of the matter in the universe. We also talked about helium, which is duet happy, and accounts for 9% of the matter in the universe. We also talked about lithium, which accounts for about 1%. This leaves 1% of all the matter in the universe, which account for all the heavier elements including beryllium, boron, and now we get to Carbon, which we are going to talk about today. Mr. Gurdjieff says that Carbon is the transmitter of the active force.
This is very easy to see if I simply state that organic chemistry is often called carbon chemistry, and vice versa. In other words, life is built of Carbon. Carbon has a valence of four, and a total of six electrons. Two are duet happy, and the other four are valence electrons -- in other words they can interact with other elements to make compounds and molecules. So the nuclear number of carbon is six, which is a number associated with the earth in many ancient traditions, as well as containing 4 valence electrons, and four is also a number associated with Earth, from the four ancient elements, to the elements earth, water, fire, air. There is no doubt that Mr. Gurdjieff visited India, although it is not usually considered when people have been scouring the world for possible places where he gained his wisdom. They read right past the section of Mr. Ouspensky's Book where Mr. Gurdjieff talks of sleeping near a Fakir in a temple in India. Clearly the idea of the three forces, or of the Holy Trinity of Christianity comes from the three Gunas and Trimurti of Hinduism, or perhaps it is better described as pre-Hinduism, that is, the Sanatana Dharma, or permanent and unchanging wisdom.
Carbon is the only element that can not only bond with itself, but bond with itself in a long chain structures called poly carbons. Life is active. And carbon chemistry is the chemistry of life itself. That alone would make carbon active. But it also forms the scaffolding for structures, and it burns. IT burns. The two most combustable elements and most abundant and active are carbon and hydrogen.
This leads us to a discussion of the passive force represented by Oxygen. Oxygen is NOT combustable. It will not burn, period. So it is passive. But it WILL facilitate combustion of other elements. In fact, it is a poison first and a necessary element for our metabolism but at the same time it slowly kills us, as it allows us to combust. This is why everybody is so hung up on anti-oxidents, because the passive oxygen within us is slowly letting us burn up.
More later... I have let this blog slide. This fall I intend to renew my attention to it. I may fail in my grand scheme, but I will give it my best. Later...