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Oksanen, Reijo
Real and Fictive Consciousness
Newly edited: Kristina Turner Interviews Reijo Oksanen
Deep In Self-Sufficiency
The Meanings Put into the Isenheim Altar
Gurdjieff Internet Guide
Puutarhuri - The Gardener
G. I. Gurdjieff
The Three Pilgrimages
Objective Art & Intentional Inexactitudes
Valaam Monastery, Orthodox Tradition & Symbolism
Comments on Beelzebub's Tales
Ashoka the Great and the Enneagram
A Wish
Self-remembering - an Email to a Friend
Early Morning in May
Gurdjieff & Orthodox Christianity
Reijo Oksanen Interviewed by Guy Hoffman
Are Icons a Form of Objective Art?
How to Put an I on the dot?
Letter to a Friend - Amden 14.06.2005
Fourth Way Schools I - The Anthonites (Antonites)
Gurdjieff and Astrology
Fourth Way Schools II - the Brothers & Sisters of the Common Life
Gurdjieff Movements - Some Comments
About the Enneagram
Malcolm Gibson
Flash Memory and How It Works
Getting the Best out of Gurdjieff
How Do Things Come Together? An Email to a Friend
Walking High
The Policeman & the Policewoman
Ouspensky, Palmer and Father Nikon
The Importance of the Other -
My Story 1962 - 2012

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Oksanen, Reijo

Reijo Oksanen

Reijo Oksanen was born in Helsinki 1942, heard of Gurdjieff and also the Orthodox Way in 1962 and came to London to join the Work in 1967. He moved back to Finland in 1971 and joined the Orthodox Church. In 1990 Oksanen moved to Denmark and in 2004 to Switzerland. After a long career in textiles, clothing and furniture industries, he set his mind into putting Gurdjieff properly into the internet.

From 2004 Reijo Oksanen is actively engaged in the activities of ars sacra Life Workshop.

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Objective Art & Intentional Inexactitudes

"So, whenever the Babylonian learned painters wove or embroidered with colored threads or colored their productions, they inserted the distinctions of the tonalities of the colors in the crosslines as well as in the horizontal lines and even in the intersecting lines of color, not in the lawful sequence in which this process really proceeds, in accordance with the Law of Sevenfoldness, but otherwise; and in these also lawful 'otherwises,' they placed the contents of some or other information or knowledge."

Gurdjieff: Beelzebub's Tales (Ref. 1)

Finding the Otherwise

The above refers to the art of painting, but the concept of 'otherwises' and their use in the 'artificial', now called art, is much wider; Gurdjieff applies it also to rituals, symbols, ceremonies, dances, writings, architecture, social customs, theatre and music.

In a recent article I approached the question Are Icons a Form of Objective Art?. This indicated that Objective Art can be found in Christianity. The article said: "Icons are not naturalistic and do not represent the world we sense, imagine and usually live in".

In connection with Christianity this statement can be formulated: Christianity is not naturalistic and does not represent the world we sense, imagine and usually live in. Christianity is not historic, but deals with another dimension of time and existence. The Christian 'intentional inexactitudes' are in its writings, paintings, rituals, ceremonies, mysteries, architecture and music. Understood in this way these 'products' and 'productions' are full of real knowledge, intentionally put there and reaching us from the past. It is a Legominism in the Gurdjieff-terminology.

What Are these Otherwises and Inexactitudes?

I find that the whole of the Christian Tradition comes under the Law of the Otherwise, particularly when it is studied in the writings of the New Testament; it is more frequently presented in this part of The Bible, but can be found in the Old Testament as well. When Christianity is studied this way it is also possible to see why Gurdjieff said that he was teaching Esoteric Christianity, the part that is hidden, but which can be discovered.

Question: are these details taken from The Bible historic facts or examples of the Law of the Otherwise:

  • God created man in His own image; these first people lived in Paradise, until...

  • Eve gave Adam an apple from the Tree of Knowledge and this way they committed the 'original sin'; consequence: we are now all 'banned' from this Paradise

  • God sent his only Son to the earth; His son was given birth by a virgin, called Mary, who was made pregnant by the Holy Ghost

  • The Son, Jesus Christ, is called both the 'Son of Man' and 'the Son of God'; after his Crucifixion the Christ can come and live in each of us; if he does we have 'eternal life'

Much could be said about the big bang and which way God had control over it. If God meant to create man in His own image, he did a lousy job. Paradise has still not been found, although many travel brochures claim so. The tree of knowledge was in the Paradise, so we can not find it either. How did God send his son? How can a virgin be a virgin in the way the Church canons define: before, during and after the birth? And so on.

If we accept these strange things as real historic events and, like it has recently become popular, go after the historic origins, then we arrive, and can only arrive at the history, the past and not what the inner message is: the present, now and 'I am'.

Is the Virgin a virgin or an Otherwise?

Icons tell the story of the Mother of God and they have a way of showing us something that is difficult to catch from a written narrative. This is partly because images relate in us to the more essential part, the emotions, instead of the verbal grinding mill that we call thinking. Moreover, Adam and Eve 'knew' and were driven out - something different must enter.

The Church authorities accepted the Mother of God as part of the official story in the meetings from the fourth to the sixth century. Among the Icons where Virgin Mary is often shown are icons about her birth - quite clearly an event without any basis on any historic fact in the outer world.

Looking at the event of her birth Richard Temple writes:
The birth of the Virgin means here the spiritual birth of which all traditions speak. It is a birth of a new life within that of a human being. This new life can, in turn, if it is properly nourished, give birth to a yet higher kind of new life: Christ. (Ref. 2)

The Church building is said to represent heaven and paradise, it is an unnatural place. Yet I enter the Church quite 'naturally' in spite of all the indications pointing towards something very different. Everything is artificial and otherwise.

There are some very odd customs that those entering the Church are repeating in their different ways. Coming in to the building many of them make 'the Sign of the Cross' and go on to take a candle and lighting it in front of the icon of their choice they again make the sign. Some of the people visit all the icons in front of which candles have been lit, light their own and do the sign. When standing in front of an icon some of them give it a kiss. Some drop down to their knees, bow down to the floor, kiss the ground, stand up and do the sign.

The Liturgy starts and tells a story, which has been designated for today. Most people stand still and listen, making the sign at the appropriate places in the Liturgy. The priest goes round and send incence in front of the icons and the people, who bow towards the priest and make the sign again. Most of the Liturgy is sung by the priest and if there is a choir it will perform similar old melodies, the oldest from the 2nd century. This goes on for one to two hours depending on which Church the Liturgy is performed. In the Monasteries the services are performed many times a day all through the year and lasts up to six hours.

The information of the creation of the inner world in ourselves is veiled in a story that looks historic. The meaning is on another level. The events described and acted can take place in each of us at any moment. The story exist to point this out and it is difficult to see how these 'inner life events' could be spelled out more clearly.


Ref. 1: G. I. Gurdjieff: Beelzebub's Tales, Chapter 30 Art, p. 475

Ref. 2: Richard Temple: Icons and the Mystical Origins of Christianity, p. 157-8


Christianity is more than meets the eye
You have made good points in this article. Christianity (and the other higher religions) are more than meets the eye. The Gurdjieff/Ouspensky pupil Maurice Nicolls work "The new man" goes into these deeper meanings of the gospell (parts of it atleast). This book if it is to be trusted gives a glimpse to the higher diemensions of christianity. The more you read the gospells (and other religious works) the more you discover these inner diemensions, specially when read from a Gurdjieff perspective.

Modern people incl. many lower level Gurdjieff readers have a predjudice towards religion due to 300+ years of bourguise (now middle class) political propaganda (worth an article in itself). Gurdjieff himself says there is religion for man 1,2,3 and so on. Blind men/women don't understand this.

Those seeking alt. gospells like Gospell of Thomas and others check out the iffy site and choose "advanced teachings" you'll find atleast a dozen different christian and gnostic texts.

Mika Kerttunen, Sweden
added 2004-03-09

Inexactitudes i religious art
If you look at ancient art of both the west and east you find these inexactitudes. Be it Egyptian gods of strange proportion (for a reason), statues with strange extra parts or paintings with weird hidden persons or inane postures etc and the list goes on. Gurdjieff or Ouspensky said that this was purposly done. The ancients could with ease done exact depictions of nature BUT choose this strategy instead. Another trace of a tradition in which art was more than modern people percieve it.

B.tales has many of these inexactitudes. Tea made from the "flower" of that plant while we all know its the leaves that are used. (simple example)

Mika Kerttunen, Sweden
added 2004-03-11

History and Otherwise

According to St. John Cassian (and also Origen), there are 4 senses in which Scripture must be read:

  1. historical
  2. allegorical
  3. anagogical
  4. tropological (moral)

Historicity and Otherwise Inexactitudes are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There is also this gem from Fr. John Romanides, which differentiates the Orthodox approach from that of the west:

"What is missing in the work of such Biblical scholars and especially of those who work within and under the weight of the Franco-Latin Augustinian tradition, are the following five keys:

1) That the very core of the Biblical tradition is that religion is a specific sickness with a specific cure. This is what the claim "there is no God except Yahweh" means. Not knowing this fundamental first key one cannot know the second key:

2) That there is a clear distinction between Biblical terms which denote that which is "uncreated" and that which is "created." Not knowing this context one cannot know the third key to Biblical terms:

3) That "it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him."[ 14 ] In other words there is no similarity whatsoever "between the created and the uncreated." Anyone who thinks that Biblical expressions convey concepts about God is sadly mistaken. When used correctly Biblical words and concepts lead one to purification and illumination of the heart which lead to glorification but are not themselves glorification. An integral and essential part of knowing these foregoing three keys is the fourth key:

4) That the cure of the sickness of religion involves at all stages "the transformation of selfish happiness-seeking love" into "the selfless love of one's own crucifixion which is glorification." This glorification, therefore, is not only that of the Lord of Glory Incarnate, "but also that of all prophets and apostles (sent ones) before and after the Incarnation of the Lord of Glory."[ 15 ] These four keys become the fifth contextual key of cure.

5) That "the expressions about God in the Bible are not intended to convey concepts about God. They act only as means to guide one to the purification and illumination of the heart and finally to glorification by the Pre-Incarnate and Incarnate Lord (Yahweh) of Glory which is to see Him by means of His uncreated glory or rule" and "not by means of ephemeral created symbols and concepts about Him" as is the case in the Augustinian tradition."

John Simmons, United States
added 2006-03-23

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