Relativity - Esoteric Principle Of
The principle of relativity is the principle by which new standards are set within the language structure so as to establish the proper points of reference for the correct understanding of different concepts with respect to different levels of meaning. Gurdjieff sees this principle as a necessity to prevent misunderstandings arising from mixing one level of meaning with another resulting in what QFS calls the cross conceptualization of ideas.
Many of our misunderstandings and arguments are due to this "mixing of levels," that is, we are mixing up the experiences of different worlds. For proper understanding of any given concept a new language is necessary.
Concerning this new language, Gurdjieff says in Ouspenskys book In Search Of The Miraculous page 70
"For exact understanding exact language is necessary. And the study of systems of ancient knowledge begins with the study of a language which will make it possible to establish at once exactly what is being said, from what point of view, and in what connection. This new language contains hardly any new terms or new nomenclature, but it bases the construction of speech upon a new principle, namely the principle of relativity, that is to say, it introduces relativity into all concepts and thus makes possible an accurate determination of the angle of thought, for what precisely ordinary language lacks are expressions of relativity.
"The fundamental property of the new language is that all ideas in it are concentrated round one idea, that is, they are taken to their mutual relationship from the point of view of one idea. This idea is the idea of evolution [or from the point of view of QFS terminology - Ascension]. Of course, not evolution in the sense of mechanical evolution, because such an evolution does not exist, but in the sense of a conscious and volitional evolution, which alone is possible.
"When a man has mastered this language, then, with its help, there can be transmitted and communicated to him a great deal of knowledge and information which cannot be transmitted in ordinary language even by using all possible and philosophical terms.
"Everything in the world, from solar system to man, and from man to atom, either rises or descends, either evolves or degenerates, either develops or decays. But nothing evolves mechanically. Only degeneration or destruction proceed mechanically. That which cannot evolve consciously - degenerates. Help from outside is possible only in so far as it is valued and accepted, even if it is by feeling in the beginning."
"The language which understanding is possible is constructed upon the indication of the relation of the object under examination to the evolution possible for it; upon the indication of its PLACE in the evolutionary ladder."
"For this reason many of our usual ideas are divided according to the steps of this evolution." [End Quote]
Thus, if there are different gradations of evolutionary levels to the existing universe then, correspondingly, there are different levels of meanings ascribed to any idea or concept with respect to this gradation. The word "man" may mean one thing at one level but may mean quite another thing at another level and so on. For example, lets look at the word man. If there is a stratification of the existing world comprising 7 different levels of density or, to put it another way, if there are 7 levels of "worlds" that make up the universe, as the Gurdjieffian cosmology proposes, then there are also seven different meanings ascribed to word "man." There are now 7 different meanings for the term "man" and each meaning has specific relevance with respect to the meaning above it and the meaning below it. This perspective now puts the meaning of this term within proper context.