Glossary of Fourth Way terms
The Fourth Way system has its own special language which may seem unusual to outsiders. This glossary is meant to help those of you who are not already familiar with these terms.
being: A term roughly equivilant to "experience", "understanding", or "wisdom". The Fourth Way system tends to view knowledge as matter, and therefore different "levels of being" are associated with different physiological states; ie, a person with a higher level of being is considered to have accumulated more higher hydrogens.
chief feature: The core psychological weakness at the root of all one's psychological problems.
hydrogens: A name synonymous with "matter". Hydrogens come in many varieties, from the "coarse" to the "refined". Coarse hydrogens are associated with heavy matter and lower negative states of consciousness, whereas refined hydrogens are associated with light matter and higher subtle states of consciousness. See impressions.
impressions: An "impression" is that which is absorbed by the mind during the act of observation. This term is another example of how the Fourth Way sees everything as material, even psychological processes. This term was also used as a label for artwork officially sanctioned by the school; for example, "I framed some impressions today and hung them on my wall."
life: A derogatory term applied to people outside of "the Work". People who are not active members of Fourth Way schools. Also used as an adjective; ie, "try to avoid listening to life music." Perhaps an abbreviation for "ordinary life".
magnetic center: The collection of psychological and spiritual interests which drive one's thirst for additional understanding, which attracts one to an esoteric school. Again, the materialistic Fourth Way system tends to treat this almost as though it is a physical organ or object, rather than seeing it as a mental tendency or interest.
man number 1: An ordinary person whose primary motivation in life revolves around pleasures and needs of the physical body. The spiritual path of a man number 1 is supposedly "the way of the fakir", or the development of higher consciousness by overcoming physical pain and needs.
man number 2: An ordinary person whose primary motivation in life revolves around emotions, relationships, art, music, etc. The spiritual path of a man number 2 is supposedly "the way of the monk", the way of faith and devotion to a higher power.
man number 3: An ordinary person whose primary motivation in life revolves around the intellect. The spiritual path of a man number 3 is said to be "the way of the yogi", the way of contemplation and introspection.
man number 4: A person who is said to have attained a permanent aim towards the achievement of higher consciousness. According to the Fourth Way, a person can only become a man number 4 through active involvement with an esoteric school.
man number 5: A person who has "awakened", who supposedly can understand himself without distortion or subjectivity. It is claimed that a man number 5 also has paranormal abilities but these are never spoken of.
man number 6: A person who has achieved "objective consciousness", who supposedly can understand not only himself but the universe as a whole without distortion or subjectivity. It is claimed that a man number 6 also has paranormal abilities but these are never spoken of. A man number 6 supposedly is outside of the wheel of recurrence.
mechanical: An adjective describing behavior or thoughts which go on without conscious awareness.
obligatories: The traditional physical exercises (or "dances") associated with Gurdjieff's schools. Also known as "the movements". They are complicated repetitive routines in which the student takes a series of unusual postures. In theory, it is claimed that these are intentional exercises designed to effect specific psychological gains. Generally these exercises also include hyperventilation.
photograph: A comment you make to another person when you observe them behaving in a way that is mechanical, lacking in conscious awareness, or against the aims of the school.
processes: According to Ouspensky, all of man's actions can be categorized into six broad categories, called "processes": growth, elimination, healing, crime, digestion, and regeneration.
recurrence: A theory similar to the concept of reincarnation, except that we continue to repeat the same identical life over and over with little or no change.
work octave: Jargon for activity organized by the school. For example, "the work octave for this weekend is to install a new hot tub in the teachers' bedroom." In theory, students engage in work octaves to practice applying the ideas learned during the week.