The Adaptive Energies
The adaptive energies, E9, E5 and E1, are those energies which allow bodies and systems to adapt or adjust themselves to their environments and surroundings so to function successfully as instruments for higher energies. Without the adaptive energies, all things remain fixed and stagnant.
Following Bennett, the lowest adaptive energy, E9, is described using the term–plastic. This is the energy which allows a body to modify its internal configuration without losing it essential nature. This is the energy responsible for the mechanical property of deformation seen in plastic, rubber, metallic and organic materials. For example, metals will lengthen and deform elastically (strain) as a function of applied load (stress) up to a certain limit, after which, the applied force is sufficient to permanently disrupt the internal structure of the solid. These effects can be seen by plotting strain (elongation/resting length) versus stress (load/area) on a 2-D scatter plot. The linear region of the strain-stress diagram is characterized by the modulus of elasticity; the point of material ‘flow’ occurs at the ‘yield’ point. Given sufficient stress, the material will eventually fracture into two separated parts.
The effects discussed above exist because material objects are not continuously solid or liquid. All forms of matter, solid, liquid, gas or plasma, are composed of interacting particle-aggregates (cosmic concentrations in the language of Gurdjieff) separated by ’empty’ space or holes. Moreover, these cosmic concentrations are not rigid, stagnant points in space; but active centers of vibration, rotation and translation. These holes or imperfections allow material objects to respond to external forces since adaptive changes can only occur via movement from occupied into unoccupied space (the physical property of mutual self-exclusion of two bodies having the same spatial coordinates is one definition of space).
The plastic energy, or energy of configuration, is apparent whenever we try to bend a wire, form clay into a beautiful vase or pick-up a glass of water. Plastic energy is the energy of bodily motion. Plastic energy can be observed in the repetitive beating of the heart, in the peristalsis of the gut, in the stretching and relaxing of the arterial vessels, in the graceful movements of a ballerina. Self-organizing, living systems could not exist without this energy.
The second adaptive energy, E5, is best exemplified by the term–sensitive energy. This vital energy is what allows animals and man to be ‘sensitive to or aware of their immediate environment’; to be aware of what is happening and ones’s place in it. Sensitivity, at its highest levels of expression, is synonymous with the common level of consciousness we introduced previously. 2016 NOTE: Please be careful using the word ‘consciousness’ when describing the workings of the sensitive energy. Real consciousness arises at E4. The difference being that the sensitive energies allows the mind-brain to be aware that one’s desires are rarely uniform and more than one alternative is possible. Conscious energies allows us to work towards changing our programming sometime in the temporal future.
For mechanical creatures, sensitivity represents the normal upper limits of consciousness and the highest energy which can normally be controlled. Based upon quantum mechanical explanations of brain function, it is reasonable to speculate that the sensitive energy and its qualities of feeling arise in conjunction with the hierarchical neural circuitry of the brain.(3)
All expressions of multicellular life require the working of the sensitive energy to some degree or other. At its simplest level, manifestations of this energy are observed during the continual reorientation movements of the stem and leaves of a plant so to obtain maximum exposure to the sun (phototropism). More complicated manifestations of the sensitive energy occur as one moves from plants to simple vertebrates (snakes) to mammals to men. Expression of the sensitive energy flowers in the actions of mankind.
The sensitive energy is responsible for providing functional information to the creature as to the consequences of following one alternative behavior versus a competing behavior. In the non-primate mammals this energy manifests primarily as a sensitivity to what is good to eat or not to eat, locating a place which is safe to sleep and not to sleep in and so on. This energy enables a living creature to come into useful contact with its physical surroundings. Sensitive energy works via the functional activity of the brain by empowering alternative pathways, such that the more energetic normally prevails.
I would venture that humans and the highest primates are sometimes aware of the presence of alternatives, but are unable to effectively influence which alternative will manifest as true choice is not available using the sensitive energy.
In mankind, the sensitive energy enables us to be cognizant of the thoughts, feelings and bodily states arising within our brains due to associations, reactions and sensations from the external world. The operation and transformation of this energy explains why, when given two choices, we choose vanilla ice cream over chocolate, we like Ann better than Jennifer, we prefer yes over no. Inflows of sensitive energy allow us to be aware of the current choices and actions available in the situation; truly conscious energy, E4, allows us to initiate new, original choices and actions outside of our normal programming
Normally men and women exist only as thoughts, feelings and bodily states subject to each and every fleeting contact with the world and the resulting triggered desires and wants. For these people, making choices really reduces to only an automatic or reflexive response to situations using programs stored within the lower brain centers (the formatory apparatus of Gurdjieff). Most persons do not use the sensitive energy so to be aware of the details explaining why they are choosing one alternative over another; why do they prefer A over B; why do they prefer yes over no! Most people are not even aware of the words or concepts they are using in the midst of a conversation.
The energy state associated with reflexive responding was well described by Carlos Castenada when he related how his benefactor, Don Juan, said that most people were surrounded by a luminous egg having an organizing center. Gurdjieff described this state as a cloud drifting along with the body lacking in any kind of definite organization. Whenever it is interested in something, the energy concentrates in that direction. When we find something we like to eat it becomes a mouth; when we want sex it becomes a sexual organ. The capacity for such temporary organization is about the only manifestation of the sensitive energy in most persons.
Intentional use of the sensitive energy can provide an arena for contact between our physiology and our worlds. We can ask ourselves what do these words coming from my mouth really mean? What are the ‘facts’ underlying my feelings? Why do my neck muscles get tight at work? Why do I always respond the same way even though I regret my actions later?
Intentional use of the sensitive energy can provide an arena for contact between our physiology and our worlds. Intentional use of the sensitive energy (mind-brain processing) requires resonance with ‘conscious energy’ or E4. Whenever, we are present to the moment, we can ask ourselves what do these words coming from my mouth really mean? What are the ‘facts’ underlying my feelings? Why do my neck muscles get tight at work? Why do I always respond the same way even though I regret my actions later?
Working with this energy means that whenever our attention is pulled towards an object, such that our emotional or instinctive interests cause this energy to concentrate like a mouth in the direction of the attractor, that we pay attention before responding. If we are to become that which we can be, we need to learn how to arouse and work with this energy in our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations and allow conscious energy to guide it.
Working with this energy means allowing the higher conscious energies to blend with the automatic energies so to actualize the sensitive energies.
The last of the adaptive energies, E1, is the transcendent or transfinite energy responsible for the Totality. This is the master energy of all energies. This energy is something that cannot be described since it is outside the scope of any being existing within the near-infinite boundaries of Creation.