An Introduction to Gurdjieff’s “Human Factory”: The “Scale of Matter” and the “Three Foods”

Possibly, the most interesting and challenging topic in the teaching of Gurdjieff, is what is commonly known as the “transmutation of energy”. Here, I would like to introduce the first of a series of posts which will be devoted to this argument in a way that is, as best as it can be, understandable, accessible, and without too many complicated and abstract terms, as this is a topic which is perhaps, one of the most cryptic that Gurdjieff had revealed.

In an earlier series of posts, I wrote about the use of the Triads in order to better understand what an action is, and how it is possible to achieve a determined result using the appropriate triad. I will begin from where this series of posts had ended, and continue with the following statement: In order to make any type of conscious action, we need also, the necessary energy to be used. First of all, is the energy that we can absorb into our system, which we can transform in order to make it appropriate for a determined intentional action.

So, let’s try to clarify this argument, beginning with some hints regarding the “scale of matter” related to a human being and his psychophysical system.


Everything that exists possesses a certain degree of density of matter which corresponds to a determined level of vibration. This is related not only to what we can touch with our hands. Thoughts and emotions have also a density and vibration, though certainly a lower density and a higher vibrational level than a stone.

Thus, we can delineate a scale of values on which peak is the lowest possible density of matter and the highest possible vibrational degree. Descending the scale, the vibrations gradually lower, and the density of matter gradually and proportionally increases.


So, to make an example: a piece of lead – a material that is known for its density, will be placed in the lower part on this scale, while an emotion will be placed on a higher part of the same. Of course, this is a simplification to give an idea about what we are going to introduce.

Now, let’s give some values to this scale in order to understand how it’s possible to transform and refine the matter along this scale.


In order to do so, we’ll use the same measure that Gurdjieff had used – the musical scale.

Such as we can notice on the keyboard of a piano, there is a series of frets that represent the musical scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si) and every seven notes, the sequence is repeated again in the same way. Such series of notes is known as an “octave” to indicate the repetition of the sequence beginning from the eighth note. This musical sequence represents a specific universal principle known as the law of seven, of which we had already mentioned several times on this blog.

The Human Foods

A human being is also composed from many “materials” of different frequency and density; dependent on the energy he receives, a human being functions as a “chemical factory”, which has the tools for elaborating, combining and refining the rough materials it has at disposal. In other words, a human being is able to absorb rough materials and refine them inside of himself. In such a way, the vibratory frequency of these materials increases.

The raw material is the energy that is assimilated by a human being through three means: the food he eats, the air he breathes, and the impressions he receives from the senses.

As it’s known, the food is introduced to the body through the mouth, and digested in the lower part of the body (stomach and intestines). Through the process of digestion, the density of the food is transformed, refined, lowered and filtered in the blood.

The air is absorbed through the nostrils and elaborated in the middle part of the body (the lungs). The oxygen is separated from the air and filtered in the blood such as the food, but this time, the process is much faster, since the air is less dense than the food.

The impressions come from all the sense organs, and are elaborated from the brain. Even here, something more “dense” (sensory stimuli) is refined into something more “subtle” (the emotional responses).

Thus, there are three different types of materials, each of which is elaborated in a different part of the body, which Gurdjieff used to refer to, as a “machine”.

In an ordinary state, such a “machine” is designed exclusively to conserve its own life, but as a “chemical factory” is ineffective because it consumes all that it produces. It’s unable to store or export anything for other purposes than to maintain its life. The possibility for the inner development of an individual depends on the storing of “subtle”, more refined matter produced from its “machine”. So, we must find a solution to enable us to increase the production of energy. A system exists, which is able to allow us, to overcome this insufficiency.

To be continued….


About mr Sarmoung

Andrea Dandolo je pisac i istražitelj razvoja svijesti i duhovnosti uključen u razotkrivanje drevnih učenja s ciljem olakšavanja unutarnjeg razvoja ljudskih bića. Jedan od načina kojima se time bavi je i kroz blog koji je preveden na engleski, španjolski i od nedavno hrvatski. Od rane mladosti je u svijetu duhovnosti i rada na sebi sudjelujući u radu grupa koje potječu direktno od Gurdjieffa, tj koje su bile vođene od strane samog Gurdjieffa U skladu sa drevnim znanjima, naglašava razvoj svjesnosti kao primarno sredstvo za psihološku transformaciju i duhovnu osvještenost individualaca. Karakteristike sistema koji predlaže su jednostavan jezik i moderni prijevod drevnih učenja kao i njihove praktične primjene u svakodnevnome životu. Njegov blog čitaju ljudi iz svih krajeva svijeta. Samorazvoj je ne religiozni i ne dogmatski put; sastoji se primarno od naprednog dostizanja viših stanja svijesti, p prisustva i konačno od ostvarivanja svoje prave intimne prirode, koja je poznata u mnogim tradicijama pod imenima poput esencija, duša, biće. Kroz takav razvoj individualna osoba ulazi u nove dimenzije svijesti koje mu omogućuju da vidi stvarnost sakrivenu iza iluzija. To mu omogućuje kreiranje osobnosti neovisne i otporne na vanjske situacije i vanjska uvjetovanja. Posljedice takvog razvoja su oštra inteligencija, izvanredni kreativni kapaciteti, ravnoteža i smirenost u svakoj situaciji i stabilno stanje višeg stanja svijesti koje je poznato u drevnim tradicijama pod nazivom “buđenje”.
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1 Response to An Introduction to Gurdjieff’s “Human Factory”: The “Scale of Matter” and the “Three Foods”

  1. Pingback: Gurdjieff’s “Human Factory” #1: The “Transformation” and the “Hydrogens” | Sarmoung's Blog

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