For those who imagine that their ‘political opinions’ are superior to those of others, or that they have the ability ‘to make a difference’ by engaging in political action or going on various demonstrations etc., it is worth reflecting on the following words of Gurdjieff as recorded by Ouspensky:
“Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man can’t produce a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks and feels, all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything: It all happens.
To establish this fact for oneself, to understand it, to be convinced of its truth, means getting rid of a thousand illusions about man, about his being creative, and being consciously organising his own life and so on. There is nothing of this kind. Everything happens ––popular movements, wars, revolutions, changes of government, all this happens. And it happens in exactly the same way as everything happens in the life of the individual man.
Man is born, lives, dies, builds houses and writes books, not as he wants to but as it happens. Everything happens. Man does not love, hate, desire –– all this happens. But no one will ever believe you if you tell him he can do nothing. This is the most offensive and the most unpleasant thing you can tell people. And it is particularly unpleasant and offensive because it is the truth and nobody wants to hear the truth.
It is one thing to understand with the mind and another thing to feel it with one’s whole mass, to be really convinced that it is so and never forget it”.
––– (G.I. Gurdjieff, as recorded by P. D. Ouspensky) –––
The Buddha, 2000 years earlier, was able to formulate this more elegantly as follows:
“Events happen, deeds are done, but there is no individual doer thereof”.