Lecture 22 — Human Metabolism

by P D Ouspensky


Contents List:

Matter and Vibration
Man as a Chemical Factory
Waste
The Food Diagram
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Inner Alchemy

Return to:

"Campus"

See also:

Cosmic "Chemistry" and Relativity
Man's Place in the World
More About Centres


Matter and Vibration

Last time I gave you a scale of matter in relation to man and the human body. Every level represents a certain density of matter and a certain rate of vibrations or, as it is called in the system, density of vibrations. The top do represents the smallest possible density of matter and the quickest rate of vibrations. Vibrations gets slower and slower descending the scale and come to almost nothing at the end, while the density of matter increases correspondingly and comes to its maximum.

Each of these matters represents a very large range. Now we must study man as a chemical factory and see what role these matters play in the human body. Some of these hydrogens we can study physically or chemically, while the presence of others we can determine only psychologically. Thus the table of hydrogens gives us the possibility of studying both physical and psychological manifestations as manifestations of the same order but of different degrees of materiality.

Man as a Chemical Factory

People often ask where man's energy comes from. From this point of view man can be regarded as a chemical factory that receives raw materials from the outside and transforms them into other materials of a finer quality.

The three kinds of material which man gets from outside are the food he eats, the air he inhales, and the impressions he receives. Food is always H768, air is always H192, but impressions can be very varied. For the beginning of study, for understanding the principle, we take as a standard of impressions H48. H48 represents just ordinary colourless impressions without any character. If I see this piece of paper, this is impression 48, nothing more. But actually impressions can be of very good or very bad quality. We will speak about that later.

From these three kinds of material, the machine produces all the matters needed for the work of centres. In the ordinary state, the human machine works well enough for maintaining its own life; but as a chemical factory it is unsatisfactory because it consumes everything it produces: it cannot export or store anything. Yet the development of man depends on storing the higher matters produced by his machine, so we must think about ways of increasing the production.

Waste

Before we can think about increasing production, we must study the factory from the point of view of waste. There are many leaking parts in the machine, and if we do not stop these leaks, increased production will only increase the leaks. We have already spoken about the leaks so, although I will now show you how the factory works, and even how production can be increased, the leaks are not shown in the diagram. But they are all in you, and you must remember that you cannot increase production in your present state, for first of all you must stop all the leaks. After this is done, it will be useful to learn practical ways of improving the work of the factory. This is the principle.

The Food Diagram


Fig. 08

I will show you three stages or three states of this chemical factory: first, how it works in ordinary Man 1, 2, and 3; then how it works with one definite kind of effort; and finally, how it works with a second definite kind of effort.

We take the machine as a three-storeyed factory. The three storeys represent the head, the middle part of the body, and the lower part of the body with the spinal cord.

Stage 1

Food (H768) enters the top storey and passes to the bottom storey as Oxygen 768. In the body it meets with a certain Carbon 192 and, mixing with this Carbon, becomes Nitrogen 384. Nitrogen 384 meets with another Carbon, 96, and with the help of this Carbon changes from Oxygen 384 to Nitrogen 192. It is an ascending octave, so these stages represent the notes do, re, mi. After mi there is a hiccup and the octave cannot develop any further by itself.

It is very interesting that up to this point and one step further, we can follow its development with the help of ordinary physiological knowledge. When food enters the mouth it meets with several different sorts of saliva and is mixed with them in the process of mastication. Then it passes into the stomach and is worked on by gastric juices which break down sugars, proteins, and fats. From there it goes into the intestines and meets with bile, pancreatic and intestinal juices, which transform it into the smallest elements. These go through the wall of the bowel into venous blood which is taken to the liver, where it meets with other carbons which change it chemically, and so to the heart which pumps the venous blood to the lungs. Here the greatly transformed food is oxygenated by the entry of air and returned to the heart as arterial blood.

In this diagram, all the various matters present in the body which the food meets with up to mi are divided into two categories, Carbon 192 and Carbon 96. Veinous blood is mi 192 and arterial blood is fa 96.

At the point where mi 192 cannot develop any further, another kind of food enters — air. It enters as Oxygen 192, meets with a certain Carbon 48, and with its help is transformed into re 96, and this production of re 96 gives a shock to mi 192 of the food octave enabling it to pass to fa 96. Beyond this, physiological knowledge cannot go.

Re 96 of the air octave meets a corresponding Carbon and produces mi 48; and with the help of the same Carbon, fa 96 of the food octave transforms into sol 48. Sol 48 can develop further, but mi 48 cannot, so the development of the air octave stops at this point. Sol 48 of the food octave passes into la 24 and la 24 into si 12 and stops there.

Impressions enter as do 48, but cannot develop any further because at their place of entry there is no Carbon 12 to help them. Nature has not provided it — or rather has not produced enough to have any considerable effect — so do 48 does not transform and the three octaves stop at that.

Think about this diagram and connect it with what has been said earlier — that nature brings man to a certain state and then leaves him to develop himself. Nature gives man possibilities, but does not develop these possibilities. It enables him to live. It provides air, for otherwise the food octave could not go on, but the rest he must do himself. The machine is so arranged that air enters at the right moment and in the right consistency and gives a mechanical shock.

It is important to recognise that the Food Diagram, or the Diagram of Nutrition, consists of three stages. The first stage that I have just described shows how things happen in ordinary normal man. The food octave goes all the way from do 768 to si 12. There are three notes of the air octave and one note of the impressions octave. If we want to develop further, we must increase the production of higher matters, and in order to do that we must understand and know how to do it — not only theoretically but in actual fact, because it needs a long time to learn how to use this knowledge and to make the right efforts.

Stage 2

Generally, a man has enough carbons for ordinary normal life and there may even be a store of them. We do not have to produce Carbon 12, but we may have to bring it from one part of the machine to another part, and this means special effort — though we will not know we are doing it.

If we know how to bring Carbon 12 to the right place and if we make the necessary effort, the development of the air and impressions octaves goes further. The second stage shows what happens when the right shock has been given.

Do 48 of the impressions octave is transformed into re 24 and mi 12. The air octave receives a shock from the impressions octave and mi 48 transforms into fa 24, sol 12, and even a small quantity of la 6. You must understand that the air is saturated with higher hydrogens which, in certain cases, can be retained by the organism in the process of breathing. But the amount of higher hydrogens that we can get from the air is very small. This stage represents the work of the human machine with one mechanical and one conscious shock.

Stage 3

The third stage shows what happens when a second conscious shock is given at the right place. The first conscious shock is necessary at do 48. The second conscious shock is needed where mi 12 of the impressions octave and si 12 of the food octave have stopped in their development and cannot go on any further by themselves. Although there are carbons in the organism which would help them to be transformed, they are far away and cannot be reached, so another effort is necessary. If we know its nature and can produce this second conscious shock, mi 12 will develop into fa 6 and si 12 into do 6.

The effort must begin from mi 12, so we must understand what mi 12 is psychologically. We can call it our ordinary emotions, that is to say, all strong emotions that we may have. When our emotions reach a certain degree of intensity, there is mi 12 in them. But in our present state, only our unpleasant emotions actually reach mi 12; our ordinary pleasant emotions usually remain 24. It is not that our intense unpleasant emotions actually are mi 12, but they are based on it and need it in order to be produced. So the beginning of this second effort and preparation for it is work on negative emotions.

Inner Alchemy

This is the general outline of the work of the human organism and of how this work can be improved. It is important to understand where conscious shocks are necessary because, if you understand this, it will help you to understand many other difficulties in the Food Diagram.

You must understand too that these three octaves are not of equal force. If you take the force of the food octave, you will see that it gives certain results, certain effects that can be measured. Although the matter taken from the air plays a very important part, the air octave represents a very small quantity of hydrogens, whereas the impressions octave is very powerful and may have an enormous meaning in relation to self-remembering, states of consciousness, emotions, and so on. So we can say that the relationship of the three octaves is not equal, because one has more substance, another less.

This is our inner alchemy, the transmutation of base metals into precious metals. Higher matters contain more energy than coarser matters. When they mix, higher hydrogens bring their energy into coarser matters. But all this alchemy is inside us, not outside.

The first conscious shock is self-remembering together with all you are advised to do from the beginning, i.e. self-observation, non-identifying, etc. The second conscious shock is the transformation of negative emotions into positive emotions, but is possible only after long work on self-remembering, when you can be conscious for a long time and when higher emotional centre begins to work. This is what brings us to the state of Man 5, so it is very far from where we are now. Mi 12, combined with a special effort, can produce positive emotion.

However, work on both aspects goes on simultaneously. The first conscious shock prepares for the second and the second amplifies the first. You do not finish one and pass on to the other.