Review of In Search of the Miraculous by PD Ouspensky from a Trader's perspective

WD Gann was greatly influenced by the teachings of Gurdjieff. PD Ouspensky was a student of Gurdjieffs who authored 2 books on Gann's recommended reading list. This book by Ouspensky introduced Gurdjieff's teachings to the world.

Ouspensky starts out discussing consciousness. He moves from there into the laws of the universe starting first with the law of three then the law of seven or octaves. This sets the foundation for a discussion of “vibration”. Nobody knows exactly what Gann meant when he talked about vibration in palces like the ticker interview, but nobody doubts Gurdjieff greatly influenced his thinking. To know Gann we must know Gurdjieff and there is no better place to begin than with Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous.

“G” (which is what people called Gurdjieff) “G” said: we can only know consciousness within ourselves. To be able to observe ourselves we must first “remember”. The process of self-remembering, is turning one's attention on the object being observed or oneself. This is meditation or contemplating one's navel.

“G” said his teachings were the laws of the universe and that they were universal. The first law he taught is the "Law of Three". In everything there is a positive a negative and a nuetralizing. These three forces manifest in all of creation. The second law of the universe is the Law of the Seven which is also known as the "Law of Octaves". To begin to understand the law of seven, we need to understand what is meant by vibrations and vice versa; its a paradox so lets begin.

Everything in the univere is vibrations and everyone is familiar with vibrations. They are the shaking that happens when a train rolls by. They are the noise we hear and feel coming from the kid's car next to use at the stop light. They are the up and down movements we observe on a stock chart. But vibrations are much more that that. Vibrations are the clearly defined stoping points when numerical sequences double then double again. Vibrations are the way DNA knows what's coming next in the sequence. Vibrations are the light the sound and even solid objects see, hear and touch. They are uniform, smooth, continuous so our senses mislead us to believe but “G” teaches us the true nature of vibration. We learn there is discontinuity within vibrations, we learn that quantum jumps occur along the continum.

Digging deeper we learn that all vibrations are discontinous; that they develop with periodic fits and starts we labeled accelerations and retardations. The impetus, or original force with which the vibration begins is itself not continuous either, rather it too varies from strong to weak… light to dark… up to down… inside to out… like everything. So vibration IS change. Imutable unavoidable change. Vibration is the continous interaction of the three forces: positive negative and nuetralizing. But there is more. The time intervals between alternations which comprise the vibration are not continuous either. Unlike the nice clean sine wave we think of, vibrations are not symetric.

Vibrations are not symetric, but they are not random either. There is a method to madness of vibrations. The manner in which vibration goes about doubling then doubling again is predictable. We know where in the process of doubling (or halving) the acceleration or retardations will take place. One is near the beginning. The other is near the end.

The notes within the octave divide up the space between the doubling into seven un-equal sections. Notes correspond to the quantum steping stone in the vibration. The ends of each division, the notes, are the locations where accelertations and retardations can happen. No process dwells in the no-man's land interval between notes; it always is beating a straight path towards one note or the other.

If we know apriori (beforehand), where the intervals of the octave lie then we know where to expect "acceleration" or "retardation". And We can know approri where the intervals lie but that is beyond the scope of this book review. Now can you see how Gurdjeiff influenced Gann's thinking?

So we divide the octave in to seven unequal parts with 8 (as in octave) unequally spaced notes. Endpoints of adjacent octaves are shared through a correspondence by the octave above and below. As above so below. If there were just one secret, just one formula which held the key to the universe, the law of the octave surely is it.

Lets dig deeper. Musicians everywhere are familiar with the seven-tone scale. Every student has practiced his scales from C to (shining) C on his wind instrument. The Guitar player quickly learns which cords or combination of tones resonate in 'perfect harmony'. This is real world law of the octave applied to everyday music.

Who doesn't remember Julie Andrews teaching music to the Van Trap family singers? From the classic, The Sound of Music:


lets start at the very beginning
a very good place to start

when you read you begin with A-B-C
when you sing you begin with DO-RE-MI

kid: do re mi
DO RE MI … 

the first three notes just happen to be : DO-RE-MI
kid: do re mi … 

DO-RE-MI-FA-SOL-LA-TI … 
oh let me see if i can make it easier

DOE   A DEER A FEMALE DEER
RAY   A DROP OF GOLDEN SUN
ME   A NAME I CALL MYSELF
FAR   A LONG LONG WAY TO RUN
SEW   A NEEDLE PULLING THREAD 
LA   A NOTE TO FOLLOW SEW
TEA   A DRINK WITH JAM AND BREAD
THAT WILL BRING US BACK TO DO …  oh oh oh

DOE   A DEER A FEMALE DEER
RAY   A DROP OF GOLDEN SUN
ME   A NAME I CALL MYSELF
FAR   A LONG LONG WAY TO RUN
SEW   A NEEDLE PULLING THREAD 
LA   A NOTE TO FOLLOW SEW
TEA   A DRINK WITH JAM AND BREAD
THAT WILL BRING US BACK TO … 

(kid)
DOE   A DEER A FEMALE DEER
RAY   A DROP OF GOLDEN SUN
ME   A NAME I CALL MYSELF
FAR   A LONG LONG WAY TO RUN
(EVERYONE)
SEW   A NEEDLE PULLING THREAD 
LA   A NOTE TO FOLLOW SEW
TEA   A DRINK WITH JAM AND BREAD
THAT WILL BRING US BACK TO DO

DO-RE-MI-FA-SOL-LA-TI-DO … .SO DO!

now children, do re mi fa sol and so on..
are only the tools to build a song … 
once you have these notes in your head you can 
sing a millions different tunes my mixing them up!!!
like this:

SOL-DO-LA-FA-MI-DO-RE
(kid)SOL-DO-LA-FA-MI-DO-RE

SOL-DO-LA-TI-DO-RE-DO
(kid)SOL-DO-LA-TI-DO-RE-DO

(julie)NOW put them all together!!

(all)
SOL-DO-LA-FA-MI-DO-RE
SOL-DO-LA-TI-DO-RE-DO

"GOOD"
(girl)"BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING!!!"
"so we put in words, one word for every note" 

WHEN YOU KNOW THE NOTES TO SING,
YO CAN SING MOST ANYTHING!!!

Now we have the names of the notes in the cosmic octave. The ratios of the pitch or frequency of the notes are a follows:


do: 1 
re: 9/8 
mi: 10/8, or 5/4 
fa: 4/3 
sol: 12/8, or 3/2 
la: 5/3 
si: 15/8 
do: 16/8, or 2 

The difference in acceleration is as follows:


do -> re: (9/8 : 1) = 9/8 
re -> mi: (10/8 : 9/8) = 10/9 
mi -> fa: (4/3 : 10/8) = 16/15 [increase retarded] 
fa -> so: (3/2 : 4/3) = 9/8 
so -> la: (5/3 : 3/2) = 10/9 
la -> si: (15/8 : 5/3) = 9/8 
si -> do: (16/8 : 15/8) = 16/15 [increase again retarded] 

The differences in the pitch or frequencies of the notes are the intervals. We see that there are only three different intervals within the octave: 9/8, 10/9, and the 16/15. The smallest interval, where 16/15 occurs, is where retardation happens. Back to music for second. One semitone is found between the following pairs: do-re, re-mi, fa-sol, sol-la, and la-si. A semitone does not exist in the mi-fa and si-do intervals.

So what exactly is the law of octaves telling us you ask? Because everything in the natural universe (the all) is vibration there are no straight lines. A deviation occurs at the point of retardation/accelleration along the octave. Imagine a straight line conecting adjacent notes. But the line changes direction at each note. Eventually the straight lines connecting the notes in the octave trace out a faceted circle. We return to where we began. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust so must everything begin and end again.

The law of the octave is telling us that every thing will morph into something else. Because all is vibration change is the only constant. The child matures and becomes old. The seed becomes the sprout that becomes the tree which eventually dies and becomes fertilizer for then next seed. The country is born under freedom and slowly becomes totalitarian. The market begins as a bull but slowy changes into a bear. All because of inconsistencies within the octave.

So now we can begin to better undestand all that we experience in our daily lives:

  • The Waxing and Waning of Good times and bad
  • The passing of the leadership baton from one civilization or religion to the next
  • The rise and fall of great leaders and political parties

    Nothing can stay where it is. Change is only constant. If we as individuals are no ascending then we are surely decending. This is or inevitable lot in life.

    Thusfar the discussion has centered around the fundemantal octave. But there are also subordinate octaves. Subordinate octaves are octaves contained within the fundemental octave. Think of a tree having a trunk. The fundamental octave is the trunk of the tree and the subodinate octaves are the branches. Within each interval of the fundemental octave there is subordinate ocatve. The smallest whole number division of the diatonic octave is 192.

    Nature is comprised of vibrations within vibrations. We see the superimposed manifestation of all vibrations which sometimes bares a striking resemblance to a caucaophany. Subsequently organic life on earth takes in vibrational influences from the next higher or planetary vibration and it from the galaxy and so on so forth ad infiitum. Ultimately planetary influences are the cause and the events humans experience are as the trickle down/up vibrational symphony acts out its cosmic performance.

    Next Ospensky shifts gears and begins discussing the nature or knowledge. Ordinary knowledge which is based on ordinary observation is called subjective knowledge. On the other hand, knowledge which is based apon the ancient teachings such as what G shared with the world is whats known as objective knowledge. One of the cornerstones of objective knowledge is the concept of unity. Through objecive consciousness we are able to see the unity of all things.

    We are told that the myths passed down through the ages in the form of story and religion were designed to transmitt objective ideas to the higher emotional center of man. Symbols were designed to activate the higher thinking centers. Symbols were also divided into the fundamental and the subordinate. Allow me a brief aside… could it be crop circles are attempting to tell us something important through visual symbolism? I think yes. Unfortunately the rossetta stone need to decipher them has not yet been discovered. Which begs the question who or what is sending these symbolic messages?

    One formula is of particular significance, "As above, so below", which was found on the "Emerald Tabels of Hermes Trismegistus". This formula states that all the laws of the cosmos could be found in the atom or in any of ther phenomenon which exists in the natural world. This has profound significance. All Road Lead to Rome. No matter what object the student studies, be it the human body the atom or the solar system, he should arrive at the very same conclusions about the natural universe. Ultimately everything is stardust and although we don't it knows it! This concept speaks to the profound unitiy of all things. Some simple symbols are as follows:

    1. two parallel lines
    2. equilateral triangle
    3. square
    4. 5-pointed star which points upward, the pentagram
    5. 6-pointed star, the Star of David, Seal of Solomon

    More about the seal of solomon… Man sees the manifestation of two principles, one opposed to the other, which, in conjuction or in opposition, give one result or another. Man intrduces the "line of will" into the circle of time and into the cycle of eternity. When this is accomplished, it creates within him the symbol known as the "Seal of Solomon".

    A man has five centers:

    1. thinking,
    2. emotional,
    3. moving,
    4. instinctive, and
    5. sex.

    If a man brings the working of these five centers into harmony, he "locks the pentagram within him" and becomes a finished “physically perfect” man. When man becomes directly and permanently connected with objective consciousness and objective knowledge, the man becomes the six-point star the “Seal of Solomon” Symbols can never be fully interpreted, they can only be experienced.

    Man's normal state is one of duality. He consists entirely of "pairs of opposites" positive and negative, useful and harmful, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, doctor Jykell and Mr. Hyde. Thoughts oppose feelings. Movement opposes instinctive craving for quiet. The creation of a third principle for man is the transformation of duality into the trinity.

    The law of octaves gives us another system of symbols with which we are all familiar. Every completed process is a transition from the "do" not (donut) through the subsequent tones to the "do" note of the the next octave up. We have seven fundamental tones, an expression of the law of seven,two "intervals" or "shocks", and the "do" of the next octave up. That makes for ten ten steps or the the decimal system of numbers.

    Numerical symbology or numberology is based on this idea. In "theosophical addition", any number consisting of more than one digit is the sum of those digits. In other words 10 = 1 + 0 = 1 and 12 = 1 + 2 = 3. Numbers are connected with definite geometrical figures. In the Cabala, symbology of letters and a symbology of words are used. There also is a symbology of magic, a symbology of alchemy, and a symbology of astrology. A symbol can never be taken in a final and definite meaning.

    There are no short cuts. No cheating allows. Telling someone details before he or she has acquired an understanding of the essential nature of a thing, makes it impossible for him to understand. A man will attain knowledge only by his own efforts. Aside: this is something Gann preached when he said: prove all things to yourself. No one can give another what he did not already possess; no one can do for him the work he should do for himself.

    The law of octaves ties together all processes within the universe. The symbol which unites the idea of the octave is a circle divided into nine equal parts with lines connecting the nine points on the circumference in a certain order. The symbol takes the familiar form of the eangram:

    This symbol expresses the law of seven in its union with the law of three. The octave possesses seven tones, and the eighth is a repetition of the first. Two additional "shocks" fill the "intervals" mi-fa and si-do so that there are nine elements and ten steps in total

    The circle symbolizes a uninterruptedly flowing process. The separate points in the division of the circumference symbolize the steps of the process. The symbol as a whole is "do". It is a circle a completed cycle, the zero of our decimal system. The stages in the process are connected with the remaining numbers 1 through 9. Every beginning and ending of the cycle is situated in the apex of the triangle. Since it is the ninth step which closes and begins a cycle, the upper point of the triangle corresponds to the number 9.

    We take a unit and divide it into seven parts. These decimal divisions generate a series of fractions which consist of exactly the same six digits in a definite sequence. If you know the first digit of the period, it is possible to reconstruct the whole period in full. The fractions are as follows:

    
    1/7 = 0.142857… 
    2/7 = 0.285714 …
    3/7 = 0.428571…
    4/7 = 0.571428…
    5/7 = 0.714285…
    6/7 = 0.857142…
    7/7 = 0.999999…
     
    

    If we start with the first number in a fraction and connect in sequence to the remaining numbers in the fraction, we shall obtain the figure found inside the circle. For example, we will follow the digits in "1/7th". We start at "1" on the circle, and connect it to "4", then to "2", then to "8", then to "5", and finally to "7". The final step would be to connect the "7" back to the "1". The numbers "3", "6", and "9" are not included in the period. They form a separate triangle the free trinity of the symbol.

    The divisions of the circle are also related to the notes and "intervals" in an octave.

    Each completed whole ie. each solar system, each organism, each plant, each animal is an enneagram. The inner triangle stands for the presence of higher elements. The enneagram is a universal symbol. All knowledge can be included in the enneagram. The enneagram is perpetual motion, and it is also the philosopher's stone of the alchemists.

    There are two kinds of art: objective and subjective. In subjective art everything is accidental. “G” measured the measure the merit of art by its consciousness.

    Objective music is all based on "inner octaves". It can obtain definite psychological and physical results. Such music can freeze water and can kill a man. The music used to destroy the walls of Jericho was objective music.

    In summary: Ouspensky penned a fascinating first look into the teachings of a remarkable man:“G”. We are interested as traders, because “G” had such a profound influence on one the greats of all time: WD Gann. We can gather that Gann leaned the symbols and divsions he used so effectively from “G”'s philosophy. What then can we make of it? Well… Gann stated that the angles he used were the ones that he had observed were price action most often changed (reminicent of notes in the octave). He wrote about this it in his course "the basis of my forcasting method" vols. 1-3

    “the sq of 90 , or the Pattern Chart,shows all the measured angles that are important to use in determining the position of a stock.These angles are as follows; 3 3/4,7 1/2,15,18 3/4,26 1/4,30,33 3/4,37 1/2,45,52 1/2,56 1/4,60,63 3/4,71 1/4,75,82 1/2,86 1/4 and 90 degrees“

    People who are intersting learning more about Gurdjeiff's teachings should find a copy of theThe Cosmic Octave. Its fascinating.