Law of Three
Transubstantiate in me
For my Being.
– G. I. Gurdjieff, All and Everything
The Work gives us two universal laws – the Law of Three and the Law of Seven – which have practical applications to ourselves and everyday life, while at the same time providing ways of understanding the workings of the universe.
“The Law of Three is the Law of the Three Forces of Creation. … Every manifestation in the Universe is a result of the combination of three forces:
- Active force or first force or Holy Affirming
- Passive force or second force or Holy Denying
- Neutralizing force or third force or Holy Reconciling
“First force can be defined as initiating force, second force as force of resistance and third force as balancing or relating principle or connecting force or point of application.
“These three forces are found in Nature and in Man. Throughout the Universe, on every plane, these three forces are at work. They are the creative forces. Nothing is produced without the conjunction of these three forces … which … constitutes a triad. One triad creates another triad, both in the vertical scale and in the horizontal scale of Time. In Time, what we call the chain of events is the chain of triads.
“Every manifestation, every creation, results from the meeting together of these three forces, active, passive and neutralizing. [None of the three forces can] create anything by itself. … Nor can any two of the three forces produce a manifestation. It is necessary that all the three forces meet together for any manifestation or creation to take place.”
– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, “Law of Three,” Vol. 1, pp. 108-109
The interweaving of the three forces produces a fourth on another level – a new “something” that is not merely a continuation of a sequence or a compromise. Cynthia Bourgeault provides this analogy: a braid is not merely another strand of hair, but a whole new category of “thingness.” So, seed/earth/sun = sprout; plaintiff/defendant/judge = resolution; flour/water/fire = bread. (see Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three)
One of the most common misperceptions is to think of second force as negative, detrimental or an indication that something has gone wrong. On the contrary, the energy of second force is indispensable for manifestation and for our transformation. However, it is important to anticipate second force in each new undertaking. Ask: Where is second force likely to arise? How can I anticipate it?