Universal Laws


Why study the universe and its laws?

Understanding the laws that make everything happen inside and outside us allows us to know what kind of actions will produce the results we desire.

In states of higher consciousness Ouspensky saw that two simple laws produce the infinite variety of the whole of creation. Science too finds that extreme complexity can arise from very simple causes.

Music is a good example. Music is based on two laws, the law of vibrations (or octaves, as in a scale of notes) and the law of harmony (or triads, as in the relationships between the notes). There are seven notes in a musical scale (12, including the semitones). These twelve notes are repeated, higher or lower, to the extent of the range of human hearing.

These 12 notes make up every piece of Western music that has ever been created. Infinite variety from extreme simplicity.

The first law is that every event is the result of the meeting of three forces, three kinds of energy. Ordinarily we only see two forces, action and reaction, good and bad, black and white etc. The third force present in everything is not so immediately obvious. In music, harmony develops when there is a triad, three notes together. The Law of Three

We hardly ever notice that everything is actually composed of three elements not just two, but this knowledge shows a way to lift the mind from duality to the realisation of unity. In the state of waking sleep we are said to be ‘third force blind’, and only when consciousness rises above the automatic level does the essential trinity of everything inside and outside ourselves begin to be appreciated. Once we know it’s there we can see it and then go on to apply it to our own experience.

The presence of two forces, active and passive is always apparent. Every action meets with resistance. Pushing a boulder up a hill, you are the active force that overcomes the passive resistance of the weight of the boulder. But there is also the hill itself, the third force that not only provides purchase for your feet but also adds further resistance to the movement of the boulder.

The second law is the law of vibrations, that everything repeats, never exactly the same, but with repetitive similarity. This Monday is similar but not the same as last Monday. The law of vibrations controls the succession of all events, and how things develop in time. Like a seed growing into a tree, the patterns of weather through the seasons, or just getting into the car, going shopping and coming back again. Every series of events goes by the law of octaves but it is not a smooth continuous process. Thinking of it as a staircase, the steps between the beginning and end of an octave are uneven because the ratio of increase of vibrations between the notes is not constant.

Octave ratios

Western musical scales are based on the Greek modes which divided the octave into ratios that accorded with the relationships of the heavenly bodies – so that earthly music should be in harmony with the ‘music of the spheres’. The division of the scale used in the Fourth Way is the Pythagorean diatonic scale based on the ratio 3:2 of the perfect fifth found in the harmonic series.

The points in the scale where the rate of increase (or decrease) of frequency slows down (Mi-Fa and Si-Do) are called ‘intervals’, where extra energy is required to maintain the original impetus. These ‘intervals’ are responsible for the frequent unpredictability of human aims and endeavours. Different processes, according to the law of three, determine which intervals will be filled naturally, so that the progress continues uninterrupted to completion, and those that require an extra force to be given, without which the progress of the octave will halt or change direction. The Law of Seven

If we regard our lives as a piece of music, the understanding of these laws helps us learn to avoid the unnecessary discords and wrong notes that continually spoil the performance, both for ourselves and the world around us.

Every system of philosophy and every serious student at a certain stage of their work or development must come to the conclusion that it is impossible to study man without the study of the universe, exactly as it is impossible to study the universe without the study of man. Man is an image of the world. He was created by the same laws which created the whole of the world. By knowing and understanding himself, he will know and understand the whole world, all the laws that create and govern the world. And at the same time, by studying the world and the laws that govern the world, he will learn and understand the laws that govern him. In this connection some laws are understood and assimilated more easily by studying the objective world, while man can only understand other laws by studying himself. The study of the world and the study of man must therefore run parallel, one helping the other.
P D Ouspensky, First Cosmological Lecture .


Another good example of how everything repeats is found in fractal theory.