Imagine that you are standing in a large room full of people. You are not part of the assembled crowd but are merely observing the activities and the people.

A large and grandiose party is in full swing. People continue to arrive all the time, swelling the already voluminous mass of humanity. A band plays in the corner, some of the people are talking and drinking while others dance to the music. As you wander around you notice that the people gathered in the room seem to have organised themselves into groups. As you listen in on the conversations that are taking place you learn that these groups seem to be organised by social status, racial type or simply those with a similar world view. Very clear however is the fact that there are those that are well dressed and seem to be well fed and there are those that appear to be rather more disheveled and materially poor.

All of the groups tend to keep to themselves, there appears to be no cross-communication between them and in fact many seem to be in direct opposition to each other. Additionally, and quite apart from the main groups, there is a small group of exceptionally well dressed people who seem to be directing the overall proceedings. We shall call them "the directors". They keep the bar well-stocked, they orchestrate the style and tempo of the music, and make regular announcements and speeches which have the effect of setting the general tone of the various conversations that are taking place.

In general everyone seems to be happy and enjoying themselves. After several hours of observing the scene and the crowd, your attention is caught by a light in the corner of the room. As you focus on it you realise that it is a flame - the curtains of the room are on fire.

Naturally you are concerned by this, and you are glad to see that the directors seem to have noticed it also, they are gathered around the curtains inspecting the flames and talking excitedly together. You expect that very soon they will attempt to inform the throng that continues to involve themselves with the party and who seem oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong.

Not long thereafter, one of the directors steps up to the elevated podium, but instead of making an announcement about the imminent danger, he orders that free drinks be provided for all, and instructs the band to up the tempo and volume of the music. The party-goers respond by immersing themselves further in the revelry.

You focus again on the flames and see that some of the directors have erected a flimsy screen around the burning curtains that serves to obscure the fire from the party-goers. You are perplexed, why would they do this?

The fire continues to spread behind the screen engulfing more and more of the room. As it does so, the directors continue to erect more screens around the flames. It is obvious to you that very soon the entire room will be surrounded by flames, and the people themselves eventually engulfed and consumed, yet to your amazement, almost no one seems to notice the obvious fact that something is amiss. The temperature in the room has already increased to the point that people are sweating and removing items of clothing, yet it appears that this gives them no cause for concern. The paint on the ceiling of the room is starting to bubble and crack, small fragments of burning paint are falling on the heads of the crowd, yet no one seems to consider this strange. Indeed, it seems that the increasing heat and spread of the flames and fumes serves only to increase the intensity of the partying and intoxication of the people. While the signs are unmistakable that the room is on fire, this fact seems inaccessible to the party-goers because the flames are hidden from them. They are unable to interpret the signs.

At this point, you take it upon yourself to raise the alarm. You shout at the people, warning them that they are in mortal danger, but incredibly your efforts have little or no effect on them. Slowly you begin to realise that due to the hypnotic rhythm of the music and the effects of the beverages and fumes, most of the people are virtually unable to either see you or hear you. Now and again a few people seem momentarily to hear your shouts, or to catch a glimpse of you as you attempt to direct their attention to the danger to their lives, yet very quickly they are distracted again by the music and dancing and interesting conversation, even as the flames encircle them.

As all of this is happening, and in response to your attempts to alert the people to their predicament, you notice that the small group of directors have again ordered the band to play louder still, the bar is now an 'open bar' with the people themselves serving the drink, filling and downing large glasses of potent cocktails. The announcements and speeches by the directors to the main groups are more and more frequent.

The room now is fully aflame, the screens that obscured the truth have themselves been reduced to ash. By this stage many of the people are lying unconscious on the floor in a stupor. Among those still lucid, previously friendly debates have now turned ugly and fights break out between the groups and within the groups themselves. Still none recognise that they are about to be consumed.

You continue to attempt to attract the attention of the people, right up to the point that you are endangering your own life, but to no avail. Finally you are forced to flee from the searing heat as you see the flames approaching the last exit door from the room. You stand outside frantic and exasperated, barely able to see inside the room through the flames.

It is only then that you hear the music and conversation grind to a sudden halt, and the screams begin. As you take one final look back into the room through a small gap in the raging inferno, you are just able to see the small group of impeccably dressed directors quietly slipping out a concealed exit - they seem to be congratulating each other, a bizarre look of glib self-satisfaction on their faces.
"Humanity neither progresses nor evolves by Nature. One can evolve; humanity cannot, for evolution proceeds only consciously.

Yet humanity must evolve or perish.

The process of social evolution is the process of individual evolution, the formation of a conscious nucleus within humanity. Even 200 conscious individuals would change the whole of life on earth.

The individuals forming this inner circle of humanity, though they evolved by different ways, always agree and understand one another. Misunderstandings belong to the outer circle of sleeping people whose confusion of tongues and inevitable discord attest to their ignorance.

In order to help others one must first learn to help oneself. People's consuming interest in changing others is a sign of laziness in working on their own evolution.

Wars cannot be stopped by ordinary means; they are the result of cosmic forces acting upon organic life on earth. The energy made available by mass destruction of life is necesary for the cosmos in the abscence of consciousness in humanity." - G. I. Gurdjieff, From "Gurdjieff, Seeker of the Truth" by Speeth and Friedlander