I crafted the following response to their inquiry, which I thought might be of interest to others.
I have examined in some more detail the portion of Beelzebub's Tales which you have a question about.
Your question is actually very interesting, because the reasons Beelzebub brings up the issue of castes is directly tied to the arising of egoism in mankind, and the subsequent obscuring of the vital factor of conscience.
Put in the simplest terms possible, assigning people varying degrees of importance in society (the creation of castes) leads people to believe that they are more important than others (egoism.) At the same time, it divides their Being into inner (essence) and outer (personality) parts. This creates a tension in Being which leads to dishonesty, because the inner is one way, and the outer is another.
If the inner part is exposed and there is honesty, it cannot act in a way that is cruel or incorrect towards others. But it is hidden in man; and when the inner part (in the west we might call it the soul, but that is a bit inaccurate) acquires corrupted or lower influences, then the outer part (personality, or ego) can hide them, because it is clever at such things.
This is a very simplistic explanation of a complex process that is treated in both chapter 27 (Ashiata Shiemash) and chapter 31 (the sixth and last sojourn of Beelzebub on the planet Earth.) One would need to read both chapters entirely in order to begin to have a serious discussion about this; and I fear that anything I could say about it would take many pages and go into a good deal more detail than you may want me to.
I will note that the 18th-century Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg took up exactly the same questions about the dualistic nature of inner and outer Being that Gurdjieff did in the 20th century; and that both of them reached the same conclusions about mankind's dual nature and the corruption of conscience, which is really the critical issue here: if we don't have a connection to our conscience, we can so easily lie about ourselves and who we are.
When I really see who I am, I am uncomfortable with it. This is the beginning of a moment when conscience can touch me, however briefly; and the whole point of seeing myself isn't to see how good I am — because I already congratulate myself on my supposed goodness all the time. The point of seeing myself is to see my bad parts, the things that make me uncomfortable. I need to look at these and put a light on them much more clearly, because this duplicitous, or dualistic, nature is the truth about what I am: not that noble, high-caste individual I think of myself as.
All of that begins with the belief that I am superior to others; and if we remember the person who asked the question about seeing how others were asleep, but not seeing how they were asleep themselves, perhaps we can understand this a little more directly. I look at others and I see all their flaws; but I don't see my own. So I think I'm superior.
It's important to understand that my inner life has a similar arrangement: that is, the spiritual part of me is buried, and the natural, or material, part of me is dominant. It lies all the time; and it wants to run everything. This is why I describe it as an invading army. In other words, I have my own caste system inside me.
The sufi sage Ibn al Arabi wrote a very interesting book called the divine governance of the human kingdom about this subject.
It's delightful and well worth reading. Arabi was certainly familiar to Gurdjieff— it's quite impossible that he would not have been exposed to his teachings, since he is the single most important Sufi mystic and philosopher in history, and Gurdjieff was deeply involved with Sufis throughout his life.
Conscience plays a huge role in Beelzebub's story of mankind; and this question of castes is, as you can see, deeply linked to it. So if you wanted a single sentence "answering" this question, I would formulate it as follows: we need to examine why our belief in our own superiority damages our conscience.Hosanna.