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01/25/10

Merci Monsieur Gurdjieff

By Roya Monajem, Tehran

Introduction

As an Iranian translator of Gurdjieff's teachings starting with Ouspensky's In Search of Miraculous (published four years ago), translating all of Gurdjieff's own books exactly in the way he instructs (all waiting to get the required official publication permit), while wandering in a kind of Nietzsche-ian no-where land under Islamic Republic (symbolizing any religious rule with certain nuances), already as any Iranian born on a land with a very ancient history, one of the most significant Cradles of Civilization, sometimes called Turquoise Bridge and thus voluntarily and involuntarily initiated into Persian Mysticism, through Hafez, Molavi (Mullah-na or Molana)- Rumi, Atar, etc and Persian Islamic morality and ethics through Sadi, with theoretical and to some extent practical knowledge of Buddhism, Zen and the like, surviving my most desperate personal periods of life by consulting Chinese Book of Change - I-Ching, to which I was brought as a researching acupuncture practitioner after going through 6 years of Western medical school, (felt obliged to give this much information for the reader: to know what sort of a human-machine Roya was in everyday life!) Wondering seriously whether it is a blessing or a curse to be introduced to George Ivanovich Gurdjieff's teaching, and how for granted I took the old saying mentioned in the very prologue of Gurdjieff's Canon Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, that every stick has two ends, one good and one bad; out of the blue I received an e-mail from Dr. Walter Driscoll, GIG's well-known bibliographer, in which he had informed me that my speculation in regard to which edition of Beelzebub, was probably the most authentic one, was wrong.[1] Great, but not a big deal as there was not much difference between the two versions except in phraseology, particularly when translated into another language.  Yet, on my request Dr. Driscoll kindly sent me a copy of not only Views from the Real World, a book written by Gurdjieff's followers which I couldn't find in the form of e-book in the auspicious system of Internet, and was longing to read and translate, but also Wartime Meetings and other useful information which will be mentioned in time.

Translation of Views... was accompanied with another phase of experiencing 'nothingness' 'lunacy', in short the state of eating a kilo of red peppers, like that naïve ignorant villager who got infatuated with the sight of some pristine red peppers in a fruit shop and ate a whole kilo of it as described in the prologue to Beelzebub, also representing red and blue pills in the famous movie, Matrix. Dr. Driscoll's advice in a letter copied and pasted was a good self-remembering:

I suspect that being stuck between the two 'yes' and 'no' associative stools is the common plight of unconscious mortals. Perhaps a feather-weight example of conscious labour and intentional suffering might be endured by living moment-to-moment as-fully-aware-as-possible of this plight.

The translation of Wartime Meetings finished just before the beginning of a resurrecting movement here in Iran now internationally known as Green Wave.

Still not feeling complete with Monsieur Gurdjieff's teachings, glancing through Mr. Driscoll's internet site (www.Gurdjieffbibilography.com) I found an article, an excerpt from a dissertation by some Dr. Professor Tamdgidi - summarizing Beelzebub - which was quite amazing!

To make it short, after reading that dissertation (entitled Mysticism and Utopia kindly sent to me by the author) which by now has appeared in the American book market, under the name: Gurdjieff and Hypnosis, I wrote a kind of commentary first appreciated and then rejected by both Mr. Tamdgidi and Mr. Driscoll for the same reason that: I had not read the book, but the dissertation. Very well! As their objection sounded 'logical' I modified what I had written, changed the name from the Never-ending Question of Song and Singer, Master and Slave, Creator and Created to what it is now, and am posting it as a farewell to all Master-Slave world-views.

I venture to do so because what Tamdgidi brings up in his writing in the form of criticism had appeared before him by other authors. I could have very well 'deleted' his name and the parts referred to his dissertation (which I have done so to a great extent), but my commitment to honesty did not allow me, not to write this introduction because I found Tamdgidi's account of Mr. George Ivanovich Grudjieff (shortened to GIG on Mr. Driscoll's suggestion in one of his letters) not only a faithful short summary of GIG's Life and Teachings, but some of his speculations about certain points are somehow justified, revealing and plausible. It can certainly enchant GIG's 'fans' and take them further....


Gurdjieff

A major criticism made against GIG's teaching is that it is 'fragmentary.' Fragments of an unknown Teaching is the subtitle of Ouspensky's In Search of Miraculous, which is the book that those interested in GIG's teaching are instructed to begin with, perhaps for the simple reason that Ouspensky's style of writing is for us much more familiar than GIG's, particularly in Beelzebub which is the book He instructs us to begin with.

Now the first question that crosses the mind is: Aren't all grand religions, philosophies, theories, ideologies in one word anything new "fragmentary" in the sense that their initiators have surly been influenced by other sources from the past and present? Isn't the dialectic thesis, antithesis, synthesis; GIG's affirming, denying, reconciling, (law of three) the rule? How could it be otherwise?

The second thought is, considering the fact that GIG says his way is a synthesis of the past three main ways: (1) The way of ascetic (fakir), (2) the way of monk and (3) the way of Yogi, thus propagated as the Fourth Way by Ouspensky, then it surly will appear "fragmentary" from an analytical point of view. From a more holistic point of view, it may appear as a beautiful piece of tile-work as seen on the unique dome of the so-called Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in the city of Esfahan, or as fanciful as any old genuine Persian carpet or textile. The fact of being built out of numerous tiles or knots, does not take away their wholeness, does it? Personally as a professional book-worm, while crawling on each fragment of GIG's teaching, I found either a corresponding 'logical' answer to some perhaps never-ending enigmatic question of human existence on this planet or de-mystification of some myth or mystery particularly in such an understandable language for any contemporary serious seeker of truth, that I hope the resulting insight might help all book worms and other bipeds to come out of the pupa of his teaching, metamorphosized and fly into the vast sky of oneness filled with the long forgotten impulses of true hope, faith and love.

If so, then indeed Merci Monsieur Gurdjieff, for leaving behind such a beautiful inheritance and in-heresy (negation of any 'prejudiced belief' within) which is perhaps what is most needed to liberate oneself from all kinds of slavery.

Thus no matter from which angle we wish to look at GIG's teaching, it is quite natural for those who see the trees and not the jungle, to call it fragmentary. This is how an analyst looks at the world, isn't it? Otherwise, how can we deny this fact of everyday life that the biped animal called Man, imagining himself to be the Acme of Creation, began life on this earth as a single celled living organism - unless 'fallen' from heavens! - and in any case like any other whole, it is surely made of some building-blocks, like cells, which make it to appear fragmented and fragmentary from a microscopic point of view. Can a 'whole' be anything else?

Rather, what seems bothering to Ouspensky and all others who call GIG's teaching fragmentary and try to identify and track down his sources is that he does not provide the exact name, address and perhaps the telephone number, and now at least the e-mail address of his sources in the way Western tradition expects and is used to. And they forget that GIG was born and spent his "formative" years - using his own term - on the bosom of Eastern cultures, particularly the Middle Eastern, where this (i.e. not revealing names and addresses) is a very common practice most probably due to the long lasting suppressive despotic political systems ruling the region from remote past to the present time. The best similar example in Persian mysticism is the case of Molavi-Rumi's teacher, Shams Tabrizi. We know so very little about Shams factually that he seems more like a legendary figure. If we did not know so much about Molavi, most probably even this very little about Shams as a real historical figure would have not reached us. He was such powerful 'master-teacher' that he managed to enchant one of the highest and most talented ecclesiastic (ayatollahs) of his time, i.e. Mullah Jalal-aldin Molavi Rumi.

Therefore, from this perspective it is quite implausible to call GIG's teaching "fragmentary," for the above reasons, particularly after all his own confessions and vivid clarifications in this regard and the very fact that "new" is always a 'synthesis,' and finally the fact that it is not safe to leave the name and addresses of one's sources due to aforementioned reasons. As GIG explains, it would be very strange if members of esoteric centers ever get known to even their mesoteric (middle) circles, let alone the exoteric (external) ones which include even GIG's first-grade (i.e. esoteric) followers.

That is perhaps why Tamdgidi takes the subject in question a step further, by assuming that there is a predetermined purpose for the 'fragmentary' nature of GIG's teaching and after elaborating his assumption in a documented way he convincingly shows: GIG's purpose is most probably to instigate curiosity in his followers-readers and through that to hypnotize them. But immediately this question arises: how can there be any attraction, infatuation, enchantment and in fact how can there be any voluntary learning, without curiosity?

To put it differently, Tamdgidi claims that GIG's purpose in presenting his teaching in a fragmentary way is to use it as a technique to hypnotize his followers-readers, as a part in GIG's book Herald of Coming Good points to it in an implicit subtle (sly) way, although contradicting it in another part when talking about the promise he made to himself before starting his groups which was not to use hypnosis unless for scientific reasons.

If he did use it after all then: How absolutely fantastic! Gurdjieff, who convincingly proves to us that we are just some sleeping machines serving higher purposes not worthy of being called humans, sends us into another kind of sleep!

Why? One wonders.

GIG's major idée fixe (a term associating Nietzsche's great influence on him), as repeated many times in the above-mentioned book and his third series, Life is Real, Only Then When I Am, is to discover the mechanism and working of human psyche. For that as he confesses he has done everything which can include the use of hypnosis on his followers-readers. Whether he actually used this technique or it was just a bluff to see how his followers might react - as a continuing part of his research and observations - there is no question that his contradictory confession must have shocked his disciples of the time, making them react with extreme indignation.

So one wonders whether this couldn't be a second shock GIG intentionally gives us. The first is to show us our automatism, will-less-ness, 'nothingness' and slavery and then as soon as we think we are coming out of this automatism and a permanent willful 'I' is getting laboriously formed through "Work on oneself," he confronts us with this second shock which as Tamdgidi's elaboration of GIG's corresponding words in Herald suggests can be out of the good-intention to force us to break up with him and put an end to this second slavery. If so, then GIG was not the first to use some 'unjustified' means or technique to achieve his goal. In one of his discourses on the same subject - i.e. the necessity of breaking up with the master - Rajnish Osho recounts a story about Buddha and one of his disciples who was on the verge of enlightenment, but refused to take the final step fearing his subsequent evident separation from Buddha. In order to lure him into it Buddha tells him an outright lie and the false promise that he can go on staying with him. A promise which he immediately breaks once the disciple takes that last step! Apparently, Machiavelli can only be credited for disclosing this very old technique that "means justifies ends" and not as its 'inventor.'

From this perspective, supposing that Gurdjieff actually did make use of an 'unjustified' means, we can only be grateful to him who first of all revealed to us in a clear language what teachers-masters actually do to their pupils-disciples, which is using some technique of enchantment, and then by revealing that to us, he perhaps tries to take away his own spell. And perhaps it is only then when the wish he has for us and mentions it in Herald can get actualized. There after saying that we should read his writings three times:

First time-at least as you have already become mechanised to read all the contemporary books and magazines.

Second time-as if you were reading aloud to somebody else ; And only the third time-try to grasp the gist of my writings.

And after that he says:

Only then you may perhaps get your own impartial Judgment peculiar to yourself about my writings and only then could be realised my hope that you, according to your understanding, would profit for yourself by the benefit which I assume and I wish you with all my being.

The very disclosure of possible use of hypnosis or at least such a suspicion may very well indicate that he is not after some 'personal' power. Instead he might be showing another instance of where the Terror of the Situation (the title of a significant chapter in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson) lies.  Probably following Nietzsche, in the Epilogue to Beelzebub, he shows us very clearly how all human interactions in the last analysis break down into a master-slave type. To make it short this is apparently how All and Everything goes. Whether by simple infatuation or hypnotic influence (in traditional mysticism called love), GIG's 'good intention' may be to free us from the expectable mechanical type of slavery which he observed among his followers toward himself, and put us under a higher one, through his teaching. And what might be this new 'slavery'? 'Slavery' to our higher thinking center (true consciousness), which according to his system is under the influence of the Sun Absolute. If so, then we are in fact facing a 'new' (and very scientific) kind of 'sun-worship' whose old Persian genre was called Mithraism, the cult of Mehr (Love).

One of the major themes in GIG's teaching is "honesty," which GIG believes modern man is incapable of manifesting it neither to oneself nor to others. Despite that, let us honestly ask ourselves considering the fact that it really seems quite true that all human relationships are indeed a kind of master-slave relationship in its most 'repulsive' connotation; and lover-beloved relationship in its most 'desired' one, do we regret the times in life when we experienced One and the Same Thing, but in its second connotation?

To put the question in another way: Do we regret falling in love, even if now we might think it was not love, but enchantment, ignorance, stupidity, hypnosis, this or that? Which brings us to the question: Is initiation to GIG's teaching a blessing or a curse?

We can be thankful to Monsieur Gurdjeff for de-mystifying the ever enchanting Eastern mysticism for us through his 'scientific, modern' exposition, while at the same time showing us the result of industrial revolution whose cradle is now the center of civilization in the western hemisphere! What determines life there? Is it anything other than Alarm Clocks? Watches, and in a softer word, Time? Then don't the majority of people leaving under such ruling system automatically become living machines as the result? Thus isn't his teaching the Alarm to bring us to ourselves before the earth gets destroyed by our race, a race partly mystified by religious and mystical dogmas and partly by the cruel Heropass (Time), the sole rival of Creator, forcing IT to create the universe to save Its heavenly seat and even to renounces Its most beloved son, Satan? (See Beelzebub and Life is Real...)

Going back to the subject of calling GIG's teaching fragmentary, another reason for it appearing as such lies in GIG's literary style, strange and unfamiliar in the west, yet a rather common practice in Persian literature in general and poetry in particular. In this kind of style, the subject in question is elaborated in a spiral way as in Dervish dances and when there are several topics under study there will naturally be more spirals within each other - now called narrations within narrations. In addition, GIG's use of long sentences is also very typical of Persian prose writing, at least before the emergence of grammar. Perhaps that is why GIG attributes what he likes to say on this subject to an unknown old Persian intellectual man or may be he virtually quotes him (in his second series, Meeting the Remarkable Men.)

The style used in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson is a more or less exact imitation of Molana-Rumi's canon manavi, but in prose instead of poesy? And what is manavi? Like Beelzebub, it is the story of creation of the universe and human kind on earth more according to Qura'n.

And once again who was Molana-Rumi's Teacher, a figure known as Shams meaning Sun in Arabic and as mentioned above, if not legendary, we know very little about his personal life, his teachers, the schools of his initiations, etc, plus the fact that it associates once more the cult of Mehr (love) and also Christ. On this basis, it is not strange that even GIG's exact birthday is not known remembering the time and place of his birth. Birth certificates emerged in this part of the world around the beginning of the twentieth century, that is more or less 40 years after GIG's birth. In educated families of the time the custom was to write birthday dates on the back of Qura'n. I don't know whether Christians (referring to GIG's parents) living in the region had the same custom or not. In any case, when dates are not written down, even parents may very well forget the exact date of their children's birthday, particularly when there are several children and it is not a custom to celebrate birthdays (fortifying long term memory) either. This is another custom borrowed from the west.

Therefore, in addition to above facts, if GIG intentionally hid certain facts about his life (such as birth date, name of his teachers and things like that which some see it that way), he has instead left us a fascinating and uniquely honest autobiography entailing the most private things in one's life, i.e. one's inner thoughts. And he has done it in such a way that it can not be washed away with the passage of time, which is what happened to all other great influential teachers, let alone the saints and imams who now appear to be absolutely sinless and PERFECT supermen. Wasn't it actually GIG's 'imperfectness' that repulsed the perfectionist Ouspensky to separate Gurdjieff the man, from Gurdjieff's Teachings as related in his In Search of Miraculous? It indeed seems quite unlikely that one may gain perfection in this physical body, remembering the vastness of all that we can never know about ourselves, carried in our genes, in our personal and collective unconscious and finally in our subconscious as the result of outside impressions received in the course of one's life. Even supermen are after all humans and thus imperfect. Expecting such people to be flawless can be the source of many misunderstandings and missing more important points in such people's lives.

Gurdjeff is unique in the sense of leaving us an absolutely realistic account of the inner life of a seeker of truth, from where he starts, all that might happen to him on the way and after reaching his goal, which is what any seeker really needs to know. According to GIG's teaching the goal is to reach the level of being of man number seven (a totally conscious aware human being) who includes and embraces all lower ones and manifest them in a dynamic predictable way set out in the Enneagram. Let us see if we can detect these seven men in him from what he has left us particularly in his third autobiographical series: Life is Real only then when I Am.

His man number one (ruled by physical, i.e. instinctive-sex-moving center) can, for example, be Gurdjieff the womanizer, the term used first by Collin Wilson and now Tamdjidi and perhaps others between them.

His man number two (ruled by emotional center) is Gurdjieff, the seeker of Truth as the result of the formation of a magnetic focus in this center initiated by his first teachers, particularly his father and grandmother according to his own account. 

His man number three (ruled by mental center) is Gurdjieff the philosopher, the scientist, the healer hypnotizer, the man of letters, the intellectual.

His man number four (taking the reign of the three lower centers in his hands) with his conscience emerging on the surface now, is GIG trying to teach what he had gained as the result of his long searches and do what he preaches, thus setting a role-model while honestly depicting for the follower, the emotional states (even pondering on the thought of committing suicide) that even at such a relatively high level of being might seize and overwhelm one. The emergence of true conscience in a way means going beyond conventional morality, giving the example of a man Beyond Good and Evil (and in this way completing Nietzsche's idée fixe in this regard, leaving an actual model of how to reach Nietzsche's 'superman' which he presents in the figure Zarathustra, in Persian Zardosht, the first 'official' prophet of human history.)

His man number five (with the higher emotional center activated), the monk at the end of the line is perhaps exemplified in Beelzebub, the compassionate old grandfather repentant for his youthful sin (criticizing the creator) with his subsequent expulsion from "heaven" and his exile to one of the worst corners of the Universe, i.e. our solar system. His man number five is also Gurdjieff, the musician and composer, the artist.

His man number six (with higher thinking center activated) is one who creates and writes Beelzebub - a modern piece of objective art.

His man number seven would be Gurdjieff the Magician, i.e. a man who can do miracles because of his deep thorough knowledge of universal cosmic laws. (According to his teaching miracles are manifestations of the laws of one cosmos in another cosmos... miracle is not breaking of laws nor is it a phenomenon outside laws (In search of Miraculous, closing lines of chapter ten). Wasn't it a miracle that he managed to organize his first groups just before WWI in Russia, to survive the Bolshevik Revolution, escape the country under such fearful conditions with a large group of people dependent on him for their survival and establish himself in a European country like France, survive the horrifying global economic depression, WWII and... For sure, such a man does not need to appeal to a scientifically 'dubious' technique like hypnosis, which he himself expounds the reason for it in a chapter on the given subject in Beelzebub! It was Collin Wilson who first classified Gurdjieff as a Magician in his book Occult and of the white type, even though Gurdjieff himself says that there is no difference between white, yellow, red, black type of magic.[2] The non-acceptable type of magic according to GIG is when people's energy is used without their knowledge, no matter for serving good or evil.

To conclude: What seems most essential in the life of a Teacher of the way is to leave an exact indestructible account of his internal life, the most private even, letting us know that even after reaching the level of a Magi (the highest achievable level in human body), one may still fall under the spell of despair and become suicidal (you God have you forsaken me, said Jesus on the Cross), as well as all the inner struggles one has to face and deal with, even finding the courage to confess the techniques he might have tried on his followers- readers, and when noticing the possible destructive side-effects of his teaching on discovering those 'pale faced candidates for lunatic asylum' among his followers, openly write about it (see Life is Real Only.....) Falling into such miserable state after being initiated to GIG's teaching, is perhaps the only justifiable motivation for looking for the exact address of GIG's sources: to appeal to them for help when feeling so desperate. But this means becoming once again a slave of another Master, eat another kilo of red peppers and...!

As Molana, Goethe (in our times Paulo Coelho's Alchemist and others) have pointed out: The answer to such questions is always as close to us as the artery of our neck. In other words, it is not necessary to go that far away to find a balm for our 'lunatic' state which is the real valid goal of the search for GIG's sources, because the answer is are already there in his teaching. In fact, in his third autobiographical series, the teacher tells us what he did when going through such crisis. He tells us what we are supposed to do to overcome that overwhelming psychological state: Keep on self-remembering (conscious labor), find a source for intentional (even passive) suffering in real life, make short term plans and... Sooner or later shouldn't all seekers realize that 'slavery' to 'masters' can not continue for ever and we have to risk taking the final step alone? But this is a great expectation from slaves, isn't it? And they get infuriated even when the master tries to "free" them, as exemplified by publication of Herald of Coming Good.

Another puzzling point about GIG's teaching for anybody who reads the beginning of any of the first books of what he calls three series, is that each series should contain three volumes which mathematically makes a total of 9 books, while we have only 6 (Beelzebub in three volumes, Meeting in one volume, Life is Real Only Then When I Am in one volume and Herald of Coming of Good, which was the only book published in his life time). (Apparently, Mr. Tamdgidi has a speculation here and divides Meeting into three series and by suggesting that if we separate Material Question which at present makes the last chapter of the second series, i.e. Meeting, and regard it as a separate book and count Herald as the third book of the third series, then all series will contain three books. Who knows?)

In addition, there is another question here and that is whether the present sole book of the third series, i.e. Life is Real, is really unfinished as it appears or not.

Life is Real only Then When I Am, seems unfinished, not only because of what is said in the prefatory note written by one of GIG's close relatives, but also because of the way it is finished. Let us look at how it actually ends:

...And so, among the people with whom I come in contact, the formation of the psychic factors necessary for the manifestation of attitudes diametrically opposed to me must inevitably occur in the following way:

What follows afterwards is naturally a white space (as above) which can associate the white spaces seen in the characteristic style of Japanese painting. Couldn't Gurdjieff the artist deliberately have left a white space as in that genre of painting?

The last part of this book deals with human relationship, where love and hate come into play. This is a subject that according to Ouspensky is what people most criticized about GIG's teachings in the sense that he has said so little about it. And indeed as shown in my article Gurdjieff, The Founder of American Mysticism, it is a subject that Gurdjieff only mentions in passing. It is a blank, white space, not explained and dealt with fully as our habitual way of thinking expects.

But has he really left the question raised in the above paragraph (i.e. the last paragraph of his last series) unanswered?

One of GIG's chief features developed as the result of his grandmother's advice on her deathbed is 'not to do anything in the same way as others do.' Perhaps this is one of the cases where he breaks the rule and answers a question before asking it!?

Don't know, let us go back to paragraphs preceding the above question and see what he says in full detail to make things more understandable:

...

Just as the radiation of every cosmic concentration consists of vibrations emitted by a corresponding source, so too the vibrations issuing from the processes of each of these quite distinct totalities of functioning  that make up the general psyche of man have a density and a degree of vivifyingness of their own. (by totalities of functioning he means the three centers).

 "When there is a contact between the radiations of different cosmic concentrations, blending of the vibrations takes place according to their "affinity"; similarly, when the vibrations given off by two people come in contact, blending occurs among those of the vibrations that correspond to each other.

In order to explain by analogy certain features of the radiations of a person, I shall take as an example the radiations given off by our Earth. 

The general radiation of a person also consists of three independent kinds of vibrations, each with its own quality of vivifyingness.

And just as the heterogeneous vibrations given off by the Earth encounter certain well-defined limits in the course of their expansion according to their degree of vivifyingness, so too the different elements of the general radiation of a person have their precise limits.

For example, while the vibrations issuing from a process of active reasoning can, under certain known conditions, acquire a force of expansion that can span hundreds or thousands of kilometers, the vibrations given off by the process of sensation, however active it may be, cannot extend beyond some two hundred meters.

In man, the three kinds of vibrations have their origin in the following three processes:

The first kind of vibrations has its origin in the process called "active thought," and sometimes even, thanks to certain known combinations, in the process of "passive thought."

The second kind of vibrations has its origin in the process called "feeling."

The third kind of vibrations corresponds to the totality of the results issuing from the functioning of all the organs of the physical body- they are also referred to as "vibrations of the instinctive functions."

The vibrations given off by the whole presence of a man in a state of complete relaxation constitute in themselves an atmosphere analogous to the spectrum of colors, having a known limit to its expansion.

And as soon as a man begins to think, to feel or to move, this spectrumlike atmosphere changes, both as to the volume of its expansion and as to the quality of its presence.

The greater the intensity of manifestation of one or another of the separate functions of the general psyche of a man, the more the spectrum of his atmosphere is differentiated.

We can very well represent to ourselves the combination of heterogeneous vibrations arising in the general radiation of different persons in the course of their ordinary existence if we compare it to the following picture:

On a dark night, during a violent storm over the ocean, some people on shore observe the oscillations of a floating collection of many colored electric lamps, connected with each other at long intervals and at the ends with two wires.

Although these colored lamps draw their current from one and the same source, yet since their rays pass through changing conditions of various kinds, some shine out to a distance, others affect each other as they interpenetrate, still others are completely swallowed up either mid­way or at the very place of their arising.

If two people are together, the closer they are to each other, the more intimate is the mixing of their atmospheres, and therefore the better is the contact achieved between their specific vibrations.

The blending and fusion of the specific vibrations given off by different people take place mechanically, depending on their situation in relation to each other and on the conditions they are in.

And so, among the people with whom I come in contact, the formation of the psychic factors necessary for the manifestation of attitudes diametrically opposed to me must inevitably occur in the following way:

Surely, any intelligent person can find the answer to that question in the above lines. Moreover, where has Gurdjieff, the sly man given us ready-made answers in the way our habitual thinking system expects anyway? In fact he has taken all precautions not to do that. How else can we be encouraged to develop "active mentation or thought" in ourselves?

But this is not the only chapter of the book seemingly to be unfinished. The penultimate chapter, Fifth Talk is also left unfinished where he is supposed to tell us about one particularity of air, "the one which since long ago has in the process of human life always been one of the chief secrets of all ranks of initiates of all epochs. This particularity is that..."

But he never says it.

As there is no end to human ignorance and temptation is a fact of life, perhaps we should be grateful to him for stopping here and not adding another factor which could give rise to "pale-faces, and candidates of lunatic asylum" among his disciples-readers mentioned in this book. Perhaps he reached the conclusion that it is better to leave that particularity secret, to prevent its abuse without him being around to find the appropriate solution.

In GIG's books there are very few practical exercises. Life is real only then when I am is an exception in the sense that he gives three practical exercises here with the intention to correct the destructive effects of his teachings which he was observing among his followers. In Wartime Meetings there are 2 or 3 or perhaps 4 other ones, but what we can particularly gather from that book is that his teaching did consists of many practical exercises but were suggested to each according to his/her typology and personality (as also mentioned by Madam de Salzmann in the introduction to Views of the Real World. In some cases these exercises were not even disclosed to other members of the same circle of those Meetings. And the last reason might be that by what he observed then and later he reached the conclusion that he shouldn't reveal that 'secret.'

If so why leaving that section? Again not very surprising from GIG who is supposed to do everything in a different way! He knew this would give good food for some to become famous for this very reason! That is for all kinds of speculations or in his words "wiseacrings" in this regard! He is used to feeding us with the crumbles of his ideas, as mentioned in one of his books.

Before leaving the subject of exchange and blending of vibrations in human inter-relationships, let us go back to the question raised first by Collin Wilson in his Occult as one of GIG's weak points, i.e. his 'womanizing' tendency, let alone the question why not calling him Don Juan? Perhaps because he had a good relationship with his mother, while according to C.G. Jung, it is in search of a mother figure that Don Juan-s are womanizers, while Gurdjieff talks in this third series speaks of his love for his mother and wife. In any case, reminding the dubious perfection we all expect from such individuals, the question is which center do such qualities and attributes belong to? But perhaps before that we should ask whether this was an absolutely conscious tendency in GIG or not. In other words, did Gurdjieff manifest it deliberately or it was a quality coming out of him as in the two cases given in Orage's Conscious Love. The first is: "There are, among people as among chemical substances, agents of catalysis which make possible interchanges and combinations into which the catalysts themselves do not enter. Frequently they are unrecognised by the parties affected, and usually by themselves as well." The second is the case of individuals exemplified by the Blue Beard and La Belle Dame in whose cases there is an "uncontrolled attraction, power passes through the medium, who thus becomes formidably magnetic; and men and women in sympathetic relation are drawn towards him or her like filings towards a magnet. At first, no doubt, the experiences of a Bluebeard or La Belle Dame are pleasant and fortifying to self-pride and self-vanity. The other sex is at their feet. But when, having realised that the power is neither their own nor under their control, they discover that they too are victims, the early satisfaction is dearly paid for." The above conditions show something more powerful than the normal instinctive sex-drive. If Gurdjieff were born as one of the above cases, or acquired it as a side-growth of all various kinds of 'initiations' he experienced then we can only appreciate his control, reducing it to a level to be called womanizer and not the contemporary Blue Beard! Yet, as an old Persian proverb says: Unless there is something, people don't say many things! What may be presented as an evidence of GIG's higher than normal sexual power is what Paul Beekman Taylor says in New Life 2008. Gurdjieff wielded uncanny sexual power over women. The apocryphal story Rom Landau tells of Gurdjieff in 1933 producing an orgasmic sensation in a woman sitting away from him in a restaurant (1935, 244) is repeated by Webb and Moore, though Gurdjieff was not in the United States anytime that year, and the woman mentioned, Zona Gale, was happily ensconced in Wisconsin with her husband William Breese.[3]

There are two important points missing in all discussions like that. The first one is that from one perspective, the very perspective that regards Gurdjeff's teachings 'fragmented,' the teaching is a presentation of human core believes as represented in different religions, philosophies, major ideologies, utopias, mysticism and Ways. Remember fourth Way is a synthesis of the way of fakir (i.e. the master of physical center), way of monk (i.e. the mater of emotional center) and way of Yogi (i.e. the master of mental center). As everybody knows there are seven ways in Yoga according to one classification, Kundalini (to Gurdjieff, the cursed organ of Kundabuffer) as one of them. He blames our blighted fate of life on earth all on this organ whose function is to make the truth 'topsy turvy' or upside down in human mentation. While in reality we are just some playthings like robots, we think we are the acme of creation, made in the image of God which in the long analysis is apparently true. He regards Exiohary (sperm and egg), the finest thing, the acme of human creation, that is produced in human-machines as the result of food-oxygen exchange in the body, but wasted on sexual enjoyment! Tantra Yoga was the teaching dealing with this aspect of human nature (sex center), as much as Hatha Yoga deals with the moving part of all our centers, Raja yoga (meditation) with the mental parts of all our three centers, Bakti Yoga with the emotional parts of all centers, etc. His criticism in regard to Tantra Yoga is that the knowledge of proper techniques are forgotten and lost. Thus his advice is to lead a normal life in this regard. And what is such a normal life? He relates the part pertaining to masculine sex in the words of Beelzebub's Persian Guide in Paris. This brings us to the second important point largely ignored in studying Gurdjieff's personal life, as described autobiographically in his three series. Like Nietzsche he did not hide his love for Patriarchy. And in the words of his Persian Guide in Paris he candidly speaks of prevalent patriarchal attitude and approach to the question of women by dividing them into women-mothers and women-females. This is in fact the dominant historical view about women. Women are either mothers within the institute of family - thus deserving respect as preservers of life or women-females who can be further subdivided into two groups: 1) women - sisters, i.e. those who are bound or doomed to marry and form a family; 2) women - prostitutes (even if mothers, which also includes single-divorced mothers even now in most traditional Moslem countries, if not others).

How else could an instinctive male see its opposite sex?

Gurdjieff's advice in this respect -as mentioned above - is to lead a normal life, in the same way that he advises not to try to change anything in one's life before having first learnt the true way of observation and self-remembering. Couldn't this be exactly what he did in his own life, while at the same time perhaps even verifying for himself what he had learnt in tantric- kundalini schools which most probably he must have visited, if they were existing in his time and if not what he had heard about those old-forgotten ways?

If judgment should be made impartially, then how can we call GIG a womanizer -  which has a negative connotation, instead of calling him a man whose thoughts, words and deeds coincided? The song and singer seem match very well in this regard. It seems nobody pays attention to the fact that after losing his wife in 1927, GIG stayed single for the rest of his life and as a typical single 'normal' man with a Persian masculine approach in this regard, he led a 'normal life' and of course had sexual relationship with women around him which of course could not be kept secret as is the case of anybody becoming so famous in the west. Is there anything strange about the man's behavior under those circumstances? Where did GIG preach chastity or anything of that nature? Doesn't he explain in Beelzebub what happens when exhiohary (sperms) are not discharged? Doesn't he say that the necessary technique for abstinence from sexual relationship for spiritual aims have been lost? And why didn't he marry? Orage's Conscious Love - which is written on the basis of what GIG had told him - reveals it. Only love makes men chaste. There is no discrepancy between GIG's thoughts, words and deeds if we deeply pay attention to what he says and do not go after our personal expectations and so on.

Finally, keeping with the law of three, the third possible reason for GIG's 'womanizing manifestation' lies in the 'role of women' here too. The evidence is what Taylor says in his New Life 2008:

Reviewing the relations he had with the women of the Rope, one wonders why he tolerated their presence and why they frequented him so regularly and ardently when his relations with them, according to reports, were superficial.

Why shouldn't single women fall in-love with a single man, particularly when they see his powerful 'charisma?' particularly when he is their master, let alone the possibility of being a blue bird!!![4]

One of the most implausible points mentioned by Tamdgidi several times in passing (that is in his dissertation, don't know about his book) is that Gurdjieff's accident was perhaps a sham accident!!! If Beelzebub heard that, most probably he would grow horns on his legs as well as his head! In all his books, Gurdjieff points to his near to death automobile accident as the result of which he spent - as he himself recounts in the prologue of his Beelzebub and also in his third series - three months in total coma and then another three months in a state of semi consciousness, as the main reason for closing down his Institute for Man's Harmonic Development and all related activities.

In that case the first question which crosses the mind is: Wow, what a fantastic script-writer, director and actor? Was he trying to play the role of Lazarus and Christ simultaneously? But what may be the purpose? Let us read what GIG says in this connection in Herald of Coming Good:

...to preventing, by to a certain degree unnatural outward manifestations of myself, the formation, in relation to me, of that already noted from ancient times " something ", termed by the great Solomon, King of Juda, " Tzvarnoharno , which, as was set out by our ancestors, forms itself by a natural process in the communal life of people as an outcome of a conjunction of the evil actions of so-called " common people " and leads to the destruction of both him that tries to achieve something for general human welfare and of all that he has already accomplished to this end.

The word 'preventing' in the beginning of the above quotation makes Tamdgidi's speculation somehow plausible as though GIG created the accident to prevent Tzvarhoharno, even though it did lead to 'destruction' if not of him, but 'all that he had already accomplished to this end.'

No matter whether the accident was sham or real, going through or acting a comatose state for almost six months with the result of the collapse of all that he had previously prepared means tremendous amount of suffering, and if it were intentional so much the better! And what may be the so-called moral lesson of it other than pointing to miraculous hidden human powers, manifested in self-healing  or acting in the sense he explains in Views from the Real World: In order to act, one must first of all be an artist.

A man can be called an actor only if he is able, so to speak, to produce a white light.  A real actor is one who creates, one who can produce all the seven colors of the spectrum.  There have been and are even today such artists.  But in modern times an actor is generally only outwardly an actor.

A confusing point in GIG's teaching is that in the allegory of the coach (symbolizing physical body), driver (symbolizing mental center), passenger (symbolizing I(s) which should integrate into one lasting I), horses are sometimes referred to as emotional centre and sometimes as our senses. As our senses belong to our physical center, they are a part of the coach. They can symbolize our emotional center in the sense that GIG says that the horses are taught no language except that of the whip and sometimes the reward of a decent piece of fresh grass!

In Ouspensky's In Search of Miraculous, what is said in regard to emotional centre again is more like an overlap of physical and mental centers; pleasant and unpleasant, likes and dislikes. Let us see how they get formed in us. Pleasant and unpleasant depends on the effect of any new experience on our five senses. Whatever gives us pleasure when first experienced will be henceforth pleasant and vice versa. According to GIG, (Life is Real....) they are mostly established in boys before the age of eleven and in girls before seven. Some of them we call likes and dislikes later in life.

The second category of likes and dislikes (goods and bads) are established as the result of our upbringing and conditionings, based on the same mechanism of pain and pleasure, but this time through reward and punishment. They begin to form in boys from the age of nine and in girls from the age of four lasting to maturity according to GIG. But why this age difference? Aren't "impressions taken in under pressure and having thereby the character of being intentionally implanted from outside" the same as 'education?' If so then it means education of girls begins much earlier than boys which is no longer true in our times, but belong to the time the above quotation in Life is Real... is taken from, that is before the domination of modern western schooling system throughout the world. In this part of the world, it was at the age of nine when boys were either sent to traditional schools (maktab) or sent to masters of various trades or taken with father to be trained. Until this age they stayed at home and could not be trained by mothers who were busy with house-work, something which men were not supposed to have anything to do with. So they just played around, while education of girls had already begun by helping their mothers. In any case, education 'impressions taken under pressure' will involve mental center again in cooperation with physical center through reward and punishment as mentioned above.[5] This is exactly the modern definition of emotion: "mental physiological state associated with a wide variety of feelings, thoughts and behavior", while definition of feeling in English language is "bodily sensation." In Persian language the corresponding words have more or less the same meaning. Therefore emotion is the mental picture of the sensation of pain or pleasure. From this perspective horses in the analogy of chariot are our five senses, emotions will be the mental picture of what they sense in the mind of driver. In other words, what is actually working in us is the emotional part of the physical and mental centers and there is no emotional center per se. So if there is a third center, what can be its content? All in all what can be gathered to be found in this third center is only the magnetic formation which normally begins as the result of "emotional" contact with grown ups when we are still little children, particularly when they try to transfer some "old-women stories," or some "words of wisdom" to us. Later, it develops as the result of reading the so-called spiritual literature, hearing about such subjects and coming into contact with such 'teachers.' If this is the same source of what is called animal magnetism which it appears to be according to the content of the chapter on Hypnosis in Beelzebub, the more this center is developed the greater animal magnetism the person has and thus like a strong magnet can attract and 'devour' weaker magnets. It also explains the meaning of 'charisma' or 'far or farah' in Persian.  In other words, GIG did not need to use any special hypnotic or any technique in 'enchanting' his followers. This happens automatically and the weaker the person, the easier is this effect achieved.

Now remembering that this third center loosely called emotional plays the reconciling force in us, normally interactions through magnetic formation can not produce opposition in itself, unless there is a strong conflict between the other two centers, in which case it backs up the stronger side. That's why hysterical personalities can not be hypnotized! Their lack of concentration according to GIG means a very strongly developed physical center and very poorly developed mental center. The same will be true about those with highly developed critical minds, meaning those who have developed many more electric circuits in their brain, and thus carry a higher electric field and thus magnetic field in this center, pulling their 'third (magnetic) center' toward itself. This also explains why true 'will' belongs to this center. The stronger this center the more concentrated one can behave, making the other two centers to serve it.

Now considering the fact that Gurdjieff aimed at intelligent seekers with some kind of established profession in life, and also an already developed magnetic center which can explain why they were all attracted to metaphysics, occult, theosophy, mysticism and spiritualism, they can not simply be like those eastern simple naïve mostly sick individuals who Gurdjieff used as 'laboratory mice' or the western followers of 'occult' 'theosophy' and other similar groups in whose circles Gurdjieff was considered as a 'master' as he himself relates in Herald. Considering the schools GIG had visited, all those masters whom he had seen, all pains and suffering he had gone through in his search for knowledge and truth, of course he was a 'master' in comparison. According to an old Persian proverb: "I said it, why did you believe it?"

So by what is said above, it is hard to believe Tamdgidi's speculation here, that Gurdjieff 'lies' in saying that he did not use hypnosis in general, but only for the advancement of science. In Herald he says he was looking for people in whom the property to 'acquire' data and of preparing in their being the soil for the impulse of objective-conscience "and for the formation of so-called " essential-prudence "-had not yet entirely atrophied..." In other words, people with a relatively developed magnetic (emotional) center - the seat of will and conscience- who according to what is said above can not easily be 'attracted' to others unless they possess a more highly developed magnetic center.

GIG says there is no true liberation in the sense that we are always under the influence of some kind of outside impressions. So once again let us ask ourselves what was his aim in hypnotizing us - even if he did? Was it simply due to Nietzsche-ian Will to Power?

Even if so what is the good of this power when even after coming out of mechanical impressions of ordinary life and replacing them by higher and higher ones which ultimately would be solar impressions one still be in the strange state of the inhabitants of the Holy Purgatory Planet (the name of an important chapter in Beelzebub), deprived of our up to now sole means of liberation, that is conscious work and intentional suffering because of living in a heavenly planet, yet in the hellish state of earning and longing to find a way to become one with the Absolute. And this is that part of the Way which no teacher can help, not even the Absolute.

If GIG had actually hypnotized his followers and through his writing his readers up to ever, this would be another proof for our weak will and lack of developed emotional center. In addition to GIG's egoist aim - as he confesses in Herald - in this regard, after reading his books in the way he constructs, and Herald as the last book - because he actually insists that we shouldn't read this book which produces this suspicion that he is using us like some 'laboratory animals' then we might find the chance to come out of his "spell" as well and reach what he wished for us. Let's review it once more: Only then (i.e. after reading his writings thrice) you may perhaps get your own impartial Judgment peculiar to yourself about my writings and only then could be realised my hope that you, according to your understanding, would profit for yourself by the benefit which I assume and I wish you with all my being. And what may be that he has wished us with all his being? Perhaps to be thrown out of the stream of mechanical life going to no-man-land, into the other stream of having the possibility to develop true consciousness. If so again there can be no diametrically opposed attitude to him, by "sane mentation" (referring to the last paragraph of his third series above).

There is a story by GIG's beloved teacher Mullah Nasr-aldin which one often hears in Iran which seems quite pertinent to the present question. It is said that Mullah had this habit of needling his balls with a quilt sewing needle from morning till night, naturally crying loud as the result of the excruciating pain. Finally, somebody goes to him and asks about the reason for this self-inflicted pain. In reply, Mullah answers: To enjoy the time when I am not doing it!

Are we really created by a masochist God for intentional suffering and conscious work to be our only way of salvation?

If the first awakening of GIG's teaching is to the possible place and role of our human lot in creation - slavery for higher cosmic aims - and the second awakening is to continuation of slavery in this or other form, may the third awakening be liberation from this long dominant masculine world-view which to 'logic' appears so PERFECT that there seems to be no way out of it? According to the "Teacher:" We must strive for freedom if we strive for self-knowledge.(see Views)

Which may automatically associates the tale about a man sitting with a bowel of yogurt in his hand on some seashore, say Caspian, and patiently throwing a spoonful of yogurt one by one into the sea. Facing the scene a passerby asked: "What are you doing?" "Making the popular Persian drink dough," he answered in reply. "But that is impossible," the passerby said very confidently.

"Yes, I know, but if it happens, such dough it would be!" And it is said from the time immemorial and approved by history: Nothing is impossible! It took humans seven thousand years or so to actually produce Solomon's Carpet and land on the Moon. Who knows what the Law of Accident may bring about!


[1] For more details see: Gurdjieff: the Founder of American Mysticism in the net.

[2] In Views from the Real World, however, the same traditional definition for magic is presented, which contradicts with what is said in Miraculous.

[3] This is another instance of my indebtedness to Dr. Walter Driscoll for the information he kindly sent me in this respect.

[4] If interested in more details, see my article, Sexuality in the World of Spiritualism in the net.

[5] In Views... some illuminating examples are given to distinguish between sense and feeling.

... Payvand News - 03/25/16 ... --



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