What is the main objective of this presentation?
I would like to speak about the current state and the future destiny of Gurdjieff’stradition in the light of the ideas presented primarily in “Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson,” as well as in the other written works by and about the founder of this tradition. In the present day, the state of Gurdjieff’s tradition requires a sober approach and responsible consideration more than ever before, particularly in connection with the grievous facts noted by Wim van Dullemen, a person well known for his devotion to the Gurdjieff Movements and music, who wrote: “the Gurdjieff Work is a difficult area to investigate because of the prevailing sense of secrecy, as well as the increasing isolation and lack of cooperation, if not hostility, between the lineages.” [i]
Gurdjieff’s tradition, generally known as the Fourth Way, after almost one hundred years of its history has come to a lengthy pending state of uncertainty about its future. Whereas the number of publications related to Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way is rapidly growing, especially those written in the genre of memoirs or as general overviews, very few people understand what is Gurdjieff’s Work and even fewer actually practice it. Today, when all of those who met G.I. Gurdjieff in person and who studied under his supervision are no longer among us, the tradition appears to be devoid of a commonly recognized center of gravity. Some of the former adherents of the Fourth Way have gone along the road of rediscovering for themselves such respectable ancient traditions as Sufism, Advaita-Vedanta, Shamanism, and even Christianity, considering them to be the main sources of Gurdjieff’s tradition. Still others chose the way of creating new syncretic teachings on the basis of the Fourth Way and other traditions, or simply using selected elements of it along with elements taken from other traditions. In the present time various groups and individuals all over the world practice the Fourth Way as they see fit, thus taking full responsibility for their interpretation of Gurdjieff’s teaching. As a result of this discord, Gurdjieff’s tradition has been gradually reduced in practice to the Gurdjieff Movements, an essential but by no means a central element of his teaching, and the Movements themselves in many instances have become a product of the present-day global “Supermarket for Self-Development”.
Thus we have to ask the following questions: What are the essential components and what is the core element of Gurdjieff’s teaching? What attracts the modern spiritual seeker to the Fourth Way and what no longer does? What is the present state and what could be the future of the Fourth Way? The answers to those questions could be found by means of comprehension, research and examination of Gurdjieff’s writings and those of his followers.
Gurdjieff constantly spoke of Legominism as the main aspect of the spiritual tradition defining it in Chapter 30 of “Beelzebub’s Tales” as the “transmission of true knowledge to distant generations through corresponding initiates.”[ii] The ideas concerning transmission of true knowledge have created a recurring theme in this all-embracing epic. Therefore, Gurdjieff’s teaching must be looked upon in the light of the idea of Legominism as it was outlined in this book. Our first task is to find out the actual meaning of this concept.
What does Gurdjieff write about Legominism in “Beelzebub’s Tales”?
In the same chapter we read: “This word Legominism,” replied Beelzebub, “is given to one of the means … of transmitting from generation to generation information about certain events of long-past ages, through just those three-brained beings who are thought worthy to be and who are called initiates,”[iii] and the ‘initiates’, according to Gurdjieff, are those enlightened beings “who had acquired in their presences… objective data, which could be sensed by other beings.” [iv]
In Chapter 23 of «Beelzebub’s Tales» entitled “The Fourth Sojourn of Beelzebub on the Planet Earth” Gurdjieff relates the story of the “learned society Akhldan which arose then on the continent Atlantis … 735 years before the second ‘Transapalnian perturbation …” [v] We learn that “it was founded on the initiative of a being there named Belcultassi, who was then able to bring the perfecting of his higher being part to the Being of a Saint ’Eternal Individual’; and this higher part of his now already dwells on the holy planet Purgatory.”[vi] A little later, many other beings that also possessed such a presence joined him. They founded the Society of Akhldans, which was in Gurdjieff’s words, “the first and perhaps last great terrestrial learned society.”[vii] The word ‘akhldan’ expressed the following concept: “’the striving to become aware of the sense and aim of the Being of beings.’”[viii] Still later, for the purposes of general character, they divided up into seven of independent groups, each group focusing on a particular field of knowledge such as geography, ‘vibrations’, mathematics, etc. However the very existence of this learned society was endangered by “the second Transapalnian perturbation” and the members of that organization migrated to another continent and settled in the country that currently bears the name of Egypt.
Reading further into “Beelzebub’s Tales” (Chapter 30, “Art”) we learn that during Beelzebub’s fifth trip to Earth he visited Babylon. Once, walking in on a certain street of that city, he saw a signboard announcing that a club for foreign learned beings, the Adherents-of-Legominism, had been newly opened. After joining this club and becoming its full member, Beelzebub attended a presentation by a Chaldean learned being named Aksharpanziar, who recommended two essential things: first, to preserve the old way of transmitting Legominism through a succession of enlightened beings, and then, to add to it another way, that of concealing elements of Legominism either in objects created by human beings or in their rituals, both artificially distorted for purpose of their safe preservation.
A very special place in this book by Gurdjieff was ascribed to a saintly being named Ashiata Shiemash. “The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the only Messenger sent from Above … who succeeded by His holy labors in creating on that planet conditions in which the existence of its unfortunate beings somewhat resembled for a certain time the existence of the three-brained beings of the other planets of our great Universe …”[ix] We learn that Ashiata Shiemash helped human beings in many ways, and that he has delivered a Legominism called “The Terror of the Situation,” the full text of which we find in Chapter 26. We also learn that this Legominism was inscribed on a marble-table and “at the present time this surviving tablet is the chief sacred relic of a small group of initiated beings there, called the ‘Brotherhood-Olbogmek,’ whose place of existence is situated in the middle of the continent Asia.”[x]
In the following Chapter (27) Gurdjieff writes about two groups of enlightened beings, namely, the Tchaftantouri and the Heechtvori Brotherhoods, the name of the second signifying ‘Only-he-will-be-called-and-will-become-the-Son-of-God-who-acquires-in-himself-Conscience.’[xi] Both Brotherhoods were guided by the great saint Ashiata Shiemash. Ashiata Shiemash has sent the ‘great initiates’ from these two brotherhoods with appropriate instructions to organize similar brotherhoods in other countries and towns on the continent of Asia. As a result of the care and guidance of Ashiata Shiemash “the question of conscience already began to predominate at that period … particularly among those who existed on the continent Asia,”[xii] and “in consequence, most of the beings of Asia at that time began to work upon themselves under the guidance of initiates and priests of the brotherhood Heechtvori, in order to transfer into their ordinary consciousness the results of the data present in their subconsciousness for engendering the impulse of genuine Divine conscience, and in order to have the possibility, by this means, on the one hand of completely removing from themselves, perhaps forever, the maleficent consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer, both those personally acquired and those passed to them by heredity and, on the other hand, of consciously taking part in diminishing the sorrow of OUR COMMON ENDLESS FATHER.”[xiii]
Later, even the word ‘initiates’ has come to have two different meanings, Gurdjieff states and elaborates on the theme: “In one sense it is used for the same purpose as before, that is to say, those beings there are so named who became initiates thanks to their personal conscious labors and intentional sufferings; and thereby, as I have already told you, they acquire in themselves objective merits which can be sensed by other beings irrespective of brain-system, and which also evoke in others trust and respect. In the other sense, those beings call each other by this name who belong to those what are called there ‘criminal gangs’ which in the said period have greatly multiplied there and whose members have as their chief aim to ‘steal’ from those around them only ‘essence-values.’”[xiv]
“Well then, my boy, Gurdjieff-Beelzebub concludes, speaking to his grandson, Hassein, Legominism is the name given to the successive transmission of information about long-past events which have occurred on the planet Earth from initiates to initiates of the first kind, that is, from really meritorious beings who have themselves received their information from similar meritorious beings.”[xv]
Beelzebub turns his mind to the question why all the efforts of enlightened individuals and brotherhoods failed and why false ‘initiates’ could gain the upper hand in the “struggle of Magicians”, and he explains that by referring to periodical catastrophes that destroy everything on Earth, to the fits of madness that make humans kill each other and to the hasnamusean tendency that gradually spreads all over the Earth.
Summing up what we have learned about Legominism from “Beelzebub’s Tales,” we could state the following. Firstly, Legominism is the true knowledge that is transmitted from generation to generation by the genuine initiates. Secondly, Legominism either contains information about certain events of long-past ages or appears in the form of principles that are useful to those who strive towards acquiring for themselves their higher being-bodies. Thirdly, during periods of mass psychosis, social “perturbations” and spreading of the hasnamusean tendency, Legominism assumes converted forms by concealing its composite parts from misuse and irreparable distortion.
What do we know about the origin of Gurdjieff’s teaching?
We know from various sources, all of them referring to Gurdjieff’s assertions that his teaching has been assembled from the information that he and his associates had acquired during their search for ancient knowledge. That knowledge had been neglected and forgotten in the course of time by the generations of human beings living in abnormal conditions, who due to those circumstances had lost their memories along with their higher being-bodies. The best known and most often quoted text on the subject is the passage from Chapter One of P.D. Ouspensky’s classic book “In Search for the Miraculous” which goes as following: “But how did you study?” − “I was not alone. There were all kinds of specialists among us. Everyone studied on the lines of his particular subject. Afterwards, when we forgathered, we put together everything we had found.”[xvi]
On another account, according to Gurdjieff, this knowledge had been obtained by him as the result of his profound introspections and years of intense experiment. Gurdjieff writes: “I arrived then, in the abovementioned year, at the definite conclusion that it would be utterly impossible to find out what I was looking for among my contemporaries and therefore decided one day to abandon everything and to retire for a definite period into complete isolation, away from all manifestations of the outer world, and to endeavor by means of active reflections to attain to this myself or to think out some new ways for my fertile researches.”[xvii] So he went to a secluded monastery in Central Asia, and after that dedicated a number of years to a thorough research with the intention “to investigate from all sides, and to understand, the exact significance and purpose of the life of man”[xviii] and to “discover, at all costs, some manner or means for destroying in people the predilection for suggestibility which causes them to fall easily under the influence of ‘mass hypnosis’.”[xix]
Although we see here two different assumptions concerning the origin of Gurdjieff’s teaching, they appear essentially to complement one another. We have sufficient reason, based on our intuition and experience, to make the following affirmations: Gurdjieff’s teaching was the result of his profound introspection, at the same time it was procured together with a group of his associates and obtained from a contact with a source of higher knowledge. Hence, Gurdjieff’s tradition presents an example of Legominism or a manifestation of true knowledge containing veritable information about certain events of long-past ages and profound principles for those who strive towards acquiring for themselves their higher being-bodies. Since Gurdjieff’s Legominism has been revealed during a period of social “perturbation,” mass psychosis and a spread of the hasnamusean tendency, it is natural that Gurdjieff, who spent a significant part of his life searching for this knowledge, was concerned with transmitting it to his disciples and with the subsequent continuation of this line of transmission. At the same time he made sure that his Legominism assumed a cryptic form with its essential elements concealed, and thus protected from possible misuse, distortion or damage. Gurdjieff called this procedure “burying the bone” and “burying the dog”.
What was the subsequent destiny of Gurdjieff’s Legominism?
In 1912, shortly before the beginning of WWI and the Russian revolution, Gurdjieff arrived to Moscow and began his Work with groups of his Russian followers. This marked the end of the legendary part of his history − from now on up to his death in 1949 Gurdjieff’s life was documented in the utmost detail by his disciples.
The teaching revealed by Gurdjieff was sophisticated and composite, and he himself played the role of the center of gravity, which held all the components together. After Gurdjieff’s decease, his teaching, being essentially left without a gravity center, split into the intellectual part, individual Work, and group Work, the latter including the Movements, and music. These parts eventually became independent of each other, and presently they coexist in a complementary manner. Some people read Gurdjieff others practice Gurdjieff individually or in groups, still other dance and listen to Gurdjieff’s music.
Already during Gurdjieff’s lifetime several of his senior disciples, P.D. Ouspensky, A.R. Orage, J.G. Bennett and a few others, began the transmission of Gurdjieff’s Legominism to their own followers. Later on, many of Gurdjieff’s disciples, such as Pierre Elliott, Frank Lloyd Wright, Willem Nyland, John Pentland and others, have also made their own contributions, to the best of their abilities, to the further dissemination and development of this tradition. Some of them, headed by M-me de Salzmann, organized the Gurdjieff Foundation, which became the official inheritor of Gurdjieff’s legacy. In order to protect the authenticity of transmission of Gurdjieff’s teaching, the Foundation has surrounded itself with a wall of mystery, similar to that which was created several decades earlier in London by P.D. Ouspensky.
The Gurdjieff Foundation became the established center for Gurdjieff’s Work in Europe and the US preserving Gurdjieff’s heritage, publishing his writings, teaching his Movements, supporting performances of his music and tending to its adherents. We experience a considerable amount of gratitude to the Foundation for what it has done, albeit some disappointment in regard to its shortcomings. In the present time, the Gurdjieff Foundation has lost its central role of the leader of Gurdjieff’s tradition. As a result of its defensive position in the modern world, a large amount of genuine interest awakened in people by Gurdjieff’s striking personality and by his powerful ideas is being wasted. Instead of knocking patiently at the door of the Foundation, the reader of literature on the Fourth Way, or any person who has heard about Gurdjieff from a friend, would rather satisfy his or her spiritual need by joining a local group for the Movements, which would most likely be led by an instructor from the Rajneeshees, the Fellowship of Friends, the School of Psychoanthropology or, more likely, by an independent leader who himself studied with questionable instructors.
The Work of P.D. Ouspensky and J.G. Bennett had been carried out in an atmosphere of opposition between the “conservatives” and the “innovators”. As far back as in 1956, John Bennett was complaining about the impossibility of cooperating with the “conservatives,” having explained their position as that of an overly reverent attitude towards Gurdjieff and his teaching. The reason for this was, in his opinion, a lack among the “conservatives” of instructors endowed with the knowledge, certitude and gift of improvisation comparable with Gurdjieff’s.
On the other hand, the approach of P.D. Ouspensky and J.G. Bennett suffered from an excess of rationalism and unproven assumptions, and their teaching strategies and techniques, when compared with that of their teacher revealed a great deal of ungrounded improvisation.
What is the present state of Gurdjieff’s Legominism?
Presently in Europe, America, Asia and Australia against the background of the “Supermarket for Self-Development”, we can see numerous groups and individuals practicing the Fourth Way at their own initiative. Some groups have been established by the dropouts from the Gurdjieff Foundation, who were dissatisfied with either the teaching methods used by instructors or with the instructors themselves. There also exist semi-Fourth Way groups that have chosen to have no leader, as well as Forth Way web-sites not affiliated to any of the Gurdjieff trends, including the Gurdjieff Foundation.
Upon examining the elements of Gurdjieff’s teaching we can see that the intellectual part is well represented in the Master’s books, lectures and talks, as well as in the books about Gurdjieff and his ideas. It is the most appealing element of the teaching because of its profound content and striking form. However, during the course of time the form of the intellectual part of the teaching gradually began to look stiffer and more ponderous. The modern reader, who is accustomed to the fleeting style and quick and easy challenges in the works of Rajneesh, Kastaneda and other guru-writers, often finds Gurdjieff’s style rather bulky and obscure. In addition, the doctrines created on the basis of Gurdjieff’s teachings by his main interpreters, Ouspensky and Bennett, have turned over the years into kinds of rationalistic systems, which have lost the plasticity of living and developing ideas. Even the language of the Fourth Way presently seems to be already out of date, and all those who use it, feel compelled to expand and modernize it by bringing new ideas and images into their discourse and, hence, to shatter the foundations of the teaching. The following quotation from Gurdjieff’s early talks makes the point precisely: “…now we speak in a language which two hundred years hence will no longer be the same, and two hundred years ago the language was different.” One hundred years have sufficed to prove that the author of those words was right.
The Gurdjieff Movements are presently a predominating self-sufficient phenomenon, and there have been numerous cases when only after a long time of practicing the Movements the participants begin to realize the significance and magnitude of their creator and of the other elements of his legacy.
The music composed by Gurdjieff and arranged by Thomas de Hartmann for the Movements is one of the most delicate and attractive elements of Gurdjieff’s heritage. Among the people who have been interested in Gurdjieff there evolved a moderately sized circle of connoisseurs of this music, who perceive it primarily as an aesthetic phenomenon in a retro style. Their taste for it is enhanced by reminiscences of spiritual practices in various Eastern traditions.
The myths and anecdotes surrounding the founder of the Fourth Way are widely disseminated by tradesmen of pop culture. On the other hand, large groups of Europeans and Americans perceive Gurdjieff’s teaching as a sectarian cult and call for saving unsteady and inexperienced souls from its influence.
The Gurdjieff Foundation in the context of the modern world resembles a system of impregnable fortresses in a land controlled by imposters and vagrants. As the situation in the world is becoming more grievous and critical, the Foundation is hardening in its position of maintaining its isolation from the outer world.
To sum up our review of the present state of Gurdjieff’s tradition, we could say that the overall situation resembles that of a combination of chaos and paralysis.
This grievous situation was apprehended by one of the matriarchs of the Gurdjieff Tradition Jessmin Howarth: “In a very few years, the older people who have struggled to prevent the distortion of the Movements will be dead. You can continue your dedication to Mr. G.’s teaching by actively setting about the formation of a nucleus. You will try to exchange, share and stay all together, supporting each other’s efforts, and so endeavor to preserve purity in teaching Mr. G.’s System of Movements.”[xx]
Wim van Dullemen also finds this to be a pressing problem. He writes: “There is the well known esoteric principle, “You can’t give what cannot be taken,” or, “Do not cast pearls before swine.” But how to select those that can take them?” He is referring to the particular situation when Gurdjieff presented his Movements in France and in America, these events being open to anyone interested and admission was always free. When Gurdjieff was asked, “Why do you open this to all these people?” he answered angrily, “How can you judge? … We have to let everyone hear. The results do not belong to us.” Wim van Dullemen’s choice is the middle way: “we didn’t want to throw the Work out onto the street at the feet of every passerby, but rather, to open it to those with a real interest.” And this meant to him carrying out Work “in smaller subunits, rather than in a “top-down” structure.”[xxi]
Both of those perspectives, Wim van Dullemen’s and Jessmin Howarth’s, are marked by a sense of uncertainty and pessimism. Neither of them can be viewed with even the slightest degree of hope.
A similar concern can be discerned in the essay by Joseph Azize “Where are the Gurdjieff groups heading?” first published on the Lighthouse Editions site and later reprinted on the site of Gurdjieff Club which end in the following way: “It is as if the power left the Gurdjieff groups with Gurdjieff himself. And that is the fact, at least as I see it. So, I repeat my question, where are the Gurdjieff groups going?”
Let us ask once again: what is Gurdjieff’s Legominism?
The three Legominisms of Gurdjieff, which essentially form the core of Gurdjieff’s teaching, are the following. The first Legominism of Gurdjieff is the statement about the “Terror Situation” which demands urgent spiritual effort. The second Legominism lays the emphasis on the foremost significance of Conscience which is God’s chief representative on Earth. Finally, the third Legominism makes a clear distinction between being and knowledge and stresses that the increase of being is the only way leading to an awakening. These three Legominisms of Gurdjieff, which bring in the parallel with three Legominisms of Christianity – depravity, repentance and perfection leading to deification − provide us with the reliable direction for spiritual effort and create a criteria for our actions. The corresponding Legominisms in Buddhism aredukha (suffering), prajna (distinguishing knowledge) and marga (a way to liberation).
In order to revive Gurdjieff’s tradition and to make it meet the expectations of forthcoming new generations, serious changes are needed in a number of directions of Gurdjieff’s Work, but first of all, we should think of the creation of an organ, a proto-nucleus capable of administering all the necessary changes.
We must ask ourselves: what is the desirable shape of Gurdjieff’s tradition in the present day? In absence of an enlightened Master, we certainly do not want to see it as an autocracy or monarchy. Should the Gurdjieff tradition be organized in the manner of the old British Empire, in which colonies were ruled by viceroys? Or would it be better if it resemble the European Union of our days, governed by its top officials? We certainly would not like to see that future as a tyranny or anarchy, a domination of the arbitrary choice and incompetence? But is this not its present state? The Christian church during the course of time was divided into several autocephalous churches, which have never been reconciled since. Is the same fate awaiting us too? What will happen with Gurdjieff’s Legominism in a situation of schism and chaos? And where, incidentally, Gurdjieff Legominism is dwelling presently?
The final question: what is to be done?
Our first concern would be the creation of a Council of Competent Masters, a nucleus of like-minded persons who would take on the responsibility for the future of Gurdjieff’s tradition, and who would determine a proper strategy for its development. One of the aims of this type of Council might be to gather together all the elements that are healthy and strong in the present-day Gurdjieff Work. This Council must have at its center a person who would highlight the best qualities of all its other members. The leader of such a group could not be merely appointed by somebody at random − he must develop within the circle of other mature and enlightened individuals. The principle of Brotherhoods should be established as the dominating principle of that Council as well as of the other nucleus affiliated with it. Such a Council should neither have any administrative power, nor the instruments for obtaining and retaining for itself such a power, his authority must be his only privilege, though in no case this privilege should become a guaranteed monopoly. Any Forth Way group as a result of its merits and attractiveness to the majority of other Brotherhoods may become in reality such a Council, replacing the original Council.
Gurdjieff distinguished between two types of ancient societies transmitting Legominism, namely, the Brotherhoods disseminating Legominisms and creating similar Brotherhoods and the so-called learned societies and clubs like Akhldan and Adherents-of-Legominism, which are occupied with elaborating the principles and methods of Legominism. While the second type of societies, the learned societies require from its members a higher level of self-realization and that requirement creates a certain limitation for membership in those societies, there is no formal limitation for membership in those Brotherhoods that are preoccupied with spreading the main Legominisms across. The only condition for joining those Brotherhoods is sincerity in striving on the part of the members of those Brotherhoods towards acquiring for themselves an awakened presence and an objective Conscience. Correspondingly there are two types of societies, which should be created as parts of the revived body of Gurdjieff tradition, the “narrow-neck” learned societies and the “wide-neck” Brotherhoods. The later should be involved in the extensive interaction with the outer world, tending to its new members and facilitating the emergence of new Brotherhoods.
We can think of two stages of this process. On the first stage it would be necessary to carry out scrupulous preliminary investigation and planning. This is the appropriate time to recall what Gurdjieff wrote about the club of the Adherents-of-Legominism and the speech of the Chaldean sage named Aksharpanziar, who recommended two essential things: first, to preserve the old way of transmitting Legominism through a succession of enlightened beings, and then, to include another way based on concealing elements of Legominism, either in objects created by human beings or in their rituals, both of which should be artificially distorted for this purpose. In the process of embodying this project, a Media Holding might be created for the purpose of dissemination of the ideas of the Work with controlled distortions, which would enhance the process of the enculturation of the teaching.
On the second stage (the Council of Competent Masters alone should determine the time-frame for those two stages) a wide-front “offensive” must be launched against the contemporary world. One should keep in mind that the main objective of this “offensive” should be the spiritual awakening of our contemporaries. This Council must focus on gradually putting the Gurdjieff tradition into the active disposition in the modern world, on turning from a defensive strategy into an offensive one. The strategy of the Council must be based on creating a barrier against consumerism, pragmatism, egotism and other similar harmful trends and on giving help and instruction to those who will demonstrate an inclination towards spiritual illumination. One of the Council’s important objectives should be to create conditions for overcoming the anthropomorphism of Western religions and establishing a new openness for the wisdom of the great Oriental traditions. This may introduce a new period of spiritual discourses and disputations, similar to that which inflamed the Western civilization during the first centuries of Christianity. Christianity had survived that challenge and Gurdjieff’s tradition has no lesser capacity of enduring it.
The creation of the Fourth Way Brotherhoods around the world must be encouraged in the manner it had been done by the great saint Ashiata Shiemash. These Brotherhoods should take part in disseminating the three main Legominisms of Gurdjieff. They could participate in a creative manner in the projects of the Council, initiate new projects and bring feedback reactions from the experiences of their dealings with the outer world. We could recall that “Ashiata Shiemash has sent the ‘great initiates’ from… two brotherhoods with appropriate instructions to organize similar brotherhoods in other countries and towns of the continent of Asia”. As a result of that care and guidance of Ashiata Shiemash “at that period, particularly on the continent of Asia, the question of Conscience began to predominate.” This particular Work should be enacted with the anticipation of the support of youth which in its most part is completely disappointed with the perspectives available to them today. Success of this course of actions will be assured by the quality of Gurdjieff’s Legominisms and by the purity of our intensions.
Simultaneously, an assault should be launched against technological cults based on distorted elements of Gurdjieff’s tradition. We may remember what Gurdjieff wrote about the false ‘initiates’ and ‘robber gangs,’ which have greatly multiplied in our time, as they had at the time of Ashiata Shiemash, and whose leaders had before and have now the identical aim of ‘stealing’ the ‘essence-values’ from those around them.
I can see the following objections to the proposed course of action leading to revival of Gurdjieff’s Tradition. Some people may say that society today is not ready for such a process, and that it is a dangerous undertaking for the easily inflammable modern world. However those who think so should recall the historical conditions at the times of practically all previous grand scale spiritual transformations. The world is never ready and always hungry for the message of “Coming Good,” and there is no danger for human beings greater than the necrosis in the midst of which we live now. The second objection is that such a course of actions would irreparably damage the Gurdjieff Tradition by turning it into a religion, i.e. take away our attention from the inner work and direct it at the extrinsic objectives and by doing so will completely demagnetize the Tradition. Those who are concerned with this alleged “danger” must be blind to the fact that every successful spiritual tradition inevitably has to blend its elements with the realities of the world, otherwise it would be rejected and ousted from history. And there is a third objection based on considering the level of inner decay of the contemporary zombie, to which we may reply by referring to the notorious decomposition of the Roman Empire and to the early Christian Brotherhoods that saved the kernels of the ancient Legominisms by covering them up in a nutshell of an arising tradition.
The anticipated course would inevitably produce an explosion of both, creative and destructive forces; however that process will be moderated by the three Legominisms of Gurdjieff. Those who crucified Jesus Christ were concerned with public calm and tranquility, however He has chosen the other way: He knew that Legominism means a continuous reconstruction of the outer form of the Tradition, its adjustment to concrete historical needs.
I would like to end my presentation with another quotation this time from Sy Ginsburg Exchange May 2005 (Gurdjieff Internet Guide): “What Gurdjieff was trying to do. He was trying to sound what he called the new Do for humanity. The idea is to reach humanity and not just some little secret group with this secret Gurdjieff teaching who think, look aren’t we special.”
[ii] G.I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Penguin, Arkana 1999, p. 459
[iii] Ibid., p.349.
[iv] Ibid., p.350
[v] Ibid., p.294
[vi] Ibid., p.294
[ix] Ibid., p.348
[x] Ibid., p.349
[xi] Ibid., p.368
[xii] Ibid., p.374
[xiii] Ibid., p.374
[xiv] Ibid., p.350
[xv] Ibid., p.350-351
[xvi] P.D. Ouspensky. In Search of the Miraculous. Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, a Harvest Book Harcourt, San Diego, New York, London 2001, p. 15.
[xvii] G.I. Gurdjieff, Herald of Coming Good. First Appeal to Contemporary Humanity, Paris 1933, p. 14.
[xviii] G.I. Gurdjieff Life is Real Only Then, when I Am, E.P. Dutton & C., N.Y. 1973, p.26.
[xix] Ibid., p.27.
[xx] Jessmin & Dushka Howarth, It’s Up to Ourselves, Gurdjieff Heritage Society, N.Y., 2009, p. 466.
[xxi] Wim van Dullemen, The History of Gurdjieff Movements, Newsletter 1/2002.