1. Born in 1909 in England, Rodney Collin Smith was with Ouspensky almost constantly from 1940 until Ouspensky’s death, Oct 1947.
I remember him with much gratitude for his Theory of Celestial Influence (1947? And mid-1950’s) and his Theory of Eternal Life (1949). Like Ouspensky’s books, they influenced greatly my mind and the direction to which it should turn in the bewilderment of those raw student years.
He is said to have done much good work in Mexico after Ouspensky’s death and to have maintained collaboration with Dr Roles in London.
An article by Norwegian Terje Tonne on the Internet is full of admiration and praise and quite informative. Tonne seems to have had access to some version, probably the common one of the Last Remembrances of a Magician: there are some citations carefully selected. But not wishing to be smudging his hero’s image, he does not reveal much: he sees “a more immediate sense of intensity and depth [of Ouspensky’s death]”. Let us see then.
2. I have often referred to the “writer(s)” of Last Remembrances of a Magician but I must say again that I think Collin Smith wrote the whole of it. We saw in previous papers several aspects of Collin Smith’s involvement. If I were to make propaganda for Ouspensky and his tradition, I too would focus on various incidents and Collin Smith’s interpretations with exclamatory or other emotional cries of approval. But I suspected that there was delusion on a large scale even though the people involved thought they were being sincere and perceptive of subtler truths.
Collin Smith writes at the end of The Theory of Eternal Life, after references to Milarepa of Tibet and our Christ, who both, after dying, showed themselves to their disciples, that Ouspensky did the same thing:
Lying in bed in Surrey, [Ouspensky] possessed with his own mind a young man flying over the Atlantic, whom he had already rid of an illusion. That morning, dead he walked with a traveler – crossing London Bridge; and to another at the wheel of a car showed the nature of the universe. // Yet these tales are hard to believe… Let him who can understand understand. For so it is.
The young man over the Atlantic was Collin Smith himself on an abortive effort to fetch to England Mme Ouspensky. The traveler is unknown but we have no corroboration of this apparition. The driver also is unknown and, again, we have no corroboration nor information about “the nature of the universe”. These are important events and I am not content with Collin Smith’s pontifical statement “so it is”.
3. In ch 1 of Last Remembrances of a Magician already are several facts from Ouspensky’s life that are suppressed or misrepresented deliberately, as shown in Esotericism (LIX): Ouspensky’s last days (4), § 4 end.
In ch 3, p 21, Collin Smith “was more than ever impressed by a certain indefinable but very definite power” in Ouspensky. On p 25, Ouspensky “seemed to hold up a mirror to people in which their desires could be seen reflected whether true or false”. And Collin Smith himself saw that “the true formulation of one’s aim is in fact the magic ‘Sesame’ by which alone a certain door can open”. In ch 4, p 25 all Ouspensky’s stuttering, inconsistencies and incoherence in speech are interpreted as deliberate, intentional acts. I could add several more instances of such delusory interpretations from the first 8 untampered chapters. But the magnitude of Collin Smith’s misconceptions appears in the “classified” chs 12,13 (possibly 9, 10, 11, which I have not seen).
4. Collin Smith writes several times about “miracles” and sees “experiments” and Ouspensky’s “magical and deliberate interventions” almost everywhere.
In ch 12, at one point he imitates (after “telepathic suggestion”) Ouspensky’s movements and rocking from side to side and suddenly Ouspensky leaps upon him, shouts and rains blows on him. Collin Smith responds in like manner – beating and kicking each other until Ouspensky and Collin Smith “crashed their foreheads together with great force”. It happened several times. And here, it seemed later to Collin Smith that this “stimulated certain inner organs”!
But later, feeling certain he had died to his old self and having had sex with his wife, he rushed onto Dr Roles and struck him so hard that he broke the man’s eardrum. What miracle or spiritual aspect here!
In ch 13, travelling over the Atlantic, he felt Ouspensky’s mind overwhelming his own, but despite its superior knowledge it did not tell him that the trip was futile and Mme Ouspensky would not budge. Instead he was inundated with thoughts about women and pleasures. And when he returned to Lyne he wanted to have sex with Miss P, who also wanted it but did not give in!
Surely spiritual development and transfer of consciousness from a “higher man” is not of this kind!