Esotericism (XVIΙΙ): Gurdjieff and Ouspensky (Β’)

Esotericism (XVIΙΙ): Gurdjieff and Ouspensky (Β’)

- in Esotericism

1. In this paper I examine another incident which reveals O’s awareness that G was of superior knowledge and being but also his own resistance to this fact.

In the immediately previous paper of this series I examined the highly significant event in Finland which was the telepathic communication which G set off between O and himself thus giving to O proofs of his own [G’s] superior ability. Despite this, I pointed out, O assumed (p 263, In Search of the Miraculous) that G could react in a certain way deriding him, if he, O, told him of something he had found about himself: this shows very great presumption on O’s part. How could O, after G’s clear demonstrations of his own undoubted higher knowledge and power, assume that he knew G so well as to be sure of G’s ways?

2. A little later, after the events in Finland, two people of the group dropped off. They seemed suddenly, writes O (p 269), not to understand anything of the teaching, to see in everything G told them a misunderstanding on his part and to find in their fellow-students a lack of sympathy.

The two thought all the other members conspired against them, failed to inform them of what G said when they were absent and, on the contrary, told tales to G in order to make him distrust them (= the two).

The two became mistrustful, suspicious and openly hostile to the group. They accused them all of giving to G wrong information about them and presenting them in a false light.

O was astonished by this change.

3. But the more significant aspect of this sad event is that O notes fully the two person’s change of attitude towards G himself! I quote O’s description of their new attitude: –

“G. himself had completely changed, had become altogether different from what he used to be before, had become harsh, requiring, had lost all feeling and all interest for individual people, had ceased to demand the truth from people; that he preferred to have around him people such as were afraid to tell him the truth, who were hypocrites, who threw flowers at one another and at the same time spied on the others”.

Note: G had changed, had become different; had ceased to demand the truth from people; preferred to have round him hypocrites.

Yet some such notions appeared in O himself leading him to leave G!

4. At first O begins to “separate” G the man/teacher from the “system”. In the circumstances this is an absurdity. Particularly as G does absolutely nothing that goes against the “system” as far as one can see at that stage.

Later he writes openly that there were many things (unspecified) he could not understand and that he had to go (p. 373). He valued immensely the ideas of the system realising their significance. But he doubted that he, together with “the majority of our company”, could continue under G’s leade rship. “I do not in the least,” O explains, “mean that I found any of G’s actions or methods wrong [here too he becomes judge of his teacher!] or that they failed to respond to what I expected”. This explains nothing, of course; and the same holds for O’s additional explanation that “a man has choice” and he is not obliged to follow something which “  does not respond to what he is seeking” (p. 374). This seems to me to contradict the preceding statement. And when he wanders off into different types of school he is obviously covering up or evading something. How did G become different?

Nor is there the slightest improvement or clear explanation when he says that a leader (=G) should put off people for whom his methods or subjects will be “alien, incomprehensible and unattainable”. O does not and will not give any real reasons as to his objections.

He states then that he had been mistaken about many things that he had ascribed to G. But again we have seen no mention of these things. It all sounds like clumsy self-justification.

Here I stop to return with another paper.

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