inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #26 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sat 24 Apr 04 18:45
    
"I discovered that Gurdjieff had the peculiar property of appearing to
be a different man to everyone who met him.” said Bennett.

Certainly it's true that different people have different gifts.
Ouspensky had the experience of the Movements but  didn't pursue them
personally much. Hard to imagine him doing them. (Not that you have to
be good at them--that's not the point. The point is to create a certain
inner dynamic while doing the Movements, it seems to me; to create
conditions for greater all-around attention; to create the possibility
for productive struggle. That's there for anyone. God knows it's all
struggle with me. I don't do them much. I sit, I do other things.)
Naturally different people have different gifts and the general course
of someone in the Work is going to be toward something he's gifted in,
crafts or writing or whatever. But then again, when I have gone to Work
days I've been given carpentry to do, not writing.Do you think I'm
good at carpentry? NOOOOO. That's why I am getting it, just now--just
as the literary critic Orage was given ditches to dig for awhile (later
he oversaw the editing and translation of much of Beelzebub's Tales.)
People take on things counter to their general tendency, at times, to
create a law-of-three kind of dynamism, and even get good at things
they never thought they'd be good at, and it is one of many methods for
creating a harmony where there was none before...Still, human beings
are individuals. The Work (or any other spiritual praxis) is not going
to be tailored for them but teachers will see "where they're at" and
what they need to look at. They make that assessment, in a nonintrusive
kind of way. Gurdjieff, being more awake and not identified inwardly,
could radically alter his outward modality to challenge people in
whatever way they needed to be challenged. He was like a dancer, moving
in this turn or that glissande, depending on appropriate need, the
music of the moment. Teachers in the Work now are less likely to have
such gifts for seeing into people and responding variously according to
their chief features, but in a general way they try to do just that,
it seems to me. So in time, you'd be guided the way you need to go. Not
that anyone tells you what to do with your life itself, but they might
suggest a direction for reading, or that you should do more physical
work, or less physical work and more mental work (during Gurdjieff work
conditions, not, again, in your personal life, no one touches that).
Gentle guidance like that. 

Plus you feel your OWN way. You sit, as we're taught, you read, you
try to be present on several levels, and you participate in things to
the extent you can, and you feel your way along and as you have more
presence the way to go will probably get clearer to you...But for a
time you just do the basics. For a LONG time probably. The basics
involve seeing a whole new world, after all...   
 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #27 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sat 24 Apr 04 18:49
    
. Here’s the Buddha, from the Dhammapada, translated by John Ross
Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana:
                     “Among those unaware, the one aware;
                          Among the sleepers, the wide-awake;
  The one with great wisdom moves on…”          
         
Among the sleepers, says the Buddha in that quote from the
Dhammapada-- as if the “one with great wisdom” is all alone in the
world;   one man awake, surrounded by sleepers. Calling Gotoma the
Awakened One suggests he is very nearly the only one awake. The idea
that we’re insufficiently awake is fairly commonplace, especially among
people with some interest in spirituality, while those who’ve
experimented with psychedelic drugs claim to have witnessed the
relativity of consciousness first-hand. But Gurdjieff’s notion of what
constituted man’s sleep is far more challenging.
        As  Gurdjieff  blithely informed PD Ouspensky, people are asleep when
they think they’re awake. They sleepwalk through life. They live and
die for the most part asleep, at best half-waking in fitful starts. If
they think they’re more awake than the next person, most of the time
they’re probably at least as deeply asleep. 
        Gurdjieff was quite blunt: “The most characteristic feature of a
modern man is the absence of unity in him and, further, the absence in
him of even traces of those properties which he most likes to ascribe
to himself, that is, ‘lucid consciousness’, ‘free will,’ a ‘permanent
ego or I,’ and the ‘ability to do.’ It may surprise you if I say that
the chief feature of a modern man’s being which explains everything
else that is lacking in him is sleep. A modern man lives in sleep,  in
sleep he is born and in sleep he dies… But at present just think of one
thing, what knowledge can a sleeping man have?  And if you think about
it and at the same time remember that sleep is the chief feature of
our being, it will at once become clear to you that if a man really
wants knowledge, he must first think about how to wake…”
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #28 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sat 24 Apr 04 18:51
    
The above is a slight quote from my book. ANd m book quoting In Search
of the Miraculous by Ouspensky.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #29 of 113: Jeffrey M. Field (topsy-turvy) Sun 25 Apr 04 04:05
    
I'm mildly bipolar. During one of my "ups" I published on my blog a
scathing criticism of school policies where I teach 7th grade Social
Studies. I then pointed my principal and vice-principal to the blog.

Was I asleep, or awake? ...In light of the fact that my criticisms
were valid.

Now I am faced with the prospect of not being rehired (although I
apologized for my actions and have tried to make up for it by
photographing just about anything that moves for the school's online
photo albums).

Last Sunday I walked the plaza in old Mesilla. The old man saw my
motorcycle helmet and said he had what I needed - a framed watercolor
of St. Christopher. I explained my situation at school and asked him to
recommend a saint. I paid $22 plus tax and took home Saint Thomas
Aquinas. Was I asleep or awake during the transaction?

Finally, this. For most of my adult life I've wrestled a mystery which
transpired when some 30 years ago I woke from sleep to witness a
monk-like figure (picture the monk on the cover of the book, A Canticle
for Leibowitz) "looking" down at me. I say "looking" because no
physical features were visible. It was like looking at an animated
monk's robe/hood. Here's what happened. My eyelids opened. I was
totally paralyzed. No fear shook me. No thought transpired. The figure
slowly raised and lowered his "arm" (the time it took for this motion
was about 10-15 seconds). Twice more the arm raised and lowered. My
eyelids closed. I woke that morning to find this albatross around my
neck. I've spent my life trying to decode the event because I consider
it spiritually significant. Three years ago I moved from Alabama to New
Mexico. I think part of the answer may lie in a monastery in northern
New Mexico... http://www.christdesert.org/ 

Am I awake or asleep?

I like to think I'm awake, at least when I ponder the reaction of
Americans to the situation in Iraq. I wrote a minimalist poem to
express my dismay...

Janet's breast
Hundreds dead
Silly me.


I'm quite thrilled to have discovered this conversation. Normally I
visit the WELL just to read the videogame section. You folks have
gotten my Sunday off to a rousing start.


 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #30 of 113: flying jenny (jenslobodin) Sun 25 Apr 04 07:54
    
Oh, now I need to read your book, John Shirley. I encountered
Gurdjieff's teachings thirty-odd years ago. Powerful. At the time, I
was more drawn toward a Sufi master, Pir Vilyat Khan, rest his soul.
This book seems as if it is a must-read. I wonder whether the SF
library has it yet. Will find out directly. Good discussion. Thanks.

I love in post <24>, AL Stavely's "merciless compassion." 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #31 of 113: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 25 Apr 04 11:06
    
John, a friend of mine who is acquainted with the Gurdjieff work and lives 
in Paris, France has told me that the European Fourth Way groups are quite 
different from those in the U.S.  Can you comment on this?
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #32 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sun 25 Apr 04 13:05
    
Will try to respond to several questions in this posting.

JEFFREY: Gurdjieff, at any rate, felt that most of us are asleep all
or most of the time, when we suppose ourselves awake. We can have
degrees of being more or less conscious, and we can work on ourselves
to make ourselves more conscious, but being really awake is rare. It
doesn't come free. It doesn't come by itself--though life may offer
some moments of vividness that are more wakeful than others--and on the
whole we have to pay for it in advance by doing some inner work,
deliberately. So in answer to your question, the great likelihood is
that you were asleep, and are. This of course is not what you're likely
to want to hear. Gurdjieff can be relied on to tell us things we don't
want to hear. I see no harm in giving an old man some money for a
pleasant picture of a saint. But you were probably asleep. Since you
now regret your sort of blurting, perhaps a bit too harshly, what was
wrong with the school, you were even more likely to have been asleep
then, probably--Gurdjieff (and I am not saying Everything He Says Is
So, but we're talking in context of his ideas here)--says that when
we're caught up in one "I"--one superficial state of mind that defines
our identify at that moment--we "run up debts" that we are surprised by
later, that must be paid off though it wasn't "you" making that
"debt". Your *state* at that time, the state you were in, made that
debt. Debt in the sense of getting yourself in trouble with the school
and having to apologize and maybe losing your job. (BTW if they fire
you for telling the truth you might have legal recourse.) 

Just briefly, what you describe with the monk vision--especially the
paralysis--sounds like certain kinds of sleep disorders, which often
cause people to feel someone is holding them, or they're paralyzed, and
they may see things then. Hence a lot of "UFO abduction experiences".
It's likely neurological. And since it was in the middle of the night,
you woke to see this, it's likely that in fact you were doing some
*form* of dreaming (yes, with your eyes open, it happens), and I
wouldn't put too much significance in it were I you, especially when
you consider your having to deal with being in any degree bipolar.
That's not Gurdjieffian advice it's just my subjective opinion based on
experience and life. (I've had sleep paralysis and though I didn't see
things I *felt* things). Look for a book called "Wherever you Go,
There You Are" -- this primer on mindfulness might be of great help in
keeping you balanced. 

FLYING JENNY: I have heard good things of Pir Vilyat Khan. I once read
something by him, if I recall rightly. Sufism has much in common with
Gurdjieff and he with it though there are of course several sorts of
Sufism. He probably had the most in common with the Naqshbandi, but I'm
not expert enough to say for sure.

JON: I haven't had much contact with the Work in Europe and can't
really give much opinion on it. I have a sort of impression that the
French are very committed and serious, and the English have a tendency
to create their own odd variations, but  I don't really know for sure.
To get a sense of the Work in France (where it's probably more
established than in other parts of Europe), you might read the works of
Michel Conge and Henri Tracol, which have been translated... 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #33 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sun 25 Apr 04 13:09
    
PS TO JON

How are those groups different, in Europe? I'd like to hear. Those
here have their form because of Jeanne de Salzmann, who was very
definitely doing what Gurdjieff wanted, and Lord Pentland, whom
Gurdjieff appointed. 

Keep in mind that some outfits who claim to be Gurdjieffian groups may
be peculiar little offshoots who have little or nothing to do with the
Work. I'm not saying that's who your friend is in touch with. But I
know of some like that there,.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #34 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Sun 25 Apr 04 13:13
    
PPS to JON

It just occurs to me that the Gurdjieff Foundation (the primary
exponent of the Work in this country) in America is supervised by the
French! So it couldn't be too different. First Michel de Salzmann, son
of Jeanne, now passed on, then Paul Reynard...They're not like the
Fearless Leaders of the Work but they were or are the main guiding
figures as far as I can make out, along with various
committees...Mostly it's quite democratic but there's a certain
guidance...
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #35 of 113: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 25 Apr 04 15:07
    
I'm going to ask my friend to read and comment, when I wake up!
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #36 of 113: William H. Dailey (whdailey) Sun 25 Apr 04 15:31
    
When I got into this I thought it was going to be about heaven, the
next world.  But it seems really to be about alternatives in the
present.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #37 of 113: Kathy (kathbran) Sun 25 Apr 04 15:44
    
Hi John,

Thanks for joining us for this discussion.  When I read your book the small
thing that jumped out was Gutfjieff's explanation of the apparent speeding
up of life as we get older.  Our childhood seems to crawl by.  Our adulthood
races.  If I understand his view, the reason is that children are more
present in their lives.  Adults have learned to sleep rather than
experiencing.  It reminded me of how new routines can exhaust us--presumably
because we haven't figured out to sleep during them.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #38 of 113: Jay Kinney (jay-kinney) Sun 25 Apr 04 19:28
    
What gets me, is how our culture and economy are ever more geared
towards not only assuming we are asleep, but putting us further asleep.
In other words, in order for the economy to do well, we have to
produce and buy stuff that most "awake" people (IMHO) would want
nothing to do with. But if we are slavishly running after our
unexamined desires or seeking the approval of others or wanting to
belong by participating in a fad, or seeking fame and fortune, and so
on, then we are the ideal consumer.

End of rant. Everyone's heard it a zillion times before.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #39 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 26 Apr 04 00:09
    
JAY: there's no doubt that mindless consumerism is a trancelike
condition pervading our society; one thinks of the original DAWN OF THE
DEAD. People are stunned by the faux dazzle of the Media WOrld we live
in now, confused and depressed by it. There was a recent article in
Scientific American called the Tyranny of Choice that offers some
insight; I blogged about it at johnshirley.net (click on the blog link
to get to it, a summary of the article and my thoughts). Anyway
Gurdjieff wrote about this mindless consumerism in some bits on
America, as I recall, in his wildly idiosyncratic and profound tome,
Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson...Nowdays we use media and shopping
and entertainment as additional 'buffers' against discomfort. But on
some level people sense they're lost; hence, as I pointed out in my
book, all the movies about people realizing they're in virtual reality,
in some dreamlike artificial place, asleep, etc. The Matrix,
Thirteenth Story, Fight Club, Vanilla SKy and so on.

WILLIAM DAILEY: The afterlife is seen differently, from the point of
view of Gurdjieff's teaching, than the usual sense of it we get from
exoteric religion.  Esoterically, though, in terms of the teachings
that some traditions keep behind closed doors, many of them agree with
him (maybe nearly all, really, if you talk to the right people) that
human beings don't have a soul that survives death unless they create
one. We have spirit, that connects with the sort of ocean of
consciousness that invests the universe, and that has its own
phenomena, that may lead to some variant of reincarnation, but survival
as a real individual, that's rarer, and requires work on oneself, the
development of will (Edgar ALlen Poe seemed to have a kind of vision of
this, in his odd way, in his story LIGEIA). The person who develops
real individual "I" and real being, a sort of spiritual maturity that
maintains individuality, can then move into more inclusive (a term I
prefer to "higher") planes where they are less restricted by the
oppressive conditions of the level we live on before we die. Not that
I'm clear on it. It's all quite mysterious to me, I'm just vaguely
paraphrasing...Personally I'll know the afterlife exists when I see it.
It's hypothetical to me. I am convinced that the Gurdjieff work and
other esoteric traditions can help us here in this life, liberate us to
live life better--that I can be confident of. Life after death--who
knows? I do think that professional mediums are crooks...

KATHY

"It reminded me of how new routines can exhaust us--presumably
because we haven't figured out to sleep during them." That's
interesting, something to think about. New routines, according to
doctors, help keep our minds alive...When we fall too much into rote
and habit it seems to me we're accelerating the slide into death...







 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #40 of 113: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Mon 26 Apr 04 08:07
    
(Logging in from Switzerland...)

Jay's post brings to mind Gurdjieff's idea of the 'kundabuffer'.

<all the movies about people realizing they're in virtual reality,
in some dreamlike artificial place, asleep, etc. The Matrix,
Thirteenth Story, Fight Club, Vanilla SKy and so on.>

John, do you think films like these are helpful?  Or can they serve to
make this slumber easier?

Which brings another question - have your efforts in the Gurdjieff
Work changed anything about your approach to writing for
film/television?  
 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #41 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 26 Apr 04 12:19
    
CHRYS 

Yes sometimes entertainment and consumerism is artificial kundabuffer.
It's kundabuffer created by kundabuffer. 

What's KUNDABUFFER some people are wondering...This is a neologism
found in Gurdjieff's allegorical novel (for want of a better term)
Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson, for an organ placed at the base of
the human spine by the "Archangel Loosisos" (the book is allegory,
fiction, parable, none of this is literal, and Gurdjieff made Loosisos
up, I assume), the organ Kundabuffer preventing people from seeing the
reality of their situation. It enables them to see reality upside down
and put their pleasure, their desires first, so that they can remain
safely asleep, so to be exploited by the cosmos. This imaginary organ
(symbolizing some tendency that isn't imaginary,in us) keeps us
'buffered' from the discomfort of waking up, seeing our own
near-helpless mechanicality and enslavement...

About those films: I don't know if such films are particularly
helpful, but they're *indicative* of people stirring restlessly in
their sleep, waking a moment to look sleepily around before falling
back. They're just more dreams but, like poetry, have resonance and to
some people may be part of a learning process that eventually leads to
liberation--who knows where it might start? If people watch them
without pondering their underlying meaning then they just deepen
slumber. SOme people are more ready than others; are like fertile soil
waiting for the mustard seed. 

My efforts in the Work might make me more patient, objective.  I might
be alert for the chance of creating a legominism...I did write a
script of a certain cryptogurdjieffian novel by a certain
professor...which is about to be shown around town...we'll see if
anyone's interested...
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #42 of 113: Jay Kinney (jay-kinney) Mon 26 Apr 04 16:59
    
It strikes me that one possible drawback to the Work's emphasis on
awake vs asleep is that it could encourage a certain "awaker than thou"
attitude on the part of people in the Work. Also, when one views the
majority of humanity as mechanical and asleep, then it is not too big
of a jump to viewing them as less than human. Perhaps this is one
reason that some quasi-Gurdjieff groups have taken a cultish turn.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #43 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 26 Apr 04 23:53
    
Well Jay if they've taken a cultish turn it's because they're QUASI
Gurdjieffian! 

I keep saying I'm not awake. I work at improving that, and maybe have
some moments, but I'm not saying I'm awaker than thou. I've never
encountered any such attitude, in fact the opposite, because people who
do the inner Work find out how NOT awake they are, how very prone they
are to being mechanical, so they're damned humble about it. WHen I say
the majority of human ity is mechanical and asleep, I don't mean the
majority--I mean EVERYONE. Except like, maybe, a few dozen. Out of SIX
BILLION. And are those few dozen in the Gurdjieff work? I don't know. I
don't know if there are a few dozen. Maybe there's TWO. Now, there are
some people who are learning to be more present and are creating some
kind of real "I" as opposed tothe kneejerk subpersonalities we tend to
be. THey're working at it, and they make some progress. That's all I'm
sure of. But going about being awaker than thou? Not at all. 

Gurdjieff died in 1949. Though the tradition mayve existed in some
form somewhere, ifyou believe the Sarmoung stories literally, and there
are versions in Tibet and, doubtless, the Middle East, in Sufi
schools, Gurdjieff's take on things, his system, is really very new,
and people are just starting to get somewhere with it. But it could be
revolutionary. 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #44 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Mon 26 Apr 04 23:54
    
PS Jay

Let me be clear: I don't know how many are really awakened. But I'm
pretty solidly willing to guess that it's very damned few. Very few
indeed...
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #45 of 113: Jeffrey M. Field (topsy-turvy) Tue 27 Apr 04 02:46
    
I made an attempt to wake up back when I read Ouspensky (never read
Gurdjieff but will give your book a go). I remember lying on the floor
and focusing on each limb in turn. Unlike meditation, I found it quite
exhausting and so gave up after a few tries.)

This morning I googled "Gurdjieff+moon" and the first hit came up
thusly - http://skepdic.com/gurdjief.html 

John, please comment on Gurdjieff's fixation on the moon. Is he
speaking metaphorically?

Finally, on your blog I mentioned the veterinarian who saved my cat's
life. He's a Scientologist. What's your thinking about Scientology?

(Hi Jon L! Good to see you're still gainfully employed (8^)) 
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #46 of 113: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 27 Apr 04 13:02
    
Though I was aware of Gurdjieff when I was a teen, I didn't actually try to 
work with his teaching 'til I was exposed to the Robert De Ropp version in 
_The Master Game_. Any comments on De Ropp?  That was tough work - trying 
to deal with the random chatter in my feverish little brain, a discipline 
that has influenced be through thirty years of mostly Buddhist approaches.

(Hi, Jeff... saw that you were here! You should mention your own 
preoccupation with the moon!)
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #47 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Tue 27 Apr 04 14:56
    
JEFFREY: who gave you that method of lying on the floor and all that?
Gurdjieff's meditational methods, if done right, are not exhausting but
relaxing and/or energizing, though there are challenging things to
undertake too. Did you come up with that on your own? Or read about it
somewhere? At any rate, if you want to try his methods you have to get
them from someone who knows what they're talking about and show
reasonable patience with the process. 

As for the 'food for the moon' thing, that's a good question. I don't
blame skeptics for hearing some secondhand version of that stuff and
making a face or whatever. In fact, I don't blame skeptics for being
skeptical about anything. I identify more, agree more, with the
Skeptical Inquirer and the skeptical dictionary, etc, than with most of
what is taught as 'spirituality' or new age or religion. I also don't
think Gurdjieff was--or has to be--right about everything, in order for
his main ideas to be right. He was born (according to him) in 1866,
after all. He was essentially a 19th century man. Still, I think he was
mostly right. Now to FOOD FOR THE MOON...here roughly is what I said
in the appendix of my book about it: 

//
Are We “Food for the Moon”?
Some people are stopped dead in their reading of Gurdjieffian “work
books” when they come upon the idea, usually as it was repeated by
Ouspensky, about humanity being “food for the moon.” (A prominent
teacher of the work once insisted to me that Gurdjieff “never taught
that idea after 1917 or so” and had basically abandoned it. Perhaps
Gurdjieff let it slide because people were taking it too literally.)
The idea is that unevolved humanity exists merely to create emanations
that are consumed by the moon to be used to promote the moon’s physical
evolution into a future state when it will be something “like the
Earth”. This sounds absurd and improbable-—but only if you suppose he
meant the moon per se. My personal-—I emphasize
personal—-interpretation of this teaching is that the moon in this
teaching represents the inert, more-or-less lifeless part of the
cosmos. It stands for all the "lower" cosmos. The moon is the first
stop in  a kind of “energy sink” where our life energies will go if we
don’t work on ourselves. Our crude energies are then absorbed by the
cosmos for the general encouragement of life, and the moon is the
nearest example of a “lower” planet where these energies could be used.
It’s not likely to ever become like the Earth-—but some lower
planetary state somewhere will receive these and other energies, and
will be encouraged, on some quantum level perhaps, to evolve...There
does seem to be a tendency-—the anthropic principle, it’s called in 
some physics circles—-for life to develop, almost on its own
initiative, in “dead” matter, setting the stage for the arising of life
in general and humankind in particular.  Matter seems frontloaded to
generate life. The energies harvested from people, from beings
everywhere, might help create that “frontloading,” that priming of the
evolutionary pump. But of course this interpretation of Gurdjieff’s
teaching is  very speculative indeed—which is why it’s in the appendix
of this book. //

TO JON L: I read the Master Game and was impressed by De Ropp's grasp
of general principles, but somehow didn't like him as a person, as far
as he came across in the book. I admire him for his thorough-going
quest. But I think he'd have been better off staying with the current
of Gurdjieff's teaching, and those teachers Gurdjieff appointed. I
think he left before he was ready (there is a time for people to leave
any esoteric or spiritual 'school' for sure...unless they remain as
teachers...)
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #48 of 113: John Shirley (john-shirley) Tue 27 Apr 04 15:08
    
A quote from Gurdjieff:

"Observe [yourself] without prejudice. While accepting for a time this
idea of lies. And if you observe in this manner, paying of yourself,
without self-pity, by giving all your false riches for one moment of
reality, maybe someday you'll see all of a sudden something you never
saw in you before. You will see you are someone else from what you
thought you are. You will see that you are two. One that is not, but
takes the place and plays the other's role. And the one that is, but so
weak, so inconsistent, that just brought forth it disappears
immediately. It cannot stand the lies. The smallest lie kills it. It
doesn't fight, it does not resist, it is vanquished in advance. Learn
to look until you have observed the difference between your two
natures, until you have seen the lies, the imposter in you. When you
will see your two natures, that day, in you, the truth will be born." 
--GI Gurdjieff
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #49 of 113: Jay Kinney (jay-kinney) Tue 27 Apr 04 23:37
    
John, you noted:

>>As for the 'food for the moon' thing, that's a good question. I
don't blame skeptics for hearing some secondhand version of that stuff
and making a face or whatever. In fact, I don't blame skeptics for
being skeptical about anything. I identify more, agree more, with the
Skeptical Inquirer and the skeptical dictionary, etc, than with most
of what is taught as 'spirituality' or new age or religion.<<

I think I appreciate where you are coming from re skepticism and not
buying into other people's ideologies that are marketed as religion,
etc., but I think we part ways over the _Skeptical Inquirer_ (and its
companion journal _Free Inquiry_). I think the SCICOPS/Secular Humanist
camp (who are behind both journals) take atheism, rationalism, and
materialism as a given and criticize religion and spirituality for not
being provable (or proven) by conventional science. That just doesn't
hold water for me.

Any subjective (or inner) state that an individual has eludes
scientific confirmation. What scientific instruments or measures could
prove that one is "awake" or "asleep" (in the Gurdjieffian sense)? What
repeatable scientific experiments could prove the existence of a soul?


My sense is that any engagement with spiritual matters, whether those
of Gurdjieff or those of "'spirituality' or new age or religion"
involves areas that are simply outside the realm of objective,
materialist science. The (professional) skeptics, in clinging to
scientific proof as their measuring stick, further the "asleepness" of
those who buy into their rationale.

Gurdjieff preceded the rise of Paul Kurtz and the SCICOPS gang. If
Gurdjieff were alive today and presenting the Fourth Way in present
time, the "skeptics" would be attacking his teachings with the same
obtuseness that they disparage any other spiritual teachings.
  
inkwell.vue.212 : John Shirley, _Gurdjieff: An Introduction to his Life and Ideas_
permalink #50 of 113: Jeffrey M. Field (topsy-turvy) Wed 28 Apr 04 02:34
    
John, the only book on Gurdjieff I've read is Ouspensky's The Fourth
Way. I can't remember, however, if the exercise I mentioned came from
there. More likely from another text, because, if I remember correctly,
The Fourth Way is heavy on ideas and light on meditational exercises.
Our conversation here has resparked my interest, so I'll keep my eyes
peeled for some good ones.

Jon, Fatty Moon has been a blessing and a curse, as you probably know.
I needed a name to go with my shtick at EMinds. I sat back in my chair
and closed my eyes. The image of a full moon appeared, followed by a
piece of fatty meat. I put the two together... Fatty Moon

John, I joined Howard Rheingold's Electric Minds shortly after it went
public. I realized my intellectual capabilities were not sufficient in
this rarefied realm, so I adopted a shtick and a name to go with it.
"Fatty talk you this way hahahaha! Guard your lions  FattySue false
pretenses maybe for sure maybe." And so on.

I found it extremely interesting that people read into my gibberish
whatever they wanted. Some people found tiny gold nuggets while others
discovered piles of steaming horse shit.
  

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