Objective Science , by Dimitri Peretzi
Singing in Purgatory: The Harmony of Hope , by Elaine Jacobs
Our Relationship to our Animal Bodies: A Simile in the Context of Metanoia , by Svend Louland
Our Civilisation Desperately Needs The Message of Ashiata Shiemash , by Professor M. Thring
Laughter as Demolition and Reconstruction in Beelzebub’s Tales , by Dr. Michael Pittman
Time Frames in Meetings with Remarkable Men , by Paul Taylor
There is a recurring trend amongst some of us here, to connect the Work ideas with exact scientific formulations. We seem to be interested in determining the place that the System ideas occupy within the uncertain realm between allegory and science. This is the gray area of human communication where many so-called metaphysical teachings thrive, along with psychological and psychoanalytic theories. It is the area where the meaning of verbal and written expressions has an emotional dimension that does not always avail itself to exact interpretation.
Which side of this chasm do the Gurdjieff ideas belong? Are they exact formulations, which can be verified in a precise, mathematical so to speak manner? Or are they allegorical images, the verification of which demands an element of personal faith?
How are we to view the concept of “objective science” itself, for example?
Is there such a thing as objective science and is the science practiced by the academics today indeed “non-objective”, that is, subjective? Or did Gurdjieff use this concept of “objective science” as an allegory, to underline the futility of the direction of contemporary scientific research and development?
There is a deeply rooted conviction in some of us, I know there is one in me, that it is indeed possible to investigate this question, and that we have a responsibility to do so, both as scientists, and as Fourth Way initiates.
One of Gurdjieff’s enigmas is the ‘Octave’. It’s particularly inscrutable perhaps because it relates to music, very often perceived subjectively, or tangled up in mathematics. Pondering the implications of the acoustic patterns of octaves, as referenced in the Chapter ‘The Holy Planet Purgatory’ in Beelzebub’s Tales, the puzzle pieces fall into place.
Recent images of deep Space, back in Time billions of light-years, verify a regular, octave-like nodal pattern of dense and sparse matter. Seeing the Universe as a grid of volume, a ‘sea’ of possibilities, that is continually warped by the effects of electro-magnetism and gravity, at the sub-atomic as well as the planetary and galaxy level, can be an analogue of His Endlessness changing the deflection of the Octave-like flow of His Word throughout Creation. When this skew aligns with the curvatures of Space-Time, then an infinite pattern of regular nodes form, providing a strongly reinforcing structure; harmony in symmetry.
Gurdjieff said we can support this Pattern by finishing our work, completing our ‘Octaves’ which aligns our ‘Dos’/nodes and blends our expressions with that higher vibratory grid – thus not leaving out-of-sync notes behind to turn the Harmony of the Spheres into random cacophony.
After my talk at the 9th A&E Conference about ‘Habitual Thinking’, one of the questions that came my way was phrased in the context of ‘metanoia’ and went like this: “Is it possible to become free of fears and desires while we are incarnated in these animal bodies?”
I did not have the ability to answer that good question without preparation, let alone concisely and without many words, as ideally required at an A&E Conference. So, after my talk I decided to treat the subject with more thought on some separate occasion.
In the present Paper I give my considerate and definitive answer to that question, and I am confident that my answer will be of interest and even helpful to many of my fellow students along their journey of transformation.
In my paper I speak first of ‘metanoia’, then give a simile, and this is followed up with an example from practical life.
Professor M. Thring
By the time my great grandsons reach my present age, if they are so lucky, they will certainly not have comfortable lives unless all three looming disasters have been averted: Armageddon resulting from intolerance and greed. Total collapse of the world economic system as cheaply won oil becomes exhausted. Death of our Mother Gaia as a result of Overgrown Engineering.
The only hope for them is that enough of the people, who have all the necessities of life, listen to the basic message of Ashiata Shiemash: “when the actions of the data of the Divine being impulse began to participate in the functioning of their ordinary waking-consciousness, and the three-brained beings began manifesting themselves towards each other, solely in accordance with conscience.” (All & Everything,p385)
Now it is clear that we students of All & Everything cannot spread this message fast enough to save my great grandsons. But, the message I received directly from Mr Gurdjieff in 1948-9 was one of Hope, both for my personal development and for the future of our civilisation. I had the clear feeling that he was keeping himself alive to transmit this hope to all those who had been affected by his ideas.
Mr Gurdjieff writes that the 5 religions existing today (All & Everything, p699) were all founded by Sacred Individuals, but that they have had ‘spices’ mixed with them. I personally believe that they have many followers who have been able to distinguish the true message and have not become intolerant ‘fundamentalists’. All these ‘Messages from Above’ contain the idea of Compassion (‘feeling with’) being in Conscience. Thus I believe that it is only by students of All & Everything joining forces with tolerant followers of these other religions can we preserve our civilisation and I propose a scheme for doing this.
Dr. Michael Pittman
The humor that Gurdjieff wields in Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson is one of the more prevalent and readily apprehensible means by which Gurdjieff breaks down and destroys in the reader all knowledge about the past, while simultaneously building and recreating a new model for representing and thinking about the world and the reader’s own position in it. In this paper I will discuss and analyze some of the means by which Gurdjieff employs and deploys laughter in the most unusual and surprising ways and, creates a view of the human and the world ripe with openness and possibility. Through Gurdjieffian laughter, Gurdjieff attempts to create a world which is, in M.M. Bakhtin’s words, “permeated with internal and authentic necessity.” Gurdjieffian Laughter is one of the key initiatory elements of Gurdjieff’s work that then opens the way for the reception of the other more deeply buried ideas to be found in his writings. The force and presence of laughter in Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson distinguishes Gurdjieff, not only from other esotericists of the period, but also, more importantly, from the official and sanctioned discourses of literary and religious genres. The forging of laughter with the new world view provides a force and substance to Gurdjieff’s writing that persists and even grows over time as the laws and orders of the old world grow weary under the strain of their false, outmoded, and impractical structures.
The stories of remarkable men in Meetings with Remarkable Men are framed by front and back matter that locate place and time of composition, though calendar dates are absent from the enclosed stories themselves. The calendar dates presented are carefully and purposely contradictory because both author and character Gurdjieff deny popular measures of time. In effect, author Gurdjieff ‘invents’ a narrative time to enclose the narratives. The first story is of Gurdjieff’s father and the last is of his son, and the nine other stories fall into the time flow between those two stories and two lives. The tale of the tenth remarkable man in the chapter entitled The Material Question conjoins two measures of time, so that the reader is drawn to reconsider the earlier tales in terms of a theory of time those measures reflect.