Beelzebub’s Buddhas– Rev. José M. Tirado
Micro, Macro, and Mr. Gurdjieff– Elaine M. Jacobs
The Resounding Enneagram:the Seven Note Musical Scale as a Model of the Universe – Dr. Judith Crispin
Soul-Making in Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson– Dr. Michael Pittman
This Original Problem I Have Set You: Purgatory–Salzmanino–Deskaldino– Toddy Smyth
The Self and the I– Dimitri Peretzi
The Will-Power and the Will-of-Presence– Dr. Keith A. Buzzell
Rev. José M. Tirado
In Beelzebub’s Tales, there are two important Buddhist figures included, in what I assume is Gurdjieff’s paean to that tradition, as he understood it. The first was the Buddha himself, Siddhartha Gautama, 563? CE – 483? CE. The second, “Saint Lama”, is possibly a composite character; reflective of the Tibetan Buddhism Gurdjieff had been most likely exposed to. He is most likely based upon Padmasambhava, who brought Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism into Tibet in the 8th century CE. He is also known as Guru Rinpoche, which has been quaintly translated as Saint Lama.
This idiosyncratic translation suggests that Gurdjieff was familiar with Kagyu Buddhism and thus the Buddhists in BT reflect a deep respect for these two extraordinary people. But are they accurate pictures? If not, what might we glean from this presentation of two of the 12 Sacred Individuals as being Buddhist? What was Gurdjieff saying in including these men and what might we learn from their inclusion into this pantheon of the powerful in BT?
Likewise, are there other examples in 4th Way literature that demonstrate familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism, (most specifically Kagyu), and how is this helpful to our understanding of and journey on the Fourth Way?
Rev. José M. Tirado is a poet, priest and political activist. His articles and poetry have been published in CounterPunch, The Endless Search, Gurdjieff Internet Guide, Dissident Voice and Op-Ed News among others. He is a Buddhist meditation teacher and is currently finishing a second Masters Degree (his first in Buddhist Studies) in Psychology. He intends on pursuing a PhD in the same field, exploring the nexus between The Fourth Way and Buddhism and he has developed a Buddhist meditation-based counseling program which he has conducted in Iceland where he currently lives. He can be reached via his website: http://www.thepathofmyexperience.com
Micro, Macro, and Mr. Gurdjieff
Elaine M. Jacobs
Some amazing scientific observations of both the very small and extremely large have occurred in the generation of Mr. Gurdjieff’s ‘grandchildren’ which appear to validate much of the “common-cosmic objective science” as he described it in his fabulous First Series ‘All and Everything.’ Both of the primordial sacred Laws, of Triamazikamno and Heptaparaparshinokh, are very recently being explicated by atomic colliders reducing matter to three basic attributes relative to each other, and telescopes are seeing a regular pattern of oscillation over billions of light-years that’s been likened to musical Octaves. The scientific quest for a Unified Theory of Everything has stumbled into the possible causal significance of the act of observation in forming materiality. The involuting black holes sucking in Everything are now increasingly seen paired with explosions of white-hot quasars spewing it All out again, which may indicate that the Creation of God’s home is still an on-going process, and physics hints that we may indeed have a crucial role to play in its creation and maintenance. This offering, combining key points developed in two previous papers – on the Law of Seven and the generative power of I/Will combined with Aim and Observation, and the Law of Three describing the primordial reservoirs of Energy, Matter, and Light – discusses how astronomy, Quantum and String theories may verify Gurdjieff’s concepts.
Elaine Marie Jacobs began her professional personality as an audio recording engineer in broadcast television and radio, sound studios, and film and stage productions. This was a quixotic outgrowth of early musical and acoustics training, including playing with the Butterfield Blues Band and last-chair viola with the Chicago Symphony at age 17. Following an intensive electronics and computer course, a ten-year stint ensued as Engineering Computer Technician in research and development, which included hands-on work on the Hubble Space Telescope. Concurrently a carpenter for over thirty years, Elaine incorporates Sacred Geometry into the structures that she designs and builds, most recently an Enneagram wall in her Movements Hall. She was fortunate to meet an excellent Fourth Way influenced Teacher in the early 1980s, Pulitzer-nominated author Dr. Paula Gunn Allen, and in seven years of group study was thrilled to find that Mr. Gurdjieff’s fabulous tome “All and Everything” made so much sense, and articulated some hunches. In 2001 she was blessed with an introduction to Movements in a class near home in Austin, Texas, and since then has travelled to both U.S. coasts, Europe, and the Dominican Republic for Movements Seminars. Reading and mulling about science and Spirit is her life-long hobby.
Ms. Jacobs would like to express her gratitude to Sr. Jose Reyes, Mr. Wim van Dullemen, Ms. Maja Moeser, and Dr. Anya Rylander-Jones for invaluable gifts of Work opportunities, as well as to the people Working on behalf of the “All and Everything” Conferences. Many others too numerous to list are also greatly appreciated.
The Resounding Enneagram: the Seven Note Musical Scale as a Model of the Universe
Dr. Judith Crispin
Gurdjieff, in his chapter on the law of Heptaparashinokh, utilizes the musical seven-note scale to illustrate the two primary laws governing the unfolding of cosmic processes, the laws of seven and three. These laws, fundamental to Gurdjieffian cosmology, also underpin the structure of western diatonic music. A consideration of the functional musical scale engenders a deeper understanding of the law of Heptaparashinokh, also represented by the Enneagram.
An explanation of complex musical ideas becomes very simple with recourse to actual sounds, as opposed to words alone. Similarly, Gurdjieffian ideas, such as the role of semi-tones in a scale, are simplified when, by virtue of an audible demonstration, the ear quite literally perceives the physical tendency for a particular note to rise or fall. And, again, the movement from a lower octave to a higher has a special significance in music, and can be effectively demonstrated only by sound.
The seven-note scale is comprised of a tri-chord and a tetra-chord, separated by a semitone. The scale itself is separated from the scale above also by a semitone. The interval formed by the outside notes of the tri-chord is a major third, whereas the interval formed by the tetra-chord is the tritone, or augmented fourth. When one listens to these intervals the unstable and ambiguous nature of the tritone is immediately apparent when compared to the major third. The Gurdjieffian idea that the second semi-tone requires a greater shock than the first, is further elucidated by the audible qualities of these intervals.
This paper aims to examine the cosmological model of the seven-note scale in the light of functional diatonic music.
Dr. Judith Crispin is a composer, mezzo-soprano and musicologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. In 2004 Judith graduated from a Ph.D. in composition from the ANU and, during 2005, she pursued post-doctoral music research with Emmanuel Nunes in Paris, as an invited scholar of the Paris Sorbonne.
Judith has been awarded numerous prizes, awards and grants including the 2004 Nancy Van de Vate International Prize for Opera, an Australian Postgraduate Award, a DAAD research grant, the Harold Allen Memorial Prize for Composition (twice) and two Wesley Scholarships for voice. Her composition output includes a number of large orchestral works, including three operas, as well as chamber and solo pieces. Her work Kesdjan, for Carillon, was commissioned for the marriage celebrations of Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson and premiered in Copenhagen in May 2004. Her scores are published through Sikesdi Press and Vienna Masterworks.
Judith’s publications include a recent book entitled The Busoni-Sitsky Esoteric Tradition (The Edwin Mellen Press), The Bird Call Impressions of Hooper Brewster-Jones (W.A.: The Keys Press. 2006) and ‘Pierre Boulez’ in Music of the Twentieth Century Avant-garde (Connecticut: Greenwood. 2002).
Soul-Making in Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson
Dr. Michael Pittman
“Nothing given by God, only Nature give. And Nature only give possibility for soul, not give soul. Man acquire soul through work. But, unlike tree, man have many possibilities.”
– (Gurdjieff quoted in Peters, Boyhood with Gurdjieff, 41)
In Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man, the word soul appears more than sixty times. Gurdjieff refers specifically to the notion of the soul in the first introductory chapter, “From the Author,” and afterwards, the soul is sometimes referred to as simply “soul” but more frequently as “higher being-body,” or one of other similar synonyms. The term, as deployed in these multiple and often awkward constructions, is used in a variety of nuanced and intentionally challenging ways. Gurdjieff first attempts to deconstruct or unhinge in the mind of the reader the ordinary usage of the word. Thus, as he does with many terms, he makes a variety of gestures and provocations that are intended to destabilize what seems, on the one hand, to be a “natural,” readily understood term but which is, in turn, revealed to be already unstable and imprecise. At the same time, Gurdjieff attempts to redefine and then reintroduce the term within a long history of thought and experience, not only according to a particular culture on this planet but within the framework of a new mythology of the entire created Universe.
This paper will serve as an introduction to the larger discussion of the soul in Beelzebub’s Tales. I discuss the way these terms are used in the first chapter of the Tales where Gurdjieff sets up the discussion of the soul and informs the dialogue between Beelzebub and his Hassein for the remainder of the Tales. Next, I examine the presentation of the soul in Beelzebub’s Tales found in several key chapters of the first book. In particular, I look closely at the Tales concerning the life and work of the character Ashiata Shiemash. The series of three chapters concerning the life of Shiemash provides a critical analytical and methodological component to Gurdjieff’s explication of the soul and its significance in human history. Then I discuss the chapter on Religion, in which Gurdjieff further examines the notion of the soul as it is constructed and circulated in religious discourse, both in the past and in his own period. I conclude by summarizing some of the key points of these chapters and examine the method of explication that Gurdjieff employs to clarify his view on the existence of the soul in the rest of the Tales.
Dr. Michael Pittman is currently an Assistant Professor of Humanities at the Albany College of Pharmacy in Albany, New York. He holds a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies. The title of his dissertation is G.I. Gurdjieff: Textualizations of Medieval Oral Storytelling and Modern Oral Teachings on the Soul. The first two chapters of the dissertation present a discussion of Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson in terms of the correspondences found primarily in medieval literary textualizations of the 12th to 14th centuries, such as The Arabian Nights and Boccaccio’s Decameron. The following three chapters provide a close reading of Beelzebub’s Tales and examine one of the prominent ideas of Gurdjieff’s work, the conception of the uncreated human soul and the means
This Original Problem I Have Set You: Purgatory–Salzmanino–Deskaldino
Besides the galoshes those of us forever touched by Gurdjieff’s teaching have inherited by embarking on the hazardous path of accelerated self-transformation, I believe Gurdjieff set us, and those who come after us, a direct and specific problem with a direct injunction to solve it. This problem is presented in the chapter “A Change in the Appointed Course of the Falling of the Transspace ship Karnak” and, I highly suspect, it is elaborated in the following chapter, “Just a Wee Bit More about the Germans.”
A pupil of Mrs. A.L. Staveley, Toddy Smyth is currently based in Aurora, Oregon. She is connected with the group there begun by Mrs. Staveley, known as Two Rivers Farm, as well as with groups in Holland, Salt Lake City and Maine. She works for Fifth Press, a small publishing venture with the aim of fostering a deeper engagement with Gurdjieff’s own writings. At present, Toddy is working on a revised republication of Man, A Three-Brained Being by Keith A. Buzzell.
The Self and the I
The general description that Gurdjieff gave for human personality is based on the image that when man ‘thinks’, when he ‘feels’ or when he ‘acts’, he is never fully present at what is going on. Each time he is only aware of a small part of him; never of the totality he calls ‘myself’. The Work ideas incorporate the notion that without the proper efforts to develop and without the conscious struggle to approach unity, man’s behavior ends up being a never ending chance succession of temporary petty ‘bosses of the mind’.
This image, exotic as some might still think it to be, happens to be compatible with models for the functioning of the mind proposed by today’s philosophers. Daniel Dennett sees behavior as the result of the haphazard control of electromagnetic impulses, which he calls ‘demons’. Owen Flanagan states, “there is no antecedent metaphysical ego. But there is an important sense in which experiences are structured by whatever personality has developed and is in place at any given moment.”
This presentation investigates questions like, “how are we to view the exact relationship between the total of the Self and the partial entities we call ‘different I’s’?” “What is the neurophysiologic basis of this differentiation? And most interesting, “in what way does knowledge of this fragmentation help in the quest for unity?”
Mr. Peretzi is the president of the Gurdjieff Foundation of Greece. With reference to his personal contacts with eminent students of Gurdjieff, Lord Pentland, Madame de Salzmann, Dr. Welch and others, he has authored a number of books and articles that study the problem of consciousness, relating views from the esoteric traditions to those of of the contemporary philosophy of mind.
Mr. Peretzi did graduate work in Philosophy, at Yale, where he received his Master of Architecture. Having settled in Athens since 1974, he established his own Construction and Prefabication Company.
The Will-Power and the Will-of-Presence
Dr. Keith A. Buzzell
In the chapter “The Holy Planet Purgatory” of Beelzebub’s Tales Gurdjieff sets down a perspective on the Will of Endlessness that has aspects that differ considerably from traditional Eastern and Western spiritual and philosophical perspectives.
Because of the acceleration of involutional changes taking place in our present world, it is important to define and explore Gurdjieff’s views more thoroughly than they have been in the half-century since his death. Bringing greater clarity to Gurdjieff’s cosmogony and cosmology can have specific and positive effects on all three lines of Work.
Two aspects of Gurdjieff’s conception of the Will of Endlessness will be focused upon:
1) The Will-Power – that force and capacity to create the existent material Universe and to have it proceed to unfold “automatically”.
2) The Will-of-Presence (or the Will-to-Return) – enabled by the “actualizations” of Endlessness regarding certain of the Tetartocosmoses which made possible the formation of Kesdjan and Higher Being bodies.
The presentation will address such questions as:
How is it possible to reconcile an “automatic” creation, wherein unbreakable laws determine all the interactions of mass and energy, with a “Will” which can be ‘free’ of those laws? Does time (the Heropass) play a role in this reconciliation? Does Endlessness enter the Universe by revelation, by fiat?
What is the nature of His actualizations? How can compassion and wisdom enter the “automatic” creation?
The presentation will draw on quotations from Beelzebub’s Tales and from other of Gurdjieff’s writings, contrasting and integrating those views with perspectives put forward by Eastern and Western spiritual teachings and modern scientific investigations.
Dr. Keith A. Buzzell is a 1960 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is presently a member or the staff of Northern Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Bridgton and of clinical Medicine in Beddeford. Dr. Buzzell speaks from a broad perspective deriving from his life as a musician, musicologist, author, teacher, researcher, and physician. He is presently in Family practice in Fryeburg where he also serves as Medical Director of Hospice of Western Maine. He met Irmis Popoff (N.Y. Foundation) in 1971 and formed groups under her supervision into the 1980s. Dr. Buzzell met Annie Lou Staveley, founder of the Two Rivers Farm in Oregon, in 1988 and maintained a Work relationship with her up to her death. He continues group Work in Bridgton, ME.