Abstract for A&E 2010
Title of Paper: Egoism and Compassion: A Higher Perspective
In Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff describes egoism as “abnormal and unbecoming to the essence of any three-brained being whatsoever” [p 107] and states “this said Unique-property egoism usurped the place of the Unique-All-Autocratic-Ruler in their general organization” [ p 380] Yet any sincere observer of their inner world will admit that this tendency, even years after its overt manifestations have submitted to the direction of inner work, still flickers, off and on, in response to perceived insults to its’ self-image. What are we to make of this tenacity and with what attitude ought we face the remorse
Our current usage of the word ego to represent an immature, narcissistic self-focus is a narrow aspect of the original Latin meaning of the concepts I, me, myself. Metaphysical psychology broadly views ego as a conscious, thinking subject. Gurdjieff uses the term embedded in a number of neologisms that denote qualities far above ordinary psychological states. Is there a stage in the enneagramatic process of spiritual development that requires a broader understanding of ego in its possibilities as a representative of something higher?
This paper will attempt to explore egoism from a perspective that seeks to tame the battle between the higher wish for transformation, and the ego’s wish for continued dominance of the inner world, by offering compassion, and perhaps even gentle humor, for the suffering of the ego.
Stephen Aronson received a BS from Penn State University in 1965 and MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut in 1970. He has been a practicing psychotherapist for nearly 40 years with a background spanning cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, inter-personal, gestalt and Jungian training. He was co-author of The Stress Management Workbook, Appleton-Century-Crofts, N.Y. 1980, one of the first publications on stress management. Life interests have included photography, science and baseball. He has been a student of the Gurdjieff work since 1982. Inner world interests are his passion for ‘The Work’ in all its forms and manifestations, but particularly the method of Gurdjieff since his first encounter in 1982.
Abstract for A&E 2010
Title of Paper: The Structure of Laws
The powerfull image of the hierarchy of the Worlds in the Ray of Creation that appears in Ouspensky’s “In Search of the Miraculous” poses a number of questions in relation to the various formulations of a number of Laws given in quite an exact way by Gurdjieff in the Tales.
Is there an relation between the two presentations? How are we to view the connection with the Laws in the Tales with those in the Cosmoses? How does the concept of the “First and Second conscious shocks” fit with the structure of the Laws described in the Tales?
The basis of this study revolves around the investigation of relation between Microcosms and Tetartocosmoses.
Its aim is, not only to connect the two presentations, the one found in the Tales with the one articulated by
Ouspensky, but to also connect these formulations with practical observations about the Work.
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 since 1974, he established his own Construction and Prefabication Company.
Seymour B. Ginsburg
Abstract for A&E 2010
Title of Paper: There is in our Life a Certain Very Great Purpose
At the end of Beelzebub’s Tales, Gurdjieff tells us: “There is in our life a certain very great purpose and we must all serve this Great Common Purpose – in this lies the whole sense and predestination of our life.” He goes on to say that a man or woman who is conscious, “acquires the possibility, simultaneously with serving the all –universal Actualizing, of applying part of his manifestations according to the providence of Great Nature for the purpose of acquiring for himself ‘Imperishable Being’.” (BT1226-7)
This gives rise to several questions:
(1) What is Gurdjieff’s status to tell us that there is in our life a certain very great purpose, and is he connected to the esoteric conscious inner circle of humanity about which he spoke to Ouspensky and others?
(2) What is the certain very great purpose in our life to which we are all slaves?
(3) What makes it possible for us to acquire imperishable being while fulfilling the certain very great purpose in our life?
(4) What is the lot of those who fulfill the certain very great purpose in their life consciously and who thereby acquire imperishable being?
This paper addresses these questions and proposes answers in the context of theosophical teaching and Gurdjieff’s role as a Bodhisattva, a member of the esoteric conscious inner circle of humanity along with others whom H.P. Blavatsky and J.G. Bennett have called “the Masters of Wisdom”. In this respect the paper exposes the close link between Gurdjieff and these other Masters.
Sy Ginsburg was born in Chicago in 1934 and currently resides in Florida. He was introduced to the Gurdjieff Work by Sri Madhava Ashish, an eminent theosophical scholar and Hindu monk, who became his mentor over a 19 year period. Ginsburg was a member of the Gurdjieff Society of Florida and later a co-founder of the Guidjieff Institute of Florida. Currentty, he is a Director of The Theosophical Society in Miami & South Florida and facilitator of the Gurdjieff Study Group at The Theosophica1 Society.
Andreas Zarkadoulas, Anestis Christoforides
Abstract for A&E 2010
Title of Paper: The Autonomous Nervous System in Ideas of Gurdjieff and Modern Neurophysiology
This presentation includes a parallelism of Gurdjieff’s ideas with the modern neurophysiology, mainly with regard to the autonomous nervous system. In All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson Gurdjieff refers to the nerve ganglions of sympathetic nervous system, defining them as the centre of feeling. On the other hand, modern neurophysiology has proven that the autonomous nervous system has direct relation with what we call feeling.
In other points of his work, Gurdjieff considers that the biggest value for the Work with his system has the conscious contact with subconscious. He refers that the contact with subconscious is attained with the modification of blood circulation in the blood vessels. From the physiology we know that the change in the circulation of blood is subject to the autonomous nervous system.
From the parallelism of these opinions, it appears that Gurdjieff had acquaintance of subjects that became much later known in science, causing us to study his work with greater attention and in combination with modern scientific discoveries.
Andreas Zarkadoulas is a Medical Doctor, General Practitioner of Alternative Therapies, member of Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis.
Anestis Christoforides is a Mechanical Engineer and he has been involved in a variety of activities including research and engineering in alternative and renewable energy systems. Both were introduced to the Gurdjieff Work by Dimitri Peretzi.
Abstract for A&E 2010
Title of Paper: The Two Chief Motors of our Existence: Food and Sex
According to Gurdjieff, sex energy is the final result of the transformation of our ordinary food and drink. It is also the source of all higher energy and of Will, and is necessary to create a soul.
The ordinary person carries out incomplete absorption and transformation of active elements from the three being-foods. The small amount of energy produced is either automatically used up, wasted, or tainted. Ordinary human physiology is the physiology of abnormality. Orage pointed out that work on oneself produces fifty percent more mental energy and three times more emotional and sex energy than before.
Here I look at various questions concerning the transformation of the three being-foods with reference to material in Beelzebub’s Tales and Gurdjieff’s oral teaching, and that of Bennett, Ouspensky and Orage. Information from the various sources often appears discrepant, perhaps intentionally so. Subjects considered include a composite food diagram, ‘food for real man,’ vegetarianism, ‘the most important part of the second-being food,’ evolution and involution of sex energy, ‘half-beings,’ and others.
This paper is part of a broader piece of work looking at ‘Gurdjieff’s Medicine.’
Clare Mingins is a member of the Leeds Gurdjieff Society and lives in Cumbria in the north of England. Interests include fellwalking, sheepdog training, singing, playing the organ, food and medicine.
Abstract for A&E 2010
Title of Paper: The Gurdjieff Tradition – To Be Continued
Gurdjieff’s tradition, generally known as the Fourth Way, has come to a lengthy pending stage after almost one hundred years of its history. Today, when those who met G.I. Gurdjieff in person and who studied under his supervision are no longer among us, the tradition appears to be without a commonly recognized center of gravity. Various groups and individuals all over the world practice the Fourth Way as they see fit, thus taking full responsibility for their interpretation of Gurdjieff’s teaching. Some of the adherents of the Fourth Way рфму пщту along the road of rediscovering for themselves such respectable ancient traditions such as Sufism, Advaita-Vedanta, and even Christianity as being the real sources of Gurdjieff’s tradition. Still others have chosen the way of creation of new syncretic teachings based on the Fourth Way and other traditions. As a result of this discord, Gurdjieff’s tradition has been gradually reduced in practice to the Gurdjieff Movements, an essential but by no means a central element of his teaching.
Thus we have the following questions before us, which require urgent answers. What are the most essential components and what is the core element of Gurdjieff’s teaching? What could be the continuation or the new shape of the Fourth Way? What attracts the modern spiritual seeker to the Fourth Way and what no longer does? Finally, what type of a person is this seeker who is capable of understanding and following Gurdjieff’s path in earnest?
The answers to these questions could be found by means of research, experiments and examination of Gurdjieff’s writings, which encourage us to seek independent solutions for any arising problems. One must keep in mind that we are dealing with the problem of paramount importance, namely, with the future destiny of Gurdjieff’s tradition.
The following quotation from Gurdjieff’s early talks hits the point precisely: “…now we speak in a language which two hundred years hence will no longer be the same, and two hundred years ago the language was different.” Views from the Real World, p. 211.
In his Beelzebub’s Tales, chapter 30, Gurdjieff broadly elaborates on the subject of transmission of the Knowledge by enlightened members of the club of “Adherents-of-Legominism,” tying this transmission with the Law of Sevenfoldness and other phenomena. The problem in question is dealt with numerous times throughout this book.
The author’s sincere and strong objective lies in addressing those questions in his presentation.
Arkady Rovner was born in 1940 in Odessa, USSR and spent his youth in Tbilisi, Georgia. He studied at Moscow State University and Columbia University, New York. He taught numerous courses on world religions and contemporary mysticism at the New York University, the State University of New York, the New School for Social Research and the Moscow State Humanitarian University.
He was introduced to Gurdjieff’s ideas and practices in Moscow, Russia in 1965 and has been an adherent of the Gurdjieff Work ever since then. During the years 1975-1984 he was in constant communication with Lord Pentland, the head of the American branch of Gurdjieff Foundation. In the summer of 1980, with a letter of reference from Lord Pentland, he travelled to London and Paris where he met and interviewed a number of Ouspensky’s and Gurdjieff’s former disciples, including Mr. Tilley and P. L. Travers, as well as Michael de Salzmann.
The Seminars are group discussions and participation is open to all Attendees. Seminars are conducted on chapters and topics in ALL & EVERYTHING and Meetings With Remarkable Men. Attendees are encouraged to study these chapters and topics in advance. The Seminars are recorded and transcribed for inclusion in the Proceedings.
Ch. 31 of Beelzebub’s Tales – The Sixth and Last Sojourn of Beelzebub on the Planet Earth – Facilitated by Terje Tonne
Ch. 6 of Meetings with Remarkable Men – Abram Yelov – Facilitated by Ian MacFarlane
Men N1, N2, N3, N4… and N7 in Beelzebub’s Tales – Facilitated by Popi Asteri
In Beelzebub’s Tales there is a continuous reference to the terms three-centered and three-brained beings, and to the fact that human beings – while they are three-brained beings and have the potential to perfect themselves spiritually – due to the unnatural conditions of their usual existence, do not develop harmoniously. It is also mentioned that the quality of existence of humans and the state of their consciousness depends on the harmonious function of all three centers and that when this balance does not exist, the way we perceive our self and the world is one sided and imperfect. The study that I will present sets off those imperfections of perception of men Ν1, Ν2 and Ν3, as they are described by Gurdjieff in Beelzebub’s Tales, through certain characters that appear mainly in the first three descends of Beelzebub on earth. I will also refer to the qualities of man Ν4, who is mainly described in the fourth descend, through the inner pursuit and actions of Belcultassi – the founder of the Akhaldan society. Man Ν7, who is the man that has reached complete development, is described in Beelzebub’s Tales mainly through the Deliberations and the activities of Ashiata Shiemash.
To take the wrong road can be almost as long as a short cut – Or, what was Gurdjieff really doing? – Facilitated by Mike Readshaw
I wish to bring to the knowledge of what is called your “pure waking consciousness” the fact that in the writings following this chapter of warning I shall expound my thoughts intentionally in such sequence and with such “logical confrontation,” that the essence of certain real notions may of themselves automatically, so to say, go from this “waking consciousness” – which most people in their ignorance mistake for the real consciousness, but which I affirm and experimentally prove is the fictitious one – into what you call the subconscious, which ought to be in my opinion the real human consciousness, and there by themselves mechanically bring about that transformation which should in general proceed in the entirety of a man and give him, from his own conscious mentation, the results he ought to have, which are proper to man and not merely to single- or double-brained animals. BT pages 24/25.
( . . . I wish to bring to the knowledge of your “pure waking consciousness” the fact that in the writings following . . I shall expound my thoughts . . . that the essence of certain real notions may . . . automatically go . . . into . . . the subconscious, and there by themselves mechanically bring about that transformation which should proceed in . . . man and give him . . . the results he ought to have . . . proper to man. )
The paragraph given indicates that at some point during his travels, Gurdjieff learned how to place information such that it would automatically pass into the subconscious, man’s true consciousness, in such a way that it would, by itself, mechanically transform that man from an ordinary man, such as he is now, into a normal man, a man such as he should be. If this transformation was Gurdjieff’s intention in writing Beelzebub’s Tales, and he says that it was, is it not possible, or even probable, that this was what Gurdjieff was doing before writing BT, and indeed, that this is what he was doing during his whole teaching period. My thesis is that Gurdjieff was never teaching ideas, but was initiating in his pupils such a transformation. Further, I submit that this transformation takes place automatically, by itself, and mechanically, completely outside and without the awareness of that person, over a period of thirty years. Once complete, of course, an ordinary man has become a normal man, who, from his previous point of view, appears, quite . . . remarkable. But, . . . one book at a time !
Where Do We Go From Here – A Seminar in which all participants are invited to address the logistics of the next years Conference.