‘Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson’ (BT) contains an apparently historical description of the collective psyche of ‘man’. The descents of Beelzebub occur after developments in the psyche of ‘men’ as a result of the Transapalnian perturbations. For each descent, Beelzebub richly describes the history and culture of the places visited. While many of the references in BT to historical events correspond with the conventional historical record, others appear to be quite preposterous. This presentation explores the chronology of events as described in BT with the conventional view of history. Estimates are made for possible dates for these events.
Hugh Hubbard, a senior research fellow in the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Leeds, is a practical materials scientist developing batteries and solar cells. He first encountered Gurdjieff in the early 1980’s after reading Ouspensky for its cosmology, but it was not until joining a fourth way group in Yorkshire, engaged in study and Movements, and attending the A&E conference in 2006 that he was introduced to ‘Beelzebub’s Tales’. He found that this connected with his interest in the history of civilizations and concern with the involvement of scientists of new formation with nuclear weapons and industrial scale warfare.
An autostereogram is a two-dimensional picture that is designed to convey a three-dimensional scene. This paper presents a series of reflections on some possible correspondences between the construction and modes of functioning of autostereograms on the one hand and the creation and interpretation of what we may call “deep texts” – certain literary works that embed deeper knowledge within a surface narrative. Writings of G. I. Gurdjieff are used to explore and illustrate such possible correspondences. The mechanisms for construction and perception of autostereograms are compared with the indications given by Gurdjieff regarding the need for a more robust language for communicating certain types of knowledge accurately and reliably. Such a language, while using words, may not rely on the usual patterns of association generated by their apparent meanings. In the same way that pixels are used in an autostereogram, the juxtaposition and relative relationships of words, and the forms they convey, may be used to paint images in the mind of discerning readers.
The purpose of my talk would be to open up the question of Gurdjieff’s special or ‘esoteric’ writing – how was it done? why was it done? who was it for? – by reference to ancient techniques and contemporary information technology. It would not provide answers or conclusions in any obvious sense.
Gurdjieff left messages in his music, movements and books. The Three Series of writings. The Thirty Nine Series. Gurdjieff’s assertion that ‘art is mathematics’. The Mesoteric circle that calculates and Bennett’s idea of the Psychokinetic class of humanity. Reflections on ancient traditions and modern information technology: Ernest McClain and the harmony of the gods; ring composition; Leibniz and the myth of a perfect language. CDs, verification algorithms, Cabbalists and Legominism. The issue of secret knowledge, knowledge that has power. Why should knowledge be hidden? The Sufi ‘The secret protects itself’. Example of Bayesian statistics, Bletchley Park and the Cold War. Literature of Sufi teaching stories, Zen Koans, ‘notes’. The example of Steiner. What is reading? Words and mathematics. Mathematical keys to the universe. The neglected science of writing scriptures and why they are written and what way. The Quran and the Gospels. The message of the movements.
Anthony Blake has a background in physics and philosophy. He studied with the systems thinker and mystic John Bennett as well as with the physicist David Bohm and other innovators and pioneers. He has followed the principle of integration without rejection, proposed by Bennett, and focuses on how to make this possible in real life. He is the author of several books – on the Enneagram symbol of Gurdjieff, the meaning of time, intelligence, dialogue, globalization, systematics, etc. Co-founder of the Du Versity, of which he is Director of Studies, Anthony Blake facilitates seminars and lectures on new methods.
This paper proposes that there is a hidden meaning in Gurdjieff’s description of the days of Atlantis in accord with his intention to bury the dog deeper. That hidden meaning is that male temples, namely the Agoorokhrostiny, where the beings of the male sex engage in self-remembering, and beings of the female sex in female temples known as Gynekokhrostiny, where female beings engage in complete passivity, trying not to think about anything (BT 1109) are actually the opposite poles within each of us in accordance with the sacred Triamazikamno In this respect, also wrote Ashish, “By one means or other, any man or woman wishing for success on the path to self-knowledge must come to terms with his bisexuality” (Ashish 214). Our materialized gender is not of consequence in such Work.
The paper also proposes that Gurdjieff gives us practical instruction through the Atlantis allegory for what he calls “intentional contemplativeness” (BT 783). In such a meditative state, our masculine polarity intentionally engages actively in self-remembering while our feminine polarity engages in passivity. “The state of inturned meditation is, in itself an androgynous condition, to which fact it owes the bliss that accompanies it. The dullness or dryness associated with much so-called meditation is due to the rejection of its emotional components.” (Ashish, 214) In sum, it’s all about “love” another word for “unity.”
Sy Ginsburg was born in Chicago in 1934 and currently divides his time between Florida and Illinois. 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, 1978-1997. Ginsburg was a member of the Gurdjieff Society of Florida and later a co-founder of the Gurdjieff Institute of Florida. Currently, he is the coordinator for the Online Gurdjieff Study Groups of the Theosophical Society in America and a co-facilitator of the in-person Gurdjieff Study Group at the Miami-Deerfield Beach, Florida, branch of the Theosophical Society.
Who is the inner master? The answer to this question is straightforward. The inner master is Conscience. The inner master is in the Teaching of the Most Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash. We are told on page 368 of Beelzebub’s Tales: “Only-he-will-be-called-and-will-become-the-Son-of-God-who-acquires-in-himself-Conscience.” The inner master is the Son of God in us. He is Conscience. The inner master is the REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CREATOR.
The relationship between the inner master and man number five is also to be found in Beelzebub’s Tales. The author claims that the inner master and consequently man number five is not necessarily the result of being in what in the Gurdjieff community is known as the Work, although being in the Work may help. The inner master is formed in Life, in the inner struggle we face during our everyday ordinary Life. That is why the author has repeatedly said that Life is above the Work.
Will Mesa received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Florida. He spent three years with a group led by Henri Tracol in Paris, and six years with the groups of Nathalie Etievan in Venezuela, followed by four years with the New York Chan Meditation Center. He pursues a lifelong interest in the investigation of certain aspects of the Omnipresent-Okidanokh and the practical application of the Teaching of Ashiata Shiemash. He has published thirteen papers on Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. He is the author of A Treatise on Cosmic Engineering: A Book on Initiation and Transmutation Written According to the Law, a yet unpublished book.
The 1992 revised English edition of All and Everything as well as the second and third series published under the auspices of Triangle Editions contain changes and conspicuous errors that vitiate both the letter and the spirit of Gurdjieff’s work. Changes include titles and descriptions of the content of the series. The rare justifications for change, as found in the front matter of the 1992 version, for example, can be exposed as erroneous. It is clear that the source of error and unjustifiable alteration of the texts is largely the work of French editors, particularly, Jeanne de Salzmann who has imposed on the English publications French editorial and printing conventions.
Paul Beekman Taylor, born in London, lived with Gurdjieff as an infant at the Prieuré amd worked with him in 1948 and 1949. He studied in the United States and Norway before assuming the post of Professor of Medieval English languages and literatures in Geneva where he now lives.
The substance will cover the following points:
Stephen A. Grant, a retired lawyer, is the president of Triangle Editions, Inc., publisher of Gurdjieff’s books, and the editor of J. de Salzmann, The Reality of Being (2010). He is a senior member of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, and his wife, Anne-Marie, is the daughter of Nathalie de Etievan and the granddaughter of Jeanne de Salzmann. The statements in this article are his personal views and do not represent those of Triangle Editions or the Gurdjieff foundations.
“Woman get soul with child. Not necessary have child, necessary readiness for child.” -G.I. Gurdjieff
My argument is that childbirth is a sacred rite of passage. A heavy reliance on institutionalized healthcare obscures the fact that pregnant and laboring women are not sick. The absence of traditional support and ceremonies to assist the birthing woman means that she often becomes overcome with panic at the magnitude of the force that passes through her, fuelling the belief that medication and intervention will improve her situation. My own experience of giving birth to three children while in the Gurdjieff teaching has shown me that it is possible to transform this difficult experience into a profound rite of passage. Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding offer a visceral and exceptionally clear triad to deepen the understanding of key concepts of the Gurdjieff teaching, such as the transformation of suffering, the law of three and being-partkdolg-duty. I consider that a woman’s experience of this key event in her life is potentially a true initiation into what Gurdjieff defines as woman-mother.
I met the Work in 1993 through my mother and spent ten years in a Gurdjieff group in Stockholm, Sweden. During this period I married Adam Turner and had three children, and this experience, what it means to be a woman in the work, is central to my life today. My book Natural Birth – A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding, which applies the Gurdjieff teaching to these experiences, was published in 2010. I am currently studying for a PhD on Ben Jonson and the esoteric traditions. I live in England and am part of a group based in Arundel.
Many studies and references attempt to reconstruct Gurdjieff as a Sufi teacher and a source of Sufi teachings, yet it is argued here that Gurdjieff, through the borrowings of Sufism, attempts to create, in Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson in particular, a form of spiritual discourse that pursues different means and aims appropriate for a quite different audience and context. Recognizing Sufi or Sufi-like characters and stories as influences, this presentation will argue that Gurdjieff wields them for his own purposes in both the critique of a destructive model of religion and the introduction of a new model of being.
Michael Pittman is Associate Professor of Religion and Literature and Chair of the Department of Humanities and Communication at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany, New York. His published work includes G.I. Gurdjieff: Armenian Roots, Global Branches (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), a volume of essays based on presentations at the Armenia-Gurdjieff Conferences, which he organized in Armenia from 2004-2007. His most recent work is Classical Spirituality in Contemporary America: The Confluence and Contribution of G.I. Gurdjieff and Sufism (Continuum, 2012) which examines the discourse on and about Sufism in relation to Gurdjieff and J.G. Bennett. He has also published and presented on the work of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, and the films of Iranian director Majid Majidi. His most recent project is the introduction of the Contemplative Science and Health Initiative at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
John Amaral was born in Long Beach, California, raised by Catholic nuns, and trained in Electrical Engineering and Music. He has studied Gurdjieff with students of Mr. Nyland, Mrs. Staveley and Mrs. Popoff, and began to attend the A&E Conferences in 2003. “Perhaps the most useful aspect of the Conference for me has been that it has helped me to develop a more inclusive perspective about ways of Working. It has also opened for me new vistas of interesting inspiring contacts.” John’s previous A&E presentations have included: Esoteric Christianity and Gurdjieff (2005), Music of Heaven and Earth (2006), Approaching Inner Exercises (2009), I Am, I Wish, I Can (2011), Gurdjieff and Steve Jobs (YouTube, 2012)
Derek Sinko was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1978. He has been studying Gurdjieff’s ideas as an independent researcher for the past 9 or so years. Currently a graduate student and teaching assistant in sociology at Cleveland State University, he is also working on a compendium of some aspects of Beelzebub’s Tales.