Reading The Dramatic Universe, and then again the shorter Deeper Man, and trying to figure through the strangely confusing material of Bennett, it suddenly occurred to me that, in rough strokes, Bennett laid out Gurdjieff’s big secret, and in public. In rough strokes. There are aspects of Gurdjieff’s thinking that are obscurely and possibly not present in Bennett, the oulala crowd would insist here, without proof, and we may never decipher them (forget reading All and Everything: not a single commenter has ever deciphered that work) but we can put two and two together here suddenly realizing that the core is out in the open.
First, Gurdjieff wasn’t smart enough to do what Bennett tried to do in the DU and DM (deeper man…) and the topic in question is Samkhya, and the strange version we find in Ouspensky, from Gurdjieff. He may have had a crib we don’t know about, but I don’t see anyone who has figured out Bennett. This wiseacred mess we find in Ouspensky nonetheless has some insights and it must be that some sufi agent tried to reconstruct the Indian version, with embroidery. It could have been Gurdjieff. Or else there was always a deep source for Samkhya in some other tradition that somehow passed into India (I doubt the latter: I think Samkya, yoga, and tantra are Indic legacies).
But the point is that Bennett’s more complicated mess is likely to be superior in some respects to anything Gurdjieff thought. That doesn’t judge as such any forms of consciousness he developed with other methods. But I strongly doubt he reached any particularly high level of consciousness using Samkhya, which is a form of knowledge.
Bennett’s stages of understanding are not clear, but after his break with Ouspensky he seems to have interacted with some other spiritual sources. Perhaps the demiurgic powers he later depicts, or some sufi source mediating that. Bennett’s DU is a curious hodgepodge with a brilliant clue to the Samkhya, a borrowing from Schopenhauer, a confusion over Kant, and a strangely empiricist non-spiritual version of Samkhya with the noumenal/phenomenal stripped out.
Deeper Man, DM, is clearly a cooked version of samkhya: we have no real evidence this is the real thing, and we ambivalently are glad Bennett gave it the old college try and at the same time aware that he is very stilted and mechanical interpretation can’t be the real thing, but we have no idea what that was. But clearly however wrecked this must surely be superior to Gurdjieff’s ‘feeling muddle’ to the subject. We can suspect that while the nature of the ‘consciousness realization’ in Gurdjieff remains obscure, we suspect that it wasn’t ‘enlightenment’ or much better than a knowledgeable crib version of Samkhya. That can be powerful, but it is very limited in many ways. And yet the Bennett version, with multiple flaws takes over in a spontaneous and interesting version of Bennett’s own. The result is a curiously informative piece of junk.
I think that while it is possible the whole set of this material was simply window dressing, the overall impression we get is that Gurdjieff took this seriously and we see that the law of seven and the law of three are simply ‘garbage in, garbage out’ versions of Samkhya in a new disguise. Not statement of these laws is present in Samkhya as far as I know. This game is also ancient, however, and looking at the doctrine of the Trinity we see an especially gross version of garbled samkhkya.
I think that if Gurdjieff (and the Naqsbandis) were stupid enough to be taken in by the enneagram their knowledge of samkhya must have been pretty poor porridge.
Bennett heroically goes into overdrive and clarifies many things, but the influence of Whitehead has confused the discussion, and his idea of the will is a crippled Schopenhauer.
We need to rescue samkhya from Gurdjieff: some form needs to be public domain and safe to use. With Gurdjieff we see the sufi mafia is going to penetrate xtianity with exoteric flypaper.
Again, I think Gurdjieff believed some version of the Samkhya embroidered with some cosmological speculations, and that puts the subject at risk. A big ripoff of an ancient subject.
I question whether either Bennett or Gurdjieff understood the ‘law of three’ and we can see that while Bennett made some progress there his account is confusing and opaque.
So we end with nothing, and it is no use saying Gurdjieff has some deeper understanding. He has half as smart as Bennett, and Bennett could barely decipher the subject. And you can’t say it will become clear with higher consciousness. It is a knowledge based discourse, and requires the right key to it as knowledge. But with Bennett we can get a rough sense of it.