The blog Darwiniana has a post on Gurdjieff (one of the most read):
Reading Gurdjieff’s book is generally a waste of time. I wince at your statement that this effort is ‘intentional suffering’, that phrase of the ‘work’. Don’t get started with all that. It is a very ill-considered thesis with many pitfalls, to sabotage your life.
You can read J. G. Bennett’s Making A New World for a rough estimate of what the book is about. And at that point I would say don’t trust Bennett, either.
To conceal in this way suggests the author has something to hide. He does!
As to ‘intentional suffering’ the idea is that humanity is asleep, a bunch of couch potatoes, Nature doesn’t like couch potatoes, so the ‘Work’ with a capital ‘W’ should be to track down these couch potatoes and torture them to death as a sacrifice to Gaian energy balance.
Real fruitcake this fellow. It doesn’t follow. Nature loves the hippopotamus, so I guess couch potatoes can’t be much worse.
Moral: masochism suggested by the ‘Work’ is a very dangerous tactic, life has enough rude shocks, and the question of creating more is not so clear, especially if the later followers of Gurdjieff turn out to be a bunch of sadists, like the notorious E. J. Gold, who has tried a take over bid of the G situation, and seems to enjoy ‘intentional sufferings’ a lot, his intentions, your suffering.
The whole thing is already corrupt, so don’t let any principles it proposes linger in your mind without examination, e.g. ‘intentional suffering’.
Thanks for your comment, a good question. I am not another guru, and I am backed into the need to answer a question about ‘paths’, guru style. I can’t or won’t answer such questions, but my statement effectively does answer them, in a way. There is such a proliferation of ‘paths’, my point was to clarity two possibilities, the simple passage of time and experience, and the passage beyond. You are right that this seems to relate to the buddhist style of world renunciation. A path in time exists mathematically but it is very hard for ordinary man to realize his own ‘will’, and he is usually kidnapped by a larger religion.
It is not an easy situation.
My remarks actually were very general, based on a statement by Bennett about the Kwajagan, who showed the influence of Buddhism in Central Asia. My consideration was that lurking behind the obscurity of ‘sufi paths’, many of them hidden, many of them claiming extraordinary knowledge which they won’t reveal, to the confusion of seekers, there is a rough and brutal reduction of the question based on 1. history and 2. a statement about the dubious claims of many lost in the interstices of that history.
We can simplify the issue by looking at the streamlined history of religion, noting the peaks that stand out, and approaching the chaotic middles with a certain skepticism.
Gurdjieff claimed a great deal about lost knowledge, but those claims are undocumented, and dubious the more we learn about them. Many of these secret sufis were comparatively ignorant men, and prone to the mystical deviations that beset those who approach spiritual issues without metaphysical discipline. Gurdjieff is an adventurer, and much of his esoteric lore, if we can understand him, seem bogus. In any case, the so-called ‘path’ he proposes amounts to zilch, and has produced nothing in his followers. The behind the scenes action of insiders, I don’t know. But his outer ‘path’ is an exploitation, and a lot of dangerous people are making claim on it.
Disengage at once from such people, and consider my streamlined summary, dispensing with mystifications of ‘path peddlers’.
Looking over the Google links on Gurdjieff.
What has been left behind by Gurdjieff is in the end almost useless, and yet the numbers of people fixated on the ‘superb sales job’ is staggering. Students of the subject have failed to grasp that the division into ‘exoteric/esoteric’ is exploitative and false. It is entirely possible for people to lie and conceal, but what is spiritual about that? And yet all this seems to have been deliberate. To create an underclass of followers intimidated in a subtle way to be submissive.
Behind it is a reactionary political complot, and an intent to prevent the spiritual realization of the those connected on the (laughably) exoteric level.
‘prevent’, OK, in case you were thinking of something more than being a groupie.
The purpose of this blog is assist those floundering in the so-called Gurdjieff work to recover their perspective on the confusion it has created, and to ‘snap out of it’ to the degree of recovering and hopefully moving on. However, this is done by a process of historical analysis, and I am not in a position for one on one interactions. But if you have a question, by all means. There is very little public help available here, and the ‘deprogrammers’ in the public sphere are ill-equiped to understand the position many find themselves in. And certainly the people in the movement are of no help. You need the presence of mind to walk away from it, and it can be a lonely moment to realize that you have no institutional resources that can be useful.
Welcome, to the Orphans of Civilization.
This blog will saunder on with comments, links, and various forms of commentary. Please note that the main point is made if you read the gmancon series. I am busy with a lot of other things, so this blog with be off to a slow start perhaps. Keep coming back if you like.
I have finished the introductory series of essays on Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, starting with:
The material is still rough but enough to start.
This is the blog accompanying a set of webpages, a work in progress, on the question of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, a kind of debriefing of the confusion surrounding that movement.
This blog will produce a general statement, a series of links to resources, and some examinations of the question of guruism, the New Age movement, etc,..
I hope to set up a better wordpress skin soon, patience.