Gurdjieff #3

Written by Robert Bruce Baird

Division of Attention. Gurdjieff encouraged his students to cultivaterepparttar ability to divide their attention, that is,repparttar 150713 ability to remain fully focussed on two or more things atrepparttar 150714 same time. One might, for instance, let half of one's attention dwell in one's little finger, whilerepparttar 150715 other half is devoted to an intellectual discussion. Inrepparttar 150716 division of attention, it is not a matter of going back and forth between one thing and another, but experiencing them both fully simultaneously. Beyondrepparttar 150717 division of attention lies "remembering oneself" - a frame of mind, permanent inrepparttar 150718 hypothetical perfected person, fleeting and temporary inrepparttar 150719 rest of us, in which we see what is seen without ever losing sight of ourselves seeing. Ordinarily, when concentrating on something, we lose our sense of "I," although we may as it were passively react torepparttar 150720 stimulus we are concentrating on. In self-rememberingrepparttar 150721 "I" is not lost, and only when we maintain that sense of "I," according to Gurdjieff, are we really awake. Like mastery on a musical instrument, such forms of heightened self-awareness can be developed only with years of practice.

Hands, Head, and Heart. With many variations and complications overrepparttar 150722 years, Gurdjieff's theoretical picture ofrepparttar 150723 human organism boils down to a tripartite model consisting of three "centers":repparttar 150724 moving,repparttar 150725 emotional, andrepparttar 150726 thinking. Becoming a genuine person involves coordinatingrepparttar 150727 three centers and becoming capable of conscious labor and intentional suffering.

Abstract Symbolism. Gurdjieff was fond of elaborate theorizing -repparttar 150728 construction of intricate symbolic systems embodying or representingrepparttar 150729 relationships between phenomena at all levels of existence fromrepparttar 150730 atom torepparttar 150731 universe. Ouspensky devotes pages and pages to Gurdjieff's concept of "octaves" {Thus one must studyrepparttar 150732 Pythagorean connection with Abarisrepparttar 150733 Druid.}-repparttar 150734 musical scale do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do taken as a sort of universal yardstick for determiningrepparttar 150735 measurements and proportions of all of nature's parts. (The theory of octaves had a tremendous impact on pianist Keith Jarrett, who read about them in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff's longest, most allegorical, and most difficult book.) Some Gurdjieff students and groups gloss overrepparttar 150736 octaves or dispense with them entirely. My own feeling is thatrepparttar 150737 theory of octaves has a lot in common with medieval Western musical theorists' preoccupation with theo-numerological speculation based on interval integer ratios and their symbolic significance. In point of fact, Gurdjieff had studiedrepparttar 150738 medieval alchemists and on occasion was prone to speak ofrepparttar 150739 human organism as a sort of alchemical factory forrepparttar 150740 transformation of various material and psychic substances.

It seems that where there is music, and where there are people who philosophize about it, there will be some form of numerology and arcane quasi-mathematics. Since both musical pitch and musical rhythm are readily represented in numerical forms,repparttar 150741 urge to find primal mathematical significance in music is almost impossible to resist. A contemporary example of this perennially seductive train of thought is Peter Michael Hamel's book Through Music torepparttar 150742 Self.

Another symbolic thought-form Gurdjieff worked with wasrepparttar 150743 enneagram, a circle with nine points around its circumference. Said Gurdjieff, ‘The enneagram is a universal symbol. All knowledge can be included inrepparttar 150744 enneagram and withrepparttar 150745 help ofrepparttar 150746 enneagram it can be interpreted ... A man may be quite alone inrepparttar 150747 desert and he can tracerepparttar 150748 enneagram inrepparttar 150749 sand and in it readrepparttar 150750 eternal laws ofrepparttar 150751 universe. And every time he can learn something new, something he did not know before.’ {The fabulously successful book The Celestine Prophecy usesrepparttar 150752 knowledge ofrepparttar 150753 Enneagram and takes people torepparttar 150754 point of Enlightenment which can include dematerialization.}

Throughrepparttar 150755 elaboration ofrepparttar 150756 law of octaves andrepparttar 150757 meaning ofrepparttar 150758 enneagram, Gurdjieff offered his students alternative means of conceptualizingrepparttar 150759 world and their place in it. When I say "alternative," I am suggesting that Gurdjieff sought alternatives to rational, linear, language-oriented exposition and rhetoric (though he was by all accounts also a spellbinding speaker). In other words, Gurdjieff's ideas could be only partially expounded in ordinary words and sentences; to go beyond language he drew on music (he played several instruments and Bennett tells of him improvising unearthly melodies on a small organ late at night), dance, and visual symbols such asrepparttar 150760 enneagram.

Furthermore, it is my impression that Gurdjieff was happy to talk theoretically with students who were theoretically inclined, but thatrepparttar 150761 theory itself is not an indispensable part of his overall teaching. Or, to put it slightly differently, Gurdjieff used, for instance,repparttar 150762 complicated machinery ofrepparttar 150763 law of octaves in order to teach his students to think. And in some respectsrepparttar 150764 process of thinking was more important thanrepparttar 150765 theoretical content of what was thought.

Gurdjieff #2

Written by Robert Bruce Baird

Fripp in his teaching does not speculate onrepparttar afterlife, but he sharesrepparttar 150712 Gurdjieff/Ouspensky insistence on man in his normal state as a dozy automaton. It is a paradoxical doctrine, echoed throughrepparttar 150713 ages in many teachings, includingrepparttar 150714 Calvinist doctrine of predestination: we have no free will, development of one's freedom can begin only with a clear-headed recognition of one's absolute slavery to circumstance, mental associations, emotion, instinct, genetics, biochemistry,repparttar 150715 laws of nature. Ouspensky quotes Gurdjieff as saying, ‘Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all ... The struggle with small habits is very difficult and boring, but without it self-observation is impossible.’ From Fripp's Guitar Craft Monograph III: Aphorisms: ‘It is difficult to exaggeraterepparttar 150716 power of habit.’

The Danish philosopher and religious thinker Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), regarded asrepparttar 150717 fountainhead of twentieth-century secular and religious existentialism, maintained thatrepparttar 150718 average person, going about his or her daily routines automatically, is as incapable of sin as he or she is of repentance. Kierkegaard, who spent his life as a writer championing conscious subjectivity asrepparttar 150719 sine qua non of authentic existence, and who wantedrepparttar 150720 words "The Individual" inscribed on his tombstone, was wont to find, as was Gurdjieff, confirmation of his own views inrepparttar 150721 words of Socrates: "Know thyself." Gurdjieff put it like this: ‘Individuality, a single and permanent I, consciousness, will,repparttar 150722 ability to do, a state of inner freedom, all these are qualities which ordinary man does not possess. Torepparttar 150723 same category belongsrepparttar 150724 idea of good and evil,repparttar 150725 very existence of which is connected with a permanent aim, with a permanent direction and a permanent center of gravity ... Permanent truth and permanent falsehood can exist only for a permanent man. If a man himself continually changes, then for him truth and falsehood will also continually change.’

Sometimes Gurdjieff would refer to his methods asrepparttar 150726 "Fourth Way." The first three ways wererepparttar 150727 way ofrepparttar 150728 fakir,repparttar 150729 way ofrepparttar 150730 monk, andrepparttar 150731 way ofrepparttar 150732 yogi. The fakir struggles withrepparttar 150733 physical body, devoting himself to mastering incredibly difficult physical exercises and postures {Which will be likerepparttar 150734 Mudras and Mutras inrepparttar 150735 impact of brain lobes. I have used this to help restorerepparttar 150736 mentally ill.}. The way ofrepparttar 150737 monk representsrepparttar 150738 way of faith,repparttar 150739 cultivation of religious feelings, and self-sacrifice. The yogi's approach is through knowledge andrepparttar 150740 mind. Gurdjieff said of his Fourth Way that it combined work simultaneously onrepparttar 150741 body, emotions, and mind, and that it could be followed by ordinary people in everyday life - that it required no retirement intorepparttar 150742 desert. The Fourth Way did involve whole-hearted acceptance of certain conditions imposed by a teacher; it also involved supreme effort to devote oneself continuously to inner work, even though one's outward worldly roles might not change that much. In spite of his insistence that work without a teacher was impossible, Gurdjieff stressed each individual's responsibility:

The fourth way differs fromrepparttar 150743 other ways in thatrepparttar 150744 principal demand made upon a man isrepparttar 150745 demand for understanding. A man must do nothing that he does not understand, except as an experiment underrepparttar 150746 supervision and direction of his teacher. The more a man understands what he is doing,repparttar 150747 greater will berepparttar 150748 results of his efforts. This is a fundamental principle ofrepparttar 150749 fourth way. The results of work are in proportion torepparttar 150750 consciousness ofrepparttar 150751 work. No "faith" is required onrepparttar 150752 fourth way; onrepparttar 150753 contrary, faith of any kind is opposed torepparttar 150754 fourth way. Onrepparttar 150755 fourth way a man must satisfy himself ofrepparttar 150756 truth of what he is told. And until he is satisfied he must do nothing.

Inrepparttar 150757 1988 pamphlet "An Introduction to Guitar Craft," Fripp, who has explicitly called himself a follower ofrepparttar 150758 Fourth Way, wrote, ‘In Guitar Craft there is nothing compulsory. One is not asked to violate cherished beliefs or accept any ofrepparttar 150759 ideas presented. Rather, a healthy skepticism is encouraged.’

By its very nature,repparttar 150760 Fourth Way is not for everyone. Knowledge is not deliberately hidden, Gurdjieff would say, but most people simply are not interested. The former leader of a Gurdjieff group in Boston, Meggan Moorehead, told me of Gurdjieff's "five of twenty of twenty." Only twenty per cent of all people ever think seriously about higher realities; of these, only twenty per cent ever decide to do anything about it; and of these, only five per cent ever actually get anywhere.

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