All And Everything: refighting the battle of Marathon
There is already some discussion of Gurdjieff’s mighty tome, a book that would seem overrated. And one that most readers would find offensive if they realized its meaning and intent. It is mostly a lot of rehashed ‘new agism’ of the early twentieth century, and its core set of values is not wholesome. Gurdjieff was clearly an enemy of democracy and the modern establishment of rights. His material on Ashieta Shiemash fails to really make its point because it is
unhistorical and therefore in no sense a reliable judgment of history. It seems that the legacy of Zarathustra and the Persian world and empire that competed with the rise of Greece is still stuck in the craw of these people. It is a completely balderdashed view of things. One would be more than happy to see a revisionist view of Zarathustra, if that can be backed up with some real data, but instead we have this pastiche of pseudo-esoteric mythology designed to distort Zarathustra, half reinvent him, and end up a disguised PR mockup of Gurdjieff himself. The true history of Zoroastrianism, I would grant, has not been told, but I long ago began to doubt that Gurdjieff knew what he was talking about here. Zarathustra was finally the template of the plain vanilla monotheist preacher that comes later. The great esoteric mystery behind him just might not be there at all. We don’t need a lot of junk esotericism on this. We need some good historical research, and that has not yet fully gelled in this case, but I find it hard to place an Ashieta Shiemash anywhere in the vacinity, or anywhere else in antiquity. It is unlikely that anyone ever discoursed on the issues the way Gurdjieff does. To backdate that to somewhere between Sumer and the Persian satraps isn’t very helpful. The only reason it is taken so seriously is because noone sees what the Beelzebub tome is about. The hidden fascism of a number of mystic types in the post-Blavatsky era has been well documented. Gurdjieff always cagey didn’t quite show his hand here, but the indirect evidence is clear, and is certainly a part of his succession.
Thus the diatribe against the Greeks and Romans in his work is simply a misunderstanding, evidence that Gurdjieff was always way out of the mainstream. Do people still feel so strongly that the Greeks won the battle of Marathon and founded democracy as an historical first? What a bunch of useless reactionary diehards, really.
I am all for a careful critique of the Greeks, if that’s your view, but in the final analysis their place in history is secure, and critically so. In general, the question of the Axial Age emerges here, to show the real evolutionary progression visible in history, something that Gurdjieff and his ilk simply could not grasp. Thus all their efforts to pull rank, so to speak, with esoteric claims, is mostly a pack of nonsense. And it has wasted a lot of time for a lot of people, as the whole postmodern game of anti-modernism starts to generate more and more chaos.
As for these teachings of Ashieta Shiemash, and the great trumpet for ‘Objective Conscience’, etc…, it is mostly hot air, a ‘good idea’ that never goes anywhere. The legacy of later Gurdjieffianity shows how little interest these people have in really doing any of that. Instead we see the behind the scenes operatives plying a reactionary anti-democratic propaganda operation to serve some very ancient vested interests. They have little interest in the august profundities of this imaginary Ashieta Shiemash.