Ouspensky in Blavatsky’s Baboon
Comment on ISOM series from James:
13.07.09 at 3:14 pm ·
Review of Blavatsky’s Baboon:
A most revealing passage from Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon describes P.D. Ouspensky, a Fourth Way or Gurdjieff School leader, who near the end of his life in 1947 was very depressed (confusion and depression have been common ailments of lifelong disciples of the Western guru tradition). He took to escaping from students in his car with his cats. Ouspensky would park his car at some destination, sit in the back seat staring out of a window while cuddling his pets. “Returning home from one journey, he spent the rest of the night in the car while a female pupil stood over him at the window, her arm raised as if in benediction. A cat would never be so stupid” (p. 337). This passage not only reveals the depths of delusion both guru and follower might reach, but it also reveals Washington’s insensitivity to the perhaps deluded but nevertheless struggling, dedicated victims of such gurus.
Right on, Ouspensky needs a critical look, off his rocker in many ways. But at the same time he is not as dangerous as the Gurdjieff line.
Ouspensky was never strictly speaking a ‘guru’ but a public teacher empowered by Gurdjieff due to his exceptional ability to due just that (and also because of his reactionary views on politics and culture). Also, Ouspensky was the only person who had the integrity and the nerve to speak his mind on what he called Gurdjieff’s criminality, telling J.G.Bennett that Gurdjieff was a criminal. He broke with Gurdjieff but remained deluded that Gurdjieff’s material was somehow connected to ‘hidden schools’ in the Islamic or sufi worlds. Enough people have lost their shirt on that.