The Dramatic Universe, page one…
I have been ambivalent about doing some commentary on Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe, and, having put up a whole matrix of chapters at http://eonic-effect.net/DU/, I have failed to get started on it, perhaps just as well. Since I am not a proponent, the question lingers, why?
Because in setting up and tearing down a Samkhya scheme one can learn something.
Thus, if one can manage to review the history here, it is possible to create a new kind of Gurdjieff critique, and maybe in the process challenge those who will inevitably turn Bennett’s work into a kind of dogmatism to be used to exploit people.
Such a critique is not so simple as total rejection in the name of scientific reductionism.
Bennett is typical of the ‘puppy dog’ disciples who foolishly worship a teacher, and, here, Bennett ends by ascribing all his creative initiative to that source. In the process he became dishonest, and having stared into considerable horror, ended by sugar coating it.
Fortunately, most of The Dramatic Universe is free of that.
Bennett could have produced something very useful, but instead validated Gurdjieff’s plunder of Samkhya (even as he mystified many ‘ancient teachings’). In many ways Bennett’s version is better than the jumping jelly bean baraka bullshit that Gurdjieff inflicts on us in All and Everything.
Gurdjieff’s thinking on the subject would be one thing if he were honest, but he has wiseacred the whole genre. Samkhya is poorly understood by Indian scholars and students of yoga and the guru worship extended puppy dog style from a guru to a sufi black magician, in all innocence, will probably destroy the last verstige of credibility for that teaching.
No matter. We can learn from it, then bury it with the other ‘plutononium’, and proceed to a new understanding along those lines.
With Bennett, a study of Kant’s critique of metaphysics is essential. Bennett is afraid of Kant, as he starts his venture, and tries to concoct a way to bypass him, which is highly questionable.
The passage below is the first page of The Dramatic Universe, cited for that reason only. It already shows a characteristic Bennett theme, his distinction of sensitivity and consciousness, instead of the more usual distinction in yoga of consciousness and self-consciousness.
It would be nice if we could independently verify this rather interesting distinction in Bennett’s formulation, where ‘awareness’ is a life energy, while ‘consciousness’ is a cosmic energy that man can bring to that awareness.
People who write books often enter a realm of self-created linguistic ‘verbiage’ that can go on forever, making little sense to anyone but the author. That problem hits Bennett in a bad way, and it is important to be aware of that, so that the endless passages that sound profound, but then don’t make sense, can be grappled with and rendered comprehensible (or not). He has synthesized an immense amount of material, and the result is often a kind of facile stream of consciousness in his writings. Don’t be intimidated.
To exist means to be what one is. It
Bennett’s son complains about a quote. So we can delete it. Not needed, really.
It is hard to believe the cowardice of this Bennett group that they would cite copyright to prevent any critique.