John Shirley comments
Comment from John Shirley
John Shirley said,
12.12.09 at 12:11 pm ·
Just stumbled on this site, still haven’t figured out its agenda. Warnings about new agers and cults? I fully concur with that. I’ve seen the phrase “occult fascism” a few times. Not sure what you mean. But I’m never surprised to see fascist behavior from people cliaming spiritual leadership.
I have been in the Gurdjieff work for 20 some years–the most mainstream version, derived from Gurdjieff himself, and Jeanne de Salzmann, not the odd little spin offs or factions–and am taking time off from it now, considering a focus on Zen instead, or Vipassana, something mindfulness related but with depth. But I’m not yet sure. The methods I learned in the Work actually helped me, they really accomplish something. I’m not saying I’m a conscious being, but I’ve made a lot of progress. Some Gurdjieffiana seems very 19th century to me–he seems to ridicule Darwin (though there are at least as many people who accept Darwinian evolution, more or less, in the work, as otherwise–I’m one), something which gives me difficulty, and I am unlikely to believe the moon will ever be like the Earth, etc. I also have a lot more respect for science than he seems to have (though he contradicted himself on that, constantly using the scientific method and preaching a critical mind).
So what’s this site’s agenda? Repudiating the work? My feeling is that there is no perfect school to be found, just fairly cogent schools with some integrity (the real Gurdjieff work is not after your money and no one tries to control your life, etc), and one takes the best one can get, for access to people who help us stay a little more conscious, and offer some good work conditions. Which is something that can be found in Zen, in the better aspects of the Work, with Thich Naht Hanh (I don’t think I’ll look up the right spelling…), etc. One has to be determined never to be bullied by any group, to depart if there is true cultish behavior; to work in life, and take it seriously without becoming a boor about it.
Robert Burton and others have blighted the Gurdjieff work. But if you go to the Gurdjieff Foundation, you’ll find human beings, some of whom are tedious and tiresome and officious, others–rather more–are simply serious seekers who are actually quite big hearted and helpful.
There are a lot of exaggerations and rumors about Gurdjieff. As one of his son’s said (someone who respected Gurdjieff’s teaching), “He was no saint.” He acknowledged this. He made some mistakes. But he did pass things on–there’s a myth that he didn’t. Madame de Salzmann was a person of real Being; also Lord Pentland and others. Gurdjieff, for all his flaws, was a remarkable man and his methods work. That’s worth valuing.