Ouspensky vs Bennett
Ouspensky-style disillusion with Gurdjieff Crapola is inevitable, for most in the end. How long can one go on beiing fooled by the enneagram? If you are an idiot, a long time, but anyone with any intelligence must sooner or later start wondering what it is about and coming up empty. The question lingers, did Gurdjieff believe in the enneagram himself?
Exceptions! J. G. Bennett gave the appearance of taking the enneagram seriously. And his viewpoint is complex. But if you examine his work closely in DU you discover that he has moved to something else, and his treatment of enneagram is sidelined, more or less. It is hard to detect this, but it is clear from DU that the enneagram is second-rate stuff and Bennett cooked up something different.
Bennett deceived himself, and then others, despite the interest in his basic ideas. But in the end he is a good example of someone being exploited by Gurdjieff, who was on the lookout for smart mathematicians to corrupt and use. Ouspensky was the first, and must have been used up, leading to the search for another ‘smarter’ victim.
The Dramatic Universe often makes me wince: you can see how a set of really brilliant ideas are getting pumped with hot air to promote Gurdjieffianity.
You can see the self-deception at work in the opening chapter where he tries to neutralize Kant, essential, if you are about to create an apotheosis of metaphysics all over again.
How sad, with a little restraint, and some more careful scholarship Bennett could have written a great book. Instead he allowed the Gurdjieff lie to wreck his science (if it could be called that).
The sad thing now is that the ‘authority’ of the ‘work’ makes people scared to critique this material, and they simply take it on faith as ‘objective knowledge’ (check out Deeper_d at Yahoo sometime). Pathetic.
In a way Ouspensky was lucky: he finished Tertium Organon before he met Gurdjieff (nonetheless it has problems and is overrated), a nice piece of work, and his ISOM was disciplined to simply tell the ‘facts’ a la reportage of his time with Gurdjieff. Perhaps his ‘break’ was partly connected with that search for objectivity.