https://www.dropbox.com/home/Public?preview=The%2B_Dramatic_Universe_commentary2a_JL.pdf I have tried several times to elucidate some portion of Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe.
I am always afraid that even dealing with the book will wreck my reputation: it gives the appearance of a crackpot tome altogether. And it indeed does have both a lot of mistakes and an appearance of excessive speculation.
It is of interest because it tries to elucidate the lost traditions of the ‘will’ confused by monotheism with its ‘will of god’ mythology/metaphysics…
But the work remains of interest as a remarkable upgrade of core Samkhya, and an indirect commentary on the christian appropriation of that subject, for a theistic interpretation no less.
Somewhere in the sufi legacy, or else in some unknown spiritual school lost to us, the core elements of the upgrade produced by Bennett gestated the ancient version still visible in some remnant traces in modern Indic religion. The idea of sattwas, rajas, tamas as a triad seems like the remnant of an unknown teaching.
I fear the elements of this in Gurdjieff have not worked and this to some extent influences/vitiates Bennett’s take. But the Dramatic Universe escaped his later work that turned into Gurdjieff propaganda: the law of three and the law of seven have failed to do justice to the whole question and end up a corruption of the legacy, and the danger is the worse since the mystique of masters will convince many that this is some sort of holy writ. The law of three is simply the issue of triads, or three term systems. And the law of seven refers to a question mark about basic sequences. But the idea of laws here is simply amateurish on Gurdjieff’s part. In any case, reading All and Everything seems counterproductive and I can only bemoan the endless bad books making hash of the whole subject. Esoteric promoters don’t seem to care if they promote bullshit to outsiders and end up confusing thousands of people. Look at the muddle of Gurdjieff topic books at Amazon, large and growing. Not a single one is of any value. A whole generation of new agers goes down a black hole here.
With Bennett in his early text we at least have something to work with, in the midst of considerable debunking. Dramatic Universe. The text of Bennett shows the way the whole game founders: the idea of n-term systems is a brilliant suggestion, but the whole thing founders at the number three, the triad, as mysterious at the end as at the beginning, what to say of tetrads, five term systems, etc…By the time he gets to the dodecad, you have to wonder.
But there are number of positive indications: Bennett almost makes the case that n-term systems match the analysis of particle physics: null systems (like some vacuum fullness), one-term particles like the electron, two-term ionic elements, three term atoms, four term ‘objects’ or what we call ‘things’,five term systems at the threshold of life, six term ‘life’, seven term ‘organisms’, eight term individuality. Then the sequence goes even more weird, or cockeyed with nine to twelve term systems. I at least find the latter tetrad of interest, but ad noc: Bennett’s prejudice against Kant makes him blind to attempts to analyze noumena.
I am always at a loss how to discuss this class in public: I don’t believe a word of it, yet it is a classic piece, filled with the elements of some future science, or else religion! To the students brainwashed by this material as descended from the master I would suggest skepticism and the probability that Gurdjieff was too stupid to understand the material he inherited from unknown sources. Those sources were preceded by the hopeless morass of Trinitarian metaphysics, a ghoulish subject. The latter fades away into oblivion as the work of Bennett gives at least of a glimpse of some future rendering…