Bennett and DU, again…

Someone commented on my misunderstanding of Bennett. But who does understand him? The Gurdjieff legacy represents a lost opportunity: bringing: the legacy of Samkhya, or its ancient source, into the modern world. But Gurdjieff for all his vaunted esoteric authority as objective knowledge was too limited intellectually to do the job right and in the process confused the whole subjected with the concoction of the enneagram and much else. His work passed into that of Bennett who had a brilliant opener to doing all that, but his work also suffers from confusion. Nonetheless Bennett in The Dramatic Universe produced a brilliant take on the basic objective and his exegesis remains of interest. But his work is marred by many dubious additions and digressions. and DU is filled with eccentric muddles, and downright deceptions: Gurdjieff could never do an honest job of scholarship in his compulsive lying and Bennett at some points catches the disease. A man with Bennett’s smarts must have known that the enneagram was nonsense but he played the game. On that and many other points his work is flawed and/or endorses dubious scholarship and notions unworthy of his real talents. An example is his connection of astrology and the cycles of the ‘Great New Year’ with historical epochs. The scheme is easily shown to not work but he couldn’t shake off the confusion (check out the eonic model on this). Another is the sudden embrace of an old bit of Indian scholarship on the origin of Indo-European in the Arctic. It is a fascinating idea, but where’s the proof. Bennett picks this up without any critical examination and simply braids it into his text. Fifty other cases like this greatly compromise the integrity of his work and text. Still, the basic attempt to reconstruct Samkhya is fascinating but the people involved here (cf. the comment linked to) are caught in a cult in which they may not challenge or question any aspect of Bennett or Gurdjieff, a disastrous side effect of the guru/sheik syndrome  of esoteric infallibility. In the end the whole Gurdjieff legacy will go down the drain pipe, and Gurdjieff has a lot to answer for in making his basic stupidity into some kind of esoteric wisdom. Meanwhile modern culture is stuck with a new set of superstitions, among them the nonsense of the enneagram, now the backstop for a whole canon of idiocy about personality types.

Here’s the book referred to above. Since I haven’t read it, I should be less critical, but in any case, it is a fascinating idea, if only we could find the right evidence: the text from 1903 points to the mystery of Indo-european, and the mystery of the ‘Aryans’, until HItler got wind of it. The real issue, about which I wrote a term paper in college long ago is how languages such as the early Indo-european defeat ‘entropy’ (metaphor term here) and go upwards to more complex grammars when all we see in history is their decline and loss of complex grammars. Anyone who has studied ancient Greek or Sanskrit can see the problem. The grammar of ancient Greek is mind boggling when you think about it. Each verb has hundreds of conjugated forms and with irregular verbs there is not easy way to apply the standard rules. Ditto for nouns. How did these complex languages (and there are dozens of examples, from the Bantu to many others) evolve toward more complex grammars. There may be research here I am unaware of and the problem may be a pseudo-problem.

The Arctic Source of the Vedas notes the astronomical references in the Vedas.

Maybe someday someone will figure it all out.

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