Spring 2001 Issue, Vol. IV No. 2Our twelfth issue offersfrom several perspectives and points in timeilluminating glimpses of Gurdjieff and the spread of his teaching over the past eighty years. All back issues are available in their entirety as printed copies.
The first English text of a 1976 French language documentary filmproduced by Jean-Claude Lubtchanskyon the life and teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff. Narrated by Pierre Schaeffer and interspersed with interviews of Michel de Salzmann, René Zuber, Philippe Lavastine, Maurice Desselle, Henri Tracol, and Jean Vaysse, each of whom knew Gurdjieff.
This review of Meetings with Remarkable Men by Manuel Rainoird was first published in French in Critique (Paris), No. XVI (162), November, 1960, at the same time as publication of Gurdjieffs book in French. In this first English translation, Rainoirds thoughtful observations include both Meetings with Remarkable Men and Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson.
David Young met Mrs. Welch in 1960 and studied with her until she died forty years later. In preparing this article, he drew on videotapes and an archive of unpublished notes as well as his many meetings with her. It is clear now that we understood only part of what she said then. We were helped, and felt grateful, but we took in only what our little cups could holdand they were filled to overflowing. But it was often only much later, when we had more experience, that we could understand what she was giving us. I am still learning from her.
Martha Heyneman worked with Louise Welch for several decades. Her poem provides a heartfelt eulogy and fitting conclusion to David Youngs tribute.
Dr. Jacob Needleman is interviewed by Gnosis Magazine for inclusion in their first special issue on the topic of Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way. Needleman speaks frankly about what he has found evidence for and personally verified in Gurdjieffs teachings. He emphasizes Gurdjieffs psychological ideas about the levels of consciousness and his aim to awaken the power of conscience.
This material is edited from the notes and letters of Frederick Schneider (18831933), who was a student of A. R. Orage in New York in the late 1920s, and spent time at the Prieuré. While the material overlaps some published sources, it offers a fresh contemporaneous report of Gurdjieffs teaching as transmitted by Orage.
Carl Eric Bechhofer Roberts, a professional journalist who spoke Russian and had previously traveled to Russia and the Caucasus, was acquainted with Ouspensky when he undertook an assignment to report on conditions there in 1919. Roberts engagingly describes a series of meetings he had with a curious individual named Georgiy Ivanovich Gourjiev as well as an informed assessment of the volatile social and political situations he encountered throughout the Caucasus. His skeptical but admiring observations provide the first published account in English about Gurdjieff, who gave Roberts an insiders tour of Tiflis. Excerpted from his In Denikins Russia and the Caucasus, 19191920, pp. 6368, London: Collins, 1921; New York: Arno, 1971; Salem: Ayer, 1992.
Excerpts from Episodes with Gurdjieff by Edwin Wolfe and from Witchcraft: Its Power In the World Today by William Seabrook. Seabrook recalls his occasional meetings with Gurdjieff in New York between 1924 and 1931 and characterizes him as a white magician. Im not sure Id care to be one of Gurdjieffs disciples. The man had power. Seabrook concludes his ten-page section on Gurdjieff with an account of a late night reading from Beelzebubs Tales. Wolfe was a member of Gurdjieffs close entourage, particularly in New York. The two accounts of the same evening stand in sharp mutual contrast.
This incisive essay by Mrs. Staveley was published in 1984 by Two Rivers Press and is reprinted here with their kind permission. It was read on March 21st at the funeral of Michael Smyththe proprietor of Abintra Books, a long time student of Mrs. Staveley, and founding member of Two Rivers Farmwho died on March 18, 2001.
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With him, you had an extraordinary impression Its something that everyone, to some extent, has a taste ofthis potential which is impossible to realize by oneselfit appeared when you saw that man, when you saw him in himself, complete, missing nothing that was happening, noticing even the tiniest details.
He was a danger. A real threat. A threat for ones self-calming, a threat for the little regard one had of oneself, a threat for the comfortable repertoire where we generally live. But at the moment when this threat appeared, like a ditch to cross, a threshold to step over, one was helped to cross it by his presence itself.
Michel de Salzmann
Meetings with Remarkable Men has exemplary value. We are presented with models to follow. It is the how that follows from Beelzebubs Tales. But it may not seem that way at first.
Do not try to change. Study. When you work, something drops away of itself.
Now we have a very dramatic moment in the Work, the third generation, older pupils who didnt know Gurdjieff directly. This is the turning point. Time will tell whether we can continue to gather and be a channel for the forces that Gurdjieff set in motion.
Here one could meet the most interesting people. One afternoon I sat at a table with a curious individual named Georgiy Ivanovich Gourjiev.
C. E. Bechhofer Roberts
Copyright © 2001
April 1, 2001
April 1, 2001