Gurdjieff International Review

Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson

Commentary by A. L. Staveley

Gurdjieff’s work, his teaching, is not meant for everyone—neither is his Book for everyone. Both the teaching and the Book are meant for those who can and will use them. A. L. Staveley

The world, the civilisation we have known, is disintegrating around us with increasing momentum. The planet, including humanity, is threatened, yet everywhere there is inertia. Many people, including those interested in Gurdjieff’s teaching, realize that something new is urgently required in their lives, and that that “something” concerns a transformation in the inner life of Man in the first place, but can and must result also in a huge change in man’s outer life.

“Repair the past, Prepare the future” Gurdjieff tells us, and gives great knowledge skillfully concealed so one needs to struggle to decipher it, opening up in the process new pathways through one’s thinking and feeling. Great knowledge of the cosmos, knowledge of the past and the future, of how to go about making a new world. But more than all this is the introduction to the awe-inspiring concepts of Conscience and of Reciprocal Maintenance.

First, the divine impulse of Conscience, potentially the representative of the Creator in us, still existing unspoilt in the subconsciousness of man which, as an active factor in everyday consciousness, can become a major step in the evolution of mankind.

The second basic shock for real understanding is the concept of Reciprocal Maintenance. Everything in the Universe everywhere supporting and maintaining everything else—a world away from the limited notions of ecology. We really cannot, and must not, ignore the responsibility for our humanity.

This Book is a guide to becoming a real man. Gurdjieff advised us to read, reread and then read this Book again many, many times. Read it aloud with others and read it to yourself. Even if you read it thirty, even fifty times, you will always find something you missed before—a sentence which gives with great precision the answer to a question you have had for years—a connection to quite another part of the Book. You will eventually build up a network of real ideas that will be your own knowledge, not second-hand, but the priceless, hard-won fruit of your own struggle for understanding.

Copyright © 1993 Two Rivers Press
This webpage © 1999 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Spring 1999 Issue, Vol. II (3)
Featured: Summer 2012 Issue, Vol. XI (2)
Revision: June 1, 2012