Gurdjieff International Symposium
The title of this meeting is Gurdjieff International Symposium, and the title is intended to emphasize the all-inclusive and global nature of the Gurdjieff’s work and teaching. Our purpose is to consider all that we know connected with the name of Gurdjieff – his work in general, his significance in the world today, and its implications for future. In order to this we need first to consider the man himself, the teachings he left for future generations.
GURDJIEFF: THE MAN
The historical narrative can be broken into four parts:
- The period before 1912, of which the unverifiable and possibly fictional version in MWRM is Gurdjieff’s only account, as well as what has been uncovered by careful researchers; this includes his ancestry, family and cultural background.
- The period from 1912-1921 of which the only recorded accounts are Ouspensky’s ISOTM and Thomas de Hartmann’s “Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff”;
- The period from 1921 until his departure in 1949 from which many first-hand accounts, transcripts of talks and diary entries exist;
- The period from 1949 onwards when the activities of the work were in other hands, which can be mapped through first, second and third generation pupils and their activities.
GURDJIEFF: THE MESSAGE
- Gurdjieff’s vision of the world and humanity’s place in it.
- Gurdjieff’s psychology and model of humanity in two conditions
- Gurdjieff’s description of Solioonensius, or the time of transition: the task for humanity, for groups, for individual people. “The Terror of the Situation”.
GURDJIEFF: THE TEACHING
- The written presentation
- The music and dances
- The techniques of transformation – personally transmitted or embedded in the writings.
GURDJIEFF: THE WORK AS A WHOLE
The overall goal of the Symposium is to define a shared vision of the work which will include all interpretations and approaches. One possible model is based upon the assumption that Gurdjieff foresaw a great change to overtake human life in the immediate future and initiated a plan to bring about a this change in the most creative way.
Among the many verbal statements made by Gurdjieff is what is called the “200 conscious people” theory. This is that a very small number of people fully transformed into the true state of a human being will bring about a radical change embracing the entire world. If this theory has any merit, it must be considered how such a number of people is to come to the required level of transformation and what will be their effect.
Another proposal of Gurdjieff as presented in “Beelzebub’s Tales To His Grandson” is that those whose lives and activities are guided by the Divine Impulse of Conscience, intentionally serve as role models to others and incrementally direct the activities of human societies towards full participation in the Reciprocal Maintenance. The inability of the human race to understand its role in the cosmic harmony is characterized by Gurdjieff in the term “Kundabuffer” and a part of Gurdjieff’s teaching is concerned with techniques for individuals and societies to become free from this distorting factor.