Talks on Beelzebub’s Tales
“A strong contradiction in Gurdjieff’s writings is that, while claiming contemporary humans are almost entirely mechanical and living in illusion, he also claimed that his writings of themselves could destroy their illusions. This is at face value absurd. But, this kind of absurdity is one of the main themes of Beelzebub’s Tales. Just as he once claimed that two hundred conscious men and women could prevent war on earth, so it might be that we need to understand a deep and far-reaching principle, that conscious influences could change things in a way that is qualitative rather than quantitative. Bennett says some interesting things in his talks about this, when he argues for the power of ideas.
“The value may be that the whole thing is an apparatus for transmitting a signal, a signal that summons those able to respond and shows them how to wake up and assume their true destiny.”
Anthony Blake, foreword J.G. Bennett’s Talks on Beelzebub’s Tales.
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When Bennett first read All and Everything: Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson in 1948, he was convinced that it would have a powerful impact on all who came across it. He regarded it as a work of superhuman genius, containing expressions of reality which, by their very nature, were bound to make severe demands on any reader. With Gurdjieff’s approval, he undertook a series of lectures in London, between 1949 and 1974, focusing on the essential meaning of Beelzebub’s Tales. Those talks have been collected here.
More than commentaries, these “talks” are an invitation into the deeper meanings of Gurdjieff’s enigmatic “tales” to his grandson.
Given during the last year of Gurdjieff’s life and into the 1950’s, this collection of talks by J.G. Bennett was compiled and arranged soon after the last years of Bennett’s life by his student and close associate, Anthony Blake. Now, thirty-years after that initial compilation, Blake, an accomplished author and acknowledged philosopher, gives us, in his compelling new foreword, many remarkable and contemporary insights into the visionary message of Gurdjieff’s three series of writings, All and Everything, for which Beelzebub’s Tales is the first.
Although Bennett’s talks – given with the approval and encouragement of Gurdjieff – were intended by Bennett to be a companion to reading and understanding Gurdjieff’s masterwork, Anthony Blake’s timely new foreword allows even those unfamiliar with Gurdjieff’s Tales to begin a journey into the depth of its meaning.
“Evil is…not something fighting against good, but that which has to be rejected in order to allow the good to fulfill itself.”
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