Gurdjieff and Social Networking

One of my favourite characters in the realm of all things philosophical has to have been Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff was a bit of a Nomad himself zipping about Europe in times of turmoil, but that’s another story. What I’m interested here is an exercise of his that he said would raise self awareness, the exorcise of self remembrance.

It’s quite simple really, decide on a length of time to create a watcher of your own actions and see how long you can keep it up. If you try it you’ll find it’s not long before your mind wanders off on a tangent, thinking of anything but the task in hand.

To me blogging is an exercise similar to ‘remembering oneself’, the very act of recording your own actions on a regular basis is a great exercise in self awareness.

If this is the case then I have been fitfully unaware for the last few weeks. I have had excuses of course, the death of an old friend, too much booze thereafter, travel plans to make, but this is what any exercise in self awareness is about, being aware come rain or shine.

Anyhow, preparations to leave for Brazil on Monday are pretty much complete. I have had to order another lightweight sleeping bag though as the one I bought from Tesco was woefully humongous, the down that it was stuffed with must be coated with lard, bought some wonderful designer travel gear from T.K.Maxx for a song and am now twiddling my toes waiting for departure in a week.


3 thoughts on “Gurdjieff and Social Networking”

  1. What you describe does not resemble Gurdjieff work and is almost certain to lead to psychopathy. The essential first step is to realize that there is no “I”. The self only exists theoretically as a thing; as a physical body. There is no “I” to act, or rather there are a multiplicity of “I”s which appear and disappear constantly depending upon external stimuli, mood, weather, etc. If you self-observe, it is only with the mind and the particular “I” of the moment. Because the mind constantly identifies, there is a great danger in so-called self-observation. Unless you start by realizing your essential nothingness and mechanistic response to stimuli, awareness is not properly divided during self-observation. We are not what is ‘strong’ in ourselves, that is false personality and conditioning. We are what is weak, undressed, naked. Further, strictly speaking it is impossible to observe oneself, as P.D.Ouspensky realized. Blogging and social networking are an anathema to Gurdjieff Work, since both activities are a form of onanism and growth of false personality. Identification is the great enemy of the Work and we face a rapid decline in the psychic ability of the young generation precisely because of this networking. He who has eyes to see let him see.

  2. Hi there,
    Great post.
    I would thoroughly agree but….
    Gurdjieff believed in ‘work’. This work would entail exercises that could be of any nature, but one of the most important things about the exercises was the fact that you just got on with them, noticing any resistance, or indeed the opposite, whether it be cleaning a room or staging an opera.
    It’s pretty similar if you sit a 10 day vipassana meditation course, you just get on with it, noticing any resistance to it but at the end of the day you just do it. Or not and if not you notice that too.
    I regard blogging as a similar exercise, sure you can stoke the fires of the ego by doing that or you could use it as an exercise to simply notice, to be aware.
    I like the Sufi approach where they say that if you are a bank manager, let that be your path, your way of achieving enlightenment. Anything can be an exercise if you see is as such and Gurdjieff when Gurdjeiff invited the great and good to get down and scrub his kitchen was it not the same.
    When you talk of something leading to psychopathy you seem to be reading from an Ouspensky book (btw are you really called John Constantine or is that a DC comics character)?

  3. Since the permissive Sixties we have had the New Age, which largely consists of diluted and popularized Hindu concepts such as enlightenment. There is very little that’s been unaffected, including Gurdjieff. You can see this, for example, in the careers of Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo and others. All this has been very well documented by William Patrick Patterson, whose books are a must-read. At the root of the New Age is a curious solipsism, which seems to me to be based on laziness and credulity. It’s very obvious that, firstly, mysticism should be approached with the same rigor as any scientific endeavor. The source texts and literary analysis is critical. In Hinduism, this means knowing Sanskrit because everything else is translation. Anything dubious has to be rejected. A great example of this is the study of the Kabbalah. New Age style books may as well be chucked out immediately, whereas the “difficult” books such as those of A.E.Waite are actually accurate and useful due to their meticulous scholarship.

    Secondly, it’s an old adage that a man should never change his religion. Hinduism is completely incompatible with Western mysticism and especially the monotheist religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism and the esoteric schools associated with them. This is partially due to childhood upbringing. We know that the subconscious is separate from the conscious mind. In a Christian society, the great stories of the Nativity, Christ’s mission and the Passion are deeply embedded in the minds of children. At the same time, hermetic philosophy is based upon dualism and materialism, as is Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales was written in a confrontational style to speak directly to the subconcious. With Gurdjieff, the Universe is presenting us with objective facts, it is not a figment of our minds. I repeat, New Age and Gurdjieff are utterly incompatible.

    I haven’t practised vipassana meditation, but the dangers are very great partly due to the aforementioned subconscious conditioning and partly due to the fact that this meditation is being presented without full knowledge and understanding outside an esoteric school following all traditions. If you don’t know what you’re doing in this field, the dangers of permanent psychological and spiritual damage are very real. It’s no joke. But no-one understands these things any more. Everyone is looking for the latest New Age quick fix. And this is where blogging, social networking, mobile technology, etc, comes in. These are just another barrier to seeing the truth, to seeing the horror of one’s own situation and one’s own personal nothingness. Of course, it’s possible to “remember oneself” while doing any of these activities and observe the centers at work. But that implies the extra neutralizing ingredient to complete the Triad – knowledge and aim. Since for the majority, especially young people, the third force is absent, blogging can only give negative results, increase sleep, etc.

    Finally, you mention occupations, such as bank manager. But this has nothing to do with “enlightenment”. Gurdjieff takes about the Good Obyvatel as the threshold to any meaningful work. This means being responsible in everyday life. It doesn’t matter what job you do, so long as it doesn’t conflict with your conscience. Gurdjieff work isn’t about “enlightenment”, a fantastical and meaningless concept, it’s about paying for one’s existence and working to become a “real man or woman” through conscious labors and intentional suffering.

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