John G. Bennett's talks on Beelzebub's tales by Bennett, John G.; Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch; Blake, A.

By Bennett, John G.; Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch; Blake, A. G. E

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I believe it is the source of mythological thinking. Bennett, like Denis Saurat, quickly recognized that Beelzebub’s Tales was an original mythological text, a revelation of a kind that could only be entered into if the shell of conditioned thinking were ruptured and the reader willing to give rather than to take. According to Gurdjieff, air and breath are our “second being food” and the sacrifice of this in reading aloud his text is an ancient thing. As a mythological text it speaks to the unconscious, to feelings and images, in spite of being made of words.

In his Russian period, he declared that “there is no progress whatsoever”: whenever there has been a period of genuine learning, it has been followed by some war or disruption that led to its destruction. Gurdjieff’s chapter on War, one of those chapters that Bennett mentions, is a unique contribution to our understanding of this curse. The survival of any genuine knowledge has been hazardous to say the least. To assume, as most tend to do, that our contemporary western knowledge is the summit of human reason is simply wrong.

His combination of wit and compassion enables him to speak of the intimate absurdities of our private lives in a way that will offend only those who do not wish to face the truth. To what does all this lead? Rejecting the dualism of good and evil, Gurdjieff has to put in its place some ultimate regulating principle of universal validity. This brings us to one recurrent theme of the book that defies verbal analysis. It is Gurdjieff’s doctrine of the Sacred Impulse of Divine Conscience. ” The attentive reader cannot help feeling that he is in the presence of someone who has himself penetrated to this better world, and knows the means for attaining it.

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