In Search of the Miraculous: Observations and Questions

logos5x5

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
obyvatel:
This type of self-importance/narcissistic traits mentioned here by G are almost universally applicable. Madam Salzmann's First Initiation talks about these narcissistic traits as well.

Agree.

obyvatel:
Any other reason you think that this was directed at Ouspensky except for the fact that we know in hindsight that he ultimately had problems dealing with his own self-importance? Just curious.

Well, just a subjective association - sorry for not pointing out that -, in this excerpt he mentions: [...] his cleverness, -and- Various writers [...] - and that brought to my mind Ouspensky, also reminded me the idea that ISOTM is an account of the encounters that Ouspensky had with G - of course is a trustworthy account of his teachings - but IMO it has a more personal focus in Ouspensky because maybe G saw potential in him.

obyvatel:
[...]that he ultimately had problems dealing with his own self-importance

IMO, since the period of time when he came into contact with G, - i can't say always, because that i don't know - self-importance was issue of Ouspensky - of course, as well for people out of the Work and also in it - he was a very very clever man - Tertium Organum, just to put an example - and had a overdeveloped intellectual center, and a very high opinion of himself (self importance) - actually he thought that he comprehended better G's teachings and went away from him. - and I think that he couldn't manage to get rid of it, or maybe he thought he did. His life after he leaves G behind is an example of this, as Patterson's Struggle of the Magicians describes, just a thought.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
logos5x5 said:
IMO, since the period of time when he came into contact with G, - i can't say always, because that i don't know - self-importance was issue of Ouspensky - of course, as well for people out of the Work and also in it - he was a very very clever man - Tertium Organum, just to put an example - and had a overdeveloped intellectual center, and a very high opinion of himself (self importance) - actually he thought that he comprehended better G's teachings and went away from him. - and I think that he couldn't manage to get rid of it, or maybe he thought he did.

Could Ouspensky have had the main problem of 'sitting on two stools'1 and the self-importance issue clouded his ability to see that? It could be possible even though G. had already explained all that to him by the time Ouspensky left.

I was thinking about where Ouspensky was in the Work before he left it and what had been going on in the background context between 1912 and 1924.2 In the early 20's, Ouspensky had reached a point in the work where I believe he felt he and G. were communicating telepathically somehow (is this right?). He was sorting through some emotional issues perhaps as a result of this stage of work and was also experiencing problems with the self-remembering practice.

Around this time, when Ouspensky was in Constantinople, someone located him and paid him a handsome amount of royalties from his book (Tertium Organum) which had been experiencing a lot of success unbeknownst to Ouspensky. Even though some of the money was probably paid to G and this helped G. to settle in Paris, France and open the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man3, I see this particular time in O's life as having been very tempting to turn away from G. and during this unstable period he shifted back onto his own stool, where he already had some fixed ideas he could work with easier.4

In other words, considering that Tertium Organum is/was thought of as the third major philosophical synthesis, the previous being those of Aristotle and Bacon, and that with his other books, Fourth Way writings and psychological and cosmological lectures, it seems fairly clear that Ouspensky had already possessed a very broad overview of how man and the universe works and that he possibly had some deeply held fixed ideas that he was unable or unwilling to let go of? Even if that were so, that alone, doesn't necessarily imply that he was wrong about anything, but it might be an example of how external considering passes into internal considering if Ouspensky's fixed ideas were the 'requirements' with which he preferred to approach others.5

Could that have been part of Ouspensky's problem? Should I just wait until I get to the thread on Imitation Fourth Way Groups Started by Gurdjieff Rejects?





ref:
------------------------
1
"How could this have happened?" others asked him. "Why did their attitude towards all of us and towards you change so abruptly and unexpectedly?"
"It is the first case for you," said G., "and therefore it appears strange to you, but later on you will see that it happens very often and you will see that it always takes place in the same way. The principal reason for it is that it is impossible to sit between two stools. And people usually think that they can sit between two stools, that is, that they can acquire the new and preserve the old; they do not think this consciously of course but it comes to the same thing.
"And what is it that they most of all desire to preserve? First the right to have their own valuation of ideas and of people...
ISOTM, p.277

2
Unbeknown to Ouspensky, a Russian émigré by the name of Nicholas Bessarabof took a copy of Tertium Organum to America and placed it in the hands of the architect Claude Bragdon who could read Russian and was interested in the fourth dimension. Tertium Organum was rendered into English by Bragdon who had incorporated his own design of the hypercube into the Rochester Chamber of Commerce building. Bragdon also published the book and the publication was such a success that it was finally taken up by Alfred A. Knopf. At the time, in the early 1920s, Ouspensky's whereabouts were unknown until Bragdon located him in Constantinople hansomely remunerating the author with some back royalties.
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._D._Ouspensky

3
Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff System directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. It was during this time, after Gurdjieff founded his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France, that Ouspensky came to the conclusion that he was no longer able to understand his former teacher and made a decision to discontinue association with him. While in Russia, Ouspensky himself experimented with the technique with a certain degree of success, yet Ouspensky personally confessed the difficulties he was experiencing with self-remembering.
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._D._Ouspensky

4
TERTIUM ORGANUM - THE THIRD CANON OF THOUGHT
In this book, he uses the concept of the fourth dimension as an extended metaphor for the esoteric nature of reality. Einstein and other physicists had at that time validated the study of higher dimensions, and Ouspensky was fixated on this idea.
_http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/to/index.htm

5
It very often happens that a man begins with a blessing and ends with a curse. He begins by deciding not to consider and afterwards blames other people for not considering him. This is an example of how external considering passes into internal considering. But if a man really remembers himself he understands that another man is a machine just as he is himself. And then he will enter into his position, he will put himself in his place, and he will be really able to understand and feel what another man thinks and feels. If he can do this his work becomes easier for him. But if he approaches a man with his own requirements nothing except new internal considering can ever be obtained from it.
ISOTM 160-161
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Hi Bud,
I had posted something that had struck me as an important element in understanding Ouspensky and some other G's students here .
If Ouspensky had the knowledge portrayed in the Narcissistic Family or more appropriately, the Drama Of The Gifted Child - then perhaps things could have been different.
[quote author=Drama Of The Gifted Child]
True autonomy is preceded by the experience of being dependent.
[/quote]
It was perhaps this stage of vulnerability of being dependent on another person's will that Ouspensky was unable to face. Instead of working on understanding the real reasons behind this block - that of having childhood emotional needs suppressed possibly due to family environment - he used his formidable intellect to intellectualize and judge his teacher and went on his separate way.
osit
 

Stevie Argyl

Jedi Master
Its very difficult, over 100 years later , to really find the reaons for the split.
In his lectures and writings Ouspensky seems to honour the intellectual side of the system , self remembering seems to become his primary focus.
Mr O seemed to focus on the intellectual side, it is said he disliked doing the movements, perhaps he 'understood' the system intellectually but was unable to go the extra mile outside his comfort zone for long enough to reach the next step. In Ouspenskys lecture he comes across as overly dry and intellectual but reports of the man one on one is that he was a warm individual and his cold intellectuality is over emphasised.

His wife's approach to leading work groups was quite different and far less intellectual than his, she always considered Gurdjieff her teacher.



The work seems to adapt to the circumstance it finds itself:
A peruse of De Hartmanns Our Life with Mr Gurdjieff is very illuminating, see how he develops pupils in the midst of life, the midst of war and revolution. For Example: Olga De Hartman, who is really a midlle class society girl who in her own words tells us that she had never as much as walked in the street unaccompanied, is sent on a mission alone from the relative safety of Tiflis to more troubled Essentuki to retrieve some valuables. She is given a pill box containing one pill that she could take in case of extreme necessity. That experience is going to build something.

In Paris, after having to liquidate the Priere due to his car crash, Gurdjieff gets the system written down in a non intellectual way in his 3 series of writings. At this time he is also recieving small groups and individuals. If you these accounts of this he is working on 'being' , on I AM. Groups start ed by pupils authorized by G to spread his 'system' in the 40's seem to have a different emphasis to what is reported in ISOTM. Times had changed, when G was introducing the system in Russia the people he encountered were more familiar with free masonary and theosophy so perhaps the system was presented in a language they would easily cross to. Another thought - perhaps there are omissions in ISOTM and not everything is reported. It is suggested that some ideas are easily mis interpreted from the written word and are better communicated one on one. Nothing mysterious here. Just imagine trying to teach yourself a complex martial art form from a written description.
just some thoughts.
 

anart

The Living Force
Bud said:
? Should I just wait until I get to the thread on Imitation Fourth Way Groups Started by Gurdjieff Rejects?

Might be a good idea.

obyvatel said:
If Ouspensky had the knowledge portrayed in the Narcissistic Family or more appropriately, the Drama Of The Gifted Child - then perhaps things could have been different.

Could you explain why you think that?

stevieargyll said:
Gurdjieff gets the system written down in a non intellectual way in his 3 series of writings.

Why would you think his three books are non-intellectual when they are, being books, accessed by the intellectual center?


In short, Ouspensky's issues have been well documented and come down to the very simple and often insurmountable issue of self-importance. Ouspensky could not get out of his own way. I don't think it really necessitates all sort of wise-acring to understand the dynamic, since it really is as common as dirt. fwiw.
 

Stevie Argyl

Jedi Master
Hi Anart

re
Why would you think his three books are non-intellectual when they are, being books, accessed by the intellectual center?


Perhaps my statement was over simplified. All three centres can be iand usually are nvolved in reading. The intellectual centres involvent is the most obvious. Reading also involves the moving centre as the eyes track the words on the page, but sometime also the moving centre 'reads on its own' i.e takes over the task and a full page has been read and then we realise that we were not present but just going through the motions. At other times we can be drawn into a book and dont want to put it down - this is the emotional centre becoming involved.


G asks that we read the first three times and the second time to read aloud 'as if to another person' - ie. to our subconscious mind compare this to Milton Erickson use of language to bypass conscious barriers. So his books are written in a different way - he even claims this in the first chapter of Beelzebubs tales.
So my 'non-intellectual' statement was contrasting Ouspenskys academic style versus Gurdjieff allegorical style. Hope thats a bit clearer !

Edit: fixed quotes
 

Stevie Argyl

Jedi Master
Hi Anart

i am new to the site and curious about the following statement:

In short, Ouspensky's issues have been well documented and come down to the very simple and often insurmountable issue of self-importance. Ouspensky could not get out of his own way. I don't think it really necessitates all sort of wise-acring to understand the dynamic, since it really is as common as dirt. fwiw.

Is there a thread where I can get up to speed with the above?
Thanks
 

Beau

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Stevie Argyll said:
Hi Anart

i am new to the site and curious about the following statement:

In short, Ouspensky's issues have been well documented and come down to the very simple and often insurmountable issue of self-importance. Ouspensky could not get out of his own way. I don't think it really necessitates all sort of wise-acring to understand the dynamic, since it really is as common as dirt. fwiw.

Is there a thread where I can get up to speed with the above?
Thanks

If you're interested in the dynamic, reading Patterson's Struggle of the Magicians really expands on what anart wrote above. You can also check out the thread linked above - Imitation Fourth Way Groups Started by Gurdjieff Rejects. I see you posted a reply there a few days ago. Have you read the entire thread?
 

Stevie Argyl

Jedi Master
Heimdallr

Thanks for pointing me back to that thread , have read it again without the headache this time, some interesting food for thought there.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
anart said:
obyvatel said:
If Ouspensky had the knowledge portrayed in the Narcissistic Family or more appropriately, the Drama Of The Gifted Child - then perhaps things could have been different.

Could you explain why you think that?
..........................

In short, Ouspensky's issues have been well documented and come down to the very simple and often insurmountable issue of self-importance. Ouspensky could not get out of his own way. I don't think it really necessitates all sort of wise-acring to understand the dynamic, since it really is as common as dirt. fwiw.
It is true that ultimately the issue was Ouspensky's self-importance. What prevented the otherwise so intelligent and ardent spiritual seeker like Ouspensky to break through this barrier of self-importance is of interest to me. In this context, the snippets of information about Ouspensky's childhood in Patterson's Struggle Of Magicians seemed meaningful to me.
[quote author=Struggle Of The Magicians pg 231]
The pity was, knowing the teaching, he [Ouspensky] could not fully live it. Two factors stood in his way. One was what he called his "extreme individualism". This Ouspensky himself admitted was the fundamental feature of his attitude towards life. The other was the emotional scarring caused by the death of his father when Ouspensky was not yet four years old., followed the next year by the death of his grandfather. "I didn't play with toys as a child", he said. "From an early age I knew what life was about."
[/quote]
The psychological effects of a lost childhood in an adult who is a high achiever in life is discussed in the The Drama Of The Gifted Child. Such people are out of touch with their emotions while they excel at what they do in life. They may not have a conception of their true emotional needs beyond the desire for achievement which feeds the self-importance. Since they had to behave like adults when they were a kid, they develop an armour which prevents them from experiencing feelings. In the context of abandonment - which I think could be a likely issue with a child who loses parental figures very early in life it is said
[quote author=Drama Of The Gifted Child]
Several feelings can be recognized in the defense against early feelings of abandonment. In addition to simple denial, we usually find the exhausting struggle to fulfill the old, repressed, and by now often perverted needs with the help of symbols ......
Intellectualization is very commonly encountered as well, since it is a defense mechanism of great power.
...............................
All these defense mechanisms are accompanied by the repression of the original situation and the emotions belonging to it.
[/quote]
It is suggested that to unlock these locked up emotions and to become an authentic person, a stage of mourning for one's lost childhood with the accompanying feelings of grief and great vulnerability have to be endured. It seems that G succeeded in bringing Ouspensky to a state of vulnerability based on Ouspensky's description of his experiences in ISOTM Chapter 13, pages 262-264. But apparently, Ouspensky was unable to transcend his self-importance and go beyond it. So I felt that the knowledge of repressed childhood needs and emotions and the stages required to be endured to process these issues as described in the psychology books could have been valuable to Ouspensky to deal with his brand of self-importance.

Now all this theorizing on my part could be wiseacreing as you say. I do have an interest in understanding these dynamics because I think they are important for my own personal development. I have grown up in an environment where I needed to become an adult when I was still a child. I provided emotional support to others, was taken quite seriously by adults in my life. Along with this, a modest degree of external achievements led to a somewhat brittle sense of self-confidence which cemented the tendency towards being emotionally self-reliant. This self-reliance and self-confidence are brittle as they are not based upon a Real I - yet I need to play this role of a pillar of strength and confidence. At times when I remember that I am playing a role - it is fine. When I forget and identify with that role, it becomes an impediment to personal evolution. Apologies for being off-topic with this last paragraph. I have been projecting to some extent on this topic of understanding Ouspensky and if this has resulted in adding noise to the topic under discussion, then I need to know so that I can be more careful in future.
 

StandingOnTheEdge

Padawan Learner
Bud said:
I have recently started reading In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching by P. D. Ouspensky.


[quote author=ISOTM]
{...}
A man inwardly 're-quires' that everyone should see what a remarkable man he is and that they should constantly give expression to their respect, esteem, and admiration for him, for his intellect, his beauty, his cleverness, his wit, his presence of mind, his originality, and all his other qualities.

Requirements in their turn are based on a completely fantastic notion about themselves such as very often occurs with people of very modest appearance. Various writers, actors, musicians, artists, and politicians, for instance, are almost without exception sick people. And what are they suffering from?
First of all from an extraordinary' opinion of themselves
, then from requirements, and then from considering, that is, being ready and prepared beforehand to take offense at lack of understanding and lack of appreciation.
{...}
ISOTM, p.159
[/quote]

In my experiences onstage as an actor, the moment I start to admire my own performance is the exact moment when the character I portray disappears and the actor/me is simply 'acting' and not 'being'. It is somewhat unfortunate that this challenging profession attracts those who are more interested in calling attention to themselves vs. calling attention to the experience of the character they portray.

Gurdjieff was very astute in calling attention to people like this. As an audience member, you can subconsciously tell when the actor falls out of his role. It's a true lesson for me now, not only onstage but in my life, and it is changing how I see.

Thanks so much for pointing this except out to us, Bud.
 

Stevie Argyl

Jedi Master
StandingOnTheEdge

The trait highlighted is perhaps more obvious in those who perhaps seek a profession where these traits are out in the open. but consider this:
A man inwardly 're-quires' that everyone should see what a remarkable man

What about the young girl as a child is told how 'modest' she is, or the young boy told how 'truthful' he is. In both cases 'false personality' can eat the attention and crave for more leading to 'real life acting' depriving essence of expression and setting back emergence of real 'I'. A good yard stick is - everyone is in some way mechanical / dishonest / disconnected and me even more so disconnected from myself - especially when I think that this applies to others more than me. This work is about you - to hell with the other actors faults.
 

go2

Dagobah Resident
obyvatel said:
anart said:
obyvatel said:
If Ouspensky had the knowledge portrayed in the Narcissistic Family or more appropriately, the Drama Of The Gifted Child - then perhaps things could have been different.

Could you explain why you think that?
..........................

In short, Ouspensky's issues have been well documented and come down to the very simple and often insurmountable issue of self-importance. Ouspensky could not get out of his own way. I don't think it really necessitates all sort of wise-acring to understand the dynamic, since it really is as common as dirt. fwiw.

It is true that ultimately the issue was Ouspensky's self-importance. What prevented the otherwise so intelligent and ardent spiritual seeker like Ouspensky to break through this barrier of self-importance is of interest to me.

Sometimes it’s so “in our face” we can’t see it. Ouspensky’s self-importance prevented him from seeing his self-importance,
as is true for us all….even me. :)
 

Green_Manalishi

Jedi Master
Hi everyone. I'm going to take a advantage of this thread that is already open to discuss (ask for others opinions) a passage from ISOTM.
The passage is the following:

By observing himself he throws, as it were, a ray of light onto his inner processes which have hitherto worked in complete darkness. And
under the influence of this light the processes themselves begin to change. There are a great many chemical processes that can take place only in the absence of light. Exactly in the same way many psychic processes can take place only in the dark. Even a feeble light of consciousness is enough to change completely the character of a process, while it makes many of them altogether impossible. Our inner psychic processes (our inner alchemy) have much in common with those chemical processes in which light changes the character of the process and they are subject to analogous laws.


First this passage shed some bit of light (no pun intended) on a part in one of Fulcanelli books (can't recall which one), where he talked about a division in a house (it was probably The Dwellings of the Philosophers since he was talking about a house) where it entered no light, and total darkness was necessary for some "operation".

Since Gurdjieff explicitly says that this light is consciousness and that some processes can only take part in total darkness, i think it is reasonably to conclude that some processes must be made with total lack of consciousness, or am i reading it wrong? So what could that processes be?

Also it came to my mind that in "The Dwellings of the Philosophers" that passage i talked about could be one of the famous diversions that the masters resorted to in order to lead astray the ones that are not worthy, as they say (not that i think i'm worthy :)). I say this because Gurdjieff points to a necessity of an inner light and darkness and Fulcanelli to the need/lack of an actual material/physical light. Of course that with this i'm assuming that there is no necessity of nothing outside of ourselfs to perform our inner alchemy and that they are talking about the same process.
 
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