“You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.”
I do not profess to be an expert in Gurdjieff’s work, but as far as I understand one of his main points was that the average human walks through life “asleep,” as a type of automaton; their achievements “accidental” and the result of cultural programming. They can only achieve something sort of akin to a “soul” through intense spiritual self-examination and work.
And yet: the traditional paths the human has taken to receive such enlightenment—described by Gurdjieff as those of the fakir, the monk, and yogi—inadequately address the unique spiritual challenges to modern man. Only by adopting his Fourth Way, a “holistic” path combining all of the aforementioned plus some new/ancient stuff, can one fully wake up in our society.
In examining the philosophy of Gurdjieff we see the crux of a seemingly endless conflict between two predominant schools of thought regarding Humanity:
One is that ordinary humans have a built-in “noble” quality and worth to their lives, regardless if they achieve a Fourth Way, or “wake up,” or are “saved,” or adopt any other outside mechanism.
The other is that ordinary humans are, essentially, cattle—and can only achieve worth by the aforementioned methodologies of enlightenment; further, that most humans will never quite make “the cut.”
“You must understand that ordinary efforts do not count; only superefforts count.”
It is quite important that you understand this general dichotomy in belief systems regarding Humanity—as it is the main driver of so much past and present religion, “alternative” religions, ideologies, political movements, and so on.
In the purported philosophy of Jesus Christ via the Bible, we see a type of “schizoid” view regarding these two outlooks. On one hand, there is the idea that every human—even the most humble, especially the most humble—has worth, and that we should give the coats off our back to those who have none. On the other, we have the belief that only some will be “saved,” and the rest will burn in the eternal fire (furthermore, fuck ’em: “let the dead bury their own dead”).
It is the belief of this writer that these are two INCOMPATIBLE beliefs, and that the latter was “grafted” to the former as a type of propaganda that covertly supported those currently in power. And so we better understand the type of “split personality” of America itself.
And yet: we can move from traditional religion to alternative religion and see the same elements at play. For how many “New Age” type religions espouse a philosophy similar to the “Christian” idea of the Saved and the Damned?
There has been some type of key, divine, basic concept of universal love, empathy, forgiveness, and true salvation that has been constantly fucked-with and manipulated throughout the history of humankind.
Once again, on my little pad, I have jotted down a number of topics to discuss with you. And I am wondering how many of these would be better served in their own posts rather than journal entries, a bit more developed?
I suppose I have wondered this before. What is the essential purpose of this site? Can this “organic” approach to my interests “work” as a vehicle that can connect past a small (but very appreciated) audience? Is my style—swinging wildly from the esoteric to the pop-cultural to the deeply personal to the the tacky and ridiculous—ultimately off-putting to the masses, diluting my message and rendering my writing “lost” as people favor more clear-cut presentations of spiritual and ideological opinions and research? Which is all to say: am I doing myself a disservice (as has been suggested to me in the past) by assuming that “everyone” shares or appreciates or even understands my own very particular and perhaps even problematic view of the universe?
Here is Lenny and the Squigtones:
Have a good Sunday.