Some more stuff. Googlebooks rules.
Gurdjieff and alcohol. This from a sympathetic source.
That source notes that Gurdjieff was found to have hade cirrhosis of the liver.
One has to drink one hell of a lot of alcohol for this to lead to cirrhosis. Though pigging out on rich food would also aggravate any liver trouble as well.
A man who spoke of teaching people to 'wake up' yet who drove an automobile after drinking?
Didn't Ouspensky renounce the Fourth Way before he died? I hear conflicting reports on that.
If my memory serves me, Ouspensky was Gurdjieff's leading recruit and disciple, then broke with Gurdjieff when they were fleeing from Russia. Ouspensky was able to get an entry visa and relocated in England, where he began his own Fourth Way school.
Ouspensky missed Russia and his old friends very much. Later in life, he became a heavy user of alcohol.
Just before he died, Ouspensky convened his students and told them that
there was no System, to go their own way.
**(James Webb, The Harmonious Circle
The students, who had been accustomed to leaning on Ouspensky's every word, were shocked. Many assumed this was a test for them.
Quite a few of them fell into the clutches of various cultic opportunists.
Some got involved with Subud.
Very many continued to follow Dr. Roles, who became Ouspensky' successor at Colet House.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi tried hard in his early years to co-opt the resources of Cole House and recruited many students from Cole House. Eventually MMY got lucky with the Beatles.
**For the entanglements of former Ouspensky students with Subud and Maharishi,
see Joyce Colin-Smith's book, Call No Man Master
Among them, some got involved with Subud. Others split off to form the School for Economic Science, which has since been classified as a cult, has had reports of abuse from those who have been students in its boarding schools.
** Information The School of Economic Science, known in the USA as the
School of Practical Philosophy,
] go to
James Bennett, who helped Ouspensky in Constantinople and assisted
his entry to the United Kingdom remained interested in various options.
After Ouspensky died he pursued Subud, (Joyce Colin-Smith/Call No Man Master) and then became involved with Idries Shah, who screwed him over in a real estate deal.Neo Sufism: The Case of Idries Shah
Idries Shah and his brother Omar Shah also tricked Robert Graves into believing they possessed an ancient and more reliable manuscript of Omar Khyyam's Rubaiyat -- "The Fishan Khan manuscript".
Though the Shah brothers never showed Graves the actual manuscript, they prevailed upon this distinguished and trustful man of letters to take them at their word. Graves, a gentleman, did so. His translation of the Fishan Khan
version of the Rubaiyyat was not well received and when he repeatedly asked the Shah brothers to show him the manuscript, they turned evasive.
For the full story, you can get it in Garrard's "A Book of Verse: The Biography of the Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam."
In his introduction, Graves asserted that the original Persian
quatrains formed a single long poem, evidently not appreciating the stand-
alone convention of the Persian ruba’i. By a strange coincidence, eight of the
first twelve quatrains bore precisely the same numbers as those in FitzGerald’s first edition. No twelfth-century scribe could have foreseen even an approximate order that would be used 700 years later, so the original
manuscript could not be authentic. It was odd, too, that the total of III
quatrains was just one different from FitzGerald’s second edition.
A few weeks after Bowen’s review was published in The Times, he was
contacted by a former colleague whom he had known in Tehran during the
war. Laurence Elwell-Sutton, another Persian scholar, was on the same trail.
He had discovered that the ‘literal translation’ provided by Omar All-Shah
had been copied faithfully from Edward Heron-Allen’s work, which
identified FitzGerald’s original Persian sources.
Even the errors were
repeated, and the quatrains from FitzGerald’s introduction and notes,
grouped together at the end of Heron-Allen’s work purely for convenience,
remained in that arbitrary order.
Even faced with this evidence, Graves
remained defiant. By now, the translation had been widely condemned by
experts in Iran and the USA, as well as in Britain.
Graves and Ali-Shah
reacted angrily, in a joint effort to rebut the criticism. They each wrote to
The Times, in vain attempts to justify the anomalies identified by Bowen. In
the Daily Telegraph of 25 March 1968, Graves even labelled FitzGerald ‘a
dilettante faggot trying to pretend he was a scholar’.
To anyone who knew
anything about the subject, Graves and Ali-Shah were simply digging
themselves a deeper and deeper hole. Elwell-Sutton published his account of
the hoax, ‘The Omar Khayyam Puzzle’, in June 1968 in the Royal Central
Asiatic Review. As far as the experts were concerned, the translation had
been thoroughly discredited.
Bowen could see that such strong views loudly expressed by such an eminent poet could easily convince readers, unfamiliar with Persian literature, that the true manuscript really did exist in some far-off valley in Afghanistan. Graves continued to receive active support from All-Shah. who maintained that he had actually seen the original document and was satisfied that it was genuine, and that the old man who owned it would be upset to be ‘challenged by imbeciles’.
Bowen was as determined as he was resourceful and he realised that if he
were to make the truth absolutely irrefutable, he would have to investigate
himself. In the spring of 1969, he set out on the long and arduous overland
journey to Afghanistan. In Kabul, he enlisted the aid of a couple of friendly
and cooperative local experts who were also fascinated by the controversy.
The editor of the local Karavan newspaper sent his car the 50 miles to
Paghman, the village where Omar Ali-Shah’s family had originated. The car
brought back the 85-year-old patriarch of the family who was ‘bright,
courteous and co-operative’. Not only had he no ancient manuscript in his
possession, he had never seen one and he had never even heard of Omar
Khayyam, When Penguin published a new edition of the Graves/ Ali-Shah travesty of a ‘translation’ in 1972, Bowen was moved to publish a summary of the entire sorry episode in a long letter to the Listener, published on 3 August. His letter was greeted by a ‘deafening silence’ from Graves, Ali-Shah, Cassell, Penguin and Doubleday (the latter had published an American version).
It seemed as if at last Bowen had put the final nail in the coffin of one of the greatest literary hoaxes of all time. Just to make sure, the following year Bowen published ‘Translation or Travesty’,a small book that contained an expanded expose of the entire story. To make doubly sure, he repeated a similar account in Iran:Journal of Persian Studies
Idries Shah spent twenty-five years writing books about pseudo-Sufism and
peddling the subject to anyone who would listen. True Sufis studiously
ignored him, but in the late 1960s and 1970s there was a willing audience of
gullible Westerners thirsty for any secrets of Eastern mysticism
Idries Shah went on to publicise the argument that Gurdjieff got his material from Sufi sources. Garrard's book has some hilarious material on that.
It was also through 'Honest Idries' that the enneagram was popularized.
The Gurdjieff people will tell you that G never but never used the Egram
for personality typing.
It is also worth noting that the creators of the personality type Egram never took the trouble to have it tested by psychometric researchers to determine its validity. It is also very upsetting that while Jesus and Buddha never used the enneagram, nor did Mohammed, far too many Catholic clergy and monastics got
onto the Egram bandwagon.
One of them, a former Jesuit who still believed and does believe in the enneagram, told me "Back then, we were interested in anything that was outside of Roman Catholicism."
Idries Shah commercialized and distorted Sufism the way Carlos Castaneda commercialized and distorted Native American teachings.
That is some heavy shit, folks.
When dewy eyed people say, "But this is still useful" "But their intentions were good". I tell them, "Why drink water from a dirty source when, with some effort, we can find clean water elsewhere - or prepare it ourselves?"
As for good intentions, hell is paved with good intentions.
There are some books that give objective overviews of the history of the Fourth Way movements.
A user friendly overview:
*Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America.
Despite the title, Moore's book includes events in Europe as much as in America. Parents who have seen fit to research and critique the Waldorf schools have found Blavatsky's Baboon
invaluable. (Waldorf schools are front for Rudolf Steiner's oh, so secretive and oh, so wealthy Anthroposophy sect).
* Call No Man Master
by Joyce Colin-Smith. She believed in magic, so her descriptions of Ouspensky, Bennett, Rodney Collin, Maharishi and James Webb
are written from the standpoint of both disciple and friend. She left Maharishi with a severe depression that lasted years and took her close to suicide. She found the Subud ritual (led by Pak Subud himself) very unsettling, and she reported that she suffered from erotomania, as did many of the mature men and women who also participated in the latihan -- a sinister
thing. When Colin-Smith took Pak Subud's wife shopping, she was horrified when the lady grabbed things without paying for them - because she felt entitled to do so!
Most important source:The Harmonious Circle
by James Webb (1980). Webb was a gifted scholar and specialized in tracing the histories of European esoteric societies and sects. Webb also had access to records kept by the British government where he found records that British authorities had identified Gurdjieff as being a spy in India for the Imperial Russian government - and detained him.
With tireless patience, Webb traced Gurdjieff's probable sources to written material published by earlier Western esoteric writers.
Gurdjieffians detest Webb's book but will never say so. Some like to hint in a feline manner that Webb deservedly went insane. The sad truth is that Webb suffered from a bipolar affective disorder, a medical condition that is tied to mood swings and disruption in the sleep wake cycle. Even today it is difficult for sufferers to obtain a diagnosis - something far more difficult back in the 1970s. Webb's death is a medical tragedy, not punishment for betraying secrets created by an egotistical émigré Russian who craved attention for himself.* A Book of Verse t: The Biography of Omar Khayyam's Rubiayat.
Gives the full story of Idries Shah and Omar Shah's callous exploitation of an old man.
Note: Jan Fishan Khan, ancestor of Idries and Omar Shah, was a nobleman who supported Shuja, the British puppet-king of Afghanistan.
When the British were forced to flee Kabul in 1842, all afghans who had been supporters of Shuja had to flee as well.
In gratitude, the British gave the émigré loyalist an estate in northern India.
So Jan Fishan Khan served British interests in Afghanistan.
"I was always advised that it was dangerous, but what they fail to communicate is that if you're involvement brings you to a stage where you're being warned of it's potential, it's already too late. The method has set up residence in your psyche." "stillhere'
Examples of one Gurdjieffian group's application of what specialkitty has termed 'philosophical brutality''
This description applies to a G group that could be classified as in the lineage.
I'm wondering if someone in has had experience in the mansion at St. Elmo? In the late 70's and early 80's
I was connected with a group related to Lord Pentland in NY and also San Francisco. I realize now that the extreme self-focus of self observation exercises and self-remembering and sensation meditations completely messed up my mind.
When I think back on it, it was like Gurdjieff and "The Work" is a form of "Emporer's New Clothes" You are told you are nothing, and less than human unless you (do-whatever-energy-type-exercises-and-free-work-for-whatever-money-making-endeavor) do what they tell you you have choice to do (but you don't really have a choice if you want to go from nothing to something... because the only opportunity you get to have the knowledge that is passed from teacher to pupil by 'personal transmission' is them. In sales, I think this is called the "deadline" technique. (i.e. time is running out, it's the "last one") i.e. the "last chance you'll get)
Anyway, it was just this evening that the idea came to me that before I entered those groups I was completely successful and a good wage earner in society, extremely attracted to the intellectual elitism of the gurdjieff cult..
.. and now many years later I can look back to the time I got heavily involved at St. Elmo, was when all manner of life started deteriorating, beginning with my ability to concentrate, to relate well to other people who were not involved in Gurdjieff, my career took a dive, my personal life took a dive, I started gaining weight.
And now reading through the posts I realize that it also had to do with those weekly sessions where we all sat around in a circle and did sensation/awareness exercises. And who knows if we were not put in a hypnotic trance? What are you ex-Gurdjieff folks doing to recover?
My whole sense of self went from being a person of value and worth to always questioning, never being satisfied, more fearful. This was about 30 years of good going, then Gurdjieff, about 7 of heavy involvement and then another 30 where everything went downhill and it started with Gurdjieff.
This is the 85 St. Elmo Drive location (makes you feel like you are in the Freemasons to even mention it, like there's some curse if you 'reveal the secret')
The people in the group were womanizers, alcoholics, frail waif-like women and some very high income people in San Francisco society - authors with multiple books, professors, orchestra musicians, presidents of architectural firms...etc Anyway, if you went there and have had to work through all this mess.
All my life I'd never thought of myself as a cult survivor, but thought it was just a rabbit trail that I'd been led down in my naive years, lured in by the hope of being more/better/smarter/ part of an elite inner circle. But the truth is that it did real damage that I'm only now realizing as I try to gain back my personal integrity and self esteem and value and worth on this planet... not because I am a human doing or a good subject, but just because I was born.
Hope that makes sense to someone. I'm surely wanting help getting out of the jam that that stuff did to my mind.
Date: February 05, 2009 08:04AM
I have not lived like a vicitm, but more like a person with a disability that didn't know I'd been disabled or injurred by the process. Gurdjieff and "The Work" were such an idol. Frankly, I believe they are insane and are still practicing the same occult mind control through the lure of becoming a superior "MAN." They are the last people I'd want to contact to help get free of the effects of what they did. The site you reference is recognized, I think he's the one who played the oboe in one of the SF or Bay area symphonies, and haven't been down that far south in years. They're all probably still down in SF playing 'emporer's new clothes' themselves, hoping to approach an ideal by splitting from who they really are inside, self-watching-self, in order to attain something they think they can be...but don't really know what is..but it must be good. No thank you.
The St. Elmo people considered the Horn/Gans as "not true Gurdjieff" but I never knew why. It seems like the same insider/outsider routine just being run within "the work" in the same way it is referenced with those said not to be in the work. When I think about it, it is very sad that it was many a group of people with lost identites, but I think for the most part well meaning, artistic, idealistic, creative, unloving, harsh and self-hating. I'll check out the poem person, but would prefer to gather with people who have been through those groups AND has looked back and seen it for what it was.
Just finding this site is repairing some things, the acknowledgement that it is a damaging cult. I've no intention of retaining a permanent limp, even if it did take years to get to where the "aha" appeared. If they can mess with a man's mind for seven years, and it can be affected for 27 or 28, then it can be repaired. It's like the fracture is being repaired already.
Date: February 08, 2009 08:13AM
I may have visited sonoma groups. There was one in petaluma (or Santa Rosa) at an architecht's home (and farm) that we were invited up to for a "work" week or weekend a few times. Actually the people in that group seemed genuine and okay, but at this point I am not confident that my memory and emotions of any experiences have a clear view of what was going on. Anything from movements to exercises to meditations, they all could well have been as you say "hypnosis" and by suggestion been made to be differrent than what actually was going on.
The draw for me was the pure intellectual elitism, the idea that I would be (or was) part of an inner circule elite. The idea that if you didn't participate, you were food for the moon seemed nuts, but then again, did you really want to take that chance.
It caused a great deal of self-doubt and confusion. It never seemed like the typical cult with an intentional desire to control its members, but it had the aspect of manipulating you in a way that it's 'logic' caused you to self-select to follow and not want to question some things. I go back and see that many of the other men involved in these groups would prey on young women some half their age, and if you look at the string of sexual relationships that some of the 'experienced' and long term groups had with 'neophyte' ladies. Free labor for projects as "exercises in self-remembering" abounded. Anyway, understanding that this was truly a cult has been incredibly liberating. I agree with you fully about the elitism and narcissism.
http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?6,27083,65424#msg-65424Date: February 08, 2009 07:06PM
Someone emailed me privately, and I wanted to respond and add my input on the subject of becoming depressed.
The person said they'd participated in Gurdjieff groups and as a result had become extremely depressed.
My experience was that my whole way of thinking was diminished and disoriented and I can mark that time of life from being well balanced before to later becoming extremely self- focused. I'd also read earlier on this thread someone asking about the attraction of the dances (aka "movements") and so wanted to respond to that, too...
I think (what's wrong with Gurdjieff) is that gets you so focused on yourself and so feeling that you are less than and so isolated and later into self-loathing and self-hating. that's why I believe it leads to depression. I'm just beginning to get perspective that I was never inwardly focused and self-hating in all the years before G groups. But that that quality characterized my life for many years afterwards, and that it is truly not who we are. I actually believe it is sinister, designed to disable human beings from being happy, joyful and engaged participants in life and love. Certainly I'm getting out of that pit, but it is a lot of years to suddenly later figure it out.
It's so dangerous because it looks so voluntary and harmless. You don't see how it will change the lens through which you see life and yourself until many years later. So it is robbing people of their lives and souls. Nice to see and get angry at it as a passage to moving on and then really thriving.
One of the things that's helping me is to take a look at what I saw in it/them. What attracted me to certain people or groups. What did I do for free for them that I would never have given freely in any business or friendship transaction, and how I got led there.
I did a lot of things in the name of "learning about self" or "self-remembering" It truly is like they convinced you that something not-there was essential for you to know so you did not lose out in the end, and then they got you hunting and searching for it, and never finding it, but becoming all the more urgently seeking it... and so you started to de-value things that most people need to have value for in order to lead a happy and productive life... while increasingly putting value on the internal, self-examination, mysterious, wondering about producing the right energy to become something more... (i.e. a 'hydrogen' wild goose chase... where there is no goose).
It seems to be the same thing with the 'ascended masters' in things like the Alice Bailey, Lucis (aka Lucifer) trust, except there I think there are intentional occultic influences designed to capture people's way of thinking for a purpose that is being manipulated -- in other words they say they are "channeling" ascended masters who are always thought of as benevolent. But the truth is if you open your mind and consciousness up to hypnotic or trance influence, why assume it is benevolent... oh yes, it is what someone else said about 'snapping'.. meaning that the exercises and technique produce a biological response of serotonin rise (i.e. feel good neurotransmitters). Where you can't exactly see the connection with Gurdjieff with direct manipulation, it shares that same 'feeling good' and 'feeling mystical' but there is no obvious individual agent of manipulation.
I didn't feel that sense of a controlling nasty leader with the exception of some visiting people at work weeks and the "STOP" exercise and perhaps in the movements. But for those who were wondering about movements, it wasn't the 'dance' but it was the context that you were told/taught about the dance, that it would produce some magical energy in you to make you more aware of yourself, able to transcend, able to become "more"..combined with the physiological and biochemical effects of moving in synchronization with others and having your body-knowledge take over in order to perform them. I think there are some examples on You-tube.
In order to do them you kind of go into what from the outside looks like a meditative trance-like state.... but basically you are disengaging intellectualy from what your body is doing.
Anyway, I think depression results from it because of the extreme self-focus and also because you are making an idol of the people and the activities and the "work" itself and going to it for needs to be met that really never are personally realized, and then there is the constant drumming drone of the mindset that tells you that you are less than sufficient. That's enough to make anyone depressed until they decide that they've agreed with lies, and it's time to accept oneself. And then I think there's a period of practicing the truth, and the emotions (serotonin levels) of being a normal happy person, will follow.
In response to MalcolmSingh 'stillhere' wrote:
I've read your posts and agree with you completely.
Yes, I was there too...yes, when you were there and yes, I've suffered years of deplorable self-loathing, depression and aimlessness. You can dress it up in Gurd language and say I'm 'stuck between two stools', but the irony of using Work language to express the experience is that it misses the actual experience, which in very ordinary terms is that you're a damaged individual.
After exposure to this method and the folks that direct it you've lost your footing in life. In many ways, that's the point. However, it comes to pass that without the teaching there is no longer a place to reside within yourself and so you knock about for years trying to understand what's the matter with you.
It's always YOU and not what was done to you.
In truth, I was always advised that it was dangerous, but what they fail to communicate is that if you're involvement brings you to a stage where you're being warned of it's potential, it's already too late. The method has set up residence in your psyche.
Reading your post filled me with sadness for the past and hope for the future.
I'm relieved that the SF group and St. Elmo in particular is being identified openly as a sickly, dysfunctional medley of so-called seekers. The label I love best is "esoteric Christianity". Hah! These 'seekers' would let you die in your hospital bed without a single visit after years of close association, betray your confidence to the highest bidder and regard you as little more than a psychotic piss-ant should you challenge to power elite.
Elite my ass, there were holes in the Foundation that needed to be filled with people and often they pulled from the bottom of the barrel because that's who was willing. I'll always remember one drunk in particular...
To anyone interested in estoeric anything and considering joining a group of any kind I'd say RUN.
Do the tough stuff yourself. Trust that life and the universe will slam you enough times to get the message across without the necessity for a power-mongering 'spiritual leader' to violate you.
What good is the GOOD if you've lost your individual power to act? And to whoever reads the misguided advice to Malcom to find a therapist from the ranks of the Work!?!?, it doesn't get much more idiotic than that. Believe me because I did. Things just get pushed to a yet deeper, more obsured level.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2016 10:05PM by corboy.