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"Mr. de Salzmann and I became good friends. He was a very original creature with big eyes and wonderful expressions. If he didn't believe someone, he would pull the skin below one eye down with his forefinger as if to say, "You tell me, hah?"

One day he told me why he never smiled. He said that once Mr. Gurdjieff had picked him up and put him above the world where he could see everything as it really is. Then he fell back down to crawl in the earth's dust again. From then on, he was unable to laugh. He yearned for that larger view until the end of his days."

~ Louise Goepfert March “The Gurdjieff Years”



“After a moment, Gurdjieff added in a subdued voice, as if talking to himself, ‘One must know. One has to get off the soft divan and climb that mountain one has seen outside. But not everyone even sees the mountain . . . [then there] are the men who sit there on the divan, trying to teach others without themselves seeing the summit, the sacred heights, and then no one makes any progress. Yes! And how will you progress? Only by paying attention in every way to the most important thing, the one thing you have made an idol of. You have chosen it, and it satisfies you . . . whether it is studying the piano, the book you are writing, or love of your wife. To embrace all the subjects that interest you is impossible. All the time other things are pressing in on you from outside, and some of them are like a poison: they eat up your time, your body and soul . . . and at last one day there will be nothing left to eat up, and death is at hand’.”

~ Anna Butkowsky "With Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg and Paris"



“It should be understood that every esoteric school which exists in the midst of ordinary life for a certain length of time gives rise to a multitude of talk, rumors and tales, many curious people who either cannot or dare not enter the school themselves make use of all kinds of stray information about it in order to form some idea of the school. Moreover, every school inevitably leaves in its trail a series of people who have not finished learning, who have begun but have left through weakness of character and lack of perseverance. Such people serve as a rule as the source of information about schools. Thousands of the most incredible suppositions and tales usually exist about the methods of work, means of investigation, experiments and so on. Then, the people themselves who had been in contact with a school but had left, often begin after some time, to regret having left it, they feel remorseful and try to invent for themselves some means of continuing the same work as at school. But, quite naturally, they have no knowledge of the substance of this work and imitate only its outer form.”

~ George Gurdjieff “Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931”



Questioner: I lack an impulse for my work. I don't succeed in approaching my work in a satisfactory manner unless 1 feel a certain urge which can only come to me from a clear realization of my present situation and my present nothingness. I have understood that very clearly. And that made me understand that I ought to have remorse of conscience for this nothingness. But I can't go further than this statement. What can I do to have remorse of conscience?

Gurdjieff: That question carries with it seven aspects; not one, but seven. One I will tell: Every man when he comes into the world, comes here for certain reasons. There are causes; that is to say, outside forces have created him. These forces perhaps were not obliged to give you life. Are you glad to be alive? Is life worth something to you? Well then, if you are alive and glad of it, you should pay something in return. For example, I see your mother here. But for her, you would never have come into the world. It is to her that you owe your life. If you are glad to live, you must repay her. You are of age now, the time has come to settle your debts. One of the chief causes of your being alive is your mother. It is because of her that you have your pleasures and that you have possibilities of developing yourself. One of the reasons, one of the aspects of your coming into this world, is, then, your mother. And I ask you, have you begun to pay your debts to her?

Questioner: No.

Gurdjieff: There are still six other aspects. But I speak to you of one aspect. Begin, then, by this first aspect: your mother. Repay her. Even if she is objectively bad, she is your mother. And how can you pay her? You should unify her life. But instead of that, what do you do? You make her life more difficult. You unnerve her, you irritate her. Unconsciously, remorse of conscience could flow from that. Take the year that has just passed, remember: often you have been very bad. You are merde. You have not fulfilled your obligations. If you have understood this, remorse can begin in you. This is but one aspect. I could explain to you six others, but forget them. Before knowing them, begin by this one. For the past two years how many times have you been bad, very bad, to her? Remember this and try to repair the past with your future in the present. It is a very difficult thing. If you forget, if you do not do it, it is your fault and doubly your fault; first you are to blame for the past; and you are a second time to blame for not repairing it today.

~ George Gurdjieff “Paris/Wartime Meetings”

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