MARCH 20 — GEORGE GURDJIEFF QUOTES
THE HUMAN PSYCHE STRIPPED BARE AS ONLY THIS MASTER OF THE PSYCHE COULD STRIP IT
Later in our time with the master [Gurdjieff], the Brasserie Excelsior became a familiar testing ground, for us as well as for the many subsequent hopefuls, notables and nonentities, who came to Paris in those last golden years before World War II because the master was known to be there and teaching again. With more educated eyes, as our understanding stretched, we were to watch what Gurdjieff deliberately made for us to watch – pretensions and vanities sheared away from the pretentious and the self-proud, like wool off a sheep ... in short, the human psyche stripped bare as only this master of the psyche could strip it. And I was to witness those later strippings with a kind of holy retroactive wonder that we, the initial threesome in his ever-widening circle, had been let off so easily on our first visit to his "crayfish club."
~ Kathryn Hulme "Undiscovered Country"
GROW AND FORM A CENTER OF GRAVITY
Questioner: How can one acquire detachment?
Gurdjieff: One must have an ideal. Create an ideal for yourself. This will save you from automatic attachments. Think about this consciously and automatically this will grow and form a center of gravity.
Questioner: Is it not easier to detach oneself from material things than from feelings?
Gurdjieff: All have the same value. You attach yourself with one center or the other. You must look at this in this way, without philosophizing. You have neither an ideal or a serious aim. You are a mechanism. You must have contact with something, but you have contact with nothing. So that everything has contacts with you—you are a slave. You must accustom yourself to prepare yourself for work. One certain time of day must be consecrated to work; you do nothing else. You sacrifice this. And if you cannot work yet, you do nothing. You think about the work. You read something connected with the work. And you allow all the associations connected with the work to flow. It is not yet work. But you fix a time in which the future will be reserved for work. You prepare the ground. You consecrate this time to the work. You accept the idea that a certain time must be consecrated to the work. And if a task is given you, or if you make one for yourself, you will do it during the time you have already fixed for this. The place will be made. It is by doing that man understands. You will see the result which this will bring you. You say you work. You think so. But no one here works yet. All this is only child's play. It is a little better than titillation. In real work, the sweat runs from the brow, it even runs from the heels.
~ George Gurdjieff "Paris/Wartime Meetings"
WHEN I AM FULL, I CAN BE MORAL TO A CERTAIN EXTENT
“A strong shock is needed for the organ [of conscience] to become uncovered automatically. For instance, a man's mother dies. Instinctively conscience begins to speak in him. To love, to honor and to cherish one's mother is the duty of every man, but a man is seldom a good son. When his mother dies, a man remembers how he had behaved toward her, and begins to suffer from the gnawings of conscience. But man is a great swine; he very soon forgets, and again lives in the old way.
“He who has no conscience cannot be moral. I may know what I should not do, but, through weakness, I cannot refrain from doing it. For instance: I know — I was told by the doctor — that coffee is bad for me. But when I want some coffee I remember only about coffee. It is only when I don't want any coffee that I agree with the doctor and don't drink it. When I am full, I can be moral to a certain extent.”
~ George Gurdjieff "Views from the Real World"
AND THAT THE THREE HOUSES STOOD FOR THE THREE BODIES OF MAN
“He said that without a place where people could live and work together, his method could never give the best results. His description was a good example of the deep significance he could convey by means of an improvised symbolism. He said: "There will be a house at the top of the hill where I will rest from my labours, and to this only my nearest will come. Below will be a hall like Study House for movements, classes and lectures, and under that will be rooms where visitors will live. On each side of the hotel coming up from the outside street will be a path. This double path will be paved with mosaic. I will bring special architect to make this path, which will have many thousand stones of different colours." As he was saying this at lunch one day, a young English architect with a pointed beard, whom he had nicknamed Mefistofel, interrupted and said: "I can find you good mosaic artists here in Paris." Gurdjieff turned to him with majestic scorn saying: "Idiot! Such mosaic as I need no artist can make!" It was evident to all who were accustomed to his idiom that the mosaic represented his pupils from all countries and races and that the three houses stood for the three bodies of man.”
~ JG Bennett "Witness"