Saturday, August 09, 2014

gurdjieff and hypnosis: a hermeneutic study

gurdjieffandhypnosis |  Gurdjieff ’s ontological universe is sacred and monotheistic. The mythological panorama in the First Series—where Beelzebub the “devil,” despite his youthful sins and archangelic powers still seeks, and is overjoyed by, his eventual pardon by our “COMMON FATHER OMNI-BEING ENDLESSNESS,” “MAKER CREATOR”—leaves no doubt that in Gurdjieff ’s universe only one god rules. Gurdjieff ’s “devil” is subordinate to God. But the “devil” of Gurdjieff is not what humans have portrayed him to be—at least no longer. It is true that Beelzebub, like other members of his “tribe” has hoofs and a tail, and regains (eventually upon his pardon) his horns; however, he is a passionate, kind, and benevolent angel, telling fairy tales to his grandson Hassein, and is deeply concerned about the affairs of his God’s universe and the fate of those poor creatures on that remote planet, the Earth.1 Perhaps it was out of “revolutionary” concerns, in fact, that he had rebelled in his youth against what he considered to be “illogical” in the government of the universe (B:52), and because of this had been banished with his “comrades” by His “All-lovingness and All-forgiveness … to one of the remote corners of the Universe, namely to the solar system ‘Ors’ whose inhabitants call it simply the ‘Solar System’” (B:52; capitals here and hereafter in quotes are in the original). But now, having earned pardon and reconciliation and already received them from God, Beelzebub is on a journey back to his home planet.

The most significant conclusion to draw from the cosmic picture painted by Gurdjieff in the First Series commonly titled Beelzebub’s Tales his Grandson is that the dualism of “good” and “evil” does not exist as an objective fact in his universe. This is a shock Gurdjieff imparts to his reader’s mind from the very outset. Evil does not objectively exist, and what evil may exist, it is a human construct. This dualism (as in the case of heaven and hell, as we shall see later) is simply a product of human mind and behavior, made up once by a certain learned human being whom, for the purpose of historical tangibility, Gurdjieff imaginatively calls “a certain Makary Kronbernkzoin” (B:1127). Although Kronbernkzoin’s “evil” human act of making up this dualism is later discovered and condemned in the planet Purgatory where his higher-being-body resides, his invention has already infected humans across generations as a belief system: 
“… after long and complicated researches, it became clear to them that the fundamental cause of the whole abnormality of the psyche of the threebrained beings arising on this planet was that a very definite notion arose and began to exist, that outside the essence of beings, as it were, there are two diametrically opposite factors—the sources of ‘Good’ and the sources of ‘Evil’—which are just the instigators for all their good and bad manifestations.

“It was then established by them that this universally disseminated maleficent idea, the data for which gradually became crystallized in each of them during their formation into preparatory age, already dominates their common psyche at their responsible existence and becomes on the one hand a tranquillizer and justifier of all their manifestations and on the other hand the fundamental impeding factor for the possibility which arises in certain of them for the self-perfecting of their higher being-parts.” (B:1125–26)
Gurdjieff ’s God, thus, represents all goodness. “Everything, without exception, all sound logic as well as historical data, reveal and affirm that God represents absolute goodness; He is all-loving and all-forgiving” (L:24: italics in the original). If there was a so-called “Devil” (i.e., Beelzebub)—with a power somewhat equal to God at one time—who in his youth rebelled against God “by way of pride” proper to any “young and still incompletely formed individual” (L:24), the act itself of relegating such a force to a “beloved son” was still an act of an absolutely all-powerful God. This interpretation can be derived from the following passage in the Third Series where Gurdjieff, in search of a technique for uninterrupted remembering of his higher self or “I,” arrives at the universal analogy of God and the Devil:
At the same time why should He, being as He is, send away from Himself one of His nearest, by Him animated, beloved sons, only for the “way of pride” proper to any young and still incomplete individual, and bestow upon him a force equal but opposite to His own? … I refer to the “Devil.” (L:24:italics in the original)
For Gurdjieff, therefore, the universe has one Creator and a unitary source of origin, while Beelzebub, or the so-called “Devil,” who is a beloved son of God and who in youth became rebellious but later repented and was forgiven, is not an objective source of evil in this world. The association, by humans, of their own evil acts to Beelzebub as an angel and “beloved son of God” is thereby not justified. The human evil is really of their own making. The question still remains, however: Why is there (human) evil in a universe created by a God of all-goodness?
1. According to J. Walter Driscoll, “Gurdjieff claimed that his ideas are rooted in tradition now lost or largely unavailable in modern societies. The figure of a pardoned Beelzebub provides a striking example of an authentic but little known mythopoetic tradition that Gurdjieff exploits. His Beelzebub is alien to conventional Judeo-Christian traditions where ‘fallen angels’ are condemned for eternity—never pardoned, let alone elevated to a quasi-redemptive status. A unique scriptual and mythological tradition that was familiar to Gurdjieff and which contains a clear echo of the pardoned fallen angel, can be found among the Yezidi (pronounced Ya-she-dees and sometimes spelled Yazidis), a unique Kurdish tribe” (2004a:6–8). As cited by Driscoll from The Encyclopedia of the Orient, “The Yezidi creed has elements from Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” (Ibid.:7; also found at Driscoll also draws on the work of Giuseppe Furlani (1940) to substantiate his observation that for Yezidis indeed Malek Ta’us, or Angel Peacock, corresponding to the Devil in Christianity and Islam, “is supreme among the angels, who, after his fall and repentance, has been re-installed by God in his original and pre-eminent position” (Driscoll, 2004a:6–8). Of significance for Gurdjieff was the strange ritual he observed among Yezidis when he was a child (M:65–66), when he saw a Yezidi child could not get out of a circle drawn around him. Echoing this theme, Driscoll cites the following from Philip Kreyenbroek (1995) in Yezidism: Its Background: “… oaths are administered by drawing a circle on the ground. The inside of the circle is declared to be ‘the property of Melek Tawus,’ an observance which is paralleled in Zoroastrianism” (161). For another authoritative study of the Yezidis see John S. Guest’s Survival Among the Kurds: A History of the Yezidis (1993).


Vic78 said...

Why does God have to be all good? If there is anything that falls short of goodness, it's because God put it there. We'd be better off abandoning ideas like perfection and omni benevolence. If God isn't perfect then one can say that God is putting the universe through a difficult growing period.

Maybe God is all good and left Earth to its own devices. Do you care for a dishrag you don't have a use for? There could have been an entity that gave us tools for advancement and told us to figure it out.

CNu said...

Vic, have you read anything by Gurdjieff or his prolific exponents, P.D. Ouspensky and Maurice Nicoll?

Vic78 said...

I've read very little Gurdjieff. I was just responding to piece in front of me.

CNu said...

I'm feeling expansive this afternoon. Here, read a little about Gurdjieff by a scholar drawn to the work,!/download/UngNX0Yh71G/PYAITxI2KJVQk9fk with substantial interpolations by one thoroughly and deeply in the work. Topically relevant only because of what's being done to the last significant bastion of Êzidism

in the world....,