THINGS THAT, IN THEIR PURE FORM, CAN ONLY BE PASSED ON TO “INITIATES.”
“When I wrote to Paquet in September, I addressed his concerns about Gurdjieff's style of writing: Your concerns about style and words nourished all the resistance that I possibly could have to the chapter "Arch Absurd” which had been a hard nut to crack all week. Again — yes, again — slowly and through suffering I came to realize that nothing can be changed. What appear as stupid jokes, bizarre syntax, and ‘solanka’ words are simply coatings for things that, in their pure form, can only be passed on to “initiates.” Otherwise they need many incrustations in order not to “throw pearls before swine.” It's just because G. wants to reach the “normal” human that he intentionally makes the book difficult for “intellectuals.” The material is not meant to be absorbed in a lopsided manner but instead with instinct and heart and mind all at the same time. It has to become second nature.”
~ Louise Goepfert March “The Gurdjieff Years”
HE WAS ABLE TO MOULD A GROUP OF VERY DIFFERENT PEOPLE INTO A KIND OF FAMILY
“Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about Gurdjieff was how he was able to mould a group of very different people into a kind of family. When I consider the group of six — how unlike each other’s were our backgrounds, our training, our lives in general — and then think how much we came to love one another, I am amazed. We were not children whose characters and personalities were still being formed; we were adults, each of us already established in a career. Most of us had a profession — Ouspensky writing, Charkovsky the engineer building fine bridges, the doctor a successful man in his own sphere
“I myself had travelled to most of the European capitals, studied for my Doctor of Letters degree at the University, been married, and now, studying music at the Conservatoire, was being encouraged to take up a concert career.
“It was not surprising that, when we first met, our personalities often clashed, and we did not always agree in our points of view. I must say that the clashes sometimes brought out interesting aspects of ourselves. But the most important factor in our relationship was that we all drank from the source of Gurdjieff’s teaching.
“It was Gurdjieff who guided us in such a way that we learned from each other in discussions, and this became an important part of his method of teaching in later years, when he had many more followers and could not spend much time with them personally as he did with us.”
~ Anna Butkowsky "With Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg and Paris"
HERE WAS A TRUE BLACKSMITH
The following year the bathhouse was rebuilt. A full-size water container was put into the steam room and equipment installed to heat the steam up to any desired degree.
At one point it was necessary to make an iron ring to surround a pipe inserted in the roof. The ring had not to be flat, but slightly, bent in, in order to hug the roof tightly, which at that point was somewhat convex. The making of this ring demanded blacksmith work. And blacksmith work demands superlative skill.
In one of the outbuildings we had found a small portable furnace with an anvil and the necessary hammers and tongs. When we got the furnace heated and in working order, Mr Gurdjieff himself came. He took up the ring with the big tongs in one hand and, after heating it white-hot, he took it to the anvil and began to hit it with the hammer in his other hand.
And just then, I will never forget, suddenly in front of me stood a genuine blacksmith. From early childhood I used to visit the smithy on our estate to watch how Nikita, our blacksmith, did his work. This image of a genuine blacksmith was indelibly in my memory.
The legs of Mr Gurdjieff somehow became bent in the typical posture of blacksmiths in order to be at the right level with the anvil. The strokes of the hammer, the handling of the tongs — the way he replaced the chunk of cooling iron back inside the furnace — here was a true blacksmith.
In such instances Mr Gurdjieff would say, ‘I spent ten years doing that work.’ To that Dr Stjernvail would reply, ‘If we add up all these “ten years” when you were busy with cooking, tailoring, carpentry, blacksmithing and so forth, then you must be well over 100 years old!’ Whatever the truth was, Mr Gurdjieff always had this uncanny ability to assume the mask of a person whom he wished to portray.
~ Thomas de Hartmann "Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff"