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With the Gascon brandy scorching one's throat, we followed his [Gurdjieff's] lead to the crayfish, peeling off the bright pink shells and eating the delicate meat of the crustacean from our fingers, then dipping bread into the devil's-brew sauce and eating that. On the second toast – "To the health of all superior idiots" – I began to memorize the sequence which, I presumed, described the progression (or the retrogression?) of the human state. The next toast was to the health of "all arch idiots" and our second glass was to last for three more toasts. I saw that keeping up with Gurdjieff was in itself an exercise in control, measuring and, above all, remembering, and became so excited with this small discovery that I inadvertently sucked some of the peppery sauce into my windpipe.

I began to choke and cough. Gurdjieff cried, "Bread ... take bread!" I thought he said "breath" and worsened my state by trying to inhale. Then tears of fury for the stupid paroxysm stung my eyes. He watched the display, nudged Solita to watch also – a phenomenon of physical strangulation and emotional constriction not to be missed. When it was over, he nodded toward me and said to my companions, "I could write her diary!"

I believed that he could. Under the gaze of that master of the human condition, I knew that I must be as transparent as glass. The realization shocked me but only for a moment; then I felt a flood of relief that there need be no more pretending ... at least, before this one man on earth who read me like a book. I watched my all-or-nothing nature hand myself, the composite of all my mutually antagonistic selves, over to him totally, in perfect trust. It felt like a deliverance.

~ Kathryn Hulme "Undiscovered Country"



Questioner: I should like to ask a question. I should like to know... I remember myself many times a day, but I believe that my remembering is not voluntary. It is only the result of an association which leads me to work. How can I make remembering that results from my wishing and not from my associations?

Gurdjieff: There exists a very good way. Is your father or your mother alive?

Questioner: Both of them.

Gurdjieff: Good, you can be happy. I will give you an exercise. Learn to do it. Later I shall explain to you the details. First of all, fix a contact with your father and your mother.

Questioner: When I am with them?

Gurdjieff: With or without them. You do it interior. For example, "I am." When they are there, you look at them. When they are not there, you represent them to yourself. You say to yourself: For each one of them, "I am thou, thou art I." You are the result of your parents. You are the same blood. Remember that. Later I will explain to you. While waiting, do this. Accustom yourself interior to be very quiet and to see sincerely and with affection your father, your mother. Objectively, they are more than God. God himself said: As long as your father and mother live, I do not exist for you.

Questioner: Why must one thus represent to oneself one's father and mother.

Gurdjieff: You owe your life to them. But that is another question, we shall see that later. It is a law. In the meantime, take it objectively. Your father and mother are more than God. If you pray to God, God himself can send you to the devil: "after their death you will come to me" (chez moi). It is an expression. I give you this exercise which consists of this contact in order to prepare you for another exercise. This will help you. It is difficult to remember yourself. You cannot do it theoretically, for it becomes automatic. Associations will not help you; in order to remember yourself, one must make an effort of will. You understand what I wish to say. Nothing can be born spontaneously. Your associations are not you, they are automatic. Afterward (when you have worked) your associations will always remain automatic, but your work will have a relation, not any more with your associations, with you.

~ George Gurdjieff "Paris/Wartime Meetings"



"It is very important for a man who works on himself to understand that change can take place in him only if he changes his attitude to the outside world. In general you don't know what must be loved and what must not be loved, because all that is relative. With you, one and the same thing is loved and not loved; but there are objective things which we must love or must not love. Therefore it is more productive and practical to forget about what you call good and bad and begin to act only when you have learned to choose for yourself.

"Now if you want to work on yourself, you must work out in yourself different kinds of attitudes. Except with big and more clear-cut things which are undeniably bad, you have to exercise yourselves in this way: if you like a rose, try to dislike it; if you dislike it, try to like it. It is best to begin with the world of plants; try from tomorrow to look at plants in a way you have not looked before. Every man is attracted toward certain plants, and not by others. Perhaps we have not noticed that till now. First you have to look, then put another in its place and then notice and try to understand why this attraction or aversion is there. I am sure that everyone feels something or senses something. It is a process which takes place in the subconscious, and the mind does not see it, but if you begin to look consciously, you will see many things, you will discover many Americas. Plants, like man, have relations between themselves, and relations exist also between plants and men, but they change from time to time. All living things are tied one to another. This includes everything that lives. All things depend on each other.

"Plants act on a man's moods and the mood of a man acts on the mood of a plant. As long as we live we shall make experiments. Even living flowers in a pot will live or die according to the mood."

~ George Gurdjieff "Views from the Real World"



"I told him about the paper to the Royal Society. His comment was: 'Mathematik is useless. You cannot learn laws of World Creation and World Existence by Mathematik. You must only look for Being. When you have Being, you will know all those things, without the need of Matematik'."

~ JG Bennett "Witness"