HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. GURDJIEFF
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. GURDJIEFF
“Thursday, January 13 (the old Russian New Year): At lunch, Gurdjieff says, “We bad enough Christmas. Christmas child’s play. Today is real Christmas, my birthday.” Calling me close to him, he says, “Tonight I baby.” He drops his hands and head, his expression one of helplessness. In a special tone he says, “Let your children come here twelve o’clock midnight.”
“I speak to each child individually, “Tonight is Mr. Gurdjieff’s birthday. Do you wish to sleep sweetly as always, or be awakened in the middle of the night and go with us to him?” Each one chooses enthusiastically to be wakened. In the early evening Walter and I go to the reading, return home at eleven-thirty. All children wake easily and dress warmly.
“As we arrive at Mr. Gurdjieffs apartment, the first of many unusual toasts is just being proposed. Gurdjieff says, ‘After fifty years of superhuman effort, let us drink to the one who gave most help, and will give most help for the coming actualization of all my labors—the great Beelzebub.”
“It is so crowded, we can hardly move. After the meal Gurdjieff gestures slightly to a five-year-old girl. She jumps up and stands close to him. He offers her a seat by his side. When she is settled, he says to her, “Will be queen, my helper, of some country. Not Germany.”
“She looks pleased at the word “helper.” Mr. Gurdjieff looks deeply and strongly into her eyes. She feels the weight of his look and blinks while nodding.
“Earlier he had tested whether my children knew the German song, “Blödsinn, blödsinn, du mein Vergnügen. Stumpfsinn, Stumpfsinn, du meine Lust.” [Idiocy, idiocy, you are my pleasure. Stupidity, stupidity, you are my delight.] He tells them, “Must learn it. This important data. My children will rule world.”
“Then, just arrived by airplane from Germany, enters Kathryn Hulme, “Crocodile.” This name was given to her eight or nine years ago on account of her thick and many layered “skins.” She steps forward. “Mr. Gurdjieff, may I tell the children a story in honor of your birthday? ”
“She tells long-windedly and sentimentally of a “poor girl, no parents, four years old,” who came onto the airplane in Amsterdam, held her papers in one hand, money in the other, flew so high—eighteen thousand feet—to meet her new mother in New York. Crocodile repeats the story several times, each time in a voice choked with emotion, each time with more and more tears. “Poor girl, no parents, four years old.”
“It is impossible to stop her. “Poor girl, no parents, four years old.” Her tears run freely. Mr. Gurdjieff hands her a handkerchief. Someone else gives her a second one. finally even a big tablecloth is handed to her. All roar with laughter. The children are especially happy about this theater.
“Mr. Gurdjieff then gives a most important teaching to children. “To this story, children, and most stories, must behave outwardly polite, thank even, say “thanks, so-and-so”— but inwardly, not be touched, forget quickly. Now you saw Crocodile tears. Ask mere, pere, people you trust, what crocodile tears are. Very important to know. Crocodile tears, in one or two years you will understand.”
“When the handkerchiefs do not stop Crocodile, Mr. Gurdjieff orders strong coffee, with much milk and sugar, to be brought to her. When she talks yet again of “poor girl, no parents, four years old,” Mr. Gurdjieff says, “If again say same thing, we all pay Crocodile money which she has to pay back later doubled.” Finally he scolds her for giving such stuff and nonsense to “my children.”
“More music. One of my daughters, listening especially well, is struggling with tears, Mr. Gurdjieff, pointing to her, says, “Mathematically exact.”
“All leave at three o’clock in the morning.”
~ Louise Goepfert March “The Gurdjieff Years”
“When I reached the doorway of Gurdjieff’s room with my tray of coffee and brandy, I hesitated, appalled at the violent sounds of furious screaming — Gurdjieff’s voice — from within. I knocked and, receiving no reply, entered. Gurdjieff was standing by his bed in a state of what seemed to me to be completely uncontrolled fury. He was raging at Orage, who stood impassively, and very pale, framed in one of the windows. I had to walk between them to sat the tray on the table. I did so, feeling flayed by the fury of Gurdjieff’s voice, and then retreated, attempting to make myself invisible. When I reached the door, I could not resist looking at both of them: Orage, a tall man, seemed withered and crumpled as he sagged in the window, and Gurdjieff, actually not very tall, looked immense – a complete embodiment of rage. Although the raging was in English I was unable to listen to the words—the flow of anger was too enormous. Suddenly, in the space of an instant, Gurdjieff’s voice stopped, his whole personality changed, he gave me a broad smile— looking incredibly peaceful and inwardly quiet—motioned me to leave, and then resumed his tirade with undiminished force. This happened so quickly that I do not believe that Mr. Orage even noticed the break in the rhythm.”
~ Fritz Peters “Boyhood With Gurdjieff”
PUSH ( + ) AND PULL ( – )
“Everything is the result of three forces; everywhere there is affirmation and negation, cathode and anode. Man, earth, everything is like a magnet. The difference is only in the quantity of emanations. Everywhere two forces are at work, one attracting, another repelling. As I said, man is also a magnet.
“The right hand pushes, the left hand pulls, or vice versa. Some things have many emanations, some less, but everything attracts or repels. Always there is push and pull, or pull and push. When you have your push and pull well-balanced with another, then you have love and right adjustment. Therefore results may be very different. If I push and he pulls correspondingly, or if the same thing is done not correspondingly, the result is different. Sometimes both he and I repulse. If there is a certain correspondence, the resulting influence is calming. If not, it is the reverse.
“One thing depends on another. For instance, I cannot be calm; I push and he pulls. Or I cannot be calm if I cannot alter the situation. But we can attempt some adjustment. There is a law that after a push there is a pause. We can use this pause if we can prolong it and not rush forward to the next push. If we can be quiet, then we can take advantage of the vibrations which follow a push.
“Everyone can stop for there is a law that everything moves only so long as momentum lasts. Then it stops. Either he or I can stop it. Everything happens in this way. A shock to the brain, and vibrations start. Vibrations go on by momentum, similar to rings on the surface of water if a stone is thrown in.
“If the impact is strong, a long time elapses before the movement subsides. The same happens with vibrations in the brain. If I don’t continue to give shocks, they stop, quiet down. One should learn to stop them.
“If I act consciously, the interaction will be conscious. If I act unconsciously, everything will be the result of what I am sending out.
“I affirm something; then he begins to deny it. I say this is black; he knows it is black but is inclined to argue and begins to assert that it is white. If I deliberately agree with him, he will turn around and affirm what he denied before. He cannot agree because every shock provokes in him the opposite. If he grows tired he may agree externally, but not internally. For example, I see you, I like your face. This new shock, stronger than the conversation, makes me agree externally. Sometimes you already believe but you continue to argue.
“It is very interesting to observe other people’s conversation, if one is oneself out of it. It is much more interesting than the cinema. Sometimes two people speak of the same thing: one affirms something, another does not understand, but argues, although he is of the same opinion.
“Everything is mechanical.”
~ George Gurdjieff “Views from the Real World”