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Lockdown Read 5

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MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE MEN By G.I. Gurdjieff

From The Chaper ‘My Father’

…I consider it indespensible to describe a certain procedure established between these two men who had lived normally to old age, and who had taken upon themselves the obligation of preparing me, an unconscious boy, for responsible life an deserve now, by their conscientious and impartial attitude towards me, to represent for my essence ‘two aspects of the divinit of my inner God’.

This procedure, as was evident when I later understood it, was an extremely original means for development of the mind and for sel-perfecting. They called it kastousilia, a term derived, it seems to me, from the ancient Assyrian, and which my father evidently took from some legend.

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This procedure was as follows:

One of them would unexpectedly ask the other a question, apparently quite out of place, and the other, without haste, would calmly and and seriously reply with logical plausibility. For instance, one evening when I was in the workshop, my future tutor entered unexpectedly and, as he walked in, asked my father: ‘Where is God just now?’

My father answered most seriously, ‘God is just now in Sari Kamish.’

Sari Kamish is a forest region on the former frontier between Russia and Turkey, where unusually tall pine-trees grow, renowned everywhere in Transcaucasia and Asia Minor.

Receiving this reply from my father, the dean asked, ‘What is God doing there?’

My father answered that God was making double ladders there and on the tops of them he was fastening happiness, so that individual people and the whole nations might ascend and descend.

These questions and answers were carried on in a serious and quiet tone - as though one of them were asking the price of potatoes today and the other replying that the potatoe crop was very poor this year. Only later did I understand what rich thoughts were concealed beneath questions and answers.

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…My father¬† had a very simple , clear and quite definite view on the aim of human life. He told me many times in my youth that the fundamental striving of every man should be to create for himself an inner freedom towards life and to prepare himself for a happy old age. He considered that the indispensability and imperative necessity of this aim of life was so obvious that it ought to be understandable to everyone without any wiseacring. But a man could attain this aim only if, from childhood up to the age of eighteen, he had acquired data for the unwavering fulfilment of the following four recommendations:

First -¬† To love one’s parents
Second - To remain chaste
Third - To be outwardly courteous to all without distinction, whether they be rich or poor, friends or enemies, power-possessors or slaves, and to whatever religion they may belong, but inwardly to remain free and never to put much trust in anyone or anything.
Fourth - To love work for work’s sake and not for the gain.

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My father, who loved me particularly as his first-born, had a great influence on me. My personal relationship to him was not as towards a father, but as towards an elder brother; by his constant conversations with me and his extraordinary stories, greatly assisted the arising in me of poetic images and high ideals.

https://www.jgbennett.org/

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