Fourth Way Perspectives
Gurdjieff's Wartime Paris Meetings
On the morning of June 14, 1940, long columns of jackbooted German soldiers marched in goose-step precision down the Champs Elysées toward the Arc de Triomphe. Nine days later, at 6 a. m. on the morning of June 23rd, a large black Mercedes drove slowly along the same route, carrying a triumphant Adolf Hitler. At Napoleon's Tomb in the Invalides, the Mercedes was directed to stop. Here the Führer stared at the red porphyry sarcophagus of Europe's last great conqueror. Murmured Hitler, "This is the finest moment of my life." Soon, the Nazi flagthe red, black, and white swastikahung from the Eiffel Tower and every government building. Paris was an occupied city.
Initially, with the fall of Paris imminent, Gurdjieff's anxious and fearful students had induced him to leave. Four-fifths of Paris' 2.8 million citizens, despite Stuka divebombers strafing the roads, were streaming westward and southward in an attempt to elude the oncoming Panzer divisions. Gurdjieff left as well, but then turned back, returning to his apartment at 6 rue des Colonels-Renard. So began a new phase of his lifein Nazi-occupied Paris.
For some time, Jeanne de Salzmann had been meeting with a group at the home of orientalist Philippe Lavastine and his young wife Boussique at 54 rue du Four, on the Left Bank near the Hôtel Napoleon. The group was composed, among others, of Henri and Henriette Tracol, Marthe de Gaigneron, Pauline de Dampier, and Bernard Lemaître. That October, Mme de Salzmann presented her group to Gurdjieff and meetings began thereafter.
Soon, as the Gestapo took the city in hand, there were checkpoints, searches, and unexplained disappearances. To simply get to a meeting was a risk. Not only meetings but soon movements classes began to be held at the Salle Pleyel, on the rue du Fauberg St. Honoré, a short walk from Gurdjieff's apartment. Often there was no heat, as charcoal for stoves was unobtainable and, electricity being erratic, candles had to be used for light.
By January 1942 official food rations were reduced to 1,200 calories a day, half that needed to maintain health and strength. (It was then that Gurdjieff began speaking to shopkeepers of his Texas oil well and how at the war's end, when he again had access to its income, they would be handsomely rewarded.) On May 29, the German edict was posted demanding that all Jews wear the yellow Star of David. Gurdjieff arranged that his Gentile group members hide those Jewish members who could not escape. The war was going badly. Life in Paris worsened still more when in February 1943 young Frenchmen began to be conscripted for forced labor.
Amid all this, Gurdjieff's group grew to 40 or so, among them the writer Luc Dietrich, a friend of the poet and writer René Daumal who was in the Unoccupied Zone (which the Germans, breaking their agreement with the Vichy government, overran in November 1942), the psychiatrist Hubert Benoit, René Zuber, Pierre Schaeffer, Tchekhov Tchekhovitch, Louis Le Prudomme, and Miss Elizabeth Gordon, who had been among Gurdjieff's first students at the Prieuré. Miss Gordon, an Englishwoman, was interned by the Nazis in 1943 and died in Paris after her release.
On August 25, 1944, General Dietrich von Choltitz, rather than blow up Paris as Hitler commanded, surrendered the city to General Leclerc. Still, everyday living conditions remained severe. The newly instituted French police reactivated Dossier Gurdjieff and, securing a search warrant, visited his apartment looking for illicitly held foreign currency. Word reaching Gurdjieff beforehand, they found nothing but still hauled him in. The next day he was let go and meetings continued. With this as the prevailing context, the following are notes of the meetings.
December 7, 1941
Question: Something intolerable happens in my work. In spite of my efforts I cannot remember myself; to get a better quality. It's useless to set myself hours of work by the clock. I get no result. Why?
Gurdjieff: That comes from your egoism. Particularly big egoism in which you have lived till now. You are enclosed in it; you must get out of it. To get out, you must learn to work. Not only for yourself alone, but for others. You began with work on your parents. You must change your task. Take a new one, the same one on the neighbor, no matter who, all beings, or choose from the people amongst you. You must work for yourself through the aim of being able to help them. This alone will struggle against egoism. I see that you both have a very bad past, a particular egoism. All the old material comes to the fore. That is why you can do nothing. It is normal; according to order; according to law. Before attaining the aim, there are many ascents and descents. This should reassure you. I could reassure you completely, but you must work for yourself.
Question: To get out of this state of suffering, so vivid and so negative. (Two kinds of suffering, one objective, one subjective.) Can I make use of exterior means?
Gurdjieff: No, you must work on yourself. Destroy the egoism in which you have always lived. Try what I say. Change your task. It is necessary now to reach a new stage. Both of you are on the way to the Gare de Lyon, but you go by different routes, one by London and one by the Opéra. You are both at about the same distance.
Question: I see my powerlessness and my cowardice. I can say nothing and do nothing for another. Because my head is not clear. I have a sensation of whether a thing is right or not, but I cannot explain why clearly.
Gurdjieff: You cannot say anything or do anything for another. You do not know what you need for yourself, you cannot know what he needs. Work with purpose for him. But play your role. Be apart internally: See. Externally speak as he does, so as not to hurt him. You must acquire the force to do this. Play a role. Become double. For the present you work as overseer. Do what I tell you, you cannot do more. Love of your neighbor; that is the way. Bring to everyone that which you felt for your parents.
Question: From the beginning of the work, one has this desire.
Gurdjieff: Certainly, it is the same thing; always the same thing that returns in a different degree. Now another degree. You must overcome this crisis. Everything comes from false love of oneself, of the opinion one has of oneself, which is lies.
Question: Everything has been turned upside down in me by the exercisein all my work. It has taken away the joy of the work, has made it painful, without hope, I feel like a donkey pulling a very heavy cart up a hill.
Gurdjieff:It is because in you are other parts which are touched. It is like a painter who always mixes the same colors and there is never any red. When he puts red in, it changes everything. You must continue.
Question: This exercise has made me feel something which is new for me; when I try to do it and put my attention on this small motionless point and see that I cannot hold myself in front of it, I have a sensation of my nothingness and I seem to understand humility better. This small point is greater than I.
Gurdjieff: Because you have a dog in yourself which hinders you in everything. It is called insolence toward oneself. You must destroy this dog. Afterward you will feel master of this point, that you are stronger and it is nothing. I have no confidence in the artistic type which lives in the imagination, has ideas behind its head, not inside, thinks it feels and experiences, but in reality only is occupied with exterior things. It lives only on the surface, outside, not inside, not in itself. Artists know nothing of reality and imagine that they know. Do not trust yourself. Enter into yourself, all parts of yourself. Absolutely necessary to learn to feel and think at the same time in everything that you do, in everyday life. You are an empty person.
Question: How should one pray?
Gurdjieff: I will explain, but it is for later. In our solar system certain substances emanate from the sun and the planets, in the same way as those emanated by the earth, making contact at certain points in the solar system. And these points can reflect themselves in materialized images which are the inverted images of the All Highestthe Absolute.
Question: I want to know if by materializing the image of a saint, this will get me what I particularly desire.
Gurdjieff: You think like an ordinary person. You have not the means of materializing anything now. For the present take a task of auto-suggestion, so that one part convinces the other and repeats and repeats to it what you have decided. There is a series of seven exercises for the successive development of the seven centers. We cite the first, the brain, the one which counts in ordinary life. (The head is a luxury.) The other, the emotional also; but the only one which is necessary is the spinal cord. The one which you must first develop and strengthen.
Question: When I wish to make such efforts for work, a hard barrier forms in my chest, impossible to overcome. What should I do?
Gurdjieff: It is nothing. You are not in habit of using this centerit is a muscle which contractsjust muscular. Continue, continue.
Question: I have done this exercise till I had aching shoulders. While doing it, I had the sensation of "I". I felt myself apart, really "I".
Gurdjieff: You cannot have "I". "I" is very expensive thing. You are cheap. Do not philosophize, it does not interest me, and do not speak of "I". Do the exercise as service, as an obligation, not for results (like "I"). Results will come later. Today it is only service. Only that is real.
Question: I feel more within myself, but as if I were before a closed door.
Gurdjieff: It is not one door but many doors. You must open each door, learn to.
Question: I have worked especially on self-love.
Gurdjieff: Without self-love a man can do nothing. There are two qualities of self-love. One is a dirty thing. The other, an impulse, love of the real "I". Without this, it is impossible to move. An ancient Hindu saying"Happy is he who loves himself, for he can love me." I see from Mme de Salzmann's report that no one has understood me. One needs fire. Without fire, there will never be anything. This fire is suffering, voluntary suffering, without which it is impossible to create anything. One must prepare, must know what will make one suffer and when it is there, make use of it. Only you can prepare, only you know what makes you suffer, makes the fire which cooks, cements, crystallizes, does. Suffer by your defects, in your pride, in your egoism. Remind yourself of the aim. Without prepared suffering there is nothing, for by as much as one is conscious, there is no more suffering. No further process, nothing. That is why with your conscience you must prepare what is necessary. You owe to nature. The food you eat which nourishes your life. You must pay for these cosmic substances. You have a debt, an obligation, to repay by conscious work. Do not eat like an animal but render to nature for what she has given you, nature, your mother. Worka drop, a drop, a dropaccumulated during days, months, years, centuries, perhaps will give results.
Question: I've arrived at the point where I am very unhappy, everything is distasteful to me, of no interest.
Gurdjieff: And that handkerchief arranged like that in your pocket? That interests you. Well, nature wishes you well, I am glad. She brings you to real work by making all the rest distastefulit's a certain crossing you must make. The more you work, the more you will come out of this discomfort, this emptiness, this lack.
Question: Even work is distasteful to me.
Mme de Salzmann: Because you do not work. There is never any work with you, nothing ever between us when we are togetherit is empty. One person cannot carry everything alone. You must make the effort for yourself. Tonight it is the same. Nobody is therenobody makes the effort.
Gurdjieff: Then one must change the way of working. Instead of accumulating during one hour, one must try to keep constantly the organic sensation of the body. Sense one's body again, continually without interrupting one's ordinary occupationsto keep a little energy, to take the habit. I thought the exercises would allow you to keep the energy a long time, but I see it is not so. Wet a handkerchief, wring it out, put it on your skin. The contact will remind you. When it is dry, begin again. The key to everythingRemain apart. Our aim is to have constantly a sensation of oneself, of one's individuality. This sensation cannot be expressed intellectually, because it is organic. It is something which makes you independent, when you are with other people.
Thursday, March 11, 1943
Question: I am not able to stop associations while I work.
Gurdjieff: It is necessary to prepare before the exercise of trying to see with three parts.
Question: At the beginning when I was working, I felt in myself an emotion. Now I cannot find it any more. I have a constant sensation of dryness. Yesterday this warmer feeling came back, but much weaker.
Gurdjieff: It is the sign of a crisis. It is because you have arrived at mi. You must pass this interval by yourself and find in yourself the necessary strength. Your head, which is as though separated from you, must help you.
Gurdjieff: It must convince you. It must allow you to see yesterday and tomorrow.
Question: But my head is weak.
Gurdjieff: Yes, but without your head you also would be weak. It is necessary to use it in this way.
Question: A little while ago I started to read again, but I find in myself that which has always prevented me from working, a sort of avidity which leaves me at the end of a short time tired and having retained nothing. My time has been wasted.
Gurdjieff: It is because you only read with your head. Do an exercise. Read only a littlea page at a time. At first you must try to understand with your head, then to feel, then to experience. And then come back and think. Exercise yourself to read with your three centers. In each book there is material for enriching oneself. It doesn't matter what you read and it doesn't matter the quantity, but the quality of the way of reading.
Question: Following a shock, I have really seen what has been my lifeempty, sterile, useless. And I don't want to lose this vision, this feeling. Otherwise, I feel that I will fall again and again lose my life.
Gurdjieff: Cosmic phenomena for which you are not responsible go against your work. You can only give yourself your word that when life becomes quiet, you will set yourself to work.
Question:I feel that my intellectual center is different and that I do not find in myself any affirming force. What can I do?
Gurdjieff: There is there a little secret. It is that you are a big egoist. You only know yourself. You have no responsibility. It is because of that that you lack this affirmative force. For everything that you have, everything that constitutes you, you are under obligation, and you must repay for all this, so that then other things may be given to you. But instead of this, you are astonished not to have received even more.
Thursday, March 18, 1943
Question: I am not able to sense myself. What can I do to get a sensation of myself?
Gurdjieff: Only your head wishes to remember. Your effort is theoretical. You
must establish a contact between your head and your body. Place one leg in iced
water and leave it there, trying to establish this contact. Then do the same with the other leg.
Question: Since the time that you
advised me to be egoistical, I have done it. But I constate in myself a desire to live
only in this better partI would like to stay there always and ignore all the rest. I
feel a great laziness invading me in relation to external life, and the smallest thing is for me a great effort.
Gurdjieff: It is very good that this state appears in you. This proves that later
you will truly become someone responsible, like a man, and I love you in advance
for this. But now it is necessary to struggle without rest. You must maintain a constant
conflict between this state and your understanding. The more you wish to do nothing, the more you must make yourself
do. You must struggle unmercifully and it is a struggle which will produce in you the
necessary substance that you may, with my help, create in yourself a real "I".
Question: I see how I am always beaten by my functions. My habits form
an automatism which is in me like a block on which I can get no hold. On one side I
have my work, and on the other my life, in which nothing changes.
Gurdjieff: We have already often said that if one develops one side, the other will develop also. One must struggle.
Question: But rightly, I am not able to have a conflict in myself.
Gurdjieff: Because you do not do. In
order to take for oneself everything from this table, you have to go over the table.
Otherwise you will never be able to go further. You can continue
to live like this ten years, a thousand years. You will never change. Even God, if he wished it, would
not be able to help you. He would not have the right ... Only you yourself can struggle against your
laziness. There are two tendencies in you. But you, you sleep. It is necessary for you to get up and fight.
Question: Is this laziness born in me or acquired?
Gurdjieff: I think that it is a natural
tendency. The more your psyche wishes a certain thing, the more the body
refuses. Perhaps it has been placed there by nature, so that there should be a struggle.
Moreover, it is a good thing. These are conditions of work. If it did not exist,
it would be necessary to place something in you, in order to replace it. It is also a factor for remembering. Each time that
you feel it, you must think about your work. It is also a good thing that you see
your laziness, because many people are lazy, but they do not see it.
Question: I have known it for fifteen years, but I haven't made any headway against it.
Gurdjieff: What did you do then? You
were sorry about it. But in this way in a hundred years nothing will change. There
is no reason for it to changeonly if you set yourself to struggle conscientiously.
Question: I need help, because I am going through a very profound crisis and
I have even lost the taste of work. When I wish to work, I fall into a leaden sleep.
Gurdjieff: Something is preparing
itself in you, but you do not see it, and the work must be more and more painful for
you, since you have less and less contact with yourself. In spite of this, you must
continue to force yourself. You must take this step by yourself. Think that it is not
only for you that you work, and that perhaps (and it is absolutely true in a
proportion of 10%) the future fate of others depends on it, is tied to yours.
Question: I am asking for help
because I am no longer able to work. All these bad interior things are there again. I
have an intense desire to work, to remember myself, but I am unable to do it. My
body no longer obeys me. It is the body which is master.
Gurdjieff: I am very happy for you, because this state is objectively good.
Keep going. In a few days I will give you some help.
Thursday, April 29, 1943
Question: You have advised me to read, to collect information, but what to
begin with? Shouldn't I work on certain things before others?
Gurdjieff: What is important is to
gather the soul of things, the spirit and not the form. Forget the words, the
details; this is nothing; but keep in yourself the substance, what is behind. It is
this that you must accumulate in yourself. It is this which, depositing itself in
you, will create little by little a subjective understanding which will really be yours.
For example, in what you write, amongst all those words, all the useless, all
that which objectively has no value, perhaps there is one small flash of diamond
it is that which you have to search for, collect and accumulate in yourself.
Question: I do not know what is the
most important thing to do in myself, on what I must put my efforts.
Gurdjieff: Since you have been coming here, you always hear repeated that
you must acquire an "I". Actually, everything in you is in a state of change,
unstable, inconsistent. You are the carriage with many chance passengers. You
must acquire an unchangeable "I". This
is the most important thing, on which you must put all your efforts.
Question: Since I have known you, I have experienced many feelings. Now I
hate all these feelings. I would like to be able to experience one right feeling. If I
say this, it is because I feel myself that I am coming nearer to it.
Gurdjieff: Now I must entertain the
idea that you can be a comrade to me. Up till now, inwardly I was indifferent to you,
outwardly I considered you thus and thus,
but nothing inwardly. First, you must become my "comrade" and not "brother".
Question: A few days ago, when I
was remembering myself, so that I could make a decision which was important for
me, suddenly I had a feeling of the unreality of my life, and at the same time the
unreality of all my good moments; but have had and that, at the same time, they
all had something in common. In the same way I noticed that time
no longer existed in my memory, that things of childhood were the same as
things much more recent. (I experience the same feeling.)
Gurdjieff: You have grown inwardly, but what has developed is weak. It is necessary
to nourish it, either with interior or exterior material. But you have interior
material, material of information. According to whether this thing
which is formed in you is heavier or lighter, it comes out or enters into you. It
rises and falls according to its weight. Perhaps only he is my real pupil
who, at every moment when he says "I am" feels it resound in the same place in
himhe who feels himself to be the same at all these moments.
Question: I would like to know if
this thing which I feel in myself side by side with my work, this love that I would
like to see become the essence of my essence, which seems to me to come
from something other than my work and my efforts, must I push awaymust I not
believe in it, and hold strictly to the work that Mr. Gurdjieff has indicated?
Gurdjieff: Yes, you must do exactly what you have been told to do and nothing
else. You have not yet arrived at the place on the way when you can listen to those things.
All these are temptations on your way. Push them away and do your work strictly.
Question: I feel that I must introduce in my task, in my work, a person close to
me, but what adds to the difficulty is that I feel in this person weaknesses similar to
my own, and my weaknesses reinforce hers and her weaknesses reinforce mine.
I don't know how to defend myself against this and what attitude to take.
Gurdjieff: You must pay no attention to the exterior. This is exterior. You must
only know your task and do it interiorly. The other person, consciously or not,
plays her role, acts her character. You do
not know her, you do not know who she is, whether it is Moses, or some other person.
It is not important. What is important for you is your inner task.
Thursday, July 1, 1943
Question: I am very often deceived in my opinion of others. That is bad for me. I
give people credit for qualities they do not possess; and as for the people who do not
possess them, I see it only later when I know them better. I don't know how to
detect hypocrisy and I'm always seeing it too late. I would like to have a means of
judging people and recognizing who can be useful to me and who is useless.
Gurdjieff: You cannot, you must first
prepare yourself to see reality. While waiting, play a role exteriorly. Interiorly,
recognize your nonentityness. You don't know anything. If you have the habit of
doing things in a certain way, do them in this way. Say "Good morning" as you
always say good morning. But at the same time work to keep up with the work
we're doing here and then you'll be able to recognize people. At present, everyone
is like you: nothing, zero. Whether he be a workman, or a senator, he is merde like
you. Get to work at not being a nonentity; work, so that in a day, a month, or a year
you will not be a nonentity. Do everything exactly as you are accustomed to
doing. But you must play a role, without participating, without identifying yourself
interiorly; and remember what your value isnothing. Work, work, and
again work, in order to change that nothingness into something definite.
Education makes a mask. When you
see people, you believe in this mask. After a while the mask falls and you see
that they are the same merde as yourself. No matter whom you see, he represents a
mask. If you look at him longer, with impartiality and attention, you see that he
is not always able to keep his mask; at the same moment, the merde will show
through, it is the same which is in you. He is nothing, as you are nothing, even if
he is a colonel, senator or millionaire. It's only the combinations of life that are
there. His grandfather was like that, his father was like this, and he profits from it.
But he himself represents only nothingness.
Only he is not a nothing who has
understood his nothingness and has
worked on himself to change it. That man
is another quality of merde: with "roses".
It is still merde but it has not the same
Work, put everything toward it, and
be sure that all who do not work are nothings like you. You are nothing, but he is
also nothing. He is a general, a colonel, these are exterior things: they cost nothing.
In life, everything is accidental occupations, position, all obligations:
whether one is the mayor or the corner policeman. It is life which creates these
abnormalities. Interiorly, everything is always the same thing. Exterior things do
not change the interior things. Only conscious work is able to change the
interiorconscious labor and voluntary suffering.
Question: I have noticed for a long
time that very often, and concerning very different matters, an interior voice told me
what I had to do. I perceived it, I heard what it said, but without acting on what it told
me. I have acted otherwise and afterward I see the voice is always right. I would like to
know if I should pay no attention to it or on the contrary follow it more?
Gurdjieff: Do nothing about all that.
Buy a little notebook, make a record. Write down, but do nothing. That voice is
your instinct; sometimes instinct can appear through the consciousness, but it
is rare. Perhaps it will prove that you have true instinct. See if your records will
show that. Now perhaps we will find an exercise. But do nothing before.
Question: But to write it, I will have to do it actually.
Gurdjieff: Make a note, I will speak
afterward. Perhaps it's suggestibility, fantasy, idiocy. According to the result, I
shall say what it is mathematically. Sometimes instinct is a very independent
thing. But as for you, I don't know. I will speak afterward. Before that, continue as
you are doing, before you noticed anything.
Question: It would have been better lately if I had done what it told me.
Gurdjieff: We shall see. You think that, but perhaps it's the contrary. Perhaps
it's psychopathic. I do not wish to believe anything except the facts given by the
records. You speak subjectively. The objective I do not know.
Question: I try to maintain the feeling of nonentityness and voluntary
suffering as often as possible. But I notice it gives a paralysis as far as action
is concerned. It shows the futility of all action and busyness. If, before, I had to
make an effort to do a given thing, today I must also carry the iron collar of this nonentityness.
The effort is doubled. What shall I do so that this feeling of nullity
does not paralyze me, does not interfere with exterior life?
Gurdjieff: Do as I have already told
you. One must work only the third part of one's waking state. Make a special time
for the work. Don't mix things; fix a time: tomorrow between 10 and 11
o'clock, ordinary life. The other ideas, the work, and the restto the devil.
Question: One is no longer free to
drive away the feelings of one's nothingness.
Gurdjieff: Put aside your new state.
And do as you did before, when you hadn't begun to work. One must never
mix matters. Do not yet use the results of the interior work for exterior work. Not
yet. You are at school, like a child. It isn't
for life, not for earning money. You would know a great secret which you
should not use. That is one thing, life is
another thing. Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, you do what you like, send to the
devil all other thoughts; if you mix them, one will impede the other.
Question: The feeling of nullity,
uncalled, which comes by itself, is indeed automatic and therefore destructive.
Gurdjieff: In the time set aside for
the work, make a comment more lively.
The rest of the time, to the devil. It is psychopathy.
Gurdjieff to another person: I have
never heard the sound of your voice. I
know your voice in life, but not here in our circle. Can you say anything to me?
Question: I haven't worked enough
yet to ask a question.
Gurdjieff: How do you know that?
Question: Because I do not dare.
Gurdjieff: Then you do have a question.
Question: Not today.
Gurdjieff: Well, then yesterday.
(Mme de Salzmann tells Gurdjieff
what question this person has asked her.)
Gurdjieff: He who works becomes an actor, a real actor in life. To be an actor is
to play a role. Life is a theater where every man plays a role. Every day they change it.
Today one role, tomorrow another role. He only is a good actor who is able to
remember himself and consciously play his role, no matter what it may be.
Question: But how does one know the role one must play?
Gurdjieff: You speak with B.you
know who she is, how one must be with her, what she likes. Well then do it. Interiorly she is nothing for me, she is
merde for me. She likes people to kiss her hand; I do it because she likes that. I am kind to her.
Interiorly I want to insult her, but I don't do it. I play my role. So then she becomes
my slave. Interiorly I don't react.
Question: I don't succeed in being good to others.
Gurdjieff: Perhaps you are not yet free.
Question: I wish to profit from everything egotistically for myself.
Gurdjieff: You must work. Kill the dogs in you. You only play your role theoretically, but very quickly you forget and you return to your nothingness. Your task will be to remember longer.
Question: What good is it to have slaves?
Gurdjieff: For life; if you haven't any slaves, you are a slave of someone.
Question: Cannot everyone simply be equal?
Gurdjieff: Never. How is it possible?
You have four eyes and I two. Already there is a difference. Your father loved
your mother if he was lying to the left; my father loved my mother if he were
lying on the right. The result; I am one, you another. For me one law, for you
another. The well-being of man is that everyone be his slaves. You say that the
work has changed you. Thanks to the work you are no longer a merde; thanks
to conscious labors and voluntary suffering. Objectively you deserve it.
Question: At present our dogs oblige us to use others for our ends.
Gurdjieff: There you have good
ground for being-work. Today you are an ordinary man; in your work try to be a
superior man. Afterward perhaps you will be a complete man, a real man. At the moment when you feel your dogs, struggle
against them; this conflict is necessary for you, in order to become a real man; it's
good soil for the work. And there are still more dogs in you that are invisible.
Question: But shouldn't one give up using egotistically one's power over others?
Gurdjieff: Today you do it unconsciously; try to do it consciously. Then it
will be good, both for them and for you. There is no other justice.
1. William L. Shirer, the American radio correspondent,
and later author, was standing only a few yards away when Hitler's motorcade stopped at the
granite monument to the First World War. Hitler got out of the car and went up to the steps and read the
monument's proclamation which said, "Here on the eleventh of November 1918 succumbed the criminal
pride of the German empirevanquished by the free peoples which it tried to enslave." Shirer saw Hitler's
face "afire with scorn, anger, hate, revenge, triumph. He steps off the monument and contrives to make
even this gesture a masterpiece of contempt. ... He glances slowly round the clearing. ... Suddenly, as
though his face were not giving quite complete expression to his feelings, he throws his whole body
into harmony with his mood. He swiftly snaps his hands on his hips, arches his shoulders, plants his
feet wide apart. It is a magnificent gesture of defiance, of burning contempt for the place and all that it
has stood for in the 22 years since it witnessed the humbling of the German Empire." Three days later
Hitler had it blown up. Robert Wernick, Blitzkrieg (Time Inc. New York, 1976), p. 192.
2. The group had originated earlier with her husband
Alexandre before his death from tuberculosis
in the spring of 1934. René Daumal and his wife Vera and others had taken him as their teacher. After
his death, Mme de Salzmann had led the group.
Daumal immortalized Alexandre de Salzmann in his book Mount Analogue as Father Sogol.
3. James Moore, Gurdjieff: The Anatomy of a Myth (Element Books Ltd., London, 1991), p. 273.
4. Ibid., p. 278.
5. This is all that is known about her other than
the biased portrait Kathryn Hulme draws of her in Hulme's book Undiscovered Country. But the fact
is, while Hulme was drawn away from Gurdjieff by her companion Alice Rohrer, and Solita Solano by
Janet Flanner, Miss Gordon stayed on until the very end.