G. I. Gurdjieff
News at 27 October 2011
Sy’s GURDJIEFF UNVEILED: an overview and introduction to the teaching originally published by Lighthouse Editions in 2005 is now available for a free download from the Theosophical Society of America’s website.
Click on the title to download
Seymour B. Ginsburg
Friday, January 28 through Friday, March 11, 2011.
see details below:
The Theosophical Society in America is experimenting with introducing online courses/study groups based on new technology. This technology creates a virtual classroom in which all participants’ visages appear on your computer screen simultaneously. I have been asked to facilitate an online Gurdjieff Study Group using this technology, and I am inviting you to participate in this program.
I will be a co-host to facilitate this study group along with Ben Furman of the Theosophical Society staff. Jim Bosco, also of the staff, is administrating the program and its technical aspects. This does not require downloading any software. It is a matter of just logging on to a particular Adobe website set up as a classroom.
At the outset this will be a seven week course explaining the fundamental concepts in Gurdjieff’s teaching. It will take place for one hour each Friday at 11:00 am EST to 12:00 noon beginning Friday, January 28 through Friday, March 11, 2011. (Adjust your time depending on your time zone.) There will also be a preliminary session on Friday, January 21 from 10:45 am to 12:00 noon EST for the purpose of ironing out any technical difficulties.
During the seven weeks, I will be presenting the fundamentals of Gurdjieff’s teaching following the outline of the book, Gurdjieff Unveiled, and coloured by the teachings of Sri Madhava Ashish (nee Alexander Phipps 1920-1997) the man who told me to study Gurdjieff’s teaching when I first met him in 1978. You need not buy the book, Gurdjieff Unveiled, although it can be ordered from the Quest Bookshop at the Society’s headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois.
At the preliminary session on January 21, I will be presenting some information about Ashish as it connects with Gurdjieff. While the course largely involves my lecturing on the fundamental concepts, the technology permits participants to ask questions orally by “raising their hands” electronically or by texting a question, and I will try to address such questions.
In this sense the course is interactive. At the end of each class session, a psychological exercise will be given based upon Gurdieff’s teaching of the necessity for self-observation of states of identification which prevent us from standing in our true being. Self-observation takes place within the state of self-remembering that is at the core of Gurdjieff’s teaching, and how to do this will be explained.
It is expected that participants will work on this exercise during the week. At each following class session participants will have the opportunity to share the self-observations that they made during the preceding week, within the limits of available time.
You need not be a member of the Theosophical Society to participate. The requirements for participation in this course are:
1) You must have a computer that has both a camera and microphone within it. Most laptop computers produced in the past five years have this feature. If you don’t have that, you can purchase separate relatively inexpensive equipment that will attach to your computer.
2) Your commitment to participate in all seven class sessions. I would also like you to participate in the preliminary session on January 21.
3) Your earnestness about self-study. This is not a course in which people just “drop in” from time to time. Both Gurdjieff and Ashish have told us that no one can do this for anyone else. One’s work is always one’s own work. In Gurdjieff’s words:
“There is in our life a certain very great purpose and we must all serve this Great Common Purpose – in this lies the whole sense and predestination of our life.” Gurdjieff goes on to tell us that although everyone is equally a slave to this great purpose, the man or woman who has developed his own ‘I’ is conscious, and “he acquires the possibility, simultaneously with serving the all-universal Actualizing, of applying part of his manifestations according to the providence of Great Nature for the purpose of acquiring for himself ‘Imperishable Being’.”
This invitation is being sent to a broad spectrum of the Theosophical students, Gurdjieff students, and other students of esoteric philosophies who would fall into one of the following categories:
A) Those who for the most part do not have access to and/or do not participate in a Gurdjieff study group. Some of you who are familiar with Gurdjieff’s teaching will have already encountered the fundamental concepts, although I think that we all need to review these fundamental concepts from time to time.
B) Those who are unfamiliar with Gurdjieff’s teaching but who may be interested.. If so, you will begin to hear new ideas and then I wish you not to miss them.
If you already participate in a Gurdjieff Study Group you would have no need to participate in this online study group.
If you would like to participate please send me an Email to that effect to firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will send you the necessary log-on information. If you have a friend whom you think would be interested, please pass this on. While in theory this technology system can accommodate a large number of participants, as a practical matter we would probably need to limit participation to about 20-25 participants at the outset. If there is sufficient interest after this seven week course, we will then attempt to arrange an ongoing series of weekly online meetings beginning in April which will constitute an ongoing Online Gurdjieff Study Group. As some of you know, the Gurdjieff teaching is “hands on”. It is not just a series of lectures, but requires ongoing self-observation within self-remembering by participants, and also requires lengthy periods of meditation in silence to stop turning thoughts. This is called Work on oneself in the Gurdjieff tradition.
I’ll look forward to your response.