March 04, 2009

Gurdjieff work

Yesterday I finished reading The Inner Journey: Views From the Gurdjieff Work. Edited by Jacob Needleman. 2008. It is an anthology. Most of the artcile have been published in Parabola. The book starts with this saying - To the path makers and the pilgrims on the path. The book contains the DVD of the movie Meetings With Remarkable Men produced by Peter Brooks. The movie based on the book written by Gurdjiev himself. It is a story of the search through the Middle East and Central Asia for answers about the meaning of life. I have read the book in Russian and then later in English :) The movie was made on location in the forbidding, rarely photograped mountains and deserts of Afganistan. Finally I saw it!

The scene when they survided the sand storm in the desert by getting on stilts is very interesting. But the most impressive scene is the dance. I found it on you tube (see above). It made a strong impression, almost scared me.


Anonymous said...

Although the Afghan scenery, sound-track drawing on Gurdjieff's music and glimpes of the movements dances he choreographed were stunning, most every one of the more than 60 reviewers of this 1979 movie rightly panned its wooden script and stilted acting. This Parabola anthology is little more than unabashed hagiography from well seated admiring followers and quite innocent of critical thought or analysis. For that, turn to James Webb's independent 1980 study "The Harmonious Circle", or any of Professor Paul Beekman Taylor's five works, particularly his latest "Gurdjieff: a New Life" (2008), or James Moore's 1991 & 1999 biography "Gurdjieff: the anatomy of a myth." Although a lifelong follower, Moore maintains distance from his subject via robust skepticism and a critical attitude. Also, Gurdjieff's daughter, Dushka Howarth has a memoir forthcoming this year,"It's Up to Ourselves", which offers a critical insider's view.
Of course, the best place to start with Gurdjieff, is his own supremely challenging masterpiece, "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson" in the 1950 edition the author approved barely two weeks before his death. He recommends his posthumous metaphorical memoir, "Meetings with Remarkable Men" be read after three readings of "Beelzebub's Tales".

NT said...

Thank you, Walter!! Really appreciate the comment. I was in Gurdjieff's group in Russia some years back. But it was not "pure" Gurdjieff :)) but rather everything else and Gurdjieff. I still gravitate ))) Looking forward to Dushka's memoir. Thanks for telling me about it. What do you think of "Gurdjieff An Introduction to His Life and Ideas" by John Shirley (2000)? I have the book in my hands, but have not started reading it. Worth it?