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Meetings with Remarkable Men Paperback – Import, 22 Apr 2010
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The rest of the sections are fantastic tales in themselves, and are very well told. This is why I give the book a four star rating. The writing style is much more accessible than the way that he wrote about Beelzebub's tales, and this is something that I like. I think that he made Beelzebub a bit too complex, that he made it complex for the sake of complexity.
I cannot say that I learned much from the book, barring the section on his father and teacher. But, the book is a joyous ride indeed. It is the story of a life fully lived.
But Gurdjieff seems to surpass even Voltaire in satir, not even needing to rise above man or go into the world of fantasy. He speaks of the contemporary phenomenons. I just wonder, of which time? It seems to be of the period about hundred years ago. So I also at once am ready with the opinion that it did not at all turn out that way.
Any way, Gurdjieff's thoughts are dew fresh. Full of (in)sane self-confidence.
Gurdjieff's wordings are finger-licking full of all kinds of peculiarities which emanate from his gospel, which he in turn with all powers keeps skin-close to familiar things and auctorities. This I mean when he speaks of the 'lawful cosmic consequences flowing to him constantly'. Lawful, that is personally obliging, and cosmic at the same time. That is: exactly what all religions tell.
A further example of his fresh linguistic inventions is his allegory of 'swing of thought'. That is: the complete methodology of modern science! No more, no less. The double-ended sledge-hammer of empiricism and rationalism, the two-way sawing of building rational hypotheses and testing them empirically to find out the 'truth'. The 'swing of thought', delicious, delicious! Did I become Gurdjian by one stroke.
Yet, there is another aspect in the gospel of Gurdjieff. His fabulous and limitless exaggeration. Another great writer pops up in my mind, the famous author of the tales of baron von Münchhausen, not actually at all the author, but the canon ball rider Münchhausen himself. And still another predecessor of Gurdjieff, the French master Jules Verne. Gurdjieff is like Verne a master of mixing real science with fantasy so that the reader gets completely confused, but that in a very pleasant way. I even suspect that Gurdjieff has literally and intentionally used Verne's approach.
The reader cannot but start questioning. Is it really possible to ride on the shoulders of an ostrich (Verne)? Is it really possible to somehow (if not directly by stilts) rise above the lethal layer of poisonous gas in the desert of Gobi (Gurdjieff). Reader's fantasy gets working, fresh ideas may emerge. That is how the progress of science takes place!