Thursday 10 August 1944, Pt V (Final)

[In the printed book of English translations, the last questions, that is, those which follow the exchange with Dr Blano, come not from the French transcript but from the meeting of 10 April 1944. I give here only the translation of the French.]

Mme de Salzmann   Is it clear to you? You do not understand the other person. You imagine it.

M.D.   And if he hits me? I am not suggesting that to myself, all the same [or “things like that”?]

Gurdjieff   It is your fault. You suggested it to yourself, and you suggested it to him.

Dr A.   When I am with a sick person, and I try and see who it is, that he is nothing, that I do not depend on him, that he is shit, that I feel pity. You will say: whom I am myself that I allow myself to feel pity? But I try and play a role, that means to please him, because unfortunately it is the nature of medical practice to try and please the client – if I please him, well, I have the impression of confirming him in his nullity, and that, no, I cannot do it, I cannot do it.

Gurdjieff   In respect of this, we have often spoken of justice. On one side there is justice, and on the other there is egoism. The sick one is an object for my egoism. I have already had a million patients like that. I have regarded them as objects whom I have used for better understanding. They have interested me for the increase of my comprehension, they have given me elements for my knowledge. Whoever gives me knowledge is an object for me. I do care to cure him, but it is not he who interests me. I am still learning, I make experiments. At the same time I do not forget justice. I never do him harm. I care for him.

Consider it this way. You work for experience, for your future. You can even feel pity. But consider him as an object. You can do it if you take it as a task to regard it as a field of experiences. There are two sides: first, to learn from him; second, interiorly, to not identify while exteriorly playing a role. There is even a third side: that you promise yourself that in the future you will do better with the next person you see. You promise yourself to do better tomorrow than you did yesterday. If you do these three things well, you will arrive at quite a different feeling.

Mr Gurdjieff speaks in Russian with Mme de Salzmann.

Among other things, I see people who are here for the second time. It is useless for them to come on Thursday if they cannot come on Tuesday. Tuesday first. For those who come on Tuesday, Thursday may be helpful. For those who do not come on Tuesday, Thursdays are of no interest.

Dr Blano   Mr Gurdjieff, I believe that I would make real progress if I could stop being passive before everyone. Everyone is my master. I always give way. I have a thousand masters, all those whom I meet. How can I then be my own master? I would like to no longer be passive before myself and others, I would like to succeed in imposing my will on others, and in being active.

Gurdjieff   You must become yourself. Only after that will your work be possible.

Dr Blano   How can I stop having this attitude where systematically and in advance I accept everything that others want to impose on me? For example, I am incapable of saying “no.”

Gurdjieff   Excuse me, do not become angry, but for me there exist three sexes: masculine, feminine, and the intermediate sex. Excuse me, but from the beginning you have been on my list of the third sex, there are some five or six people with you. Neither man nor woman.

Dr Blano    Must I remain like that to the end of my days?

Gurdjieff   No.

Dr Blano   How to do that?

[From this point the English translation is quite different from the French, and I am sure the French is original, because it shows Gurdjieff in a strange light. In my book on the exercises, I noted that he seemed to have been much harder on men than on women. Here the exchange with a gay man is baffling, because, prima facie, it seems demeaning.]

Gurdjieff (laughs)   You have to take yourself off to specialists. There is a great specialist who has meetings at the Salle Pleyel, in a large studio. Many people go there. They have the whole collection of psychopaths. They give lectures, conferences. With a woman who is very famous, very good … What is her name?

Several reply “Genevieve Zaepffel”

Gurdjieff   That’s it. Well, there are two or three people like her. I am ging to give you the address of some people like her. They can help you.

[This is astonishing. “Geneviève Zaepffel organises weekly conferences (in one venue), but also big spiritualist masses, once a year, in the Salle Gaveau or the Salle Pleyel in front of sometimes more than 3,000 people:   She was a medium, who spread pro-Nazi propaganda in France. On 19 August 1944, Paris was liberated, on 22 August 1944 she was arrested.]

Dr Blano   What I want is not to impose my will like a sorcerer. It is to impose my will on myself, so that I see myself as I am, capable of responding yes or no.

Gurdjieff   I pity you. It is not your fault. It is that of your education; a shit education. Your society, your customs, “what does one say?” One gives only exterior things.

Mr Gurdjieff speaks of his anger when he gives a lolly to a child in the street, and the father or mother ask the child “What do you say?” and so oblige the little to one say thank you.

So it was with you. The result is extraordinary, neither man nor woman but (here Mr Gurdjieff uses a Russian word which it is impossible to translate but means “a whore in trousers.”) If you want to know what you have to do, come and see me. I will give you an address to go to. I do not have it on me. I will ask for it, and you can go to see this person.

[The English transcript makes it appear that Gurdjieff says he will help him. But in fact Gurdjieff is going to send him to someone else.]

End of meeting



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