Thursday August 1944, Pt IV (An Important Note on the Exercises)

G.B.   If I work four hours each day, I keep with me the impression of work, and I find I am not conducting myself as before, I am not as I had been previously.

Gurdjieff   Play your role. Consciously. Interiorly do not identify, exteriorly play your role. This phrase which I repeat so often is the work. Interiorly you can be more than you are (now). But, like an artist, you play the role of what you were before.

G.B.   I would press P.’s question. There are several sorts of work: there are exercises which one does seated, there is remembering oneself in life, and the task. Is it necessary to fix a time for exercises, planned one or two hours beforehand?

Gurdjieff   You know your state. That which is best for you, do more. You know your weaknesses, which exercises succeed for you. After that, make your programme.

[Gurdjieff here allows a person a choice of the exercises which work best for him.]

(Mr Gurdjieff then jokes with N, then P., and leaves)

[I omit the next two pages, as Gurdjieff is not present]

Dr Aboulker speaks about how he depends on his patients for his income, and this affects his attitude towards them.

(At this moment Mr Gurdjieff returns to the room, and Mme de Salzmann translates for him the doctor’s question)

Gurdjieff   If you play your role, you will feel (that you are) free, and you will better fulfil your obligations, while interiorly you are more patient. For example, I am different with each person. You, Mme de Salzmann, the Prosecutor, are not the same people. (They have) three different characters (qualités). I am different with (each of) the three. Yet, at the same time, for myself, the three are all the same shit, the same rot. Their emanations are, for me, equally bad, stinking. Well, you must all regard objectively as nullities yourselves, your patients, and your clients. Do not depend upon one client to be earning money, you can earn money from others as well. Take money for your exterior life, (because) you cannot make it (by yourself) at home.

Interiorly, you are free: you are you. You have to be proud. He is not, perhaps, like you: there are thousands of patients like him, you alone are as you are. That will bring you freedom.

Dr Aboulker   That does not prevent me from depending on him in a certain respect.

Gurdjieff   No! If it is not him, it will be another. It is clear. If it is not him, there are yet a million others. You do not have to identify with him.

Dr Aboulker   Certainly, Monsieur, I understand. But if interiorly I am free of him, exteriorly I depend on him.

Gurdjieff   Excuse me. If you play your role, consciously, you are free. You are a doctor. Externally, you do what is necessary for him. Then, if you do not identify, interiorly you are free. And if you play your role consciously, you are free. These two things go together. Work at it (faites), begin again and work at it. How does one depend? I do not depend.

M.D.   But doesn’t the person opposite feel that he is not being given anything, doesn’t he search for what makes him feel something, won’t he feel that it is missing?

Gurdjieff   (laughs) That is for psychopathy. How can this nullity feel? If she wishes to it will be her automatism, she will be imagining it. It’s (made) from shit. It costs nothing. Such a person cannot feel! It needs a special state. I know someone who is able to feel (himself), but for this he must isolate himself, prepare himself. He needs these conditions. But (just) like that, one does not feel. Each man suggests to himself. You never understand neither him nor me. You understand (only) what you suggest to yourself. It is psychopathy. You say to yourself: he is this, he is that, he is annoyed. But no! It is your idiocy that suggests it to you.

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