Here are some extracts from Sunday work with Mr Adie, 5 March 1989. Earlier that morning, we had read from the chapter “America.” This is the morning address, and is a good example of how, especially in his last years, he would choose the day’s theme from All and Everything.
Mr. Adie: At that point in the discourse, the emphasis is words, the language. We need to remember that “In the beginning was the Word.” The amazing fact is the beginning, the Word which gives the form, and the form is followed by sequence, creation, movement.
And so why did Mr Gurdjieff choose these words? Why did he call this Chicago man “Bellybutton”? He could have called him anything. He didn’t accidentally pick on that word, there’s nothing accidental in that writing. Surely “Bellybutton” represents his centre of gravity. What is the belly? What is the centre of gravity of a pig? Surely the belly. But’s that’s much superior to Mr Bellybutton. His centre of gravity is off-centre.
Do you see what motivates him there? The money, the entertainment, the sly approach, you see. Just how amazingly he manages to give you the picture and not go any further. He departs again for New York. And this is how people live, really. What takes place in the mind?
Imagine the mind of Salvador Dali. He was a very fine moving centre man, he could draw magnificently, he had a marvellous technique, but the foulest, the foulest representations. Probably highly responsible for some of the many of the manifestations which are going on now. People manifest idiocy, look at the way the young behave, look at the way they dress, look at the way they contort themselves, how they chop their hair into odd shapes, stick things on their face. Where did they get the idea from? Some from hereditary, perhaps, but mainly from the conditions in which they find themselves.
But we cannot afford to pass over any pages of All and Everything without really trying to understand it, and I don’t think anybody had a firm intention to understand what was read today. Yet, there’s nothing wasted in the book not one word.
What speaks when you go up and ask for something? What speaks? A screw won’t go in, so you go to the kitchen and you ask for a little fat, just a little piece. What happens? What spreads over your face before you get it? “Oh, well, you’ve got to be decent to people after all.” Really? Well, you can’t charge in and just say “give me some fat.” It might be very better; it wouldn’t be so polite. It’s our relationship. Here you get absolute distortion in language and its application. And now what about us, our relationship, and our language?
Imagine the amount of time and thought Mr Gurdjieff must have put into all his writings, and particularly this writing. See how he burlesques these definitely controlling elements, in this case, in American society, but there are similar things everywhere. He chooses just some main features: in Russia, Vodka; in Britain, sport. Well, now we’ve passed our disease all over the world. In France, immorality. And the bored fishermen, and the bored Greeks. Such a lot we need to understand.
Such a different contrast, yesterday we had the last two readings of Hadji Asvatz Troov, full of deep feeling and vibrations. That concerned us yesterday, the quality of our feeling, our relationship. Here we’ve got the completely other aspect: awful abysmal, unseeing, un-understanding and, because blind, accepting anything. Mr Bellybutton was trying to be pleasant to this newcomer. He spent time he took him to first of all this, and then this, he didn’t plunge him into the worse thing to start with, he just took it gently to see what he wanted and then after going to three, he said “Well perhaps you want something a little bit stronger.” One must try and see how personality lives in different cases and how it applies. We read much of All and Everything as if it doesn’t apply to us, but you see how it applies.
Sometimes he told outrageous stories. Sometimes women were very offended about it. Only because they very well knew already the story. They pretended “How outrageous! Fancy, in this company!” But already they knew about it, they already knew well the story. So, it’s an encounter; what is going to take place in me at the end of the half an hour? What is firm in me? What do I wish there to be in me? Do I have such a wish? Can it mean something? Why wouldn’t it be there, if it’s my wish? I have to get down what’s taking place inside, what’s really taking place.
Mr Gurdjieff was always taking you in to what was taking place inside. Always inside. And of course, the only way inside another is through yourself. If I wish to have inner relationship, I have to first to have it here, and then maybe I can have it somewhere else. If it’s here, it can be practical.
In what language do I think? I never wonder what my thought language is, and unless we start wondering what our thought language, is we shan’t get anywhere, and we need to. There are many languages the words are the same, but the language is different. Words are absolute jewels, they’re incredible if one real word on that level comes to me, I can be transported if I understand it. It’s a fact – objective.
Valuation for words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” with the Creator, “and the Word was God.” The Word contained the Creation. Contained everything, was the Trinity. Trinity and the Unity.
I think in words, but they’re just a jumble, a mess, with all sorts of negative things. Think what a work the mind has to do, because feeling follows thought. But I’m in the clutch of a negative thing, and that’s not feeling. My force has become negative. Now I’m in the clutch of it, and my mind follows my thought, so there’s a complete reversal. If I’m normal my thought is there, and the feeling follows the thought. First of all there is the thought, the position, the connection with the body, then feeling can come the third force. Consciousness, action, movement.
Third force, feeling, gives the power of movement of action; without feeling there’s no action. So, what were my original thoughts? For so long, my thought has brought my feeling to nothing, and only negative emotion there. So, this is a negative impulse making my mind work. “That person is greedy, he’s done me this wrong, why doesn’t he do it?” Why does he do that? This is a negative process taking place from a centre not there, (pointing) there, near, that’s where all the poison is.
Try and understand something of that and then when you work, when you get together what is taking place? What are the words of my thought? In what word or words am I thinking? And then again, what is thought? It’s not the weary sort of “one and one is two,” and “two and one is twenty-five,” of my ordinary thought. It’s something other, and the thought changes.
The picture, the reading was just a travesty, it gave you the picture of automatic life on this American continent, with one or two highlights lit up in that situation. But everybody could follow that reading. Although it was fantastic, everybody was able to follow it. Why?
Beelzebub was quite lost he was bewildered and toddled off to battle to America, but we can follow. Why? Because we are like one of these shocked ladies. All of you: shocked ladies. A picture of morality. Try and think again, try and find the positive impulse, come back to something positive. I want to remember the body, I want to remember my mind, I want to be able to choose. For that I need my feeling, and now I want to be related, I am related, but I want to have some connection there. Everybody …