The next question was from M.W., whom Gurdjieff described as his “opposite” (mon vis-à-vis). M.W. said that when he was a child he was very fearful. Now, for two months, he has been making efforts to remember himself, and he finds that he is also remembering the fears of childhood. This has weakened him, and he does not know how to struggle with it.
Gurdjieff: “Matters from your childhood have reawakened. I am happy for you. You have not been desalted since the time of your childhood. You have passed through many things in life, your French life, without having been spoiled by them. Exteriorly, you have been desalted, but interiorly, not yet. That is alright. From him, one can expect something, because he does not have many (bad) things in him; or rather, he has them, but they can be rapidly destroyed” (50).
Mme de Salzmann spoke for some time with Mr Gurdjieff, in Russian. When they finished, Gurdjieff excused himself, saying that now he could see M.W. for the first time. He had asked Mme de Salzmann a question, because he needed some more material, and she had had to reply in Russian because he does not understand French so well. Now he had that material, and he could see M.W.’s position. Did he still need advice? M.W. said that he did. The reply was masterly:
I am the only man (on earth) who can give you the objective advice (you need). I will explain to you in detail later. But the basis on which we must lay it all out is that God has commanded that we exist for our posterity. So, if for example, you have a son or a daughter, then you must refer all your interior aims to this child. Then, all your matters must serve not your pleasure, but your son or your daughter. For, from the moment you have a child, life for yourself is finished – from the moment you have a result, from the moment you have created this result, that is to say your son or daughter. You have a son? Then do all for your son.
When you act accordingly, then Our God can help you. It is an objective law. Nature also will help you. We will speak in more detail about that later. You must sacrifice all your egoistic concerns for the sake of your son’s future. Your son represents your God. Your God, your father, your grandfather: that is your son. You (may be) unaware, but that is how it is. Your son is a point. From this point, I can draw out all my instructions for your future life. This is a good ground, a good spring from which flows out all which can produce good in your future life. From your son there launch all the beginnings of your future.”
I therefore counsel you to take all measures, to make all the compromises you need, that your son may receive a good education. Make all the (necessary) plans so that he may develop himself well, even if it takes all your wealth. You will be doing the right thing by yourself. In comparison with your son, a woman does not exist. That is of a day. You can, if you wish, have a new woman each day. I give this only as an example. (But) a son, you have once in your life; just like your mother – once. A mother and a woman – they are quite different. If my mother is at stake, I will do anything, even murder. I have only one mother. Unrepeatable. But I can have a new woman each day, a new one to play pap-mama.” (51-52)
Gurdjieff speaks in Russian with Mme de Salzmann.
Perhaps you have not understood everything because of my French. Speak to Mme de Salzmann, who has understood me very well, and can explain my answer to your question. I have told you all. And I hope that if you ask her about what I have said, you will be satisfied by my response – not subjectively, but objectively. Subjectively, there is always opposition. In the subjective (world), there is always a devil. The subjective, the subconscious represents the devil. Conscious is the angel.
Many here do not understand what I have said. They do not have the same ground. I advise them not to busy themselves with what I have said. In the future they may understand the basis of this gentleman’s question, and why I have answered so.
M.W. “Mr Gurdjieff, in important situations I have a feeling an terrible interior emptiness.”
Gurdjieff (interrupting): You have no aim. I advise you to have an aim. I say to you – do not get angry – that today you are shit. But you bear within yourself the possibility of transforming shit into something else. Fix it like an aim: from shit into something (good). You understand me? In this way you can correct all your misunderstandings. It can be a huge (misunderstanding) but all from a small cause. It is the same with all disharmonies. One aspect of it is big, but another is small. All must be big, or all must be small. All of nothing. That is why I say “misunderstanding.” But it can be resolved through what I have indicated. For material, present yourself to Mme de Salzmann” (51-52)
This is quite significant. I know that in the New Work they are underplaying the importance of “aim,” and speak about “an interest.” I heard it from Jim Wyckoff, I heard it from his students, and I still hear it from people in Foundation groups. Whatever the value of an “interest,” to participate in the Gurdjieff work, we need an “aim,” and it must be a worthy aim. For more details, see any of Ouspensky’s major books, and consult George Adie: A Gurdjieff Pupil in Australia.