J.B. Mr Gurdjieff, I am now and have for a long time been muddled, which is why I have hesitated to speak to you. But while I am waiting, nothing is becoming clearer. I would like you to give me some advice for my life as a whole, and for that I would like to ask you two or three things.
Gurdjieff: You mean you wish to speak with me one on one?
J.B. And with Mme de Salzmann if she is willing for I would like to speak for rather a while.
Gurdjieff: Then you owe Mme de Salzmann something. She will arrange the meeting. You owe a kilo of butter to Mme de Salzmann, and half a kilo to me. We can speak one on one. How the time goes! All that is good. I already had the idea beforehand to do something for you. Today it has worked out well. You can help me with what I want to do for you. (253)
(Mr Gurdjieff leaves)
J.E. (to Mme de Salzmann) Mr Gurdjieff told me earlier that I should do the exercise for the first week. What should I do then? Continue?
Mme de Salzmann: Afterwards, you can do more of it, three times a day instead of two.
(Mr Gurdjieff returns and Mme de Salzmann translates the question.)
Gurdjieff: For three weeks, do the exercise as I said. Take with you a lot of light books, not scientific ones, and I will give you some lollies. It will be necessary to maintain compatibility. For each meal you give up, I will give you, after it, a box of lollies, lollies from before the war! It is a good business deal, is it not? You will become wealthy. The more the better.
[I think there is an error. The sentence is: “Il faudra tenir la compatabilité.” I wonder if Gurdjieff did not say something like: “Il faudra tenir la complaisance,” meaning something like “You should also have some satisfaction.” This would fit in with Gurdjieff’s insistence on giving J.E. lollies.]
[Everyone is quiet.]
Ah! Silence, and so a police officer is born. It is very good, the police are presently on strike. We are working for the future.
Rene Zuber: Monsieur, in the preparatory work, I succeed in remembering myself, but in the effort I make for a better concentration, I go through the moment of greatest struggle, the moment of associations I have to break. And it comes to this, that at a moment the associations change character. Often they are tastes, recollections I do not have in ordinary life, very old things. I am tempted to stop myself. I do not know if it is masturbation, daydreaming, or if, on the contrary, there is something to learn from these unusual associations, these recollections, these tastes of my past life that I do not find in ordinary life. (254)
Gurdjieff: It is a good thing. This proves that you are beginning to enter into yourself. You have many associations. Starting from the very day of birth we start to gather all those associations which come back as associations, but to the degree that we become automatized, only certain series of them are available (il ne reste que). The rest cease to be visible, and remain inside. Today your work has yielded a small result: you have entered further into yourself. These series begin to appear, your own proper associations begin to reappear. You have been entering more into yourself over two months. This awakens your old associations. And so I advise you to enter more and more into yourself.
Rene Zuber: Should I break them or stop myself? I am very curious about them. Should I stop there?
Gurdjieff: Do not stop there. Constate and keep going. Now you have an exercise. Remain impartial before what is being done within you. With your “Me,” your “I,” call it what you will, it is going to be independent. Observe how it happens. That which observes becomes more independent. That can (exercise) control, the “Me,” or the “I,” the terms are equal.
Usually, your I is in one centre, or it may be in another, and it is always changing. (Yet) one (of them) will be more stable. Do you understand?
[This is important as establishing what had seemed clear enough, that Gurdjieff used the terms “I” (Je) and “Moi” (Me) interchangeably, but seems to have felt in question for that.]
Zuber: That is able to observe.
Gurdjieff: You can win two things: the results of your observation, and the growth of your “I.”
M.F. Monsieur, I have just been through a violent crisis, and the result has been a great change. I am much more able to distinguish my functions. I have had the rather profound sensation that there was in me, in front of my nature, something distinct. I am seeing more clearly, as if I were two. That has given me a taste so strong that I want to not ever lose it. (255)How can I reinforce it? The exercise of nourishment has given me a great deal in that respect.
Gurdjieff: Continue the exercise of nourishment, and come to my place at one o’clock on Saturday. Your sister, among others, is not here.
(Mr Gurdjieff jokes for an instant about replacing the Prosecutor, for which J.B. will serve the office. Gurdjieff urges J.E. to get paid by J.B. for the resumption of his charge, by buying some butter for his family.)
One should draw a profit from everything.