Mar 21 2018

Gurdjieff: essence and personality; Jean Vaysse, inheriting essence vs. acquiring personality; personality murdering essence, the walking dead; Gurdjieff’s examples in ‘In Search of the Miraculous’; raspberry jam; experiment left unrepeated; question as to essence and reincarnation; where Strieber got the modified notion of essence; the oral tradition; essence and the ‘solar’ level

The evolution of doctrines in founders and disciples; Gurdjieff’s attitude toward surviving death; confusion surrounding essence vs. personality, the astral body, higher centers in Gurdjieffan practice; the end of Ouspensky’s life; Ouspensky as reader of Nietzsche; eternal recurrence of the same; thought experiment in service of Nietzschean affirmation; how one copes with the death of God, the infinite on all sides; Ouspensky declaring the Gurdjieff Work a failure; the tendency of doctrines to drift; the game of telephone; the efforts of followers to appropriate and invigorate doctrine; the incoherence of all doctrines over time; Gurdjieffan essence as practical psychology vs. mystical concept; factionalism, sectarianism in Gurdjieff work, all groups; jockeying for authority, declaring lines of succession; factionalism in psychoanalysis: Freud, the first generation, Anna Freud; inevitability of fragmentation in doctrinal groups

‘Miraculous’ as snapshot of a period; changing relationship between theory and practice; the possible success of Buddhism; complexity vs. intelligibility in transmitted ideas; the problem of language; freedom to reinvent the wheel; wanting to be the Master; the appeal of mastery as driving force for joining spiritual groups; doctrine as opaque externality applied over time to one’s own experience; a doctrine’s greatest power at the epicenter of personalities; recreating the founding gesture

Politics and in-fighting in ‘spiritual groups’, character defects; the path of spiritual aspiration becoming foreign; distinct spiritual aspiration vs. inchoate desire; spiritual groups becoming a group mind; fault and responsibility for failure; Quora website; Indians worshipping the father in all caps; what people want and why they want; presuming the value of a spiritual path; recurring patterns in desire; Lacanian psychoanalysis; the Lacanian approach: frustrating fantasy formation, doctrinal identification; the nature of desire as hallucination; the unconscious

Life reappraisal, changing perspectives; drinking and emotional development; always being more than one is; a change in perspective reflecting the present moment as much as past ‘facts’; the Self as always a partial view; replacing one partial view with another; the double vision of truth and accident; being trapped by one’s inferences; Goldman’s ‘no one knows anything’; extraterrestrials having their own partial view; the impossibility of comparing one life with another, with comparing one’s life to the might have been; life as experiment that can’t be repeated; the empty fruits of self-knowledge; expressing feelings in terms of facts

Recorded March 21 2018