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Gurdjieff's Aims - the purpose of life and the destruction of suggestibility

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 KJV

In Gurdjieff's book "Life is Real, Only then, when ‘I AM’" (Penguin, Arkana, pages 26-27), he states that, up until a certain period of his exhaustive travels, the aim of his inner world had been concentrated only on "...one unconquerable desire to investigate from all sides, and to understand, the exact significance and purpose of the life of man..."


He goes on to say that every activity into which he had rushed, every failure or success, had been connected with this aim. Even his propensity during this period for always traveling and trying to place himself, wherever he could, in the midst of sharp energetic events, such as civil war, revolutions, etc., for more productive learning was, also, for the purpose of this aim.


However, as a result of witnessing all sorts of terrors flowing from the violent events which he had witnessed, and from accumulated impressions arising from conversations with various revolutionaries, there had crystallized in him, besides the previous aim, another also unconquerable aim, which was to "...discover, at all costs, some manner or means for destroying in people the predilection for suggestibility which causes them to fall easily under the influence of "mass hypnosis"..."


Gurdjieff's accomplishment for his first aim - to understand the exact significance and purpose of the life of man - is uniquely expressed in the body of his writings and practices, and has merged, to more or less of a degree, within the public consciousness of the modern world.


The accomplishment of his second aim - to discover the means for destroying in people the predilection for suggestibility - can only be evaluated against those who have earnestly sought to work with the outcomes of his first aim. And this, it seems, has yet to reach critical mass in the general populous to provide effectual amelioration against the catastrophic consequences of human suggestibility - highlighted so vividly through modern news media.

The predilection to suggestibility is the inability to consciously choose what "influences" to come under. And for this conscious choosing, the development of the power of attention, sustained and grounded by the energy of feeling through a connected body of sensation, is indispensable.

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