by John Dale
Dr. Buzzell’s works center, in a very focused way, on Gurdjieff’s Law of Three and Law of Seven. Using the enneagram and his own Cosmic Unfolding symbol as models of these laws, he produces really remarkable, detailed elucidations of the concepts and deeply buried “dogs” in Beelzebub’s Tales.
Also very much on the right track is his incorporation of relevant scientific discoveries into Gurdjieffian discourse. His analysis of the “higher hydrogens,” to mention one thing among many, begins to take that concept out of the fog of mystery and to give it a concrete, rational basis and meaning.
Dr. Buzzell’s books contain insights that I have found nowhere else – real steps forward that excite and encourage me. I feel myself in front of Great Knowledge and also, because of the rational and systematic basis of this knowledge, a great opportunity possibly eventually someday to be able to share it with others.
Let me also say that, in general, I think the kind of inner intellectual excitement to be found in these works is very important for people in our movement to feel.
Sure, we all want to “remember ourselves” and work on becoming deeper, freer individuals, but we also sometimes need to become deeper, freer individuals by “forgetting ourselves” and by engaging ourselves wholeheartedly in the needs of the collectivity (the cosmos or living system above us). We sometimes need to put our own lives and being consciously and squarely in front the larger, collective intellectual and spiritual challenges of the era in which we live.
This, in my opinion, is what Gurdjieff did. He put himself squarely in front of a very great challenge indeed: the future of Earth and the human race. Unless we do the same, we lose our way.
In these years that we are now living through, the fate of humanity and of the Earth is being determined for a long, long time to come. If, as in Beelzebub’s Tales, God were to ask each of us right now, directly, “What would you recommend for this situation?”, what in detail would each of us be able to say?
To be able to say something in answer to that question is my own personal aim, and it has driven me to ponder and look for those types of answers in a rather broad set of interconnected fields.
On a certain scale, at this time in history, humanity and its unity and sustainability is our God, and we need to devote ourselves body and soul to that God and to give back to it something equal to the value and life we have received from it. A Gurdjieff movement that fails to do this, that fails to augment a sense of social conscience and ecological responsibility within us will obviously eventually become a failed movement of interest only to academic historians.
We in the “Gurdjieff movement” have a very delicate balance to maintain between preserving a past containing very great insights and looking at those insights critically and putting them in front of and in the light of the best current thinking. I can’t speak for all the members of our Portland group, but keeping this balance alive is important to me personally as a motivating factor.
In addition, I feel that we in our Portland Gurdjieff group could use more of a sense of being on an intellectual “cutting edge” of a really remarkable system of thought with very deep insights and very great implications. Speaking of “the mind” in our group in a way that ignores its deeper and truly philosophical (wisdom-loving) levels does a disservice to Gurdjieff’s psychology and mission. Instead, we could start to understand and differentiate the various “centers” and their overlaps more precisely, as Gurdjieff did, and to stimulate and harness our mental enthusiasm in line with the striving to understand ever more about the laws of world creation and world maintenance — and, in particular, our own fragile world right now.
Our lives are short, our ignorance deep, and our learning needs to accelerate. We need systematic teamwork to do so. The challenge should be in a Gurdjieff group to see what topics we can each individually begin to research and then pool together and present to one another. Nothing hastens learning a topic better than having to explain it to others.
Lastly, let me suggest Dr. Buzzell’s Man: A Three-Brained Being as a follow-up to Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous. This book focuses on and explicates a basic Gurdjieffian concept and affirms its validity and implications in the light of current research. Dr. Buzzell also explains, using Gurdjieffian and systematic concepts, Gurdjieff’s notion of the “organ Kundabuffer” and how its effects operate within us. He quotes extensively directly from Beelzebub and Ouspensky. Man a Three-Brained Being could give us greater effective insight into our psychological predicament. We would begin to make greater sense of what we have already read in ISM and also begin to experience the ideas and style of Beelzebub’s Tales without needing to read the whole of Beelzebub from beginning to end.