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Hidden Meanings and Picture-form Language in the Writings of G. I. Gurdjieff

Posted by lahar9jhadav on July 20, 2007



From John Henderson’s website:

“One does not use a word processing program for creating images, drawing pictures, or for photo editing. Well, perhaps some may make the attempt; but, though they may try, it will yield poor results. Unfortunately, we students of Gurdjieff’s literature have made a similar error — we have been trying to make sense of Gurdjieff’s teachings for a long time, but we have been using our comprehension of his words in our attempts. But words, as Gurdjieff tells us, carry only the relative sense of anything (BT, p. 15, 25); accordingly, words carry only some small part of his message. We must learn, as he says, to use our “mentation of thought by form.”

As he tells us in Meetings With Remarkable Men, he was in his youth schooled in a style of writing called “the creation of images without words,” but we have not given sufficient attention to that subtle mention of his preferred writing style. Perhaps that can change.

With the generous help offered by three of Gurdjieff’s specially prepared “old pupils,” Mr’s. Nott, Orage, and Pinder, using the tools offered by those three fine gentlemen, and especially with an awareness of Frank Pinder’s description of Gurdjieff’s “Picture-form language,” we can now begin to explore Gurdjieff’s writings using the proper tools by which we will finally be able to ‘see’ and even begin to understand the meaning of Gurdjieff’s mysterious “images without words,” and the esoteric lessons which are, as he repeatedly cautions, “hidden behind the words.”

My book, Hidden Meanings in the Writings of G. I. Gurdjieff, subtitled “Excavations of the Buried Dog,” addressess the three salient questions of: “Whether” Gurdjieff employs hidden meaning in his writings; and, if so, “Why” would he wish (or need) to resort to such Dabbelish tricks; and finally, “How” did he do it?

With a view towards facilitating the efforts of those with a real interest in finding and deciphering such hidden thoughts in general, and with the particular aim of sharing widely the surprising solution to “…the hidden thought introduced by Mr. Beelzebub himself in his, so to say, “concluding chord,” (BT, p. 1139), an early draft of the first three chapters of my book will be made freely available to any and all who so wish, and may be further copied and freely distributed, so long as accuracy is maintained, without need of further permission by, or notification of, either the author or the publisher. And those three chapters can be found HERE.

For those special “idiots” wishing to continue beyond the first three chapters, and in order to make the book affordable to anyone with an appitite for consumming even more of the “hot peppers” and various other “stuff and nonsense” as may be found in the later chapters of my book, I have made arrangements with the publisher to offer the book at deeply discounted prices, relative to the standard channels more commonly known, and the book can therefore most economically be ordered directly from the publisher, which is AuthorHouse.com.

Happy reading, then, and may your efforts be productive not only in the usual sense, but even for you, personally. ”

A Few Comments on the Remaining Chapters

Penetrating the Outer Version:

Chapter Four is concerned with some of the Tools and Techniques of Gurdjieff’s written, and oral, style, a good grasp of which is necessary to understand his intent. Among other things this chapter deals with: the strange meaning of A-Khaldan (not-moon); a few of his personalized definitions, i. e., the Mullah’s unflattering definition of “learned beings”; as well as Gurdjieff’s ironic use of quotation marks to reverse the meaning of a term, as “sanitarians” (sanitarians-in-quotation-marks) refers to Gurdjieff’s family’s quite unsanitary farm-yard pigs; as well as his use of jokes in general – as a rule, to mark passages of special significance.

Chapter Five is the application of the tools discovered in the previous chapter, through which we explore and discover the true meaning of the Sphinx-like statue of the A-Khaldans.

As preparation for the Inner Version, Chapter Six deals with the prime issue, Why The Teaching is Hidden, and deals not only with the external threats to a teachings, but also, and even more problematic, with the threats arising within each of us as individuals.

The Inner Version:

Chapter Seven jumps headlong into the metaphors and allegory of the Inner Version. Here we attempt to bring to conscious awareness the various teachings cleverly deposited by Gurdjieff into our (what is called) subconscious ‘mind.’ This chapter covers some of the many paired-metaphors by which Gurdjieff inculcates such knowledge into our being, such as: sun & moon; dog & cat; father & son (the age model); husband & wife (gender model); as well as various paired-constructs such as: affirmation & negation; active & passive; the two lines of development; the two consciousnesses (words & picturing); Paradise & Hell, and we observe that these paired items represent the same thought, but in different form. Bringing such previously subconscious material to the attention of our conscious mind, we realize that we already have, as Gurdjieff promised, the material necessary for the making of a new world.

A Bridge to the Inner Version:

Chapter Eight provides the bridge needed to move to the final, Inner Version of Gurdjieff’s writings, and its name is “Tzvarnoharno.” Following the “trail of bread crumbs” carefully and cleverly laid out by Gurdjieff, we arrive at “Herald,” which provides a clear understanding of the import and impact of The Experimental Period, which is continued and expanded in Chapter Nine.

The “fallout” from the experimental Period is covered in Chapter Ten, “Ghosts and Superstitions of the Fourth Way,” in which we examine some of the half-understood practices of the Russian “Study groups,” and work at the Prieure itself. Some of these practices have taken the form and force of ‘Dogma,’ and, as Gurdjieff teaches, we cannot escape such encircling dogma until ‘The Circle Be Broken.’

The Inner Version:

As final preparation for the Third Version of Gurdjieff’s writings, in Chapter Eleven we examine the authorization by Gurdjieff of a few of his “old pupils,” Mr.’s Nott, Orage, and Pinder, specially prepared by him for the spreading of his ideas not only by verbal means, but even by means of literature, and we look for an answer to the obvious question — “What is that literature?” As intended by Gurdjieff, the in-plain-English material (hints and clues) found within that authorized, adjunct literature is the essential first step in digging up Gurdjieff’s carefully buried dog.

From the Author, the Addendum, and the After Word deal exclusively with the Third Version – which is to say, “The Third Series” of Gurdjieff’s writings, which Third Version and Third Series are, of course, one and the same. That ‘dog’ was deeply and cleverly buried, indeed


download first three chapters of Hidden Meanings and Picture-form Language in the Writings of G. I. Gurdjieff. (Excavations of the Buried Dog) by John Henderson.


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