When people ask me to recommend my favorite biography on G.I. Gurdjieff I instantly mention Fritz Peters‘ My Journey With A Mystic.
Although the title is a tad provactive and lacking (G. was much more than a ‘mystic’ — I’m not sure a fitting term has been compiled too encapsulate the man accurately), though the book is an honest to goodness journey. A wild, fun, heartfelt ride for certain. The book’s tenor is very human, the language simple and Peters’ recapitulation vivid and objective, alive. You won’t find a more engaging recounting.
In this section, G. describes the missed opportunities of poorly composed questions. Of which, in life, there are few genuine ones:
“You see what trouble I have with students? She ask stupid questions and I give stupid answers, but even though stupid, they honest.
But same is true even when someone—very rare—ask genuine question. When I give true answer, her unconscious already know answer is true because unless already know answer, unconscious cannot ask question. But, even so, she think I make joke, so will not listen.
In teaching is necessary to remember that no one really asks questions. Impossible to ask question about something you not already know, already have good idea. So I only give answers which she already know. Answer to such question everybody already know. Is usual, when person ask me question, to already know two answers: one pleasant, one unpleasant. Not really ask question, only want confirmation; want pleasant answer from other person than self, because already know pleasant answer not right.
But. . . if other person, like myself, give pleasant answer then can say to self that I tell this answer, and so not have to worry with conscience because is my fault.
But for serious man is not necessary find new answers, but new questions. Once you ask question, this mean you already have a very good idea about answer. For teacher is important make student ask new questions.
This reason why education in your country and in modern times upside-down. Teacher in school never make new student ask new question or try to discover new thing. Only answer old questions to which everyone already have answer or can find answer in self without effort.”
Question: What is inspiration?
Answer: Inspiration is an association. It is the work of one center. Inspiration is cheap, rest assured of that. Only conflict, argument, may produce a result.
Whenever there is an active element there is a passive element. If you believe in God, you also believe in the devil. All this has no value. Whether you are good or bad — it is not worth anything. Only a conflict bewteen two sides is worth something. Only when much is accumulated can something new manifiest itself.
At every moment there may be a conflict in you. You never see yourself. You will believe what I say only when you begin to look into yourself — then you will see. If you try to do something you don’t want to do — you will suffer. If you want to do something and don’t do it — you also suffer.
What you like — whether good or bad — is of the same value. Good is a relative concept. Only if you begin to work, your good and bad begin to exist.