December 17th, 2013

Horror as a Prompt for Awakening

“Human beings are attached to everything in this life; attached to their imagination, attached to their ignorance, attached to their fear, attached even to their own suffering — and possibly to their own suffering more than anything else.

A person must first free himself from attachment. Attachment to things, identification with things, keeps alive a thousand false I’s in a person. These I’s must die in order that the big I may be born.

But how can they be made to die?…It is at this point that the possibility of awakening comes to the rescue.

To awaken means to realize one’s nothingness, that is, to realize one’s complete and absolute mechanicalness, as well as one’s complete and absolute helplessness…So long as a person is not horrified at himself, then a person knows nothing about himself or life.”

– P.D. Ouspensky quoting G.I. Gurdjieff
 

Photograph: In the Paddy Wagon, by Weegee, 1920


2 Responses to 'Horror as a Prompt for Awakening'
Filed Under: Gurdjieff
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  • Tom D

    Oh, how disappointing and depressing.

    I thought this was going to be about Gurdjieff’s fondness for horror films or something like that.

  • frederick_a_woodruff

    Gurdjieff assumed the role of a human keisaku — a Zen stick, which would wallop those nodding or sleeping in the dojo.

    But he did this for all of humanity — who, as he accurately pointed out — are sleepwalking through life.

    The biggest walking dream condition is the one that assumes that we each have a permanent, unwavering sense of self that conducts our life and affairs — when actually our internal landscape is populated by thousands of different (and competing/conflicting) identities. “I’s” as he called them.

    Seeing this was the ‘horror’ — coupled with how little a man or woman could actually ‘do’ about changing his predicament, which, oddly, once experienced, (that sense of helplessness) made a place in the individual to RECEIVE some quality of life force that would assist him towards a type of mastery.

    But not until.