Recently someone posted this video in a comment. I thought it deserved more prominence. Sam Harris is an author, philosopher, neuroscientist, critic of religion, blogger, and podcast host of Waking Up. Until now, I’d heard his name but knew nothing else about him. He addresses a range of human experience: spirituality, morality, neuroscience, free will, and terrorism.
He is traveling the world giving talks to sold out theaters, and such. He also has some choice words for Georges Ivanoff Gurdjieff, whose ideas are the basis of the “teaching” “school” trots out. If you listen to the YouTube video — which I recommend, highly — you’ll hear the following:
” … the roll of guru seems to attract more than its fair share of narcissist and confidence men … this seems to be a natural consequence of the subject matter … one can fake being an enlightened adept … GI Gurdjieff set the standard, here … he was the classic example of the gifted charlatan; he managed to attract a wide following of smart, successful devotees.”
FYI, devotees include: Georgia O’Keefe, J.B. Priestly, René Daumal, Katherine Mansfield, Aldous Huxley, TS Eliot, Frank Loyd Wright.
“Gurdjieff taught his followers that the moon was alive. That it controlled the thoughts and behaviors of unenlightened people. That it devoured their souls at the moment of death. He used to make visitors to his chateau in Foutainbleu spend long days digging ditches in the sun, only to have them immediately fill them in again and begin digging elsewhere… I’m confident that if I were to teach a similarly insane doctrine, all the while demanding painful and pointless sacrifices from my students, I wouldn’t have a friend left on earth by the end of the week.”
I remember the first time “school” started trotting out this crazy shit about the moon. In a rare, courageous moment, I told my class, “You have no idea how absurd this sounds to me.” My teachers smiled at me in that patronizing way … the one that says, ” … you’ll get it when you’ve been doing The Work long enough.”
Long enough = til death do you part, $350/month, plus all of your un-schooled family & friends. That is the nature of the beast. It’s how every cult works. So … as Nancy Reagon used to say about drugs, “Just say no … ” I’ll amend that slightly: say, “Fuck no.”