The so-called "foundation" of the so-called philosophy employed by the cult is something called “Self-Remembering.” To say self-remembering is an inscrutable concept, is to be kind to it. Its an unknowable, fabricated, and dangerous concept. It’s no wonder. It was invented by the admitted huckster and famed con-man George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (hereinafter “Gigi”).
Let’s talk more about Gigi and try to get a glimpse on who he was. In his memoir "Meetings with Remarkable Men,” Gigi repeatedly brags about his industriousness and uncanny ability to make money by tricking people. The book was widely criticized and unreliable He wrote “that he supported himself during his travels with odd jobs and trading schemes (one of which he described as dyeing hedgerow birds yellow and selling them as canaries).” I submit, my readers, that the “work” is nothing but a yellow dyed hedgerow bird, a phony bird that Gigi sold to many unsuspecting people. It was custom made by Gigi from bits and pieces of mystical, magical, religious, superstitious, sacred, made-up, and ancient ideas which he supposedly learned on his travels in the east, travels and encounters which his biographers have deemed to be "overtly fictional" and "entirely imaginary.”
What credentials did Gigi have? He appears to be self taught and received no higher formal education. He taught himself many languages and supposedly read many a science book. Allegedly, he learned about the work from something called the Sarong Brotherhood, which is supposedly made up.
There’s more about Gigi (from his Wikipedia page.) When he was in NY in 1925 he raised over $100,000 (which is the equivalent today of $1.3 million). During his many trips to NY “he alienated a number of people with his brash and undisguised demands for money.” (Ring any bells?) Indeed, some claimed he was “a charlatan with a large ego and a constant need for self-glorification.” (Sound like any fat red fucker you know?). Indeed many of his former felt “his behavior display[ed] the unsavory and impure character of a man who was a cynical manipulator of his followers.” (Now this is giving me a flash back.) Yes, there some positive words written about Gigi (mostly from devout followers under his spell), still I have never seen any biography written about him that didn’t suggest or conclude that he was a phony. A fake, not a fakir. (LOL)
There is yet another source to understand the character and motivations of Gigi – “In Search of the Miraculous,” the Ouspensky memoir of his years with Gigi. It’s a book which for decades was “assigned” by the cult to new members in their first weeks of joining. Throughout this definitive bible of the cult, Gigi comes off as, among many other things, irritable, evasive, haughty, condescending, manipulative, pessimistic and humorless. He is even a little hopeless: man is asleep, man is a killer, man is unevolved and cant evolve – only Gigi and Gigi alone can help you become awake. (Contrast this gloomy ideology and Gigi's unsavory personality with that of genuine religious and philosophical figures.)
Not once does Gigi express any gentle emotions or thoughts towards his students. He is anti-social and appears to be heartless and imposing, as expressed in his contrived appearance with that pointy head and porn-stache. Mostly, he greeted the majority of his students’ sincere and probing questions (which would otherwise expose his 4th Way as a complete scam) with ad hominem attacks, vagaries, evasion, or outright lies; he never responded to a single question with an honest or direct answer. (By the way, at one point, Gigi was a politician.)
Gigi was very protective of his invention: he forbade his students from discussing and writing about him or his school it, insisting that the ideas were “esoteric” and would basically disappear if exposed. Later on Gigi gave Oppie his permission to write the memoir, probably because at that time Gigi needed the free publicity to attract followers (indeed, Oppie was told he could write the book as his form of 3rd line of work for the "school").
Most impressive was Gigi’s sales pitch to his new and eager students. There, he springs upon them his hocus pocus that the only way they could become conscious was to pay him money. It worked and it worked very well. He called his system the 4th Way, to be distinguished from the other 3 so-called ways to achieve enlightenment. (Did or has anyone ever heard or hear the expression the “3 Way” other than from the cult?)
Sidebar: Seven years before I was brought to the cult, I had received a BA in philosophy at a fancy University. Four years before coming to the cult, I had received my law degree, then passed the bar, and then joined a fancy Wall Street law firm. A well-educated bright and savvy Jewish guy raised in New York. When I was told Gigi’s name and that he was a philosopher, it seemed really really odd to me that I had never heard about him. (But then again I went to a good school and we didn’t study cult leaders who posed as philosophers). It was also strange that we were discouraged from reading anything about him except the things he or certain authors wrote. Red flag? You bet, but I was unhappy and vulnerable and unable to resist the promises of friendship, possibly a special someone, and success, and happiness.
That’s the background from whence comes this most crucial and oft-invoked notion -- self-remembering. Let’s look at an excerpt of the initial descriptionof this it. Please note how inscrutable it is, how vague. Please also note how it seems to engender tension, consternation, and self-judgment in people who try yet it. But yet they become intrigued by and obsessed with trying to do. Finally, please note how Gigi introduces his most important idea with condescension and sarcasm:
"Not one of you has noticed the most important thing that I have pointed out to you," he said. "That is to say, not one of you has noticed that you do not remember yourselves." (He gave particular emphasis to these words.) "You do not feel yourselves; you are not conscious of yourselves. With you, 'it observes' just as 'it speaks,' 'it thinks,' 'it laughs.' You do not feel: I observe, I notice, I see. Everything still 'is noticed,' 'is seen.' … In order really to observe oneself one must first of all remember oneself." (He again emphasized these words.) "Try to remember yourselves when you observe yourselves and later on tell me the results. Only those results will have any value that are accompanied by selfremembering. Otherwise you yourselves do not exist in your observations. In which case what are all your observations worth?" These words of G.'s made me think a great deal. It seemed to me at once that they were the key to what he had said before about consciousness. But I decided to draw no conclusions whatever, but to try to remember myself while observing myself. The very first attempts showed me how difficult it was. Attempts at self remembering failed to give any results except to show me that in actual fact we never remember ourselves.
. . . . .
"What else do you want?" said G. "This is a very important realization. People who know this" (he emphasized these words) "already know a great deal. The whole trouble is that nobody knows it. If you ask a man whether he can remember himself, he will of course answer that he can. If you tell him that he cannot remember himself, he will either be angry with you, or he will think you an utter fool. The whole of life is based on this, the whole of human existence, the whole of human blindness. If a man really knows that he cannot remember himself, he is already near to the understanding of his being."
This completes my brief but long discussion about the sham (and also dangerous) notion that is peddled by the cult. Trying to remember your self will make you unhappy and very harsh on yourself. It would be like trying to levitate, always failing, and beating yourself up for failing. A really bad way to go.
There will be a part 2 of this post. About how the cult uses self remembering as a weapon of submission to their will. It is the cult alone who will be the final judge of who and when someone has remembered himself or not. Those who do what the cult wants him to do (like paying money or being a slave or hack or good toady) are awarded the gold star of having remembered themselves; those who don’t do those things are given the paddle of not having remembered themselves and pressured to do so.