Sott Talk Radio logo
This week on SOTT Talk Radio we were joined again by author William Patrick Patterson to further discuss the life and teachings of Fourth Way philosopher Georges Gurdjieff. Listeners can hear the first part of our interview with Mr. Patterson here.

Mr. Patterson is the founder/director of The Gurdjieff Studies Program and has led groups, as well as given seminars and talks, throughout the United States for many years. He has written nine books on the teaching, including Struggle of the Magicians, and has directed, written and narrated the award-winning video trilogy The Life & Significance of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, and the just-released video Introduction to Gurdjieff's Fourth Way: From Selves to Individual Self to The Self. Mr. Patterson's latest book is Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff: The Man, The Teaching, His Mission.

Running Time: 02:03:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript:

Niall: Hello and welcome to SOTT Talk Radio. I'm Niall Bradley, my co-host as usual Joe Quinn

Joe: Hi there

Niall: And this week we are going to have a very special guest on. He's actually making his return, two months ago we the first part of the interview with tonight's guest, William Patrick Patterson and we're going to be getting him online any minute now. In the meantime, I have a quick recap, Mr Patterson is the founder and director of the Gurdjieff's studies program, and has lead groups, as well as given seminars and talks throughout the US for many years. He's written 9 books on the teachings of Gurdjieff and directed, written and narrated the award winning trilogy video, the life and significance of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff; hopefully I pronounced that right, and the just released video introduction to Gurdjieff's fourth way, from self, to individual self, to the self.

His latest book is Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff: The Man, The Teaching, His Mission, and once again the publisher is offering a ten dollar discount off the regular price of 45 dollars, until midnight pacific time today. So if you haven't got that yet this is another good chance to check out Mr Patterson's latest book.

Joe: Yes, this is a good book. There are so many books on Gurdjieff.

Niall: It's like half a kilo.

Joe: It could be used as a door stop. There's so many books out there on Gurdjieff that someone who is new to it might be a bit daunted by it, or unsure of which one to pick. So it's probably a good one that tends to group together most of the major details from a lot of the other books by other authors.

Niall: Exactly yeah, a lot of people might have studied under Gurdjieff, or knew someone who did, and the writers among them wrote their own books about their experiences. Then today Mr Patterson has taken all of the biographies and put them together in one resource.

Joe: Okay, well I think we have William on the line right now. I'm just going to go ahead and get him on. Hi, Mr Patterson? (Repeated attempts to connect) No nothing on our end. No sound here. The show is going out fine.

Niall: Can our listeners hear us?

Joe: Absolutely, everybody is there. (Attempts again) Maybe our producer can sort that out for us, or have a chat with William. We called him William, we don't have to be too formal do we?

Niall: I think we're on first person terms.

Joe: Yeah? Okay.

Niall: This is our second interview.

Joe: Yeah well why we try to get him on the line - this is the first we've had this kind of particular glitch, where we actually have the person on the line but there's no audio coming through or they're not able to speak for some reason.

Niall: Maybe he's giving us the silent treatment. We're going to ask Mr. Patterson questions and imagine how he responded. No, that will not do. Stand by and we'll try and get him in this virtual studio with us any moment, perhaps if we get him to try and to dial back in.

Joe: Yeah, maybe some time...

Niall: Sometimes take two can work.

Joe: Maybe you could try and hang up and dial back in yeah?

Niall: So what did we discuss last time? There's only so much you can say about someone as enigmatic and with such an impact on history as Georges Gurdjieff in the space of an hour. We're going to have the same problem again tonight. I think we briefly touched on who the man was, where he was born, what kind of environment he grew up in; what motivated him to begin this quest for knowledge.

Joe: Hi, let me just check again, William are you there? No, so for some reason I don't know why. We'll try and get him to call back in. Hello, is that William?

William: Hello, yes!

Joe: Hi, finally we got you!

Niall: Heeey, hello there!

William: Hello, okay great [laughter]

Niall: You're in, you're on SOTT Talk Radio. You sound clear to us, are we coming through good for you?

William: Yeah, uh huh. It's fine.

Niall: Excellent, great, it's good to have you back. It's been a couple of months, time flies. I was just trying to recap for our listeners how much we managed to cover last time about the early life and initial quests of Gurdjieff. Of course we would have discussed also his teachings, and the various schools he's set up, and in the interim I've read a lot more of your book and your latest book, The Man, The Teaching and His Mission.

William: 648 pages right? [Laughter]

Niall: It's mighty. Well I think we said this earlier, you've done a great service because it's such a valuable resource because there are so many different biographies written by people; some of them became well known, other didn't; about Gurdjieff, about his schools, some stuff about his earlier life. It's great to have it synthesised in one place, and another really useful feature is that you put it next to a historical timeline of events that were happening in the world in parallel. So with each development, I like how you've got: In this month, in 1922, Hitler formed his new party for example. There's no direct relation to what's going on in Gurdjieff's life, or in the life of the students, but you do see it's kind of patterns side by side of what's taking place in Europe.

Just on that point, in the way that history seems to unfold, did you find it as striking as I did that Gurdjieff's attempts to set up his initial schools in Moscow, and then later in southern Russia were to put it mildly, severely hampered by the unfolding crisis taking place in Russia; the revolution. Then later on it's almost like this similar thing was happening that meant he couldn't start his school in Germany because of similar conditions coming online. Isn't that strange? It's almost like history was chasing Gurdjieff?

William: [laughter] Well remember his intent from the beginning was to bring the teaching to the West. He thought at that time, in 1911, that Russia would be the best place for that because he spoke Russian to a degree and knew the culture. So that's why he went to Russia, but then the revolution happened, so then he went down to Yessentuki and then things got very bad between the Red and the White armies. So he led his people over the carcases to Tiflis and they promised him a house for his institute there, but they had difficulty coming through with that and there were a lot of laws and so forth, so he finally went to Constantinople. He arrived there in July 1920 and that's when Ataturk was coming to power and secularising Turkey. So then he left in August 1921 and went to Germany and then England and then finally France. Then in September 1922 he was able to establish his institute at the prairie in Avon about 44 miles north-east of Paris.

Niall: When he gets to Germany it looks like it's almost good to go; they've found a location, everything is looking in order, but he's not given a Visa. Then very soon after, the same thing happens in London.

William: Right.

Niall: Maybe I don't want to reach more into it than there might be, but he's helped significantly by some pretty well connected people in London.

William: That's right.

Niall: And before him so was Ouspensky, who's in London on his own accord. And then at the last minute the British home office didn't come through with a Visa for him. Did they explicitly say or were people led to believe that the reason for this was that he was a suspected Russian agent?

William: That's right. There was an Agent by the name of Dorjiev in Tibet who was associated with that person but he doesn't look like him at all; it was completely erroneous. However Gurdjieff was in Tibet, so there are certain correspondences but if he was a secret agent? There's no proof of that at all. But it is a rumour.

Niall: [laughter] well yeah, it's not hard to see why. It could be mistaken identity or it could be that they did have some awareness of activities of "Who's this guy running around central Asia, what's he up to?" Because of course the British would have had their own spies in there at the time, so somebody from way over there meeting this Dalai Lama, now this other going to this place; yeah they probably did take an interest in people.

So, his school is set up, and it's set up in Paris at this point and from the get go he's got quite a lot of famous people who are really interested. This was the first thing that surprised me, I'm thinking back about 70-80 years ago now. There wasn't the same kind of ease of communication that we have today and I'm trying to think in what way could the ground have been set for these intelligentsia; in London in particular. Because I think a lot of his first students, if they didn't follow him from the East, the newly attracted people seemed to have come from London.

William: That's right.

Niall: What was it that interested, I mean Gurdjieff himself didn't speak English, he had no way of explaining his ideas to them. Do you understand the attraction for them?

William: Remember the First World War, the war to end all wars had just occurred right? Gurdjieff was there now in 1921, just a few years after the end of the war and people were very dejected; demoralised; in question about what was going on. I think that really opened them up to what Gurdjieff was saying, that we're leading a life that's in a trance, that we're "all mechanical", that "we're not truly awake, although we're maybe highly functional. And we do not have a soul, we have to create one, and can you be in the body? Look where you are right now, you're listening to me from the head. Where is the body?" he would say. He challenged people and they were ready to be challenged because I think the belief in the world as they knew it had either been shattered or at least put in question; more or less in a way like it's coming to be now, with technology and these resulting wars that keep going on.

Joe: You could almost say the time period that Gurdjieff lived in was ideal for spreading his teaching because as you said people were asking about the destruction of the First World War and the Second World War and the mass of suffering caused particularly to people in Europe and elsewhere. But particularly in Europe as far as he's concerned; it allowed them to question it. I often wonder if there hadn't been such wars, if there hadn't been such conditions at the time would his teachings have found any kind of fertile ground among anybody you know.

William: I think you have a point there. Unfortunately we don't need wars, we can't have another one certainly, but it does open people up to questioning: what is their life about? Where is it all going? Mirage said that he recognised that his intellectual life was leading no place and that's why he was looking for something else, but he didn't know what he was looking for. Then Gurdjieff showed up and he recognised what Gurdjieff was in himself and the teaching that Gurdjieff was bringing which he had never heard before. He'd studied Nietzsche and theosophy and so forth and so on.

Niall: It's a tantalising question because if here we are 80 years later and we might suggest it's a similar creation of conditions...

William: That's right.

Niall: Where we're in this supposed endless war against terror and there is all kinds of horrendous manifestations for people all the way over there. And for people around us here living in the "safety" of the west. It's like, it opens up all kinds of questions like, how often does this happen? Who was before Gurdjieff? Or as was kind of suggested by him or people who were meeting him for the first time; somebody said that there hasn't been someone like this since Jesus. Or I think it was Orage in his excitement exclaimed that "This is the man, since Jesus Christ, there's been no one since then, until Gurdjieff."

William: Orage called him the soul of god. But you know if you look at those times, in 1890 Vivekananda came to the west; to America. He was bringing Vedanta. In 1920 Yogananda came and he was bringing the idea of self-realisation. In 22, Krishnamurti came; choice less awareness, the observer is the observed, and then Gurdjieff comes to America 1924 and says, "You're all mechanical, you're asleep, you can't do, and you have no free will" etc. So Vivekananda, Yogananda and Krishnamurti were right, but they were talking about what you could become. Gurdjieff was talking about where you are right now.

Niall: They were bringing the good news, he was bringing the "bad" news.

William: Well he was bringing the real news.

Niall: The real news [laughter], I know, I put bad in quotes, I don't mean it.

William: The shock. You know, your listeners now don't want to hear that they're asleep, that they have no free will that they're in a trance and mechanical. But all they have to do to verify this is to ask yourself for example, where are you listening to this show from right now, in your body? You're almost every one of you, in your head. You're listening from the head. Not the whole body, but where is the body? You don't know until I say that and suddenly you have a recognition of the body. So usually we only have a recognition and awareness of the body when there is starvation or a need for food, desire, lust, what have you. As soon as that is taken care of, we're back up into the head. And what are we doing in the head? We're talking to ourselves. About who? About ourselves!

So those are the facts of everybody's life actually, as I say some people are highly functional. They have a strong mental capability or emotional, or instinctual, but nevertheless it is all based in egotism and therefore not in real self-awareness. Though it could be and that's why this teaching and others have come to really awaken people up.

Joe: Again as I was saying before, effectively it's about suffering that provides an opportunity for people to really be open to the ideas that Gurdjieff disseminated and to be in that position for example, during war time, when we're hungry, when we're having trouble finding food.

William: My thought is that he wrote his magnum opus, all and everything, the three series of books, and hurled it into the future. He began writing it in December 1924, and I think he was writing this for our time, because he said, "Unless the wisdom of the east and the energy of the west is harnessed and used harmoniously, the world will destroy itself." And look how close we are with this Ukrainian thing; Putin, who Hillary Clinton called Hitler. I thought at first she might be over the top, but one wonders what's going on, he seems to be really pushing the limits, and we're in a very dangerous situation.

Joe: Yeah, so I presume by that you mean that when Gurdjieff said that unless the wisdom of the east and the energy of the west meet and are used harmoniously, the world will destroy itself. I assume that you understand that that hasn't happened?

William: Right [laughter]

Joe: Well I mean the wisdom of the east and the energy of the west have not met, and are not being used harmoniously, and therefore if Gurdjieff was right, we all could be looking at some level of global destruction I suppose; in some form or other. Maybe another world war like you're saying, and of course the irony of that I suppose is that it will provide conditions where a lot more people might be picking up your book. [Laughter]

William: [Laughter] that's a hell of a way to sell a book, but...

Joe: I know, pretty good one though! [Laughter]

William: I think the difficulty is that when we look at the history of mankind, we see war, war, war, periods of peace, but basically war, and now we've come to a place where we have these weapons that if there is another war, there is going to be no one who wins. So we can't have a war, but our history, our thinking, our division, our egotism is such that it pushes us towards conflict. The conflict should be within myself, not within other people. There's something in me that just wants to go to sleep, make things comfortable, so-forth and so-on. I need to struggle against that, that's the real conflict, and as I do, I stop projecting the conflicts out on other people. I see us all as projection basically, and so I can refrain then from "war", and hopefully we're going to get there.

Niall: Right. That is what most people always do, I mean they project it out onto the external world, all the blame is there, the salvation is also out there, and Gurdjieff set about to show people "no, it's the opposite." I mean it's a monumental undertaking, what, change everyone one by one? And then what?

William: Well we don't have to change everyone one by one, I mean six billion people would be rather hard to change, but Gurdjieff said there were 15 people who were awake in his time, and he believed those people and others who came to become an individual, not totally awake as the Hindus are talking about it; Sahaja Samadhi. But being an individual, being responsible for what I do and say and so forth, that's possible for everyone and the more people that come to that and get disabused of the caveats of the world and the false governments, and realise we can't have another war, and begin to work towards that, that's a real possibility. But first I have to work on myself, I can't work on that outside, I have to work on myself inside.

Niall: Yeah, it just seems so so far away from where we're at, but nevertheless what he was saying obviously struck a chord with people.

William: It's not far away from where we're at, it's right here, right now. All I have is time, I don't know how much time I have but obviously I'm still living. But I have energy, and I have attention. Now what do I do with my energy and my attention? I usually give it to my interests, distractions, so forth and so on. Wonder if I gave my interests, my attention and my energy to myself. Wonder if I redirect the attention out of the head-brain, where I'm usually living, into the body, so that I have a body. The most amazing thing is that while we all look to have a body, we have no real awareness of a body, and as we have an awareness of the body by redirecting the attention, we begin to recognise that we have more than one centre. Yes there's a mental centre, but there's the emotional centre and the instinctual centre, and as we direct the attention into the body and become more embodied, these three centres become connected. So when there's a question of what to do, either the three centres agree, or there's disagreement, and if there's disagreement you listen to it, and you come to a solution of what to do. Rather than just acting all the time, or being acted upon, for example, with our listeners, how many people actually consciously sat down in their chair or on their sofa, weren't they put down, and when they move aren't they moved? We can all verify this, that we're not using our energy and our attention rightly, but if we did, we could become true individuals and become awake and responsible for our actions, and so if I have a problem with another person, as Gurdjieff says, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. So you come to conscience, and you begin to awaken, and you recognise the obvious fact, we cannot have another war. That will be the end of humanity, or most of humanity.

Joe: Don't you think it's true that the vast majority of the ordinary people don't want war and have never wanted war?

William: Oh definitely.

Joe: So where does it come from?

William: But, what happens when there is war? The stories of people in what used to be Yugoslavia, just going next door and killing their neighbour who they just had dinner with the night before, or over in the middle east, there's that instinctual part of everyone, that animal, who is very strong, but is animalistic, we don't want to destroy the animal, but we want to tame it. We can only tame it by knowing ourselves, by controlling ourselves. So there is that impulse to war in everybody but of course the leaders of the various groups or governments, they bring their ideas of competition and so forth to bare on that level, and it's a good way to distract people, you know, from their misbehaviour, by creating war. I mean that's what happened here interestingly enough in America, where you saw with Bush going down and let's see... the name of the country I've forgot...

Joe: Iraq?

William: No it's just below, well I was speaking about his father... I can't think of the name now, but anyway there was there, then there was an island in the Caribbean that we invaded, and of course then with...

Joe: Grenada.

William: ....the Bush 45, he's going to bring democracy to the middle east, and of course, what that was, was he was, from their point of view, and it was true, trying to destroy their religion, and that's where we are now. I mean, the people in the Middle East, basically, because the governments are so corrupt there, all they have is their religion, and here we come with our supposed democracy, which is really democratic capitalism, which is money, money, money. As Gurdjieff said, "America is just interested in making money, that's our unconscious interest."

Niall: Yeah he was kind of unforgiving of his confrontation of the US when he was there. Nevertheless it attracted many people from the West. He didn't comment much it seemed, on the politics of the day, but when he did he just said it, like you have a line in your book, where he just says "Marxism is satanic", and then just moves onto the next topic [laughter].

William: Right, right, exactly. We weren't very near war when he came, and of course war didn't really start to emerge until 1939. He did make some comments to Fred Piers about when he knocked on his door in 46, "how do you feel about your America now?" After we had bombed Japan right? Because America like all of us, you know we're very patriotic, we're brought up to be that way, but here we just here we just put a nuclear bomb into Japan right? And what goes around comes around. We didn't have to do that, but we did it and we're stuck with it. I'm only bringing this up now because I think he threw the teaching into the future, which is from 1924 on. The future now is, now for this teaching, this is the right time for this teaching, because not only is the prospect of war something we have to deal with, but even more immediate is technology. Which is doing what? Taking everybody's time, interest, abstracting them, making things just information, people talk about things but they're never experienced them. Like we talk about being in the body, but how many times have we been in the body, can we sustain that? Can I divide my attention between the body and the environment? I can but I have to know how to do it, and I need a teacher and a teaching to be able to do that.

Joe: In terms of a teacher being necessary, obviously Gurdjieff was a teacher of a relatively small number of people and you today I think you have groups that you lead as well; I assume it's a relatively small number people as well. I mean, it's been quite a long time since Gurdjieff's teaching have been available to many people, in many different languages, but there seems to be very few teachers, or very few people, really taking up the Work. So it doesn't really augur well for the spread, the wide dissemination of the teaching, or am I wrong?

William: [laughter] Well of course, you know, Gurdjieff's fourth way teaching is not the only authentic teaching, there is other teachings right? I'm not talking about the New-Age concoctions, but like Yogananda, Vivekananda, and Krishnamurti; although Krishnamurti's very difficult I think to get into, it's very mental. For my attraction I wanted to verify everything, I wanted a teaching of a more rational kind, just as Ouspensky said he did and that is what the Gurdjieff teaching is. But there are people, I mean we've got 16 million people doing Yoga now in the United States. Yes it's basically just one up above exercise, but at least it's relaxing them, bringing them into the body, what have you. I do think we have people who are really religious; Judaism, Christianity, Muslims, what have you and those who are very serious are all recognising we can't have another war, and I think just as we see now with Ferguson and the United States, with this black white thing, we're going to see, as this continues with Mr Putin; I think he's going to do us a great service. People from all teachings etc. are going to get together and really proclamate the idea we cannot have another war.

Joe: Just it terms of teaching, I'm wondering if there's a possibility for people who come across Gurdjieff's work, but aren't necessarily able or inclined to find a specific teacher, do you think it's possible that a group of people, assuming or provided that they were furnished with the information that Gurdjieff taught, a group of likeminded people for example, if they themselves could act as a surrogate teacher? In terms of the kind of feedback, and I'm talking about a relatively large group of people. Do you think a teacher is absolutely necessary? Or do you think a group of people all on the same page so to speak, would be able to fulfil that role?

William: Well here's the difficulty; that I am not an individual; that I am not one 'I', means what it says in the bible, man's name is legion. I am many 'I's, just not one. So there maybe one I that doesn't want war or wants to wake up, or what have you. But that's just an 'I', that's someone with a healthy magnetic centre, but there's all these 'I's, and they're all based in self-love and vanity. A teacher is absolutely necessary, I think, and Gurdjieff thought, but at the same time he did write his all and everything and hurl it into the future, and I think if that book is really studied, and read in the way it should be, that will lead you to a teacher.

Joe: Yeah the reason I asked the question is because people are asleep as Gurdjieff said, they can't see themselves very easily, they have many 'I's and different 'I's will take control at different times and it's just a nightmare to try and really Work on yourself alone. In many respects I'm sure a lot of people, even you know this, that it's much more easy for a person to see another person's issues, let's say, when one person is in the throes of an emotion state, and I have no involvement with that persons state, I'm not involved in it, I'm not part of it. Ideally I could very easily point out where the person is going wrong, what's being triggered in them, etc. etc. In that way, kind of provide a mirror essentially, to the person.

William: Well the difficulty is that what I see in another person is really connected with myself in some way, I'm seeing myself, if I'm identified at all. To see somebody without identification is to not be in one of your 'I's, it's to be in the individual. Until that happens, then you're only seeing from one of your 'I's that is connected in some way with what you're seeing, and then you get involved with that person, trying to change them, or they disagree with what you've said, and they point out to you, what they see in you, so it doesn't end up as much. No, really you need a teacher, you need to be initiated into self-remembering, self-observation, and one of the things we've done is we've created the Gurdjieff's studies program, for people who are not where I am, or any other of my senior students in America. All over the world there is a study program that you can enter into and you will be initiated into a degree into the teaching, and hopefully then you will begin to come to the seminars and read the books and get into an active stance.

Joe: William we have a call on the line, if you're okay to take a few questions.

William: Sure.

Joe: Okay we have John P from Seattle, John P are you there?

John: Yes I am.

Joe: Hi John welcome to the show, go ahead.

John: Thank you.

William: Hi John.

John: Hello Mr Patterson. I have read some of your works, and I'm trying to read more of them. I wanted to know if you wouldn't mind speaking on the role that C influence plays in awakening?

William: On speaking on the role of what?

John: That C influence plays in awakening?

William: Oh, well Mr Gurdjieff spoke to Ouspensky about this in Russia, in 1916; that there are 3 basic influences, he said that there was C influence, B influence and A. A is what we live in all the time. It's complete duality, entrancement, fragmentation, and so forth. C is the influence that comes when you're able to be embodied, and sustain that over a period of time, that changes your hanblenzoin or it changes your emanation, usually we are all radiating, not emanating. It's only when I give myself my own attention, and see what is there, recognise my patterns what have you, get to know myself, my psychology, that I begin to go beyond that, and going beyond that, I come into what he called, C influence. He never spoke about the influences in that way after the Russian period, but his coming to hanblenzoin.

Niall: What was that last bit?

William: It's coming to a quality of being that he mentions as hanblenzoin, it's an emanation.

Niall: Yes, I recognize that's a term from the all and everything book that you're describing. You've mentioned a couple of times... hang on is our caller still there?

Joe: Yes John's still there, did that answer your question John, or do you want to continue?

John: It's sort of half my question, the other half I guess, if that is the emanation, the transmission, then I'm looking for the reception.

William: The reception has to be with the student, with the other person. The teacher is not there as a person, he's there as a consciousness, the student is there as a person, so he has to open up to the emanation as a teacher, and therefore recognise that he's been radiating, and what that means, and so inevitably come to his own emanation.

John: I see, not something that happens over night?

William: [laughter] No, not at all, although it did happen with Ramana Maharshi, he laid down and pretended he was dead and when he got up he was awake. So you could try that tonight, and if it does work, why don't you get in touch with me?

John: Thank you.

Joe: Okay John thanks for your call.

John: Thank you.

Joe: William, just talking about the origins of Gurdjieff's teachings and where they came from, you say that they came from Egypt?

William: That's right

Joe: But, not the Egypt that we know, not even the Egypt that we know from the history books necessarily. Gurdjieff travelled very widely; Mesopotamia, Turkey over into Asia, and he talks about the Sarmoung brotherhood. The idea is that the body of the teachings came from many different sources, not just from Egypt.

William: I'm sorry I couldn't hear you, could you say that again?

Joe: That the body of his teachings came from many different sources, not just Egypt.

William: No, what happened was, that he was in Ani; he found a parchment written in 2500BC by a monk with a Sarmoung brotherhood. He went down towards Iraq where they were located, and on the way he met an Armenian priest who shown him a map of pre-sand Egypt. He looked at the map and he broke off his interest in the Sarmoung, he went straight to Egypt, he was initiated four times as he said in the ancient Egyptian mysteries. What did he see on the map of pre-sand Egypt? I believe what he saw was the Sphinx, because that's the first place he went. Most people think the Sphinx dates from about 2700BC, but there has been work by geologists and what have you that talk about the rain over a period of time that the Sphinx shows. So that Gurdjieff, then being initiated into the ancient Egyptian mysteries of pre-historic Egypt, not the Egypt we know, that taught a science of being. He had the blueprints for the whole teaching, but he realised over time that parts of the teaching had migrated northward, so he made a second journey into the Hindu Kush, and Tibet, and Solomon Islands and other places, where he recognised elements of the teaching were existing, and he put them all together and reformulated the teaching for our time. He took out of the teaching, if there was, perhaps there wasn't, but most of the teachings you get don't ask for verification, they ask for belief, and what he brought was a teaching of verification, believe nothing... verify everything.

Joe: Well that's very good advice. Do you think that ultimately these kind of teachings, these fairly profound, shocking but ultimately very simple truths, if unsavoury about human nature and human existence, do you think ultimately they could come from somewhere other than this planet?

William: Well he said that the origin of the teaching was extra-terrestrial.

Niall: HE DID?

William: Yes, right.

Niall: Okay go on.

William: Right.

Joe: And what does that mean to you?

Niall: Off the planet?

William: I'm sorry what?

Niall: Please continue, he said off planet.

William: It comes from higher powers, from higher sources, intelligences. Gurdjieff said that we did not have a soul, so not having a soul when we physically die we become fertilizer, but if we had really worked on ourselves, we create a Kesdjan body, and then an emotional body, a mental body and then finally a soul, which is immortal within the solar system. So this teaching is coming from these beings who have become immortal. Gurdjieff has Beelzebub coming six times to the planet. Everything happens in 7's, so I would expect Beelzebub to come again. I also would expect Jesus Christ to come again, and Moses and Buddha. All of the great teachers, because that is the situation we're in. I don't expect them to come into body, I expect to become by vibration. So if you're in the work and you've really practice self-remembering, self-observation etc. That you can open to higher energies, then you will get the energies of Beelzebub's Gurdjieff when they come a seventh time, as the Christians will get Jesus Christ so forth and so on, and that is going to save us, that we will be brought, as a mass of people, to a much higher level where we recognise war is insane.

Joe: Right, so that's a message of hope then for people who are just automatons, blind mindless automatons?

William: I hope so, it is for me! [laughter]

Joe: They can be kind of forcefully awakened from outside, against their will even?

William: Well no, no, no. The idea is that you have to be serious in your pursuit of Christianity, Buddhism, and The Forth Way, what have you. You just can't have one foot in one foot out, or be an esoteric 'I', read about chakras and this and that, but have never really actually experienced your mental centre. It's for people who are serious, and by being serious, we will be opened to these higher energies and we will be lifted up.

Niall: Okay.

William: [laughter]

Niall: No it's fascinating. I just want to clarify something, you were discussing how Gurdjieff was initiated, and then sort of - separately or together, I'm not sure - we're discussing how the ultimate source of initiation is divine or higher dimensional, however we want to phrase it. Is there any suggestion in the course of Gurdjieff's personal initiation that he was, in some way divinely inspired, or it rather more mundane than that? That he actually met embodied people who...

Joe: And he worked hard and suffered?

Niall: Yes.

William: Well he was a very, very high being, who had been reborn and his first initiation was on the artillery range in Gyumri or Alexandrapol was it called? Or Cars I'm sorry. And he put himself out there when he was about 11 years old, because he was in love with a young lady who another friend of his was in love with also. So they decided they would let god decide, and they went out onto the artillery range and the bombs started coming and exploding, and fortunately neither of them were hurt, but Gurdjieff says he came to the "complete sensation of himself", now what he's talking about is to be totally embodied. When you're totally embodied, you begin to see life as it is, not from the point of view of the person but objectively. And he saw that people were in misery, suffering, what have you. And he wondered why, you know... and he studied the religion and science of his day and it didn't give him an answer, and that's why he decided that the ancient civilizations, their wisdom societies, might have the answer. And that's what eventually took him to Egypt. And so he speaks of himself then as a man of being. He had to find the teaching. He had come to the being, but he didn't have the teaching, and the teaching was given to him then in Egypt. And as I say, he reformulated for the West and what have you.

Joe: So it wasn't so much about a bolt of light coming down and illuminating him, but I mean there was that experience in Cars but that was just one of the first experiences. He went on and he consciously put himself in positions where he suffered, and suffered for his mission and suffered for his teachings.

Niall: And he seemed to have a number of near death experiences.

Joe: Exactly, so it's seems to me that, according to Gurdjieff's teaching, the conditions of life are such that people can learn and maybe you can get to the point where they grow a soul, but they have to suffer. But it's not just mindless suffering, it's as Gurdjieff often said, conscious suffering. Can you maybe describe that?

William: You have to have an aim. You have to have an aim, right, to awaken. If you have an aim to make money, that's not really an aim, right? That leads to nothing. This is an aim that leads to immortality and intelligence and conscience. Where no matter how you feel about your neighbour, whether he did you wrong or not, you don't want to do anything bad to him because you're doing it to yourself. Conscience, we are all one, right? And yet there's this multiplicity, but I have to feel this within myself and sense it and recognise these different centres, and know how to work with them, and see that I'm perfectly imperfect, I'm not a perfect human being. I'm perfectly imperfect. Can I know that and work with that? And that will open me up to higher energies, so that I will become more intelligent. You know it's like when, we've all had the experience I think of meeting a person or reading a book, and say you meet a person who is a mathematician, and he awakens you algebra. Wow. Now you know algebra, you didn't know anything about it before. But there you were, you were interested. I think in this same way, with a teaching, I mean algebra has always been there, right? Well the teaching has always been there. My intelligence, my energy, my body has always been here. It's how to work with it. And that's what the teaching is about.

Joe: What do you think about the idea that people who aspire to a utopia on this planet and everybody getting along let's say and...

William: It's ridiculous! [laughter]

Joe: You mean ridiculous in the theory, or the idea's ridiculous or the potential for it to happen is ridiculous?

William: [laughter]

Joe: Well I mean the idea that I'm getting at is the conditions on this planet are perfect for people to evolve, and you get as many kind of goes at evolving through ultimately life experience, which involves for a lot of people a decent amount of suffering, and it's through suffering that you evolve and you learn, and once you've suffered enough to the point of where you're consciously suffering and you've become a aware of yourself, and effectively become enlightened if we want to use that word, that that's when you kind of move on.

William: When you become enlightened you suffer other people.

Niall: You what, you suffer other people? [Laughter]

William: When you become "enlightened", Gurdjieff doesn't use that word, but let me use it.

Joe: Yeah

William: You're done with your own suffering, you know, when you see that you're psychologically identified, you just drop it, right? But there are other people that you have to suffer, who are still great believers in themselves, and it's all egotism, self-love and vanity. And so you have to suffer them. And that takes a new level of suffering. [Laughter]

Joe: But isn't there a point when you would theoretically move off this level or this realm or this plane to another, if such exists, after you've learned enough or you've experienced enough of what 3D human life has to offer?

William: Well I haven't done that yet, so it could only be speculation from me. I would assume that's possible, and there are indications of that, in terms of what Gurdjieff says, but my experience has only been earth bound, and I like it here, I think it's beautiful. I think we could stop going so far with the wars, but other than that, I'm not looking for utopia, I mean that seems to me to be boring. And how do you evolve further? You can only evolve through working with negativity. Your own inside, or other people's.

Joe: Right, so it's...

William: Which is why I put up with people. [laughter]

Joe: Yeah [laughter] you do it willingly. You invite them into your life, I'm sure just for...

Niall: You sound like you're enjoying William. [Laughter] You find it very amusing. There must be some days where you're like, "You know what get me off this planet." No?

William: No, no, no, no, I've never felt that way. No I've never felt, no. I've been horrified at some of the things that have happened, but I was walking once at the health and harmony fair here, and all at once, Patterson disappeared appeared, there was only consciousness, there was no you and me, there was only consciousness. There was consciousness, as they say, without an object. What they mean is that we live in subject/object duality, supposedly. So when the 'me' leaves, there is only consciousness, and objects appear and disappear within consciousness, subtle and gross, but there are no objects in the terms that we usually, look at a clock, and I look at the clock, and I know that and what have you, there is just the clock. So there is this experience that comes, it's called I think nervacoslasumati, it comes and goes. Sahajacumati, is where Ramana Maharshi was, he lived it, right? Everybody was just stepping in and out of his consciousness, so that is as I say, the Gurdjieff Work moves from the idea of many selves, to the self. Individual selves to the self, and it's a complete teaching.

Niall: Yeah and as Gurdjieff reminded people of over and over again, he had direct experience and he wanted others to know it too that the human mind is capable of amazing things, but first it must understand how its machine is working as it is and so on and so forth. We're speaking obviously on the level of what an individual is capable of.

I get the sense though that Gurdjieff was harried or had an urgency about him, especially when he talks about cross-roads, that there are cross-roads of civilization, in the sense that he thought, okay I've been born at this time, all these things are going on, I urgently want to see my aim realized, so he's pushed to do it. I mean, in the back of his mind, and/or very much front and centre in his mind, is a part of his awareness. Did he discover what some researchers today, in what is called the school of catastrophism are saying, that periodically, and within the scale of human existence, so within civilizational time periods, that things are more or less wiped out, and things go back to zero. Was Gurdjieff aware of something like that?

William: I can't recall anything he said that suggested that, although he did say that we are in an interval now, of human life that is without sustenance, I forget how he put it. He called it an abortive interval. This relates to his idea of the octave, doe re me far so, right? So we've come to an abortive interval. There are two intervals in the octave, 1, doe re me, and shock, fa, and then se doe, so the question is, are we before doe re me fa, or se doe, who knows? I would think it's se doe, because we've come to this incredible technology, which is basically the son of man, as we are all potentially the sons of God, technology is a son of man, and it has given us wondrous and incredible powers. We can see going out into space, and shortening of distances and so on.

But the difficulty is that people are giving their lives, their energies and their attention to technology, right? Walking down the street, you know I was in San Francisco the other day, I couldn't ask anybody where this street was, and everybody was on their mobile phones! We're being taken away into technology and we're going to lose our birth right and our potentiality to become souls, unless we wake up, and that's why I think the Gurdjieff work is right for this time. This is the teaching for our time, because we don't reject technology at all, we think we have to work with it, and we only work with it by being embodied, and once you're embodied and working with technology, then it's like hitting a nail with a hammer. You're there. Otherwise you see you are not there. Your attention is in that phone. Your attention is in the computer, you're not there, and your energy too, and your time. And what do you have when you come out of it? You're a little drained, and you know something about this and that, but what does it matter? What does it matter if you're going to take your last breath that you know all about what happened in ancient Greece, that you're an authority on ancient Greece say. It doesn't mean anything, you're going to die. What do you know? The only thing to know is yourself.

Joe: Mhmm, yeah it's um.

William: [laughter] you don't sound convinced.

Joe: No! Absolutely, but I mean, we've been taking a more multi-disciplinary approach, learning about history, and I mean the truth about history is very important, is part of becoming aware essentially, because it's not just awareness of yourself that's very important; it's vitally important. What are you going to do while you're living your life and you're on this planet? You observe the world around...

William: The only thing that's important my friend is you! You're the only thing is important is you! Not history, not what went before, not what's going on now outside your door. It's what's going on inside you. Your body. Can you see that you're in the formatory mind? That you're always talking to yourself? If you can see that, then perhaps we can relax enough and we go into a deep mind. The intuitive mind, you see? And what does it have to do with history, who cares about it. Only people want to stay in life in the ordinary way. [Laughter]

Joe: The history I'm talking about maybe is the history that Gurdjieff dug up about the nature of man, in Egypt and elsewhere, where he discovered these ancient teachings. He had to dig in the history...

Niall: He had to turn the world upside down practically to get there.

Joe: I think a healthy interest in everything that's going on in the world, what happened in the past and what might happen in the future can be used to...

William: I'm not interested at all. It's an abstraction. It's not right here, right now. It's me. I'm everything, to me. And that takes in you then, you see? The me that expands out of the self-love and vanity into being a human being on earth, all of us together, loving and talking and disagreeing and having good times and bad times and whatever it is, but being there for it. I don't need to know history. I'm interested in history actually, but that was all a waste of time. That was just bringing me to being in the body, and I really didn't need that. But I guess I did, because I was entranced with the world and my egotism, and these people who I thought knew a lot.

Joe: Yeah well you needed to do it and just waste your time on it, so you could realise that you were wasting your time on it right? [Laughter]

William: [laughter] that's right. So like with Gurdjieff he was reborn at 11 years of age. He came to the complete sensation of himself, right? The complete sensation, and sustained that so then you see he was a, as he calls himself a compassionate idiot, he felt for other people and he wanted to help people, and that's why he gave his life to trying to understand human beings, and why we did what we did, and so forth and so on, and how he could help them.

So a man like him as my teacher said to me, a man like Gurdjieff comes along once in a million years, and I first put it off as a hyperbole, but the more I thought of that, when you look at Gurdjieff in terms of all the different messengers, we probably know more about him than any of the others, so he doesn't seem much like the Jesus, the sterilised Jesus we know, or Buddha, or what have you. But they were all taking human bodies. They all had to have weaknesses, he certainly had his, but they all had real compassion, and wanted to save humanity. Which is why it suddenly dawns on me, this was just a recent recognition, that they - yes- they all are coming back, but not in bodily form, they're coming back in vibrational form, and if we are serious and we are Working on ourselves, we can open to that, and we can be transported then. The hanblenzion will be refined to even higher and higher levels. So that's what I'm waiting for.

Joe: Yeah, the reason I mentioned it...

William: Can I come and enlist you in this? Would you like to join the Gurdjieff studies program?

Joe: Well let me tell you the reason I thought about history because it's a quote from Gurdjieff himself, he said in right knowledge the study of man must proceed on parallel lines with the study of the world, and the study of the world must run parallel with the study of man. So I'm talking here about the study of the world, when I refer to history.

William: Yes, but the study of the world is the ray of creation, and the study of our world would be world 96, the moon world, then world 48, the earth world, then the astral world. I don't think he's talking at all about the historical men and women. It doesn't matter. It's what the essence is, of the teaching. Now it's wonderful to know about people who have really stood up for something besides themselves, it gives us strength and hope, but it's not necessary. What is necessary is me, knowing me, being me, authentically.

Joe: Right, absolutely I agree.

William: Have I signed you up yet? [Laughter]

Joe: I know you've got to work, you're a capitalist. [Laughter] Gurdjieff used the term the terror of the situation.

William: The terror of the situation, yes.

Joe: What does he mean by that?

William: That we have all this power, and we're not conscious, so we have to use it in a dualistic manner, and what do we see? Today I mean, other than what we talked about, why is democratic capitalism, all of these worldwide companies now, who are striving to get to the top, the Alexander Macedonian complex. They think if they become the leading bank or whatever, they will control everything right? And they're driving people into the sand, wiping out the middle class, we have problems here obviously with the blacks and Latino's, and now the whites are being driven down. We're coming to a possible revolution in this country, and Gurdjieff said when it happens it will make the Russian revolution look like Kindergarten.

Niall: Gurdjieff was referring there to when it happens in the US?

William: That's right, yeah.

Niall: Right.

William: Right.

Niall: When it happens, so it's not a matter of if, but when?

William: I would have to go back and look for the correct word. I think he said "when", but I'm not positive. Let's hope he said "if". [Laughter]

Niall: Well like you mentioned if you look at what's going on at the moment, it's being fairly well contained by the mainstream media in the US, but protests have erupted in upwards of 150 cities and towns over the issue of this shooting and the cop and people are angry.

William: Oh absolutely.

Joe: And they should be.

William: Absolutely. Do you know in the town of Ferguson I just read there's 20,000 people, on average they each get 3 tickets from police; that giving tickets out is the second greatest contributor to the finances of that town. So people are being picked up for no reason all the time and given tickets. They just happen to be black, if they're white they're picked up too. But it all goes back to egotism, and some people, many people have a lot of energy, they're very intelligent, and they put it to good work for themselves and nobody else. And so they want to be the Wells Fargo of the world or whatever it is. I mention that because I have stock now in Wells Fargo, but anyway. [Laughter]

Niall: [laughter] I see. So you're banking on Wells Fargo becoming the banker?

William: [laughter]

Joe: [laughter] you're hedging your bets, you're keeping your options open until the last minute huh?

William: [laughter] Right, yeah. But it really is an Alexander Macedonian complex in terms of capitalism, and also you know you see it with Putin and the Chinese, and it's a crazy world, but it's interesting. I don't pay too much attention to it though.

Joe: You should pay more attention to it [laughter]

William: Why, I can't do anything about it? [Laughter]

Joe: Well you never know. If everybody said that, you know? Everybody does say that then nothing changes I suppose right? You can't take that kind of an attitude.

William: If there was a walk in Washington D.C to change this government thinking about things, I would certainly walk, sure. But in the meantime, I'm going to remember myself, and observe, and try to refine my energies to higher and higher levels.

Niall: Do you think, you've said Gurdjieff might've been a one in a million year event; his coming and his work and his teaching. Do you ever say, just in casual reading, do you ever read something and think that sounds really Gurdjieff, what I'm getting at is the kind of accidental, besides groups like your group, besides others before you and other groups out there. Do you ever find that the kind of accidental dispersal of his ideas has made its way through, not just popular culture, but also for more serious people who are maybe scientific researchers, psychologists for example, because I occasionally come across something that's maybe a study, a report about a study in psychology, and it's striking how a conclusion these scientists are coming to today in the 21st century, they may as well been reading Gurdjieff.

William: Oh yes.

Joe: What Neil's talking about is cognitive psychology, there's a theory of mind etcetera, recently in the past few years there has been several books published on the theory that the human mind is broken down into 2 systems, system 1 and system 2, and system 1 is the conscious mind, where we basically create narratives for ourselves and tell ourselves things and we have our beliefs about things, but all of that is preformed by system 2 in the background, and we have no awareness of it whatsoever. Basically it's the director of our lives and our needs and our desires and what we want, and they're all quite base and rather simplistic as most human emotions and needs are. But the conscious brain is there to provide all sorts of complex and convoluted narratives to justify these needs, you know.

We've read a few of these books and it's not anywhere near as complete or in depth as what Gurdjieff talks about, but it does seems to some extent, from a scientific point of view, validate his description of humans as essentially mindless machines.

William: Oh yes, I agree. I think a few years Atlantic monthly magazine over here ran an article on the selves. The idea that we're not a self but many selves, right? And these ideas are coming into the mainstream, but the problem is what is the basis that the ideas float upon? They float upon self-love and vanity. So we just use them to increase our powers over ourselves and other people in an obviously dualistic way. So when you read that book and you obviously have read some Gurdjieff books, and you see the connection, well, what is the next step? To read another book and see another connection? Or to join the teaching? Enlist.

Joe: Enlist [laughter] Sign up!

William: Right now!

Niall: Sign up today! [Laughter]

William: [laughter] now seriously, when I say that what happens to you?

Niall: What happens to you Joe?

Joe: When you say that what happens to me? Umm, not much really.

William: Well something happens right?

Joe: Well the first thing that occurred to me is that it sounded like an army recruiter.

William: Okay, that's an interpretation right?

Joe: Right yeah.

William: Okay, and with the interpretation what happened?

Joe: Well there's a negative connotation associated with it.

William: Yeah, yeah, okay. Well seeing is to know that it's not wrong or right, it's what happened.

Joe: Mhm, yeah.

William: It's to know what happens to you. Usually, when something happens, we just blow it off completely and go onto the next subject, but it's to know that you have a negative idea about my recruiting you. Now, why wouldn't that be? Let's discuss that a little bit. Since you seem to recognise that people are not awake? Does that include you, or do you think you're awake?

Joe: No absolutely not no. Once in a blue moon maybe I catch myself.

William: But basically you're not awake in the way we're speaking about being awake, correct?

Joe: No, I would not deem to assume such a thing.

William: Right, then the question is, forget me playing around with you. Why don't you want to awaken?

Joe: I do.

William: But when I try to say something to you, you take it as recruitment, and negative and push it off.

Joe: No I didn't push it off.

William: Well you weren't recruited.

Joe: Well yeah because.

Niall: You yourself used that term.

Joe: Who me?

Niall: No, Mr Patterson.

Joe: I wasn't taken, but the thing is I was aware of the connotation of the military recruitment, but I was also aware that you're not recruiting for the military, and I'm also aware of your work and what you do, so I brushed off. What I brushed off was my automatic association, but not the underlying message, which was that you were putting out the idea that people should join a group, a Gurdjieffian group, your own for example.

William: I'm talking to you, these other people are an abstraction.

Joe: They're our listeners don't call them that. [Laughter]

William: I mean there could be nobody listening, we only think there's people listening. There's only one person who called up, so it's really just me and you, guy. I'm trying to say, hey look this is a teaching of awakening, I know about it, you want to awaken, you say yes, but no. So now I'm saying well why no?

Niall: Well from my part, that would presuppose that you as a teacher are awakened.

William: Well I'm yet to find out about that. Well let's put that aside for a moment right, because what you're doing is you are putting in a roadblock here. So that you don't have to, therefore walk down that road, right?

Joe: But maybe we've already walked down that road, or we're already on that road?

William: Well I don't know about that, well you said you weren't awake?

Joe: No but are you?

William: I'm sorry what?

Joe: No but are you?

William: Of course!

Joe: It's a process.

William: A protest?

Joe: It's a process.

William: A process.

Joe: Yeah, I mean you can't just be awake, someone who's on a path towards awakening is on a path.

William: A protest, I'm sorry what? It's a process!

Joe: A process, sorry.

William: Alright.

Joe: I'm not rejecting the idea of awakening, what I'm saying is that I'm on my own or in my own process of awakening, so therefore I'm not rejecting your offer to start the process, I'm saying I have already started the process.

William: I'm sure you have, but do you know how often I hear this from people in one way or another. I'm always interested in why they say no, and if I really push them they will come down to well I'm on a journey, sometimes they say process but people say I'm on a journey. And of course what I point out to them is who is on a journey? Only an individual 'I', someone who is really there is on a journey. But if I'm just a thought form, etc. I'm not on a journey. So, this is why I have patience, and a sense of humour. I'm going to let you know now, I don't want you to be a student. [Laughter]

Joe: No? So now you're rejecting me? You've turned the tables.

Niall: [laughter]

William: That's right. So what else do you want to know about the teaching?

Joe: Well I was just going to ask you, how do you know you're awake?

William: Well I gave you an example before didn't I? Remember at the health and harmony festival (fair), that Patterson totally disappeared, but because there was all this work on myself, there was a recognition of consciousness, but the person, Patterson, was not there, but there was a recognition of it. But that's only because of many, many years of self-remembering, self-observation. I think we all have these moments of consciousness, but because we are consciousness. We are energy, but we don't have the ability, capability of being aware of something when I am not there. When the person is not there, I'm asleep. But through the Work, when I am not there, I'm awake.

Niall: Okay

Niall: Yeah, I think the difficulty there, you've described a subjective experience, and it was Gurdjieff who said to believe nothing, and the beauty of this teaching was that you, the seeker, could verify it for yourself, in fact you must verify it for yourself. So even though what you've described, and we've no reason to doubt it happened to you as you described it, another person hearing it cannot just from what you've said, recognise it, as being true for them you know? It's inherently subjective.

William: Of course they could not verify it, because you would have to have the capability to be aware in your consciousness of when you weren't a person. So I don't think you probably have heard the description of being awake in that way before; I never have, so I think it's original to me and seems to be objective. I wasn't there, but consciousness was. So it's objective, and then you come back down into the person, and what does a person have? He has - subject, object, perception.

As I said before, you know, I see the clock, I am seeing the clock. Well, when we really look our attention, we'll see that we don't have subject, object, and perception. If we look at our attention, all my attention is taken by the clock, or all my attention is taken by me, not liking the clock, or liking it, and back and forth. It's only when there is a divided attention that I'm experiencing me, the body-mind Patterson, as well as the clock. So as you do that, you can verify it for yourself if you're really sensitive, that you don't live in subject, object, perception that everybody talks about. We're living in either ourselves or we're living in the young lady that just walked by the door. That's where our attention is. So if you do that long enough, then when your consciousness appears, and there's no 'me', there can be a recognition of consciousness, which is what we all are, you see?

So you see that I didn't need any history, any algebra, or anything to have that experience. Those things are interesting and they have their secular value and what have you, but in terms of the process of awakening, no, they're extra-curricular.

Joe: Right, William we have one last call, do you mind taking it or?

William: Sure!

Joe: Okay, it's Alberto V from North California. Alberto are you there?

Alberto: Yes I'm here.

Joe: Welcome to the show, go ahead.

Alberto: Thank you, I want to say it's been really fascinating hearing the conversation this morning, and aspects of it have almost seemed like hearing the modern day Gurdjieff talk to a modern day Ouspensky, so thank you both for that. But, the question I had was, earlier in the show the guests had spoken about Gurdjieff mentioning 15 conscious people that he saw being alive during his lifetime.

William: That's right.

Alberto: So my question was I believe he also said that if 200 people were to come to consciousness that in itself could transform the world, and what the guests had to say about that.

William: Um he didn't say consciousness, he said became individuals. That appears in Fritz Peter's book, Boyhood with Gurdjieff. So yes, according to him, if 200 people come to their individuality, we could change the world. One reason would be, as he says there, and is part of the 5 Obligolnian strivings he's mentions in All and Everything, that once you have become an individual, it's your duty to help other people to help other people to become individuals also, and then when those people are brought, it's their duty, and so forth and so on.

Alberto: In your opinion have we progressed towards those 200 people? I mean are we at least getting closer?

William: Well, you know I don't know. It's a speculation, it's a hope, but how would I know, you know? I do think as I was saying, when you look at America, you see an 1819 Vivekananda coming, and 1920, Yogananda and 1922 Krishnamurti, 1924 Gurdjieff. Then you go to the 50's and you've Suzuki-Roshi bringing Zen, and Maharishi bringing mantra, and going up the line. All these people have come here, and what they're bringing is true, if people really practice it. The difficulty is most people really don't practice it and they don't ever begin where Gurdjieff begins, which is, I am asleep. Right? I am asleep. I am hypnotized by the mechanical reality, but I may be functionally awake. I may be able to do great computer code or whatever it is, but that's not what he's talking about. So I think there's a speedup on all levels, there certainly has been a speedup in terms of all of these wonderful teachers coming with their ideas and hopefully we're at the 200 person level, but I don't know.

Alberto: Indeed, thank you.

Joe: Okay, thanks for your call Alberto.

Alberto: Thank you, bye, bye.

Joe: Bye, bye.

Niall: Well, umm..

William: Why didn't we ask him? I mean why didn't we ask him to join to become an individual...

Joe: You should have.

William: To get into the process, I forgot!

Joe: You're falling down in the job! [Laughter]

William: I fell asleep! [Laughter]

Joe: That's the worst time as well, there was money to be made! [Laughter]

William: I know, I know [laughter]

Niall: He was open right there.

William: Call back Alberto [laughter]

Joe: Well I'm sure he's still listening so...

William: [laughter]

Niall: I guess, you know it's good, that people are curious at least. Alberto's curious and that's the most anyone can do. They say you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

William: Do you know why?

Niall: Yeah go on...

William: Because of imagination, you can lead a horse to water, but then he forgets about the water, and he's thinking about the mayor next door. [Laughter]

Joe: That's true.

Niall: What was I going to say, no I remember, we're going to close it off for now.

William: Okay

Niall: Thank you very much William.

William: I didn't do my... its 25 to almost, it's supposed to be 2 hours, you owe me another 25 minutes here!
[Mr Patterson was 'owed' no such thing! When we ended the first show after one hour, out of concern for his health (he seemed tired and had recently had heart bypass surgery - at 77!), his assistant contacted us to ask for 'another hour to make up the two hours initially agreed'. We agreed. So by this point in the show, we had run way over the 'agreed' time!]
Joe: We can give you another 25 no problem, we just thought that because you did the first hour last time, we didn't want to presume that you would stick around for 2 this time.

William: Well that was presuming. You were in the future weren't you?

Joe: Yeah absolutely.

William: I mean here we are in the present, but you're still thinking about the future.

Joe: Yeah.

William: Yeah okay, I think the future is a good place to leave [laughter] and if you promise to invite me back next year.

Joe: Absolutely, no problem

William: I will be much less recruiting next year I promise [laughter]

Joe: I don't know if I can trust that one [laughter]

William: That's right, very good, very good!

Joe: Well, we'll wait and see.

William: Okay guy. Thank you very much I really have appreciated it.

Joe: Yeah us too, William, thanks a million. We will have you back on at some point, hopefully.

William: Okay, very good.

Joe & Niall: Thank you.

Niall: Take care of yourself.

William: Thank you, okay bye, bye.

Joe & Niall: Bye

Niall: And just to remind listeners, until midnight tonight, pacific US time, you can get Mr Patterson's latest book, the superb biography/compendium, on George Gurdjieff, The Man, The Teaching, His Mission and its 10 bucks off until midnight.

Joe: Yeah, there was one question I didn't get to ask him there, it was about wiseacreing, Gurdieff's term wiseacreing.

Niall: Yeah

Joe: I wondered if he's, I'm sure he's aware of it, but I'm wondering if he's any good at it.

Niall: Well you probably need to be, if you're going to be able to humour all these people, or suffer all these people.

Joe: Well yeah, but I don't think wiseacreing was necessarily a positive term as Gurdjieff described it. Anyway, yeah, so that was William Patrick Patterson. He has done a lot of good work in terms of just researching Gurdjieff's life. We don't know anything about his study groups, and we don't know anybody who's been part of them, and we don't know how many people are part of them. But obviously he's out there on the web, he's easily found and maybe at some point someone will let us know.

Maybe you're not allowed to give the inside story, I don't know about these things, whether it's top secret or not. But of course, we didn't go into it there, but his sincere or insincere request to recruit or for us to join up, I don't know how that works. Obviously he's in California, we're very far away from California. I think you probably have to be in person, I don't think it's an online study course. Maybe it is, I don't know if there's much value.

Niall: I think he was saying it can begin online, they'll send you stuff in the mail and then encourage people to meet...

Joe: Some exercises to do etc. Etc.

Niall: Yeah

Joe: Yeah, so maybe we'll find out at some point from someone what the inside scoop is. From someone who's actually taking part in it, because obviously that's the other half of what he does. He writes books but he also tries to apply the teachings on a practical level.

Niall: I was kind of stumped because it completely goes against how I'm seeing things at the moment, where I want to know all things about the world. I'm intensely curious, and I've found that growing that curiosity, satisfying it if you like, has made me, I'm not going to say enlightened but a better person in many respects, and so I keep up with it. There's so many interesting things Gurdjieff said and showed by example, but you're never quite sure that's the whole banana, you know. Gurdjieff had his aim, did he succeed in it? I think, by his own accounts, no, he failed.

Joe: Yeah, by his own accounts, yes, he failed, but did he go about it the right way? Obviously you can't expect so much of one person. You can't expect one person to come along and change the world necessarily, it's people who will change the world ultimately, or won't change it. What Gurdjieff did was present to the world some very simple, fundamental truths, real ultimate truths about human existence. I mean poignantly and you know, just profoundly true.

In a way that's hard to forget. In a way that's hard to forget, but also the problem with them is that the reason they stick so much is because they're shocking, they're simple but they're extremely shocking, and they're rejected by most people out of hand because they attack a person's own sense of self, sense of independence, sense of being, essentially. Because it tells people that they ultimately have no being unless they work for it, and most people are here just to live their lives as...

Niall: Oh yeah well, to tell people you have no souls, you might be able to grow one. That just flies in the face of everything they've been led to believe.

Joe: They're been told, so the problem is that people today have been told before by mainstream religion that everybody has a soul, and if you're good you're going to heaven. So for someone like Gurdjieff to come along and say no, you start out not from the vaunted place of having a soul and being in a superior place behind the pearly gates, but rather you start out from nothing, and you have to work hard and suffer. This one thing that we didn't really get into in this show, and Patrick seemed to, I don't know, it was not in his mind, or it isn't something that he thinks about too much, but suffering is the process by which according to Gurdjieff, a soul can be grown. Not simply by following exercises or doing exercises. Self-observation and external consideration and non-internal consideration are all just words and sound "like let's do some exercises along the lines of those words, lets follow the exercises for self-observation, and external consideration and non-internal consideration", but when you do those it's by implication or by definition, it'll involve some level of suffering. Depending on the situation it can involve a lot of suffering.

Niall: It literally hurts your brain.

Joe: Yes, and even then life presents situations where you suffer just because you're human, because of the conditions of life. Nobody escapes that, and it's at that point that then you're meant to apply that kind of self-observation and external consideration and non-internal consideration, which generally can often make the suffering worse in the moment. So that is the process in theory by which a soul can be grown, but it revolves around suffering. I mean you see how mainstream religion has twisted that to the kind of flagellations and warring those, callouses, not callouses, whatever their name is, you know barbed wire around the leg and beating yourself with sticks and stuff. That seems to me to be a corruption to the idea of suffering to progress spiritually. That's not the way you go about it, it's more intense suffering, the internal suffering you know. Going against beliefs, going against well programmed desires, going against programmes, rewriting programs, rewriting pathways, neurological pathways laid down in your brain. Very often through suffering when you were a child and trying to rewire those is a painful process, and I think more should be talked about in that respect, I mean we talk about it a lot on our forum and our websites. Not that we're saying it's all doom and gloom and you must suffer horribly to get anything, but it's certainly a part of it.

Niall: People understand that it's in the common lexicon, 'no pain no gain'.

Joe: Exactly.

Niall: And if it's like growing a muscle and developing it, then you can apply that analogy to an internal machine that needs to be repaired or fixed.

Joe: Yeah... we have another caller on the line here, a Mark from Baltimore. Hi Mark.

Mark: Hi, thank you for taking my call.

Joe: No problem.

Mark: I was interested in some of the comments you made after Mr Patterson got off the phone, and also your question earlier, "can you do this sort of with a group of like-minded people?" I had done TM for many years and then found a group of like-minded people and we engaged in discussions in all the words you were just talking about, self-observation, inner considering, external considering, and it gradually came my attention, and it was gradual, that we were going nowhere.

It was just vocabulary, and I am a student of Mr Patterson, and one of the people in that group one day showed me a flyer for a seminar, and I went to a seminar and all of the, what I sometimes consider wasted years, the 12 years of meditation, the 7 years in the faux group, allowed me to experience the difference between a real teaching and head chatter. You can't put it in words, but you know that you are, fortunately for whatever reason, I was open enough to receive to some degree what was being offered, and we all have to deal with resistance to being as the person sees it "under the thumb of the teacher", but what is under the thumb doesn't exist. And so we have to observe our resistance, just as I was hearing your resistance to what was being offered. We all go through it, all the time, no matter how many years you're in it. Maybe that relates somewhat to the suffering you were speaking of, we do it consciously.

Joe: Yeah I agree, I'm well aware of that resistance, I've experienced before the resistance to being under the thumb, as you say, of a teacher, essentially because I think for most people in that situation what it is, is a feeling of giving up your will to another person.

Mark: And we don't have any will... you're right, you're right

Joe: If you follow the teachings of Gurdjieff you realise you don't have any will, so you should therefore willingly give it up, but of course it's a struggle, because of course everyone's is inured with this idea of my will and me and my decisions and my control over my life, but giving that up is very difficult, but that's the struggle between yes and no partly, and it has to be engaged in; it's suffering, and you know that's, I'm not under the thumb, it's not maybe a good term, but I do have a teacher, so I know very well what you're talking about, but obviously Mr Patterson didn't explore enough to find that out you know? Maybe we weren't forthcoming with that kind of information, it wasn't necessary, but maybe he was making some assumptions there, because he, understandably thinks he's the only one on the planet even organising at least in the West, in an English speaking world, organising...

Mark: I think you should ask him that question, I know he doesn't.

Joe: Well if he doesn't maybe he shouldn't assume so much that other people aren't following a similar path, you know with his joking sales type of pitch. When I was a little bit resistant to it, it wasn't that I was resistant to joining a kind of Gurdjieff group or following the Gurdjieff teachings, it was that I'm already doing so with someone else, so when someone else comes along and apparently tries to poach me away, unaware that I am doing that, that's where the resistance was coming from. It wasn't even resistance, I understand him very well and I understand what he's trying to do, and I admire it.

Mark: Okay, let me just say this to you, people, speaking for myself, who are on the path to being awake, hopefully, don't understand the person who is awake. It's the difference between the objective and the personal, and so what the idea of spreading the teaching is not something that he does for his portfolio, so to speak, it is as he sees it, his duty. In the most profound way and obviously if you were having a private conversation with him and had a discussion about what you were doing, that would've been a factor. You didn't offer up that was your reason either, this is the first we're hearing about that you have a teacher, he wouldn't know it, we didn't know it as we were listening to the progress.

Joe: Yeah, well maybe it wasn't the topic either and we didn't want to get into that discussion, it was really about him and what he's doing you know, so it was maybe a little bit off topic you know?

Mark: Yeah, but the point is that what you were going through for your reasons, other listeners are going through for their reasons and they need to see it, and their reasons may not be that they are in a teaching. Their reasons may be that the person is reacting negatively, in that they could do what he suggested, that is inhabit the body and observe the reaction, and they would begin to see that they are not what they take themselves to be.

Joe: Absolutely.

Mark: So that's the opportunity that is there.

Joe: Absolutely I agree.

Mark: Okay, well anyway thank you for taking my call.

Joe: No problem Mark, thanks for calling.

Niall: Thanks Mark, bye, bye.

Joe: Yeah, so you know, I don't know what to say now.

Niall: It's all about Gurdjieff.

Joe: Yeah absolutely, a teacher is there to provide direction, but the vast majority of the work has to be done by the individual. I mean it's an inner struggle, and you, as William himself quotes Gurdjieff saying, "when you die, you die alone, you don't die with anybody else", and that's the ultimate truth. Unfortunately that's true for people when they're alive, when most people are alive, is that they're alone, often to in the similar way that they're alone when they die. They die alone, and I think it's a valuable endeavour to try and change that while you're alive, to form connections with people, proper connections with people. Even getting into Gurdjieffian talk about Gurdjieffian language of the centres and connecting centres, even connecting charkas, to use a new age kind of term, but basically to bond with other people who are of like mind, of like understanding, and to form essentially an esoteric group.

A group of people who are bound together by a common understanding, usually born of suffering to one degree or another, and the lessons that are learned from that suffering, and that the lessons that are imprinted upon you, because of the strength of the experience. That's where true knowledge comes from, when that true knowledge can be almost like a physical thing and particularly if it's shared between people who are all going in the same direction.
When we were talking before about the terror of the situation I think William said the terror of the situation was Gurdjieff saying that we're not awake but more or less the state of...

Niall: No, he specifically said the terror of the situation is that we don't use our powers.

Joe: Right, that we have all this power and don't use it.

Niall: For potential.

Joe: Yeah, but it seems to me...

Niall: That wasn't the interpretation I had.

Joe: No it wasn't and it seems to me you have to get to the point where you're aware of the power that you have to feel that terror, which can be a long process because most people aren't going to be terrified by the fact that they don't have all this power because they don't realise they have all this power. The way we were kind of looking at the terror of the situation was the terror of the human condition essentially that people are machines, and to wake up to that fact, and that's a terrifying proposition.

That's why people reject the idea that they are asleep, that they are automatons, because it's such a terrifying concept, to be told you're a machine, you have no real control over your actions, over your desires, over your life ultimately, that you have no free will essentially. You're not aware, you're not awake, you're driven by unseen forces, or an unseen force within yourself that may not have your interests at heart.

Niall: That's the internal aspect, but the external one is that you actually wake up one day, and go out on the same street you're familiar with, you're going to the same place, the store down the road, and you get this glimpse of, "oh my god", and you see, and you get that glimpse of what is meant by everyone around you being machines. Ouspensky has this glimpse in St Petersburg.

Joe: Exactly, and it can be achieved, the terror of the situation can be seen by going inwards and realising that about yourself; getting a glimpse of that automatic kind of nature.

Niall: Is it easier to see it outside?

Joe: Well I think it's a dual thing in the sense that you can be aware of it to some extent, to get a glimpse of it within yourself; the lack of control you have over your own impulses and thoughts and actions, but also you can see it in the world around you, once you're aware of that concept it can dawn on you, the effect that a whole world full of sleep walkers is having. You look at the world and you see dead people, asleep people, and that can be a terrifying thing to see as well, and to see ultimately where that is leading the world, because we're all tied to it right?

We're on this world and the great mass of humanity charts the course of humanity itself and of the planet etc. Where's it going when everybody is asleep? And you're here, you're stuck, you're on the same boat, what are you going to do? I mean that's the terror of the situation as well and that's intrinsically tied to the Gurdjieffian concept you know, and that then leads us to the idea that it can be helpful to spend time observing the world, looking at what's going on the world and reaffirming, reconfirming to yourself that this is really the nature of humanity and you're a part of it. It is mirrored or reflected in the things that happen on the planet, and the course it's set on, where it's going today for example. So that's why we say it's a useful part of the process to pay attention to what's going on in the world today, and even seeing what happened in the past, and seeing how history repeats itself, and seeing that humanity has always been like this. Just to disabuse yourself of any idea that it'll all change, Jesus will come and save us or anything like that. No! This has happened over and over and over again. Sleeping humanity has always been asleep, and it has repeatedly led to the collapse, destruction and annihilation of civilizations and round and round and round you go, and you're a part of it.

Is that not scary? Would that not maybe something that could be used as an impetus to wake up? To engage in the process of attempting to wake up? So that's why we think looking at the history of this planet and history of humanity is important, but we don't want to rain on Mr Patterson's parade and he has his ideas about things, and we're not going to fight with him over it.

Niall: It's strange that he said, you know, oh forget history, but I don't think he really means it, or he meant something else, but he wasn't quite saying it right. Why do I say that? Because his latest book is a fantastic history book, it's a history of Gurdjieff and it's a history of the conditions, the times he was in, what was going on; the connections between all the other people around him. If it was just about Gurdjieff it wouldn't tell us enough, but it's fleshed out, it's not just about 'me, Gurdjieff', it's about the relationships, the dynamics, the history, so it's, I don't know...

Joe: Well nobody has all the answers.

Niall: You can say one thing and mean another thing.

Joe: The bottom is that no one has all the answers. I mean Gurdjieff was - even William admits - most likely a very evolved soul, so for anybody to try and claim to understand exactly what he meant or what was in his head is a bit silly, you know. But his teachings are there for everybody to analyse and for maybe more evolved people on the planet at the time to interpret in a particular way that would be helpful to student. In that sense William is doing a great job and he's doing a very good job in terms of putting the information together and maintaining Gurdjieff's teachings for the world in terms of his books.

Niall: He can't be commended enough for that, I mean it's a service to humanity.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. Anyway I think we'll leave it there for this week folks, we've reached the two hour mark. Thanks first to William, for being on, for another very interesting discussion on a very interesting topic.

Niall: And thanks also to all those people who set up this.

[Applause sound effect]

Niall: Very nice applause, thank you Joe. Thanks also to our producer. People back in California and elsewhere who helped set up this second interview.

Joe: Yes, absolutely to Patrick's people.

Niall: You can get his latest book from his website, I think its Gurdjieff, google 'Gurdjieff legacy'. We're going to be back next week...

Joe: And thanks to our listeners of course, our listeners and our chatters and our callers who came in with some good questions.

Niall: Thanks.

Joe: Yes, and we'll be back next week.

Niall: Well we've had guests for the last two weeks, so I think next week we're going to do some dot connecting.

Joe: Yes, next week we're going to sum up what's been going on over the past few weeks while we've been talking to other people. We'll probably get on the Ferguson thing; we're already on it on our website at It's been polemic to say the least.

Niall: Oh yes!

Joe: So we'll be talking about that, and I'm sure there will be other things that will happen over the course of the week that we'll draw on to bring you all and everything, or connecting the dots, so that is next week. Until then, thanks to everybody again, and have a good one.

Niall: Bye, bye!