|Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949|
Soon after posting How I began "the Work", I began thinking about that title, and the fact that few people would have any idea as to what "the Work" is and means. So, I set about looking for a web page that I could copy which provided a brief and easy to understand definition of what exactly the Work is.
I browsed at least 20 web pages, but did not find what I was looking for. What I see is a repeat of the basic definition as quoted below from The Gurdjieff Foundation:
The Gurdjieff work remains above all essentially an oral tradition, transmitted under specially created conditions from person to person, continually unfolding, without fixed doctrinal beliefs or external rites, as a way toward freeing humanity from the waking sleep that holds us in a kind of hypnotic illusion. – The Gurdjieff Work Today
To me, that is "The Gurdjieff Work from 1930" and has little relevance to my personal involvement in what I call "the Work." It's probably for the best that I've been unable to find an updated version. Although I'm not keen on writing (I much prefer copying!) – I have written a few words that better expresses my views about this topic, which can be found in the blog entry mentioned above.
However, in the course of my searching and browsing, I came upon an article that I'd never seen before: Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949. The first thing that hit me was the timing of Gurdjieff's visit, and his interest in the artifacts found there.
Excerpts from "Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949".
Dying of cancer, Gurdjieff visited the caves of Lascaux, his last wish. The prehistoric art he saw there – was it an Atlantean legominism?
Said Elizabeth Mayall: "I remember him standing with his feet apart, leaning on his stick, with his head thrown back, looking up at the Great Stag with the stylized antlers in the first gallery." Inspecting the paintings, Gurdjieff told his students they were the work of "a brotherhood that existed after the loss of Atlantis seven or eight thousand years ago," likely a reference to the society Akhaldan.
- "As he stood looking at the paintings," said J. G. Bennett, "he seemed completely to belong there. He explained various symbols, and especially the painting of a strange composite animal, which he said was like the Sphinx, the 'emblem' of an esoteric society.
Bennett asked if he meant "symbol."
- He implied, according to Bennett, that Lascaux was the center of an esoteric society and that the Great Stag was not only its emblem but its reminding factor for its work. The horns on the reindeer, he said, are like Beelzebub's horns. The number of points on the antlers represented the degree of attainment of the man.
Viewing the paintings on the cave walls, Gurdjieff said they were 8,000 years old. Here he might only have been speaking of the years before the birth of Jesus Christ and not including the two thousand years after. If so, the paintings would be some 10,000 years old.
Bennett reminded him that experts dated the paintings to 18,000 to 20,000 years. Gurdjieff wouldn't hear of it. "He insisted," said Bennett, "that this work was done after the loss of Atlantis."
Bennett told him that the evidence from the implements and bones in the cave showed that the paintings "go back before the time of the loss of Atlantis."
According to Bennett, "Gurdjieff immediately replied in a rather shocked tone, 'How can that be? These cannot be before the loss of Atlantis.' He then remained silent and I could get no more out of him."
When the group collected by the cars in front of the caves, Gurdjieff instructed Bennett to drive in another car. Then on the way back to Paris at Tulle, without any ceremony, he told Bennett: "I go left; you go right."
"Then we must say goodbye to you," answered Bennett. "Yes, goodbye!" Could what Gurdjieff is saying to Bennett relate to Bennett's denial of Gurdjieff's date for the Lascaux paintings?
As can be seen from Gurdjieff's comments at Lascaux and his First Series, the destruction of Atlantis is a pivotal event for him.
Read More at Gurdjieff Legacy.org
[editor's comments] The article is quite interesting, and well worth reading. I take note of Gurdjieff's reaction to the earlier dates, and his insistence on his dates. My comment is simply, nobody knows the origin of man.