Gurdjieff and Ouspensky
After the First World War and the Russian Revolution, many displaced people passed through Constantinople en route to the West. Part of Bennett's job was to monitor their movements. Among them were G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky, whom Bennett met through Prince Sabaheddin, a reformist thinker who had introduced him to a wide range of religious and occultist ideas, including Theosophy and Anthroposophy.
Bennett became determined to pursue the search for a deeper reality. It was a search he would continue for his entire life.
When Gurdjieff and Ouspensky moved on to Europe, Bennett remained in Turkey, committed to his work and fascinated by the political and social developments that finally led to the fall of the sultanate and the proclamation, on October 29, 1923 of the Turkish republic. However, Bennett had been profoundly impressed with Gurdjieff's ideas about the arrangement of the human organism and the possibility of a man's transformation to a higher state of being, and would later dedicate much of his life to the elaboration and dissemination of those ideas. Bennett approved the permission certificate to M. Kemal Atatürk to Samsun, that he started Turkish Independence struggle there.
Gurdjieff founded his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Château Le Prieuré in Fontainebleau-Avon, south of Paris, in October 1922. Bennett visited in the summer of 1923, spending three months at the institute. This experience further convinced him that Gurdjieff had profound knowledge and understanding of techniques by which man can achieve transformation. Gurdjieff encouraged Bennett to stay longer, but Bennett was short of money and so felt obliged to return to work in England. Though Bennett expected to return to the group soon, he would not meet Gurdjieff again until 1948.
Bennett served the British government as a consultant on the Middle East, and interpreted at the 1924 conference in London intended to settle disputes between Greece and Turkey. He was invited to stand for parliament, but he chose instead to give his personal studies precedence over his public life.
He joined Ouspensky's groups, and continued to study Gurdjieff's system with them for fifteen years, though Ouspensky broke off all contact with Gurdjieff himself in the early 1920s.
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Famous quotes containing the word gurdjieff:
“In properly organized groups no faith is required; what is required is simply a little trust and even that only for a little while, for the sooner a man begins to verify all he hears the better it is for him.”
—George Gurdjieff (c. 18771949)