Earlier this year I moved a 20-year book collection into storage. Part of the collection was a shelf of Fourth Way literature I acquired in my early twenties when I explored the Gurdjieff Work. At one point, I had most of the Arkana reissues of memoirs by George Gurdjieff’s followers. In 1995, I began reading John Godolphin Bennett’s studies in La Trobe University’s Borchardt library, whilst researching an article on King Crimson and Robert Fripp for Perth’s REVelation Magazine.
These encounters led to a chain of events over a six or seven year period: first to Melbourne’s Theosophical Society library and their Bennett collection on Systematics and Subud; later to a Work Group run by Brian and Nina Earl; then to more personal self-work and discussions with others; then to dossiers for the Disinformation website on Gurdjieff and Bennett; and finally in 2001 to an undergraduate essay on Gurdjieff and peace studies in which I tried to synthesise all that I had learnt. In 2002, I started Masters studies in the Strategic Foresight program at Swinburne University which was deeply influenced by the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth simulation, which Gurdjieff and Bennett had anticipated.
The thread running through these experiences was the Greek word Aletheia: an ’embodied’ presence of Self from Self-Remembering practices.
At the time, Bennett’s books were either dusty hardbacks in a rarely visited part of a university library or Bennett Books paperback reissues. Now, you can get many of them on Amazon.com’s Kindle platform. The first volume of Bennett’s Dramatic Universe study has been reissued; along with monographs on Hazard and other topics. Other books I had put into storage – such as psychologist Claudio Naranjo’s Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View on the Enneagram of the Sarmoung – are also on the Kindle platform.
Two decades later I am starting to have a better grasp of Bennett’s synthesis of ecological thinking, cross-cultural encounters, and strategic intelligence. I’ve had experiences with Naranjo’s influences in psycho-dynamic and existential therapy. It feels like revisiting an earlier part of life – with more informed insights – and the portability of modern computer and smartphone technology. I’m also seeing how – living under different life conditions and with different influences – I might develop a personal synthesis like Bennett and Naranjo did.