The Gurdjieff Journal—Fourth Way Perspectives

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Sex on the Brain


In his 136-page chapter "Beelzebub in America," the longest in the First Series, and, interestingly, preceding the chapter on War, Gurdjieff prophesied that what would destroy the power-possessing beings of America was sex and food. It was not our "feverish existence" whose "predominant urge" was this "love of 'dollar business' and of dollars themselves." It was not our maleficent invention of advertising which he viewed as "one of the chief causes of the continued 'dwindling of the psyche'" of three-brained beings of this planet with the sacred being-function of conscience being completely atrophied among contemporary journalists and reporters. Sex on the Brain The major problem was food and sex with almost half of the Americans he met. He saw that the "proceeding functioning of the transformation of the first being-food is disharmonized," which is to say that "their digestive organs are spoiled," and almost a quarter were candidates for impotence. If this continued at the present rate, he said, then what befell monarchic Russia will befall us—that is, we will be destroyed. The death of Russia came because of the abnormalities of the Reason of the power-possessing beings there, whereas with America it would be the consequence of organic abnormalities. The death of Russia came from 'mind' whereas the death of America will come from the 'stomach and sex' of its beings.

Occultism & Russia's Mind

What Gurdjieff is pointing at with Russia can be seen in The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, a series of essays which give a vivid portrayal of the predominance of spiritualism and Satanism in Russia's "Silver Age" (1890–1914). Contrived by Allan Kardec (1804–69) in France, both Spiritualism and Spiritism had reached Russia by the late 1850s and gradually infected the minds of many of its nobility. Before Rasputin, there were many other charlatans. The Satanism virus came via the Symbolist writers such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Villars and Huysmans. "The widespread Russian interest in the fashionable forms of occultism," says Maria Carlson in her essay "Fashionable Occultism," "was a middle-and-upper-class response to the larger crisis of culture and consciousness…. Seances, mediums, [theosophical] mahatmas, and magic soon became part of the language of daily communication." Russia's enchantment with the occult is attested to, she says, "by the publication of more than thirty Russian journals, as well as over 800 discrete book titles (exclusive of belles-lettres) dealing with such subjects between 1881 and 1918."

Russian journals

The effect of occultism on Russia "contributed massively to the politics of myth and cult that culminated in Stalinism," states Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal in her essay, "Political Implications of the Early Twentieth-Century Occult Revival." In the twilight years of the empire, politicized occult doctrines had helped to structure perceptions of and receptions to contemporary events, nourishing the maximalism and utopianism of the extreme left and the conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism of the extreme right.… During and after the Bolshevik Revolution occult ideas were a major factor in Soviet utopianism. Occult-derived symbols and techniques informed early Soviet mass festivals and political theater, as well as the Lenin cult, the Stalin cult, and Socialist Realism."

As is well known, the situation in Russia today is little better, if not much worse, than it was before Yeltsin's quasidemocratic government. "The Satanic principles of lies and fraud" are rife in Russia today, says the Russian Patriarch Alexy II, the spiritual leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. Concerned by the collapse of Russian society's formerly strict moral code, the Patriarch says that Russian society is imbued with "the cult of violence, cruelty, betrayal and lechery," with a pervasive propaganda of egoism, pleasure and entertainment corrupting the people. The Patriarch decried the constant "mocking and ridicule" of traditional Christian values, noting that the teachings of the Bible were being "pushed into the background, toward oblivion." He also blasted the continuing Russian fascination with paganism, spiritualism, cults and black magic, all of which have flourished since the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.


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