Central Park, New York
Today we will come back to Paul's other question:
The question remains did g see an end or culmination to life on earth - in which we are serving something higher or lower than ourselves - autoegocrat...etc?
I think this question somewhat misses the mark. One has to examine a wide variety of premises and truths in order to get to that.
First of all, there is no end or culmination to anything, technically speaking.
Within eternity— which is existence outside of time, in which all existence is a perfection, a singularity — nothing culminates and there is no progression. There is only truth, which is a whole thing and remains undivided by progressions, fractions, or interference of any kind.
Yet this is of course (at least for us) a hypothetical condition that totally belies the progressive nature of material reality.
Within the context of material reality, of course, everything comes to an end — whereby we might say that everything culminates in one way or another. Yet there is no actual ending, because all culminations take place from instant to instant, leading to a new state which is at once both a completely new beginning and the end of itself, since it immediately gives birth to the next state.
This is heady philosophical stuff, isn't it?
Yet it leads us inexorably to see that within the state of absolute and objective — as opposed to limited and subjective —Being, questions such as the one Paul is asking become pointless. Our task is to Be — and within Being, such questions are supremely unimportant.
This is a matter of practice. While we need to engage in theory and philosophy, we need to understand the division between those things and practice, and honor them both.
How Mr. Gurdjieff viewed these questions remains a mystery. But one can presume what his intentions and attitudes were from where we are now, leading me to believe that what I have just said would probably conform to his understanding.
I'm sure readers want a more precise answer than this one, but I can't give it, except so:
Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.