Meetings With Remarkable Men: Gurdjieff’s Search for Hidden Knowledge
A film screening with artist Daniel Brummel
Sunday, March 13th, 2011
A film adaptation of the autobiography of Greek-Armenian mystic Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1866-1949), which was written in order “to prove that there exist other ways of perceiving reality, and to indicate their direction.” It is an adventure of the mind — growing, being formed, setting out after inner knowledge, discovering it, and putting it to the test of rigorous personal practice. Thus it is an adventure in two worlds, and it is the viewer’s delight and enrichment to discern where one world ends and the other begins. Gurdjieff weaves the stories of “remarkable men” he has met into the story of his own travels across the Near East and Central Asia, locating spiritual texts and/or other “Seekers of Truth” along the way. Gurdjieff claims to have first heard the Epic of Gilgamesh as an oral epic sung from memory by his father; to have made contact with various ancient brotherhoods including the Sarmoung Brotherhood; to have copied a map of “pre-sand Egypt,” and to have witnessed a number of miracles and esoteric phenomena. The underlying philosophy that emerges amounts to the assertion that people generally live their lives asleep, are unconscious of themselves, and accordingly behave like machines, subject to outside causes and pressures. Higher inner levels of existence and hidden harmonies are alluded to. It can be claimed that many of the vignettes in “Meetings…” are meant to be symbolic, or “teaching stories.”
Written in Russian, the manuscript was begun in 1927 and revised over many years, the first English translation by A. R. Orage was not published until 1963. The 1979 film was shot on location in Afghanistan, directed by Peter Brooks.
This event is part of Skylike Notdoings, a residency by artist Daniel Brummel.