Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Man Named Ouspensky

Pyotr Demianovitch Ouspensky, author of Tertium Organum, A New Model of the Universe, and in Search of the Miraculous, was an emigre Russian philosopher, and one of the last major Russian thinkers whose thought in some ways took substantially different directions from those taken by modern western philosophy. Although his work was wide in its scope, in his later life it manifested particularly in linking psychology and cosmology in a way intended to give a unified view of man and of his place in the world.
About man he spoke of an ancient psychological teaching- gained from the enigmatic ‘G’ – a teaching which approached man not in terms of what he is but of what he may become. About the world he spoke in a way that integrated exactly with this classical view of man, the two views together forming a holistic concept of man in the world because, as he said, you cannot study man without studying the world in which he lives.

Please do not think you can develop without efforts. Do not think you can study man, or the world without efforts. Life in this modern time seems to be constantly wearing people down. Keeping them at the lowest possible level of life. But once you realise clearly that life is not purely about working until retirement, then after that slowly waiting for your death to come for you. something can be done!

Please forgive me if this sounds harsh to you. But I can’t emphasise the point enough that if you want a small thing, say a cup of tea, you must make a small effort and go and make one. If you want to loose 2st in weight or learn Russian on the other hand. Constant, daily, regular efforts must be incorporated into your daily routine that is life.

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develop

de·vel·op
[dih-vel-uh p]

– verb (used with object)
1.
to bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state: to develop natural resources; to develop one’s musical talent.
2.
to cause to grow or expand: to develop one’s muscles.
3.
to elaborate or expand in detail: to develop a theory.
4.
to bring into being or activity; generate; evolve.

5.
Drafting. to transfer the details of (a more or less two-dimensional design, pattern, or the like) from one surface, especially one that is prismatic or cylindrical, onto another, usually planar, in such a way that the distances between points remain the same.

6.
Biol.
1. to cause to go through the process of natural evolution from a previous and lower stage.
2. to cause to progress from an embryonic to an adult form.

7.
Mathematics to express in an extended form, as in a series.

8.
Music. to unfold, by various technical means, the inherent possibilities of (a theme).

9.
Photog.
1. to render visible (the latent image on an exposed film or the like).
2. to treat (an exposed film or the like) with chemicals so as to render the latent image visible.

10.
Chess. to bring (a piece) into effective play, especially during the initial phase of a game when pieces are moved from their original position on the board: He developed his rook by castling.

11.
Mining. to prepare (a new mine) for working by digging access openings and building necessary structures.
– verb (used without object)

12.
to grow into a more mature or advanced state; advance; expand: She is developing into a good reporter.
13.
to come gradually into existence or operation; be evolved.
14.
to be disclosed; become evident or manifest: The plot of the novel developed slowly.
15.
to undergo developing, as a photographic film.

16.
Biol.
1. to progress from an embryonic to an adult form.
2. to progress from earlier to later stages of ontogeny or phylogeny.
3. to reach sexual maturity.

Origin: 1585–95; < MF développer, OF desveloper, equiv. to des- dis-1 + voloper to wrap up; see envelop

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Intensity of Efforts

Many times in this blog I have stated that I believe people can develop. But that it is not easy! If one wants to improve in a certain recreation, efforts must be made, the more the better.

In todays blog I will be taking two quotes from different men to emphasise this point. The point that if you really want to develop a skill, it is possible over time.

The first is from a man I have been reading a lot of quotes from recently, all of which are very true. His name is Baltasar Gracian, (1601-1658). If you like this quote and Gracian interests you, you can type his name into Wikipedia and read all about him to your hearts content:

“Prize intensity more than extensity. Perfection resides in quality, not quantity. Extent alone never rises above mediocrity, and it is the misfortune of men with wide general interests that while they would like to have their finger in every pie, they have one in none. Intensity gives eminence, and rises to the heroic in matters sublime.”

Not the easiest paragraph to digest, but with a few readings you can see what Baltasar is getting at. The first two sentences hold much of the meaning: Quality is better than quantity.

The next quote is from a man named Ouspensky. It is written in much simpler English that the last. He is explaining to one of his pupils the need for pressure when trying to achieve a certain goal. In this case learning a language. The Russian language:

“If you want to learn a language, you must learn a certain number of words every day and give some time to the study of grammar and so on. If you want to learn Russian and begin by learning five words a day, I will guarantee that you will never learn it. But if you learn two hundred words a day, in a few months you will understand Russian. It all depends on elementary statistics. In every kind of work or study there is a certain standard. If you give it a certain amount of energy and time, but just not enough, you will have no results. You will only turn round and round and remain approximately in the same place.”

But… It is clear that this could be achieved. It is no small feat to learn the Russian language, or Arabic for that matter, but there are many people living today who have learnt them.

All this taken together should show the point I am trying to make. That progress is a slow process. But if you have a clear goal in mind, be it to learn a language, or loose weight, or be a better golfer. It can be reached.

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eudemonia

eu·de·mo·ni·a
[yoo-di-moh-nee-uh]

– noun
1.
happiness; well-being.
2.
Aristotelianism. happiness as the result of an active life governed by reason.
Also, eu·dae·mo·ni·a.

Origin: < Gk eudaimonía. See eudemon, -ia

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The Man and the Serpent

A fable is a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters. The majority I have shared are from Aesop (620-564 bc) but they can come from many different schools or teachings. I will be posting a very nice one from Jewish Folklore in the coming days.

These short stories can help one to see things in a new light, from a different angle. Especially if you are going through something you can relate it too in your own life.
Aesop:

A Countryman’s son by accident trod upon a Serpent’s tail, which turned and bit him so that he died. The father in a rage got his axe, and pursuing the Serpent, cut off part of its tail. So the Serpent in revenge began stinging several of the Farmer’s cattle and caused him severe loss. Well, the Farmer thought it best to make it up with the Serpent, and brought food and honey to the mouth of its lair, and said to it: “Let’s forget and forgive; perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him; now that we are both satisfied why should not we be friends again?”

“No, no,” said the Serpent; “take away your gifts; you can never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail.”

Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.

20120427-073030.jpg

This picture of a Hellenistic statue is reputed to depict Aesop.

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gestate

ges·tate
[jes-teyt]

– verb (used with object)
1.
to carry in the womb during the period from conception to delivery.
2.
to think of and develop (an idea, opinion, plan, etc.) slowly in the mind.
– verb (used without object)
3.
to experience the process of gestating offspring.
4.
to develop slowly.

Origin: 1865–70; < L gestātus ptp. of gestāre to carry about, carry in the womb, freq. of gerere to bear, perform

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Gurdjieff at Christmas

This is now the third story I will share referring to the enigmatic character named George Gurdjieff. I shouldn’t have to remind you that this fragment is from a book, which in turn is a fragment of a mans life, which is a fragment of a time on Earth.

If this man Gurdjieff is beginning to interest you. If you enjoy the stories I share about him. I urge you to type his name into google or Wikipedia and read further fragments about this man. Alternatively you can go further and purchase one of a number of books by him with the title ‘Meetings with Remarkable Men’ which is a fabulous timeless classic. Or do nothing further. Your choice.

This extract is from the same book as the other two. If interested get in touch through twitter and I will share the name of it. Like I said, there are a few books by Gurdjieff himself. And many more by people who’s lives were touched by his. Enjoy!

At breakfast on Christmas Eve, 1922, Mr. Gurdjieff gave me the task of putting a Christmas tree up in the living room, one that he had already pointed out to me in the forest. He assigned four people to help me, and we left immediately.
My helpers were English and American, all newcomers. When we reached the tree, whose trunk was almost a foot in diameter, I placed my team around it, telling each to take firm hold of a strong branch within easy reach. I told them that if we all rocked the tree back and forth rhythmically, we could uproot it without having to cut it down.
Our efforts led to nothing. Whats more, the very idea that we could pull up such a big tree while standing on its roots seemed to them absurd, if not completely mad. From then on, all four refused to follow instructions that seemed totally ridiculous to them.
As Mr. Gurdjieff was passing by with several people, I explained the situation to him. He immediately sent the four rebels off to the chateau but, curious to see what might happen, they stopped to observe from a distance. Gyorgi Ivanovitch immediately had water brought in buckets and he poured it slowly over the base of the tree while we slowly rocked it from side to side. Then, each taking hold of a large branch, we all pulled upwards together, and the tree began to rise.
The four sceptics, who had never stopped watching, returned, amazed. One more pull and the tree came out of the ground. It was not an illusion. all four of them were left dunbfounded. The apparent mircle, however, lasted only a moment: the trunk, without a single root and sharpened to a point, seemed to be mocking the four speechless and somewhat crestfallen men. It was, in fact, the superb top of a tall tree felled on the site where the Study House was to be built.
One thing did seem miraculous, however. How could a tree that was cut down several months earlier sill be green at the end of December?

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