Thursday, September 10, 2020

"Meetings with Remarkable Men" (film)

G. I. Gurdjieff; Peter Brook via Mindwalk; Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha at age 35, was from Afghanistan (not Nepal), as Dr. Ranajit Pal discovered. The Scythians/Shakyians, Asokhs, and other tribes from this vast wilderness wasteland of indefensible territory (maha-janapada) is the "graveyard of empires" and the dividing line between East and West, known as Central Asia or the "Middle Country" (majjhimadesa) of ancient proto-India (Maha Bharat) around such Vedic sites as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. It is near the Caucasus Mountains blending European and Asian features with the "Aryans" of Iran and the Middle and Near East.

Filmed in Afghanistan, Meetings with Remarkable Men is a 1979 British film directed by Peter Brook based on the book of the same name by Greek-Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff, first published in English in 1963.

Shot on location in Afghanistan (except for dance sequences, which were filmed in England), it stars Terence Stamp with Dragan Maksimović as the adult Gurdjieff. The film was entered into the 29th Berlin International Film Festival, in competition for the Golden Bear award.

The plot involves Gurdjieff and his companions' search for truth in a series of dialogues and vignettes, much as in the book.

Unlike the book, these result in a definite climax — Gurdjieff's initiation into the mysterious Sarmoung Brotherhood. The film is noteworthy for making public some glimpses of the Gurdjieff movements. More

What's it about?
The autobiography Meetings with Remarkable Men is the second volume of the All and Everything trilogy written by the Greek-Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. It was originally published in 1963 and tells the tale of the young Gurdjieff growing up in a world torn between his unexplainable experiences and the developing modern sciences.

The book takes the form of Gurdjieff's reminiscences about various "remarkable men" he has met, beginning with his father. They include the Armenian priest Pogossian, his friend Soloviev, Prince Lubovedsky, a Russian with metaphysical interests, and others.

In the course of describing these characters, Gurdjieff weaves their stories into the story of his own travels and into an overarching narrative that has them cooperate in locating spiritual texts and/or masters in various lands (mostly in Central Asia). Gurdjieff calls this group the "Seekers of Truth."

Most of them do in fact find "truth" in the form of some suitable spiritual destiny. The underlying philosophy, as articulated in an appendix, amounts to the assertion that people generally live their lives asleep, are unconscious of themselves, and accordingly behave like machines, subject to outside pressures and causes.

One of the chief assessments of the novel is that the people of past epochs lived in more suitable outer conditions and at higher inner levels of development than people today. Many additional hidden harmonies are noted or alluded to.

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