{Free E-pub} ⚸ Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (All and Everything/First) ⚝ eBook or E-pub free

At the beginning of Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff discloses his purpose in its writing: "To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and
feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world."

To that end, Gurdjieff wrote one of the most baffling, infuriating, virtually unfathomable tomes on this or any other planet. At the same time, this book is illuminating,revelatory, humorous, and, at times charged with emotional energy that transmits itself to the reader. It is hard to remain merely curious about the Gurdjieff work. One tends to either reject it after a superficial overview, or delve into its lifechanging depths.

Gurdjieff's ideas about the transformation of Man, the effects of that transformation upon the fate of this planet are just as vital as when he proposed them over half a century ago. If anything, these ideas are more relevant in the face of our presentday reality in this constantly shifting, everchanging world. I read Gurdjieff’s magnum opus, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson or An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man when in my early twenties under the tutelage of Robert Schectman, a student of Christopher Fremantle who was a student of Gurdjieff himself. I made an index of all the neologisms and special terminology Gurdjieff placed in the book and mastered the content thoroughly after reading it 8 times. The main theme that surfaces throughout the book is the core insanity of humanity underlying its penchant for creating wars. Gurdjieff turns history on its head and makes it clear that as a species we have a serious defect, suggestibility, that leads to all manner of personal and collective insanity, including war and environmental catastrophe. I was also a psychology student during those years and had just come out of the collective insanity of the Vietnam war, which, like all wars, is about the rich and powerful sending the poor to kill and be killed on the battlefield for political ideologies and financial interests. Gurdjieff struck a chord among many of us in those years who were hungry for more than the morally bankrupt social order had to offer. Little has changed since that time, and since the beginning of human history in antediluvian times. We may, in fact, be a hopeless cause and will continue down the path of our inevitable selfdestruction, taking most of life on Earth with us. Gurdjieff would insist, however, that it is precisely during such trying times that those committed to personal and social transformation have the opportunity to make rapid progress in becoming liberated and growing into the higher worlds of the soul dimension. Although I was once involved with the Gurdjieff Foundation, my educational training released me from being subject to authoritarianism of any kind, which is still quite prevalent in these types of groups, and develop the courage to stand on my own, which Gurdjieff himself sought to awaken in his students. The 1931 edition has recently been released and provides a less abstruse presentation of the core ideas. Much of it makes more sense once one avails oneself of other living initiatory streams of transmission, such as that offered by certain indigenous cultures who have managed to preserve their ancient cultural knowledge, including the Mazatecan people of Central Mexico. Those who know of what I speak will find the esoteric knowledge encoded in Beelzebub’s Tales readily accessible through direct observation and experience. Beelzebub's Tales is a massive 1200 page epic which is equivalent to de Toqueville's Democracy in America in scope and practice. Gurdjeiff writes Beelzebub as an extraterrestrial astronaut who describes his experience with the strange and illogical inhabitants on the planet Earth. He describes every facet of human life and even details the odd beliefs held by specific cultures. Written in a style which prevents passive reading, it is a difficult volume to read through but truly rewarding and worth the effort.

One example which stood out was Beelzebub's description of the need of every American to go to Europe and how they romanticize over Paris and other European cities. The most hilarious portion of this example is Beelzebub's conversation with an American in Paris who is teaching American tourists how to dance the foxtrot. This particular American was unable to be successful in his business teaching Americans how to dance the foxtrot in New York... but because everyone wanted to go back to the US after traveling in Paris and tell their friends that they learned the foxtrot in France, this entrepreneur was making tons of money.

There are more tidbits of wisdom, humor, insightfulness and advice throughout the epic than can ever be divulged in a short review. In fact, Gurdjeiff's closest pilgrims do not initiate discussion about Beelzebub's Tales because the experience that each individual has with the book is considered beyond language, and it truly is.

The first book in Gurdjeiff's All and Everything series, his goal in the writing of this book was to remove all the many years of false experiences and hardened opinions of potential readers. I can definitely exclaim that his goal was actualized in this work. This was the last work of fiction I read in that nebulous time after going nuts, dropping out of undergraduate, and finally spending a few months wandering homeless through suburban and metropolitan Atlanta, but before being plucked up off the street (thanks to a very lucky recommendation from a professor I'll forever owe) to lead the development team at what would become Reflex Security. Eight years later, I'm rocking graduate school, as advanced professionally as anyone my age, and need likely never worry about money again. In a few thousand days, many things can will and must change; never do we step into the same river twice, and never does it recognize the morning bather. How much of this change can we shift, set into motion, guide or manage? What is our own, what are we, what is?these questions power Gurdjieff's abstruse, operose work, one which I wish I'd read at a less demoralized and vitiated time in my life. Desmond Bernal wrote in The World the Flesh and the Devil that "There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man's reason has never learnt to separate them." Gurdjieff wants to partition the space, and comes at the problem from any number of directions. I need reread this one sometime soon. This is a review of printings that remain faithful to the 1950 Edition.

Gurdjieff reveals candidly in the opening pages of Beelzebub's Tales that this First Series of his writings is for the real consciousness buried within us and is intended to "destroy without mercy" the conceptions and views that have become so firmly rooted because of centuries of people living abnormally. He shows us with compelling exactness our place in the universe, our responsibility as human beings and why, despite the best efforts of sacred messengers sent to us from above, we remain tragically separated from what is most essential to the aim of human existence.

While helping us to see the harsh truth about ourselves, Gurdjieff does not leave us in the lurch. He leads us back out of the darkness and, as a kind grandfather, guides us patiently toward the light, at every step carefully watering seeds of consciousness that lie buried deeply inside us. On the long journey toward discovering Beelzebub's most subtle lessons, we are helped to feel our smallness and our partiality and to see that if we wish for real understanding, the mind alone, no matter how adroit, will never be enough.

Gurdjieff warned us in his introduction not to expect the kind of literature to which we are generally accustomed. As we try our best to penetrate to the core of Beelzebub's Tales, it turns out that we, instead, are being penetrated. The Great Beelzebub, telling stories to his grandson, leads us to rediscover in the depths of ourselves, God's quiet representative.

It became fashionable in some circles after the publication of Beelzebub's Tales, and has become even more popular of late among various people, to give commentaries, interpretations and explanations for everything Gurdjieff wrote in his book. Perhaps it's more a disease than a fashion. Interpretations and explanations are for the ordinary mind, what Gurdjieff calls, in his introduction to Beelzebub's Tales, the "fictitious consciousness." In my view, explanations that purport to render the hidden meaning of Beelzebub's Tales are not at all what Gurdjieff intended for his writings. He specifies that he was writing in a certain way to reach the subconcious. He did not explain the meaning of the book. If Gurdjieff had wanted his books explained for the benefit of the intellect, he certainly could have done that himself, and much better than anyone who has ever purported to render meanings. But in fact Gurdjieff did the exact opposite of that. It has always seemed strange to me that people who have taken up the occupation of rendering commentaries and explanations of Beelzebub's Tales, have missed that obvious point.

Anyone who approaches Beelzebub's Tales with an attitude of openness is likely to receive substantial help, though the exact manner in which one is worked on by this remarkable influence may remain something of a mystery. Familiarity with the Gurdjieff work is not necessarily a prerequisite to receiving the book's special gifts. If there is a preparation that may allow one to hear better, perhaps it is only the deep wish to be oneself, the wish to live as a normal human being. Not as dense as might be imagined, still a super confusing, super boring (purposefully so?) roster of everything that’s wrong with everything, peppered with oldtimey technobabble nonsense and general garbled junk about souls and kundabuffers and beingessences. Most of this is infuriating (want to smack Gurdjieff everytime Beelz mentions ‘your favorites’) and disappointing (was kind of hoping for the mystic epic version of "Sympathy for the Devil"), but I respect his chuztpah, especially in the gofuckyourself early sections (‘wish this book could be sold with the first 30 pages uncut, so you could get your money back when you can’t handle it”). Fittingly soulcrushing for something intended to entirely break down your perception of reality, but not entirely clear if the author is a wacko charlatan or on some plane of understanding I can’t begin to comprehend (not likely). The first 3/4 of the book were filled with fascinating insights that had me thinking about things in a different way. Before I read this book I reread Meetings With Remarkable Men and I read Views From the Real World. I have also studied the enneagram quite extensively. As I read Beelzebub I diligently compiled a dictionary of all his special terms for things which I had to refer to constantly. Once he finished his version of the history of the world and commenced with a philosophical discussion in the last 1/4 of the book I got completely lost and could not understand it no matter what I did. There are no 4th way groups in my area (I am teaching in China) and I don't know if I will ever be able to understand this part of the book. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know

UPDATE 9/10/2014
I just finished the last quarter of the book after taking a six month break and this time it made sense to me and I was able it read it. At first I had to consult the dictionary I made of all his special terms but eventually I was able to read it without consulting it. I loved the book and I am looking forward to reading it two more times as he suggests.

I have only read book one of this work, out of three, book one is the only having been translated into Greek. I plan to read the other two books of this work in English, later in the future.
The author has consciously and diligently tried to achieve what he said is his intention: to make us question everything that we know.
He is using a science fiction format (or is it not 100% science fiction?). To judge this work I need to first read all three parts, I also plan to read first part for a second time, may be even a third, as the author suggested.
Gurdjieff tries to depict human civilization in a way that everything has gone terribly wrong, human race having failed almost completely in most aspects of life as it should be, (humanity) having destroyed all efforts to correct this. My reservation here is that all this "failure" may be part of the tragic but deep destiny of Man. Certainly though i cannot ignore that human foolishness may be equal to human greatness....
Gurdjieff's thought certainly has revolutionary metaphysical, theological and philosophical implications. But, again, I first need to read the whole work to properly judge.
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But just thenas Mike commented below about the rabbit holesyou quite quickly see this is a truly “monumental journey of a legomonism” revealing in all directions (and deeper than imaginable) a so thorough summary of: near all religions, scientific discoveries, cosmologies, chronologies, histories, archaic geographies, etc., etc., ever known to man.

And it is all wrapped up in a flowing conversational narrative of a few individuals floating inside a scifi story of time travel.

It is marvelous! And it is the way things will be wrote in the future as our consciousness expands hopefully to more than just sound bytes.

This book is in my top 7 for life.

[By the way, if it has countless gems of deeper wisdom you notice enshrouded in it only after reading it several times in different states, then this is not because it is hard to read but only because of the level of being of the author and, as he mentions twice in MRM: there is an archaic manner of speaking he rediscovered (though any of us who have read works before 1000 BC all know of it). It is one where every sentence is a multivalent, multifauceted diamond that means several things in several fields of knowledge at once. One sees this too in most the Hindu texts. It is a lost art and he is just one of 5 maybe in this millenium who picked it back up.]