"My last book, through which I wish to share with other creatures of our Common Father similar to myself, almost all the previously unknown mysteries of the inner world of man which I have accidentally learned."
Gurdjieff wrote these words on the 6th of November, 1934, and immediately started to work. For the next few months he devoted himself entirely to working out his ideas for this book. Then suddenly, on the 2nd of April, 1935, he completely stopped writing.
One is bound to ask: why did he abandon the project at this point and never return to it again?
Why did he leave this Third Series unfinished and apparently give up his intention to publish it?
It is not possible to answer these questions unless one has been oneself engaged in the intensive work which Gurdjieff undertook in the last fifteen years of his life with a certain number of pupils, creating for them day after day the conditions necessary for a direct and practical study of his ideas.
He let it be clearly understood, on the last page of 'Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, that the Third Series would be accessible only to those who would be selected as capable of understanding "the genuine objective truths which he will bring to light" in this Series.
Life is real only then,when "I am" - PROLOGUE
I am...? But what has become of that full-sensing of the whole of myself, formerly always in me in just such cases of selfquestioning during the process of self-remembering...
Is it possible that this inner ability was achieved by me thanks to all kinds of self-denial and frequent self-goading only in order that now, when its influence for my Being is more necessary even than air, it should vanish without trace?
No! This cannot be!... Something here is not right! If this is true, then everything in the sphere of reason is illogical.
But in me is not yet atrophied the possibility of actualizing conscious labor and intentional suffering!...
According to all past events I must still be. I wish!... and will be!!! Moreover, my Being is necessary not only for my personal egoism but also for the common welfare of all humanity. My Being is indeed necessary to all people; even more necessary to them than their felicity and their happiness of today.
I wish still to be... I still am!
By the incomprehensible laws of the association of human thoughts, now, before beginning to write this book which will be my third — that is, my instructive — series of writings, and in general my last book, through which I wish to share with the other creatures of our Common Father similar to myself almost all the previously unknown mysteries of the inner world of man which I have accidentally learned, there has reoccurred to me the above-quoted self-reasoning which proceeded in me during an almost delirious state exactly seven years ago today, and even, it seems to me, at this very hour.
This fantastic soliloquy proceeded in me the 6th of November, 1927, early in the morning in one of the Montmartre night cafes in Paris when, tired already to exhaustion from my
'black' thoughts, I had decided to go home and there once more to try whether I might perhaps succeed in sleeping at least a little.
Although my health was, then too, in general bad — yet on this morning I felt particularly miserable. My miserable state on that morning was also further aggravated by the fact that during the last two or three weeks I had slept not more than one or two hours in twenty-four, and this last night I had not been able to sleep at all.
The fundamental cause of such sleeplessness and general disorder, in those days already excessive, of nearly all the important functions of my organism, was the uninterrupted flowing in my consciousness of 'heavy' thoughts about the apparently insoluble situation which had
then unexpectedly arisen for me.
In order to be able to explain, at least approximately, what this insoluble situation for me was, I must first say the following:
For more than three years up till then I had been writing, almost day and night, with constant self-driving, the books I had resolved to publish.
I say with constant self-driving because, due to the consequences of an automobile accident which happened to me just before beginning to write these books, I had been very ill and weak, and therefore, of course, had not had the possibility for any active action.
Yet I had not spared myself, and had worked very hard in such a state, chiefly thanks to the factors that formed in my consciousness, from the very beginning, the following idee fixe notion:
Since I had not, when in full strength and health, succeeded in introducing in practice into the life of people the beneficial truths elucidated for them by me, then I must at least, at any cost, succeed in doing this in theory, before my death.
While writing out in outline during the first year the different fragments intended for publication, I had decided to write three series of books.
I had decided with the contents of the first series of books to achieve the destruction, in the consciousness and feelings of people, of deep rooted convictions which in my opinion are false and quite contradictory to reality.
With the contents of the second series of books to prove that there exist other ways of perceiving reality, and to indicate their direction.
With the contents of the third series of books to share the possibilities which I had discovered of touching reality and, if so desired, even merging with it.
With such intentions I began from the second year to write out this material in definite books, in a form now for general understanding. And just before the events I am now describing, I had finished writing all the books of the first series and was already working on the books of the second series.
As I had the intention of publishing the first series of my writings the following year, I therefore decided, parallel with working on the books of the second series, to hold frequent public readings of the first series.
I decided to do this in order, before finally sending them to press, to review them once more but this time in accordance
with the impressions with which different fragments were received by people of different typicalities and different degrees of mental development.
And in view of this aim, I began from then on to invite to my city apartment different persons of my acquaintance of corresponding individuality to hear the chapter proposed for correction, which was read aloud by somebody in their presence.
At that time I had my principal place of residence for my whole family as well as for myself at Fontainebleau, but because of my frequent visits to Paris I was obliged also to have an apartment there.
During these common readings, in the presence of listeners of many different typicalities, while simultaneously observing the audience and listening to my writing, now ready for publication, I for the first time very definitely established and clearly, without any doubt, understood the following:
The form of the exposition of my thoughts in these writings could be understood exclusively by those readers who, in one way or another, were already acquainted with the peculiar form of my mentation. But every other reader for whom, strictly speaking, I had goaded myself almost day and night during this time, would understand nearly nothing.
During this common reading, by the way, I enlightened myself for the first time with regard to the particular form in which it would be necessary to write in order that it might be accessible to the understanding of everyone.
So, when I had clarified all this to myself, there just then appeared before me, in all its splendor and full majesty, the question of my health. Above everything else, there then flowed in my consciousness the following thoughts:
If all this, which was written during three or four years of almost unceasing day and night work, were to be rewritten from the beginning in another form more accessible to the understanding of every reader, at least the same length of time would be required... But time is needed for the exposition of the second and third series; and time will be also necessary for introducing into practical life the essence of these writings of mine... But where can so much time be obtained?...
If my time depended solely upon me I could, of course, rewrite all this anew. Moreover, from the very beginning of this new writing, I would acquire the certainty of a peaceful end, for now, knowing how to write, I could fully expect that at least after my death the principal aims of my life would certainly be realized.
But, due to all kinds of accumulated consequences of my past life, it so happens that just now my time depends not upon me but exclusively upon the 'self-willed' Archangel Gabriel. And indeed there remains to me but one or two or perhaps, at the most, three years more of life.
Concerning this, that is, that I have soon to die, any one of hundreds of physician-specialists knowing me can now confirm. Besides this, I myself in my past life had not in vain been known as a good, above the average, diagnostician.
Not for nothing had I during my life held many conversations with thousands of candidates for a speedy departure from this world.
It would, strictly speaking, even be unnatural if it were not so... For the processes of the involution of my health during my past life had proceeded many times more rapidly and intensively than the processes of its evolution.
In fact, all the functions of my organism which previously had been, as my friends said, 'steel-cast', had gradually degenerated, so that at the present moment due to constant overworking not one of them was, even relatively, functioning properly.
This is not at all to be wondered at... Even without considering the many other events unusual in human experience which had taken place in the accidentally peculiar pattern of my past life, it would be enough to recall that strange and inexplicable destiny pursuing me, which consisted in my having been wounded three times in quite different circumstances, each time almost mortally and each time by a stray bullet.
If the full significance of only these three incidents were comprehended, which inevitably implanted ineffaceable results in my body, one could understand that they in themselves were sufficient to have caused my final end long ago.
The first of these three incomprehensible fateful events happened in 1896, on the island of Crete, one year before the Greco-Turkish War. From there, while still unconscious, I was brought, I don't know why, by some unknown Greeks to Jerusalem.
Et cetera ...