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Dossier Zelfkennis: Ook Robert S. de Ropp stelde interesse in Gurdjieff's leer

Robert S. de Ropp stierf véél te vroeg vanwege een ongeval…
door Tsenne Kikke - zondag 22 oktober 2023 21:47

Over Robert S. de Ropp vermeldde ik in 2021 reeds enkele zaken en kunnen we op Wikipedia, onder andere, het volgende lezen...

Robert Sylvester de Ropp (1913–1987) was an English biochemist and a researcher and academic in that field. After retiring from biochemistry, he brought other long-time personal interests to the fore, becoming a prominent author in the fields of human potentials and the search for spiritual enlightenment.

de Ropp's professional life included a stay at the Rockefeller Institute as a visiting investigator. At various times, his research was centered on cancer, mental illness, or drugs that affect behavior. During a ten-year period working for the Lederle Laboratories near Pearl River, New York, de Ropp wrote a book for the general reader in the field of psychoactive substances: 'Drugs and the Mind'.

de Ropp's intense avocational interests were nurtured by the influence of P. D. Ouspensky, whom he met in 1936. 'The Work' was an approach to establishing an integrated human awareness at a higher level - considered to be a true inner freedom. de Ropp went regularly to Lyne Place for 'work' weekends from 1936 to 1945, and was particularly attached to Madame Ouspensky as a deeply insightful guide, until 1940. In that year the Oupenskys emigrated from Britain to the United States. After living through war conditions in Britain, de Ropp joined the Ouspenskys there on a New Jersey farm in 1945. However, de Ropp felt the Ouspenskys' milieu had by this point become stagnant and ineffective, and he became disillusioned about the work. "Ouspensky was no longer a teacher," de Ropp opined in his autobiography.

After arriving in the U.S., Robert de Ropp, by his own efforts, built two houses: one in Connecticut, another in New York state. He and his second wife, Betty, lived in Rockland County, NY. de Ropp met G. I. Gurdjieff  during Gurdjieff's final visit to New York, in 1948.

Among his most influential books (concerning spiritual development) are: 'The Master Game' and 'Warrior's Way: The Challenging Life Games'.

The first of these stands as his report on what he had learned from his teachers and from the writings of similar figures, as well as more mainstream psychologists, psychiatrists, and researchers into fields such as religion and the spiritual life.

The second is in part a sequential biography, and was written near the end of his life; a significant dimension of its content is his very personal evaluation of the characters and contributions of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Madame Ouspensky, John G. Bennett, Gerald Heard, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Stephen Gaskin, Alan Watts, Carlos Castaneda, and other figures serving as teachers of those engaged in spiritual quests. He is critical of those he views as false gurus or merely pompous, and attempts a fair-handed assessment of those he deems verbose but limited, whilst yet expressing genuine gratitude for those whose efforts he believes have enriched human life.

de Ropp died in 1987, in his mid seventies, in an accident while ocean-kayaking.

In Eclecticus you'll find the article 'Conversations with Madame Ouspensky 1939-40', consisting of three most interesting pages. A few examples...

- All work is based on watchfulness. The man who works realizes he is a machine and fears his machine. Therefore he watches. While there is a guardian at the door those who go in and out can be scrutinized. Acceptance, rejection; yes, no: this is the basis of true work. A healthy cell does this work by itself.

- Often children are aware all is not well with the world. They lose the sensation because, by degrees, one gets used to anything. If one lives with a wolf one must howl like a wolf.

- A stone falling in a still pool disturbs the water. The bigger the stone the bigger the disturbance.

- In others try to see both best and worst.

- In order to go anywhere one must have a fixed point of reference. Know your left from your right. In life men think they are moving somewhere, but this is illusion. For all their activity they move no more than a squirrel in a wheel. When the impressions octave does not develop, the machine functions as a pig or a sheep fattened for the slaughter. Nature provides for him some enjoyment, for without enjoyment no man can live. But wherever there is pleasure, there will also be pain. By rushing after the one, a man must suffer the other.

- For consciousness, collection of attention is necessary. Attention is as oil in the lamp. Consciousness is the light. Where there is consciousness things are illuminated.

- The Ray of Creation shows us our place in the Universe and the fact that there is not chaos but order. But man in sleep sees nothing of the connections between things

- Ordinary men in life are not responsible for anything. They live under the law of accident, like seeds produced by millions and perishing by millions. It is the law that only a few can be saved.

- The more difficult life circumstances become, the more possible it is to work, providing everything is done from the work point of view.

- Remember yourself always, everywhere. The highest human achievement is the power to do. Consider everything externally and nothing internally. The teacher can advise and create conditions, not help.

- To know that a thing is wrong and to do nothing about it creates a sin very difficult to erase.

- One should be grateful to those who arouse one's negative emotions for providing one with material.

- To live in a state of identification is to live in darkness, i.e.: to be unable to see the relations between things, or the way in which one must go. By saving energy one obtains oil for the lamps. Energy may be used profitably - or, allowed to leak away. Only effort in one direction can produce a result, as a plant, by constant pushing, breaks through the hard soil. In this connection there is no sentimentality about work.

- Those who make efforts grow; those who don't stay where they are. The System is not easy, and not for weaklings. It needs no ordinary effort but super-effort.

- Work can never proceed constantly at the same level. While we have the reins in our hands we can control the horse. When we lose the reins we must try to regain them.

- It is necessary to avoid thinking of work in terms of psychology. It should be thought of more in terms of chemistry or mechanics. The world of sleep has its own characteristic materiality, as has also the world of consciousness. They belong to completely different cosmoses.

- Madame spoke about naturalness and artificiality. For her, all of us were artificial. Restraints of upbringing and environment had formed a crust about us through which nothing could penetrate. We lived always in thoughts and were unable to feel or to receive impressions direct from the outside world. Her work with us was in the nature of digging hard stony ground or breaking down the hard casing in which we lived.

- Man is a world within a world. In the Ray of Creation, higher matters permeate the lower. In the same way, man consists not of one body but of several, the finer enclosed within the coarser. He must make contact with the outside world in order that the inner world may develop.

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