If Gurdjieff was fully convinced that any of his contemporary followers were capable of transmitting his teachings and practices beyond two generations without ‘wiseacreing’ he would have never written his great ‘legominism’, Beelzebub’s Tales.
He writes following a debilitating automobile accident in 1924:
‘I being still utterly powerless in body—I then reflected that the attempt to preserve the existence of this institution, would, in the absence of real people around me and owing to the impossibility of procuring without me the great material means required for it, inevitably lead to a catastrophe the result of which, among other things for me in my old age as well as for numerous others wholly dependent on me, would be, so to say, a “vegetation.”‘
Beelzebub’s Tales – 1950 ed. p.1187
‘… in the absence of real people around me …’
He realized that despite having dozens of followers he had no real successor and little chance of finding one in the time he had remaining. He would have to cast a wider net to preserve his teaching for posterity. He resolved soon thereafter to begin writing. He began dictation before he could hold a pencil. He wrote continually for almost five years.
As Mr. Gurdjieff said of Beelzebub’s Tales, “everything is in it even how to make an omelet, although it contains no recipes.”
Indeed, everything is in it, including every inner exercise anyone would need to achieve a Real I, Will, Being, Higher Being Bodies, Objective Conscience, Higher Gradations of Reason, and Impartiality; that is, everything necessary for the actualization of the entire potential of a three-brained being is contained and preserved in All and Everything, IF (and only if) you know how to read it.
I’m not saying that every possible exercise or variant is contained in detail in the text. Not at all.What I am saying however is that the principle of each category or type of possible exercise is included in the text together with (although perhaps not immediately adjacent to) an example. It’s left to the intelligent, sincere reader who is ‘worthy to learn’ to strive to understand those principles and to extrapolate the examples by his own efforts in order to fill out the rest of the pattern of exercises into a usable whole.
This is may seem difficult and rigorous, and it is; but this, in fact, is Gurdjieff’s method of teaching every major subject in A & E, including these exercises. This technique of concealing information in plain sight was Mr. Gurdjieff’s insurance that his Mission could not fail and that his lifetime of effort to search out, discover and master these practices would never be lost.
By the means of creating his legominism, the teaching could not thereafter be destroyed by the inevitable inattentiveness, incompetence, or laziness of his present or subsequent ‘followers’ or by anyone else for that matter.
Lineages can and do fail.
In fact given time they all do.
Legominism can remain nearly forever.