JG Bennett’s Original Courses
The teacher, writer and ‘polymath’, John Bennett, continued Gurdjieff’s work, and experimented from the late 50’s to the mid 70’s with the training of groups of men and women who were willing to accept the challenge posed by the dilemma of existence in the modern world – the recognition of the need for change in ourselves and in our interactions with the world and each other, but lack of the ability to bring about such changes. Bennett drew attention to the importance of humanity’s part in all life and in the intelligence beyond humanity that is embodied in the natural world.
He stated that Continuous Education is founded on the principle that human beings are capable of unlimited self-perfecting from birth to death and beyond. Self-perfecting was seen as threefold: BODILY, MENTAL and SPIRITUAL, giving meaning to our lives as individuals; but it was also suggested that there is a continuous education of the human race to enable us to become truly human and ‘conscious’ – perhaps an attainment that seems as elusive as ever. However, today that message is being carried forward again with a new intensity by popular ‘luminaries’ and teachers from the spirituality of Eckhart Tolle to the ‘new age’ psycho-therapy of Tony Robbins with ideas deeply routed in the eastern mysticism and teachings that Bennett and Gurdjieff espoused.
Bennett explained that, progress in self-perfecting is not automatic; it requires use of the right methods and the determination to persevere against all discouragement. He believed that this work was not easily accomplished in isolation and, for this reason he stated that ‘Schools of Wisdom” have existed from time immemorial to provide instruction and to create environments in which all can contribute to the common aim. Although such schools have always been present they are little in evidence except in times of crisis and change, when they extend their activities to enable more people to prepare themselves for the task ahead.