In recent months, we have found ourselves running multiple reading groups for The Tales. Naturally, in every meeting one of our number took notes of the discussions that followed the reading. We also posted the video record of the meeting to this website. Several participants began to suggest ways in which we could enrich the information resource that was clearly growing. We proceeded to take note of the suggestions and where the website work was simple enough, we fulfilled the requests.
The Role of a Research Resource
A substantial research resource has evolved from this activity, which we will describe below, but before doing so, we’d like to consider the idea of The Tales as scripture. It seems odd to me that since the publication of the ALL and Everything, Gurdjieff’s writings, particularly The Tales, have been shunned by many groups that think of themselves as “Gurdjieff Groups.”
There is no denying that the writings are very difficult to penetrate for most people. The writer demands the reader’s best attention and does so uncompromisingly. Gurdjieff said that “if you can put real attention on Beelzebub’s Tales, you can have real attention in life.”
The book itself is Work. It seems logical that it should occupy the same place among people in The Work, as the Gospels do among Christians and the Koran does among Muslims. It is sacred writing. It deserves to have guides, concordances and reference works created for it, and after a fashion, that is what this website is becoming.
Aside from the attendees of the reading groups, we concluded that some people who did not attend the reading groups (due to time zones, competing meetings and so on) etc. might like to separately subscribe to the growing information resource.
Currently, the website provides:
– A page by page copy of The Tales (available to any website visitor). The pages roughly correspond to the pages of the 1950 edition of the book. It is approximate rather than exact, as we chose not to split paragraphs across pages.
– Each page is also accompanied by a reading, so that the website visitor can simply listen to the book page-by-page.
– On each page, where appropriate, we provide audio pronunciations of some “difficult” words.
– An overall index to the pages of The Tales is provided.
– Separate pages of notes on various words, sentences or ideas are provided (the meaning of neologisms, explanations of historical references, etymology of important words, meanings of symbols/metaphors, allegorical explanations, etc.). This is available only to subscribers, although a few example pages are available to public view.
– An alphabetic index to the page notes.
– Side by side comparisons of the 1950 version of The Tales and The 1931 Manuscript.
– A series of one hour readings which comprise a full reading of the book. (Subscribers only.)
– There are four presentations (about 25 minutes each) that discuss How to Read the Tales. The first can be viewed by everyone, the other three are available only to subscribers.
– The ability to add your own comments to the page notes.
– A Forum for discussion of ideas and theories (available only to subscribers).
Visit this page for links to illustrate all of this.