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Chapter 25: From Words to Pure Sounds to Being

So even a blind man is not in so much difficulty as a man who cannot speak, who is dumb. Observe a person who is dumb: he looks inhuman. A blind man never looks inhuman, but a dumb person looks inhuman; the face gives a feeling of something which is not human. And a dumb person is in more difficulty than a blind man. With the blind man the problem is that he cannot see, but he can communicate. He can become a part of a greater humanity, he can become a part of a society, of a family; he can love, he can speak. A dumb man is suddenly out of society. He cannot speak, he cannot communicate, he cannot express.

Try to imagine yourself in an air-conditioned glass room, a soundproof room. No sound can enter to you, and you cannot scream, you cannot do anything to express yourself, the sound will not go out. In a glass room you can see the whole world moving around you, but neither can you speak to them nor can they speak to you. You will feel hopelessly frustrated, and the whole thing will become a nightmare.

A dumb man is in a nightmare continuously. Without communicating he is not part of humanity. Without expression he cannot flower. He cannot reach anyone and no one can reach him. He is with you and far away, and the gap is unbridgeable.

If sound is the vehicle to move to the other, then soundlessness becomes the vehicle to move to oneself. With sound you communicate with the other; with soundlessness you fall down into your own abyss, into yourself. That is why so many techniques use soundlessness to move within.

Become absolutely dumb and deaf - even if only for a few moments - and you cannot go anywhere else than to yourself. Suddenly you will find that you are standing within; no movement will be possible. That is why silence was practiced so much. In it, all the bridges for moving to the other are broken.

Gurdjieff used to give long silent periods to his disciples, and then he would insist that not only was language not to be used, but there was to be no communication, no gesture - neither with the eyes nor the hands. No communication was to be used. Silence means no communication. So he would force the group to live in a house - twenty, thirty or forty people in one bungalow, in one house - and than he would say, “Remain here in this house as if you are alone. You cannot go out.” Forty persons would be there, and he would say, “Move in the house, live in the house as if you are alone. No communication! Do not recognize that the other is, not even by the eyes. Move completely as if you are the only person residing in the house.” With three months of living in this way, absolutely dumb and deaf, with no possibility of communicating, there would be no possibility to move out.

I do not know whether you have observed or not, but in society those who can talk much become prominent; those who can communicate their thoughts easily become leaders - religious, political, literary, any type. Those who can communicate their thoughts, those who can talk efficiently, they become leaders. Why? They can reach more people, they can reach to greater masses.

Have you ever heard of any dumb person becoming a leader? You can find a blind man becoming a leader; there is no problem. And sometimes he may become a great leader, because all that his eyes are not doing, all those energies will be transferred to his ears. But a dumb man cannot become a leader in any walk of life. He cannot communicate, he cannot become social.