“You cannot miss the soul because it is always there and will remain with you always – whether you discover it or not. So it can be delayed, postponed for the next life or another life; but the fleeting pleasures of the flesh…enjoy them!” Even a very great idea can be interpreted in such a way that it turns exactly to its opposite.
So all the religions of the world were in a strange situation. There were atheists who were denying the soul, and people were not making any effort – there was no question, no such thing exists. And there were theists who believed in a soul, but when it is already yours, there seems to be no need to be in a hurry – before you discover it, enjoy everything of the world.
In both cases people remained materialists.
It is against these two standpoints that Gurdjieff brought a new, original idea, that you are not born with a soul. Remember, unless you create it you will simply die, nothing will be left, you will not survive your bodily death. You can, if you work hard, create the soul. It is not a question of uncovering it – you don’t have it right now – it has to be crystallized.
But because of his idea – and his idea seems to be significant because it avoids the pitfalls of both the theists and the atheists – a new problem is created. The problem is that the greater masses cannot be inspired to make arduous effort; only a few intelligent people….
And I say only a few because even intellectuals will say, “If I die and nothing survives, so what? Once I was not; it was not a problem to me. Before birth I was not; it was not a problem for me because if I am not how can there be any problem for me? After death, if I am not – that seems to be the best solution of the whole problem.”
So only a few intelligent people became interested in Gurdjieff. And he never hammered on society’s vested interests, he never hammered on religious superstitions, he never hammered on political social conditions. He was not interested at all. His whole effort was so that he can create a few people who have a crystallized being.
He was not interested in the masses. And you cannot complain against him. The masses are such that to be interested in them means to be stoned, to be crucified, to be poisoned, to be killed. The same people for whom you are working hard are going to destroy you.
The reason is the same – without intending it, you are reducing the masses to ignorant people. You know – and you can show the path for them to come to the same knowing. But they don’t know, and they are the majority – the whole world.
Rather than bothering about your path and its mysteries, the easiest way is to finish you so you don’t bother them; otherwise you create disturbances in people’s minds. They were satisfied with “eat, drink and be merry”; and suddenly you come and start talking about enlightenment. You disturbed their ignorant life – ignorant but with a certain satisfaction.