It is good for politicians to work that way; it is good for dictators to work that way – and there is some element of dictatorship in George Gurdjieff.
It is not just a coincidence that Josef Stalin and George Gurdjieff were born in the same place – the Caucasus. Both were Caucasians; both have the same tradition; both grew in the same kind of atmosphere; and both were really hard men. That’s why Josef Stalin got the name “Stalin.” It is not his real name. “Man of steel” – that is the meaning of Stalin.
And the same was the situation with Gurdjieff, who was even far stronger than Josef Stalin. But they are coming from the same stock. Nobody has bothered to look into their backgrounds. They studied in the same monastery. They grew up in the same environment. They have the same kind of blood and the same kind of tradition. Their past is exactly the same.
And the first effort of Josef Stalin, after the revolution, was to kill Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff had to escape from Russia. Gurdjieff was not in politics, and there was no need for Stalin to be concerned about him, but the concern was that such a strong man cannot be tolerated – it is dangerous. He is the same type and more powerful and any time he can create some difficult situation.
The first group that was around Gurdjieff was all Russian – the refugees who had escaped from Russia because of the revolution; Ouspensky was a Russian…. The whole first group was of Russians. That too is symbolic, because the whole of Russia was turning into a dictatorship.
Although these people had escaped, they had the same type of conditioning and the same kind of mind. And they had not escaped from dictatorship, they had escaped because they had enough money. And that was the trouble – that it would be distributed.
So with all their money they escaped from Russia. This was the first group around Gurdjieff. And he created a small, dictatorial group. It was absolutely dictatorial: whatever he said had to be done. There was no question of any discussion, no question of the other individual thinking about it, no question of freedom. Even things that were absurd had to be done because Gurdjieff said so.
You can see, anybody can see, it is absurd – but that was his way of working. He managed to use a dictatorial system to create a few really beautiful people, but none of them ever became enlightened. He created very strong people, very beautiful people; but if you look deeply into it, their strength was not of humbleness, their strength was of willpower. It was not of egolessness, it was of the ego.