Posted by Mariana Scaravilli on Jul 29, 2017

Then Die In A Blaze Of Glory And Live Eternally Among The Stars!


Dear Brother,

A wave from a Catholic retreat house here in Spain and within a Guitar Craft course.

One person left on the second day: nothing bad on either side, just that GC was not for them. Very clean, they were given a refund and left on good terms. They attended a one-day Introduction To The New Standard Tuning in Ireland. The day was lots of fun, and they arrived probably expecting to have a nine-day holiday in a musical setting. Sitting on the floor for 30 minutes at the beginning of the day was, most likely, not much of a holiday at all.

Of those 50 people remaining, one is an earnest, bearded, and intellectually oriented character whose aim in life is to “die well.” No objections to that as a life aim, but we are dealing with a lot of imagination that he brings to this. We’ll see how this marries with the practical and mundane activities here. But, after six weeks he would be bouncing off the walls.

Our 20 years of Guitar Craft experience suggests that it is not possible to go into a long/longer course without prior practice or group activity.

A 10-month course in Guitar Craft we refer to as a Level Four; a 3-month course a Level Three; a Level Two might be anywhere from 1-6 weeks; a Level One is 7-10 days. We now have an Introduction To Guitar Craft course—directed by experienced Crafties who knew Elizabeth Bennett at the Red Lion House (1986-89) —as a necessary condition before we accept anyone for the Level One (which is where I begin with students nowadays).

For 18 years we accepted just about anyone who turned up. This came to an end in January 2002 when two characters arrived at a monastery in Sassoferrato, Italy, went out drinking, were probably smoking dope, and drove off a hillside coming back drunk from the nearby town.

A large proportion of students have come into GC with a drug history, in some cases severe. So, the bulk of their first one-week course is, in effect, their detox time. If and when we see them again, the change is noticeable, and we can begin to work. But after two weeks, the demands and challenges are too great (like, simply being stir-crazy). So, we graduate the level of challenge over time by building up to it. If we feel twelve weeks is too long for some people, we suggest they come for six weeks and make a judgement call then.

On the longer courses, where there are perhaps three young women and twelve young men, there are difficulties. We have strict guidelines for sexual activity in a GC context. We recognise that transient relationships between consenting adults may be entirely honourable, but these are not permitted in a GC House unless the couple declare themselves a couple and present themselves to the community as such—in which case they are allocated a separate room. Otherwise, their relationships take place outside the property boundaries of the GC House on the days off. This is then intentional and eliminates the risk of casual and “accidental” sexual activity.

So, there is much frustration in a GC House. On the recent course in Kiel, three good young men have left because their feelings were not reciprocated by one of the young women. But, this is a better quality of problem than helpless rutting.

We find the presence of older men helps to equilibrate the sexual energies of frustrated young men. So, where possible, we have more experienced older students visit the longer courses wherever possible.

Historically, we have also had our share of the mentally and emotionally unstable. We are happy to deal with normal-abnormal, but abnormal-abnormal is more than we can address (and we have a long history of addressing it). Ken Lawton has met and talked with many of the students, and helped them considerably. The wife of the GC Director in Europe and South America, Hernan Nunez, is Dr. Bettina Sydath-Nunez. She has a doctorate in psychiatry, has also been trained by Ken L, and is a considerable resource that will become more available to GC as their two daughters grow older. Both Hernan and Bettina made a very good connection to Elizabeth Bennett at the Red Lion House, which meetings continue to inform them (and many others in the GC community).

Name of your proposed course? Well, the course is a manifestation of the Bennett line of the Gurdjieff Work. So, An Introduction To The Fourth Way or Living The Fourth Way: An Introduction are both descriptions of what will be going on.

An Introduction To The Fourth Way: Establishing Principles Of Right Living In Uncertain Times is a clunkier version, incorporating the notion of upcoming crises that you suggested in your letter would be the theme of your public talks. But, there’s always Life Is Hard! Suffer! Then Die In A Blaze Of Glory And Live Eternally Among The Stars! if you need more of an eyecatcher.

Please forgive me if this is presumptuous. I have confidence that your choices will be right.


Thursday, 26th. May 2005
Villa Mercedes / Padres Claretianos,
Calle San Pascual Nº 3, esquina travesía San Pascual,
28 460 Los Molinos,
Madrid, España.


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