3 – The First Skirmish

I read The Tales on the train. At the time I was living near Southend and working in London, which worked out to be a 45 minute commute – which in turn meant one and a half hours each day for reading. I soon tired of reading newspapers and spent the time a little more productively.

I have little recollection of that first reading of The Tales, which alone indicates the meagre level of attention that I brought to it. But at least I was determined to see it through to the end. I recall being overwhelmed by the style of writing and I know that I either skipped past or read superficially paragraphs that demand attention. It was hard going – but at least I was stubborn.

I was not part of any “work group” at the time, and I had no-one to discuss The Tales with. So, when I had completed it, I set it to one side. I focused on other books about The Work, taking particular delight in In Search of the Miraculous, which was much clearer to me.

I remembered that, many years before, I had read Meeting With Remarkable Men. I had bought that book about ten years before then, and I had read it thinking that it was a “spiritual adventure story.” It was, for me at that time, one book amongst many. I never had much of an idea who Gurdjieff was or that he had established groups of people to pursue his ideas.

Impact?

Did The Tales have any immediate impact on me? I wondered about that. I suspect that it may have had some impact. It may be that from the first reading of that book , I became more skeptical of the various pronouncements of modern science.  I had always been a little skeptical. I had read many books on astrology, the tarot, life after death and other topics that modern science disparages. I have the impression became more of an “intellectual rebel” than before.

There was another impact, one that is worth reporting on – and which I will write about in the next posting.

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