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.
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.