A Reading from Beelzebub’s Tales, The Word “Art” (from Chapter 30)

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In this excerpt from Chapter 30, Beelzebub traces several strands of what he calls contemporary European culture back to roots in the ancient Babylonian civilization and in particular to the school of the Adherents of Legominism. How did the set of ideas and practices around what came to be known as “art” first established in this ancient school fair over time through the ebb and flow of civilizations to the present day of the book’s writing? Again, as with all ancient knowledge spoken of in the book, there was transmission loss and noise over time. What were some of the key losses in transmission? How did they occur?

Tracing at the least general history, philology and psychology, this tale examines the subtlety of how important data, both informatically and essentially, is lost over time. The manner of transmission of his own body of work was likely a principle aim of Gurdjieff’s, and not surprisingly, encoding is a major theme of the book as a whole. Certainly, one level of decoding is the work of following the fine thread of images, ideas, changes in tone in the narrative itself. It is a meditation. As a meditation, there is no immediate requirement that one need “know” what is being spoken about in the sense of being able to call upon encyclopedic knowledge. Training the mind to listen is itself an art. Thus, what appears first as daunting complexity is found to open the mind to something of the essence of Gurdjieff’s work by disclosing the place within where one can listen essentially.

The reading and the improved musical accompaniment are provided by members of the idiotplayers, Gregory Dominato and Eunji Kim.

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