Arete, 2001. Voices in the Dark chronicles the rarely seen meeting notes of Gurdjieff's meetings during the 1940 to 1944 Nazi occupation of Paris. The notes were assembled by Solita Solano, who was then Gurdjieff's secretary in Paris and placed them with the Library of Congress in the US in Washinton, DC. The notes are question and answer transcripts of the wartime meetings Gurdjieff held with his followers at his Paris apartment.
The book's epilogue carries a quote by Gurdjieff that highlights his uniqueness: "I not interested in who wins war. Not have patriotism or big ideals about peace. Americans, with ideals, kill millions of Germans, German kill--with own ideals--English, French , Russian, Belgian--all have ideals, all have peaceful purpose, all kill."
By contrast, the extensive transcripts, 32 in all, depicts a world ruled by reason, as Gurdjieff's followers struggle toward self knowledge under his guidance; surely a living metaphor for Gurdjieff's message of a true Self hidden within the turbulent self of everyday suffering, and an active explanation for the seeming dissonance between Gurdjieff's actions and his expressed indifference about who would win the war (World War II).
This book succeeds on many levels. Its primary appeal, of course, will be to those who relish more words from Gurdjieff; however, anyone curious about Paris during World War II, and more broadly about the psychology of those under extreme pressure, will find it of great interest, according to a review published by Publisher's Weekly.
This is probabaly the most unusual book about Gurdjieff, himself the most mysterious and penetrating teacher of esoteric knowledge in the 20th Century. We read of Gurdjieff, in his 70s, calmly working with students, probing, provoking, giving exercises and encouragement--two coexisting worlds, yet the inner world and the outer world infinitely apart.
Living Traditions writes that while an outer war may exist, it is only the lesser battle; the true battle occurs within and is the battle between the ego and ignorance. "Voices in the Dark reminds me of these two forms of battle: a detailed eyewitness view of the occupation of France that reveals the suffering and desperation of the period. It is a painfully honest view which sees all sides as victims of egotism and ignorance on a grand scale. At the same time, interspersed through the text, the inner battle: the confronting and incisive mind of Gurdjieff as revealed through transcripts of his work from the period. This juxtaposition is poignant and powerful. On a deeper level we have the superb transcripts of Gurdjieff's work offered with little commentary; they are direct and insightful." Paperback in very good condition. Item #15522