John Godolphin Bennett
, (8 June 1897 - 13 December
1974) was a British mathematician, scientist, technologist, industrial
research director, and author. He is perhaps best known for his many
books on psychology and spirituality, and particularly the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff
. Bennett met Gurdjieff in Constantinople
in 1921, and later helped to co-ordinate the work of Gurdjieff
in England after Gurdjieff's arrival in Paris. He also was active in starting the British section of the Subud
movement, and co-founded its British headquarters.
Bennett was born in London, England, educated at Kings College School, London; Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; School of Military Engineering, Chatham; and School of Oriental Studies, London.
He was a Fellow of the Institute of Fuel, London, from 1938 onwards;
Chairman, Conference of Research Associations, 1943–1945; Chairman,
Solid Fuel Industry, British Standards Institution, 1937–1942; Chairman
and Director, Institute for the comparative study of History,
Philosophy, and the Sciences, Kingston upon Thames, 1946–1959.
Early life, World War I, marriage
Bennett spent his early childhood in Italy, and learned to speak Italian
before he spoke English. He would later display an extraordinary talent
for languages, which enabled him to talk with many spiritual teachers
in their native tongues, and to study Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and
Christian sacred texts in their original forms.
Bennett makes little reference to his childhood in his autobiography,
'Witness', but elsewhere he credits his mother with instilling in him
the virtues of hard work and tolerance.
At school, he excelled in sports and captained the school rugby football
team. He won a scholarship in mathematics from Oxford University, but
never had the chance to take advantage of this. He continued to play
rugby football for the army (against such opponents as the New Zealand
national team), breaking his arm once and his collar bone twice.
In the First World War, at the age of twenty-one, Bennett became a captain in the Royal Engineers, with responsibility for signals and telegraphy.
In France in 1918, he was blown off his motorcycle by an exploding
shell. Taken to a military hospital, operated upon, and apparently in a
coma for six days, Bennett had an out-of-body experience
which convinced him that there is something in man which can exist
independently of the body.
:"It was perfectly clear to me that being dead is quite unlike being
very ill or very weak or helpless. So far as I was concerned, there was
no fear at all. And yet I have never been a brave man and was certainly
still afraid of heavy gun fire. I was cognizant of my complete
indifference toward my own body."
This set his life on a new course - he described the return to normal
existence as the return to a body that was now in some sense a stranger.
Bennett was recruited as an intelligence officer, studied Turkish, and was sent to Constantinople,
where he held a sensitive position in Anglo-Turkish relations. His
fluency made him the confidant of many high-ranking Turkish political
figures, and helped him to develop his knowledge of Turkey and to gain
insights into non-European ways of thinking.
:"All day long I was dealing with different races: English, French,
Italian, Greek, Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish, Russian, Arab, Jews and
people so mixed up as to be no race at all. Each and every one was
convinced of the superiority of his own people. How could everyone be
right and all the rest wrong? It was nonsense."
His love of Turkey would remain with him for the rest of his life.
After the war, Bennett had married his first wife, Evelyn, with whom he
had a daughter, Ann. Evelyn stayed in England, however, and Bennett's
immersion in Turkish affairs and his relationship with Winifred
Beaumont, an English woman living in Turkey, placed increasing strain on
the marriage, which subsequently failed. Bennett later married
Winifred, a woman twenty years his senior, and they remained together
until her death, forty years later. (He would be married for a third
time in 1958, to Elizabeth Howard.)
Gurdjieff and Ouspensky
After the First World War and the Russian Revolution
many displaced people passed through Constantinople en route to the
West. Part of Bennett's job was to monitor their movements. Among them
were G.I. Gurdjieff
and P.D. Ouspensky
who Bennett met through Prince Sabaheddin, a reformist thinker who had
introduced him to a wide range of religious and occultist ideas,
Bennett became determined to pursue the search for a deeper reality. It was a search he would continue for his entire life.
When Gurdjieff and Ouspensky moved on to Europe, Bennett remained in
Turkey, committed to his work and fascinated by the political and social
developments that finally led to the fall of the sultanate and the
proclamation, on October 29, 1923 of the Turkish republic. However,
Bennett had been profoundly impressed with Gurdjieff's ideas about the
arrangement of the human organism and the possibility of a man's
transformation to a higher state of being, and would later dedicate much
of his life to the elaboration and dissemination of those ideas.
Bennett approved the permission certificate to M. Kemal Atatürk to
Samsun, that he started Turkish Independence struggle there.
Gurdjieff founded his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man
at the Château Le Prieuré in Fontainebleau-Avon, south of Paris, in
October 1922. Bennett visited in the summer of 1923, spending three
months at the institute. This experience further convinced him that
Gurdjieff had profound knowledge and understanding of techniques by
which man can achieve transformation. Gurdjieff encouraged Bennett to
stay longer, but Bennett was short of money and so felt obliged to
return to work in England. Though Bennett expected to return to the
group soon, he would not meet Gurdjieff again until 1948.
Bennett served the British government as a consultant on the Middle
East, and interpreted at the 1924 conference in London intended to
settle disputes between Greece and Turkey. He was invited to stand for
parliament, but he chose instead to give his personal studies precedence
over his public life.
He joined Ouspensky's groups, and continued to study Gurdjieff's system
with them for fifteen years, though Ouspensky broke off all contact with
Gurdjieff himself in the early 1920s.
During this time, Bennett became involved with various coal mining
ventures in Greece and Turkey. These were ultimately unsuccessful, but
gave him expertise in mining and coal chemistry. He spent four years in
Greece, and was involved in protracted negotiations involving land
claims by members of the deposed Turkish royal family.
In 1938, he was asked to head Britain's first industrial research organization, the British Coal Utilisation Research Association (BCURA). With the outbreak of World War II,
BCURA's research was focussed on developing fuel efficient fireplaces
and finding alternatives to oil. BCURA developed cars powered by
coal-gas and a coal-based plastic.
In 1941, Ouspensky left England to live in the United States. By now,
Bennett was running his own study groups and giving talks on the subject
of Gurdjieff's system
. The groups continued and expanded in London throughout the Second World War.
Bennett began writing and developing his own ideas in addition to
Gurdjieff's. Ouspensky repudiated him in 1945, which proved very painful
for Bennett, who had also lost touch with Gurdjieff, and believed him
to be dead.
:"Ouspensky fell under the impression that Bennett was setting himself
up as a teacher and plagiarising his lecture material. Instructions were
sent to all members of Ouspensky's groups to disassociate themselves
from Bennett, who found himself vilified and ostracised, but still
supported by a small loyal following. He decided to go ahead with his
work of communicating his understanding of the System to people, and to
create a society or institute to serve as its vehicle."
In 1946, Bennett and his wife founded the Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences:
:"To promote research and other scientific work in connection with the
factors which influence development and retrogression in man and their
operation in individuals and communities; to investigate the origin and
elaboration of scientific hypotheses and secular and religious
philosophies and their bearing on general theories of Man and his place
in the universe; and to study comparative methodology in history,
philosophy and natural science."
The Institute bought Coombe Springs, a seven-acre estate in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey,
which had housed research laboratories used by BUCRA. The Bennetts
moved in with ten of Bennett's closest pupils with the intention of
starting a small research community. Coombe Springs became a center for
group work, and in addition to the small community who lived there
permanently, hundreds of people visited Coombe Springs for meetings and
The old laboratories were used as dormitory space and known as the
'fishbowl' because of the amount of glass they had. A 'new building' was
later built for superior accommodation. The main house was used for
meetings as well as accommodation. Coombe Springs took its name from an
original Elizabethan Spring House in the grounds, which, until the
mid-nineteenth century, had provided water to the palace at Hampton Court.
Bennett was convinced that the Gurdjieff's system could be reconciled
with modern science. He started work on a five-dimensional geometry
which included 'eternity' as a second time-like dimension. introducing
this in his first published book, 'The Crisis in Human Affairs' (1948).
Reunion with Gurdjieff
Ouspensky had died in 1947. In 1948, Bennett went to the USA and met
Ouspensky's wife, through whom he learned that Gurdjieff had survived
the French occupation and was living in Paris. Though it was now twenty
five years since they had last met (due mainly to Ouspensky's long
standing veto on Gurdjieff to members of his groups), Bennett quickly
decided to renew contact. In the eighteen months before Gurdjieff's
death (in October, 1949), Bennett visited him frequently, despite his
heavy professional schedule (he was now working for the Powell Duffryn
coal company) and his responsibilities towards the group work at Coombe
A month spent working very intensively with Gurdjieff's group in the
summer of 1949 laid the foundation for a significant transformation in
his life and spiritual work. At that time, Gurdjieff's apartment in
Paris had become a 'Mecca' to the 'followers of his ideas' who converged
from many different countries. Bennett learnt of Gurdjieff's writings,
and read "Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson"
for the first time. At the beginning of 1949, Bennett was named as
Gurdjieff's 'Representative for England' and later gave public lectures
in London on Gurdjieff and his ideas.
This period was described in Elizabeth Bennett's book "Idiots in Paris",
which was based on Bennett's diaries and her own memories.
Gurdjieff's death in 1949 was a serious blow for all his followers.
Disagreements arose in the group, partly as a result of Gurdjieff's
having afforded his closest associates conflicting areas of authority.
In Bennett's case, the conflict was exacerbated by his own
interpretation and development of Gurdieff's ideas.
After Gurdjieff's death, the various groups looked to Jeanne de Salzmann
to give them direction and hold them together, but there was little
inherent harmony between them. At this time Bennett was a member of a
small group headed by Madame de Salzmann, putting his work at Coombe
Springs under her overall guidance. In 1950, Bennett was falsely accused
of harbouring communists on his staff and was forced to resign from
Powell Dufryn (later resisting several attractive offers to return to a
career in industrial research and administration). This left him free to
concentrate more fully on the group work at Coombe Springs. He lectured
frequently, trying to fulfill a promise he had made to Gurdjieff to do
everything in his power to propagate his ideas. Friendly relations
continued with Madame de Salzmann and her groups throughout 1951 and
1952, but by then Bennett was convinced that his more senior students
were not making progress, and that he had to find out for himself
whether there still existed an ancient tradition or source from which
Gurdjieff had derived his teaching.
Travels in the Middle East
In 1953, he undertook a long journey to the Middle East, visiting
Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Persia. His search, chronicled in his book
'Journeys in Islamic Countries' brought him into contact with Sufis of
extraordinary accomplishment, such as Emin Chikou
and Farhad Dede
but he found in none of them the quality he perceived in Gurdjieff, of
universal understanding transcending local conditioning.
During 1954, there were increasingly evident differences of opinion
between Bennett and Madame de Salzmann regarding the promulgation of
Gurdjieff's teachings, and Bennett came to realise that an effectual
working relationship with her groups was not possible. Bennett wished to
execute Gurdjieff's last directives literally, by disseminating his
ideas and writings as widely as possible, especially ''Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson'', which Madame de Salzmann wanted to keep away from the public eye.
In 1955, he initiated a project to build an unusual nine-sided meeting
hall at Coombe Springs for the performance of Gurdjieff's sacred dance
movements. This, together with his public lectures in London, completed
the rift with Madame de Salzmann. The project took two years to
complete. At the opening in 1957, Bennett commented that the real value
of such a project was in building a community rather than the building
In 1956, Bennett was introduced to Subud
a spiritual movement originating in Java. For a number of reasons,
Bennett felt that Gurdjieff had expected the arrival of a teaching from
Indonesia, and in spite of deep reservations, Bennett was 'opened' by
Husein Rofe in November of that year.
Bennett regarded the latihan,
the spiritual exercise of Subud, as being akin to what the mystics call
diffuse contemplation. He also felt that it had the power of awakening
conscience, the organ that Gurdjieff regarded as necessary for
salvation. An invitation was sent to the movement's founder, Muhammad
(Pak) Subuh to come to England. Pak Subuh came to Coombe Springs where all of Bennett's pupils were given the opportunity to be 'opened'.
It was a highly explosive event that included the miraculous cure of the film star, Eva Bartok,
and, subsequently, the violent death of one of Bennett's pupils. In an
extraordinarily short time, Bennett found himself instrumental in
spreading Subud all over the world. He traveled extensively to spread
the Subud message, sometimes in the company of Pak Subuh. Bennett translated Pak Subuh's lectures into various languages, and his own introductory book, 'Concerning Subud', sold thousands of copies worldwide.
Bennett's heavy involvement in Subud meant a gradual fading away of the
work-group activities and exercises that had been practised until the
advent of Subud. The meeting hall was left without its intended viewers'
balcony and its striking pentagonal floor was filled in to allow for
latihans. Its original purpose was not to be fulfilled for many years.
Some of Bennett's pupils were dismayed. Subud seemed to some to be the
antithesis of Gurdjieff's methods for spiritual awakening, and Bennett's
enthusiasm for it served to deepen the divisions within the Gurdjieff
groups. Many people left the Coombe Springs groups, but others came in
large numbers, and for several years Coombe Springs was the headquarters
of the Subud movement in Europe, attracting serious seekers and
In 1958, monks from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Wandrille, interested
in Subud, contacted Bennett who, the following year, made the first of
many visits which brought him into close contact with the Catholic
Church. Pere Bescond was the first monk to be 'opened', followed by many
others. It was at St. Wandrille that Bennett had a deep experience of
the destined unification of Islam and Christianity. This possibility had
haunted him for a long time and he had given it philosophical
expression, through his concept of essential will, in 'The Dramatic Universe'. Soon after, he entered the Catholic Church.
By 1960, Bennett had come to the conclusion that the practice of
'latihan' alone was inadequate, and he resumed the work that he had
learned from Gurdjieff. By 1962, after devoting himself selflessly to
its growth and expansion, Bennett left the Subud organization, feeling
that a return to the Gurdjieff method was necessary.
Although he maintained to the end of his life that he had derived great
benefit from Subud, it was now the turn of Subud members to be dismayed,
and many turned against him.
Meanwhile the Institute had been largely given over to Subud to the
extent, at one time, of instigating a move to forbid the sale of
Gurdjieff's books at Coombe Springs. In spite of this, Bennett
reinstated lecture courses on psychokinetics, an action that led to
increasing conflict among the membership.
A battle of power ensued in 1962 that resulted in Subud acquiring its
own organization and Bennett resigning from the Subud brotherhood and
his role as leader of the Coombe Springs Community and Director of
Research of the Institute.
From 1963, the pattern of exercises that were subsequently followed at
Coombe Springs combined the latihan with different techniques such as
the Gurdjieff movements. The meeting hall was completed with the fitting
of a balcony for viewers and an external access through stairs for
spectators. Lectures were held on topics ranging from Sufism to
Synchronicity, and Bennett resumed work on the final volumes of his
"personal whim", the epic 'The Dramatic Universe', which he had been
working on for more than ten years, constantly writing, revising and
The Shivapuri Baba
Meanwhile, Bennett had made contact with the Shivapuri Baba
a Hindu sage living in Nepal. He had first heard of the Shivapuri Baba
in the early 1940s, and now learned from Paul Ripman (a fellow student
of Ouspensky) that the yogi was still alive.
Bennett visited the Shivapuri Baba twice between 1961 and 1963, by which
time the Shivapuri Baba was reportedly 137 years old. Bennett was
impressed with the vitality and simplicity of the Shivapuri Baba's
teaching, and later referred to him as his teacher. Bennett undertook to
propagate the Shivapuri Baba's teaching, and made various attempts to
incorporate it into his own work.
The Shivapuri Baba died in 1963, shortly after he had approved the draft for his biography, Bennett's 'Long Pilgrimage - The Life and Teaching of the Shivapuri Baba'.
In the summer of 1962, Bennett gave a seminar on Spiritual Psychology
in which the various elements he had received (particularly from
Gurdjieff, Subud and the Shivapuri Baba) were integrated into a coherent
psycho-cosmology. This marked a major step in his understanding of a
comprehensive methodology that combined both active and receptive 'lines
By this time Bennett was also working with a group of young scientists
called ISERG (Integral Science Research Group) headed by Tony Hodgson
and soon joined by A.G.E. Blake and others. This group investigated
educational methods, the nature of science and similar subjects. The
group maintained a contact with David Bohm, one of the most original minds in contemporary physics.
Research Fellowships were created to enable Hodgson and Blake to
concentrate their time on educational work. Out of this came the idea of
structural communication which led the Institute into co-operative work with G.E.C. in the field of teaching machines.
In 1963, Bennett launched the Institute's journal, 'Systematics'. The
journal was designed to spread the ideas of the discipline of Systematics,
a practical analytical method based on his own researches into the laws
governing processes in the natural world. The journal ran for eleven
years with major contributions from all disciplines.
While the educational work was progressing, Bennett learned of Idries Shah
, an exponent of Sufism
When they met, Shah presented Bennett with a document supporting his
claim to represent the 'Guardians of the Tradition'. Bennett and other
followers of Gurdjieff's ideas were astonished to meet a man claiming to
represent what Gurdjieff had called 'The Inner Circle of Humanity',
something they had discussed for so long without hope of its concrete
Bennett introduced "teaching stories" to his groups on Shah's
instructions. These are now widely published and recognized as important
teaching materials containing the essence of Sufi knowledge and
It remained unclear as to what the future relationship between the
Institute, Bennett and Shah could become. Eventually Bennett decided to
put Coombe Springs at Shah's disposal to do with as he saw fit. In
October 1965 at an extraordinary General Meeting of the Institute,
Bennett persuaded the membership to take this step.
Shah originally indicated that he would take Bennett's psychological
groups under his own wing. Bennett welcomed this, as it would allow him
to concentrate on research and writing. However, he again found himself
unpopular - not only with conservatives within the Institute, but also
with other followers of Idries Shah and members of his organisation SUFI
(Society for the Understanding of the Foundation of Ideas).
In the spring of 1966, The Institute for Comparative Study donated
Coombe Springs to Shah, who promptly sold it for a housing development.
The Djamee was destroyed. About half the people who had studied under
Bennett were integrated into his groups while the rest were left 'in the
air'. The Institute was left with the educational research work as its
main focus. The work with the Hirst Research Laboratories of G.E.C. bore
fruit in the new teaching machine, the 'Systemaster', and Bennett
organised various young people around him to write and develop teaching
materials that followed the structural communication method.
Bennett and some of the Coombe Springs residents had moved into a nearby
house in Kingston upon Thames, where the family (the Bennetts now had
two sons and two young daughters) would live quietly for four years
before Bennett embarked on his last great project - an experimental
school for passing on techniques for spiritual transformation.
International Academy for Continuous Education
By 1969 the company which had been formed to explore structural
communication - Structural Communication Systems Ltd. - was floundering
and Bennett's health, too, was in a dangerous state. After his recovery,
Bennett looked afresh at the situation and the conviction came to him
that he should take up the work that Gurdjieff had started at the
Prieuré in 1923 and been forced to abandon. He would start a School of
the Fourth Way.
Bennett became very interested in young people, especially those who
surfaced from the social and cultural turmoil of the 1960s with serious
questions about the significance of life but with few satisfactory
answers. As part of his research, Bennett attended the rock music
festival on the Isle of Wight
in 1970. The outcome was the establishment of an "academy" to teach
some of what he had learned in trying to discover the "sense and aim of
life, and of human life in particular."
On the twenty fifth anniversary of the Institute, in April 1971, a
jubilee celebration on the theme of The Whole Man was held. In a very
short time, primarily in the USA, Bennett recruited many students and in
October 1971 the International Academy for Continuous Education was
inaugurated in Sherborne, Gloucestershire.
Bennett had begun this enterprise with no programme in mind and with
only a handful of helpers. Initially, his ideas had involved running a
school in the midst of 'life-conditions' in Kingston with two dozen
students, but contact with a young representative of the New Age
Movement in the USA persuaded him to think in terms of larger numbers
and a relatively isolated locale in the countryside. Bennett realized
that work on the land (which he considered to be an essential part of
teaching the proper relationship between mankind and the rest of
creation) would require a larger number. Both Hasan Shushud and Idries
Shah made recommendations that, for the most part, he disregarded.
He quickly attracted one hundred pupils, and in 1971, with the support
of the Institute for Comparative Study, he inaugurated the International
Academy for Continuous Education, in the village of Sherborne, Gloucestershire, England.
The name was chosen "to indicate on the one hand its Platonic
inspiration and on the other to emphasize that it was to offer a
teaching for the whole life of the men and women who came to it."
As he tells the story in his autobiography, although various spiritual
leaders had urged him at various points in his life to strike out on his
own path, it was not until near the end of his years that he felt fully
confident to assume the mantle of the teacher. Bennett relates how
Gurdjieff had told him in 1923 that one day Bennett would "follow in his
footsteps and take up the work he had started at Fontainebleau." In
1970, following the promptings of a still, small voice from within that
said, "You are to found a school",
Bennett proposed that there should be five experimental courses each of
ten months duration. The courses proved fruitful, and many people have
continued, as he had hoped, to work with the ideas and methods he
In April 1972, the Sufi Hasan Shushud came to stay for a few months at
the Academy. The two had met in Turkey ten years previously, and Hasan
Shushud had visited Bennett's Surrey home in 1968, when Bennett was
initiated in Shushud's wordless, universal zikr, which, Bennett
concluded, bore results similar to those of the latihan, while omitting
many of the risks attendant on 'opening' unprepared people. Bennett had
since grown increasingly attracted to the Khwajagan, the Masters of
Wisdom of Central Asia extolled by Hasan. Bennett worked on a version of
the Sufi's book Hacegan Hanedani, to be published jointly under his and
Shushud's names (Shushud eventually refused to have a book published
with his name joined with that of a Christian). He was also working on a
book concerning Gurdjieff's ideas.
While criticising Bennett's methods, Hasan impressed on him that "Your
only home is the Absolute Void". Shushud eventually agreed that what
Bennett was doing was more suitable for young western seekers than his
own strict methods of fasting and zikr.
In the same year, Bennett began editing Gurdjieff's Third Series of writings, 'Life is Real Only Then When I Am',
undertaking its publication on behalf of the Gurdjieff family (who were
having difficulties in dealing with the Gurdjieff Foundation). He also
revisited Turkey, meeting with Hadji Muzaffer, the Sheikh of a Halveti
During the period of the second course at the Academy, a Cambodian
Buddhist Monk, the Reverend Mahathera V. Dharmawara, known as 'Bhante',
came to Sherborne at Bennett's invitation. Techniques of meditation were
introduced that continue to be practised by many people.
Other visitors were Suleiman Dede, head of the Mevlevi order in Konya, as well as his disciple Reshad Feild.
Idries Shah paid a brief visit during the first year, but soon left,
with harsh views on the attitudes and disposition of the students.
Throughout the period of the Institute's existence, Bennett had been
toying with the idea of founding a spiritual community. He saw the Sermon on the Mount
as a document describing the true community.
His contact with Idries Shah combined this in his mind with the
possibility of establishing a Power House where 'enabling energies'
could be concentrated. He set his sights on some kind of self-sufficient
community, populated by Sherborne graduates, to evolve out of the
school. He was profoundly influenced by contemporary ideas, such as
those of Schumacher,
about the need for alternative technology and by the argument of
conservationists for intelligent, ecologically sound agriculture. He was
also greatly impressed that his spiritual hero and inner teacher, Khwaja Ubaidallah Ahrar (15th century) had turned to farming after his period of training.
Soaring price of land in the UK led to Bennett's interest in starting
something in the USA. In 1974, he signed an agreement whereby the
Institute loaned $100,000 to a newly formed society for the foundation
of a psychokinetic community. He signed this document shortly before his
death on December 13, 1974.
The Claymont Society was founded to attempt to carry out Bennett's vision, but without the help of his guidance.
In the Summer of 1974, he visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rome to question him about Transcendental Meditation and his interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita.
Bennett had been initiated into TM several years before and first met
the Maharishi in 1959. He disputed Maharishi's presentation of the Gita
in which he eliminated the need for sacrifice and suffering.
In the last year of his life, he gradually made it known to those
working with him, that his own personal task centred on the creation of a
way of religious worship that would be accessible to men and women of
the West who were lacking in religious formation. During this period he
made experiments with the Islamic namaz and Sufi zikr.
The teachings he developed in his last years were recorded and published
in a series of books put together by Anthony Blake. He showed that at
last he was independent of Gurdjieff and had his own understanding of
the spiritual world, based on a radical questioning of all current
Bennett died on Friday, December 13, 1974, shortly after the start of
the fourth course. That course, and the fifth, were completed by his
wife, working with a few of his most experienced pupils.
With his death the Institute was faced with the typical problems of a
body which had been led almost single-handedly by one man since its
inception. The decision was taken to continue the Academy's work until
the five-year period, originally specified by Bennett, had been
completed. The setting up of the USA community at Claymont Court, West
Virginia, went ahead..
In the months before he died, Bennett worked to establish an
experimental "ideal human society" embodying the methods and ideas that
he had developed and derived from Gurdjieff. He made substantial efforts
to overcome the rifts that had grown between different groups of
Gurdjieff's followers, and was beginning to talk about the development
of new forms of worship appropriate for the modern world.
''Creation'' (Exploration of the idea that man lives in many worlds)
''Creative Thinking'' (The conditions necessary for creative insight)
''Deeper Man'' (Gurdjieff's ideas applied to the critical condition of 20th century society)
''Dramatic Universe, The'' (A search for a unified vision of reality)
''Elementary Systematics: A Tool for Undertanding Wholes''
(Conceptual tool to find pattern in complexity. A handbook for business)
''Energies: Material, Vital, Cosmic'' (exploration of the theory of Universal Energies'' developed from Gurdjieff's hints)
''First Liberation, The'' ( Working with Themes at Sherborne House)
''Gurdjieff: A Very Great Enigma'' (The ideas of Gurdjieff and the mystery that surrounded him)
''Gurdjieff - Making a New World'' (Biography exploring Gurdjieff's role in bringing ancient wisdom to the West)
''Hazard: The Risk of Realization'' (First book of talks given on ideas found in The Dramatic Universe)
''How We Do Things: The Role of Attention in Spiritual Life''
(Chapters on Function, Sensitivity, Consciousness, Decision, &
''Intimations: Talks with J.G. Bennett at Beshara'' (talks given to students of Reshad Feild and of the great Sufi Mystic Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi)
''Idiots In Paris'' (Diaries of Elizabeth & J.G. Bennett in Paris with Gurdjieff)
''Is There Life On Earth?'' (Introduction to Gurdjieff's ideas
arousing a practical concern for the future of life on this planet)
''Journeys In Islamic Countries'' (Diaries of Bennetts's search for the sources of Gurdjieff's teachings)
''Long Pilgrimage'' (The life and teaching of the Shivapuri Baba)
''Making A Soul: Human Destiny and the Debt of Our Existence''
(Instruction based on Bennett's view of the fundamental purpose of human
''Masters Of Wisdom: An Esoteric History of the Spiritual Unfolding
of Life on This Planet'' (Historical study and a vision of the workings
of higher intelligence)
''Needs Of A New Age Community: Talks on Spiritual Community &
Schools'' (Includes Bennett's commentaries on 'The Sermon on the Mount')
''Sacred Influences: Spiritual Action in Human Life'' (Essays on
the qualities of Life, Nature, Doing, Wisdom, God, and Sacred Images)
''The Sevenfold Work'' ('The Work' resolved into seven lines applicable to past and present practice and experience)
''Sex'' (The relationship between sex and spiritual development)
''The Spiritual Hunger Of The Modern Child'' (Bennett, Mario
Montessori, A.I Polack and others on the nature of a child's
''A Spiritual Psychology'' ( a workbook for creating an organ of
perception and mode of existence independent from the vagaries of life)
''Sunday Talks At Coombe Springs'' (A collection of some of Bennett's most creative thinking)
''Talks On Beelzebub's Tales'' (From Bennett's talks on Gurdjieff's series 'Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson'.
''Transformation'' (The process by which a man can become a 'New Man')
''Way To Be Free'' (Conversations between Bennett & his
students on the difference between work done from the mind and work from
''What Are We Living For?'' (A critique of western culture)
''Witness: The Story Of a Search'' (Autobiography)
Bennett, J. G. (1897-1974), a short biography at the Mystica.org
John G. Bennett - The Struggle to “Make Something” for Oneself by George Bennett
John Godolphin Bennett dossier by Alex Burns
History of the Institute for the Comparative Study Of History, Philosophy and the Sciences at The DuVersity
Catalog of Bennett's Books
Bennett Publishing Fund
The ''Gurdjieff's Mission'' video explores Bennett's enigmatic relationship with Gurdjieff
John G. Bennett page at the Gurdjieff International Review website
Gurdjieff’s Temple Dances by John G. Bennett
Gurdjieff’s All and Everything - A Study by J. G. Bennett
A Call for a New Society by John G. Bennett
Systematics website including original Journal articles
Bennett Books all Bennett published books can be found here
Sabah newspaper from Turkey His signature, from 16 May 1919 Istanbul
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