Sunday 3 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #2: The Lonely Death of PD Ouspensky

Where I got the title for this series from.
In Search of the Miraculous was the defining work of Peter Ouspensky. As Ouspensky goes, he was certainly a lot more principled and honest than a lot of the New Age thinkers.

He didn't have any time for this Atlantis nonsense, for one. He only had contempt for the Theosophical Society. But he spent his entire life searching for the miraculous, first with legendary huckster-guru Gurdjieff, and then on his own. 

I don't think he ever really found it. The story about how he died is pretty instructive, though.

So, this one week in 1947, the aged, tired, sick Ouspensky held a series of six question and answer sessions in London where he told his followers flatly that he had failed. His System didn't work. It was a lie. There wasn't any higher truth. They should go home and find themselves. He was hostile and uncommunicative. Shortly after, on the 2nd October, he died.
Many of his pupils interpreted this as the teacher testing them. They just clearly hadn't understood him properly, they said. And they stayed. 

Ouspensky's loneliness seems apparent to me. He'd tried to find a higher world, but hadn't managed to find one without deceiving himself. That he'd deceived others without ever wanting to had made his loneliness more acute.
Atlantis and its companion Lemuria (or if you prefer, Mu) as a purely modern mythology depends for some upon an honest belief in past life regressions, channellings of spirits from Atlantis, and contacts from beings from outer space and ancient Tibetan Masters in World HQ in Shambalha.

It depends upon knowing these things were true when all the evidence of the world and science and your own two eyes says otherwise, just as the six day creationist knows that God made the world in six days a few thousand years ago because the Bible says so.

Ouspensky gave his life to finding a supernatural, miraculous world, but was too honest with himself to give himself to it fully. I feel for him. Some of the people I'm going to write about I admire, some I strongly dislike.

But Ouspensky is the one I feel solidarity with, although that humourless, hard-faced man would have taken deep offence at the very thought of it.

The Chariot project, in all its daftness, is my love letter to the seekers after the Miraculous, like Ouspensky, like me. I'm making a miraculous world in a collaborative fiction, because I never found a real one.