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Arte Transformador

Gurdjieff’s comments on art and Movements

"As is with everything, so it is with Movements."

-G. I. Gurdjieff-

"You ask about the purpose of the Movements. Each position of the body corresponds to a certain internal state and, on the other hand, each internal state corresponds to a certain position. Throughout his life, a human being has a certain number of habitual positions that he adopts without paying attention to what is in between.

Adopting new and unusual positions enables you to observe yourself differently from the way you do in ordinary conditions. This becomes especially clear when you suddenly have to stay still to the order "stop!" With this order you have to become paralyzed, not only externally but also stop all your movements internally. Tense muscles must remain in the same state of tension and the ones that were relaxed should stay relaxed. You must strive to keep the thoughts and feelings as they were and, at the same time, observe yourself.

For example, you want to be an actress. Your regular postures are subject to acting in a definite way, as a maid for example. However, you want to play the part of a countess. A countess has quite different postures. In a good drama school you will learn, say, two hundred positions. For a countess, the characteristic positions are, say, positions 14, 68, 101 and 142. If you know this, when you are on stage you simply have to move from one position to another and, regardless of how poorly you do, you will be a countess at all times. But if you do not know these positions, then even a person with an untrained eye will feel that you are not a countess but a maid.

You need to observe yourself differently from the way you do in ordinary life. You must have a different attitude, not the attitude you've had so far. You know how far your attitudes have taken you so far. It makes no sense to continue thusly, neither for you nor for me, because I do not want to work with you if you remain as you are. You want knowledge, but what you have had until now has not been knowledge. It has just been a mechanical collection of information. It is knowledge outside of you, not inside. It has no value. What matters to you is something that has been created by someone else at some point? You have not created it, so it is of little value.

Everyone has a repertoire of common positions and internal states. She is a painter and perhaps you will say she has her own style. But that is not style, it is limitation. Anything that her paintings represent will always be the same, whether she paints a picture of life in Europe or the East. I will be able to tell right away that she, and not anyone else, has painted it. An actor that is the same in all of his roles, just himself, what kind of actor is he? Only miraculously could he get a role that corresponds entirely to what he is in life.

In general, all the knowledge to date has been mechanical, just as everything has been mechanical. For example, I look at that woman with kindness and she suddenly becomes nice. If I look at her angrily, she is suddenly upset and not only with me but also with her neighbor, and this neighbor with another and so on. She is angry because I looked at her angrily. She's angry mechanically. She cannot become angry voluntarily and freely. She is a slave to the attitudes of others. And this would not be so bad if others were always human beings; she is a slave to all things well. Any object is stronger than she is. This is continuous slavery. Your functions are not yours, but you are the function of what happens in you.

For new things you must learn new attitudes. See, now everyone is listening in their own way, a way that corresponds to their internal position. For example, that person listens with his mind and you with your feelings; if you were asked to repeat what you hear, everyone would repeat it in their own way, according to your momentary internal state. After an hour, someone says something nasty to somebody while you explain a math problem to be solved. He will repeat what he has heard tainted by his feelings, and you will do so in a logical way.

All of this happens because there is only one center working, i.e., mind or feeling. You must learn to listen in a new way. The knowledge you have had so far is the knowledge of one center, knowledge without understanding. Are there many things you know and understand at the same time? For example, you know what electricity is, but do you understand it as clearly as you understand that two plus two is four? The latter you understand so clearly that nobody can prove it otherwise, but electricity is different. Today it is explained a certain way and you believe it. Tomorrow you may get a different explanation and you will believe it too. Understanding, however, is the perception of not only one center but at least two.

There can be a more complete perception, but for the moment it is enough if you make one center control another. If a center perceives and another center approves the perception, it agrees with or rejects this perception – this is understanding. If an argument between centers fails when a given result is produced, it will be half-understanding. Half-understanding is not good either. It is necessary that all of you hears, that everything you speak or hear is not done only with one center but with at least two. Otherwise, there will not be a correct result for me or for you. For you it will be as before, a mere accumulation of new information."