John G. Bennett

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John G. Bennett ( John Godolphin Bennett ; born June 8, 1897 in London , † December 13, 1974 in Sherborne , Gloucestershire ) was a British mathematician , philosopher , author and spiritual teacher. He worked temporarily as Secretary of State in the British government and as head of the British Coal Utilization Research Association; 1938 to about 1941. His life and work were essentially linked to Georges I. Gurdjieff (1866? -1949) and his system of the Fourth Way .


What he himself described as his "search for truth", started by an intense near-death experience in the First World War . In 1919 Bennett was sent to Istanbul , where he worked for the British secret service and where he a. a. also came into contact with Turkish dervishes of the Mevlevi order.

In 1920 he met the Russian journalist PD Ouspensky , through whom he came into contact with Georges I. Gurdjieff , who was currently in Istanbul. This encounter made such a lasting impression on Bennett that in 1923 he visited Gurdjieff for 14 days in his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Fontainebleau , near Paris. Gurdjieff offered Bennett to work intensively with him in Fontainebleau for 2 years. For professional and personal reasons, however, Bennett decided to return to England. He subsequently joined Ouspensky for a few years, who in the meantime had distanced himself from Gurdjieff and settled in England to teach Gurdjieff's ideas according to his own interpretation. He later fell out with Ouspenksy and started his own study group. Due to the turmoil of the Second World War and Ouspensky's rejection of Gurdjieff, Bennett lost personal contact with him. After Ouspensky's death in 1947, Bennett visited Ouspensky's wife in the United States and heard from her that, contrary to rumors, Gurdjieff had survived the German occupation of France . Bennett, his wife Elizabeth and many of Bennett's students renewed contact with Gurdjieff in 1948 and visited him regularly until his death in October 1949. During this time Bennett lived in Paris for a period of about two months and worked in groups a. a. Led by Gurdjieff's long-time student Jeanne de Salzmann. Exact records of this period can be found in the books: Idiots in Paris - Diaries of Elizabeth & JG Bennett , Bennett's autobiography The Crossing of the Great Water and Patterson's Struggle of the Magicians , a work in which the relationship between Gurdjieff's students Ouspensky, Orage and Bennett zu Gurdjieff is illuminated.

As early as 1946 Bennett founded his own group in Coombe Springs near London under the name Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences . After Gurdjieff's death, Bennett found himself inspired to search for the inner pattern of spirituality and beyond that for the sources of real knowledge . Therefore he researched the origin of Gurdjieff's teachings, made trips to the Orient in search of his teachers and got to know some Eastern masters who helped him in his search. He describes these trips in detail in his book Journeys to Islamic Countries . He later met many other influential wisdom teachers, including a. Shivapuri Baba , a notable Indian Rishi who is believed to be 136 years old. In addition to this research and experience, Bennett incorporated significant influences from various traditional teachings, modern psychology and contemporary physical-scientific findings into his work. Bennett assumed that another teacher would have to come after Gurdjieff. He first believed to recognize this in Pak Subuh, the Indonesian founder of the Subud movement , which is why he distanced himself from Gurdjieff's teachings for some time and parted with the Gurdjieff Foundation, which he co-founded. After he was sobered by Subud, he turned to Idries Shah , who propagated western Sufism . He donated the Coombe Springs estate to u. a. to become free from any obligations / commitments.

His profession as a mathematician (among other things, he published a contribution to the unified field theory in 1949 ) also formed a formative background for Bennett's spiritual work. Through his early near-death experience, he tried to fathom what the other, invisible areas of reality are all about and how these fit into our physically shaped understanding of a world made up of three dimensions of space and one time . He came to the realization that there had to be another type of time as the fifth dimension in addition to ordinary time and developed a mathematical model for it. In simple terms, while time enables the realization of potentials, the potentials themselves are contained in this fifth dimension, which he calls eternity . Eternity is the ability to be , the present moment of life in its fullness. Bennett's vision goes beyond that, however, in that he regards the ability to do , the world of creative will , as a further, the sixth dimension, which works beyond our consciousness . This work found its practical implementation in "Systematics", a method that is equally useful for business organizations as for the philosophical understanding of qualities and processes that cannot be understood with quantitative mathematical analyzes. The enneagram is part of this method. Bennett conveyed all of these findings in his extensive main work The Dramatic Universe .

In addition to his later professional activity in the carbon chemistry industry (where he achieved significant research results in increasing the efficiency of energy generation from coal and, among other things, co-developed the Rosin-Rammler-Sperling-Bennett distribution ) and his ten years work on Systematics, Bennett led groups on the Fourth Way . In 1971 he founded the International Academy for Continuous Education on a new estate in Sherborne , Gloucestershire . Nine-month intensive courses took place there, which his wife Elizabeth passed on for a short time after Bennett's death. These courses were again based on the ideas of Gurdjieff, combined with practices from Sufism and other traditions. With these courses Bennett tried to realize his own idea of ​​"accelerated transformation". He contacted other teachers, including a .: Hasan Shushud, a Turkish Sufi in the tradition of the Masters of Wisdom ; Suleiman Dede Loras, a Mevlevi Sheikh from Konya ; Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , the founder of Transcendental Meditation and Reshad Feild , a western-oriented Sufi teacher and respiratory therapist. In commemoration of the anniversary of his death on December 13, 1974, the English Times wrote :

  • “In order to understand John Bennett's achievement, one must acknowledge the insight of GI Gurdjieff, who emphasized that man has become completely blind to what really is. Bennett, who could easily have had a brilliant future as a scientist, became a teacher of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky's ideas on the transformation of man. He believed that a lesson of life would be lost if new insights are not continually found to renew its meaning. "

Bennett's successors and followers, however, see his importance not so much in the fact that he became an independent exponent of Gurdjieff's ideas, but rather that he knew how to build on the building of Gurdjieff's teaching and methods. In addition to his main work The Dramatic Universe , John G. Bennett wrote other important books on the spiritual development of man, many of his published books being compiled from his countless lectures, which he always kept free.

Works (in German translation)

  • Subud . Reichl, Remagen 1958, ISBN 3-87667-003-9
  • Gurdjieff today. His message for a new age . New Era, o. O. approx. 1974; Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main, August 2, 1977, ISBN 3-921786-07-X
  • Gurdjieff. Building a new world . Aurum, Freiburg im Breisgau 1976
  • Harmonious development . Bruno Martin, Salzhausen 1982, ISBN 3-921786-29-0
  • Sex and Spiritual Transformation . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main 1976; Chalice, Xanten 2012, ISBN 978-3-942914-06-2
  • Work on yourself. Psychology for possible human development . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main, 3rd A. 1977
  • A spiritual psychology. The search for reality . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main 1977; Chalice, Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-905272-69-7
  • Another image of God . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main 1977
  • Energies - material, vital, cosmic . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-921786-05-3
  • Transformation: the art of changing . Ahorn, Munich 1978; Chalice, Xanten 2013, ISBN 978-3-942914-10-9
  • The masters of wisdom . Aurum, Freiburg im Breisgau 1979; Chalice, Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-905272-66-6
  • Hazard. Risk as a creative challenge . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main 1979
    • Reissued as: Risk and Freedom. Hazard - the risk of realization . Chalice, Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-905272-70-9
  • Gurdjieff decrypted. The inner meaning of Gurdjieff's “Beelzebub's Stories” . Bruno Martin, Frankfurt am Main 1981
  • The Sufi Way Today. Interviews and information . Bruno Martin, Südergellersen 1983, ISBN 3-921786-31-2
  • The inner worlds of man . Bruno Martin, Südergellersen 1984; Chalice, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-905272-68-0
  • Crossing the great water. The story of a search . Ahorn, Oberbrunn 1984; Chalice, Xanten 2011, ISBN 978-3-942914-02-4
  • A long pilgrimage. Life and teaching of Sri Govindananda Bharati, known as the Shivapuri Baba . Bruno Martin, Südergellersen 1985, ISBN 3-921786-43-6
  • Gurdjieff. Origin and background of his teaching . Sphinx, Basel 1989; Heyne, Munich 1997
  • The green dragon. The heart of Sufi teaching (English intimations ). Bruno Martin, Südergellersen 1993; Chalice, Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-905272-65-9
  • Food , contribution in: The Path of the Chickpea . Chalice, Xanten 2013, ISBN 978-3-942914-20-8
  • Monsieur Gurdjieff and his idiots - Paris 1949. From the diaries and memoirs of two travelers into reality , co-author: Elizabeth Bennett. Chalice, Xanten 2016, ISBN 978-3-942914-14-7
  • The seven lines of spiritual work. From the harmonious development of man . Chalice, Xanten 2016, ISBN 978-3-942914-16-1

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