Monday, September 12, 2011

P.D. Ouspensky and Tertium Organum

By Steve Rensberry  

 I first came across the work of Russian writer P.D. Ouspensky in 1978 after his book, Tertium Organum, caught my eye in the philosophy section of a local Canadian bookstore. The subtitle: "A Key to the Enigmas of the World"
   The book, written in 1912, has since become available online. There is a link to it on this website. Although Ouspensky was associated early on with the work of George Gurdjieff and esotericism, it was neither Gurdjieff nor esotericism that interested me at the time. It was simply Ouspensky's book, The Third Canon of Thought, and the challenges to conventional wisdom that it presented.
   It's a complex piece of work and I don't by any means agree with, nor necessarily understand, everything Ouspensky was trying to say, but I still find it amazing that one of his conclusions is to ultimately deny the reality of motion itself. Ouspensky's book questioned some of the most basic assumptions people have about human perception and the world, and did it in a way that was profoundly analytic and rational, unlike the narratives and undefinable leaps of faith so prevalent among white anglo-saxon protestant culture.
   The fact that Ouspensky was a journalist, having written for several newspapers while in addition penning such books as The Fourth Dimension and A New Model of the Universe, is something else I can appreciate.
   Following is the 1998 film directed by Zivko Nicolic based upon Ouspensky's 1949 book, "In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching." It was, as noted on YouTube, produced by Sidney Fairway Films in association with Anak Productions Belgrade. Part I is embedded.

Part II -- In Search of the Miraculous
Part III -- In Search of the Miraculous
Part IV -- In Search of the Miraculous
Part V -- In Search of the Miraculous

Carl Sagan on God, Faith and Religion