In June of 1971, John Bennett was in New York city as a part of a whistle-stop tour to meet candidates for his Academy, and he gave a lecture at Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan. He began the talk by stating his opinion that the coming 50 year period would be the most difficult in human history and preparations would need to be made for changes that would be coming in the year 2020. The talk was given almost fifty years before the present time, and also marked the fiftieth year since Bennett himself had embarked on the journey which led to his final task.
In the course of the fifty years since that time, many of us today embarked on our own personal journey, which brought us to the situation in which we are today – at the brink of a huge change in world affairs, when all human beings will be compelled by external circumstances to address changes in the world, and how we as individuals, groups and societies will change our inner and external activities accordingly.
In another talk around this time, Bennett observed “If we try to change anything in terms of other people being different while we ourselves remain the same, we shall certainly get nowhere.” His teaching and that of his teacher Gurdjieff, is founded on the need for each individual to move from the sleeping state to the waking state, and from the waking state to the active state. While it is a given – and an obvious fact to all thinking people – that our first guiding principle must be our own conscience, we can achieve very little as individuals, and can only generate effective work by leveraging our membership of groups, communities, societies and populations. The Principle of the Reciprocal Maintenance of everything that exists is the basis of life from the smallest to the greatest state, but as long as we people fail in our basic obligations to be true human beings in the fullest sense, we represent an obstacle to the proper functioning of the world. This is nothing new – it has been the case since humanity first acquired the power of discrimination and failed to use it rightly, as symbolized by the story of Cain and Abel.
One practice which may be useful is to set ourselves to visualize a time 50 years from now – 2070 – how humanity can live successfully and rightly, what needs to happen in the interval and how we ourselves can best serve these aims. Each day as we sit and prepare for the coming day, we can spend a few minutes visualizing the year 2070, when our grandchildren will have grandchildren, and how humanity can advance towards the needs of that time. Thank you.