We have a friend who was in a cult for several years. Cult leaders like to keep the delusional bubble intact, so they usually don’t let their members talk to the outside world; but from what I could tell, “The Work,” as it was called, was based on the Work of Gurdjieff.
For example: our friend had his watch set to go off at random intervals: Waking Up. He was also careful not to speak about himself as one unified whole. He’d name the various Selves as they came and went in the course of conversation: not Multiple Personality Disorder, but Self Remembering.
Our friend had a party for the guru and his followers, who were all showing off by pointing out everyone else’s Selves. Then the guru himself announced a giant Point-Out. Everyone sat down and listened raptly as he, the guru, took apart and criticized, one by one, all the Selves of my friend. This was the Work. I left the room.
My friend thanked the guru.
About a year later, after he had moved 300 miles to live in the guru’s compound, my friend had a heart attack, recovered, and left the group. He’s a pretty normal guy now, though he still spends a lot of time trying to figure out the meaning of life.
I write all this because it gave me great pleasure, yesterday, to write about Waking Up and a shampoo bottle in the same post.