We’ve posted here before Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing, but this list of the eighty-two “commandments” of the great film director Alejandro Jodorowsky makes that look like a fortune cookie.
In the book The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the author describes meeting Reyna d’Assia, daughter of the influential spiritual teacher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who was quite prominent in the early part of the 20th century and died in 1949, when Jodorowsky was 20 years old. (It is interesting to note that Wikipedia does not list Reyna d’Assia as one of Gurdjieff’s “known natural children,” of which Wikipedia lists seven.) Among Gurdjieff’s fans were such DM faves as Robert Fripp, Kate Bush, Keith Jarrett, and Timothy Leary.
Collin Cleary’s account of this section of the book is well worth reading. He calls this chapter, “Work on the Essence,” the “highpoint” of the book, saying that it simultaneously “comes quite close in many places to being pornographic” and “is also probably the best brief account—and critique—of the ideas of Gurdjieff that I have ever come across.” Based on what I read of this chapter, Jodorowsky’s writing (and possibly Reyna d’Assia’s way of speaking) sounds a lot like the dialogue in a Jodorowsky movie.
Jodorowsky and Reyna d’Assia met in Mexico City after a screening of El Topo, at which, for some reason, Jodorowsky was wearing the outfit of the mole character he plays in the movie. They went back to her hotel, where they had sex, with Jodorowsky still wearing the black leather cowboy outfit.
Alejandro Jodorowsky and George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
According to Cleary, Reyna “never stops talking.” In one torrent of verbiage she discloses her father’s maxims of life. Here is the exchange that leads up to her list:
Jodorowsky: Reyna, you are telling me fairy tales! Such goals are 100% utopian—and even if they were true, what is the first step on this path?
Reyna d’Assia: Whoever wishes to attain the supreme goal must first change his habits, conquer laziness, and become a morally sound human being. To be strong in the great things, we must also be strong in the small ones.
Reyna d’Assia: We have been badly educated. We live in a world of competition in which honesty is synonymous with naïveté. We must first develop good habits. Some of them may seem simple, but they are very difficult to realize. Believing them to be obvious, we fail to see that they are the key to immortal consciousness. Now I shall offer you a dictation of the commandments that my blessed father taught me….
Then comes her list of commandments. In the way of natural speech, it is (of course) not set up like a list—in fact, it looks like this. The whole thing takes up the better part of three pages.
In what follows we have formatted it so that it is easier to read.
1. Ground your attention on yourself. Be conscious at every moment of what you are thinking, sensing, feeling, desiring, and doing.
2. Always finish what you have begun.
3. Whatever you are doing, do it as well as possible.
4. Do not become attached to anything that can destroy you in the course of time.
5. Develop your generosity ‒ but secretly.
6. Treat everyone as if he or she was a close relative.
7. Organize what you have disorganized.
8. Learn to receive and give thanks for every gift.
9. Stop defining yourself.
10. Do not lie or steal, for you lie to yourself and steal from yourself.
11. Help your neighbor, but do not make him dependent.
12. Do not encourage others to imitate you.
13. Make work plans and accomplish them.
14. Do not take up too much space.
15. Make no useless movements or sounds.
16. If you lack faith, pretend to have it.
17. Do not allow yourself to be impressed by strong personalities.
18. Do not regard anyone or anything as your possession.
19. Share fairly.
20. Do not seduce.
21. Sleep and eat only as much as necessary.
22. Do not speak of your personal problems.
23. Do not express judgment or criticism when you are ignorant of most of the factors involved.
24. Do not establish useless friendships.
25. Do not follow fashions.
26. Do not sell yourself.
27. Respect contracts you have signed.
28. Be on time.
29. Never envy the luck or success of anyone.
30. Say no more than necessary.
31. Do not think of the profits your work will engender.
32. Never threaten anyone.
33. Keep your promises.
34. In any discussion, put yourself in the other person’s place.
35. Admit that someone else may be superior to you.
36. Do not eliminate, but transmute.
37. Conquer your fears, for each of them represents a camouflaged desire.
38. Help others to help themselves.
39. Conquer your aversions and come closer to those who inspire rejection in you.
40. Do not react to what others say about you, whether praise or blame.
41. Transform your pride into dignity.
42. Transform your anger into creativity.
43. Transform your greed into respect for beauty.
44. Transform your envy into admiration for the values of the other.
45. Transform your hate into charity.
46. Neither praise nor insult yourself.
47. Regard what does not belong to you as if it did belong to you.
48. Do not complain.
49. Develop your imagination.
50. Never give orders to gain the satisfaction of being obeyed.
51. Pay for services performed for you.
52. Do not proselytize your work or ideas.
53. Do not try to make others feel for you emotions such as pity, admiration, sympathy, or complicity.
54. Do not try to distinguish yourself by your appearance.
55. Never contradict; instead, be silent.
56. Do not contract debts; acquire and pay immediately.
57. If you offend someone, ask his or her pardon; if you have offended a person publicly, apologize publicly.
58. When you realize you have said something that is mistaken, do not persist in error through pride; instead, immediately retract it.
59. Never defend your old ideas simply because you are the one who expressed them.
60. Do not keep useless objects.
61. Do not adorn yourself with exotic ideas.
62. Do not have your photograph taken with famous people.
63. Justify yourself to no one, and keep your own counsel.
64. Never define yourself by what you possess.
65. Never speak of yourself without considering that you might change.
66. Accept that nothing belongs to you.
67. When someone asks your opinion about something or someone, speak only of his or her qualities.
68. When you become ill, regard your illness as your teacher, not as something to be hated.
69. Look directly, and do not hide yourself.
70. Do not forget your dead, but accord them a limited place and do not allow them to invade your life.
71. Wherever you live, always find a space that you devote to the sacred.
72. When you perform a service, make your effort inconspicuous.
73. If you decide to work to help others, do it with pleasure.
74. If you are hesitating between doing and not doing, take the risk of doing.
75. Do not try to be everything to your spouse; accept that there are things that you cannot give him or her but which others can.
76. When someone is speaking to an interested audience, do not contradict that person and steal his or her audience.
77. Live on money you have earned.
78. Never brag about amorous adventures.
79. Never glorify your weaknesses.
80. Never visit someone only to pass the time.
81. Obtain things in order to share them.
82. If you are meditating and a devil appears, make the devil meditate too.
via The Arcane Front
Thanks to Lawrence Daniel Caswell!