“Gurdjieff and Mesmer and the Idea of Reciprocal Maintenance” by Clare Mingins

"Gurdjieff and Mesmer and the Idea of Reciprocal Maintenance" by Clare Mingins

"GURDJIEFF’S WRITING IS PERMEATED through and through with certain questions that also occupied Mesmer, maybe most notably, the question of influences, which perhaps reaches its highest expression, in Gurdjieff’s astonishing and powerful idea of reciprocal maintenance. This is an idea which runs through Gurdjieff's "All and Everything" as a constant theme in various forms. Mesmer, too, in his writings, was unceasingly occupied with the idea of reciprocal exchange between “bodies” – from celestial bodies, to human beings, to animals and plants – in the form of incoming and outgoing currents, as he saw it. The idea of influences and reciprocal maintenance is explored here especially using the subject of attention and the connection with interpersonal influence in the field of healing, a field in which Gurdjieff was also a master, and itself inextricably bound with inner work on oneself.

When reading Gurdjieff’s writing, it is profitable and indeed necessary to learn to read it in more than one way, to see literal and non-literal meanings, even at the same time. It may be that one can also do this usefully with Mesmer’s work, and that working with the ideas of Mesmer, theoretically and practically, can help one to dig deeper into the ground of Gurdjieff’s ideas."