That which you know already

Ouspensky was a marvelous thinker from Russia. He had written many books, one of which had brought special fame. It was said that there was no book in the world to equal his. Our famous book was written by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle – THE ORGANUM. This was the first book on
truth. The second book on truth was written by Bacon and it was called NOVUM ORGANUM. The third and final book was Ouspensky’s TERTIUM ORGANUM. It is said that these are the three most wonderful books in the world.

At the time Ouspensky went to visit Gurdjieff. He was a famous man, Gurdjieff was a simple fakir Ouspensky said to him: ”I want to put some questions to you.” Gurdjieff handed him a blank piece of paper and said: ”Before we talk, write down all that you know and all that you do not know. Then we shall talk on that which you do not know. That which you know already, needs no elucidation. It will only profit you if we talk on the matters you do not know.”

That was a strange way to greet a famous man! However Ouspensky took the paper and went in a corner of the room He meant to make a long list. But when he started to write, he found himself in a strange predicament! He asked himself: ”Do I know God?” The answer came from within him: ”I
know about God but T do not know God at all!”
”Do I know the soul?”
”I know about the soul but that is all.”
For almost an hour he grappled with himself but could not bring himself to write anything.

He went up to Gurdjieff and handing the blank paper to him said: ”Forgive me, Sir. I have been under an illusion. I thought I knew, but the way you spoke and the look in your eyes make this seemingly simple question impossible to answer. I cannot dare to get away from you with what I thought I ’knew’.”
”How did you then write all those famous books?” asked Gurdjieff
”They do not matter now. I was under the spell of my so-called learning. When you spoke to me, for the first time the question stood so glaringly before me that I am overwhelmed with my ignorance!
Now I feel I know nothing! I have revealed enough in words and taken them for knowledge but as far as knowing is concerned, my attainment is zero.”
”In that case,” said Gurdjieff; ”you are qualified to know, for you have understood the very basic fact that you know nothing.”

This is the first step to knowledge: to know that you know nothing. This act of concession requires great courage. To acknowledge to oneself that ”I do not know,” is a great feat.

Osho – The Beginning of the Beginning

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