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Concerning Subud


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John Godolphin Bennett (1897-1974) was a British mathematician, technologist, linguist and spiritual teacher. He is best known as a commentator on the work of his teacher G.I. Gurdjieff, whom he met in Istanbul in 1920. Bennett published many books during his lifetime, and many more were compiled from transcriptions of lectures he gave in public and to his own students. At the end of his life he was the Director of the International Academy for Continuous Education in Gloucestershire, England. Always controversial, Bennett started out on his path as an Army officer in the trenches of France during the First World War, and after recovering from a severe wound, was inducted into British Military intelligence and posted to occupied Turkey. Tasked with investigating the dervish brotherhoods, and G.I. Gurdjieff for possibly subversive and illegal political activities, he concluded that not only were the dervishes a benign influence in society, but that Gurdjieff himself represented a positive force for change. Compelled to resign his commission, he studied with P.D. Ouspensky in London and in 1923 spent time at Gurdjieff's Institute in France. Then having been offered a role in the management of the affairs of the Turkish royal family, he began an unsuccessful career as a financial adventurer, and in 1928, was jailed in Greece for several months. In the 1930s Bennett embarked upon a new career as a coal research scientist and rapidly advanced to become during the Second World War the leading adviser to the British government on coal resource and energy management. 1948 saw his return to Gurdjieff after an absence of 25 years. After Gurdjieff's death, Bennett was summarily dismissed from his role in industry on suspicion of communist activity. He travelled extensively during the 1950s and was a major factor in the inauguration of the international Subud Brotherhood. He left the brotherhood in 1960. Bennett's residential community in South-West London was a centre for the Gurdjieff work, then for the Subud groups, and was finally gifted outright to Idries Shah in 1966. From 1966-1970 Bennett worked with a small group in London to develop the practical application of the Systematic principles developed in his magnum opus THE DRAMATIC UNIVERSE. From 1970 until his death in 1974, Bennett devoted himself entirely to working with his students, mainly but not exclusively at his International Academy for Continuous Education in Gloucestershire, England.

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