G.I. Gurdjieff tried to break free of the ordinary life that binds everybody to the mundane by deliberately adopting unconventional means and ways to lead his life
The magic circleIn the middle of a circle drawn on the ground stood one of the little boys, sobbing and making strange movements, and the others were standing at a certain distance laughing at him. I was puzzled and asked what it was all about.
I learned that the boy in the middle was a Yezidi, that the circle had been drawn round him and that he could not get out of it until it was rubbed away. The child was indeed trying with all his might to leave this magic circle, but he struggled in vain. I ran up to him and quickly rubbed out part of the circle, and immediately he dashed out and ran away as fast as he could...
The Yezidis are a sect living in Transcaucasia, mainly in the regions near Mount Ararat. They are sometimes called devil-worshippers.
Many years after the incident just described, I made a special experimental verification of this phenomenon and found that, in fact, if a circle is drawn round a Yezidi, he cannot of his own volition escape from it. Within the circle he can move freely, and the larger the circle, the larger the space in which he can move, but get out of it he cannot. Some strange force, much more powerful than his normal strength, keeps him inside. I myself, although strong, could not pull a weak woman out of the circle; it needed yet another man as strong as I.
If a Yezidi is forcibly dragged out of a circle, he immediately falls into the state called catalepsy, from which he recovers the instant he is brought back inside. But if he is not brought back into the circle, he returns to a normal state, as we ascertained, only after either thirteen or twenty-one hours.
To bring him back to a normal state by any other means is impossible. At least my friends and I were not able to do so, in spite of the fact that we already possessed all the means known to contemporary hypnotic science for bringing people out of the cataleptic state. Only their priests could do so, by means of certain short incantations.
From Meetings with Remarkable Men by G.I. Gurdjieff; Arkana/Penguin, 1988
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