Lies, Contradictions, and Fairy Tales in Beelzebub’s Tales

In my previous post I wrote:

“Beelzebub’s Tales (BTTHG) and the entire All and Everything was written in such a way that it contains self-guards against involution according to Law. For that Mr. Gurdjieff invented lies, contradictions, inexactitudes, conjuries, and fairy tales. Anyone attempting to tramp with all that will fail miserably.”

This post is about concrete examples of lies, contradictions, and fairy tales in BTTHG and what they may mean for the serious student of the book.


There are more than one lie in BTTHG. Some of them are outright lies and others are lies invented by Beelzebub himself in order to carry out his mission. Consider the fact that polygamy is superior to monogamy only because there are more women than men. That is not a fact but a lie. The number of females and males has always been about the same, except maybe in times of wars when there are more deaths among males than females. But why the lie? It is to show us that Beelzebub is not talking about actual polygamy but about some “otherwise” and what this “otherwise” is we have to figure it out ourselves. Another lie is the fact that circumcision is more beneficial when it comes to the prevention of venereal diseases. There is not statistical data to support this fact. So, Beelzebub is talking about another kind of circumcision.

And there are passages in the book where we are told about a very specific lie invented by Beelzebub. This is the case of the third descent where Beelzebub invents a lie to help eradicate the practice of sacrificial offerings. During the second descent and for the same mission Beelzebub preached to his friend the Priest Abdil all truths concerning this practice, in relation to both our inner and outer worlds. This resulted in his friend to be killed and Beelzebub taking his planetary body to Mars. The lie Beelzebub tells during the third descents gives much better results in terms of stopping the practice of sacrificial offerings but it gives rise to fantastic practices in relation to the behavior of two-brained beings proving that in this remote lunatic corner of the Universe a medicine, even if it is the result of a lie, can be worse that the disease it is meant to cure.


In BTTHG, we find contradictions after contradictions.  What is said in one given chapter is contradicted in another chapter. For instance, on page 1164 (all quotes come from the original 1950 English Edition, the only one supervised and approved by Mr. Gurdjieff himself) of the chapter 47 we read these words placed over the main entrance of the holy planet Purgatory: “Only-He-May-Enter-Here-Who-Puts-Himself-In-The-Position-Of-The-Results-Of-My-Labors.” Then on page 1125 of the chapter 44 we read about “these indignant righteous ‘souls’”   inhabiting in Holy Purgatory because of the past actions of another inhabitant of the Holy Planet by the name of Makary Kronbernkzion . How can a ‘soul’ inhabiting Purgatory be indignant and righteous when in order to enter Purgatory this ‘soul’ had to be in the position of other? But one of the most obvious and explicit contradictions in the book is when Beelzebub explains to Hassein, in chapter 46, that in order to expose his tales he made sure never to express his own opinion. Then in the three chapters previous to the one where Beelzebub tells that to Hassein, he exposes his views on war, electricity, and justice (chapters 43, 44, 45).

Fairy Tales

Beelzebub’s Tales being a book of tales lends itself to the exposition of fairy tales. Thare are very few books mentioned or quoted in BTTHG but one mentioned several times is the One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights. This fact is an indication of the high regards Mr. Gurdjieff had for tales in general and for fairy tales in particular as a means to convey true and real objective knowledge. So, in the book we find several passage that have all the characteristics of a fairy tale. One I particularly like is found in the opening pages of the chapter Holy Purgatory, on pages 746-747 to be more specific. But let’s invite Beelzebub here and listen from his own narrative about this fairy tales:

“When we were there, you probably noticed that we always saw and sensed that from there all the space of our Great Universe or, as your favorites would say, all the ‘skies’ reflected, as it were, the radiance which recalls the radiance of the famous and incomparable ‘Almacornian turquoise.’ Its atmosphere is always pure like the ‘phenomenal-Sakrooalnian-crystal.’

“Everywhere there, every individual with all his presence senses ‘everything external,’ ‘Iskoloonizinernly,’ or as your favorites would say, ‘blissfully-delightfully.’

“On that holy planet, as the informed say, of springs alone, both mineral and fresh which for purity and naturalness are unequalled on any other planet of our Universe, there are about ten thousand.

“There, from the whole of our Universe are gathered the most beautiful and best songbirds, of which as the informed also say, there are about twelve thousand species.

“And as for the surplanetary formations, such as ‘flowers,’ ‘fruits,’ ‘berries,’ and all others of the same kind, words are inadequate. It can be said that there are collected and acclimatized there almost the whole ‘flora,’ ‘fauna,’ and ‘foscalia’ from all the planets of our Great Universe.

“Everywhere on that holy planet, in corresponding gorges, are convenient caves of all kinds of ‘interior form’ – made partly by Nature Herself and partly artificially – with striking views from their entrances, and in these caves there is everything that can be required for a blissful and tranquil existence, with the complete absence of any essence-anxiety whatever in any part of the presence of any cosmic independent Individual, such as ‘higher-being-bodies’ can also become.

“It is just in these caves that those ‘higher-being-bodies’ exist by their own choice, who, owing to their merits, come to this holy planet from the whole of our Great Universe for their further existence.

“Besides all I have mentioned, there are also there the very best, in regard to convenience as well as to speed, what are called ‘Egolionopties,’ or, as they are still sometimes called, ‘Omnipresent-platforms.’

“These Egolionopties freely move in all directions in the atmosphere of the holy planet, at any desired speed, even at that speed in which the second degree suns of our Universe fall.

“The system of this kind of ‘Egolionopty’ was, it seems, invented specially for this holy planet by the famous angel, now already Archangel Herkission.

What is the fairy tales here, one may ask? I let the reader ponder on this because it will give him/her an opportunity to grasp an essential aspect one of the true meanings of this unique planet Holy Purgatory.

Why Lies, Contradictions, and Fairy Tales?

On the first page of Beelzebub’s Tales , Mr. Gurdjieff establishes what is known as the Prime Directive of his book, namely:

“To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world.”

The beliefs and views rooted in the mentation and feelings of the reader, you and I, are nothing more than what is known as subjective reason, addressed in the book with terms such as automatic, mechanical, ordinary Reason or more picturesquely as bobtailed reason. That the destruction is merciless and with any comprises whatsoever leaves no doubts about the aim of the book: It is a matter of destroying. But destroying for the sake of destroying would make the teaching in the book incomplete; the destruction is for the sake of constructing “something new,” something we ordinary three-brained beings of Earth have no access to. And this “something new” is known in the book as Objective or Divine Reason or just Objective Divine Reason.

The attainment of Objective Divine Reason is not the result of adding more and more views and beliefs to subjective Reason; rather, the attainment of Divine Reason is founded on the end of subjective Reason. None saw this better that Orage in his keen commentaries to Beelzebub’s Tales when he stated: “Objective Reason means coming to the end of subjective reason and then having a totally different experience.” We are now in the presence of totally and radically new experience. And for this new experience to emerge in us, a totally and radically new language is needed. Whatever this new language is, it is made up of allegories, symbols, parabolas, lies, contradictions, fairy tales, inexactitudes, unpronounceable words, and other non-ordinary tools of everyday ordinary language, the language Mr. Gurdjieff refers to in the first chapter of the book as bon ton literary language.

And out of this new language emerges Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson with its lies, contradictions, and fairy tales among many other non-ordinary spices.


Will Mesa


About willmesa

I have been studying and working with the ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff exposed in his Opus Magnum Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. The intention of this blog is to share these ideas with people around the world. For more information about me, please search in Google for Will Mesa
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6 Responses to Lies, Contradictions, and Fairy Tales in Beelzebub’s Tales

  1. David Jodrey says:

    Male Circumcision – Its benefits are not necessarily fictitious

    I agree completely with your general thesis – that G intentionally put lies, contradictions, and fairy tales into BTTHG. It is my understanding that G very much wanted us to become able to SEE the truth, and that he knew that simply TELLING us the truth would not work.

    However, with regard to your example of circumcision, there ARE statistics that indicate that it has health benefits. “In particular, the procedure has consistently shown to result in the decreased risk of debilitating and costly diseases such as HIV, cervical cancer, and infantile urinary tract infection.” – Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2004 May;59(5):379-95. Neonatal circumcision: a review of the world’s oldest and most controversial operation. Alanis MC, Lucidi RS.

    While evidence shows that there are benefits, there are also costs, of course. I haven’t examined the issue closely, and presumably the way it is to be done, the life circumstances likely to be encountered by the potential circumcisee, etc. would affect any decision on the matter. My point is not to advocate in favor of or against circumcision, but just to point out that it is NOT clear that a health argument in favor of circumcision is a “lie”.

  2. willmesa says:

    Hi David,
    Thanks for your comments.

    I think that behind the lies, contradictions, fairy tales, and all that, Mr. Gurdjieff also wanted to bring attention to facts of real life. Circumcision may have its own advantages, as you write. I have read several stiduies on the matter and I have to agree with you when you write “that it is NOT clear that a health argument in favor of circumcision is a “lie.””The whole point here is that I think Mr. Gurdjieff exaggerated matters in order to call attention to another kind of circumcision called in the Gospel of Thomas as “circumcision of the spirit.”



  3. Frank Brueck says:

    I found a lot of priceless hints concerning Beelzebub Tales in what was Orage saying about it. For Orage Beelzebub is a model of what we must aim to become.

    Here some excerpts:

    From Sherman Manchester Orage Notes: 1923-1929

    The tradition of the Buddha in India is that the Gautama Buddha was the 7th of a series of occurrences of the Buddha.

    Beelzebub’s Tales may be a definite thought-form and may continue to exist even though the printing or writing may be destroyed. It may be only a talisman by means of which we can see what Gurdjieff’s thought is. He has spent many hours over each part of this book.

    Many pathological (automatic) writings are really only writings of “books that exist” as thought forms.

    If it is regarded as a sort of telescope the book will be understood.

    (Orage) “What is the aim of this book?” I asked Gurdjieff.
    “To make free thought possible.” he said, i.e. thought without planetary accidental associations. If this were done, further breaking or freeing would still be necessary.

    Beelzebub, a developed “I”, is speaking to a little “I” (Hassein) attempting to grow.

    Try to sell these ideas to a hundred people – you will find a psychological problem. And for very shame you could not talk about these ideas unless you used them.

    This work must be practical without change of scene and among normal people.

    Luisos sent an etherogram (and it is interesting to hear Gurdjieff say that Luisos is even now preparing to come here again) saying that Luisos was again about to appear. The peaks of the Himalayas are growing, rising and the rotundity of the planet is becoming a little uneven and is beginning to affect the planets surrounding it – so something might become necessary – say by the use of electric currents from the sun – resulting in earth tremors.


    • willmesa says:

      Thanks Frank for your comments.

      Orage’s commentaries have been a source of inspiration for me and I consider him and his commentaries the best so far.

      I think the elevation of mountains in the Himalaya to be allegorical representing an abnormal elevation of Tibetan Buddhism. But it may be true that Luisos may have to appera agin here on Earth to bring radical changes to the planet.

      Thanks again for your very informative comments.



      • Frank Brueck says:

        Hi Will,
        good to hear that someone else considers Orage and his commentaries as most important. Strange enough, for the Gurdjieff-Establishment Orage seems nearly nonexistent, in favor of Ouspensky. In the moment I try to edit all the commentaries and lectures of Orage I could get and bring them in a more readable form. The existing copies I found in the Internet seem to be copies of copies of copies and make a bad reading. When I have finished them, you can get them, if you want. Which Orage text did you have? I am also looking for unpublished Gurdjieff talks and lectures. The last one I found was about Drugs and Hormones. I try to get all the first hand stuff and there must be a lot of this at the Library of Congress in Washington and other University Libraries in the USA, see:
        you find there the legacy of Katherine Hulme, Margaret Anderson, Muriel Draper, Jean Toomer, etc., including copies of the original Beelzebub typescript, but not available online. Living in Germany I have not the money to visit them. Do you know anybody there?

        Concerning Tibet you may be right. But it was not eroded by natural forces, as Orage guessed, but by political forces and now its knowledge is scattered all over the world. Maybe this was necessary for the psychic equilibrium of mankind.

        All the best for you


  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    Objective truths taken out from a whole body intended to cause a complete impression and a change of the actual angle of perception are as the well known Mullah Nassr Eddin would have said: “You ate a hot red pepper while thinking it was a red tomato”

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