Toasts to the Idiots

These are the 21 categories of Idiot that Gurdjieff used to toast his disciples with.

The Idiot’s Names
1. ordinary  2. super 3. arch 4. hopeless 5. compassionate 6. squirming 7. square 8. round 9. zigzag  10. enlightened  11. doubting  12. swaggering 13. born 14. patented  15. psychopathic 16. polyhedral.
Idiots 17-21 constituted a spiritual hierarchy, reflecting progressive gradations of objective reason.
Having attained 17, to go on, the individual had to voluntarily descend to 1, that of the ordinary idiot.
18. the highest development of reason with which a human being could resonate.
19. and 20. the sons of God  21. the reason of God

Gurdjieff introduced his toast to the Idiots in 1922, and from 1940 gave it increasing emphasis.
Although not divesting ‘idiot’ of its pejorative sense, he re-invested it with the meaning of individuality (from a Greek root meaning ‘I make my own’).

gurdjieff-traveler-1GURDJIEFF considered that idiocy was universal – God himself being the Unique idiot (No.21) – a subsidiary differentiation afforded a human typology at once ‘poetic’ and profound.

Each disciple, relying simply on intuition, was initially required to choose his own idiot from among the first twelve (1 ordinary; 2 super; 3 arch; 4 hopeless; 5 compassionate; 6 squirming; 7 square; 8 round; 9 zigzag; 10 enlightened; 11 doubting; 12 swaggering) …

The subsequent order of idiots (nowhere reliably published) is believed to be: 13 born; 14 patented; 15 psychopathic; 16 polyhedral. Although idiots 1-16 might seem to occupy a plateau of being, only differentiated behaviourally, there are hints of a desirable evolution to the proximate type …
Idiots 17-21 constituted a spiritual hierarchy, reflecting progressive gradations of objective reason. [Category 17 is not named.] Idiot 18 presented the highest development which a human being could reach, but in order to attain it, he had first voluntarily to descent again from 17 to 1, the ordinary idiot. Idiots 19 and 21 were reserved for the sons of God …

An Example of How Gurdjieff used the Idiot’s teaching paradigm. (from a disciple’s recollection)
“And so we sat at his lunches and dinners, hearing Mr. Gurdjieff recounting his English, Scottish and Irish jokes and, of course, toasting to the idiots, the toasts usually not getting beyond nine or ten idiots. (Mr. Gurdjieff says he is Idiot No. 17.) Recounted during the session are Gurdjieff’s insights into the various idiots. For example, there are three kinds of Compassionate Idiot. The FIRST sees a man in need of help and immediately helps him, even giving him his own shirt. The SECOND does exactly the same, but only because his fianceé’s father is observing. The THIRD kind, says Gurdjieff, “So-so-so, sometimes he gives and sometimes not, depending on many things, perhaps even the weather.”

The Toast to the Idiots was discontinued immediately on Gurdjieff’s death in 1949, it being felt that, without his decisive presence, it stood in danger of becoming a mere form without content.

Osho as I remember always spoke positively of Gurdjieff. I do remember once however him saying that Gurdjieff struggled with the presentation of his ideas. But this Toast to the Idiots  seems simple and effective!

SN PUNTERS:  NOW what sort of idiot are you?!

(got together by Parmartha)

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Toasts to the Idiots

  1. Arpana says:

    “So-so-so, sometimes he gives and sometimes not, depending on many things, perhaps even the weather.”

    That’s me.

  2. shantam prem says:

    Osho did not suffer from the presentation of His ideas.

    Maybe it was only in the end when Master got honey-trapped and gave the idea of Inner Circle instead of choosing his favourite doctor or financial wizard as Successor!

    This is one reason swamis waste time in mind-bugging!

  3. Klaus says:

    Interesting challenge!

    I would put myself at 9 – zigzagging – jumping from one item to the next, not total enough, fainthearted.

    With fall-backs to and through 5-6-7-8. Not hopeless.

  4. frank says:

    I would say that most of the SN punters are complete idiots.
    That is to say they embody the idiotic qualities from 1-21.
    And what about No.22- the laughing idiot?!

    • shantam prem says:

      Faceless frank being long time Pune observer must be knowing the laughing Idiot(s) in commune, many Mas took it in a witty way when Idiot(s) used to put hand under their robes!

      • Arpana says:

        As President Shantam’s hopes of a successful launch for his quest to “Make The Ashram Great Again” appear to be dimming with each passing day that is dominated more by scandal than accomplishment, he has intensified his war with the Sannyas News.

        As I and many others have often noted, this is all clearly part of a strategy to protect his cult-like base of support from learning that their emperor simply has no clothes. When the facts against you are damning, the only option is to discredit those who are communicating them, and no one has ever done this with more audacity and less success than Shantam. .

    • Kavita says:

      I like no.22, but also no.0? Probably it’s not a number!

    • Tan says:

      That’s me, Frank boy! I am a total idiot and it’s not a problem, not at all! Hurray, idiocy!

    • Klaus says:

      Frank is fully transcending the framework!

      0 = Tao – Neither this nor that nor anything else?

  5. frank says:

    It`s funny, but in the English language the prefix idio- almost always means something like ‘unique to, particular. Certainly, only idiot has a pejorative meaning.

    For example, on SN you will find many idiosyncratic idioms in usage but also many examples of idiolects and idioglossia.

    Also, the enneagram can also be correctly termed an idiogram.

    According to psychology:
    “The words moron, imbecile and idiot mean different things. In psychology, an idiot has the least intelligence on the IQ scale (this now is equivalent to someone who is mentally retarded or the more politically correct “mentally challenged”); an imbecile is not quite as dumb as an idiot and is now considered equivalent to moderate retardation; a moron is then the highest level of intelligence for someone who is mentally retarded, thus considered as being mildly mentally retarded.”

    G didn`t have much time for psychologists and their ilk.
    Indeed, it is reported that when he was asked about psychoanalysts at the Prieure one day, he said nothing, but carefully curved the fingers of his hand and with the forefinger and the thumb touching, he gestured up and down vigorously with his wrist.

    Viva total idiocy!

  6. Arpana says:

    The Story of the Chinese Farmer

    (Alan Watts)

    • satchit says:

      These 21 idiotic categories are only for the beginners.
      In real there are much more.
      But this is hidden wisdom I cannot tell here.

      • shantam prem says:

        Please, please share your hidden wisdom.
        Do you think Osho was sharing his hidden wisdom only with doc and dentist?

      • Lokesh says:

        Satchit is obvious a very deep mystic, who is missing one important point. There is a big secret and it is there is no secret wisdom. Whatever level you are operating from you have all you need readily available.

        Some like to make out that they are in touch with something secret, making themselves special by doing so. Secret societies call them wankers. But keep it a secret.

        • kusum says:

          My dog’s name is Idiot.

        • satchit says:

          “Wankers”? You should not use such dirty words here, Lokesh. Has not your Osho (behind the door)-stuff
          been deleted lately? Seems to be a sober forum.

          • Lokesh says:

            Satchit! You said “wankers”!

            • Parmartha says:

              I like this small vignette of Gurdjieff!
              A number of his disciples were talking about the value of psychology and psychotherapy.
              G was asked what he thought.
              He brought his forefinger and thumb together and moved them at great pace up and down in his genital area…
              Now that man knew what a wanker was!

              • frank says:

                I`m glad you found that one too, P. I was worried that people would think that I was making it up.

                In fact, wanking has played a major role in the dissemination (pun intended) of enlightenment in 20th century.
                I suspect it could well be the “secret” that our esteemed friend Scratchit (pun intended) was referring to.

                For example, not a lot of people know that one of the more dubious moments of Krishnamurti`s childhood training to be the world teacher was being taught how to wank by Bishop C. W. Leadbetter (aka C. W. Meatbeater).

                Meatbeater got away with it because people around were far too spiritual to think that highly spiritual people should behave according to their expectations.

                • shantam prem says:

                  ‘Wanking Tantra’
                  A weekend group by Swami Faceless Frank.
                  Assisted by Ma Soft Satchit.
                  Videography by Swami Shantam Openeyes.
                  Logistics by Swami Lokesh Ibiza.

              • Lokesh says:

                PM, right on, right on.

  7. Bong says:

    I am idiot: sqrt. (-1). I, sometimes referred to as the complex idiot.

  8. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    I don’t know G and what he means with “idiot”, and eventually respect to which map of consciousness.

    If it is for indicate, like almost Osho does, identification/attachment of the ego to non-essential aspects of life, including the I.Q. (therefore also the intellectually clever people can be referred to as “idiots”), or just for playfulness.

    I feel an idiot when I try to share Osho intellectually, words that can not contain the joy experienced over the past 27 years.



    • kusum says:

      Nietzsche claimed in his ‘The Antichrist’ that Jesus was an idiot. This resulted from his description of Jesus as having an aversion toward the material world.

  9. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    Yes, Kusum, it’s not easy being in the world without attachment to it, aversion could be a reaction to the many failed attempts.

    If it is idiotic, the attachment must also be the reaction to it, even more idiotic: how can one be detached from something by aversion?

    In the ‘Isha Upanishad’ commented by Aurobindo, he, as premise, describes the same attempt by Shankara forcing the Vedic scriptures, as a strategy to neutralise the passion for multiplicity.

    Perhaps the outcome, judging from the few temples dedicated to the thing that really matters in life (The Unity with Brahman), is that a God without passion does not make passionate spiritual seekers.

    If “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way” (PF) I think some Advaita temple will also be built in Euro-pe – just the time to decide which illusionist will have to create the bricks, just the time to create the illusionist, just the time to create the time…between a pint and the other one.



    If it is idiotic, the attachment must also be the reaction to it, even more idiotic:

    • swamishanti says:

      I visited that Brahma temple in Pushkar.
      Interesting, a bit of a fucking annoying place, just because Hindu nuts get up around 4am and start wailing and screeching bhajans through a loudspeaker, with lots of distortion, up on a big tower.

      But if you get out into the countryside, into the paddy fields, you can get a taste of the real India, away from the tourism, I mean.

    • sw. veet (francesco) says:

      No sure what I meant )))
      Let’s try like this:
      If it (the attachment) is idiotic so must be the reaction to it, even more idiotic:

      In case not enough:
      I said in the previous comment what Osho intends with “idiot”: attachment/identification.
      Kusum, quoting Nietzsche, argues, with him I suppose, that the aversion to material things is a chance to act as an “idiot”.

      I conclude with the idea that if we are away from ourselves (as idiots) when we suffer too much the charm/chains of worldly things we are even more (far away) when we try to conform to the ethical codes that oppose them publicly but then privately…



    • kusum says:

      I always get fascinated by architecture of beautiful churches in Italy & other places in Europe & some ancient temples as well. But I am not sure about mosquitoes in paddy fields.

  10. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    Kusum, perhaps you will love this book: