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’).
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)