There was a question about war...

G.I. Gurdjieff

from: In Search Of The Miraculous - Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. The Teachings of G.I.Gurdjieff recorded by P.D.Ouspensky

"'There was a question about War. How to stop wars? Wars cannot be stopped. War is the result of the slavery in which men live. Strctly speaking, men are not to blame for war. War is due to cosmic forces, to planetary influences. But in men there is no resistance whatever against these influences, and there cannot be any, because men are slaves. If they were Men and were capable of 'doing'(had Will), they would be able to resist these influences and refrain from killing one another.' 'But surely those who realize this can do something?'said the man who asked the question about war. 'If a sufficient number of men came to a definite conclusion that there should be no war, could they not influence others?'

'Those who dislike war have been trying to do so almost since the creation of the world' said G. 'And yet there has never been such a war as the present(the First World War). Wars are not decreasing, they are increasing and war cannot be stopped by ordinary means.  All these theories about universal peace, about peace conferences, and so on, are again simply laziness and hypocrisy. Men do not want to think about themselves, do not want to work on themselves, but think of how to make other people do what they want. If a sufficient number of people who wanted to stop war really did gather together they would first of all begin by making war upon those who disagreed with them. And it is still more certain that they would make war on people who also want to stop wars but in another way. And so they would fight. Men are what they are and they cannot be different. War has many causes that are unknown to us. Some causes are in men themselves, others are outside them. One must begin with the causes that are in man himself. How he can be independent of the external influences of great cosmic forces when he is a slave of everything that surrounds him? He is controlled by everything around him. If he becomes free from things, he may then become free from planetary influences.

(...) Let us take some event in the life of humanity. For instance; war. There is a war going on at the present moment. What does it signify? It signifies that several million of sleeping people are trying to destroy several million of other sleeping people. They would not do this, of course, if they were to wake up.

(...) How many times have I been asked whether wars can be stopped? Certainly they can. For this it is only necessary that people should awaken. It seems a small thing. It is, however, the most difficult thing there can be because this sleep is induced and maintained by the whole of surrounding life, by all surrounding conditions.

(....)The vast majority of people who call themselves Christians have no right whatever to do so, because they not only fail to carry out the demands of their religion but they do not even think that these demands ought to be carried out. Christianity forbids murder. Yet all that the whole of our progress comes to is progress in the technique of murder and progress in warfare. How can we call ourselves Christian? No one has the right to call himself a Christian who does not carry out Christ's precepts. A man can say that he DESIRES to be a Christian if he tries to carry out these precepts. If he does not think of them at all, or laughs at them, or substitutes for them some inventions of his own, or simply forgets about them, he has no right whatever to call himself Christian." (...)