"People do not value a thing if they do not pay for it." G. I. Gurdjieff
According to this principle regular participants should expect to make a monetary contribution to the group process in proportion to the value received, their current circumstances, and the costs of making this process available to them. Quite obviously all three of these factors are subjective in nature with many unknowns. As a guideline, we suggest a contribution of $240 USD per quarter.
For the Malta group, contributions should be given directly to Richard Scicluna.
For the Israeli group, contributions should be given to Ayala Ayalon or John when in Israel.
All others can forward donations via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check to:
P.O. Box 771200
Wichita, KS 67277
Payment is voluntary and should be based on understanding rather than a response to an external suggestion. If you don’t truly understand why you need to make a contribution, please don’t. If you do understand why this is appropriate, then act accordingly.
It might be useful at this point to see what Gurdjieff has to say about this as reported by Ouspensky…
(In Search of the Miraculous page 13)
Ouspensky: I said that in my opinion a thousand roubles a year might be too large a payment for many people without private means.
G. replied that no other arrangement was possible, because, owing to the very nature of the work, he could not have many pupils. At the same time, he did not desire and ought not—he emphasized this—to spend his own money on the organization of the work. His work was not, and could not be, of a charitable nature and his pupils themselves ought to find the means for the hire of apartments where they could meet; for carrying out experiments; and so on. Besides this, he added that observation showed that people who were weak in life proved themselves weak in the work.
"There are several aspects of this idea," said G. "The work of each person may involve expenses, traveling, and so on. If his life is so badly organized that a thousand roubles embarrasses him it would be better for him not to undertake this work. Suppose that, in the course of the year, his work requires him to go to Cairo or some other place. He must have the means to do so. Through our demand we find out whether he is able to work with us or not.
"Besides," G. continued, "I have far too little spare time to be able to sacrifice it on others without being certain even that it will do them good. I value my time very much because I need it for my own work and because I cannot and, as I said before, do not want to spend it unproductively. There is also another side to this," said G. "People do not value a thing if they do not pay for it."
I listened to this with a strange feeling. On the one hand I was pleased with everything that G. said. I was attracted by the absence of any element of sentimentality, of conventional talk about "altruism," of words about "working for the good of humanity" and so forth. On the other hand I was surprised at G.'s apparent desire to convince me of something in connection with the question of money when I needed no convincing.
At this time certain definite types of people had already begun to show a negative attitude towards our work. Besides the absence of "love" many people were very indignant at the demand for payment, for money. In this connection it was very characteristic that those who were indignant were not those who could pay only with difficulty, but people of means for whom the sum demanded was a mere trifle.
Those who could not pay or who could pay very little always understood that they could not count upon getting something for nothing, and that G.'s work, his journeys to Petersburg, and the time that he and others gave to the work cost money. Only those who had money did not understand and did not want to understand this.
"Does this mean that we must pay to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?" they said. "People do not pay nor is money asked for such things. Christ said to his disciples: 'Take neither purse nor scrip,' and you want a thousand roubles. A very good business could be made of it. Suppose that you had a hundred members. This would already make a hundred thousand, and if there were two hundred, three hundred? Three hundred thousand a year is very good money."
G. always smiled when I told him about talks like this.
"Take neither purse nor scrip! And need not a railway ticket be taken either? The hotel paid? You see how much falsehood and hypocrisy there is here. No, even if we needed no money at all it would still be necessary to keep this payment. It rids us at once of many useless people. Nothing shows up people so much as their attitude towards money. They are ready to waste as much as you like on their own personal fantasies but they have no valuation whatever of another person's labor. I must work for them and give them gratis everything that they vouchsafe to take from me. 'How is it possible to trade in knowledge? This ought to be free.' It is precisely for this reason that the demand for this payment is necessary. Some people will never pass this barrier. And if they do not pass this one, it means that they will never pass another. Besides, there are other considerations. Afterwards you will see."
The other considerations were very simple ones. Many people indeed could not pay. And although in principle G. put the question very strictly, in practice he never refused anybody on the grounds that they had no money. And it was found out later that he even supported many of his pupils. The people who paid a thousand roubles paid not only for themselves but for others.
Later we’ll talk about other forms of payment that are needed for group work.