Friday, January 18, 2008

A Century Defining Life

Such is how it is possible that future generations will describe Jan Cox's. I of course have no crystal ball but if you realize the regard in which Socrates is held today and that the life of Jan Cox was spent pursuing similar goals, with a success that is not measurable and yet could be called immeasurable, such descriptions do not seem out of line. One cannot compare mystics, but it is neat how the 20th century seems to contain both Gurdjieff in the first half, and Jan Cox in the second. The singular contribution of Jan Cox to philosophy and any planetary knowing was a relentless empiricism in which all gauzy religiosity was stripped away from an objective pursuit of "that which is." Gurdjieff had started on this path. Jan Cox called it the "WORK" ("Way of Real Knowledge") in his early decades of having students, and in a pointing to the haplessness of all verbosity, "This Kind of Stuff," later among many descriptions. New descriptions were critical: the idea was to burn all maps when the nourishment was gone.

He is not better known today because during his life time there was a self regulating aspect to life that prevented attention from being paid to his efforts. Part of this was the fear which most experienced when they perceived at a biological level the accuracy of his knowledge of those around him. When will it be safe for the academics to chat about his writings of Jan Cox? Who knows. But he knew his own worth and he wanted whatever nourishment could be gained from his writings to be accessible to others who might follow after his death, along a comparable path.

This desire does not contradict his repeated reminder that he could not "teach" anyone anything. Part of the mystery is that you can only really learn from your own efforts. I am tempted here to mention a lovely event when Pentland sent spies to check out Jan's activities.
But that is only tangentially relevant and we will get to that later.

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