Homage to Ouspensky (1965)


Homage to Ouspensky (1965)


Oil, acrylic, and vinyl lettering on canvas

37 ½ x 37 5/8 in.



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Subject:  The Monitoring of Extraterrestrials

Symbol Evocation:  The Flying Saucer as a New Subconscious Archetype


Comments: Peter Demianovich Ouspensky (1878-1947) was a disciple of the mystic George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866-1949).  Ouspensky was essentially a mathematician and Gurdjieff was essentially a storyteller.  Together, at the end of the 19th century into the 20th, they formed the prototypical person of the 21st century.  Ouspensky was the master of the hyper-dimensional and his counterpart or shadow, Gurdjieff described what was in those dimensions that were novel to culture, and how to accept the abysm and abyss of the new.  I can remember being at Brown in the late 1950’s and meeting with math students who would brag about studying aspects of math (such as topology) that to them, they had no application to everyday reality.  This was the same period when “behaviorism” was the rage in psychology.  Consciousness and mass were considered without the possibility of merging.  As we near the second decade of the 21st century, all this has changed.  If a person posits a more comprehensive dimensional realm, the response will in all likelihood be “how do you get there from here?”  This is not a pejorative question.  It is an authentic inquiry with no hidden agenda.


Both men died right after the end of the Second World War.  This was a time when such things as the fourth dimension, time travel, recognition, etc, were moving out of the “occult” and on to the “plates” of the general public.  What started the “whole thing” was the United States Air Force whose fleet of airplanes had logged many encounters with UFO’s or “unidentified flying objects” since the early 1940’s, like the “Foo Fighters”, which is now the name of a rock group.  The National Academy of Sciences became upset at the interest that UFO’s were causing with the popular imagination and were trying to stop the whole thing.  The study of unidentified flying objects was undertaken at the University of Colorado from 1966 to 1968 under the direction of physicist Edward U. Condon.  At one point, Harvard astronomer Donald Menzel was suggested to lead the project.  However, he was rejected because he was discovered to be a biased debunker.  I remember going to one of his lectures after he wrote a book called Flying Saucers are Real.  It was subtitled They Are not What you Think.  He was openly diverting any extraterrestrial hypothesis.  The Condon Report or the Project Blue Book, however,  did report a single sighting of a flying saucer that the staff writers could not debunk.  I have depicted this vehicle in the painting.  


Gurdjieff in his final year was invited to stay at the Taliesin Fellowship West by Olgivanna, the third wife of Frank Lloyd Wright.  There he ingratiated himself to such an extent that he made the famous architect believe that he (Gurdjieff) was taken in 1946 aboard an alien space craft [flying saucer] by reptilian humanoids.  After that Wright began to use the saucer shape in many of his buildings.  From his friendship with the writer Ayn Rand who wrote The Fountain Head, he met the actress Patricia Neal.  Neal told Wright about the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still and Wright asked if he could design the flying saucer.  In fact Wright was prepared for the movie because of the architecture he did in the past such as the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium (1925), or administrative headquarters for the Johnson Wax Company with its reception room of horizontal translucent plastic tubing built from 1936 to 1950.  The movie was released on September 14, 1951.  


Today new evidence is about to appear which will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have been monitored, not just visited, by extraterrestrials for more than seventy years. 




Paul Laffoley: The Sixties.  Kent Gallery, New York, 2009