by Dr. Derek Lamar
Life in a Fourth Way school is never boring. The teacher, Thane, was constantly giving classes when I first started there. Soon he moved his residence from Tower Grove to a great house in the Pacific Palisades. This made commuting to the school in Santa Monica easier. To celebrate, Thane threw another of his big parties so everyone could see the new residence. I got there early and was given some kitchen duties. I hadn't yet read any of the Gurdjieff books so this was a new experience for me. Thane wanted me to keep anyone out of the kitchen who wasn't supposed to be there. People kept cutting through the kitchen to get to other parts of the house and it was becoming a disruption. A long time student of Thane's, Gary Kingsland, decided to upgrade his image by helping an elderly woman to the restroom via the kitchen. I said "no sorry she'll have to go around, Thane's orders." This ended up in a lengthy argument and everyone took sides against me since they were being "helpful." Off to a good start.
Above left and right: The Chateau de Prieure which housed G. I. Gurdjieff's Fourth Way School outside of Paris at Fontainbleau: The Institute For The Harmonious Development of Man. All manner of duties were assigned students at this estate which would naturally furnish friction through the interaction among students and this would aid in the "Work" whereby students would have the opportunity to discover themselves. Kitchen duties being one of many.
The place was packed and the grand piano was in full use as a piano bar with everyone alive with activity. I ended up playing some songs on my guitar and one was only the second song I had written up to that point. Thane cornered me and said: "Why don't you come up with something new?" I was crushed. His words haunted me for a long time. I spoke with my actress friend, Barbara Gates, about it and she told me that he just wasn't up on contemporary music. He was more into musicals. But a part of me felt that there was something more to it than that. Being someone inclined to welcome rejection I didn't want to dismiss it so easily. Odd too, since some of the lyrics were:
"I find myself trapped inside of a nightmare, holding hands with my misery. Where's the light that tells me it's morning? Somehow it still looks like the moon to me."
Left: Derek Lamar at 16.
I still had my day job at the custom frame shop but it was starting to get on my nerves. My house had been sold for a condominium development and I had to move out. I stayed at my parents temporarily in their vacation trailer. I continued my trips to and from Santa Monica and my job in West Hollywood. Getting up early in the morning to go work 40 miles away was a real drag however. I finally called in sick one Monday morning and was going to quit however they informed me that I had been fired. Apparently I had screwed up the sizing on a huge 6' x 5' frame to be hung in the lobby of Capitol Records with a picture of Dionne Warwick in it. They were going to have to remake it from scratch. They weren't amused.
As fate would have it I now had time on my hands. A project connected to the school: Syncon, the brain child of Barbara Marx Hubbard (heiress to the Marx Toy Company) brought new ideas. This experience was similar to group dynamics but with a lot of hi-tech media aspects to it. I got the opportunity to get to know Barbara along with Col. John Whiteside and her top assistant Alan Ladwig. Hubbard and Whiteside also formed C.F.F. (Committee For the Future) with the motto: "New Worlds On Earth, New Worlds In Space." Alan would later go on to join the Air Force and then become Advisor To The Administrator of NASA. Now he is Chief of Government Operations with Zero Gravity Corp. in Florida.
Above pics: Barbara Marx Hubbard, Founder of Committee For The Future, above right: Samuel Goldwyn Studios where the main activities were held on the studios sound stage which can be seen in the second picture at the very end of the street.
There were several of us from the Fourth Way school who were involved in this project. It had tremendous impact on me at the time. I had always been a "futurist". I just didn't know really what that meant. On some level it meant answers even to questions not yet asked. It had to do with "Space" and space has to do with "things up there", as Max Evans of Roswell might indicate with a finger pointing upwards. But on a deeper level it also has to do with "Higher Thoughts" and that is the target of the remote viewing map of my destiny which makes the most sense. That is the real meaning of the mystical journey: the journey which begins "one step at a time."
Above: Fremont Place was the temporary residence of Barbara Marx Hubbard and everyone involved in the project in administrative positions who arrived from out of town. It was a great house. I am not positive if it was the Mary Pickford house but it looked like it and was among those in that neighborhood. I had to drive my beat-up VW past the guard gate but nobody ever stopped me. Whew! My job was to design and coordinate the promotional materials for the event. Above left: Alan Ladwig, former Advisor To The Administrator of NASA, coordinator of Syncon Project in Hollywood in 1972.
I joined a Fourth Way school for many reasons. Most of them lies. This is because I had no idea at the time what I was really going through or where Consciousness was taking me or what Unfoldment had in mind for me or what Intention actually is. I didn't really think that I had any problems. Well, none that I would admit. I was mostly looking for companionship and attractive people to sleep with. I was convinced I had a Destiny already and that was to be the greatest rock star ever. So when I actually got around to taking classes and learning how to do my "Work"... it was merely to make the necessary changes in myself to open the door to the stardom (which was waiting for me just around the corner). I just had a psychological block or two to deal with and soon I would be doing my thing.
Above: Syncon events were held in various locations around town. One event, a dinner and a lecture by Ray Bradbury was very well received. Having the opportunity to meet Mr. Bradbury will be one of my cherished memories. He is a man of insight and creativity and the true vision of the Futurist.
Left: Masonic Scottish Rites Temple of Los Angeles was a masterful choice of location for those attending who had a consciousness of esoteric intrigue. Here was a performance by composer/ pianist/ conductor Lalo Schifrin (soundtrack for Mission Impossible and others) with special guest Nichelle Nichols (Below: Lt. Uhura on Star Trek) who gave an uplifting solo singing performance. A multi-talented personality with grace, beauty and charm. The entire musical production was composed as a futuristic form of music in concept and the attendees were not disappointed.
John Tangney (my new friend from Fordham University) and I were still hanging out but most of his time was spent at the I.S.C. (The Inner Space Center), the school's main location. We were talking and I revealed what appeared to be a momentary glitch in my emotional makeup where I was frightened and cornered and confused. He encouraged me to seek counseling. I didn't need counseling. I was scared to death of counseling. Suddenly self-observation kicks in and you find yourself clumsily searching through opposing ideas within your own consciousness trying to climb out through the top of your head because you can no longer breathe and still... and still.... you feel a burden start to lift. Maybe you don't have to pretend as much as you thought you did and maybe you could get some help... not that you need any help but hey, don't look stupid in front of your new friend... go ahead... schedule an appointment.
That was one of the bigger changes in my life: admitting that I needed help. I come from a "wasp" family and the last thing anyone ever does is ask for help. They don't ask for directions when they are lost, and they don't much like it if you need help either. It's your own damn fault. Which is probably true but so what. That is where learning is supposed to come in. In a Fourth Way school you learn that only through the help of those who have gone the distance before you, can you expect to get to where you desire to go. This is because you need someone nearby who will shake you when you start to fall asleep.
I was feeling boxed in emotionally because I was breaking up with a girl I was living with. We weren't really together. I wasn't mature enough for that. We were just having a good time. Well it turned out that she was expecting more and now I was feeling guilty. It was starting to bring all of that childhood guilt crashing down on me because of the neediness of my mother and her vampirish need for the love of her children to give her a reason to live and because she was a control freak. You know that feeling when you don't know which way to turn and you think you can't breathe? Yeah that's the one!
Left: two books which helped form an awareness of psychotherapy in film and helped to enlighten as well as cause nervousness and some alarm to those who felt drawn toward psychological help but were frightened thinking they would lose themselves in the process. The snake pit became the phrase of many jokes as well as becoming a household phrase for anything which was "over the edge." The Three Faces of Eve was precursor to Sally Field's Sybil and revealed a patient's discovery of various disconnected selves within their mind that desperately cried out for integration. Joanne Woodward was the patient in "Eve" and the psychiatrist in "Sybil. Sybil had not yet been produced at this time so these two films were the main contact most people had with psychology in theatre.
So I went to my first counseling session. I had this "Three Faces of Eve" paranoid nightmare in the back of my mind that prompted me to think that horrible things had been done to me as a child and the therapist was going to drag all of that stuff out of me while I was kicking and screaming. I had visions of being 3 years old locked in a cabinet under the kitchen sink for punishment and yet none of this was true. You want to talk about "false-memory syndrome"? Fortunately everything went smoothly and I began an incredible learning experience that changed my life. It forced me to begin to really be honest with myself about myself. Opening a new door to the future by letting go of the past.
Saga continues: The Nazis, The KGB, The FBI and The CIA.
© Copyright Derek Lamar 2005
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