John Godolphin Bennett was a mathematician, industrial research director, and author of books on parapsychology and the paranormal. He was born in London, England, educated at Kings College School, London; Royal Military Academy, Woolrich; School of Military Engineering, Chatham; and School of Oriental Studies, London. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Fuel, London, 1938 onwards; Chairman, Conference of Research Associations, 1943-1945; Chairman, Solid Fuel Industry, British Standards Institution, 1937-1942; and, Chairman and Director, Institute for the comparative study of History, Philosophy, and the Sciences, Kingston-on-Thames, 1946-1959.
Bennett enjoyed a brilliant career as a scientist and technologist in addition to his research to his research into parapsychology and his special in the philosophy and teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff. He also was active in starting the British section of the Subud movement with its headquarters at Coombe Springs, Kingston-on-Thames, England.
Bennett’s literary work included The Dramatic Universe, in 4 volumes; he co-edited the Systematics between 1963-1974; Crisis in Human Affairs (1948); Christian Mysticism & Subud (1961); Witness (1962); Values; an Anthology for Seekers (1963); Spiritual Psychology (1964); Energies; Material, Vital, Cosmic (1964); Long Pilgrimage: Shivapouri Baba (1965); What Are We Living For? (1968).
Although Bennett’s major interest was in the philosophy and teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff he also drew material from techniques of human transformation and self-awareness such as the subud, Shivapouri Baba (a Nepalese saint), dervish dancing and Sufi. He was primarily concerned with group dynamics in the fields of communications and education.
In 1962-1963 Bennett visited the Shivapouri Baba, who was already 136 years old in the Himalayas. Later after meeting author Sayed Idries Shah, whose organization donated the estate at Coombe Springs, Bennett and his wife Elisabeth converted to Catholicism. This estate was sold and a second one purchased on which the British Subud movement flourished. The principle aim of the movement was the enhancement of inner growth through self-awareness.
Bennett died in December 1974. A.G.H.
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