Accessing The Dramatic Universe - A Conference


August 22 - 25, 2011  

The J.G. Bennett Foundation Conference Update and Newsletter
March 2011
In This Issue
Conference Venue
Conference Structure
Speakers and Content


A proposition:


In this first part of the 21st century, our world is becoming more unstable, more uncertain.  In the next several decades, the very survival of mankind and the planet may be at stake.  How are we to understand the increasingly complex issues in order to face them?  It is obvious that currently held viewpoints and attitudes do not measure up to the problems and many people feel unsatisfied and are searching for new ideas, new ways to look at the world and answer the questions that are most important to us.


John G. Bennett, in his seminal four volume series, The Dramatic Universe, gives the foundations of a practical philosophy in which hazard and uncertainty are regarded not as problems to be avoided but as fundamental aspects of the structure of the world, without which real freedom could not exist.  He presents entirely new ways to view and understand the nature of existence and mankind's place in it, giving a fresh perspective on the meaning and purpose of our lives.


Join us in a conference exploring the ideas developed by Bennett. This is open to all who wish to know more, regardless of previous experience.


See below for details:



Join us August 22 - 25, 2011 for this fully residential conference being held in a beautiful

and comfortable setting.


All accommodation and meals are included in the conference cost.

Cost:  450.00 GBP


Early registration is encouraged, as space is limited to 40 participants

 Reserve your place now by clicking the below link.   





Conference Venue


Croydon Hall

Felons Oak, Minehead

Somerset TA24 6QT

England UK

01984 642 200


Croydon Hall Website




Conference Structure


The Structure of the Conference is based on the Tetrad: Ground  - Tools - Directive Force  - Goals; and will comprise teaching, discussion, activities and lectures all aimed at a better understanding of Bennett's presentation.


Day 1 will begin with Introductions, and an opportunity for all participants to present their questions and/or what they bring to share. This will be followed by an examination of the History of The Dramatic Universe in the context of John Bennett's life, and an examination of the Structure of the four volumes.


Day 2 will focus on the tools, techniques and technical terms presented by Bennett.


Day 3 will examine the deeper implications of The Dramatic Universe in Bennett's psychology, philosophy and cosmology.


Day 4 will address some of the great  themes of The Dramatic Universe:  

the Principle of Reciprocal Maintenance, Universal Hazard and the Great Work in the current world situation. The conference will conclude with a summary session devoted to future activities and goals.


Speakers and Content


George Bennett, Ben Bennett, Ken Shear: The History of The Dramatic Universe in the context of John Bennett's life


John RichardsonExperiential Verification of the Abstract Notions of Time, Eternity, and Hyparxis 


Henri Bortoft: Hyparxis in the Dynamics of Being   

Tony HodgsonGeneral Systematics in the Context of a Science of Qualities


Ken ShearThe Dramatic Universe and the Study of Man


Tim WhiteModern Community and The Doctrine of Reciprocal Maintenance   


Jim Farnham and Bill SullivanThe Great Work and the Native American tradition.   



The programme will allow time for smaller study groups, question and answer sessions, and informal interactions, creative alternatives and spontaneous digressions... !  


Conference People 

Patrizia with candles pic



Patrizia De Libero Brown

Founder of the Conference and facilitator of the weekly online Dramatic Universe reading group, Patrizia is originally from Rome and later lived in Syria. As a college student she came  into contact with the Work, while part of a small group of inner researchers. She lived in Ireland and the UK, and then moved to Italy where she worked as Sales Director and she joined a Work group based on the  teachings of Gurdjieff and Bennett, lead by Margit Martinu,  Movements teacher of the Gurdjieff Foundation in Rome. For spiritual reasons, she travelled by herself in the Middle East, India, Tibet, China, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Africa and Central America, she then became a tour guide based in Egypt and Jordan.

 In 2007 she started working for  the department of the Holy See, Vatican, (ORP), connecting people to sacred places. She has participated to Work seminars in Italy, UK, and USA,  and looked for a Work community to live. She came into contact with the Work community in Camp Caravan, USA, MA where she decided to move. She now lives in Massachusetts with her husband Martin, a school teacher, who leads one of the local Bennett groups. She is still working for ORP(Vatican) and  Ornit (she is one of the co-founders), connecting people from across Canada and America to sacred places.  

 Studies: Arabic language and culture, Latin, Greek and philosophy, bachelor's degree in Political Sciences, Master Degree in Sales, Marketing and International business and a beginning study in Archaeology



Ben Bennett

Ben Bennett

Ben Bennett, born 1952 in London, was the first applicant for his father's International Academy for Continuous Education, and attended the First Basic Course at Sherborne House in 1971-2. Later earning a degree in Fine Arts at Hornsey Art School, Ben worked as a photographer for ten years, and subsequently ran a health foods store in North London. In 1996, Ben qualified as a Psychosynthesis Counselor and worked as a member of a community mental health team in East London. He began some years ago researching his father's life for a biographical film. In 2000, Ben who has two daughters and a son, moved to Massachusetts where he works as a general contractor and lives with his wife Cindy, her daughter Ally and a number of cats.


George Bennett  II

George Bennett

George holds a master's degree in American History and Politics, and a post-graduate Certificate in Education. After attending the Third Basic Course at his father's Academy and graduating from Keele University, George fulfilled an early ambition to drive heavy goods vehicles to Europe and the Middle East. At the age of 30 he changed careers to become a writer and editor in the specialized field of truck journalism, eventually becoming a partner in his own magazine publishing house. Later George returned to school to train as an elementary school teacher, a profession he currently pursues in the USA at the Village School in Royalston, Massachusetts. In 1994, he single-handedly convened a conference at Claymont Court, West Virginia, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of John Bennett, which was attended by 150 of his father's former students. George has five children and three grandchildren and is married to Ana, an osteopath.


Henri Bortoft pic

Henri Bortoft


Henri is an independent researcher in the philosophy of science. He did research on the problem of wholeness in quantum physics with David Bohm, and on the perception of wholeness with J.G. Bennett. He is interested in the transformation of perception which sees wholeness and unity in nature and its cultural implications. Henri is the author the highly acclaimed The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe's Way Toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature.


Jim Farnham

Jim Farnham

Jim Farnham is from Orange, Massachusetts and in his twenties worked as a Rock'n'Roll drummer in San Francisco, before travelling to Alaska where he encountered George and Mary Cornelius, long-time students of Gurdjieff and John Bennett, and joined their study group on Kodiak Island. After attending the First Basic Course at Sherborne House in 1971-2, Jim worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska for twenty years before meeting his Native American teachers Hollis Little Creek and John Slow Turtle Peters.

These two men trained and prepared Jim in the Native American tradition and directed him to his present calling of guiding sweat-lodges with inmates in the prison systems of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Jim lives in Massachusetts with his partner, Lydia, a potter and artist.


Tony Hodgson

Tony Hodgson 

Tony is the founder of Decision Integrity Limited, a company pioneering ways to facilitate better decisions through application of holistic thinking, systems mapping, integrative group processes and sustainable values. He is also World Modelling Coordinator of the International Futures Forum, a think tank working on post-enlightenment thinking for a global world. He has taught on the Executive MBA at The London Business School on

Visual Thinking and Team Learning

and on an elective programme, "The Art and Science of the Long View". He is a founder member of the International Futures Forum (IFF) and a contributing member of the Oxford Futures Forum.

 Tony invented, back in the 70's, the now well-known hexagon mapping method. Prior to that, he was, for several years, Senior Research Fellow at The Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences under the direction of John G. Bennett working on Bennett's magnum opus The Dramatic Universe. Tony has worked over several decades in the field of facilitating strategic thinking, scenario planning, organization learning, strategic modelling, innovation and improvement of decision support methods

 Tony has a B.Sc.,  and A.R.C.S. from The Royal College of Science (Imperial College), a post-graduate certificate in education from the University of London and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufactures (F.R.S.A.) Tony has given papers on systems thinking and facilitation at conferences of the International Society for the Systems Sciences and of the UK Systems Society. He contributed two chapters to the recent book Scenarios for Success published by John Wiley.

 In 2007 he gave a pioneering seminar to the IFF on The Design of a New Civilization - an exploration of the future out of time, which took place on Captain Scott's exploration ship The Discovery in Dundee. and incorporated key ideas from J.G.Bennett's Dramatic Universe. His current research is in Interactive World Modelling and Gaming searching for better ways to think and decide about complexes of interacting problems with multiple chaos points. He is also leading a research project with the IFF and the RSA on community resilience.

 Tony is married with four children and his interests include listening to and making music, gardening and spending time in the mountains. And his never ending enquiry into what it all means! He lives on the edge of the Scottish Highlands in small town called Pitlochry.


John Richardson

John Richardson

John Richardson obtained his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 and spent several years in a post-doctoral position before participating in the Fourth Course at Claymont, a Fourth Way School founded by J.G.Bennett.  He is one of the founding members of Millers River Educational Cooperative, a non-profit corporation representing the Fourth Way community established in North Central Massachusetts, and is currently the president.  He lives with his wife Rise on a 150 acre farm where they raise sheep and produce maple syrup, among other activities.  He works in a small computer software consulting company which he helped establish in 1981.


Ken Shear

Ken Shear

Ken  attended  the International Academy for Continuous Education at Sherborne House  as a student on the Second Basic Course,  and returned for the Third and Fourth Basic Courses as staff-member  and Sir Charles Marston Will Type Research Fellow.  He holds a BA degree in Systematic  Phenomenology  from Windham College in Putney, Vt.  and  took MA programs in  Counseling  Psychology  at University of Alaska, Anchorage and Responsible Business Practice at Bath University's New academy, Bath, England.  Ken was the first student to be accepted to R.D. Laing' s community therapy training program at the Philadelphia Association  and attended Irina Tweedie's  group meetings in London,  England. He travelled to Bandiamir, Afghanistan  and Srinagar,  Kashmir, India before visiting The Venerable Dharmawara - "Bhante" - in Old Delhi,  India and subsequently became Bhante's attendant travelling with him for  the  year  the monk turned 100.   While in the UK in 1990s Ken interviewed everyone he could find who studied with Bennett from 1930s to 1960s. He has been archiving Bennett's papers and material for nearly 40 years and intends to publish a book based on interviews with Bennett's pupils. Ken worked as trainer and consultant in US and UK  specializing in Will Types and Accelerated Learning . He is currently a student in Natural Sciences at  Rodger Williams College in Bristol, RI to learn aquaculture techniques for cultivating oysters and clams on his Connecticut coast shellfish farm. Ken practices cooking and collects recipes in the hope that someday a Psychokinetic community may need a kitchen boy.

Bill Sullivan 4

Bill Sullivan 

Bill Sullivan,a Harvard graduate, has for the last 30 years been involved in research into Native American astronomy, cosmology, and mythology.

His Doctoral work at the University of St. Andrews was published as The Secret of the Incas: Myth Astronomy and the War Against Time,which later became the subject of a two-hour documentary on Channel 4, England.He worked for a number of years on a project to develop Mythica, a museum of world mythology.

Recently he shifted focus to northeast North American Native American myth and astronomy. He has two adult children and lives in Orange, Massachusetts with his wife Penelope, a psychotherapist.


Tim White

Tim White 

Tim White, born 1955, received his early education from Bowman Technical School, becoming a Certified Master Clockmaker in 1978, a trade at which he worked for 15 years.  In 1984 he took an ASS in Biomedical Electronics from Schoolcraft College and in 2004 earned a BS in Business Administration from Fitchburg State College.  Currently, he is working as an Electrical Design Engineer for a small manufacturing firm.

Tim was first introduced to the works of G.I. Gurdjieff in 1972 through a reading of Robert De Ropp's The Master Game. Although this book would have a profound impact on his life, it was not until 1985, when he came into contact with the American Gurdjieff Society in Boston, Massachusetts, that he began his life-long study of Gurdjieff's teachings. In 1987, Tim moved to central Massachusetts and began working with a group of J. G. Bennett's students.  He and his wife, textile artist Sandy Tobin live in New Salem, Massachusetts and continue to be a part of the work of the Miller's River community at Camp Caravan in Royalston, Massachusetts.

For the past ten years, Tim has been researching and writing a series of talks and essays. These studies, although initially focused on triads, progressed beyond their original scope and have come to include an effort to understand the nature and purpose of Work communities in their many different forms.  He is currently working to relate this to the r�le that human beings play, both individually and collectively, in the process of Reciprocal Maintenance.




Cindy Bennett

Cindy Bennett


Cindy Bennett works in Information Technology and is Registrar for the Conference. She attended a Basic Course at Claymont Court, and returned there after school to become farmer and market gardener. She was trained in the use of Systematics and the Enneagram by  John Bennett's pupil, Saul Kuchinsky.  After a period living in Germany and France, Cindy settled in Massachusetts. She has two daughters.


JGB at Coombe Springs

The J.G. Bennett Foundation

was set up in 2000 by a group of John Bennett's pupils and is dedicated to providing information and resources for the study of Bennett's work, and the publication of books, articles and lectures.   


The Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and donations are fully deductible for United States tax-payers.  Donations support the work of the Foundation through:   


  • maintaining the  J.G. Bennett website 
  • publicity,  
  • scholarships and bursaries for study  
  • and the promotion of events.



  $20.00 Donation     $100.00 Donation        $250.00 Donation   


or contact us directly for any other contributions. 

50% discount

"The Dramatic Universe" Volumes I - IV

  or "Study of Man" Lecture series MP3 disk


When you register, you are entitled to all four volumes of "The Dramatic Universe" at half-price!

Already own it? We offer as an alternative, the full series of lectures entitled "The Study of Man", delivered by John Bennett at Sherborne House in 1974,on MP3 disk.


This series provides valuable source material for the conference.


Our Price:





"The Dramatic Universe" Volumes I - IV   Pay Now

"The Study of Man" Lecture Series MP3 DiskPay Now

Quick Links

Accessing "The Dramatic Universe" Conference 

Monday August 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM GMT -to- Thursday August 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM GMT

Croydon Hall


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