Gurdjieff International Review

A Stark Reality

Keith Buzzell


merging from a crossroad of the East and the West, [Gurdjieff] represents, among many other aspects, a blending of the scientific disciplines of the West (its focus on materialities and process) with the wisdom (the understandings and methods) of the East. One can find many resonances with the teachings of Christianity, Sufism, Buddhism, the Hebrew tradition and Lamaism but there is a singularity to Gurdjieff’s teaching in his simultaneous encompassing of modern science and teachings of all of the Great Messengers regarding the inner world of man. In a very real sense, Gurdjieff is a Messenger but one who has arisen from below, blending the ancient mystic teaching of the inner world with the thoroughly modern world of the scientific disciplines.

The conflict within and between present day civilizations is ongoing and unresolved. We continue to approach a possible catastrophe on a global scale—witness our ecological disasters, the environmental degradation, the population explosion of humans, the warming climate, endangerment to or extinction of many species of animals and the ever-present state of warfare.

The need for an expanding and constant effort to bring mankind to a greater awareness of its inner world and outer world has been evident since the latter 19th century. The stark reality in today’s world is one that emphasizes the precariousness of the entire Lateral Octave of life on Earth. With all of science’s technological ‘progress’ we are, as a worldwide society, now standing on the edge of a precipice, trapped in the second state of consciousness and, so far, unable to commit ourselves broadly to a real reconciliation of our inner and outer worlds. This is a challenge that is faced by all reflections of ‘Work,’ whether it is clothed in restatements of, and external-life demonstrations of the Great Traditions, such as we see in the life of figures like Krishnamurti, Desmond Tutu, HH Dalai Lama, Dag Hammarskjöld and Martin Luther King but including the lesser known but increasingly essential demonstrations of compassion, kindness and acceptance manifested in thousands of daily events by many thousands of people who are awakening to the reality of the responsibilities and possibilities of a consciousness of the inner world. The most inclusive and comprehensive of these efforts, for us, is the system introduced by Gurdjieff—because he includes, not only the core of Conscience-aligned effort but also, the understanding and utilization of the energies of both outer and inner worlds (Worlds 48 and 24), the worlds that are the focus of modern scientific endeavors, and the plethora of practical, ‘physical’ manifestations of the body that demonstrate a balance between the sensory/motor, feeling and thinking aspects of a three-brained being.

A number of these efforts being made by modern representatives of the Great Traditions include aspects of the three efforts just noted, but the Gurdjieff teaching is balanced, inclusive and appropriate for our time. □

Keith Buzzell, The Third Striving (2014) Salt Lake City: Fifth Press, pp. 62–63.


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Featured: Winter 2019/2020 Issue, Vol. XIV (1)
Revision: August 13, 2020