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International Review

Welcome to the Gurdjieff International Review—a source of informed essays and commentary on the life, writings, and teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.

Mr. Gurdjieff was an extraordinary man, a master in the truest sense. His teachings speak to our most essential questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life, and of human life in particular? As a young man, Gurdjieff relentlessly pursued these questions and became convinced that practical answers lay within ancient traditions. Through many years of searching and practice he discovered answers and then set about putting what he had learned into a form understandable to the Western world. Gurdjieff maintained that, owing to the abnormal conditions of modern life, we no longer function in a harmonious way. He taught that in order to become harmonious, we must develop new faculties—or actualize latent potentialities—through “work on oneself.” He presented his teachings and ideas in three forms: writings, music, and movements which correspond to our intellect, emotions, and physical body.

Excerpts from the Talks and Writings
of G. I. Gurdjieff

These selected excerpts on philosophy, religion, science, and psychology are drawn from key passages of Gurdjieff’s writings and notes on his talks.

Gurdjieff, G. I.
by Michel de Salzmann

Dr. de Salzmann provides an informed and thoughtful synopsis of Gurdjieff’s life, writings and influence as “an incomparable ‘awakener’ of men” and spiritual teacher who “left behind him a school embodying a specific methodology for the development of consciousness… The Gurdjieff teaching has emerged … as one of the most penetrating spiritual teachings of modern times.”

Gurdjieff: The Man and the Literature

Gurdjieff's biographer James Moore provides a sensitive and discerning guide to Gurdjieff's life and the classics of the Gurdjieff literature in English. This essay was originally published in Resurgence No. 96, January–February 1983 (Bideford, England) and is reproduced with the kind permission of the editor, Satish Kumar, and of the author.

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1877–1949)
by P. L. Travers

Travers—author of the Mary Poppins books—combines a historical account of Gurdjieff’s search and teaching with a pupil’s personal impressions of “this man whose life has the air of authentic myth.” She emphasizes that Gurdjieff “had come not to bring peace but a special kind of inner warfare and that his mission in life was to destroy men’s complacency and make them aware of their limitations. Only by such means, by what he called ‘conscious labours and intentional sufferings,’ was it possible to bring about their inner development. The Work, as his method came to be called, had, as it very soon appeared, been only too accurately named.”

Gurdjieff: The Unknown Man
by Kenneth Walker

Dr. Walker’s vivid account, particularly of his first visit to Gurdjieff’s Paris apartment in the late 1940s, is distinguished by his keenly trained powers of observation as a physician. “Gurdjieff used to say that a man revealed himself most clearly in his reactions to sexuality and to money. I could add yet another signpost to a man’s personality, namely, his reaction to Gurdjieff himself. Many reactions were possible, but it was impossible to be indifferent to him or to forget that he was there… Whatever he was, he was something on a much bigger scale than one had ever seen before, or is ever likely to see again.”

Gurdjieff Observed
by Roger Lipsey

Drawing on excerpts from the lesser known but “unexpectedly rich secondary literature,” Lipsey assembles a vivid composite portrait of Gurdjieff and the ontological challenge he presented to everyone around him. In so doing, he provides an excellent introductory survey of the anecdotal literature about Gurdjieff.

G. I. Gurdjieff and His School
by Jacob Needleman

Professor Needleman surveys those aspects of Gurdjieff’s “life and teaching that are of signal importance for anyone approaching this influential spiritual teacher for the first time.” He traces how Gurdjieff’s influence is becoming a factor in contemporary civilization and describes the international activities of The Gurdjieff Foundation.

An Introduction to the Writings of G. I. Gurdjieff
by J. Walter Driscoll

This synopsis is drawn from the author’s Gurdjieff: a Reading Guide. It briefly sketches the contents and publication history of Gurdjieff’s writings and the notes that have been published of his talks.

All and Everything
by G. I. Gurdjieff

In these first two pages of Gurdjieff’s All and Everything, the author concisely describes the scope and purpose of his writings which were “All written according to entirely new principles of logical reasoning.”

People Who Hunger and Thirst for Truth

Gurdjieff discusses the obstacles and deceptions faced by anyone in search of inner truth and spiritual guidance. First published in Views from the Real World: Early Talks of Gurdjieff, pp. 50–51, 56–58, New York: Dutton, London: Routledge & Kegan.

Gurdjieff’s Aphorisms

Gurdjieff’s aphorisms as inscribed in a special script above the walls of the Study House of the Chateau du Prieuré at Fontainebleau in which Gurdjieff established his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man.
G. I. Gurdjieff

“There do exist enquiring minds, which long for the truth of the heart, seek it, strive to solve the problems set by life, try to penetrate to the essence of things and phenomena and to penetrate into themselves. If a man reasons and thinks soundly, no matter which path he follows in solving these problems, he must inevitably arrive back at himself, and begin with the solution of the problem of what he is himself and what his place is in the world around him.”

G. I. Gurdjieff

“Gurdjieff gave me many new ideas I did not know before, and he gave a system I did not know before. About schools I did know, for I had been travelling and looking for schools for 10 years. He had an extraordinary system, and quite new. Some separate fragments of it could be found elsewhere, but not connected and put together like they are in this system.”

P.  D. Ouspensky

“I beg myself as well as my readers not to mistake understanding for attainment; and not to imagine, on the strength of their realization of certain truths, that they possess them, or still less, that they can use them. Our being, in which alone truth is possessed, is still a long way behind our understanding.”

A. R. Orage

“Gurdjieff was a danger. A real threat. A threat for one’s self-calming, a threat for the little regard one had of oneself, a threat for the comfortable repertoire where we generally live. But at the moment when this threat appeared, like a ditch to cross, a threshold to step over, one was helped to cross it by his presence itself.”

Michel de Salzmann

Copyright © 2010
Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing

August 4, 2010