P. D. Ouspensky

Gurdjieff International Review

A Brief Overview of Certain Aspects of the Thought of Petyr Demianovich Ouspensky

by Michael Presley

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It is my hope that this brief survey will, in small measure, place Petyr Ouspensky's ideas in some sort of historical context within modern philosophic thought. Also, it is my express intention to, as much as possible, convey Ouspensky's ideas separately from whatever attribution the writings offer toward the popularization of the legacy of G. I. Gurdjieff. This is, of course, not in any way meant to discount Ouspensky's acumen as an interpreter of Gurdjieff's "Russian period" but, generally, the pre-Gurdjieff (and non-Gurdjieff) writings have been relegated to a position of secondary importance in favor of specific teachings learnt from Gurdjieff. And while this in itself would be more than a suitable legacy it is nevertheless the case that Ouspensky remains, if not a distinctly original thinker, certainly a creative synthesizer whose writings stand on their own—that is, apart from the Gurdjieff material. Indeed, at least from a philosophical and productive literary standpoint there are grounds for thinking that Ouspensky's native thought likely would have flourished in important ways had his meeting with G. never occurred.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]

Copyright © 1998 Michael Presley
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Featured: Winter 1998/1999 Issue, Vol. II (2)
Revision: January 1, 2000