Initially there were very few far-out claims, and I felt they were meant to be taken metaphorically. For instance, the idea that war is caused by the uncomfortable proximity of certain planets at certain times seems to be more an illustration of the way mass movements are the result of mechanical forces. But the book becomes more and more obtuse and really goes downhill after Ouspensky introduces this strange The first half of this book is very readable, straightforward, engaging and practical. A quote: "[ And such people are in the majority".

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Would Ouspensky have been better off never meeting Mr. At the end of his life, if not before, Ouspensky certainly felt this way and Gary Lachman agrees. And he was wrong Ouspensky Left the Teaching Lachman, a former rock and roll musician, was involved with the Work in England for several years.

He counts that "time well spent; yet, eventually I found myself moving away from the work to explore other ideas. But as the years went by I returned And as Gurdjieff said, "There is nothing that shows up a man better than his attitude towards the work and the teacher after he has left it. Ouspensky was never commissioned to teach. The truth behind his announcement upon his return to England in that he had "abandoned the system" is that he had abandoned it 25 years earlier. Ironically, and sadly, in doing so, Ouspensky unintentionally paralleled the fictional character Ivan Osokin in his novel Strange Life of Ivan Osokin: It is hard to believe that I can actually do nothing at all.

But, at the same time, what have I done so far? I have only spoiled everything. To give myself up to the magician? That again seems strange, even cowardly. Probably this is where the greatest illusion lies, because to become convinced and to admit to oneself that one can actually do nothing is not cowardly at all. Was he a genius? So even in his choice of title the author gets it wrong. Coetzee, "What Is a Classic? The classic defines itself by surviving.

Therefore the interrogation of the classic, no matter how hostile, is part of the history of the classic, inevitable and even to be welcomed. For as long as the classic needs to be protected from attack, it can never prove itself classic. One might even venture further along this road to say that the function of criticism is defined by the classic: criticism is that which is duty-bound to interrogate the classic.

Thus the fear that the classic will not survive the decentering acts of criticism may be turned on its head: rather than being the foe of the classic, criticism, and indeed criticism of the most skeptical kind, may be what the classic uses to define itself and ensure its survival.

Criticism may in that sense be one of the instruments of the cunning of history. Fair enough. Why Did Ouspensky Leave? What was the chief impetus behind these three breaks? Having been involved with Theosophy a pseudoteaching Gurdjieff clearly disdained , Ouspensky said he wanted a teaching "of a more rational kind.

While interested in the teaching intellectually, Ouspensky refused to join a Work group. It was only when Gurdjieff began to no more than half answer his questions that he reluctantly agreed to join.

As Gurdjieff was living in Moscow and Ouspensky in St. Petersburg, he had Ouspensky gather people there for a group which Gurdjieff would visit every two weeks. Ouspensky speaks of this as "The St. Petersburg Conditions," an odd bit of legalese, as teachers do not make contracts with their students. The break was presaged as early as August in Finland. Ouspensky had been wanting what he called "the miracle. Though it brought a wealth of deep insights, Ouspensky refused to be completely sincere with his teacher breaking the first demand of the Work.

He held something back. In other words, he still believes he can see the teacher and so judge him, whereas he will later write that a student cannot see the teacher. So, apparently even this early, Ouspensky was only "auditing" the teaching, not taking himself as a student. Lachman gives only a literal mention of the Finland experience. Because of the civil war raging in Russia, Gurdjieff called his Moscow and St. Petersburg students to him in Essentuki, in the Caucasus.

After they arrived, he told Ouspensky the Moscow students were acting up and that he was responsible. Bewildered, Ouspensky said he was only responsible for the St. Petersburg students.

But Gurdjieff insisted. This was a defining moment: either Ouspensky would remember he was in the Work and observe his emotional center or he would identify with it. He identified and so left Gurdjieff, trumping up the excuse that Gurdjieff was leading them on the religious path, requiring blind obedience and faith. The following August he again broke with Gurdjieff and left for London. Though Ouspensky had only fragments of the fuller teaching that Gurdjieff was to later give, his efforts were serious enough for him to have come to a new feeling of "I.

This confidence is the result of that work on myself which I began four years ago. According to Lord Pentland, people leave because of "their grandmother, indigestion, money or sex.

And few leave rightly. They sneak out the back door. Reymond, pp. Petersburg Conditions. Tarcher, also does not mention this or a number of other salient ideas in Struggle of the Magicians. Chess Life, October , p. We promise you four lively, provocative issues of the only international journal devoted to exploring self-transformation in the contemporary world and the teaching of G.

The Gurdjieff Journal publishes interviews , book excerpts, essays and book reviews. It does not, and will not, carry advertising. For its publication, it relies solely on the support of its readership.


P. D. Ouspensky

Would Ouspensky have been better off never meeting Mr. At the end of his life, if not before, Ouspensky certainly felt this way and Gary Lachman agrees. And he was wrong Ouspensky Left the Teaching Lachman, a former rock and roll musician, was involved with the Work in England for several years.


In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching

Throughout the book, Ouspensky never refers to Gurdjieff directly, only using the single initial "G. The book begins with Ouspensky returning home to St. Petersburg from his recent excursion to the East, where he journeyed "in search of the miraculous", as he put it. He soon meets a mysterious man, a certain "G. Ouspensky recounts his trials learning this new system, which he later refers to as the Fourth Way, often recollecting entire lectures, or parts of lectures, which Gurdjieff gave to his disciples in St.





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