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Gurdjieff - An Introduction to His Teachings

Gurdjieff - An Introduction to His Teachings

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Published by Abraham Ogden

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Published by: Abraham Ogden on Jul 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/03/2012

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Gurdjieff - An Introduction to His TeachingKonrad Kulczyk 
 
Contents
PageIntroduction 3Chapter 1. What is man like? 10Chapter 2. Why is man like this? 48Chapter 3. The Terror of the situation 63Chapter 4. The fruits of former civilisations 82Chapter 5. Wars and revolutions 93Chapter 6. Development of religious beliefs and systems 104Chapter 7. Ways of man's development 119Chapter 8. Cosmology 148Chapter 9. The life and work of Gurdjieff 166References 194
 
Introduction
Colin Wilson, one of the most prominent English writers, described Gurdjieff as one of the great minds of the twentieth century
1
.Others consider him a precursor of the "New Age" movement, emerging in thesecond half of the twentieth century
2
; a father of modern ecology, who first spoke of protecting theenvironment; a pacifist, who hated wars and violence; an inspirer of a new outlook on the development of man's consciousness and as a citizen of the world.Who was Gurdjieff? It is difficult to define him precisely. Such common labels as 'philosopher', 'guru','messiah' or 'thinker' do not fully describe his role. Perhaps the term "reformer" would best summarise hisactivities. One could say, with great simplification, that the purpose of his work was to change humannature. He was not concerned with the improvement of man's character, making him more cultured or tolerant. He tried to achieve something much more profound, much more significant - a total change of man's psyche, a change of his opinion of himself and his outlook upon life. Gurdjieff called it obtaining"Objective Reason".Gurdjieff considered that only a human being who had obtained "Objective Reason" could be called a "real"man. Such a person would possess a profound understanding of everything around him and of thefunctioning of the Universe. He would have an objective approach to other people, and his behaviour and beliefs would not change under the influence of external circumstances and events. Such a picture describesan ideal human with almost divine attributes. Gurdjieff did not expect that anyone would be able to achievethis level of development in a short period of time, but he wanted us to realise that the aim lay within our reach and that we should advance at our slow pace in this direction.There have been many leaders, revolutionaries, visionaries, philosophers, reformers, kings, emperors etc.,who have attempted to change and improve the life of man. They have tried to do this by changing thesocial conditions of man, often by using brutal force. Sometimes they were successful, but the changeswere never long-lasting, and after their death everything reverted to its original state. They did not succeed because, almost always, they tried to change external characteristics, the behaviour and interaction of  people, by applying external means such as education, psychological pressure or direct coercion andintimidation. Even when a very large part of society fully supported the attempted changes, this fact did notaffect the final outcome of the improvement process. Even at the present time many people believe thatman can be changed solely by education, and that higher education for everybody will solve our problems.Totalitarian systems in the twentieth century, in a very effective way, used the education of youth to change behaviour and control people, in order to secure obedience to the leaders. However, as we know, they didnot succeed in establishing a stable and happy society.

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