Original name George S. Georgiades (b. 1872?, Alexandropol, Armenia, Russian Empire–d. Oct. 29, 1949, Neuilly, near Paris), Greco-Armenian mystic and philosopher who founded an influential quasi-religious movement. Details of Gurdjieff’s early life are uncertain, but he is thought to have spent his early adult years traveling in northeast Africa, the Middle East, India, and especially Central Asia, learning about various spiritual traditions.
He moved to Moscow about 1913 and began teaching there and in Petrograd, returning to the Caucasus at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Rejoined by some followers, Gurdjieff established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in 1919 at Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia; it was reestablished at Fontainebleau, Fr., in 1922. Its members, many from prominent backgrounds, lived a virtually monastic life, except for a few banquets, at which Gurdjieff would engage in probing dialogue and at which his writings were read. Ritual exercises and dance were also part of the regimen, often accompanied by music composed by Gurdjieff and an associate [Thomas deHartmann]. Performers from the institute appeared in Paris in 1923 and in four U.S. cities the following year and brought considerable attention to Gurdjieff’s work.
Gurdjieff’s basic assertion was that human life as ordinarily lived is similar to sleep; transcendence of the sleeping state required work, but when it was achieved, an individual could reach remarkable levels of vitality and awareness. The Fontainebleau centre was closed in 1933, but Gurdjieff continued teaching in Paris until his death.
“Take the ‘wisdom’ of the East and the ‘energy’ of the West and then seek.” – George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff in Revolutionaries.
In properly organized groups no faith is required; what is required is simply a little trust and even that only for a little while, for the sooner a man begins to verify all he hears the better it is for him.
George Gurdjieff (c. 1877-1949), Greek-Armenian religious teacher, mystic. Quoted in: P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, ch. 11 (1949).
A considerable percentage of the people we meet on the street are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead. It is fortunate for us that we do not see and do not know it. If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and what a number of these dead people govern our lives, we should go mad with horror.
George Gurdjieff (c. 1877-1949), Greek-Armenian religious teacher, mystic. Quoted in: P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, ch. 8 (1949).
A “sin” is something which is not necessary.
George Gurdjieff (c. 1877-1949), Greek-Armenian religious teacher, mystic. Quoted in: P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, ch. 17 (1949).
G.I. Gurdjieff described the nature of conscious being as crystalline in form, and as such spoke of the process of self-development as a series of crystallizations, which are, in this respect, identical to Deleuze’s conceptualization of the formation of plateaus of thought (within the individual) through assemblage. These assemblages are in some respects conscious, and in some respects are due to accident.
“In the course of his years of seeking, Gurdjieff fell ill with some of the most pugnacious micro-organisms the East could muster; and more than once he was grievously wounded by stray bullets, as he skirted the edges of wars and revolutions. He spent years in monasteries in Central Asia, including a spiritual community in the mountains of Bokhara, the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan; he was apparently in close contact with mystics tucked away in the esoteric circles of the Russian Orthodox orders; he studied in Tibet and India.”
– John Shirley – _The Shadows of Ideas – A Distant Glimpse of Gurdjieff_
“When you give something to a man, or do something for him, the first time he will kiss your hands, second time he takes his hat off, third time he bows, fourth time he fawns, fifth time he nods, sixth time he insults you, and the seventh time he sues you for not giving him enough.”
– G.I. Gurdjieff
“It is clear from Gurdjieff’s writings that hypnotism, mesmerism and various arcane methods of expanding consciousness must have played a large part in the studies of the Seekers of Truth. But none of these processes had any bearing on black magic…”
– P. Travers, “Gurdjieff”, Man, Myth & Magic, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural
Recognising that all spiritual movements eventually succumb to entropy, Gurdjieff ended his masterful use of PSYOPS adversity and confrontation at his ‘initiatory laboratory’ in Fontainebleu (France), concentrating upon conveying his worldview through the mammoth portable mythos “Beelzebub’s Tales To His Grandson”, which developed deeper esoteric themes drawn from Sufi, Zoroasterian, Sumer, and Egyptian literature.
His later work with small groups in Paris during the 1930s and 1940s, the subsequent books, the sacred dances, the piano music composed with musician Thomas de Hartmann, and the now extensive biographical and critical literature serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of this Magus. Many of Gurdjieff’s concepts influenced Twentieth Century culture, including the Leary/Wilson/Lilly models of ‘conscious evolution‘, the revitalisation of Gnostic Christianity, scientific research on ‘split brain’ neurology and ‘multiple intelligences’, Gaia eco-consciousness and the reciprocal maintenance of natural systems. Popularisations of Sufi Initiation occurred via Oscar Ichazo’s ‘Arica’ Institute, the ‘false Sufism’ of E.J. Gold, and the stories of Idries Shah.
Before her marriage to Frank Lloyd Wright, Olgivanna Hinzenberg studied under Georgei Gurdjieff. She is shown
spinning through one of Gurdjieff’s sacred dances, ritual works inspired by whirling dervishes and intended to discipline both mind and body. Olgivanna studied with Gurdjieff in France before traveling with his dance troupe to the United States, where she first me her future husband.
A NORMAL BEING WISHES TO LIVE FOREVER
– G. I. GURDJIEFF
A normal being wishes to live forever. A normal man is one who not only has actualized his inherited potentialities, but has freed himself from his subjectivity.
This wish to live constitutes a being. Once being alive there is no choice, we must live forever.
Your powers are to actualize, to be aware of your presence. This is your money in the bank, your cash, your earning ability.
Next to awareness, the most important thing is Time. The flow of time through us gives us our chance to extract what we can. Time is a three-fold stream, passing through our three centers. We fish in this stream, what we catch is ours, what we don’t is gone. Time does not wait for us to catch all in the stream, if we catch enough, we have enough to create the three bodies, and become enduring.
Time is the sum of our potential experience, the totality of our possible experiences. We live our experiences successively, this is the first dimension of time.
To be able to live experiences simultaneously is adding another or second dimension of time.
To be aware of this simultaneity is called solid Time, or the third dimension of Time.
I beg you, before starting on this journey to question yourself. You are plunging into the dark; here is a little lamp; I show you how to rub it; but make sure you know how to rub it.
Suffering is the price of endlessness.
Conscious labor consists of having an objective in life, as a LIFE aim, an Aim which can be pursued the whole of your life. It does not depend on the vicissitudes of life. It is the aim for which you took the trouble to be born. You are an immortal being if you keep this aim.
If you keep this aim through this life you will have an aim strong enough to persist after this life, an aim big enough to persist through an immortal existence.”
- conscious language
- Anomalog: A Normal Being Wishes To Live Forever
- track _Nationwide Sleep Disorder_ MP3 by Flowchart off of _Tenjiru_ 12″ on Darla (1996)