Fourth Way
The system of mystic and occultist Georgei I. Gurdjieff
(1872–1949), which he contrasted to the three traditional ways
of mysticism—those of the fakir, the monk, and the yogi. Gurdjieff
maintained that human beings are ‘‘asleep’’ (i.e., not living
at full potential of awareness and performance). To develop
greater awareness requires hard work in removing illusory or
Foundation for Reincarnation and . . . Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
limited experience and awakening to higher reality, he said.
This evolution can be assisted by special work involving a system
of psychophysical exercises including movement, music,
and dance. Gurdjieff’s system was especially concerned with
achieving evolution in everyday life, rather than retreating
from society.
An early enthusiast for the work of Gurdjieff was the journalist
Peter D. Ouspensky. Later disciples included Maurice Nicoll,
J. G. Bennett, and Thane Walker, each of whom founded
schools concerned with teachings stemming from the philosophy
and methods of Gurdjieff. A leading group concerned with
Gurdjieff work in the United States is the Gurdjieff Foundation
of New York.
Traditional Gurdjieff schools carry on unobtrusively and
avoid publicity. There is little centralized organization, and
proselytizing attempts are low key. Prospective followers of the
Fourth Way are usually expected to have studied books dealing
with the life and thought of Gurdjieff.
Bennett, J. G. Gurdjieff, A Very Great Enigma Three Lectures.
New York Samuel Weiser, 1973.
———. Gurdjieff Making a New World. New York Harper &
Row, 1974.
De Hartmann, Thomas. Our Life with Gurdjieff. New York
Penguin, 1972. Rev. ed. San Francisco Harper & Row, 1983.
Driscoll, J. Walter. Gurdjieff An Annotated Bibliography. New
York Garland Publishing, 1985.
Gurdjieff, G. I. All and Everything. New York Harcourt,
Brace, 1950. Reprint, New York E. P. Dutton, 1963.
———. Meetings With Remarkable Men. New York E. P. Dutton,
———. Views From the Real World Early Talks in Moscow, Essentuku,
Tiflis, Berlin, London, Paris, New York, Chicago as Recollected
by His Pupils. New York Triangle Editions; London
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973.
Webb, James. The Harmonious Circle. New York G. P. Putnam’s
Sons, 1980.

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