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The Fourth Way by P.D. Ouspensky

Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Fourth Way by P. The Fourth Way by P. The Fourth Way is the most comprehensive statement thus far published of the ideas taught by the late P. Consisting of verbatim records of his oral teaching from to e, it gives a lucid explanation of the practical side of G.

Gurdjieff’s teachings, which Gurdjieff presented in the form of raw materials, Ouspensky’s specific task having been to put th The Fourth Way is the most ousensky statement thus far published of the ideas taught by the late P.

Gurdjieff’s teachings, which Gurdjieff presented in the ttarot of raw materials, Ouspensky’s specific task having been to put them together as a systematic whole. Just as Tertium Organum deals with a new mode of thinking, so The Fourth Way is concerned with a new way of living.

It shows a way of inner development to be followed under the ordinary conditions of life — as distinct from the three traditional ways that ouspnsky for retirement from the world: The Fourth Way is a guide for those who seek a true way of inner growth under conditions open to the men and women of today.

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Best Intro book on Gurdjieff? Anyone out there that’s read several and would consider themselves knowledgeable care to chime in? See 2 questions about The Fourth Way….

Lists with This Book. Aug 02, Scot rated it really liked it. This book took me e months to crawl through and though painful at times was worth the effort. It mirrored in many ek my own journey in terms of timing and though I could not pretend to have initiated the level of effort the Ouspensky says that we need to wake up from our slumber, from time to time I catch glimpses and that reminder alone was worth the read.

I would not recommend this book for anyone that is not naturally drawn toward it and would say if you are interested in the ideas of G. I This book took me six months to crawl through and though painful at times was worth the effort.

Gurdjieff there are many easier places to start. For me though this was an excellent place to begin because it mirrored the journey and was a reminder that no matter how complex and difficult life and the world can seem at times, patience, reflection, and effort are rewarded.

If you are interested in digging in start with Toward Awakening by Jean Vaysse. Oct 23, Steve rated it it was amazing. Classic Ouspensky, also try and read Gurdjieff if you can, it will blow your mind!

May 19, Tobey rated it it was ok. When I read this book it literally made me angry to know just how flawed the teachings and the way it is taught is. There are quite a lot of concepts covered, but the main ones are that we are not conscious, do not self-remember, are mechanical and have 4 centers: The idea in principle is good; that we need to work toward self-development and growth by becoming more aware of the multiple “Is” that we have through the centers and understanding how When I read this book it literally made me angry to know just how flawed the teachings and the way it is taught is.


The idea in principle is good; that we need to work toward self-development and growth by becoming more aware of the multiple “Is” that we have through the centers and understanding how they can be used appropriately to transform ourselves.

The problem is that Ouspensky hides behind words and fails to explore his ideas any further than what he wants to focus on. He doesn’t explain why we lack consciousness and why we don’t self-remember. If you take it by it’s literal definition, we are conscious and we do self-remember. I am aware of myself, my surroundings and can remember it.

So what does he mean by it? Its his own made up definition of these words. So if he has his own definitions then he should firstly call it something else, secondly explain what he means by those definitions and lastly provide evidence for the phenomenon behind the definitions.

But when you look at the dialogue between Ouspensky and the other person, they are insistently asking what Ouspensky means by some of his definitions, but he refuses to answer and repeatedly says “figure it out for yourself by practice and you will understand”. The problem is there is no way to figure it out, because we don’t know what to work on.

If we try to ‘self-remember’ then we might think we’re self-remembering when we’re really not. And since we have no definitions or explanations for it then its pointless to tell us to do something that we don’t know. The vagueness of his terminology not only becomes a problem for practice, but also for validity.

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How do we know that we actually aren’t conscious or able to self-remember? Ouspensky doesn’t substantiate ouspensk claims. He just tells people to ouspeensky his ideas and practice it.

This is what irritates me the most. He acts like some authority who has special knowledge over others without actually caring to explain why his knowledge is factually accurate. He just makes the assumption that people will believe whatever he says and that they should learn how to practice it on their own. Believing in his ideas without actually seeing results is blind faith.

It is making people work toward something that isn’t even a sure thing. The responses to the questions are also quite disturbing. Usually the person who is asking the questions doesn’t understand a shred of what he’s saying, they ask for clarification and Ouspensky looks down on them for garot understanding. Again, it is him acting like an authority who has special knowledge. He is an elitist and a false prophet, who again, hides behind his words.

I can’t put it any less tart.

But when I put my feelings aside and try to interpret the meaning of his ideas without explicitly knowingthey still don’t make sense. From what I gather, what he means by lacking consciousness is the fact that we are constantly doing things without knowing the reasons why we do it – which according to the system means that we are mechanical.


To put it in psychological terms that actually make sense this is the distinction between automatic and controlled thinking. I agree that oftentimes we are more in the automatic state and seldom in the controlled state.

But this doesn’t mean we need to always be controlled. Automatic thinking serves a purpose. If we were always controlled in our thinking it would be impossible to filter out certain information and would result in information overload. Self-remembering in the system really means that we often forget why we act in certain ways.

Some ways we act contradict each other. We are also unable to remember a total self that is congruent with all sides of ourselves. Again, this is true. But he goes to the lengths to say that if we have positive emotions one minute and negative emotions another minute it is not self-remembering, because we’re contradicting ourselves. This isn’t true at all.

A New Model of the Universe

For example, I could tarof trying to relax, which is positive, but when someone interrupts me I get angry, which is negative. They are both perfectly congruent with one another, but Ouspensky acts like it isn’t.

Which brings me to why Ouspensky has no grasp on emotions. He ouspnsky says that there are “wrong ojspensky and that there are “right emotions” and that the “wrong” ones need to be discarded. The wrong emotions are basically negative emotions: But anyone with a basic understanding of the human psyche knows that these emotions serve a useful purpose.

When we are anxious it alerts us that our body is in a dangerous situation and that we need to deal with it appropriately. There is nothing inherently wrong with negative emotions. But Ouspensky actually goes so far to call these emotions unreal. If he doesn’t see these emotions in himself all he’s doing is repressing them.

And by telling other people to abandon their negative emotions, he is effectively telling them to repress theirs too.

The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution

He said that you need to ignore negative emotions. Research suggests that repressing emotions actually make it harder for the emotions to go away.

First of all, anyone who is in the daunting position of repressing thoughts knows that it is harder to ignore those thoughts than dealing with them.

Usually the reverse of what you want happens: But even when you are able to put them off, because something else distracts you, the feelings don’t go away, they just build up. And the more they build up the harder it is to deal with them. When you examine Ouspensky’s other ideas, they just come accross as completely ridiculous.

In one chapter he says that the moon controls our behaviour and that we communicate with the moon. This is nothing more than pseudoscience. He says that when we die the moon ouspenwky us, because it is hungry. He goes on about how we consume “impressions” in this convoluted explanation that lack any parsimony. I don’t see what benefit there is for believing in any of this nonsense.