The fourth way illusion

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:36 am


The creation of the ‘fourth way’ meme/paradigm is one of the sloppy ‘fast talker’ discourses that Gurdjieff laid on Ouspensky, the wrong idea perpetuated now ad infinitum. You can, of course, label anything you like the ‘fourth way’, write a brochure, and give the idea a fictitious existence. But the overall format of Gurdjieff’s thinking here is flawed, and unclear. But, at least, having proposed the idea, you should show an example in history. Not a single example has ever been given with a definite demonstration. And the idea tend to distract attention from real paths, e.g. the paths of yoga/buddhism, which are denigrated in favor of the confusion of seedy gangsters like Gurdjieff.
I think what Gurdjieff was trying to say is that we see paths based on ‘being’ but none on the factor of ‘will’. The canard has been used to discredit the path to enlightenment in favor of the kind of psychotic pastiche of people like Crowley. More generally, however, it may be true: there may be a hidden path of the ‘will’ that has never appeared in public history. I wouldn’t call the Gurdjieff fiasco an example. In any case, I think the reality is that the path to enlightenment beyond will is the only safe way to begin spiritual enquiry. The toxic lies of the leaders and the complete idiocy of the followers makes the whole Ouspensky stream decidedly short of fourth way glitz.


  1. Darren D. Murray said,

    09.27.13 at 3:47 am

    Gurdjieff insisted that these paths – although they may intend to seek to produce a fully developed human being – tended in actuality to cultivate certain faculties at the expense of others. The goal of religion, the goal of spirituality was, in fact, to produce a well-balanced, responsive and sane human being capable of dealing with all manner of eventualities that life may present to them. Traditional methods as such generally failed to achieve this end. Gurdjieff therefore made it clear that it was necessary to cultivate a way that integrated and combined the traditional three ways. Gurdjieff saw himself as being one who presented such a teaching.

  2. nemo said,

    10.01.13 at 11:38 am

    The demand for a balanced path is great, but I suspect that it was mostly hype on Gurdjieff’s part. All the real successes have been in the paths that Gurdjieff critiques, while his successes are nil.

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