GEORGE IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF, of Greek-Armenian heritage, was born in the
Caucasus in 1872. At an early age he awakened to a profound experience of the
"whole sensation" of himself, a deep, dimensional self-remembering that became
the foundation of his Being.
Seeing that people were asleep to their self and so living
in needless confusion and misery, the question burned in him:
What is the sense and significance of life on Earth
and human life in particular?
Feeling "an irrepressible striving" to discover the answer,
he studied the religion and science of his time but found
no adequate answer. He came to intuit that the wisdom societies
of ancient civilizations held the key. And so he set out to
discover the origin of esoteric knowledge.
His search took him to many remote and dangerous places
before he finally discovered the "true principles and ideas"
of a seminal, ancient teaching in prehistoric Egypt and Abyssinia
(present-day Ethiopia). Having discovered the principles and
ideas, Gurdjieff realized that over time elements of the teaching
had migrated from Egypt northward and he renewed his search.
This second search led him to Babylon, the Hindu Kush, Siberia and
the Gobi desert, where he gathered the dispersed elements
of the ancient teaching. Gurdjieff then reassembled the teaching
and reformulated it for the demands of modern times. He called
the teaching The Fourth Way.
Seeing how the degeneration of human life into gross materialism
and personality was accelerating, he realized the West needed
an essential shock and accepted the mission
of introducing and establishing
the teaching of The Fourth Way in the West. He formed
the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man to train
"helper-instructors" who would help disseminate the teaching.
However, when events showed the time was not right for this
approach, he decided to hurl the teaching into the future—into
our time—by creating a Legominism. This is a
means by which high initiates pass esoteric knowledge down
through time in a form that is essentially undistorted. Chess
and tarot are examples. Gurdjieff chose to create an initiatory
esoteric text consisting of three series of books which he
entitled All and Everything. This is his great legacy