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The Fourth Way: An Arrangement by Subject of Verbatim Extracts from the Records of Ouspensky's Meetings in London and New York, 1921-46 Paperback – February 12, 1971

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Editorial Reviews

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The Fourth Way is the most comprehensive statement thus far published of the ideas taught by the late P.D. Ouspensky. Consisting of verbatim records of his oral teaching from 1921 to 1946, it gives a lucid explanation of the practical side of G. I. Gurdjieff's teachings, which Gurdjieff presented in the form 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 call for retirement from the world: those of the fakir, the monk, and the yogi.

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (February 12, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394716728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394716725
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 97 people found the following review helpful By ingrid888 on October 28, 2000
One aspect of this book, The Fourth Way, that affects some negatively is it can seem to present an avalanche of separate ideas that can seem to overwhelm. Learning to awaken and practicing to awaken shouldn't seem like an act of trying to hold a thousand different ideas in your mind at the same time. Yet, as you study the ideas that are presented in this book (and the Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution and In Search of the Miraculous, to name two of the other more famous ones by Ouspensky...) you find that there are a handful of central ideas presented that have more weight and that act as a center-of-gravity of the entire language. When these central ideas are identified (Self-Remembering, Non-Identifying, Separation, External-Considering and the subtle practice of Transforming Negative Emotion are five of the most central ideas of the entire Work language...) you can then sort out all the rest of the seemingly vast array of things to observe or do or not do or ponder, etc...and see where they fall and where their place is relative to the central ideas and practices. Always re-orienting yourself by the light of the central ideas and practices. This book, the Fourth Way, also presents the cosmological side of the Work. Five of the central ideas of the cosmological side are the Ray of Creation, the Law of 3, the Law of 7, Scale (or, 'Degree') and Relativity. These ideas are used as metaphor and as models to understand the psychological side. This book is not dry and 'overly' (choose your own word) intellectual (nor is it boring if you are truly enthusiastic about learning rare ideas of a high order, ideas, by the way, that may indeed be found in various religious writings and schools but are hardly presented in such practical and precise and, yes, poetic and mysterious language).Read more ›
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Michael Herman on February 6, 2006
After coming across this book a number of interesting developments coincided in my life, leading to enormous growth that was helped greatly by reading "The Fourth Way"... appropriately enough, one of Ouspensky's ideas is that we create a "permanent center of gravity", meaning that when we focus on esoteric knowledge events will happen in our life (e.g. meeting particular people, going through particular circumstances) that facilitate our growth.

This book is an incredible guide for people who desire self-knowledge, and are willing to put in the effort necessary to learn about their own psychology. The book is concerned with how we think, and ways to observe our self. An interesting entry point into this book is to simply observe your thoughts for a day... how does one thought lead to another? Where do they seem to arise from? When you are distracted, how much of your surroundings are you aware of? When you become distracted, do you tap your feet or unconsciously move your fingers or hands? If you aim to observe your self for one day, you will likely notice that your attention is swayed from one thing to another, and you have many unconscious habits and patterns of acting/reacting.

The scope of this book is absolutely enormous. I refer back to it all the time, and always find new wisdoms in it. Having recommended it to many friends, I've found it consistently blows away people who put the effort into reading it and observing themselves. This book is useful, interesting and in-depth, whether you have been practicing self-observation (e.g. meditation or self-analysis, body awareness through yoga or tai-chi or other disciplines) for years or just starting now.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2000
The Fourth Way is a collection of questions and answers transcribed at meetings with Peter Ouspensky (or is it now PC to spell it "Uspenskii"?), a teacher of the fourth way system presented by Ouspensky's teacher, G.I. Gurdjieff. There is great substance in the book, and if one were able to distill it all, it may be that it contains practically everything one might really need to know about awakening. But substance must be transmitted in a form that is palatable. I have always found the book unbearably tedious and didactic. Ouspensky was without doubt a sincere man, and he may well have been a great teacher; his pupil Rodney Collin (who wrote some wonderful books himself) certainly thought so. His writings (and I've read quite a lot of them, including his papers at Yale's Sterling Library, which contain a few gems) also reveal him to have been stuffy, pompous, and to my mind overly intellectual. Reading The Fourth Way, one might imagine that awakening is not only a terribly complex matter, but requires familiarity with a vast array of concepts. 'Tain't so. Partly because of his era, and perhaps because it pleased him to imagine that he possessed information that was truly unique, Ouspensky also labored under the illusion that the fourth way system was, as he liked to call it, "esoteric." This is quaint, but what was "hidden knowledge" to Westerners 75 years ago can now be found in countless works in almost any bookstore, and is taught by genuine teachers of Buddhism, Sufism, and other traditions. One need not join a fourth way cult led by some self-appointed Gurdjieff wannabe and get humiliated and milked in order to awaken.Read more ›
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