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Views from the Real World: Early Talks Moscow Essentuki Tiflis Berlin London Paris NY Chicago as Recollecte (Compass) Paperback – July 19, 1991
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Many of the talks in the "Views" are delivered in du Prieuré, Paris or New York in 1922-1924 and only one after his accident in 1924 (1930 in New York). The book has also over 30 pages of the article called "Glimpses of Truth" that Ouspensky was listening to when he was first introduced to Gurdjieff and the aphorisms that decorated the Study House in du Prieuré.
A sample of what I mean by 'even a more authentic tone' is the way Gurdjieff explains in a talk called "Now I am sitting here..." the process of self-remembering, the technique used to access the state of consciousness, which he defines as 'self-consciousness', in which we are more awake than in our normal 'waking state'.
He explains first how we can differenciate between sensations and feelings giving examples of sensations of the body, like warmth, posture and eating and the feelings resulting from memory of his mother and other similar feelings.
On p. 239 he says:
"For primary exercises in self-remembering the participation of all three centers is necessary, and we began to speak of the difference between feelings and sensations because it is necessary to have simultaneously both feeling and sensation.
We can come to this exercise only with the participation of thought. The first thing is thought.... At the beginning all three need to be evoked aritificially.... I repeat: artificial things are necessary only in the beginning."
This book is little over 280 pages, and consisted of roughly 40 subjects. I personally felt these talks were essential and well worth reading and be put into practice. This inspiring book, along with In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, is well worth read and re-read. When reading this book with one perspective, you will find re-reading it with new perspective and discover a new shock of insight.
But if you try to get at the man's own words, you will usually run up against the relatively serious impenetrability of his main works (e.g., Beelzebub).
'Views from the Real World' gives you the best of both worlds: it is written in an accessible and clear way, yet it gives a very nice overview of many of Gurdjieff's key ideas and opinions, and in his own words. Well, almost - it is actually the quasi-transcripts of many of his early talks given in Russia, Europe and the United States, but as G. forbid his students from writing things down as he spoke, we can't be sure how accurate it is. All of it was taken down after the fact from memory and in consultation with others present at the talks.
Interestingly, the style is (for me) extremely reminiscent of Ouspensky's - which suggests either that Ouspensky had a very strong hand in putting this book together (I have no idea), or perhaps that Gurdjieff's style was indeed very similar to the way in which Ouspensky conveyed it in his books, and Gurdjieff's made his own later works deliberately obscure and wild, for his own reasons.
In short, I think this is the best introduction if you're looking to get into Gurdjieff's 'System' or the 'Fourth Way' material. It is almost certainly very close to his own words, it is a fairly easy-to-understand book, and it covers a wide array of important topics that you'll see again and again if you read and study more in this school/group. Very much recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, there is a book which took me away from Gurdjieff to the source of his knowledge: It is "The Teachers of Gurdjieff" by Rafael Lefort. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Steve Diput
As a Buddhist meditator, I've read Meetings with Remarkable Men and In Search of the Miraculous. Gurdjieff's teachings contain elements of Sufism, Eastern Christianity, Buddhism... Read morePublished on May 16, 2012 by Sarakani
This book is an authentic collection of talks given by Gurdjieff. Being an unorganized collection on a number of different subjects, it should be read after "In Search of the... Read morePublished on September 17, 2007 by Phung Minh Hoang
Essential Reading for those interested in Gurdjieff as he actually is, rather than through Ouspensky's or Maurice Nichol's
eyes; most of Gurdjieff's oeuvre would be... Read more