- Series: All and Everything
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; New Ed edition (September 27, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140190376
- ISBN-13: 978-0140190373
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Meetings with Remarkable Men: All and Everything, 2nd Series Paperback – September 27, 1991
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Right around the turn of the 20th century, G.I. Gurdjieff initiated a group of spiritual adventurers called the "Seekers of Truth." These intrepid intellectuals of every stripe crisscrossed Africa and Asia in search of the hidden mysteries of antiquity. In Meetings with Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff narrates their exploits while drawing portraits of these extraordinary figures (including one woman and a dog). Half travel journal, half autobiography, Meetings with Remarkable Men begins with Gurdieff's childhood, when he finds his book learning at odds with paranormal events that were self-evident but inexplicable through modern science. Later he discovers a map of "pre-sands Egypt" and evidence of the Sarmound Brotherhood, alleged keepers of ancient wisdom dating back four and a half millennia. He climbs the Himalayas, follows the Nile, and is led blindfolded to a mysterious monastery. In his encounters with dervishes, monks, and fakirs, Gurdjieff recovers the wisdom he seeks; by comparison, European understanding, he says, is backwards and barbaric. A controversial figure in his time, Gurdjieff inspired deep love and loyalty in his pupils and ridicule from skeptics. At the bookends of Meetings with Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff suggests the value of blurring the line between allegory and straight reporting. But then what exactly is Meetings with Remarkable Men? You be the judge. --Brian Bruya
About the Author
G. I. Gurdjieff was born in 1887 in Alexandropol. After studying with spiritual masters in the Near East and Asia, he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France.
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Top customer reviews
The rest of the sections are fantastic tales in themselves, and are very well told. This is why I give the book a four star rating. The writing style is much more accessible than the way that he wrote about Beelzebub's tales, and this is something that I like. I think that he made Beelzebub a bit too complex, that he made it complex for the sake of complexity.
I cannot say that I learned much from the book, barring the section on his father and teacher. But, the book is a joyous ride indeed. It is the story of a life fully lived.
To me, after seeing that pattern about three times I put the book down realizing it was not what I was looking for. I'm seeking the answers and the lessons not the travel stories of his personal trials and tribulations.
Speaking of his personal stories, there is one shocking story about Gurdijeff working to make money for his travels. He recounts working for a man making figurines and selling them to tourists. He acts stupid so his boss will reveal his secret to him. He then steals the man's secrets and competes against him manufacturing and selling these same figurines. I was shocked at that behavior and his unrepentant admission of this dishonesty and betrayal. This made me call into question how moral and right-thinking is any man who would do something like that. Especially one who would recount it proudly in his travel memoirs. That is more of a personal opinion but I just thought I'd share it.
In conclusion, if you are looking for the travel stories of Gurdijeff and want to learn about how he went to meet these great men, earned money for his travels, met friends, etc. you would like this book. If you're seeking, as I am, the lessons he's learned and the philosophies these great men taught I would not recommend this book.
But Gurdjieff seems to surpass even Voltaire in satir, not even needing to rise above man or go into the world of fantasy. He speaks of the contemporary phenomenons. I just wonder, of which time? It seems to be of the period about hundred years ago. So I also at once am ready with the opinion that it did not at all turn out that way.
Any way, Gurdjieff's thoughts are dew fresh. Full of (in)sane self-confidence.
Gurdjieff's wordings are finger-licking full of all kinds of peculiarities which emanate from his gospel, which he in turn with all powers keeps skin-close to familiar things and auctorities. This I mean when he speaks of the 'lawful cosmic consequences flowing to him constantly'. Lawful, that is personally obliging, and cosmic at the same time. That is: exactly what all religions tell.
A further example of his fresh linguistic inventions is his allegory of 'swing of thought'. That is: the complete methodology of modern science! No more, no less. The double-ended sledge-hammer of empiricism and rationalism, the two-way sawing of building rational hypotheses and testing them empirically to find out the 'truth'. The 'swing of thought', delicious, delicious! Did I become Gurdjian by one stroke.
Yet, there is another aspect in the gospel of Gurdjieff. His fabulous and limitless exaggeration. Another great writer pops up in my mind, the famous author of the tales of baron von Münchhausen, not actually at all the author, but the canon ball rider Münchhausen himself. And still another predecessor of Gurdjieff, the French master Jules Verne. Gurdjieff is like Verne a master of mixing real science with fantasy so that the reader gets completely confused, but that in a very pleasant way. I even suspect that Gurdjieff has literally and intentionally used Verne's approach.
The reader cannot but start questioning. Is it really possible to ride on the shoulders of an ostrich (Verne)? Is it really possible to somehow (if not directly by stilts) rise above the lethal layer of poisonous gas in the desert of Gobi (Gurdjieff). Reader's fantasy gets working, fresh ideas may emerge. That is how the progress of science takes place!