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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.
Interestingly enough, neither of Gurdjieff’s two signature texts – this one and “Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson” (see my one-star review) -- contains any substantive information about his teachings, which reflects negatively on them. Instead, one must turn to a secondary source, “In Search of the Miraculous” by P.D. Ouspensky (see my two-star review), in order to get a comprehensive presentation of them.
To those who have “cracked the cosmic code” and truly grok “the Master Game,” it couldn’t be clearer that Gurdjieff was not a great spiritual master teeming with demystifying insights, like, say, Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti, or Adi Da. Rather, he was charlatan of sorts who cobbled together byzantine Sufi teachings chock-full of cosmological crap, and cleverly packaged them into a mystery school still alive today in the form of Fourth Way schools that will gladly take your money, but offer you little Enlightenment in return.
As mentioned by other reviewers, Gurdjieff is a master of "coyote wisdom." In the American Indian tradition, the coyote, as totem guide of a Shaman, is a trickster and there was none better than Gurdjieff. My most vivid recollection is a story about his teaching center in France where he was adulated by an obsequious woman. He picked up an iron bowl from the fire and told the woman, "Here, hold this." Her shock and pain may or may not have awakened her consciousness, but the technique is vintage Gurdjieff. I have met a number of serious students of Gurdjieff in my 60 short years and they stand out as having significantly more depth than most students of non-traditional paths. Recommended.