- Series: Compass
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; New edition edition (July 19, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140190643
- ISBN-13: 978-0140190649
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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."
I don't "practice" his teachings and feel meditation is my work (of course my work and Gurdjieff's methods seem to overlap a great deal), but if I want to explain my work even to myself, then this book provides a rich language to explain the need for a spiritual quest and a need for esoteric work that goes beyond dogma, religion or beliefs. It is for this reason that the book is so satisfying. I think that the most memorable piece I've read is the talk "When speaking of different subjects" and I appreciate Gurdjieff's teachings on the self in the context of the Buddhist notion of Anatta or not self; similarly perhaps, Gurdjieff describes multiple selves within ourselves.
But it is the terribly English way it is presented here. Gurdjieff would have spoken largely in Russian, but these translations and these transmissions are really very special and not easy to find. They contain a huge amount of soul food. I think this is possibly the best book in this series, better than Meetings with Remarkable Men and seamlessly outshines "In search of the Miraculous" in part. In the latter work, there is a lot of technical stuff about a type of Chemistry that is not evident in "Views from the Real World"; Views ... is a shorter version of In Search of the Miraculous, highly digestible and yet, worth revisiting again and again. A lovely book.
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.
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eyes; most of Gurdjieff's oeuvre would be...Read more