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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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Top Customer Reviews
I recently got a lot of knowledge from "World Tales" by Idries Shah who is the teacher of the same type as the teachers of Gurdjieff. He writes specifically for the Western audience being half a Westerner and half an Easterner.
"World Tales" by Idries Shah have info which is actionable only if you can disregard the cultural accretions and you can penetrate to the content. My recent tale was "The Riddles" and I at first disregarded it as childish until someone wiser demonstrated to me how this is a recipe to get out of depression , and more (if you can see the characters of the story as subpersonalities of your mind).
Then I worked with "The Hermit" (Voltaire's version) in the same collection of patterns (like fractals in the Mandelbrott set of which everything is composed by repetition and combination). Try and see for yourself, there is Idries Shah Foundation in London, or ISHK Book Service in the US, or just Amazon or even your college or public library.
Get several books at once and get the format you like: stories, humor, lectures, questions and answers. Soon the format will not matter, if you honestly want to see how the world works, you will discover the source of Gurdjieff's knowledge, and you will be able to get as far, or further, than he did. You will find yourself, you will change, you will realize what your function in the whole creation truly is. Enjoy.
But perhaps forget this particular book, or just use it as an introduction, and not even the best one. Go to Idries Shah.
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