In search of the miraculous
P. D. Ouspensky
The author begins by describing his first meeting with Gurdjieff shortly after he, Ouspensky, had returned from India in search of a school of higher knowledge. To Ouspensky’s surprise, this man Gurdjieff, whom he is meeting in his native Russia, seems to possess that knowledge which Ouspensky had twice traveled around the world seeking. Moreover, Gurdjieff has organized a group, structured along unfamiliar but intriguing principles, to study this knowledge. There are esoteric schools, Gurdjieff tells him, but the first thing to realize is that a very special sort of knowledge is needed, even among esoteric teachings, in order for a man to have results corresponding to his full possibilities. And the first thing necessary is for a man to see how far in fact he is from these possibilities. Man, says Gurdjieff, is actually not a man, he is a machine. All the attributes of man—freedom, understanding, love, creativity—are not his until he works for them. Man can cease to be a machine; he can become conscious. But first he must see his complete mechanicalness. This is extremely difficult, and very few can wish for or bear to see the truth about themselves.