Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff
I asked G. what a man had to do to assimilate this teaching.
"What to do?" asked G. as though surprised. "It is impossible to do anything. A man must first of all understand certain things. He has thousands of false ideas and false conceptions, chiefly about himself, and he must get rid of some of them before beginning to acquire anything new. Otherwise the new will be built on a wrong foundation and the result will be worse than before."
"How can one get rid of false ideas?" I asked. "We depend on the forms of our perception. False ideas are produced by the forms of our perception."
G. shook his head.
"Again you speak of something different,"' he said. "You speak of errors arising from perceptions but I am not speaking of these. Within the limits of given perceptions man can err more or err less. As I have said before, man's chief delusion is his conviction that he can do. All people think that they can do, all people want to do, and the first question all people ask is what they are to do. But actually nobody does anything and nobody can do anything. This is the first thing that must be understood. Everything happens. All that befalls a man, all that is done by him, all that comes from him—all this happens. And it happens in exactly the same way as rain falls as a result of a change in the temperature in the higher regions of the atmosphere or the surrounding clouds, as snow melts under the rays of the sun, as dust rises with the wind."
"Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels—all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything.It all happens. (From P.D. Ouspensky, "In Search of the Miraculous")
Gurdjieff was a mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent, born in Alexandrapol (now Gyumri), Armenia. Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to awaken to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. Gurdjieff described a method attempting to do so, calling the discipline "The Work" (connoting "work on oneself") or "the System". According to his principles and instructions, Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness unites the methods of the fakir, monk and yogi, and thus he referred to it as the "Fourth Way". (From Wikipedia)
Gurdjieff stresses that humanity is not separate from the organic processes of Nature and thus humanity is not meant, in the collective sense, to spiritually evolve, for if it were to do so the equilibrium of the greater planetary world of which it is a part of would be disturbed. This is why the realm of spiritual awakening has always belonged to individuals only — the odd person here and there who strives to awaken — and why there has always been and continues to be, even in this scientifically and socially ‘more advanced’ time, tremendous resistance to the awakening process. Gurdjieff claimed that there are actual planetary forces that inhibit attempts to become more conscious, an idea paralleled in some Gnostic teachings where these forces are termed ‘archons’ . The science - fiction film The Matrix was based on this idea , where the inhibiting forces were personified as the ‘Agents’.(quoted from "Three Dangerous Magi" by P.T. Mistlberger)