We highly recommend this book for anyone engaged in, or attracted to, the life and work of G. I. Gurdjieff. For all that’s been written about Gurdjieff and the teaching he brought to the West, a literary void has persisted, resulting not only from imperfect understandings of Gurdjieff’s mission, but also from strong personal subjectivities—even “agendas"—motivating several authors. Roger Lipsey acknowledges various efforts at a general approach to this subject which have contributed useful material. He gives much credit where credit is due. No previous authors have approached this subject so inclusively, exercising a view both humane and scholarly, based on personal experiences, enriched by access to deep archival materials, tempered by common sense and enlivened by the author’s relationships with key teachers. Given our proximity to Gurdjieff’s first-generation students—the de Salzmanns, John Bennett and others—Roger Lipsey represents the last generation capable of producing a book so richly informed. The author’s motivations are as uncluttered as they are clear: to honor Mr. Gurdjieff’s work, to not shy from challenging aspects, to not advance hero worship, but to serve the mission left for us to continue. Contemporary readers may now lead a long enduring procession by opening and reading this valuable book. It will last, helping students and inquirers a century from now, as it will today.
ROGER LIPSEY Gurdjieff Reconsidered
Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 2019
Paperback, 384 pages