G.I. Gurdjieff

Gurdjieff International Review

Gurdjieff as Survivalist

by James Moore


GEORGE IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF died on 29 October 1949. And he is gone? Altogether gone? No, he is here! There prevails over his physical dissolution a subtly alive influence for which ‘Gurdjieff’ is an apt signifier. Better still, there are moments when the silent, cultivated, self-communing of his many disciples persuades him back into a Now quite as valid as the Now he inhabited. This is not a matter of faith or holograms or abnormal psychology but simply of opening to what is. In the primordial affirmation of Lord Krishna: “The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be.”

Such buoyancy was not always easy. As Gurdjieff’s funeral service at the Alexandre Nevski Cathedral ended and the priest closed the ikonostasis a local electricity failure plunged the arrondisement into the darkness of a winter’s night — an untoward blackness in which his adversaries jubilantly construed the snuffing out of Gurdjieff’s influence and power of action. Kaputt! Happily there were, even then, candles of a countervailing hope cherished by his closest pupils, but these were afforded no cultural oxygen whatsoever. In that far off epoch (when black berets so conspicuously out-sold Astrakhan hats, and Jean-Paul Sartre had a celebrity telephone installed at his Cafe de Flore table) no savant in Paris was arguably more de trop than Gurdjieff: his ritualised ‘Toasts to the Idiots,’ his classes in Sacred Dance, and his Homeric epic Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, had aroused no flutter of serious critical interest. To most ideological tipsters his historical oblivion seemed a racing certainty.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]
Copyright © 1999 James Moore
This webpage © 1999 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Fall 1999 Issue, Vol. III (1)
Revision: April 1, 2000