Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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G. I. Gurdjieff

1866 – 1949 CE

Philosopher, mystic, composer, ragged wanderer, successful entrepreneur, and deep spiritual teacher; Gurdjieff emphasized the hypnotic, dull, and asleep quality of our lives and - like the Buddha and many others - that we can “wake up.” His intense curiosity led him on extensive travels through Tibet, Russia, India, Iran, Egypt, North America and throughout Central Asia in a search for "seekers of truth,” people like we include on these lists. He felt that our religious and philosophical traditions have migrated from understanding the “sense” to mindless belief and adherence to the forms, to only the “words.” He sought to revitalize ancient wisdom traditions (Socratic, Stoic, Vedic, Buddhist) making them alive and relevant to contemporary life. His popular teachings on the enneagram remain influential today.

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Quotes by G. I. Gurdjieff (14 quotes)

“Man has no individual 'i'. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small 'i's, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, 'i'. And each time his 'i' is different. Just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man's name is legion.”

Chapters: 13. Honor and Disgrace

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“There is a war going on at the present moment. What does it signify? It signifies that several millions of sleeping people are trying to destroy several millions of other sleeping people. They would not do this, of course, if they were to wake up. Everything that takes place is owing to this sleep.”

Chapters: 31. Victory Funeral

Themes: Ignorance War

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“Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

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“Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

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“an honest being who does not behave absurdly has no chance at all of becoming famous, or even of being noticed, however kind and sensible he may be.”

Chapters: 41. Distilled Life

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“The greatest untold story is the evolution of God.”

Chapters: 54. Planting Well

Themes: Evolution God

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“You must learn not what people around you consider good or bad, but to act in life as your conscience bids you. An untrammelled conscience will always know more than all the books and teachers put together.”

Chapters: 64. Ordinary Mind

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“You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can't escape.”

Chapters: 71. Sick of Sickness

Themes: Slavery

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“Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man.”

Chapters: 80. A Golden Age

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“Only he who can be can do”

Themes: Ordinary Mind

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“There is, in fact, neither red, green nor yellow magic. There is 'doing. Only 'doing' is magic.”

Themes: Magic

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“Here there are neither Russians nor English, Jews nor Christians, but only those who pursue one aim — to be able to be.”

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“There is a time for everything. Possibilities for everything exist only for a definite time.”

Themes: Time Carpe diem

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“We easily become attached to everything in this life—to our imagination, to our stupidity, we become attached even to our suffering; probably to our suffering more than anything else.”

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Quotes about G. I. Gurdjieff (4 quotes)

“When a teacher like Mr. Gurdjieff goes, he cannot be replaced. Those who remain cannot create the same conditions. We have only one hope: to make something together. What no one of us could do, perhaps a group can. Let us make this our chief aim in the future.”

Jeanne de Salzmann 1889 – 1990 CE
(Madame de Salzmann)
Follower, preserver, and promoter of Gurdjieff's teachings

Themes: Leadership

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“Gurdjieff on the contrary, has become steadily better known, and his influence continues to grow. One of the main reasons for this is that there was so little of the charlatan about him. He is no cult figure with hordes of gullible disciples. What he has to teach makes an appeal to the intelligence, and can be fully understood only by those who are prepared to make a serious effort.”

Colin Wilson 1931 – 2013 CE
from They Had Strange Powers (1975)

Themes: Teachers

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“Political leaders are never leaders. For leaders we have to look to the Awakeners! Lao Tse, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Milarepa, Gurdjiev, Krishnamurti.”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE
from My Bike & Other Friends (1977)

Themes: Leadership

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“Gurdjieff was one of the most mysterious figures of the twentieth century. His writing was incomprehensible to me, yet I feel I know him intimately because of a delectable book, Boyhood With Gurdjieff by Fritz Peters”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE

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