The Fourth Way is the most comprehensive statement thus far published of the ideas taught by the late P.D. Ouspensky. Consisting of verbatim records of his. The term ‘Fourth Way’ is a term Ouspensky adopted from George Gurdjieff. But although the name ‘Fourth Way’ appears for the first time in the twentieth century, . The Fourth Way is a way – a path. As such, it can only be understood by traversing it. The ‘system’ as presented by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, is a twentieth .

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Fourth way schools have existed and exist, just as schools of the three traditional ways existed and exist. But they are much more difficult to detect, because—unlike the others—they cannot be recognized by any one practice, one method, one task, or one name.

The Fourth Way is a way — a path. As such, it can only be understood by traversing it. It is a distant approximation of ouspejsky thing itself.

Ouspensky on the Fourth Way – George Gurdjieff | Be Community

Indeed, Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were each eventually forced to abandon the system they so thoroughly taught, once kuspensky found their students losing themselves in fanciful debates over the system at the expense of traversing the way. The system began to bar the way.

Consequently, it would be vain 4tn add more systematic explanation to the volumes that already exist on the system. However, much less has been expressed on the Fourth Way as a tradition — as an influence. Yet, for one traversing the Fourth Way, it is crucial to gradually become familiar with the greater tradition of which he is part — of connecting with something bigger and higher than himself. Below, we will expound on the Fourth Way tradition, of which Gurdjieff was a twentieth century agent.

The system, as presented by Gurdjieff, was not ouspnesky man-made system. That purpose is elevating the human to the superhuman. It will become more evident as he progresses along the path.

Fourth Way – Wikipedia

Objective knowledge means knowledge of the objective principles that govern the universe. In this respect, the Fourth Way follows the Hermetic principle of As above so below and as within so without: Accordingly, Gurdjieff presented his system, not as his own invention, but as an ancient tradition.

It was not an exotic compilation that he had patched together during his travels through the east. It existed in complete form before he had met it — indeed, thousands of years before he had met it — and had been passed from one age to the next by people who had practiced its principles. This is a crucial point to bear in mind when approaching the Fourth Way, because in our age, it is naturally associated with the man who presented it in the twentieth century.


The fundamental laws of triads and octaves that penetrate everything should be studied simultaneously both in the world and in man. From In Search of the Miraculous.

As Above so Below implies that it is impossible to study man without studying the universe, and it is impossible to study the universe without studying man. The higher and the lower mirror each other, and man could only learn certain things about himself by observing the outside world.

Hence, the Fourth Way is organic: Man need not delve too deep into greater or smaller cosmoses in order to understand his own. In this respect, Gurdjieff stressed another prerequisite for proper use of the Fourth Way: Modern science altogether overlooks this principle, directing its focus onto smaller or greater worlds while losing sight of man; modern psychology errs in the other extreme, by focusing on man and disregarding his resemblance to the greater and smaller worlds around him.

Another formula — Know thyself — is full of particularly deep meaning and is one of the symbols leading to the knowledge of truth. The study of the world and the study of man will assist one another.

In studying the world and its laws a man studies himself, and in studying himself he studies the world. The call to self-knowledge is ancient. Know Thyself, normally ascribed to Socrates, actually originates from the earliest recorded teachings.

Self-knowledge is not flattering, and man will tend to study anything but himself. In order to know anything, man must first know himself. For self-knowledge, Gurdjieff introduced the principles of scale and relativity: Man had to observe the other cosmoses only in relation to himself, and by the same token, he could safely reject any studies that bore no impact on self-knowledge.

The Fourth Way

Relativity introduces valuation to the acquisition of knowledge and the investment of effort. Another objective aspect of the Fourth Way was Unity and Multiplicity. To know all, one must know very little. But to know that little, one must know a great deal.

The Fourth Way is, ultimately, a practical way that promises its adherents genuine change of consciousness. It is not about learning more, but becoming more. To bridge the gap between knowledge and wisdom, practice is required, and for frequent practice brevity is required — transitioning from words to deeds. Practical work uses words to transcend words. Not one of you has noticed ouspesnky most important thing that I have pointed out to you… not one of you has noticed that you do not remember ouspwnsky.

I observe, I notice, I see. Ouspens,y is the bridge between knowledge and wisdom.

It is an effort to be aware of oneself in the present, to break away from whatever imaginary world one may have delved in a moment ago and return to reality. It is an instantaneous internal reorganization: Gurdjieff introduced self-remembering in one of his early talks with his Russian students, inviting them to share what they had seen by observing themsveles. None had noticed the most important fact: Ouspensky, who narrates this discussion, begins experimenting with self-remembering and subsequently realizes its key role in the work towards consciousness.


Here, as before, Gurdjieff borrows and translates an old practice. The Upanishads were an extensive treatise on the Self, on the need to remember it and bring it to the forefront. Gurdjieff was translating older systems into language palatable to modern western man. Hence the difference between the system and the Fourth Way: All four lead to the same end: We will not expound on the three ways to avoid straying from our main focus.

These are well described in In Search of the Miraculous. The Fourth Way differs from these in that it strives to blend all three ways harmoniously. It may gradually assume an emotional, religions hue; or it may gradually assume an intellectual, academic hue. A fundamental aspect of the Fourth Way, absent in most modern practices of spirituality, is that the spiritual evolution of man has to be linked to a scale greater than man.

Man does not evolve solely for his own benefit. He is generally not meant to evolve spiritually, but serves organic purposes, for which his normal undeveloped condition is sufficient.

Evolution is a rare exception, a going against the stream, an escape from the general law. The reason spiritual evolution is, at all, possible, is because its benefit to a higher cosmos. Parallel to the downward movement of universal growth — of the endless physical expansion of the universe — there exists an upwards movement towards consciousness, for which a minority of conscious individuals is indispensable. These are the broad and narrow ways mentioned in the Gospels and likened by Gurdjieff to acorns in a field.

Of the billions of acorns produced each year, how many will mature into trees? The Fourth Way is, therefore, exclusive by definition.


It is kuspensky for all. Neither is it a path that can be traveled half-heartedly. It is a way for disillusioned people who know too much — who know they have nothing to lose. A worldwide community dedicated to self-remembering and self-observation by revisiting ancient schools from a fourth way perspective.

Receive updates by email. As Above so Below As Within so Without As Above so Below implies that it is impossible to study man without studying the universe, and it is impossible to study the universe without studying man. Know Thyself The call to self-knowledge is ancient. Self-Remembering Self-remembering is the bridge between knowledge and wisdom.

Learn more about BePeriod A worldwide community dedicated to self-remembering and self-observation by revisiting ancient schools from a fourth way perspective.