Author: Gurdjieff, G.
Publisher: Book Studio
Publish Date: 2014
Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″
“Contrary to the established custom, I shall not only permit this first book of mine, as well as the books of the first series, to be reprinted in any country, but, if necessary, I am willing to subsidize it, on the condition of course that absolute accuracy is preserved.”
— G. Gurdjieff
4.0 out of 5 stars Gurdjieff needs to be read from many angles... And this one is tough to decode
Another tough to understand piece from Gurdjieff, but a necessary read to try and understand his ideas and what his task at large was here
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult read
Difficult getting through run on sentences. This felt like a spoken monologue.. It seems a translation that wasn't edited. One can discern the gist although repetitive and a bit redundant. Three stars = disappointing.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As always pieces of real knowledge if you are able to see.
5.0 out of 5 stars 4th way
This is a great book and very informative for anyone on the 4th Way path.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful book if you wish it to be so!
This short book is very profound and although proposed by Mr. Gurdjieff as a prospectus for the study of his ideas, very much requires some previous background from contact with his own subsequent writings and if possible, contact with people who are already working with the ideas of the Fourth Way, also known as The Work, and The System, to have a practical application for this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Gurdjieff
If it is possible to get in the rhythm of Gurdjieff there is much to be learned especially about the order of publication of the three series.
4.0 out of 5 stars An important part of the Gurdjieff Work.
Historically important as an introduction, by the Master himself, to his work. Written to attract students, but fundamentally the Work, nonetheless. With the great number of books on Gurdjieff and the Work now, I tend to be rereading the words of the man himself.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosmic Messenger with a Harmonious Hammer
Some of Mr. Gurdjieff is a struggle for me to read and understand. But the depth and weight of of his Truths deserved as much concentration, attention and patience as I could gather. The effort to reach even some levels of this work, was certainly worth it. It covered the aims of his Institute of Harmonious Development. Mr. Gurdjieff aimed for harmony, and many people are thanking him the remainder of their planetary existence for the jewels he selflessly imparted to his groups. The ruthless attack on "Vanity - Self-Conceit" is obviously well-founded; because they seem to me to be the single greatest source of suffering and confusion since the dawn of mankind. Gurdjieff knew people could not do, nor change themselves. He did teach how to allow something to SEE you, perhaps causing shocks, conscious labor and voluntary suffering needed to wake-up and see Objectively- that did indeed change people miraculously. I appreciate being told what is objective- it's hard on the ego; but that self-loving apparatus cares nothing for me. I keep reading the First Series over and over. His sentence structure, and bizarre discussions had me pull my hair out initially. I wanted to throw it out the window! So I'd retreat to the surgically- clean, often air-tight, intellectually linear, but brilliant works of Ouspensky i.e. 'The Fourth Way', or 'Search'. But the weight and power and multi-leveled 'Objective Hammer' of Gurdjieff's writing has me willing and wishing for deeper understanding. Gurdjieff's writing is in Tiers, Cosmoses, dimensions, parables, and an allegory that make it "All and Everything".
5.0 out of 5 stars The true story about Gurdjieff's 'objective' viewpoint
I think it's one of the valuable texts that everyone should own, with certain requirements that it be a fragment not the whole document about the 4th way. The way of the ordinary life. Gurdjieff couldn't write a straightforward sentence. The longest sentence in the HOCG is more than two pages long. In my opinion he's in the same class of 'man' as C. G. Jungs second personality (read the Red Book, or some of it) but a tad below William Blake, Emanuel Swedenborg and P.D. Ouspensky/Rodney Collin/Maurice Nicoll. G. doesn't write in easily readable language and makes the excuse that it's only through extended efforts at self obervation that it's possible to 'remember one's self'. I love this book but I'd read a lot of the previous authors I mentioned, before it fell at my feet one day, literally. So it made sense, a whole lot of sense to me, but only then. It's a book that I believe produces an effect if you do what he suggests, read it three times. I recorded it so I could listen to it and did that several times. I believe Gurdjieffs' real inner life is what this book is about. If anyone gets past the first page, which begins with a couple of precisely timed coincidences, it's obvious he has a lot of hubris. What makes me feel that he was still looking for something but had not found it himself, is that he couldn't use ordinary language. That's the opposite of Ouspensky, without whom Gurdjieff wouldn't have come to my attention. Probably. G.often stated 'facts' that could have been elaborated and clarified but he didn't fill in the details. That's his way to force 'effort' on the reader. It seems to me that's like trying to talk about forests without describing what's in a forest, trees, dirt, animals, bugs, plants of all kinds and ever changing circumstances. Concepts don't tell enough to someone that's new to such ideas as the 4th way, which in my opinion includes the life of the mind but is not limited by it. He says that 'Man's suggestability is the biggest problem' and that's what this and most of everything written by Gurdjieff made very explicit (to me anyway). We do not experience the same 'time' all the time and we have different 'eyes' within, not just different 'I's'. That's not too hard to put into words. It doesn't seem impossible that a man with his intellect and experiences couldn't devote a chapter to the problem of how easily associations are formed, how difficult fixed and rigidly held associations are to dislodge. He demonstrated obliquely how a person's 'main feature' is visible to everyone but 'him'; suggestability doesn't apply there, nobody can tell 'him' what is main feature is. Suggestability and why it's man's biggest problem is somewhat demonstrated too. Swedenborg either was on the same 'wave length' as Gurdjieff or they were related in some other way, even though a couple of centuries separated them. G'.s 'main feature' and Swedenborg's 'ruling love' are in my opinion different names for the same thing. S. wrote that 'man's ruling love' is hidden behind every act and thought in a man's life in the same inner core where the 'real life' is originating and intended. When an idea is to be kept 'alive' moving along in time, there seems to be a plan that accomplishes the life of an idea; ideas being adapted even if they are renamed. Gurdjieff seems to have learned a lot about symbolism but didn't write about it in depth. It doesn't seem to me Gurdjieff wrote enough about the difficulties of language, symbolism and ancient codes but that's just what I think. Other authors take up that slack. Language and how words effect 'us' is very much an issue in our 'now'. The Internet had to happen probably. This book has a lot of timeless thought in it, now it should appeal to more people. I'd recommend reading Rodney Collin's Theory of Eternal Life before HOCG and think of it was being about quantum physics bascially. And I'd continue to recommend Laura de Witt's William Blake and the Tree of Life. William Blake was awake, fully awake in his time because he recognized 'Newton's folly' right away, not a couple of centuries later. He also gave many clues about perception and the 'sweet science of Qabala' and the role it plays in man's life. The fact is that so much new information (mathematics, quantum physics, new geometries, psychiatric ideas) was entering the 'common presences' (that's G. term for the body) of so many other authors in their fields at the same time he wrote. Strangely (to me) it has required 7 decades for 'us' to begin to talk about what he wrote about in 1932. It's not that he's digressing or evasive, he tries to put everything (that he wants to disclose) into context. Sometimes that reveals a lot about what he's really doing: selecting individuals to study, but he doesn't reveal what exactly it is he's studying, nor does he describe exactly the period of 'unnatural for him' life that he mentioned. I don't believe it's possible to see how mechanically our mind processes 'impressions' unless he experienced it himself. It's ironical that Gurdjieff sits on both sides of the 4th way, which I believe is the real path in life, since its the way of the ordinary life. And that's where objective truth may blend, any mind creates uniquely subjective material that requires not only self remembering but real self observation for a long time, of one's 'common presence', (the body and how the mind operates as well as what it produces). Actually good psychoanalysis does that but G didn't have lot to say about the 'new psychoanalysis' that Freud and C. G. Jung were warring about, when HOCG was brewing in his mind. It's hard to learn to 'read' the kind of books that have ideas in them that they (G. especially) believed were meant to be kept secret or very difficult to discern, so as to not throw 'pearls to swine'.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book, Even If You Think Gurdjieff Did Not Want You To
Gurdjieff may have "recalled" this small book. Read it anyway. As he said, he teaches the way of the "sly man"--the one who sometimes has to "steal" the truth. What I took from the book: Gurdjieff's life prior to the closing of the Prieure was in many ways an intentionally artifical life; he was playing a necessary role. He was experimenting upon the members of the Institute for Man's Harmonious Development. The thought that occurs after reading this is that perhaps many of the "exercises" and "teachings" that pupils from that period have related were actually not intended as exercises or teachings at all; rather, they were tools to create desired experimental conditions. Gurdjieff indicates that he did not get his answers from any religious or monastic orders; rather, he got his answers from his own study of hypnotism and his subsequent experiments (including, but not limited to, those conducted at the Prieure). The book seems to de-emphasize the religious connotations of Gurdjieff's "Work" while emphasizing its psychological nature. The implications given by Gurdjieff are that he gave his "Work" a Theosophical-spiritual garb in order to attract the necessary people for his experiments (Theosophy and spirituality were very popular when Gurdjieff came on the scene). In other words, the "spirituality" apparent in Gurdjieff's teachings is just bait for the fish. Well, be as it may...my recommendation is to read the book and take what you will from it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off
For some reason Herald seems to get a bad rep in Gurdjieff biographies for being both mad and incomprehensible. I disagree with this. I found it just as interesting and challenging as G's other writings. It's written in the same deliberately convoluted style as Beelzebub's Tales which means you have to work at understanding it; but at the same time this is a rewarding process. G figured he had to make his writing difficult in order to jolt the reader out of his rut. The content of the book is basically an announcement of the forthcoming publication of Beelzebub, Meetings and Life is Only Real which he had spent the last decade working on, as well as a short history of his teaching the Work. As with Beelzebub it's probably better if you already have a familiarity with G's philosophy from someone like Ouspensky.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gudjieff as Black Magician
Gurdjieff as Black Magician In Herald of Coming Good Gurdjieff portrays himself as a black magician in contrast to his role a white magician in Life is Real Only Then When 'I am'. In terms of Gurdjieff's Law of Three, these books convey two opposing results of the processes expressed in his other two books, Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson, which expresses a negative or destructive force, and Meetings With Remarkable Men which expresses a positive or creative force. Herald is the expression of a negative result, or in Gurdjieffian teaching terms, a negative third force leading to devolution, while Life expresses the result from a positive or evolutionary third force. Seen in this way Herald should be included as an important part of Gurdjieff's writing, and though he 'exiled' this book, echoing Beelzebub's exile from the Sun Absolute, readers should ignore Gurdjieff's instructions not to read it. Herald should now be re-embraced back into the sequence of Gurdjieff's writings where it belongs, just as Beelzebub was himself pardoned and allowed to return to the Sun Absolute. All four of Gurdjieff's books have themes related to time. The Tales shows a continuing devolution from past to present, while Meetings shows Gurdjieff and the Seekers 'reversing time' by returning to the past sources of ancient wisdom via teachings in texts and monasteries. The title of Life is Real Only Then When 'I am', emphasises the eternal present while the Herald Of Coming Good suggests the unreality of the future. If we look at Gurdjieff's books in this way it makes sense to follow his instructions to read three of them in the order he prescribes, and to disobey his instruction not to read Herald.