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When we were alone, he [Gurdjieff] began to explain my new exercise. I was listening with all my being. Suddenly he stopped. Then he said, “The way you receive my instruction is with very bad expression. People who are watching us would think I am telling you something quite else. There are spies for me everywhere. You must always keep your inner world for yourself alone. This is a serious matter for you. There is no correspondence between your exterior and your interior. Lucky for you I can read your interior or I would not be able to judge you. Often you have not corresponding expression of your inner life.

“The world cannot always judge you correctly. Sometimes when even a good effort at understanding you make, you have quite idiotic expression. But I see because I have knowledge of these things. You must always watch yourself, always remember yourself. You are a bad case of lopsided. Always you have been for mind and nothing you find for understanding, because that is quite another thing and for that you must have teacher – but not in your idiot American sense.” He sat in silence and I feared he might not give me my exercise. Finally he explained it. I must do it three hours a day.

“And remember yourself before the world. They must nothing see.”

“Why have I no correspondence, Mr. Gurdjieff?”

“Heredity and bad education.”

~ “Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope”



Questioner: May I ask you a question? I think that to reach knowledge one must be able to deceive oneself, and often I lack the courage to deceive myself and I shut myself up in a room. I would like to know how to have the courage to fall into error and go forward towards knowledge.

Gurdjieff: For that not necessary big thing. If for instance you know that you are zero, if you have understood that you are ‘merde’—a nullity and if you do not wish to be ‘merde’ and if that is your starting point for knowledge, then you must risk — “That or nothing.” If you have already felt that and that you can be something other, then you risk nothing. Why are you afraid? You have nothing to lose. Don't pity yourself. For me ‘merde’ is cheap, one even pays to have it taken away.

~ George Gurdjieff "Paris/Wartime Meetings"



We do not possess ourselves nor do we possess genuine self-love. Self-love is a great thing. If we consider self-love, as we generally understand it, as reprehensible, then it follows that true self-love — which, unfortunately, we do not possess — is desirable and necessary.

Self-love is a sign of a high opinion of oneself. If a man has this self-love it proves what he is.

As we have said earlier, self-love is a representative of the devil; it is our chief enemy, the main brake to our aspirations and our achievements. Self-love is the principal weapon of the representative of hell.

But self-love is an attribute of the soul. By self-love one can discern the spirit. Self-love indicates and proves that a given man is a particle of heaven. Self-love is I — I is God. Therefore it is desirable to have self-love.

Self-love is hell, and self-love is heaven. These two, bearing the same name, are outwardly alike, but totally different and opposite to one another in essence. But if we look superficially, we can go on looking throughout our whole life without ever distinguishing the one from the other.

There exists a saying: "He who has self-love is halfway to freedom." Yet, among those sitting here, everyone is full to overflowing with self-love. And in spite of the fact that we are full to the brim with self-love, we have not yet attained one tiny bit of freedom. Our aim must be to have self-love. If we have self-love, by this very fact we shall become free of many enemies in us. We can even become free of these principal ones — Mr. Self-Love and Mrs. Vanity.

How to distinguish between one kind of self-love and another? We have said that on the surface it is very difficult. This is so even when we look at others; when we look at ourselves it is still more difficult.

Thank God we, who are sitting here, are safe from confusing the one with the other. We are lucky! Genuine self-love is totally absent, so there is nothing to confuse.

~ George Gurdjieff "Views from the Real World"


GURDJIEFF: Ach, now my tapeworm think what sing — he wish something more high than your “God Save King.”

KANARI: Hosannah?

GURDJIEFF: No, that is dirty word, only use for marriage and business you make after.

Miss GORDON: Hallelujah?

GURDJIEFF: Is big word. Have in three things; Amen, God help us, and I am you and you are me. Very old word. Jewish take, but not is Jewish. Jewish not understand what means this, not even your Pope understands. Includes all scale from merde to God. More high expression not exist because in this is everything.

~ "Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope"

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