.25 g 🍄 @ 13:30

The Fourth Way

by Georges I. Gurdjieff

The fourth way is sometimes called the way of the sly man. The “SLY MAN” knows some secret which the Fakir, the monk, and the Yogi do not know. How the “SLY MAN” learned this secret, it is not known: perhaps he found it in some old books, perhaps he inherited it, perhaps he bought it, perhaps he stole it from someone: it makes no difference. The “SLY MAN” knows the secret and, with its help, outstrips the Fakir, the monk, and the Yogi.

Of the four, the Fakir acts in the crudest manner: he knows very little and understands very little. Let us suppose that by a whole month of physical exercise and intense torture he develops in himself a certain energy, a certain substance which produces certain changes in him. He does it absolutely blindly, with eyes shut, knowing neither aim, methods, nor results, simply in imitation of others.

The monk knows what he wants a little better: he is guided by religious feeling, by religious tradition, by a desire for achievement, for salvation. He trusts his teacher who tells him what to do , and he believes that his efforts and sacrifices are “pleasing to God”: Let us suppose that a week of fasting, continual prayer, privations, and so on, enables him to attain what the Fakir develops in himself by a month of self torture.

The Yogi knows considerably more: he knows what he wants, he knows why he wants it, he knows how it can be acquired. He knows, for instance, that it is necessary for his purpose to produce a certain substance in himself. He knows that this substance can be produced in one day by a certain kind of mental exercise or concentration of consciousness; so he keeps his attention on these exercises for a whole day without allowing himself a single outside thought, and he obtains what he needs. In this way a Yogi spends on the same thing only one day compared with the month spent by the Fakir and a week spent by the monk.

But on the fourth way, knowledge is still more exact and perfect. A man who follows the fourth way knows quite definitely what substances he needs for his aims and he knows that these substances can be produced within the body by a month of physical suffering, by a week of emotional strain or by a day of mental exercises –and also that they can be introduced into the organism from without, if it is known how to do it; and so, instead of spending a whole day in exercises like the Yogi, a week in prayer like the monk, or a month of self torture like the Fakir, he simply prepares and swallows a little pill which contains all the substances he wants. And in this way, without loss of time, he obtains the required result.