Members Online: 367

Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii's Biography (Books) (Photos)

Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii
Peter D. Ouspensky (March 4, 1878-October 2, 1947), (Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky), a Russian philosopher, invoked euclidean and noneuclidean geometry in his discussions of psychology and higher dimensions of existence.

Ouspensky has a reputation for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. In 1924, he separated from Gurdjieff personally, and some, Rodney Collin among others, say that he finally gave up the (Gurdjieff) "system" that he had shared with people for 25 years in England and the United States, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings," published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement nor does Ouspensky's emphasis on "you must make a new beginning" after confessing "I've left the system"; all this happened in Lyne Place, Surrey, England in 1947, just before his demise. While lecturing in London in 1924 he announced that he would continue independently the way he began in 1921. All in all, Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff System directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. Ouspenky's book In Search of the Miraculous is a recounting of what Ouspensky learned from Gurdjieff in those years between 1915 and 1924.

Fourth Way

There are three recognized ways of self-development generally known in esoteric circles. These are the Way of the Fakir, dealing exclusively with the physical body, the Way of the Monk, dealing with the emotions, and the Way of the Yogi, dealing with the mind. What is common about the three ways is that they demand complete seclusion from the world. According to Gurdjieff, there is a Fourth Way which does not demand its followers to abandon the world. The work of self-development takes place right in the midst of ordinary life. Gurdjieff called his system a school of the Fourth Way where a person learns to work in harmony with his physical body, emotions and mind. Ouspensky picked up this idea and continued his own school along this line.

P.D. Ouspensky made the term "Fourth Way" and its use central to his own teaching of the ideas of Gurdjieff. He greatly focused on Fourth Way schools and their existence throughout history.


Some of his students included, among others:

* Rodney Collin

* Maurice Nicoll

* Kenneth Walker

* Aldous Huxley


Ouspensky personally confessed the difficulties he was experiencing with self-remembering, a technique to which he had been introduced by Gurdjieff himself. Gurdjieff explained to him this was the missing link to everything else. While in Russia, Ouspensky himself experimented with the technique with a certain degree of success and in his lectures in London and America, he emphasized its practice. The technique requires a division of attention, so that a person not only pays attention to what is going on in the exterior world but also in the interior. The psychiatrist Dr. Sjoernval who was also a follower of Gurdjieff in Russia mentioned to Ouspensky that this was what professor Wundt meant by apperception. Ouspensky refused to believe it. Gurdjieff explained the Rosicrucian principle that in order to bring about a result or manifestation, three things are necessary. With self-remembering and self-observation two things are present. The third one is explained by Ouspensky in his tract on Conscience: it is the non-expression of negative emotions.