Alfred Richard Orage (1873-1934), whom G. B. Shaw declared the most brilliant editor of the past century, suddenly laid down his pencil in 1922 and sold his famous journal The New Age to work with the mystic G. Gurdjieff in France. Orage hoped that with Gurdjieff's help, he could come to a more fundamental understanding of the human species. For Orage, modern man had come to the end of his tether, and without the development of new faculties, he was convinced that the problems that pile up in front of mankind would not be solvable, and even the very will to live must decline.
Gurdjieff claimed to have found a way to develop new and higher faculties, and to have been trained in the necessary methods and knowledge which had its sources in the hidden wisdom of the East. Orage worked intensively for more than a year with Gurdjieff in his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, and it seems that he had found what he was seeking.
Gurdjieff, on the other hand, found in Orage someone whom he considered a brother in spirit. A spirit that was defined by Orage some years before as: ". . . displaying itself in disinterested interest in things; in things, that is to say, of no personal advantage, but only of general, public or universal importance." When Gurdjieff expanded his activities into the New World, it was only consequent that Orage became his emissary there.
Orage arrived in New York in December 1923 to expound Gurdjieff's ideas, and until 1931, was talking to a growing group of interested people. This book contains the notes of many of these talks. We are grateful to the notetakers and their prudence to leave their papers to the universities of Yale, Berkeley and Leeds, who guaranteed the survival of these papers in their archives. Without all this combined effort, they would otherwise be scattered all over the world, largely unknown and "upon the verge of being irrecoverably lost" as C. Daly King once wrote. Along with Orage's Commentary on "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson," this edition completes the record of Orage's meetings, talks and lectures on Gurdjieff's teaching.
Illustrated with 130 line drawings and 37 photographs