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George Gurdjieff

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (Armenian: Գեորգի Իվանովիչ Գյուրջիև, Georgian: გიორგი გურჯიევი, Greek: Γεώργιος Γεωργιάδης, Russian: Гео́ргий Ива́нович Гюрджи́ев, January 13, 1866 – October 29, 1949) was an influential spiritual teacher of the early to mid-20th century who taught that the vast majority of humanity lives their entire lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep," but that it was possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. Gurdjieff developed a method for doing so, calling his discipline "The Work" (connoting "work on oneself") or "the Method." According to his principles and instructions,. Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness is different from that of the fakir, monk or yogi, so his discipline is also called (originally) the "Fourth Way." At one point he described his teaching as being "esoteric Christianity."

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    A considerable percentage of the people we meet on the street are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead. It is fortunate for us that we do not see and do not know it. If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and what a number of these dead people govern our lives, we should go mad with horror.
    —George Gurdjieff (c. 1877–1949)