Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fourth Way schools- SWOT.

Fourth Way- A SWOT analysis.


- Information largely available in print form, transcripts of meetings, and direct writings from Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and students. 
- Promotes group workings, and possible new group start-ups independent of any "official" body.
- Promotes individual efforts in self-work and self-reliance. 'The system works if you work it.'
- Contains basic ethical principles for social harmony (e.g. External considering).
- Contains real, workable solutions to the problems of identification, false/imposter self, multiple "I", disparate centre functioning, wrong work of the centres, etc.
- Contains workable and documented practices (self-observation, self-remembering) that directly relate to practical Direct Path type teachings.
- The chief founders, such as Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and others such as de Salzemann seem to have achieved "Self-realization" or at least some level of attainment of Self-knowledge or Self-actualization.


- Due to the "teacher-student" emphasis in some writings, some groups are prone to cult mentality, and guru worship.
- Most of the writings have been translated from original languages, and thus are prone to translation error.
- Writings also contain a good deal of impractical theoretical (and possibly fabricated) information, theology and cosmology.
- The above causes some FW students to completely become lost.
- The system contains much technical jargon, allegories, and words with special meaning requiring some prior study in Fourth Way materials. Some concepts (such as assigning chemical symbols and names to entities that bear no resemblance to established labels) creates obvious confusion. (See talks on Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen).
- Most "official" Fourth Way/Gurdjieff groups existing today have become so crystallized in their methods and orientation that the original thrust of the teaching has become lost, with the groups serving no real purpose other than their own historical self-perpetuating purposes. (Much the same as any historical religious group).
-  Solo work can be performed, but takes enormous energy, will-power, and drive to continue to perform daily and over time. The sheer amount of material available also makes it difficult for an individual to sort the 'wheat from the chaff'.
- The founders (Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and others) left the work (or died) in unhelpful ways, or without clear cut instructions going forward, thus leaving half-baked students to work out what was going on. "I leave you all in a fine mess." (Gurdjieff).


- Any individual so motivated can take up Gurdjieff's writings (BTTHG, Meetings, Life is Real) along with other works (In Search, Herald etc.) and begin 'working'. The instructions are all available in print form.
- A Fourth Way group can be started by a group of motivated people and perform real "work" on themselves with the above.
- Results can be quick or slow depending on levels effort and motivation involved, regardless of external influences.
- The variety of material available offers something of appeal to almost anyone.


- As time goes on, the Fourth Way historical groups and founders become more dated, direct students die off and become less, and the whole movement risks becoming history or a legacy.
- "Official" Fourth Way groups stuck in the past become increasingly less relevant to the youth of the day. Their resources diminish to nothing. Some groups have been going for 40 years with little to show (materially and work-wise).
- The relatively large percentage of Fourth Way group failures, cult experiments, and implosions reflects badly on the whole movement and teaching, turning potential seekers off, and veiling the true potential in the system.
- Inter-fighting and egoism between the small number of "official" Fourth Way groups destroys the movement and teaching impetus as a whole.
- Existing groups become fossilized in their practices and routines, focusing on one particular area (e.g. dances, readings, cosmology etc.) and failing to ever aim at (or even consider) the (previous) primary goals of self-observation, self-remembering and becoming Man Number Four (finding a true centre of Being).

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