Gnostic sensibility in Gurdjieff’s “Work”
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Gnostic sensibility in Gurdjieff’s “Work” book
This chapter examines the legacy of George Ivanonich Gurdjieff, specifically the esoteric school he founded called the "Work," as an embodiment of a gnostic sensibility. The term "legacy" refers to both Gurdjieff and his teaching, an integrated system of ideas that includes cosmology, metaphysics, science, psychology, and a corpus of sacred music and dance. Gurdjieff relates how, even as a boy, he wished to understand the meaning of human life and humanity's position in the universe. Gurdjieff's teaching contains an esoteric system of ideas for inner awakening accompanied by a praxis for development of conscious intelligence. Gurdjieff's "Work" is a practice that uses inquiry and disciplined effort to awaken to the goal of inner transformation. Gurdjieff's esoteric school embodies gnostic sensibilities in many ways, only three of which, the chapter addresses here: the plight of humanity as illusion; humanity's place in the cosmos; and work for consciousness.