From notes of a meeting held on
November 4, 1937
Ouspensky: Gurdjieff gave me many new ideas I
did not know before, and he gave a system I did not know
before. About schools I did know, for I had been
travelling and looking for schools for 10 years. He had
an extraordinary system, and quite new. Some separate
fragments of it could be found elsewhere, but not
connected and put together like they are in this system.
And certain things, particularly belonging to the
psychological side, were quite a revelation. And also on
many other lines. This was sufficient proof for me that
this system was not a thing one can meet with every day.
And I had already met with a sufficient number of
schools to able to judge.
Question: Did you never ask Gurdjieff about the
origin of the system?
Ouspensky: We all asked about 10 times a day and
every time the answer was different.
Question: Did you ask Gurdjieff why he always
gave different answers?
Question: What did he say?
Ouspensky: He said he never gave different
Question: Has it ever crossed your mind to
regret having ever met Gurdjieff?
Ouspensky: Never. Why? I got very much from him.
I am always very grateful to myself that after the first
evening I asked him when I could see him next time. If I
had not, we would not be sitting here now.
Question: But you wrote two very brilliant
Ouspensky: They were only books. I wanted more.
I wanted something for myself.
Question: Where did the schools come from that
taught Gurdjieff’s school?
Ouspensky: It is possible to understand that it
was somewhere in Central Asia. But what it was, I don’t
know. Gurdjieff gave several descriptions, and one of
them was very interesting and possible. You must
understand the situation: after the Revolution, the
possibility to go to that country disappeared. If life
were normal, I would go there and try to find this
school, but as it is there was no possibility to go
there. And probably now everything has disappeared. One
school he described was near Kashgar in Chinese
Turkestan. But round it there has been war ever since,
so probably nothing remains of it now, if there was such
P. D. Ouspensky: A Biographical
Compiled by Merrily E. Taylor
Copyright © 1978 Yale University