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Aphorisms of Gurdjieff

Aphorisms from the Study House of the Chateau du Prieuré at Fontainebleau in which Gurdjieff established his institute for the Harmonious Development of Man.

1. It is better to be temporarily selfish than never to be just. Only conscious suffering is of value. Man is given a limited quantity of experiences; being economical with them lengthens his life.

2. Know that this house is of value only to those who have recognized their nothingness and believe it is possible to alter. Here we can only direct and create conditions, but not help. Remember that here work is not done for work’s sake, but as a means. Like what it does not like.

3. Conscious love evokes the same in response. Emotional love evokes the opposite. Physical love depends on type and polarity.

Faith of consciousness is freedom. Faith of feeling is slavery. Faith of body is stupidity.

Hope of consciousness is strength. Hope of feeling is cowardice. Hope of body is disease.

4. Only he can be impartial who is able to put himself into the position of others. We can only strive to be able to be Christians. I love him who loves work. Judge others according to yourself and you will seldom be mistaken.

5. Consider what others think of you - not what they say. If you are not critical by nature, it is useless for you to remain here. He who has got rid of the disease “Tomorrow” has the possibility to attain what he is here for.

6. If you already know what is wrong and do it, you commit a sin that is difficult to redress. The chief means of happiness in this life is the ability to consider outwardly always, inwardly never.

7. One of the strongest motives for the wish to work on yourself is the realization that you may die at any moment – only you must first realize this. Man is refreshed not by the quantity but by the quality of sleep – sleep little without regret.

8. The highest a man can attain is to be able to do.

9. Here there are neither English nor Russians, Jews nor Christians, but only those following one aim - to be able to be.

10. Take the understanding of the East and the knowledge of the West and then seek. Only he who can take care of the property of others can have his own.

11. Remember yourself always and everywhere.

12. A good man loves his father and mother. Help him only who strives not to be an idler. Love not art with your feelings. Respect all religions. Judge no one according to the tales of others.

13. Blessed is he who hath a soul. Blessed is he who hath none, Woe and sorrow to him who hath it in conception.

14. The worse the conditions of life, the greater the possibility for productive work, provided you work consciously. The energy expended in active inner work is immediately transformed into new energy; that expended in passive work is lost forever. Practise love on animals first; they react better and more sensitively.

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