P.D. Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky

Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky

Russian Esoteric Philosopher

Author Quotes

Existing criminology is insufficient to isolate barbarism. It is insufficient because the idea of "crime" in existing criminology is artificial, for what is called crime is really an infringement of "existing laws", whereas "laws" are very often a manifestation of barbarism and violence. Such are the prohibiting laws of different kinds which abound in modern life. The number of these laws is constantly growing in all countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm. On the other hand, unquestionable crimes escape the field of vision of criminology, either because they have not recognized the form of crime or because they surpass a certain scale. In existing criminology there are concepts: a criminal man, a criminal profession, a criminal society, a criminal sect, and a criminal tribe, but there is no concept of a criminal state, or a criminal government, or criminal legislation. Consequently what is often regarded as "political" activity is in fact a criminal activity. This limitation of the field of vision of criminology together with the absence of an exact and permanent definition of the concept of crime is one of the chief characteristics of our culture.

In this connection, evolutionary theories have become the basis of a naive optimistic view of life and of man. It is as though people said to themselves: now that evolution exists and now that science recognizes evolution, it follows that all is well and must in future become still better. In the imagination of the modern man reasoning from the point of view of the ideas of evolution, everything should have a happy ending. A story should necessarily end in a wedding. It is precisely here that the chief mistake with regard to the ideas of evolution lies.

The aim is to reach higher states of consciousness and to be able to work with higher centers.

The vision disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. A weird silence fell on me. "What does it mean?" I asked in wonder. "It is the image of the world," the voice said, "but it can be understood only after the Temple has been entered. This is a vision of the world in the circle of Time, amidst the four principles. But thou seest differently because thou seest the world outside thyself. Learn to see it in thyself and thou wilt understand the infinite essence, hidden in all illusory forms. Understand that the world which thou knowest is only one of the aspects of the infinite world, and things and phenomena are merely hierolgyphics of deeper ideas."

We must remember that the ray of creation, as we have taken it, from the Absolute to the moon, is like a branch of a tree - a growing branch. The end of this branch, the end out of which come new shoots, is the moon. If the moon does not grow, if it neither gives nor promises to give new shoots, it means that either the growth of the whole ray of creation will stop or that it must find another path for its growth, five out some kind of lateral branch...

Fear not the new generalization.

Intellectual theories put man in the center of everything; everything exists for him?And all the time new theories appear evoking in their turn opposing theories; and all these theories and the struggle between them undoubtedly constitute one of the forces which keep humanity in the state in which it is at present.

The axioms which Tertium Organum embraces cannot be formulated in our language. If we attempt to formulate them in spite of this, they will produce the impression of absurdities. Taking the axioms of Aristotle as a model, we may express the principal axiom of the new logic in our poor earthly language in the following manner: A is both A and Not-A. or Everything is both A and Not-A. or, Everything is All. But these axioms are in effect absolutely impossible. They are not the axioms of higher logic, they are merely attempts to express the axioms of this logic in concepts. In reality the ideas of higher logic are inexpressible in concepts. When we encounter such an inexpressibility it means that we have touched the world of causes.

Then in the Fourth Way the first principle is that man must not believe in anything; he must learn; so faith does not enter into the Fourth Way. One must not believe what one hears or what one is advised, one must find proofs for everything. If one is convinced that something is true, then one can believe it, but not before.

We see that a balanced process proceeding in a certain way cannot be changed at any moment it is desired. It can be changed and set on a new path only a certain 'crossroads.' In between the 'crossroads' nothing can be done. At the same time if a process passes by a 'crossroad' and nothing happens, nothing is done, then nothing can be done afterwards and the process will continue and develop according to mechanical laws; and even if people taking part in this process foresee the inevitable destruction of everything, they will be unable to do anything. I repeat that something can be done only at certain moments which I have just called 'crossroads.'

General growth is possible only on the condition that the 'end of the branch' grows. Or, speaking more precisely, there are in organic life tissues which are evolving, and there are tissues which serve as food and medium for those which are evolving. Then there are evolving cells within the evolving tissues, and cells which serve as food and medium for those which are evolving. In each separate evolving cell there are evolving parts and there are parts which serve as food for those which are evolving. But always and in everything it must be remembered that evolution is never guaranteed, it is possible only and it can stop at any moment and in any place.

It has been said before that organic life transmits planetary influences of various kinds to the earth and that it serves to feed the moon and to enable it to grow and strengthen. But the earth also is growing; not in the sense of size but in the sense of greater consciousness, greater receptivity. The planetary influences which were sufficient for her at one period of her existence become insufficient, she needs the reception of finer influences. To receive finer influences a finer, more sensitive receptive apparatus is necessary. Organic life, therefore, has to evolve, to adapt itself to the needs of the planets and the earth. Likewise also the moon can be satisfied at one period with the food which is given to her by organic life of a certain quality, but afterwards the time comes when she ceases to be satisfied with this food, cannot grow on it, and begins to get hungry...This means that in order to answer its purpose organic life must evolve and stand on the level of the needs of the planets, the earth, and the moon.

The circle whirled with a terrifying noise, touching the sun and the earth, and, in the centre of it I saw the naked, dancing figure of a beautiful young woman, enveloped by a light, transparent scarf, in her hand she held a magic wand. Presently the four apocalyptical beasts began to appear on the edges of the circle; one with the face of a lion, another with the face of a man, the third, of an eagle and the fourth, of a bull.

Then the woman turned her face to me and looked into my eyes without speaking. And through me passed a thrill, mysterious and penetrating like a golden wave; tones vibrated in my brain, a flame was in my heart, and I understood that she spoke to me, saying without words: "This is the Hall of Wisdom. No one can reveal it, no one can hide it. Like a flower it must grow and bloom in thy soul. If thou wouldst plant the seed of this flower in thy soul ? learn to discern the real from the false. Listen only to the Voice that is soundless... Look only on that which is invisible, and remember that in thee thyself, is the Temple and the gate to it, and the mystery, and the initiation."

We speak only about consciousness and mechanicalness. If a role is mechanical, we must observe it and not identify with it. The most difficult thing is to act yourself consciously.

All of the people you see, all the people you know, all the people you may get to know, are machines, actual machines working solely under the power of external influences... Machines they are born and machines they die... But there is a possibility of ceasing to be a machine. It is of this we must think and not about the different kinds of machines that exist.

Gurdjiefff said one third of one?s life should be spent in pondering. Why was I born? Who am I? What is meant by waking sleep? [This statement comes from the second section. I recall no earlier instances of the use of the word pondering in the earlier period, or any references to the importance of sittings, now staples of the de Saltzmann period.]

It is the transformation of negative emotions into positive emotions. It is possible only with long work on self-remembering, when you can be conscious for a long time, and when higher emotional center begins to work.

The evolving part of organic life is humanity. Humanity also has its evolving part... If humanity does not evolve it means that the evolution of organic life will stop and this in its turn will cause the growth of the ray of creation to stop. At the same time if humanity ceased to evolve, it becomes useless from the point of view of the aims for which it was created and as such it may be destroyed. In this way the cessation of evolution may mean the destruction of humanity...

There is nothing new in the idea of sleep. People have been told almost since the creation of the world that they are asleep and that they must awaken. How many times is this said in the Gospels, for instance? 'Awake,' 'watch,' 'sleep not.' Christ's disciples even slept when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for the last time. It is all there. But do men understand it? Men take it simply as a form of speech, as an expression, as a metaphor. They completely fail to understand that it must be taken literally. And again it is easy to understand why. In order to understand this literally it is necessary to awaken a little, or at least to try to awaken. I tell you seriously that I have been asked several times why nothing is said about sleep in the Gospels, although it is there spoken of almost on every page. This simply shows that people read the Gospels in sleep. So long as a man sleeps profoundly and is wholly immersed in dreams he cannot even think about the fact that he is asleep. If he were to think that he was asleep, he would wake up. So everything goes on. And men have not the slightest idea what they are losing because of this sleep.

We want to go on repeating what belongs to another period. Mr. Gurdjieff said that he wasn?t interested in anyone over five or under fifty-five.

Although in many respects these ways are very efficient, the characteristic thing about them is that the first step is the most difficult. From the very first moment you have to give up everything and do what you are told. If you keep one little thing, you cannot follow any of these ways. So, although the three ways are good in many other respects, they are not sufficiently elastic.

He is still a man, but he already knows much of what is inaccessible even to Gods. And the incommensurableness of the small and the great in his soul constitutes his pain and his golgotha. In his own soul appears the gallows on which he hangs in suffering, feeling that he is indeed inverted. "He chose this way himself. "For this he went over a long road from trial to trial, from initiation to initiation, through failures and falls. "And now he has found Truth and knows himself. "He knows that it is he who stands before an altar with magic symbols, and reaches from earth to heaven; that he also walks on a dusty road under a scorching sun to a precipice where a crocodile awaits him; that he dwells with his mate in paradise under the shadow of a blessing genius; that he is chained to a black cube under the shadow of deceit; that he stands as a victor for a moment in an illusionary chariot drawn by sphinxes; and that with a lantern in bright sunshine, he seeks for Truth in a desert.

Madame Ouspensky said we always have time for a love affair. This is the human condition.

The first idea of superman pictured him in the past, connected him with the legendary Golden Age. The idea has always been one and the same. People dreamt of, or remembered, times long past when their life was governed by supermen, who struggled against evil, upheld justice and acted as mediators between men and the Deity, governing them according to the will of the Deity, giving them laws, bringing them commandments.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky
Birth Date
Death Date

Russian Esoteric Philosopher