The teacher Georges Ivanovič Gurdjieff, During his numerous trips to Central Asia, Tibet, the Middle East and India, he learned a multitude of knowledge on the brink of oblivion that led him to trace a possible "Fourth Way" of personal inner evolution to be preferred to the traditional three from he classified,
The Fourth Way is a new way of living, a valid and real system on Man and the Universe to return to what he called "The memory of himself".
The spiritual traditions existing at his time (early 1900s) were basically three.
- The First Way, the "Way of Fakir", of Sufi and Hindu origin, working mainly on the education of the body.
- The second, the "Way of Monk", of Christian tradition, which works above all on education for feeling.
- The third, the "Way of the Yogi" of Sikh origin, Hindu and Buddhist, based mainly on a work of education of the mind.
According to the Master's opinion, each of the ways listed above is destined for an inevitable failure, especially for contemporary man of western culture, because it requires total dedication and constancy to the point of making abstraction from the ordinary way almost necessary to concentrate on the body (First Way), on the feeling (Second Way) or on the Mind (Third Way). This is unthinkable in modern times unless a radical choice of withdrawal from the world is made.
The Fourth Way decrees that man must study himself and proposes a path of self-awareness that is difficult but achievable for those who are willing to persevere.