|The worse the conditions of life the more productive the work,
always provided you remember the work.
—G. I. Gurdjieff
Who am I? What am I? Why am I here?
Questions like these have been within us from birth. For most of us they lie below everyday awareness, at the foundation of our being. They direct our attention to self-inquiry, and are what inspired the Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff (ca. 1866-1949) in his lifelong search. Gurdjieff observed that generally, two currents of life flow in us: in one, such questions are subordinated to everyday concerns, but for the other, they are of paramount importance. Gurdjieff showed that they are not irreconcilable but reciprocal, and that a third kind of life was possible, one that could include both currents. Life is enriched, he said, when we try to remember the whole of ourselves while meeting the concerns of everyday life, an effort that makes everything “more vivid.”