“Maurice Nicoll: Forgotten Teacher of the Fourth Way” by Gary Lachman

"Maurice Nicoll: Forgotten Teacher of the Fourth Way" by Gary Lachman

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"A biography of the influential teacher of the Fourth Way

• Traces the life of Maurice Nicoll, who left a successful career as a psychiatrist in 1922 to study with G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky
• Explores newly uncovered diaries from Nicoll, revealing his mystical sex practices, his shadow self, and new understandings of his unorthodox teachings
• Examines the influence of psychiatrist Carl Jung and Swedish scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg on Nicoll’s work

In 1922, Maurice Nicoll (1884-1953) abandoned his successful London psychiatry practice and his direct studies with Carl Jung to move his family just outside of Paris to the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, a center recently opened by philosopher, mystic, and spiritual guru G.I. Gurdjieff, the founder of the esoteric system that became known as the "Fourth Way". Nicoll went on to become one of the most passionate teachers of the Fourth Way, committing the final three decades of his life to teaching "The Work" in his own unorthodox style.

In this revealing biography, Gary Lachman draws on recently uncovered diaries to explore the unusual, syncretic approach Nicoll brought to his teaching of the Fourth Way. He shows how Nicoll is unique in having Jung, Gurdjieff, and Ouspensky as teachers and to have known each of these important figures in esoteric history personally, yet—as Lachman reveals—Nicoll was not a blind devotee by any stretch. Lachman shows how Nicoll incorporated elements of Jungian psychology and Emanuel Swedenborg-inspired mysticism into his exploration and teaching of both Gurdjieff’s and Ouspensky’s ideas, as well as into his own best-known work, Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.

Lachman reveals the unorthodox side of Nicoll in fuller detail than ever before through excerpts from recently shared diaries, in which Nicoll included detailed accounts of his own solitary "self-sex" erotic experimentations to reach visionary states, along with recordings of his dreams and other personal and mystical reflections. The social details of Nicoll’s life are also examined, including vivid portraits of the occult scene in the early-to-mid-twentieth century and the communal living situations in which Nicoll sometimes resided. Drawing on his familiarity with hermetic practices and his own experiences with "The Work", Lachman comprehensively explores the significance of Nicoll and the novelty of his thought, offering a profound, needed, and sympathetic but critical study of this man so instrumental to the development and legacy of the Fourth Way."