Man in the Cosmos

G. I. Gurdjieff and Modern Science

By Christian Wertenbaker

Subjects: Mysticism
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781930337695, 206 pages, December 2012

Table of contents


1. Mathematics, the Science of Patterns

Nature’s Patterns
Pythagoras in 1999
Some Thoughts on the Enneagram

2. Vibrations: The Universal Medium of Exchange

The Light of the Beholder

3. The Inner and Outer Worlds

One and One Make One
Shadows of the Real World
Awakening the Emotions
The Ego and the I
The Home of the Self

4. Worlds within Worlds

The Teaching of the Cosmoses
Holy Earth
Laws, Miracles and Science
The Materiality of the Soul

5. The Role of Man in the Cosmos

The Fullness of the Void
The Cosmic Necessity of Suffering
Does Man Have Three Brains?
The Cosmic Metabolism of Form

Explores the relationship between the mystical cosmology of G. I. Gurdjieff and the discoveries and theories of modern science.


This book is a collection of essays that try to relate two distinct areas of human knowledge: the mystical cosmology of G. I. Gurdjieff, based, according to him, on ancient wisdom, and the discoveries and theories of modern science. Christian Wertenbaker, MD early on developed three basic convictions: First, that, on reading the personal accounts of people who had interacted with G. I. Gurdjieff, it was clear that he possessed a degree of awareness, attention, perception, knowledge, and ability to act that put him on another level compared to ordinary people; because of that, and the lucidity of his descriptions of the human condition, it was necessary to give credence to his ideas about the nature of the universe, of man, and of their relationship. Second, that the method of modern science is a generally valid and honest way to arrive at truths about the nature of the world, with one caveat: because science deliberately tries to be objective and to remove the subjectivity of the observer from its deliberations, its findings may only apply to the external world, leaving the inner world of conscious beings to another realm of inquiry. Third, that there is nevertheless only one world, and so all truths about it must be compatible and related.

These principles have guided these essays, some of which have been published in Parabola magazine over the last fifteen years. They represent a personal quest for a more comprehensive truth about the nature of the world. To pursue his aim of reconciling Gurdjieff's ideas and modern science, Dr. Wertenbaker studied the sciences broadly in college, then went on to medical school and to postgraduate training in neurophysiology, neurology, neuro-ophthalmology and ophthalmology. He also became a member of the Gurdjieff Foundation, devoted to exploring and pursuing Gurdjieff's ideas and aims.

Christian Wertenbaker, MD is Director, Neuro-ophthalmology Service, Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Clinical Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.