Cycladic Female Figurine
Metropolitan Museum, NY
Photograph by the author
So. Essentially, what makes this book truly exceptional (in the introduction, Gurdjieff proudly insists his book is extraordinary and exceptional) is that there aren't any women in it. I daresay it would be nearly impossible to find any other tale of this length that's managed to so effectively suppress and ignore the female element of humanity and her presence in society at large. It smacks of a deeply ingrained and unconscious chauvinism. That may sound damning; but given our context, it would be even more damning, wouldn’t it, to suggest that he consciously excluded women?
Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.