There are three obvious category of the sort of spiritual seekers who are drawn to esoteric schools: the student, the teacher, and the disenchanted. After fruitful or at least interesting years as a student, Ouspensky gets hung somewhere between teacher and disenchanted-a limbo hardly clarified by his teacher’s insistence that man is entirely asleep, a machine unable to awaken without, well, a teacher. Unable to stay with Gurdjieff, who was a harsh task master and a domineering personality, Ouspensky nonetheless stays with ‘the Work,’ becoming a teacher in his own right, but losing-in Lachman’s well-supported view-the vivacity, friendliness, and romanticism of his earlier years, when his writings were the most creative, the most Ouspenskian. (After completing In Search of the Miraculous, Ouspenksy wrote nothing for decades and then croaked.) At the end of his life, the now thoroughly alcoholic Ouspensky shocks his students by finally and publicly repudiating the work, becoming, in his presentation to them, almost more of a ‘crazy wisdom’ teacher than G. himself.

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