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Eminent Gurdjieffians: LORD PENTLAND

by James Moore

Material For Thought

On St Valentine’s Day 1984 Henry John Sinclair, 2nd Baron Pentland, suddenly passed away. His New York Times obituary read: “Lord Pentland dead at 76. Head of Gurdjieff Foundation.” It was in 1953 in the world’s most powerful country that Pentland unexpectedly fell heir to the virile spiritual impulse brought by the Greco-Armenian esotericist George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. Three decades later, he left behind a reclusive and hieratic organisation, dedicated to promulgating Gurdjieff’s teaching, recycling perennial wisdom, and ever-extending its own institutional scaffolding.

Despite its fascination, His Lordship’s purely cultic narrative is but half a story. Where is Pentland the child? Pentland the youth, the careerist, the husband? Where is the anti-hero, silhouetted against the terrifying backcloth of wartime London? Long overdue has been an insightful ‘prequel’ to Pentland’s American mission. Here is that prequel - stylishly crafted by the author of an acclaimed biography of Gurdjieff himself. In James Moore’s highly original and piquant account Lord Pentland answers to history. Whether he is better savoured as a rare psychological case or as an Everyman deserving of our compassion, entails a fundamental value-judgement guaranteed to divide intelligent opinion.

What is yours?

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