WEST EDITIONS was begun in 1968 by John Pentland, a direct
pupil of G. I. Gurdjieff and president of the Gurdjieff Foundations
of New York and California until his death in 1984. Its original
purpose was to discover if a more impartial quality of spiritual
thought can emerge when a small group of people work at writing
while at the same time trying to see themselves as they are.
Our hope is to communicate a kind of insight or vision that
throws light on our common situation without arousing false expectations
or helpless reactions of self-esteem and self-pity. With the
increasing tendency to mobilize and make public the scattered
fragments of traditional teachings and culture, such critical
thought is more needed now than ever. But even the experimental
study of it goes against the grain.
What does it mean to be practical, spiritually? Surely the real
sense of community, so universally wished for, cannot exist without
each of us learning to think. For this, of course, the mind must
be trained to watch attentively, remember impressions and recombine
them in an original way. But that can be done by any opinionated
man or woman and perhaps, to some extent, even by a computer.
In any case, there is also needed the little boy who told the
emperor he had no clothes on, an inner movement which frees the
thinker himself from his self-love and passivity.
We have chosen to offer essays and reviews of books dealing
with psychology and man's situation on earth, as well as studies
and translations on subjects including crafts and the modes of
action of the human body. Since the contributions are partly
of plural authorship, many of them are not signed.
The journal Material for Thought has been Far West
Editions' principal publication. Since 1970 fifteen issues of Material
for Thought have been published, many of which are available
through this web site. Please go to Selected Articles
from Past Issues of Material for Thought for
a sample of articles and reviews.
We are now working toward an on-line issue of Material for
Thought . See Works in Progress for
new articles and reviews that we are presenting for your consideration.
Editions has also published Transitional Man by
Franklin Earnest III and The Uses of Life , a dialogue
between Ruth Cooke and Jacob Needleman.Both publications may
be ordered through this web site. In addition, Far West Institute,
an allied not-for-profit organization, has published a number
of books which are now out of print but can often be located
through book services. These include several lecture series produced
in San Francisco and edited for publication by Jacob Needleman: Sacred
Tradition and Present Need , On the Way to Self-Knowledge,
The Search: What Are We Searching for? and Speaking
of My Life: The Art of Living in the Cultural Revolution. Published
translations include Toward Awakening by Jean Vaysse, The
Life of Milarepa (translated from the Tibetan under the
guidance of Lobsang Lhalungpa and still in print), and Her-Bak,
Egyptian Initiate: Commentaries by Isha Schwaller de Lubicz.