Maurice Nicoll

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Fast Facts
Fourth Way
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Kelso, Scotland
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
August 30, 1953


Maurice Nicoll (19 July 1884–30 August 1953) was a British psychiatrist and noted Fourth Way teacher. He is best known for his Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, a multi-volume collection of talks he gave to his study groups.

Life and work

Nicoll was born at the Manse in Kelso, Scotland, the son of William Robertson Nicoll, a preacher of the Free Church of Scotland. He studied Science at Cambridge, before going on to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and in Vienna, Berlin and Zurich where he became a colleague of Carl Gustav Jung. Jung's psychological relevations and his work with Jung during this period left a lasting influence on young Maurice.

After his Army Medical Service in the 1914 War in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia he returned to England to become a psychiatrist. In 1921 he met Petr Demianovich Ouspensky, a student of G. I. Gurdjieff and he himself became a pupil of Gurdjieff in the following year. In 1923 when Gurdjieff closed down his institute, Maurice joined P.D. Ouspensky's group. In 1931 he followed Ouspensky's advice and he started his own study groups in England. This was done through a program of work devoted to passing on the ideas that Maurice had gathered, and passing them through his talks given weekly to his own study groups. Many of these talks were recorded verbatim and documented in six-volume series of texts compiled in his own book Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. This compilation in turn, gave to fundamental ideas which led to other literary works on the subject of psychology, and published by him. Maurice also authored books and stories about his experiences in the Middle East using the pseudonym Martin Swayne.

Though Maurice advocated the theories of the Fourth Way he maintained interests in essential Christian teachings, in Neoplatonism and in dream interpretation till the end of his life.



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