John G. Bennett was a British scientist, mathematician, and philosopher who integrated scientific research with studies of Asiatic languages and religions.
Born on June 8, 1897, Bennett travelled widely and worked with many spiritual leaders. While in Constantinople in 1921 – during the aftermath of the Great War and the Russian Revolution – he met both G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky. These meetings shaped the direction of his spiritual development and in the summer of 1923, he spent three months at Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France. In spite of the shortness of his stay, Bennett was shown things that convinced him that man is capable of spiritual transformation and that Gurdjieff had profound knowledge and understanding of the techniques by which this could be achieved. Soon thereafter, Bennett returned to England and worked with Ouspensky’s groups for the next fifteen years. Then, in the summer of 1949, he spent a month working very intensively with Gurdjieff in Paris, and this experience laid the foundation for a significant transformation in his life.
In 1971 he inaugurated the International Academy for Continuous Education, in the village of Sherborne, Gloucestershire, England. Bennett proposed that there should be five experimental courses each of ten months duration. The courses proved fruitful, and many people have continued, as he had hoped, to work with the ideas and methods he presented.
J.G. Bennett died on Friday, December 13, 1974, shortly after the start of the fourth course. That course, and the fifth, were completed by his wife Elizabeth, working with a few of his most experienced pupils. He left a legacy of selfless giving and unrelenting inquiry into the mystery and meaning of existence.