Occultist students would ask Gurdjieff about life after death, reincarnation, and so on, and he would reply that for most people, death is indeed the ultimate end, you go out like a light and that is it. Only for those who had persistently labored to develop a soul, a real, permanent, unchangeable "I," was there any possibility that some essential quality of their being would survive the death of the physical body.
Gurdjieff taught that, contrary to conventional belief, man is not born with a Soul, but has to create one through personal effort. He taught further that the conventional belief that reincarnation involves the return of the soul to a physical body on earth is wrong.
Many things are possible," said G. "But it is necessary to understand that man's being, both in life and after death, if it does exist after death, may be very different in quality.
The 'man-machine' with whom everything depends upon external influences, with whom everything happens, who is now one, the next moment another, and the next moment a third, has no future of any kind; he is buried and that is all. Dust returns to dust. This applies to him.
In order to be able to speak of any kind of future life there must be a certain crystallization, a certain fusion of man's inner qualities, a certain independence of external influences. If there is anything in a man able to resist external influences, then this very thing itself may also be able to resist the death of the physical body.
But think for yourselves what there is to withstand physical death in a man who faints or forgets everything when he cuts his finger?