Mohammad H. Tamdgidi published the article titled “Marx, Gurdjieff, and Mannheim: Contested Utopistics of Self and Society in a World- History Context,” in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, vol. II, issue 1, Spring 2003, pp. 102-120. An earlier version of this paper was presented to a gathering of sociology faculty at UMass Boston in March 2003. It was subsequently also presented to the “Contested Identities in a World-History Context” panel of the World History Association Conference, held during June 26-29, 2003, at Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
This paper offers a general, synoptic outline and basic argument of Tamdgidi’s comparative/integrative doctoral studies of Marx, Gurdjieff, and Mannheim. Therein, he explored the utopistic theories of Karl Marx, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Karl Mannheim as contested efforts towards the good life in self and society within a world-historical framework. He argued that the three approaches—representing western utopian, eastern mystical, and academic movements—are fragmented microcosms of an otherwise singular creative human search for the good life. Their mutual alienations, I argue, are rooted in fragmented philosophical, religious, and scientific ideologies which have emerged in conjunction with the broad historical transitions of ancient civilizations to classical political, medieval cultural, and modern economic empires. Human architecture and the sociology of self-knowledge are then introduced as creative conceptual, curricular, and pedagogical efforts beyond the contested terrains of fragmented utopistics in favor of a just global society.