This is Mouravieff's term for a turning point in life where one constates that the external life can no longer provide meaning to life. This may or may not take the form of a crisis in external life but the essential idea is that formerly held inner 'A influence' values of worldly success, romance, learning, career and the like suffer an irrecoverable crash.
To truly seek on the 4th Way, one should have gone through bankruptcy, losing one's fascination with the transient values of the world. This bankruptcy will generally also involve disillusionment and disappointment with religion, various occultism or other spiritual pursuits one may have thus far had.
This bankruptcy may be a catalyst for the extra internal honesty which is needed for one to fundamentally recognize one's mechanicality, the anarchy of little I's and other such features of inner life. Such a fundamental admission is necessary for practically benefiting from the practice of the 4th Way.
Excerpt from Gnosis, Vol 1, Ch. 1 by Boris Mouravieff:
- As long as man, against all evidence, remains sure of himself and, even more, as long as he is satisfied with himself, he continues to live in the absurd and in consequential, taking his desires and illusions for reality. He must pass through a serious bankruptcy and a moral collapse, both of which he must have accepted and assimilated without seeking to cover them over. It is only then, when we start to search, that we discover the reasons for working on ourselves, and only then that we acquire the necessary force for doing so. This is true for all. There is only one exception: that of the just, for whom such work is a joy; as they are just, it is not necessary for them to pass through this phase of self discovery and bankruptcy. But who is just among us ? Who is even of good faith ? In one way or another we are all corrupted. Even though daily experience shows us the contrary, man thinks of himself as being of a certain importance. This opinion is the consequence of a deficiency in our judgement. In fact, we are all in the same boat. Even though men are different, for each one of us the total algebraic sum of our qualities and of our defects is nearly the same. We must not be under false illusions: the amount of this sum is not large. It is an infinitesimal and as such tends towards zero, which is death.