Day after day, in all countries of the world, millions of students go to school and university in an unconscious, mechanical, and subjective manner, without knowing why or for what purpose.

Students are forced to study mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography, etc.

Students’ minds receive information on a daily basis, however, never in life does it occur to them to think for a while about why they are storing such information and what the objective is of such information.

Why are we stuffing ourselves with such information? Why do we pad ourselves with that information?

Indeed, students only live a mechanical life; they only know that they have to receive intellectual information and to keep it stored in their unreliable memory, and that is all.

It never occurs to students to think about what education really is. They go to school, college, and university because their parents say so, and that is all.

It never occurs to students or teachers to ask themselves, “Why am I here? What have I come here for? What is the true, secret motivation that brings me here?” Teachers and students live with their Consciousness asleep. They really act like machines, going to school, college, university, in an unconscious and subjective manner, without really knowing why or for what reason.

It is necessary to stop being automatons; it is necessary to awaken the Consciousness in order to discover for ourselves the meaning of this utterly terrifying struggle—of passing exams, of living at a certain place in order to study day after day so that we can pass the year; the meaning of going through worries, anguishes, and preoccupations, practicing sports, going through arguments and fights with fellow students, etc.

Teachers should become more cognizant in order to help students to awaken their Consciousness, whether it be at school, college, or university.

It is regrettable to see so many human automatons seated at desks, in schools, colleges, and universities, receiving info-rmation that they have to store within their memory without knowing why or for what purpose.

Youngsters are only worried about getting through and finishing the school year; they have been told they should prepare themselves in order to earn a living, get a job, etc., thus, they study, they fill up their minds with a thousand fantasies about their future, without really knowing the present moment, without knowing the true reason for studying physics, chemistry, biology, arithmetic, geography, etc.

Modern girls study to prepare themselves so that they can find a good husband, or to earn a living and be duly prepared in case their husband abandons them, or if they become widows or never marry. These are purely fantasies of the mind, because, in fact, they do not know what their fate will be nor at what age they will die.

Life at school is very vague, incoherent, and subjective. Children are forced to take certain classes that are worthless in everyday life.

In this day and age, what is important at school is getting through the year’s courses and that is all.

In the past, there was at least something ethical in passing a year’s course. Now, such ethics do not exist. Parents can secretly bribe teachers so that their children can inevitably pass the year even if they are extremely bad students.

Schoolgirls often sweet talk the male teachers with the purpose of “passing the class,” thus, the outcome of this is usually marvelous, even when they have not understood anything about what was taught by the teacher. By all means, they do well in their examinations thanks to their sweet talk, and they pass the school year!

There are students who are very clever at passing a school year. In many cases, this is a matter of tricks and astuteness.

The fact that students can successfully pass a certain examination (some stupid examination) does not signify that they have a true, objective cognizance about the subject in which they were examined.

Students repeat in a mechanical way, like parrots, cockatoos, or parakeets, the subject they studied and were examined in. Nonetheless, this does not mean that they are cognizant of that subject; rather, this only means that they memorized the materials in order to repeat like a parrot or cockatoo what they have learned; and that is all.

To pass an examination and get through a year does not mean we are very intelligent. In everyday life, we have known very intelligent people who never did well in examinations at school.

We have known magnificent writers and great mathematicians who were very bad students at school and who never did well in grammar and mathematics examinations.

We know a case of a very bad student in anatomy who was only able to do well in anatomy examinations after much suffering. Today, that student is the author of a popular book on anatomy.

Therefore, to pass a school year does not necessarily mean that we are very intelligent. There are people who have never passed a school year and they are very intelligent.

Something more important than passing a school year and studying certain subjects exists, and it is precisely to have complete objective, clear, and luminous cognizance of the subjects being studied.

Teachers must exert themselves to help students to awaken their Consciousness; they must direct all their efforts to the Consciousness of their students. It is essential for the students to become completely self-cognizant of the subjects they study, because to learn by heart, like parrots, is simply stupid, in the most complete sense of the word.

Students are forced to study difficult subjects and to store them in their memory in order to “pass a school year.” Afterwards, in the practicality of everyday life, these subjects are not only useless, but moreover, they are forgotten, because the memory is unreliable.

Young people study with the purpose of acquiring a job and earning their living; thus, later, if they are lucky, they get their desired job. If they become professionals, i.e. doctors, lawyers, etc., all they will achieve is to repeat the same story as always: they marry, have children, and suffer. Thus, this is how they die without awakening Consciousness, without acquiring cognizance of their own life, that is all.

Girls marry, have their homes, children, argue with their neighbors, husband, and children, they divorce and get married again, then become widows, grow old, etc., and in the end, as usual, they die, after having lived asleep, after having unconsciously repeated the same painful drama of existence.

Teachers are not aware of the fact that all human beings have their Consciousness asleep. Therefore, it is essential for teachers to awaken their own Consciousness so that they can help their students to awaken the Consciousness.

It is useless to fill our heads with more and more theories and to quote Dante, Homer, Virgil, etc., if our Consciousness is sleeping, if we do not have a clear and objective cognizance about ourselves, about the subjects that we study, and about the practicality of everyday life.

What is the use of education if we do not become creative, cognizant, and truly intelligent?

Real education does not mean knowing how to read and write. Any stupid person, any dim-witted person, can know how to read and write.

We need to have intelligence, and this awakens within us only when the Consciousness awakens.

Humanity has ninety-seven percent subconsciousness and three percent Consciousness.

We need to awaken the Consciousness in order to turn the subconsciousness into Consciousness and achieve one hundred percent Consciousness.

People dream not only when their physical body sleeps, but moreover they dream when their physical body does not sleep, that is, when their physical body is in a state of wakefulness.

It is necessary to stop dreaming and to awaken the Consciousness, and this awakening process must begin at home and at school.

All efforts from teachers must be directed to the consciousnesses and not just to the memories of their students.

Students must learn to think for themselves and not only repeat others’ theories like parrots or cockatoos.

Teachers must struggle to put an end to fear in students.

Teachers must allow their students to freely disagree and to healthily criticize in a constructive manner all theories that are studied.

It is absurd to force them to accept in a dogmatic way all the theories taught in school, college, and university.

It is necessary for students to abandon fear so that they will be able to think for themselves and to analyze the theories that they study.

Fear is one of the barriers to intelligence. Students with fear do not dare to disagree, and blindly accept as articles of faith whatever different authors state.

It is useless for teachers to talk about audacity if they are fearful. Teachers must be free of fear. Teachers who fear criticism, who are afraid of what people might say, etc., cannot be truly intelligent.

The true objective of education must be to put an end to fear and to awaken the Consciousness.

What is the purpose of passing examinations if we continue being afraid and unconscious?

Teachers have the duty to help students at their school desks to become useful in life, however, as long as fear continues to exist, no one can be useful in life.

A person filled with fear does not dare to disagree with other people’s opinions.

A person filled with fear cannot have free initiative.

Evidently, the duty of every teacher is to help each one of his students in school to become completely free of fear so that they can act spontaneously, without the need to be told or ordered.

It is essential for students to leave their fear behind so that they can have free, spontaneous, and creative initiative.

When students, by their own free and spontaneous initiative, can freely analyze and criticize the theories that they study, then they will stop being mere subjective, stupid, mechanical entities.

It is essential for free initiative to exist in order for the creative intelligence of the student to emerge.

It is necessary to give to students the freedom of spontaneous creative expression, without any type of conditioning, so that they can become cognizant of what they study.

Free creative power can only manifest itself when we do not fear criticism, when we are not afraid of what people might say, when we are not afraid of teachers’ authority, rules, etc.

The human mind is degenerated because of fear and dogmatism; therefore, it is essential to regenerate it by means of a spontaneous free initiative that is devoid of fear.

We need to become cognizant of our own life, and this awakening process must begin at school desks.

School is less than worthless for us if we graduate from it in an unconscious and sleepy state.

Free initiative and the removal of fear give rise to spontaneous and pure action.

Based on free initiative, students in every school should have the right to discuss in assembly all the theories that they are studying.

Only in this manner, that is, through liberation from fear and through freedom of discussion, analysis, Meditation, and healthy criticism of what we study, can we become cognizant of the subjects, and not be merely like parrots or cockatoos that repeat what we accumulate in our memory.

Fundamentals of Gnostic EducationThis chapter is from Fundamentals of Gnostic Education (1970) by Samael Aun Weor. The print and ebook editions by Glorian Publishing (a non-profit organization) are illustrated to aid your understanding, and include features like a glossary and index. Buy the book, and you benefit yourself and others.