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Given that teachers of schools, colleges, and universities grant too much importance to discipline, we will therefore study discipline in detail in this chapter.  

All of us who have gone through school, college, or university know very well about discipline, rules, ferules, scolding, etc.

Discipline is called “the cultivation of resistance.” Schoolteachers delight in “cultivating resistance.”

They taught us how to resist, how to build some thing against some other thing. They taught us how to resist the temptations of the flesh by giving us lashings and teachings us to perform penances.

They taught us how to resist the temptations that laziness brings, i.e. temptations of not studying, temptations of not going to school, of playing, laughing, mocking teachers, of violating rules, etc.

Hence, teachers have the mistaken concept that by means of discipline we can comprehend the necessity of respecting the order of the school, the necessity of studying, of maintaining our composure before teachers, of behaving well with our classmates, etc.

Among people, there exists a mistaken concept that states: the more we resist, the more we reject, the more and more comprehensible, free, complete, and victorious we become.

People do not want to realize that the more we fight against something, the more we resist it, the more we reject it, the less is our comprehension.

If we fight against the vice of drinking, this vice will disappear for a while, but since we have not comprehended it in depth within all of the levels of the mind, it will return later when we neglect our vigilance, thus, we will drink at once, and continue for a whole year.

If we reject the vice of Fornication, then in appearance we will be chaste for a while (even when in other levels of our mind we will continue to be frightening satyrs, as our erotic dreams with their nocturnal pollutions demonstrate), only to return with more strength to our old ways like unredeemable fornicators, due to the concrete fact of not having profoundly comprehended what Fornication is.

Many are those who reject covetousness, who fight against it, who discipline themselves against it by following strict norms of conduct, nevertheless, since they have not truly comprehended the entire process of covetousness, they, in their innermost part, end up coveting the state of not being covetous.

Many are those who discipline themselves against anger, who learn how to resist it, but their anger continues to exist within other levels of their subconsciousness, even when this has apparently disappeared from their character; thus, at the slightest neglect of their guard, their subconsciousness betrays them. Then, when they least expect it, they flash and thunder filled with anger, and perhaps motivated by something that had not even the smallest importance.

Many are those who discipline themselves against jealousy, and finally, firmly believe they have already terminated it; however, since they did not comprehend it, their jealousy appears once more in a scene precisely when they believed it to be completely dead.

Only in the complete absence of discipline, only in real freedom, does the burning flame of comprehension emerge from within the mind.

Creative freedom can never exist within a framework. We need freedom in order to comprehend our psychological defects in an integral manner.

We urgently need to demolish walls and break steel shackles in order to be free.

We have to experience for ourselves everything that our schoolteachers and parents have told us as being good and useful. It is not enough to memorize and imitate. We need to comprehend.

The entire exertion of teachers should be directed towards the Consciousness of their students; their resolution should be that their students become capable of entering the path of comprehension.

It is not enough to tell students that they should be this or that. It is necessary for students to learn how to be free so that they can examine, study, and analyze for themselves all the values, all the things that people have told them to be beneficial, useful, and noble, and not merely accept things and imitate them.

People do not want to explore things themselves; they are narrow-minded. They have stupid minds that do not want to investigate; they have mechanicals minds that never investigate and only imitate.

It is necessary, urgent, indispensable, that students from the youngest to the eldest ages (which is the age when they leave the classroom) enjoy true freedom, in order to discover, to inquire, and to comprehend for themselves, and that they not be limited by the abject walls of prohibitions, scolding, and disciplines.

If students are told what they should and should not do and if they are not allowed to comprehend and experience, where then is their intelligence? What opportunity has been given to their intelligence? Then, what is the use of passing exams, dressing up neatly, and having many friends if we are not intelligent?

Intelligence only comes to us when we are truly free to investigate, to comprehend, and to analyze for ourselves independently without the fear of scolding and without the ferule of discipline.

Scared, frightened students who are submitted to terrible disciplines can never know. They can never be intelligent.

In this day and age, the only thing that parents and teachers are concerned with is that students have a career, that they become doctors, lawyers, engineers, office employees; in other words, living automatons that later marry and who additionally transform themselves into child-making machines, and that is all.

When boys or girls want to do something new, something different, when they feel the need to escape from the framework of prejudices, antiquated habits, disciplines, family or national traditions, etc., then the parents tighten the shackles of prison more and tell the boy or girl, “Do not do that! Those things are madness, etc and we are not willing to support you in that.” Thus the boy or girl is formally imprisoned within the prison of disciplines, traditions, antiquated customs, decrepit ideas, etc.

A fundamental education teaches how to conciliate order with freedom.

Order without freedom is tyranny. Freedom without order is anarchy.

Freedom and order wisely combined constitute the basis of a fundamental education.

Students must enjoy perfect freedom in order to inquire, in order to discover for themselves what they really and truly are in themselves, and in order to know what they can do in life.

Students, soldiers, police, and in general all those people who have to live subjected to rigorous disciplines, usually become cruel and insensitive to human pain, merciless.

Discipline destroys human sensitivity; this has already been totally demonstrated by observation and experience.

Due to so much discipline and so many rules, people of this day and age have totally lost all sensitivity; people have become cruel and merciless.

In order to be truly free, one needs to be sensitive and humane.

In schools, colleges, and universities, students are taught to pay attention in classes and the students pay attention to avoid a scolding, a pulling of ears, a beating with the ruler, etc., but unfortunately, they are not taught how to really comprehend what cognizant attention is.

Based on discipline, students pay attention and many times they waste their creative energy in a useless way.

The creative energy is the subtlest type of energy made by the organic machine.

The entire processes of digesting all what we eat and drink is, in its depth, a process of refinement in which gross substances become useful substances and energies.

The creative energy is the subtlest type of matter and energy made by the organism.

If we know how to consciously pay attention, we can then save creative energy. Regrettably, teachers do not teach their students what cognizant attention is.

Wherever we direct our attention, we spend creative energy. We can save creative energy if we divide attention, if we do not become identified with things, people, and ideas.

When we become identified with things, people, and ideas, we then forget our Self and lose creative energy in the most pitiful way.

It is essential to know that we need to save creative energy in order to awaken the Consciousness, and that the creative energy is the living potential, it is the vehicle of the Consciousness, it is the instrument in order to awaken the Consciousness.

When we learn to not forget our Self, when we learn to divide the attention between subject, object, and place, we then save creative energy in order to awaken the Consciousness.

It is necessary to learn how to use attention in order to awaken the Consciousness, however, students do not know anything about this because their teachers have not taught this to them.

When we learn how to consciously use attention, discipline becomes irrelevant.

A student who pays attention in the class, to his lessons, and to order does not need discipline of any type.

It is essential that teachers comprehend the need to intelligently reconcile freedom and order, and realize that this is possible through cognizant attention.

Cognizant attention excludes that which is called identification. When we become identified with things, people, and ideas, then fascination takes place, and fascination produces the slumber of the Consciousness.

We must know how to pay attention without identification. When we pay attention to something or someone and we forget our Self, then the outcome is fascination and the slumber of the Consciousness.

Observe carefully a moviegoer: he is asleep, unaware of everything and of his self; he is empty within, and looks like a zombie; he daydreams with the movie and with the hero of the movie that he is watching.

Students must pay attention in classrooms without forgetting their Self so that they do not fall into the terrible slumber of their Consciousness.

A student must see himself in action when he is taking an exam, or when he is at the blackboard as told by the teacher, or when he is studying or resting or playing with his classmates.

Attention divided in three parts—subject, object, place—is in fact, cognizant attention.

When we do not commit the error of becoming identified with things, people, and ideas, we then save creative energy; this is how we accelerate within us the awakening of the Consciousness.

Whosoever wants to awaken the Consciousness in the Superior Worlds must begin by awakening it in the here and now.

When a student commits the error of becoming identified with things, people, and ideas, he commits the error of forgetting his Self; this is how he falls into fascination and slumber.

Discipline does not teach students how to pay attention. Discipline is a true prison for the mind.

Students must learn how to use cognizant attention from their very desks at school so that later on, in practical life, outside the school, they do not commit the mistake of forgetting their Self.

A man who forgets his self in front of a person who insults him becomes identified with that person, becomes fascinated, falls into the deep slumber of his Consciousness, then he hurts or kills and inevitably goes to prison.

Whosoever does not allow himself to become fascinated with a person who insults him, whosoever does not become identified with an insulter, whosoever does not forget his self in that situation, that one knows how to pay cognizant attention, that one would be incapable of giving any importance to the words of the insulter, or would be incapable of wounding or killing him.

All the errors that human beings commit in life are because they forget their Self, are because they become identified and fascinated; this is how they fall into the slumber of the Consciousness.

It would be better for young people, for all students, to be taught how to awaken their Consciousness instead of enslaving them with so many absurd disciplines.

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.