Fundamentals of Gnostic Education, a book by Samael Aun Weor
What to Think, How to Think
- Written by Samael Aun Weor
Our parents at home and teachers at school always tell us what we must think, but never in life do they teach us how to think.
To know what to think is relatively very easy. Our parents, teachers, tutors, authors, etc.—each one in his own manner—is a dictator. Each one of them wants us to think about their dictations, demands, theories, prejudices, etc.
Dictators of the mind are as widespread as weeds. There is everywhere a perverse tendency to enslave the mind of the neighbor, to bottle up it, to force it to live within determined norms, prejudices, etc.
The thousands and millions of dictators of the mind have never wanted to respect the mental freedom of anyone. If someone does not think as they do, they classify him as perverse, renegade, ignorant and so on.
Everybody wants to enslave everyone else. Everybody wants to violate the intellectual freedom of their neighbor. Nobody wants to respect their neighbor’s freedom of thought. Everyone feels himself to be sensible, wise, marvelous, and, as it is natural, wants others to become like him; everyone wants others to take him as a model so that they think like him.
The mind has been abused too much. Observe businessmen and their advertisements in newspapers, radio and television, etc.: they make their commercial advertising in a dictatorial way. “Save money, buy such and such a soap! Buy such and such shoes for few dollars! Buy it now! Immediately! Do not leave it for tomorrow! It has to be done at once!, etc.” The only thing left for them to say is: if you do not obey, you will be put in jail or we will kill you.”
Parents forcefully want to push their own ideas into their children, and schoolteachers reprimand, punish, and give low grades if their students do not willingly accept their schooling ideas.
Half of humanity wants to enslave the mind of the other half of humanity. This tendency of enslaving other people’s mind stands out at first sight when we study the dark pages of history.
Everywhere there have existed—and still exist—bloody dictatorships determined to enslave countries, bloody dictatorships that dictate what people must think.
Unfortunate is the one who tries to think freely; such a one will inevitably go to a concentration camp, to Siberia, to prison, to hard labor… to the scaffold, to capital punishment, or to exile, etc.
Neither teachers, nor parents, nor books want to teach one how to think.
People enjoy forcing others to think according to the way they believe is the best, thus, obviously, by their own whim, everyone is a dictator in their own way thinking we are in possession of the final word, firmly believing that the rest must think as we do because we believe ourselves to be the best of the best.
Parents, teachers, managers, scold their subordinates over and over again.
The horrible tendency of humanity to be disrespectful to others, to violate the mind of their neighbor, to encage, lock up, enslave, and chain their neighbor’s thought is frightening.
A husband wants to enclose with his ideas the mind of his wife, in order to force his doctrine, etc., into her; and his wife wants to do the same. Thus, many times, husband and wife divorce because of an incompatibility of ideas. Both spouses do not want to comprehend the necessity of respecting the intellectual freedom of one’s neighbor.
Nobody has the right to enslave the mind of their spouse. In fact, both spouses are worthy of respect. Each one has the right to think as they please, to practice the religion or to belong to whatever political party they please.
Schoolchildren are forcibly compelled to think on certain ideas, but are never taught how to handle their minds.
The minds of children are tender, flexible, and ductile, while those of elderly people are hard, fixed like clay in a mold; they do not and cannot change.
The minds of children and youngsters are capable of many changes; they can change.
Children and youngsters can be taught how to think, yet it is difficult to teach elderly people how to think because they are the way they are and die in this way. Therefore, to find an old person who is willing to change radically is a great oddity in life.
The minds of people are molded from childhood, since molding is what parents and schoolteachers prefer to do. They enjoy molding the minds of children and youngsters.
A mind shaped according to a mold is, in fact, a conditioned mind, an enslaved mind.
It is necessary for schoolteachers to break the fetters of their own minds.
It is essential for teachers to know how to guide the minds of children towards true freedom, so that they will learn how to not allow anyone to enslave their minds ever again.
It is indispensable that teachers teach their students how to think.
Teachers must comprehend the necessity of teaching their students the path of analysis, meditation, and comprehension.
A comprehensive person must never accept anything in a dogmatic way. It is essential to first investigate, comprehend, and inquire, before accepting.
In other words, we state that instead of accepting, it is necessary to investigate, analyze, meditate, and comprehend. Thus, when comprehension is complete, acceptance is irrelevant.
It is worthless to fill our heads with intellectual information if on leaving school we do not know how to think and continue to live as living automatons, as machines that repeat the same routines of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, etc.
To always repeat the same thing, from home to work and from work to home, to marry and become little child-making machines, indeed, this is not living, but to live the life of machines. If that is what we study for, if for that we go to school, college, and university for twelve of fifteen years, then it would be better not to study.
Mahatma Gandhi was a very remarkable man. Many times, Protestant pastors sat on his doorstep for entire hours trying to convert him to Protestant Christianity.
Gandhi did not accept nor did he reject the teaching of the pastors. He comprehended and respected it, and that was all.
Many times the Mahatma said, “I am Brahman, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.”
The Mahatma comprehended that all religions are necessary because all of them contain the same eternal values.
Accepting or rejecting any doctrine or concept reveals a lack of mental maturity.
When we reject or accept something, it is because we have not comprehended it.
Where there is comprehension, accepting or rejecting become irrelevant.
The mind that believes, the mind that does not believe, the mind that doubts, is an ignorant mind.
The path of wisdom does not rely on believing, not believing, or doubting.
The path of wisdom consists of inquiring, analyzing, meditating, and experiencing.
For the mind, the truth is the unknowable from moment to moment. Thus, the truth has nothing to do with what our mind believes or stops believing, nor does it have anything to do with skepticism.
The truth is not a matter of accepting or rejecting, rather, it is something to experience, something to undergo and comprehend.
Therefore, the priority of teachers must be, in the final synthesis, to lead their students towards the cognizant experience of that which is the Reality, that which is the True.
It is essential for schoolteachers to abandon that antiquated and damaging tendency which is always directed to mold the flexible and ductile minds of children.
It is absurd that adults—who are filled with prejudices, passions and antiquated preconceptions, etc.— run over the minds of children and youngsters when trying to mold their minds according to their rotten, dumb, and antiquated ideas.
It is better to respect the intellectual freedom of their students, to respect their mental quickness, their spontaneous creativity.
Teachers do not have the right to confine the minds of students to a cage.
What is essential is to not dictate to the minds of students what they must think but rather, to completely teach them how to think.
The mind is the instrument of knowledge, and it is necessary for teachers to teach their students how to use their instrument wisely.
This 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.