Many orators who astound with their eloquence exist in this world, however, few are the ones who know how to listen, since to know how to listen is very difficult. Indeed, few are the individuals who know how to listen.

When a teacher or a lecturer speaks, the audience seems to be very attentive, as if they were following in detail each word of the speaker. Everything indicates that they are listening, that they are in a state of alertness, nevertheless, within the psychological depth of each individual there is a secretary that translates each word of the speaker.

That secretary is the “I,” the “myself,” the self-willed. The infamous job of that secretary consists in misinterpreting, in mistranslating the words of the speaker. Yes, the “I” translates in accordance with its prejudices, preconceptions, fears, pride, anxieties, ideas, memories, etc.

Students in their school or the individuals who as a group constitute the auditorium [from Latin audire, “to listen”] do not really listen to the speaker. They listen to themselves, they listen to their own “ego,” to their beloved Machiavellian ego that is not willing to accept what is real, true, essential.

Only in a state of alert novelty, with a spontaneous mind, free from the burden of the past, in a state of complete receptivity, can we listen without the intervention of that terrible, ill-omened secretary, namely, the “I,” the “myself,” the self-willed, the ego.

When the mind is conditioned by memory, it only repeats what it has accumulated.

A mind conditioned by the experiences of so many yesterdays can only see the present through the cloudy lens of the past.

If we want to know how to listen, if we want to learn how to listen so that we can discover the new, then we must live in accordance with the philosophy of momentariness. Yes, it is essential to live from moment to moment, without the preoccupations of the past and without projections of the future.

For the mind, the truth is unknowable from moment to moment. Therefore, our minds must always be alert, in complete attention, free from prejudgments and preconceptions, so that they can become truly receptive.

Schoolteachers must teach their students the profound significance of knowing how to listen.

It is necessary to learn how to live wisely, to refine our senses, to refine our behavior, our thoughts, our sentiments.

To have a great academic background is worthless if we do not know how to listen, if we are not capable of discovering the new from moment to moment.

We need to refine attention, to refine our manners, to refine ourselves, to refine many things, etc., nonetheless, it is impossible to become truly refined when we do not know how to listen.

Rough, rude, deteriorated, degenerated minds never know how to listen, never know how to discover the new. Those minds only apprehend—and in a mistaken manner—the absurd translations of that satanic secretary named “I,” myself, the ego.

To be refined is something very difficult, and it requires complete attention. Someone can appear to be a very refined person regarding fashion, suits, dresses, gardens, cars, and friendships, however, within his psyche he will continue to be rough, crude, and unpleasant.

Those who know how to live from moment to moment walk indeed upon the path of true refinement.

Those who have a receptive, spontaneous, integral, alert mind walk upon the path of authentic refinement.

The one who receives everything as new, with an open mind, abandoning the burden of the past, preconceptions, prejudices, jealousies, fanaticisms, etc., marches victoriously along the path of authentic refinement, whereas the degenerated mind lives imprisoned in the past, in preconceptions, pride, self-esteem, prejudices, etc. Yes, the degenerated mind does not know how to see the new, does not know how to listen; it is conditioned by self-esteem.

The fanatics of Marxism-Leninism do not accept the new, they do not admit the fourth characteristic of all things, that is, the fourth dimension, because of pride. They love themselves too much, they attach themselves to their own absurd materialistic theories, and when we place them on the field of concrete facts, that is, when we demonstrate to them the absurdity of their sophisms, then they raise their left arm, look at their wristwatch, give an evasive excuse, and leave.

Thus, their degenerate minds, their decrepit minds, do not know how to listen nor how to discover the new; their minds do not accept reality, because they are bottled up within their narcissism. These are minds that love themselves too much, minds that do not know about cultural refinements, these are minds that are crude, course, rough, minds that only listen to their beloved ego.

A fundamental education teaches how to listen; it teaches how to live wisely.

Teachers of schools, colleges, and universities must teach their students the authentic path of true, vital refinement.

It is worthless to spend ten or fifteen years in schools, colleges, and universities if upon completion of our studies we are true pigs internally, concerning our thoughts, ideas, feelings, and habits.

A fundamental education is needed in an essential manner, because the new generations represent the beginning of a new era.

The hour for a true revolution has arrived; the moment for a fundamental revolution has arrived.

The past is the past and has already given its fruits. We need to comprehend the deep significance of the moment in which we live.

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.