The profound comprehension of oneself is the true sense of a fundamental education, since all the laws of nature are found within each individual. Therefore, those who want to know all the marvels of nature must study them within themselves.
To enrich the intellect is the only concern of a false education; this enrichment can be achieved by anybody, since it is obvious that anyone with money has the luxury of buying books.
Understand: we are not pronouncing ourselves against intellectual culture; we are only pronouncing ourselves against the uncontrolled eagerness for mental accumulation, since a false intellectual education only grants subtle evasions in order to run away from ourselves. Yes, all erudite, intellectual addicts have marvelous evasions that allow them to run away from themselves.
Swindlers are the outcome of intellectualism without spirituality, and they have taken humanity to havoc, to destruction.
Technology can never grant us the capability of knowing ourselves in an integral and unitotal manner.
Parents send their children to school, college, and university or polytechnic, etc., so that they can learn a skill, so that they may have some profession, thus they can finally earn a living.
It is obvious that we need to know a skill, to have a profession, yet, that is secondary; what is fundamental, what is primary, is to know ourselves, to know who we are, where we come from, where are we going, and what the objective of our existence is.
There is everything in life: happiness, sadness, love, passion, joy, pain, beauty, ugliness, etc.; thus, when we know how to live life intensely, when we comprehend it in all the levels of our mind, then we find our place in society, because we create our own skill, our own particular method of living. To live life in the opposite way is one hundred percent mistaken, since technology by itself can never originate in-depth comprehension, true comprehension.
Indeed, present education has become a complete failure because it gives exaggerated importance to technicism,* to professionalism, and it is obvious that when technicism is preferred, it transforms the individual into a mechanical automaton since it destroys his best possibilities.
Yes, to cultivate ability and efficiency without the comprehension of life, without the knowledge of oneself, without a direct perception of the process of the self-willed, without a detailed study of our proper manner of thinking, feeling, desiring, and acting, will only serve to increase our own cruelty, our own selfishness—that is, those psychological factors that produce war, hunger, misery, and pain.
The exclusive development of technicism has produced mechanics, scientists, technologists, atomic physicists, dissectors of innocent animals, inventors of weapons of mass destruction, etc. Indeed, all of those professionals, all of those inventors of atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs, all of those dissectors that torture the innocent creatures of nature, all of those swindlers, are only skilled for war and destruction. Yes, all of those swindlers do not know anything; they do not comprehend anything about the entire process of life in all of its infinite manifestations.
The technological progress in general—i. e., transport systems, calculating machines, electrical lighting, elevators inside buildings, electrical brains of all types, etc.—solves thousands of problems that process themselves on a superficial level of existence; nevertheless, they introduce multitudes of broader and more profound problems within the individual and within society.
Thus, to live exclusively on that superficial level without taking into account the different areas and more profound levels of the mind signifies, in fact, that we are bringing upon ourselves and our children misery, tears, and desperation.
The greatest necessity, the most essential problem of every individual, of every person, is to comprehend life in its integral and unitotal state; only in this way will we establish the conditions to satisfactorily solve all our particular, intimate problems.
Technological knowledge by itself can never solve all our psychological problems, all our profound complexes.
If we want to be true human beings, that is, if we want to be integral individuals, then we must explore ourselves psychologically; yes, we must know ourselves profoundly within all of the fields of thought, because undoubtedly, technology becomes a destructive instrument when we do not truly comprehend the entire process of existence, when we do not know ourselves in an integral way.
Indeed, if the intellectual animal truly loved, if the rational mammal understood the entire process of life, he would never have committed the crime of splitting the atom.
Present technological progress is fantastic, yet it has only managed to increase our aggressive power to destroy one another; thus, now only terrorism, hunger, ignorance, and illness reign everywhere.
Therefore, no profession, no technology, can ever give us plenitude, true happiness.
In life, every person suffers intensely in his occupation, in his profession, in his routine way of living, thus things and occupations become instruments of envy, gossip, hate, bitterness.
The world of physicians, the world of artists, of engineers, of lawyers, etc.—each one of these worlds is full of pain, gossip, competition, envy, etc. So, without the comprehension of ourselves, a mere occupation, skill, or profession leads us to pain and to the search for evasiveness; thus, some find escape through alcohol in bars, pubs, or cabarets, others through drugs, morphine, cocaine, or marijuana, and others by means of lust and sexual degeneration, etc.
When we want to reduce our whole life to a technique, to a profession, to a system of making more and more money, then the outcome is boredom, nuisances, and the search for a way out.
We must become complete, integral individuals, and this is only possible by knowing ourselves and dissolving the psychological “I.”
As a fundamental education stimulates the learning of a skill to earn our living, it must also perform something very important: that is, it must help the individual to experience—to feel in every aspect and in all of the levels of the mind—the process of existence.
Consequently, if someone has something to say, let him say it, since the manner of saying it is very interesting: every person creates for himself his own style; nevertheless, lacking the direct integral experience of life, and imitating other people’s styles lead only to a superficial life.
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.