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Teaching Methods and Prerequisites (3rd edition)

Sep 13, 2004 01:11 AM
by Morten N. Olesen

Hallo all,

Sorry...wrong version.
Here is a new version, which has been edited so that certain grave spelling errors
are gone...

Teaching Methods and Prerequisites

Q: According to the Wise, is there any knowledge of the difference

between teaching and conditioning; and do people know what

they want when they set out to learn?

A: People are conditioned not only by deliberate indoctrination,

but also by systems whose proponents themselves are ignorant of

the need for safeguards to prevent conditioning. People are also

conditioned by a constellation of experiences. In most human

societies, unanimity of thought has been arrived at by an unrecognised

conditioning process in which virtually all the society's

institutions may be branches of the conditioning process.

This information is neither new nor necessarily exciting. But it

is essential. What is new about it is that it has been concisely and

effectively revealed in studies made in the West, notably since the

end of the Korean war. If you do not know or believe the foregoing,

you will either have to accept it as a working hypothesis, or else

leave the attempts at studying other matters aside until you

have caught up with this information in the generally available

sources on the subject. In such a case as your basic information is

incomplete, and your prospects of progress are limited in a higher

sense as if you were trying to become an academic but

were not yet a literate.

Certain traditional teaching-systems have continuously maintained

the knowledge of this 'conditioning by environment' factor.

The essence of their system has been twofold: (1) to stress the

fact of conditioning, in order to redress the imbalance produced

by it; and (2) to provide study-formats and human groupings in

which the conditioning cannot easily operate.

No such systems deny the value of conditioning for certain 

purposes: but they themselves do not use it. They are not trying to

destroy the conditioning mechanism, upon which, indeed, so much

life depends.


This is the first lesson: People who are shown for the first time

how their views are the product of conditioning tend to assume, in

the crudest possible manner, that whoever told them this is himself

or herself opposed to conditioning, or proposes to do something about it.

What any legitimate system will do, however, is to point out that

conditioning is a part of the social scene and is confused with

'higher' things only at the point when a teaching has become

deteriorated and has to 'train' its members.

The second lesson is that the majority of any group of people

can be conditioned, if the group is in effect a random one:

non-conditioning-prone groups can only be developed be selecting

people who harmonise in such a manner as to help defeat this


People who hear this may tend automatically to assume that this

is a doctrine of the elite. But this assumption is only accepted

by them because they are ignorant of the process and the

bases. The primary object is to associate people together who

can avoid conditioning, so that a development can take place

among these people which in turn can be passed on to larger

numbers. It can never be applied to large numbers of people 


Many people who hear for the first time that conditioning is

a powerful, unrecognised and spiritually ineffective development

react in another manner which is equally useless. They assume

that since conditioning is present in all the institutions known to

them (including any which they themselves esteem highly) that it

must always be essential. This is only due to the fact that they are

not willing to face the fact that any institution may become invaded

by a tendency which is dangerous to it. This is not the same

as saying that the institution is based upon it.

When people are collected together to be exposed to materials

which will defy or avoid conditioning, they will always tend to 

become uncomfortable. This discomfort is due to the fact that they

are not receiving from these materials the stimuli to which they

have become accustomed as conditioned people. But, since they

generally lack the full perception of what IS in the materials, (and

since it is characteristic of conditioning materials that they may

masquerade as independently arrived-at facts), such people do not

know what to do. The solution to this problem which they will


tend to adopt is some kind of rationalisation. If they receive no

accustomed stimulus of an emotional sort, they will regard the

new or carefully selected materials as 'insipid'.

This is a further lesson. everyone should realise that the vicious

circle must be broken somewhere and somehow. To substitute

one conditioning for another is sometimes ridiculous. To provide

people with a stimulus of a kind to which they have become

accustomed may be a public or social service: it is not teaching

activity of a higher sort.

Unfortunately people have been so trained as to imagine that

something which is hard to understand or hard to do, in a crude

sense, is a true exercise. Hence, people are often willing to sacrifice

money, physical effort, time, comfort. But, if they are asked (say)

not to meet, or to sacrifice the attention of a teacher, this they find

nearly impossible to bear, simply because their training to believe is such that

they are behaving as addicts. They may want sacrifice or effort,

but only the kind which they have been trained to believe is sacrifice

or effort. 'Stylised effort', though, is no effort at all.

Most unfortunately, they do not know that the system to which

they have been trained has always (if they have developed such a

taste for it as we have just described) fulfilled its optimum possible

developmental function at a point long before we are likely to have

encountered them. It has now become a vice, ritual or habit which

they are unable to recognise as such.

The prerequisite of an advanced form of teaching is that the

participants shall be prepared to expose themselves to it, and not

only to some travesty which gives them a lower nutrition to which

they have become accustomed.

This is in itself a higher stage than any repetition or drilling or

rehashing of words or exercises or theories. And, in its way, it is a

challenge. Can the participants, or can they not, really enter an

area where their effectively cruder desires and automatic responses

are not pandered to?

If they cannot, they have excluded themselves from the Teaching.

In order to become eligible, it is the would-be students who have

to 'sort themselves out'. They have to examine themselves and see

whether they have merely been using their studies to fulfill social


desires, or personal psychological aims, or to condition themselves.

They should also be told the simple fact that, for instance, if you

shout 'I must wake up!' often enough, it will put you to sleep. If

their sense of power, for instance, is being fed by means of the 

suggestion that they are studying something that others do not

know, they will get no further. If they are deriving any personal

pleasure or other benefit from 'teaching' others, they will not learn

any more. If they depend upon their study-community alone or

mainly for friends or somewhere to go once or twice a week or

month, they will get no further.

There has been a confusion between teaching and the social or

human function. To help or to entertain someone else is a social,

not an esoteric, duty. As a human being you always have the

social and humanitarian duty. But you do not necessarily have the

therapeutic duty; indeed, you may be much less well qualified for it

than almost any conventional therapist.

It is impossible to spend time with virtually any religious,

philosophical and esotericist group, or even to read its literature,

without seeing that a large number of people involved, perhaps

through no fault of their own, and because of ignorance of the

problems, are using these formats for sociological or psychological

purposes of a narrow kind. It is not that their spiritual life is right

in these groups. It is that their life is inadequate.

'As above, so below'. Just as in ordinary worldly considerations

there can be inefficiency or confusion as to aims, so there may be

in approaching higher knowledge. You may be able, initially, to

pursue higher aims through lower mechanisms and theories, but

you cannot pursue them by indulging short-term personal interests.

You must follow your personality interests somewhere else. In an

advanced society there are more institutions catering for such

outlets than anyone could possibly need. Make sure that your professional,

commercial, social, psychological and family needs are fulfilled

in the society to which you belong. The rest of you is the

part which can be communicated with by means of specialised

techniques available to those who have a comprehensive and

legitimate traditional learning: and who have the means of 

safeguarding it.

This is what you have to study first of all. Most people are


trying to effect something else, no matter what they imagine that

they are doing. Fortunately, it is not hard to recognise this if

enough sincere effort is expended.

In ordinary life, if you think that your family is largely a

commercial proposition, people will point out that you are misguided.

If you thought that your profession was mainly for social

purposes, people would soon put you right. It is time, that you

were correctly informed in this field as well. You must know, or

find out, the difference between meeting to learn and experience

something, and meeting in order to be emotionally stimulated or

intellectually tested or socially reassured.

There is no harm at all in a social ingredient in a human

relationship: far from it. But when this gets out of balance, and a

human contact becomes an excuse for a social contact, you are

not going to learn, no matter what materials you are working with.

'Due proportion' is a secret skill of the teacher.

The repeated upsurge of apparently different schools of higher

study in various epochs and cultures is due in large part to the

need to rescue genuine traditional teachings from the automatism

and social-psychological-entertainment functions which regularly

and deeply invade and, for most part, eventually possess them.

Certain physical and mental exercises, as an example, are of

extremely significant importance for the furthering of higher

human functions. If these are practised by people who use things

for emotional, social or callisthenic purposes, they will not operate

on a higher level with such people. They become merely a means

of getting rid of surplus energy, or of assuaging a sense of 

frustration. The practitioners, however, regularly and almost invariably

mistake their subjective experiences of them for 'something higher'.

It is for this reason that legitimate traditional higher teachings

are parsimonious with their materials and exercises. Nobody with

a task to perform can possibly (if he knows about this task) do so in

a manner which is not benefiting people on the required level.

The foregoing information should be read and studied and

understood as widely as possible. Without it there is little possibility

of serving any group of people, anywhere, otherwise than

socially or with shallow psychology, no matter what theories,

systems or exercises are employed.


Where there is ideology, conditioning and indoctrination, a

mechanical element is introduced which drives out the factor of

extradimensional reality perception which connects the higher

functions of the mind with the higher reality.

Wisdom experiences are designed to maintain a harmony with and

nearness to this Reality, while mechanical systems effectively distance

people from it.


Have fun...


M. Sufilight

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