It has always amazed me how ancient knowledge can still stay so relevant and how easily we are capable of disregarding it.
In ancient Egypt, the first educational institutions where aimed to pass from generation to generation what they would call sacred knowledge. The Hermetic way would have three stages, and the pyramids shape represents this flow.
The bottom level was the Philosophicum, the discussions here were open to all public. The goal here was to understand the “why” and “what” of the subject.
Philosophy: Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
This process was designed to encourage people to ask questions, to think deeper and search for their own truth while also listening to different points of view. Joining into debates and reflecting on the various perspectives was key to have an understanding of the matter at hand.
To give a contemporary example, it would be like to ask a primary school kid “why does language exist?” or “what is mathematics?” and not dismiss the questions with simple “because that is how we communicate” or “it is like a gym for your brain” but really allow and lead to have deeper profound conversations and allow the thinking process to expand. This is the only way to teach that there is not only one way but many. It is the exact opposite of the multiple choice test, it is the multiverse test.
Then for people that would be considered to be ready for the next level and have dwelled enough on the possibilities of the subject there would be the second level: the Theoreticum. This would be the place where the methods of the subjects would be discussed.
Theory: a) system of rules, procedures, and assumptions used to produce a result. b) abstract knowledge or reasoning c) a speculative or conjectural view or idea d) an ideal or hypothetical situation
A general approach to the “theories” of the practice, a debate on the “how”, an exploration of the known paths, how they were discovered and how one could improve the methods were all part of the discussion. It was theoretical work in the purest sense, cleansed from the judgment and clutter of knowing…
To give again a contemporary example this would be the place to discuss the theory of linguistics, before actually learning how to write. This is where you would learn the theory of numbers before actually learning how to sum 2+2.
And only when one would prove to be worthy of knowledge, in the sense that he now would not only appreciate but cherish the opportunity of finally practicing a craft, treating it as a most valuable gift inherited from the past generations, he would be finally allowed in the top level: the Practicum. This is where you would be for the first time actually utilizing the methods of the crafts in order to become a “Master”.
Practice: to do or perform (something) repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill
This is where you would be for the first time be allowed to make a simple calculation. This is where you would hold a pen in your hand for the first time. And imagine the feeling that after so much thinking, and discussing and dreaming about that pen, and the possibilities that a simple pen holds within itself, you would finally be allowed to touch it. Imagine how intimate the relationship with knowledge and how special…
Trough this process you would only create masters in love. And you would create masters at the beginning of an education not at the end. People who could think, people who could create, people with purpose, people with craft and people capable of respect and diligence and perspective. People connected and in love.
It is not a coincidence that our educational system is the complete opposite of this ancient method. Practicing without perspective and without the capabilities of questioning is what allows society to be enslaved by the system and only when one loses all the ingenuity of being a child, only when one has already formed many barriers in his mind, only after one is used to be allowed to take short cuts everywhere is introduced to what were meant to be the core lessons on the meaning of life.
This is how we got lost, this is why we feel lonely, this is why it is hard to find a sense of purpose…
Alchemists used to start their laboratory work with this mantra:
Ora, lege, lege, re-lege et labora. ~ Pray, read, read, re-read and work
This is in line with the Hermetic ways. Our way?
Work, work, re-work and pray to be able to work some more!
We have the tools to reverse this. It is only up to ourselves…
“In truth, without deceit, certain and most veritable”