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The system of the three Circles
Meritocracy as the only element for selection and advancement
«By recognizing you will be recognized»
The idea of a system for advancement based on three circles (or sensitivity levels) is not an invention, but a method of selection based on recognition used by the oldest initiatory schools. We also find it in old texts such as the Timaeus by Plato or the Mahabharata, which mentioned the dialogue between a postulant and a Master or a Divinity.
To be accepted in the first circle is a first initiation based on the recognition of what we have been and the acceptance of what we propose to become. It is the same in the following steps; the recognition and acceptance must be reciprocal, from the person who asks and the one who answers.
Even if time changes languages the method is always the same, because the way that leads the mind from twilight to full light of the conscience is the same.
Before reaching self-determination, the so-called initiatory choice, we must carry out a period of education based on the practical application of the concepts we have learnt. And “doing” is what distinguishes initiatory schools from “saying” in exoterical schools, which enunciate principles without being able to put them in practice.
The effect of practice is meritocracy, which is the only acceptable selection in an initiatory environment. The true initiation can't be bought or conquered but only deserved.
By practicing the method of question and answer, once called mouth-ear, the contact between researcher and instructor. The ability to ask deeper and deeper questions that couldn't have answers in any other way is refined.
In other words, this is the so-called “school of whys” where the ability consists of asking more and more ingenious questions that inspire more and more refined answers. Farsighted questions produce efficient answers whilst valueless questions stop them; this is the sense of the secret teaching we talk so much about. It is secret because the key of the answer is the sensibility of the question.
This recalls meritocracy as the unique instrument both for selection and advancement. The latter rhymes with payment, in terms of intelligent application.
Intelligent application is the intellectual merit of elevating the meanings of a central concept through the interaction of different mentalities that use their diversity not to fight but to develop the quality of the argument, enriching it with new links. We could say it is an intellectual alliance between the vision of the pupil, who asks whilst he experiments, and the experience of the instructor who observes, guides and answers.
The right attitude of the experimenter is to get ready to listen and to be open to any kind of question; for the observer is to get ready to listen and to be open to any kind of answer that doesn't go beyond the relevance of the question. Listening, therefore, is as important as answering.
The interaction of both generates an atmosphere of intense trust that will join their efforts towards the goal of leading the researcher to the threshold of the second circle, where someone will recognize and welcome him and then lead him into the next stage.
Athos A. Altomonte