J KRISHNAMURTI Education And The Significance Of Life

Chapter 1: Education And The Significance Of Life
When  one  travels  around  the  world,  one  notices  to  what  an  extraordinary
degree  human  nature  is  the  same,  whether  in  India  or  America,  in  Europe  or
Australia. This is especially true in colleges and universities. We are turning out,
as  if  through  a  mould,  a  type  of  human  being  whose  chief  interest  is  to  find
security,  to  become  somebody  important,  or  to  have  a  good  time  with  as  little
thought as possible.
Conventional  education  makes  independent  thinking  extremely  difficult.
Conformity  leads  to  mediocrity.  To  be  different  from  the  group  or  to  resist
environment is not easy and is often risky as long as we worship success. The
urge to be successful, which is the pursuit of reward whether in the material or in
the  so-called  spiritual  sphere,  the  search  for  inward  or  outward  security,  the
desire  for  comfort  –  this  whole  process  smothers  discontent,  puts  an  end  to
spontaneity and breeds fear; and fear blocks the intelligent un- derstanding of life.
With increasing age, dullness of mind and heart sets in.
In  seeking  comfort,  we  generally  find  a  quiet  corner  in  life  where  there  is  a
minimum of conflict, and then we are afraid to step out of that seclusion. This fear
of  life,  this  fear  of  struggle  and  of  new  experience,  kills  in  us  the  spirit  of
adventure;  our  whole  upbringing  and  education  have  made  us  afraid  to  be
different from our neighbour, afraid to think contrary to the established pattern of
society, falsely respectful of authority and tradition.
Fortunately, there are a few who are in earnest, who are willing to examine our
human problems without the prejudice of the right or of the left; but in the vast
majority  of  us,  there  is  no  real  spirit  of  discontent,  of  revolt.  When  we  yield
uncomprehendingly  to  environment,  any  spirit  of  revolt  that  we  may  have  had
dies down, and our responsibilities soon put an end to it.    4
Revolt is of two kinds: there is violent revolt, which is mere reaction, without
understanding,  against  the  existing  order;  and  there  is  the  deep  psychological
revolt  of  intelligence.  There  are  many  who  revolt  against  the  established
orthodoxies only to fall into new orthodoxies, further illusions and concealed self-
indulgences. What generally happens is that we break away from one group or
set  of  ideals  and  join  another  group,  take  up  other  ideals,  thus  creating  a  new
pattern  of  thought  against  which  we  will  again  have  to  revolt.  Reaction  only
breeds opposition, and reform needs further reform.
But there is an intelligent revolt which is not reaction, and which comes with
self-knowledge through the awareness of one’s own thought and feeling. It is only
when we face experience as it comes and do not avoid disturbance that we keep
intelligence highly awakened; and intelligence highly awakened is intuition, which
is the only true guide in life.
Now, what is the significance of life? What are we living and struggling for? If
we  are  being  educated  merely  to  achieve  distinction,  to  get  a  better  job,  to  be
more efficient, to have wider domination over others, then our lives will be shallow
and empty. If we are being educated only to be scientists, to be scholars wedded
to books, or specialists addicted to knowledge, then we shall be contributing to
the destruction and misery of the world.
Though there is a higher and wider significance to life, of what value is our
education  if  we  never  discover  it?  We  may  be  highly  educated,  but  if  we  are
without  deep  integration  of  thought  and  feeling,  our  lives  are  incomplete,
contradictory  and  torn  with  many  fears;  and  as  long  as  education  does  not
cultivate an integrated outlook on life, it has very little significance.
In our present civilization we have divided life into so many departments that
education  has  very  little  meaning,  except  in  learning  a  particular  technique  or
profession.  Instead  of  awakening  the  integrated  intelligence  of  the  individual,   5
education  is  encouraging  him  to  conform  to  a  pattern  and  so  is  hindering  his
comprehension  of  himself  as  a  total  process.  To  attempt  to  solve  the  many
problems  of  existence  at  their  respective  levels,  separated  as  they  are  into
various categories, indicates an utter lack of comprehension.
The  individual  is  made  up  of  different  entities,  but  to  emphasize  the
differences and to encourage the development of a definite type leads to many
complexities and contradictions. Education should bring about the integration of
these separate entities – for without integration, life becomes a series of conflicts
and  sorrows.  Of  what  value  is  it  to  be  trained  as  lawyers  if  we  perpetuate
litigation?  Of  what  value  is  knowledge  if  we  continue  in  our  confusion?  What
significance  has  technical  and  industrial  capacity  if  we  use  it  to  destroy  one
another?  What  is  the  point  of  our  existence  if  it  leads  to  violence  and  utter
misery?  Though  we  may  have  money  or  are  capable  of  earning  it,  though  we
have our pleasures and our organized religions, we are in endless conflict.
We must distinguish between the personal and the individual. The personal is
the  accidental;  and  by  the  accidental  I  mean  the  circumstances  of  birth,  the
environment in which we happen to have been brought up, with its nationalism,
superstitions, class distinctions and prejudices. The personal or accidental is but
momentary, though that moment may last a lifetime; and as the present system of
education  is  based  on  the  personal,  the  accidental,  the  momentary,  it  leads  to
perversion of thought and the inculcation of self-defensive fears.
All of us have been trained by education and environment to seek personal
gain  and  security,  and  to  fight  for  ourselves.  Though  we  cover  it  over  with
pleasant  phrases,  we  have  been  educated  for  various  professions  within  a
system which is based on exploitation and acquisitive fear. Such a training must
inevitably bring confusion and misery to ourselves and to the world, for it creates
in each individual those psychological barriers which separate and hold him apart
from others.    6
Education  is  not  merely  a  matter  of  training  the  mind.  Training  makes  for
efficiency, but it does not bring about completeness. A mind that has merely been
trained is the continuation of the past, and such a mind can never discover the
new. That is why, to find out what is right education, we will have to inquire into
the whole significance of living.
To most of us, the meaning of life as a whole is not of primary importance, and
our  education  emphasizes  secondary  values,  merely  making  us  proficient  in
some branch of knowledge. Though knowledge and efficiency are necessary, to
lay chief emphasis on them only leads to conflict and confusion.
There  is  an  efficiency  inspired  by  love  which  goes  far  beyond  and  is  much
greater  than  the  efficiency  of  ambition;  and  without  love,  which  brings  an
integrated understanding of life, efficiency breeds ruthlessness. Is this not what is
actually  taking  place  all  over  the  world?  Our  present  education  is  geared  to
industrialization and war, its principal aim being to develop efficiency; and we are
caught  in  this  machine  of  ruthless  competition  and  mutual  destruction.  If
education  leads  to  war,  if  it  teaches  us  to  destroy  or  be  destroyed,  has  it  not
utterly failed?
To bring about right education, we must obviously un- derstand the meaning
of life as a whole, and for that we have to be able to think, not consistently, but
directly  and  truly.  A  consistent  thinker  is  a  thoughtless  person,  because  he
conforms  to  a  pattern;  he  repeats  phrases  and  thinks  in  a  groove.  We  cannot
understand  existence  abstractly  or  theoretically.  To  understand  life  is  to
understand ourselves, and that is both the beginning and the end of education.
Education is not merely acquiring knowledge, gathering and correlating facts;
it  is  to  see  the  significance  of  life  as  a  whole.  But  the  whole  cannot  be
approached  through  the  part  –  which  is  what  governments,  organized  religions
and authoritarian parties are attempting to do.    7
The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and
therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without
being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books,
nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions.
One  who  has  not  studied  may  be  more  intelligent  than  the  learned.  We  have
made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed
cunning  minds  that  avoid  vital  human  issues.  Intelligence  is  the  capacity  to
perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in
others, is education.
Education should help us to discover lasting values so that we do not merely
cling to formulas or repeat slogans; it should help us to break down our national
and  social  barriers,  instead  of  emphasizing  them,  for  they  breed  antagonism
between man and man. Unfortunately, the present system of education is making
us  subservient,  mechanical  and  deeply  thoughtless;  though  it  awakens  us
intellectually, inwardly it leaves us incomplete, stultified and uncreative.
Without  an  integrated  understanding  of  life,  our  individual  and  collective
problems  will  only  deepen  and  extend.  The  purpose  of  education  is  not  to
produce  mere  scholars,  technicians  and  job  hunters,  but  integrated  men  and
women who are free of fear; for only between such human beings can there be
enduring peace.
It  is  in  the  understanding  of  ourselves  that  fear  comes  to  an  end.  If  the
individual  is  to  grapple  with  life  from  moment  to  moment,  if  he  is  to  face  its
intricacies,  its  miseries  and  sudden  demands,  he  must  be  infinitely  pliable  and
therefore free of theories and particular patterns of thought.
Education should not encourage the individual to conform to society or to be
negatively  harmonious  with  it,  but  help  him  to  discover  the  true  values  which
come  with  unbiased  investigation  and  self-awareness.  When  there  is  no  self-  8
knowledge,  self-expression  becomes  self-assertion,  with  all  its  aggressive  and
ambitious conflicts. Education should awaken the capacity to be self-aware and
not merely indulge in gratifying self-expression.
What  is  the  good  of  learning  if  in  the  process  of  living  we  are  destroying
ourselves? As we are having a series of devastating wars, one right after another,
there  is  obviously  something  radically  wrong  with  the  way  we  bring  up  our
children. I think most of us are aware of this, but we do not know how to deal with
Systems, whether educational or political, are not changed mysteriously; they
are transformed when there is a fundamental change in ourselves. The individual
is  of  first  importance,  not  the  system;  and  as  long  as  the  individual  does  not
understand the total process of himself, no system, whether of the left or of the
right, can bring order and peace to the world.    9
Chapter 2: The Right Kind Of Education
THE ignorant man is not the unlearned, but he who does not know himself,
and the learned man is stupid when he relies on books, on knowledge and on
authority  to  give  him  understanding.  Understanding  comes  only  through  self-
knowledge,  which  is  awareness  of  one’s  total  psychological  process.  Thus
education, in the true sense, is the understanding of oneself, for it is within each
one of us that the whole of existence is gathered.
What  we  now  call  education  is  a  matter  of  accumulating  information  and
knowledge  from  books,  which  anyone  can  do  who  can  read.  Such  education
offers a subtle form of escape from ourselves and, like all escapes, it inevitably
creates  increasing  misery.  Conflict  and  confusion  result  from  our  own  wrong
relationship  with  people,  things  and  ideas,  and  until  we  understand  that
relationship and alter it, mere learning, the gathering of facts and the acquiring of
various skills, can only lead us to engulfing chaos and destruction.
As  society  is  now  organized,  we  send  our  children  to  school  to  learn  some
technique by which they can eventually earn a livelihood. We want to make the
child first and foremost a specialist, hoping thus to give him a secure economic
position.  But  does  the  cultivation  of  a  technique  enable  us  to  understand
While it is obviously necessary to know how to read and write, and to learn
engineering  or  some  other  profession,  will  technique  give  us  the  capacity  to
understand life? Surely, technique is secondary; and if technique is the only thing
we are striving for, we are obviously denying what is by far the greater part of life.
Life is pain, joy, beauty, ugliness, love, and when we understand it as a whole,
at every level, that understanding creates its own technique. But the contrary is
not true: technique can never bring about creative understanding.    10
Present-day education is a complete failure because it has overemphasized
technique. In overemphasizing technique we destroy man. To cultivate capacity
and  efficiency  without  understanding  life,  without  having  a  comprehensive
perception  of  the  ways  of  thought  and  desire,  will  only  make  us  increasingly
ruthless,  which  is  to  engender  wars  and  jeopardize  our  physical  security.  The
exclusive  cultivation  of  technique  has  produced  scientists,  mathematicians,
bridge  builders,  space  conquerors;  but  do  they  understand  the  total  process  of
life? Can any specialist experience life as a whole? Only when he ceases to be a
Technological progress does solve certain kinds of problems for some people
at one level, but it introduces wider and deeper issues too. To live at one level,
disregarding  the  total  process  of  life,  is  to  invite  misery  and  destruction.  The
greatest  need  and  most  pressing  problem  for  every  individual  is  to  have  an
integrated comprehension of life, which will enable him to meet its everincreasing
Technical  knowledge,  however  necessary,  will  in  no  way  resolve  our  inner,
psychological  pressures  and  conflict;  and  it  is  because  we  have  acquired
technical  knowledge  without  understanding  the  total  process  of  life  that
technology has become a means of destroying ourselves. The man who knows
how to split the atom but has no love in his heart becomes a monster.
We choose a vocation according to our capacities; but will the following of a
vocation lead us out of conflict and confusion? Some form of technical training
seems necessary; but when we have become engineers, physicians, accountants
– then what? Is the practice of a profession the fulfilment of life? Apparently with
most of us it is. Our various professions may keep us busy for the greater part of
our existence; but the very things that we produce and are so entranced with are
causing  destruction  and  misery.  Our  attitudes  and  values  make  of  things  and
occupations the instruments of envy, bitterness and hate.    11
Without understanding ourselves, mere occupation leads to frustration, with its
inevitable escapes through all kinds of mischievous activities. Technique without
understanding  leads  to  enmity  and  ruthlessness,  which  we  cover  up  with
pleasant-sounding  phrases.  Of  what  value  is  it  to  emphasize  technique  and
become  efficient  entities  if  the  result  is  mutual  destruction?  Our  technical
progress  is  fantastic,  but  it  has  only  increased  our  powers  of  destroying  one
another, and there is starvation and misery in every land. We are not peaceful
and happy people.
When function is all-important, life becomes dull and boring, a mechanical and
sterile  routine  from  which  we  escape  into  every  kind  of  distraction.  The
accumulation of facts and the development of capacity, which we call education,
has deprived us of the fullness of integrated life and action. It is because we do
not understand the total process of life that we cling to capacity and efficiency,
which  thus  assume  overwhelming  importance.  But  the  whole  cannot  be
understood  through  the  part;  it  can  be  understood  only  through  action  and
Another  factor  in  the  cultivation  of  technique  is  that  it  gives  us  a  sense  of
security,  not  only  economic,  but  psychological  as  well.  It  is  reassuring  to  know
that we are capable and efficient. To know that we can play the piano or build a
house gives us a feeling of vitality, of aggressive independence; but to emphasize
capacity because of a desire for psychological security is to deny the fullness of
life.  The  whole  content  of  life  can  never  be  foreseen,  it  must  be  experienced
anew  from  moment  to  moment;  but  we  are  afraid  of  the  unknown,  and  so  we
establish  for  ourselves  psychological  zones  of  safety  in  the  form  of  systems,
techniques  and  beliefs.  As  long  as  we  are  seeking  inward  security,  the  total
process of life cannot be understood.
The  right  kind  of  education,  while  encouraging  the  learning  of  a  technique,
should accomplish something which is of  far greater importance: it should help   12
man to experience the integrated process of life. It is this experiencing that will
put capacity and technique in their right place. If one really has something to say,
the  very  saying  of  it  creates  its  own  style;  but  learning  a  style  without  inward
experiencing can only lead to superficiality.
Throughout the world, engineers are frantically designing machines which do
not need men to operate them. In a life run almost entirely by machines, what is
to  become  of  human  beings?  We  shall  have  more  and  more  leisure  without
knowing wisely how to employ it, and we shall seek escape through knowledge,
through enfeebling amusements, or through ideals.
I believe volumes have been written about educational ideals, yet we are in
greater confusion than ever before. There is no method by which to educate a
child  to  be  integrated  and  free.  As  long  as  we  are  concerned  with  principles,
ideals and methods, we are not helping the individual to be free from his own self-
centred activity with all its fears and conflicts.
Ideals  and  blueprints  for  a  perfect  Utopia  will  never  bring  about  the  radical
change of heart which is essential if there is to be an end to war and universal
destruction. Ideals cannot change our present values: they can be changed only
by the right kind of education, which is to foster the understanding of what is.
When  we  are  working  together  for  an  ideal,  for  the  future,  we  shape
individuals according to our conception of that future; we are not concerned with
human beings at all, but with our idea of what they should be. The what should be
becomes far more important to  us  than  what  is,  namely, the individual with his
complexities. If we begin to understand the individual directly instead of looking at
him through the screen of what we think he should be, then we are concerned
with what is. Then we no longer want to transform the individual into something
else; our only concern is to help him to understand himself, and in this there is no
personal motive or gain. If we are fully aware of what is, we shall understand it   13
and so be free of it; but to be aware of what we are, we must stop struggling after
something which we are not.
Ideals have no place in education for they prevent the comprehension of the
present. Surely, we can be aware of what is only when we do not escape into the
future.  To  look  to  the  future,  to  strain  after  an  ideal,  indicates  sluggishness  of
mind and a desire to avoid the present.
Is  not  the  pursuit  of  a  ready-made  Utopia  a  denial  of  the  freedom  and
integration of the individual? When one follows an ideal, a pattern, when one has
a formula for what should be, does one not live a very superficial, automatic life?
We need, not idealists or entities with mechanical minds, but integrated human
beings who are intelligent and free. Merely to have a design for a perfect society
is to wrangle and shed blood for what should be while ignoring what is.
If  human  beings  were  mechanical  entities,  automatic  machines,  then  the
future would be predictable and the plans for a perfect Utopia could be drawn up;
then we would be able to plan carefully a future society and work towards it. But
human beings are not machines to be established according to a definite pattern.
Between  now  and  the  future  there  is  an  immense  gap  in  which  many
influences are at work upon each one of us, and in sacrificing the present for the
future  we  are  pursuing  wrong  means  to  a  probable  right  end.  But  the  means
determine the end; and besides, who are we to decide what man should be? By
what right do we seek to mould him according to a particular pattern, learnt from
some book or determined by our own ambitions, hopes and fears?
The right kind of education is not concerned with any ideology, however much
it may promise a future Utopia: it is not based on any system, however carefully
thought  out;  nor  is  it  a  means  of  conditioning  the  individual  in  some  special
manner. Education in the true sense is helping the individual to be mature and   14
free, to flower greatly in love and goodness. That is what we should be interested
in, and not in shaping the child according to some idealistic pattern.
Any method which classifies children according to temperament and aptitude
merely emphasizes their differences; it breeds antagonism, encourages divisions
in society and does not help to develop integrated human beings. It is obvious
that  no  method  or  system  can  provide  the  right  kind  of  education,  and  strict
adherence  to  a  particular  method  indicates  sluggishness  on  the  part  of  the
educator. As long as education is based on cut-and-dried principles, it can turn
out  men  and  women  who  are  efficient,  but  it  cannot  produce  creative  human
Only love can bring about the understanding of another. Where there is love
there is instantaneous communion with the other, on the same level and at the
same time. It is because we ourselves are so dry, empty and without love that we
have  allowed  governments  and  systems  to  take  over  the  education  of  our
children and the direction of our lives; but governments want efficient technicians,
not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments –
and  to  organized  religions  as  well.  That  is  why  governments  and  religious
organizations seek to control education.
Life  cannot  be  made  to  conform  to  a  system,  it  cannot  be  forced  into  a
framework, however nobly conceived; and a mind that has merely been trained in
factual  knowledge  is  incapable  of  meeting  life  with  its  variety,  its  subtlety,  its
depths and great heights. When we train our children according to a system of
thought  or  a  particular  discipline,  when  we  teach  them  to  think  within
departmental  divisions,  we  prevent  them  from  growing  into  integrated  men  and
women, and therefore they are incapable of thinking intelligently, which is to meet
life as a whole.    15
The  highest  function  of  education  is  to  bring  about  an  integrated  individual
who is capable of dealing with life as a whole. The idealist, like the specialist, is
not concerned with the whole, but only with a part. There can be no integration as
long  as  one  is  pursuing  an  ideal  pattern  of  action;  and  most  teachers  who  are
idealists have put away love, they have dry minds and hard hearts. To study a
child,  one  has  to  be  alert,  watchful,  self-aware,  and  this  demands  far  greater
intelligence  and  affection  than  to  encourage  him  to  follow  an  ideal.  Another
function of education is to create new values. Merely to implant existing values in
the mind of the child, to make him conform to ideals, is to condition him without
awakening  his  intelligence.  Education  is  intimately  related  to  the  present  world
crisis, and the educator who sees the causes of this universal chaos should ask
himself  how  to  awaken  intelligence  in  the  student,  thus  helping  the  coming
generation  not  to  bring  about  further  conflict  and  disaster.  He  must  give  all  his
thought, all his care and affection to the creation of right environment and to the
development of understanding, so that when the child grows into maturity he will
be capable of dealing intelligently with the human problems that confront him. But
in  order  to  do  this,  the  educator  must understand  himself  instead  of  relying  on
ideologies, systems and beliefs.
Let us not think in terms of principles and ideals, but be concerned with things
as they are; for it is the consideration of what is that awakens intelligence, and
the intelligence of the educator is far more important than his knowledge of a new
method of education. When one follows a method, even if it has been worked out
by a thoughtful and intelligent person, the method becomes very important, and
the children are important only as they fit into it. One measures and classifies the
child, and then proceeds to educate him according to some chart. This process of
education may be convenient for the teacher, but neither the practice of a system
nor  the  tyranny  of  opinion  and  learning  can  bring  about  an  integrated  human
being.    16
The right kind of education consists in understanding the child as he is without
imposing upon him an ideal of what we think he should be. To enclose him in the
framework  of  an  ideal  is  to  encourage  him  to  conform,  which  breeds  fear  and
produces in him a constant conflict between what he is and what he should be;
and all inward conflicts have their outward manifestations in society. Ideals are an
actual  hindrance  to  our  understanding  of  the  child  and  to  the  child’s
understanding of himself.
A  parent  who  really  desires  to  understand  his  child  does  not  look  at  him
through the screen of an ideal. If he loves the child, he observes him, he studies
his tendencies, his moods and peculiarities. It is only when one feels no love for
the child that one imposes upon him an ideal, for then one’s ambitions are trying
to fulfil themselves in him, wanting him to become this or that. If one loves, not
the  ideal,  but  the  child,  then  there  is  a  possibility  of  helping  him  to  understand
himself as he is.
If a child tells lies, for example, of what value is it to put before him the ideal of
truth? One has to find out why he is telling lies. To help the child, one has to take
time to study and observe him, which demands patience, love and care; but when
one  has  no  love,  no  understanding,  then  one  forces  the  child  into  a  pattern  of
action which we call an ideal.
Ideals  are  a  convenient  escape,  and  the  teacher  who  follows  them  is
incapable  of  understanding  his  students  and  dealing  with  them  intelligently;  for
him, the future ideal, the what should be, is far more important than the present
child. The pursuit of an ideal excludes love, and without love no human problem
can be solved.
If the teacher is of the right kind, he will not depend on a method, but will study
each individual pupil. In our relationship with children and young people, we are
not dealing with mechanical devices that can be quickly repaired, but with living   17
beings  who  are  impressionable,  volatile,  sensitive,  afraid,  affectionate;  and  to
deal with them, we have to have great  understanding,  the  strength of patience
and love. When we lack these, we look to quick and easy remedies and hope for
marvellous and automatic results. If we are unaware, mechanical in our attitudes
and  actions,  we  fight  shy  of  any  demand  upon  us  that  is  disturbing  and  that
cannot be met by an automatic response, and this is one of our major difficulties
in education.
The child is the result of both the past and the present and is therefore already
conditioned. If we transmit our background to the child, we perpetuate both his
and  our  own  conditioning.  There  is  radical  transformation  only  when  we
understand our own conditioning and are free of it. To discuss what should be the
right kind of education while we ourselves are conditioned is utterly futile.
While the children are young, we must of course protect them from physical
harm and prevent them from feeling physically insecure. But unfortunately we do
not stop there; we want to shape their ways of thinking and feeling, we want to
mould them in accordance with our own cravings and intentions. We seek to fulfil
ourselves in our children, to perpetuate ourselves through them. We build walls
around them, condition them by our beliefs and ideologies, fears and hopes – and
then we cry and pray when they are killed or maimed in wars, or otherwise made
to suffer by the experiences of life.
Such  experiences  do  not  bring  about  freedom;  on  the  contrary,  they
strengthen the will of the self. The self is made up of a series of defensive and
expansive  reactions,  and  its  fulfillment  is  always  in  its  own  projections  and
gratifying identifications. As long as we translate experience in terms of the self,
of the «me» and the «mine,» as long as the «I,» the ego, maintains itself through its
reactions, experience cannot be freed from conflict, confusion and pain. Freedom
comes only when one understands the ways of the self, the experiencer. It is only   18
when  the  self,  with  its  accumulated  reactions,  is  not  the  experiencer,  that
experience takes on an entirely different significance and becomes creation.
If we would help the child to be free from the ways of the self, which cause so
much suffering, then each one of us should set about altering deeply his attitude
and  relationship  to  the  child.  Parents  and  educators,  by  their  own  thought  and
conduct, can help the child to be free and to flower in love and goodness.
Education as it is at present in no way encourages the understanding of the
inherited tendencies and environmental influences which condition the mind and
heart  and  sustain  fear,  and  therefore  it  does  not  help  us  to  break  through  the
conditioning and bring about an integrated human being. Any form of education
that concerns itself with a part and not with the whole of man inevitably leads to
increasing conflict and suffering.
It is only in individual freedom that love and goodness can flower; and the right
kind of education alone can offer this freedom. Neither conformity to the present
society  nor  the  promise  of  a  future  Utopia  can  ever  give  to  the  individual  that
insight without which he is constantly creating problems.
The right kind of educator, seeing the inward nature of freedom, helps each
individual student to observe and understand his own self-projected values and
impositions; he helps him to become aware of the conditioning influences about
him, and of his own desires, both of which limit his mind and breed fear; he helps
him, as he grows to manhood, to observe and understand himself in relation to all
things,  for  it  is  the  craving  for  self-fulfilment  that  brings  endless  conflict  and
Surely, it is possible to help the individual to perceive the enduring values of
life,  without  conditioning.  Some  may  say  that  this  full  development  of  the
individual will lead to chaos; but will it? There is already confusion in the world,
and  it  has  arisen  because  the  individual  has  not  been  educated  to  understand   19
himself.  While  he  has  been  given  some  superficial  freedom,  he  has  also  been
taught to conform, to accept the existing values.
Against this regimentation, many are revolting; but unfortunately their revolt is
a mere self-seeking reaction, which only further darkens our existence. The right
kind of educator, aware of the mind’s tendency to reaction, helps the student to
alter present values, not out of reaction against them, but through understanding
the total process of life. Full cooperation between man and man is not possible
without the integration which right education can help to awaken in the individual.
Why are we so sure that neither we nor the coming generation, through the
right  kind  of  education,  can  bring  about  a  fundamental  alteration  in  human
relationship? We have never tried it; and as most of us seem to be fearful of the
right kind of education, we are disinclined to try it. Without really inquiring into this
whole  question,  we  assert  that  human  nature  cannot  be  changed,  we  accept
things  as  they  are  and  encourage  the  child  to  fit  into  the  present  society;  we
condition  him  to  our  present  ways  of  life,  and  hope  for  the  best.  But  can  such
conformity  to  present  values,  which  lead  to  war  and  starvation,  be  considered
Let  us  not  deceive  ourselves  that  this  conditioning  is  going  to  make  for
intelligence and happiness. If we remain fearful, devoid of affection, hopelessly
apathetic, it means that we are really not interested in encouraging the individual
to flower greatly in love and goodness, but prefer that he carry on the miseries
with which we have burdened ourselves and of which he also is a part.
To condition the student to accept the present environment is quite obviously
stupid. Unless we voluntarily bring about a radical change in education, we are
directly  responsible  for  the  perpetuation  of  chaos  and  misery;  and  when  some
mons and brutal revolution finally comes, it will only give opportunity to another
group of people to exploit and to be ruthless. Each group in power develops its   20
own  means  of  oppression,  whether  through  psychological  persuasion  or  brute
For political and industrial reasons, discipline has become an important factor
in  the  present  social  structure,  and  it  is  because  of  our  desire  to  be
psychologically  secure  that  we  accept  and  practise  various  forms  of  discipline.
Discipline  guarantees  a  result,  and  to  us  the  end  is  more  important  than  the
means; but the means determine the end.
One of the dangers of discipline is that the system becomes more important
than  the  human  beings  who  are  enclosed  in  it.  Discipline  then  becomes  a
substitute  for  love,  and  it  is  because  our  hearts  are  empty  that  we  cling  to
discipline.  Freedom  can  never  come  through  discipline,  through  resistance;
freedom is not a goal, an end to be achieved. Freedom is at the beginning, not at
the end, it is not to be found in some distant ideal.
Freedom  does  not  mean  the  opportunity  for  self-gratification  or  the  setting
aside  of  consideration  for  others.  The  teacher  who  is  sincere  will  protect  the
children and help them in every possible way to grow towards the right kind of
freedom; but it will be impossible for him to do this if he himself is addicted to an
ideology, if he is in any way dogmatic or self-seeking.
Sensitivity can never be awakened through compulsion, One may compel a
child to be outwardly quiet, but one has not come face to face with that which is
making  him  obstinate,  impudent,  and  so  on.  Compulsion  breeds  antago-  nism
and fear. Reward and punishment in any form only make the mind subservient
and dull; and if this is what we desire, then education through compulsion is an
excellent way to proceed.
But such education cannot help us to understand the child, nor can it build a
right social environment in which separatism and hatred will cease to exist. In the
love  of  the  child,  right  education  is  implied.  But  most  of  us  do  not  love  our   21
children;  we  are  ambitious  for  them  –  which  means  that  we  are  ambitious  for
ourselves. Unfortunately, we are so busy with the occupations of the mind that we
have  little  time  for  the  promptings  of  the  heart.  After  all,  discipline  implies
resistance;  and  will  resistance  ever  bring  love?  Discipline  can  only  build  walls
about  us;  it  is  always  exclusive,  ever  making  for  conflict.  Discipline  is  not
conducive  to  understanding;  for  understanding  comes  with  observation,  with
inquiry in which all prejudice is set aside.
Discipline  is  an  easy  way  to  control  a  child,  but  it  does  not  help  him  to
understand  the  problems  involved  in  living.  Some  form  of  compulsion,  the
discipline  of  punishment  and  reward,  may  be  necessary  to  maintain  order  and
seeming  quietness  among  a  large  number  of  students  herded  together  in  a
classroom;  but  with  the  right kind of educator and a small number of students,
would  any  repression,  politely  called  discipline,  be  required?  If  the  classes  are
small  and  the  teacher  can  give  his  full  attention  to  each  child,  observing  and
helping  him,  then  compulsion  or  domination  in  any  form  is  obviously
unnecessary.  If,  in  such  a  group,  a  student  persists  in  disorderliness  or  is
unreasonably  mischievous,  the  educator  must  inquire  into  the  cause  of  his
misbehaviour, which may be wrong diet, lack of rest, family wrangles, or some
hidden fear.
Implicit in right education is the cultivation of freedom and intelligence, which
is  not  possible  if  there  is  any  form  of  compulsion,  with  its  fears.  After  all,  the
concern of the educator is to help the student to understand the complexities of
his whole being. To require him to suppress one part of his nature for the benefit
of some other part is to create in him an endless conflict which results in social
antagonisms. It is intelligence that brings order, not discipline.
Conformity  and  obedience  have  no  place  in  the  right  kind  of  education.
Cooperation  between  teacher  and  student  is  impossible  if  there  is  no  mutual
affection, mutual respect. When the showing of respect to elders is required of   22
children,  it  generally  becomes  a  habit,  a  mere  outward  performance,  and  fear
assumes  the  form  of  veneration.  Without  respect  and  consideration,  no  vital
relationship is possible, especially when the teacher is merely an instrument of
his knowledge.
If the teacher demands respect from his pupils and has very little for them, it
will obviously cause indifference and disrespect on their part. Without respect for
human  life,  knowledge  only  leads  to  destruction  and  misery.  The  cultivation  of
respect  for  others  is  an  essential  part  of  right  education,  but  if  the  educator
himself has not this quality, he cannot help his students to an integrated life.
Intelligence is discernment of the essential, and to discern the essential there
must be freedom from those hindrances which the mind projects in the search for
its  own  security  and  comfort.  Fear  is  inevitable as long as the mind is seeking
security; and when human beings are regimented in any way, keen awareness
and intelligence are destroyed.
The purpose of education is to cultivate right relationship, not only between
individuals,  but  also  between  the  individual  and  society;  and  that  is  why  it  is
essential that education should, above all, help the individual to understand his
own psychological process. Intelligence lies in understanding oneself and going
above and beyond oneself; but there cannot be intelligence as long as there is
fear.  Fear  perverts  intelligence  and  is  one  of  the  causes of self-centred action.
Discipline  may  suppress  fear  but  does  not  eradicate  it,  and  the  superficial
knowledge which we receive in modern education only further conceals it.
When  we  are  young,  fear  is  instilled  into  most  of  us  both  at  home  and  at
school. Neither parents nor teachers have the patience, the time or the wisdom to
dispel  the  instinctive  fears  of  childhood,  which,  as  we  grow  up,  dominate  our
attitudes  and  judgment  and  create  a  great  many  problems.  The  right  kind  of
education must take into consideration this question of fear, because fear warps   23
our whole outlook on life. To be without fear is the beginning of wisdom, and only
the right kind of education can bring about the freedom from fear in which alone
there is deep and creative intelligence.
Reward  or  punishment  for  any  action  merely  strengthens  self-centredness.
Action for the sake of another, in the name of the country or of God, leads to fear,
and  fear  can-  not  be  the  basis  for  right  action.  If  we  would  help  a  child  to  be
considerate of others, we should not use love as a bribe, but take the time and
have the patience to explain the ways of consideration.
There is no respect for another when there is a reward for it, for the bribe or
the  punishment  becomes  far  more  significant  than  the  feeling  of  respect.  If  we
have no respect for the child but merely offer him a reward or threaten him with
punishment, we are encouraging acquisitiveness and fear. Because we ourselves
have been brought up to act for the sake of a result, we do not see that there can
be action free of the desire to gain.
The right kind of education will encourage thoughtfulness and consideration
for  others  without  enticements  or  threats  of  any  kind.  If  we  no  longer  seek
immediate results, we shall begin to see how important it is that both the educator
and the child should be free from the fear of punishment and the hope of reward,
and from every other form of compulsion; but compulsion will continue as long, as
authority is part of relationship.
To  follow  authority  has  many  advantages  if  one  thinks  in  terms  of  personal
motive and gain; but education based on individual advancement and profit can
only build a social structure which is competitive, antagonistic and ruthless. This
is the kind of society in which we have been brought up, and our animosity and
confusion are obvious.
We have been taught to conform to the authority of a teacher, of a book, of a
party, because it is profitable to do so. The specialists in every department of life,   24
from  the  priest  to  the  bureaucrat,  wield  authority  and  dominate  us;  but  any
government  or  teacher  that  uses  compulsion  can  never  bring  about  the
cooperation in relationship which is essential for the welfare of society.
If we are to have right relationship between human beings, there should be no
compulsion  nor  even  persuasion.  How  can  there  be  affection  and  genuine  co-
operation between those who are in power and those who are subject to power?
By  dispassionately  considering  this  question  of  authority  and  its  many
implications, by seeing that the very desire for power is in itself destructive, there
comes  a  spontaneous  understanding  of  the  whole  process  of  authority.  The
moment  we  discard  authority  we  are  in  partnership,  and  only  then  is  there
cooperation and affection.
The real problem in education is the educator. Even a small group of student
becomes  the  instrument  of  his  personal  importance  if  he  uses  authority  as  a
means of his own release, if teaching is for him a self-expansive fulfilment. But
mere intellectual or verbal agreement concerning the crippling effects of authority
is stupid and vain.
There  must  be  deep  insight  into  the  hidden  motivations  of  authority  and
domination.  If  we  see  that  intelligence  can  never  be  awakened  through
compulsion, the very awareness of that fact will burn away our fears, and then we
shall  begin  to  cultivate  a  new  environment  which  will  be  contrary  to  and  far
transcend the present social order.
To understand the significance of life with its conflicts and pain, we must think
independently of any authority, including the authority of organized religion; but if
in our desire to help the child we set before him authoritative examples, we shall
only be encouraging fear, imitation and various forms of superstition.
Those  who  are  religiously  inclined  try  to  impose  upon  the  child  the  beliefs,
hopes and fears which they in turn have acquired from their parents; and those   25
who  are  anti-religious  are  equally  keen  to  influence  the  child  to  accept  the
particular way of thinking which they happen to follow. We all want our children to
accept our form of worship or take to heart our chosen ideology. It is so easy to
get entangled in images and formulations, whether invented by ourselves or by
others, and therefore it is necessary to be ever watchful and alert.
What  we  call  religion  is  merely  organized  belief,  with  its  dogmas,  rituals,
mysteries and superstitions. Each religion has its own sacred book, its mediator,
its priests and its ways of threatening and holding people. Most of us have been
conditioned  to  all  this,  which  is  considered  religious  education;  but  this
conditioning  sets  man  against  man,  it  creates  antagonism,  not  only  among  the
believers, but also against those of other beliefs. Though all religions assert that
they worship God and say that we must love one another, they instill fear through
their doctrines of reward and punishment, and through their competitive dogmas
they perpetuate suspicion and antagonism.
Dogmas, mysteries and rituals are not conducive to a spiritual life. Religious
education  in  the  true  sense  is  to  encourage  the  child  to  understand  his  own
relationship  to  people,  to  things  and  to  nature.  There  is  no  existence  without
relationship;  and  without  self-knowledge,  all  relationship,  with  the  one  and  with
the many, brings conflict and sorrow. Of course, to explain this fully to a child is
impossible; but if the educator and the parents deeply grasp the full significance
of relationship, then by their attitude, conduct and speech they will surely be able
to convey to the child, without too many words and explanations, the meaning of
a spiritual life.
Our  so  called  religious  training  discourages  questioning  and  doubt,  yet  it  is
only when we inquire into the significance of the values which society and religion
have placed about us that we begin to find out what is true. It is the function of the
educator to examine deeply his own thoughts and feelings and to put aside those   26
values which have given him security and comfort, for only then can he help his
students to be self-aware and to understand their own urges and fears.
The time to grow straight and clear is when one is young; and those of us who
are older can, if we have understanding, help the young to free themselves from
the  hindrances  which  society  has  imposed  upon  them,  as  well  as  from  those
which  they  themselves  are  projecting.  If  the  child’s  mind  and  heart  are  not
moulded  by  religious  preconceptions  and  prejudices,  then  he  will  be  free  to
discover through self-knowledge what is above and beyond himself.
True religion is not a set of beliefs and rituals, hopes and fears; and if we can
allow the child to grow up without these hindering influences, then perhaps, as he
matures, he will begin to inquire into the nature of reality, of God. That is why, in
educating a child, deep insight and understanding are necessary.
Most people who are religiously inclined, who talk about God and immortality,
do not fundamentally believe in individual freedom and integration; yet religion is
the cultivation of freedom in the search for truth. There can be no compromise
with freedom. Partial freedom for the individual is no freedom at all. Conditioning,
of any kind, whether political or religious, is not freedom and it will never bring
Religion is not a form of conditioning. It is a state of tranquillity in which there
is reality, God; but that creative state can come into being only when there is self-
knowledge and freedom. Freedom brings virtue, and without virtue there can be
no  tranquillity.  The  still  mind  is  not  a  conditioned  mind,  it  is  not  disciplined  or
trained to be still. Stillness comes only when the mind understands its own ways,
which are the ways of the self.
Organized religion is the frozen thought of man, out of which he builds temples
and churches; it has become a solace for the fearful, an opiate for those who are
in  sorrow.  But  God  or  truth  is  far  beyond  thought  and  emotional  demands.   27
Parents and teachers who recognize the psychological processes which build up
fear and sorrow should be able to help the young to observe and understand their
own conflicts and trials.
If we who are older can help the children, as they grow up, to think clearly and
dispassionately, to love and not to breed animosity, what more is there to do? But
if we are constantly at one another’s throats, if we are incapable of bringing about
order and peace in the world by deeply changing ourselves, of what value are the
sacred books and the myths of the various religions?
True religious education is to help the child to be intelligently aware, to discern
for himself the temporary and the real, and to have a disinterested approach to
life; and would it not have more meaning to begin each day at home or at school
with a serious thought, or with a reading that has depth and significance, rather
than mumble some oft-repeated words or phrases?
Past  generations,  with  their  ambitions,  traditions  and  ideals,  have  brought
misery  and  destruction  to  the  world;  perhaps  the  coming  generations,  with  the
right kind of education, can put an end to this chaos and build a happier social
order.  If  those  who  are  young  have  the  spirit  of  inquiry,  if  they  are  constantly
searching  out  the  truth  of  all  things,  political  and  religious,  personal  and
environmental,  then  youth  will  have  great  significance  and  there  is  hope  for  a
better world.
Most children are curious, they want to know; but their eager inquiry is dulled
by  our  pontifical  assertions,  our  superior  impatience  and  our  casual  brushing
aside  of  their  curiosity.  We  do  not  encourage  their  inquiry,  for  we  are  rather
apprehensive of what may be asked of us; we do not foster their discontent, for
we ourselves have ceased to question.
Most parents and teachers are afraid of discontent because it is disturbing to
all  forms  of  security,  and  so  they  encourage  the  young  to  overcome  it  through   28
safe jobs, inheritance, marriage and the consolation of religious dogmas. Elders,
knowing only too well the many ways of blunting the mind and the heart, proceed
to  make  the  child  as  dull  as  they  are  by  impressing  upon  him  the  authorities,
traditions and beliefs which they themselves have accepted.
Only by encouraging the child to question the book, whatever it be, to inquire
into  the  validity  of  the  existing  social  values,  traditions,  forms  of  government,
religious beliefs and so on, can the educator and the parents hope to awaken and
sustain his critical alertness and keen insight.
The young, if they are at all alive, are full of hope and discontent; they must
be,  otherwise  they  are  already  old  and  dead.  And  the  old  are  those  who  were
once  discontented,  but  who  have  successfully  smothered  that  flame  and  have
found  security  and  comfort  in  various  ways.  They  crave  permanency  for
themselves  and  their  families,  they  ardently  desire  certainty  in  ideas,  in
relationships,  in  possessions;  so  the  moment  they  feel  discontented,  they
become  absorbed  in  their  responsibilities,  in  their  jobs,  or  in  anything  else,  in
order to escape from that disturbing feeling of discontent.
While we are young is the time to be discontented, not only with ourselves, but
also with the things about us. We should learn to think clearly and without bias,
so  as  not  to  be  inwardly  dependent  and  fearful.  Independence  is  not  for  that
coloured  section  of  the  map  which  we  call  our  country,  but  for  ourselves  as
individuals; and though outwardly we are dependent on one another, this mutual
dependence does not become cruel or oppressive if inwardly we are free of the
craving for power, position and authority.
We  must  understand  discontent,  of  which  most  of  us  are  afraid.  Discontent
may  bring  what  appears  to  be  disorder;  but  if  it  leads,  as  it  should,  to  self-
knowledge  and  self-abnegation,  then  it  will  create  a  new  social  order  and
enduring peace. With self-abnegation comes immeasurable joy.    29
Discontent is the means to freedom; but in order to inquire without bias, there
must be none of the emotional dissipation which often takes the form of political
gatherings, the shouting of slogans, the search for a guru or spiritual teacher, and
religious  orgies  of  different  kinds.  This  dissipation  dulls  the  mind  and  heart,
making them incapable of insight and therefore easily moulded by circumstances
and  fear.  It  is  the  burning  desire  to  inquire,  and  not  the  easy  imitation  of  the
multitude, that will bring about a new understanding of the ways of life.
The young are so easily persuaded by the priest or the politician, by the rich or
the poor, to think in a particular way; but the right kind of education should help
them to be watchful of these influences so that they do not repeat slogans like
parrots or fall into any cunning trap of greed, whether their own or that of another.
They must not allow authority to stifle their minds and hearts. To follow another,
however great, or to give one’s adherence to a gratifying ideology, will not bring
about a peaceful world.
When we leave school or college, many of us put away books and seem to
feel that we are done with learning; and there are those who are stimulated to
think further afield, who keep on reading and absorbing what others have said,
and become addicted to knowledge. As long as there is the worship of knowledge
or  technique  as  a  means  to  success  and  dominance,  there  must  be  ruthless
competition, antagonism and the ceaseless struggle for bread.
As  long  as  success  is  our  goal  we  cannot  be  rid  of  fear,  for  the  desire  to
succeed inevitably breeds the fear of failure. That is why the young should not be
taught  to  worship  success.  Most  people  seek  success  in  one  form  or  another,
whether on the tennis court, in the business world, or in politics. We all want to be
on  top,  and  this  desire  creates  constant  conflict  within  ourselves  and  with  our
neighbours; it leads to competition, envy, animosity and finally to war.    30
Like the older generation, the young also seek success and security; though at
first they may be discontented, they soon become respectable and are afraid to
say no to society. The walls of their own desires begin to enclose them, and they
fall in line and assume the reins of authority. Their discontent, which is the very
flame of inquiry, of search, of understanding, grows dull and dies away, and in its
place  there  comes  the  desire  for  a  better  job,  a  rich  marriage,  a  successful
career, all of which is the craving for more security.
There is no essential difference between the old and the young, for both are
slaves to their own desires and gratifications. Maturity is not a matter of age, it
comes with understanding. The ardent spirit of inquiry is perhaps easier for the
young, because those who are older have been battered about by life, conflicts
have  worn  them  out  and  death  in  different  forms  awaits  them.  This  does  not
mean that they are incapable of purposive inquiry, but only that it is more difficult
for them.
Many adults are immature and rather childish, and this is a contributing cause
of  the  confusion  and  misery  in  the  world.  It  is  the  older  people  who  are
responsible  for  the  prevailing  economic  and  moral  crisis;  and  one  of  our
unfortunate weaknesses is that we want someone else to act for us and change
the  course  of  our  lives.  We  wait  for  others  to  revolt  and  build  anew,  and  we
remain inactive until we are assured of the outcome.
It is security and success that most of us are after; and a mind that is seeking
security,  that  craves  success,  is  not  intelligent,  and  is  therefore  incapable  of
integrated  action.  There  can  be  integrated  action  only  if  one  is  aware  of  one’s
own conditioning, of one’s racial, national, political and religious prejudices; that
is, only if one realizes that the ways of the self are ever separative.
Life is a well of deep waters. One can come to it with small buckets and draw
only a little water, or one can come with large vessels, drawing plentiful waters   31
that  will  nourish  and  sustain.  While  one  is  young  is  the  time  to  investigate,  to
experiment with everything. The school should help its young people to discover
their  vocations  and  responsibilities,  and  not  merely  cram  their  minds  with  facts
and  technical  knowledge;  it  should  be  the  soil  in  which  they  can  grow  without
fear,  happily  and  integrally.  To  educate  a  child  is  to  help  him  to  understand
freedom  and  integration.  To  have  freedom  there  must  be  order,  which  virtue
alone can give; and integration can take place only when there is great simplicity.
From  innumerable  complexities  we  must  grow  to  simplicity;  we  must  become
simple in our inward life and in our outward needs.
Education  is  at  present  concerned  with  outward  efficiency,  and  it  utterly
disregards,  or  deliberately  perverts,  the  inward  nature  of  man;  it  develops  only
one  part  of  him  and  leaves  the  rest  to  drag  along  as  best  it  can.  Our  inner
confusion,  antagonism  and  fear  ever  overcome  the  outer  structure  of  society,
however nobly conceived and cunningly built. When there is not the right kind of
education  we  destroy  one  another,  and  physical  security  for  every  individual  is
denied.  To  educate  the  student  rightly  is  to  help  him  to  understand  the  total
process of himself; for it is only when there is integration of the mind and heart in
everyday action that there can be intelligence and inward transformation.
While offering information and technical training, education should above all
encourage an integrated outlook on life; it should help the student to recognize
and break down in himself all social distinctions and prejudices, and discourage
the  acquisitive  pursuit  of  power  and  domination.  It  should  encourage  the  right
kind of self-observation and the experiencing of life as a whole, which is not to
give significance to the part, to the «me» and the»mine,» but to help the mind to go
above  and  beyond  itself  to  discover  the  real.  Freedom  comes  into  being  only
through  self-knowledge  in  one’s  daily  occupations,  that  is,  in  one’s  relationship
with people, with things, with ideas and with nature. If the educator is helping the
student to be integrated, there can be no fanatical or unreasonable emphasis on   32
any  particular  phase  of  life.  It  is  the  understanding  of  the  total  process  of
existence  that  brings  integration.  When  there  is  self-knowledge,  the  power  of
creating illusions ceases, and only then is it possible for reality or God, to be.
Human beings must be integrated if they are to come out of any crisis, and
especially  the  present  world  crisis,  without  being  broken;  therefore,  to  parents
and teachers who are really interested in education, the main problem is how to
develop an integrated individual. To do this, the educator himself must obviously
be integrated; so the right kind of education is of the highest importance, not only
for the young, but also for the older generation if they are willing to learn and are
not too set in their ways. What we are in ourselves is much more important than
the additional question of what to teach the child, and if we love our children we
will see to it that they have the right kind of educators.
Teaching should not become a specialist’s profession. When it does, as is so
often  the  case,  love  fades  away;  and  love  is  essential  to  the  process  of
integration.  To  be  integrated  there  must  be  freedom  from  fear.  Fearlessness
brings independence without ruthlessness, without contempt for another, and this
is  the  most  essential  factor  in  life.  Without  love  we  cannot  work  out  our  many
conflicting increases confusion and leads to self-destruction.
The integrated human being will come to technique through experiencing, for
the creative impulse makes its own technique – and that is the greatest art. When
a  child  has  the  creative  impulse  to  paint,  he  paints,  he  does  not  bother  about
technique. Likewise people who are experiencing, and therefore teaching, are the
only real teachers, and they too will create their own technique.
This sounds very simple, but it is really a deep revolution. If we think about it
we can see the extraordinary effect it will have on society. At present most of us
are  washed  out  at  the  age  of  forty-five  or  fifty  by  slavery  to  routine;  through
compliance, through fear and acceptance, we are finished, though we struggle on   33
in a society that has very little meaning except for those who dominate it and are
secure. If the teacher sees this and is himself really experiencing, then whatever
his  temperament  and  capacities  may  be,  his  teaching  will  not  be  a  matter  of
routine but will become an instrument of help.
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different
moods;  we  cannot  project  upon  him  our  own  prejudices,  hopes  and  fears,  or
mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child
according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and
hindrances  in  our  relationship  with  him  and  in  his  relationships  with  the  world.
Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to
our  own  vanities  and  idiosyncrasies;  we  find  varying  degrees  of  comfort  and
satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination.
Surely, this process is not relationship, but mere imposition, and it is therefore
essential  to  understand  the  difficult  and  complex  desire  to  dominate.  It  takes
many subtle forms; and in its self-righteous aspect, it is very obstinate. The desire
to «serve» with the unconscious longing to dominate is difficult to understand. Can
there  be  love  where  there  is  possessiveness?  Can  we  be  in  communion  with
those  whom  we  seek  to  control?  To  dominate  is  to  use  another  for  self-
gratification, and where there is the use of another there is no love.
When  there  is  love  there  is  consideration,  not  only  for  the  children  but  for
every human being. Unless we are deeply touched by the problem, we will never
find  the  right  way  of  education.  Mere  technical  training  inevitably  makes  for
ruthlessness,  and  to  educate  our  children  we  must  be  sensitive  to  the  whole
movement  of  life.  What  we  think,  what  we  do,  what  we  say  matters  infinitely,
because it creates the environment, and the environment either helps or hinders
the child.    34
Obviously,  then,  those  of  us  who  are  deeply  interested  in  this  problem  will
have to begin to understand ourselves and thereby help to transform society; we
will make it our direct responsibility to bring about a new approach to education. If
we love our children, will we not find a way of putting an end to war? But if we are
merely using the word»love» without substance, then the whole complex problem
of human misery will remain. The way out of this problem lies through ourselves.
We must begin to understand our relationship with our fellow men, with nature,
with ideas and with things, for without that understanding there is no hope, there
is no way out of conflict and suffering.
The bringing up of a child requires intelligent observation and care. Experts
and their knowledge can never replace the parents’ love, but most parents corrupt
that love by their own fears and ambitions, which condition and distort the outlook
of the child. So few of us are concerned with love, but we are vastly taken up with
the appearance of love.
The  present  educational  and  social  structure  does  not  help  the  individual
towards  freedom  and  integration;  and  if  the  parents  are  at  all  in  earnest  and
desire that the child shall grow to his fullest integral capacity, they must begin to
alter the influence of the home and set about creating schools with the right kind
of educators.
The  influence  of  the  home  and  that  of  the  school  must  not  be  in  any  way
contradictory,  so  both  parents  and  teachers  must  re-educate  themselves.  The
contradiction which so often exists between the private life of the individual and
his life as a member of the group creates an endless battle within himself and in
his relationships.
This  conflict  is  encouraged  and  sustained  through  the  wrong  kind  of
education, and both governments and organized religions add to the confusion by
their  contradictory  doctrines.  The  child  is  divided  within  himself  from  the  very   35
start, which results in personal and social disasters. If those of us who love our
children and see the urgency of this problem will set our minds and hearts to it,
then, however few we may be, through right education and an intelligent home
environment, we can help to bring about integrated human beings; but if, like so
many others, we fill our hearts with the cunning things of the mind, then we shall
continue  to  see  our  children  destroyed  in  wars,  in  famines,  and  by  their  own
psychological conflicts.
Right  education  comes  with  the  transformation  of  ourselves.  We  must  re-
educate ourselves not to kill one another for any cause, however righteous, for
any ideology, however promising it may appear to be for the future happiness of
the world. We must learn to be compassionate, to be content with little, and to
seek the Supreme, for only then can there be the true salvation of mankind.    36
Chapter 3: Intellect, Authority And Intelligence
MANY of us seem to think that by teaching every human being to read and
write, we shall solve our human problems; but this idea has proved to be false.
The so-called educated are not peace-loving, integrated people, and they too are
responsible for the confusion and misery of the world.
The right kind of education means the awakening of intelligence, the fostering
of  an  integrated  life,  and  only  such  education  can  create  a  new  culture  and  a
peaceful world; but to bring about this new kind of education, we must make a
fresh start on an entirely different basis.
With the world falling into ruin about us, we discuss theories and vain political
questions,  and  play  with  superficial  reforms.  Does  this  not  indicate  utter
thoughtlessness on our part? Some may agree that it does, but they will go on
doing exactly as they have always done – and that is the sadness of existence.
When  we  hear  a  truth  and  do  not  act  upon  it,  it  becomes  a  poison  within
ourselves,  and  that  poison  spreads,  bringing  psychological  disturbances,
unbalance  and  ill  health.  Only  when  creative  intelligence  is  awakened  in  the
individual is there a possibility of a peaceful and happy life.
We cannot be intelligent by merely substituting one government for another,
one party or class for another, one exploiter for another. Bloody revolution can
never solve our problems. Only a profound inward revolution which alters all our
values can create a different environment, an intelligent social structure, and such
a revolution can be brought about only by you and me. No new order will arise
until we individually break down our own psychological barriers and are free.
On paper we can draw the blueprints for a brilliant Utopia, a brave new world;
but the sacrifice of the present to an unknown future will certainly never solve any
of our problems. There are so many elements intervening between now and the   37
future, that no man can know what the future will be. What we can and must do if
we are in earnest, is to tackle our problems now, and not postpone them to the
future.  Eternity  is  not  in  the  future;  eternity  is  now.  Our  problems  exist  in  the
present, and it is only in the present that they can be solved.
Those  of  us  who  are  serious  must  regenerate  ourselves;  but  there  can  be
regeneration only when we break away from those values which we have created
through  our  self-protective  and  aggressive  desires.  Self-knowledge  is  the
beginning of freedom, and it is only when we know ourselves that we can bring
about  order  and  peace.  Now,  some  may  ask,  `What  can  a  single  individual  do
that will affect history? Can he accomplish anything at all by the way he lives?»
Certainly he can. You and I are obviously not going to stop the immediate wars,
or create an instantaneous understanding between nations; but at least we can
bring  about,  in  the  world  of  our  everyday  relationships,  a  fundamental  change
which will have its own effect.
Individual enlightenment does affect large groups of people, but only if one is
not eager for results. If one thinks in terms of gain and effect, right transformation
of oneself is not possible.
Human problems are not simple, they are very complex. To understand them
requires  patience  and  insight,  and  it  is  of  the  highest  importance  that  we  as
individuals  understand  and  resolve  them  for  ourselves.  They  are  not  to  be
understood through easy formulas or slogans; nor can they be solved at their own
level  by  specialists  working  along  a  particular  line,  which  only  leads  to  further
confusion and misery. Our many problems can be understood and resolved only
when we are aware of ourselves as a total process, that is, when we understand
our whole psychological make-up; and no religious or political leader can give us
the key to that understanding.    38
To understand ourselves, we must be aware of our relationship, not only with
people, but also with property, with ideas and with nature. If we are to bring about
a  true  revolution  in  human  relationship,  which  is  the  basis  of  all  society,  there
must be a fundamental change in our own values and outlook; but we avoid the
necessary  and  fundamental  transformation  of  ourselves,  and  try  to  bring  about
political revolutions in the world, which always leads to bloodshed and disaster.
Relationship based on sensation can never be a means of release from the
self; yet most of our relationships are based on sensation, they are the outcome
of  our  desire  for  personal  advantage,  for  comfort,  for  psychological  security.
Though they may offer us a momentary escape from the self, such relationships
only  give  strength  to  the  self,  with  its  enclosing  and  binding  activities.
Relationship is a mirror in which the self and all its activities can be seen; and it is
only when the ways of the self are understood in the reactions of relationship that
there is creative release from the self.
To transform the world, there must be regeneration within ourselves. Nothing
can be achieved by violence, by the easy liquidation of one another. We may find
a  temporary  release  by  joining  groups,  by  studying  methods  of  social  and
economic  reform,  by  enacting  legislation,  or  by  praying;  but  do  what  we  will,
without self-knowledge and the love that is inherent in it, our problems will ever
expand and multiply. Whereas, if we apply our minds and hearts to the task of
knowing ourselves, we shall undoubtedly solve our many conflicts and sorrows.
Modern  education  is  making  us  into  thoughtless  entities;  it  does  very  little
towards helping us to find our individual vocation. We pass certain examinations
and then, with luck, we get a job – which often means endless routine for the rest
of our life. We may dislike our job, but we are forced to continue with it because
we  have  no  other  means  of  livelihood.  We  may  want  to  do  something  entirely
different, but commitments and responsibilities hold us down, and we are hedged   39
in by our own anxieties and fears. Being frustrated, we seek escape through sex,
drink, politics or fanciful religion.
When  our  ambitions  are  thwarted,  we  give  undue  importance  to  that  which
should  be  normal,  and  we  develop  a  psychological  twist.  Until  we  have  a
comprehensive understanding of our life and love, of our political, religious and
social desires, with their demands and hindrances, we shall have everincreasing
problems in our relationships, leading us to misery and destruction.
Ignorance  is  lack  of  knowledge  of  the  ways  of  the  self,  and  this  ignorance
cannot  be  dissipated  by  superficial  activities  and  reforms;  it  can  be  dissipated
only by one’s constant awareness of the movements and responses of the self in
all its relationships.
What we must realize is that we are not only conditioned by environment, but
that we are the environment – we are not something apart from it. Our thoughts
and responses are conditioned by the values which society, of which we are a
part, has imposed upon us.
We  never  see  that  we  are  the  total  environment  because  there  are  several
entities in us, all revolving around the `me’, the self. The self is made up of these
entities, which are merely desires in various forms. From this conglomeration of
desires arises the central  figure,  the  thinker,  the  will  of  the»me»  and  the  «mine;
and  a  division  is  thus  established  between  the  self  and  the  not-self,  between
the»me»  and  the  environment  or  society.  This  separation  is  the  beginning  of
conflict, inward and outward.
Awareness  of  this  whole  process,  both  the  conscious  and  the  hidden,  is
meditation; and through this meditation the self, with its desires and conflicts, is
transcended. Self-knowledge is necessary if one is to be free of the influences
and  values  that  give  shelter  to  the  self;  and  in  this  freedom  alone  is  there
creation, truth, God, or what you will.    40
Opinion and tradition mould our thoughts and feelings from the tenderest age.
The immediate influences and impressions produce an effect which is powerful
and  lasting,  and  which  shapes  the  whole  course  of  our  conscious  and
unconscious  life.  Conformity  begins  in  childhood  through  education  and  the
impact of society.
The  desire  to  imitate  is  a  very  strong  factor  in  our  life,  not  only  at  the
superficial levels, but also profoundly. We have hardly any independent thoughts
and feelings. When they do occur, they are mere reactions, and are therefore not
free from the established pattern; for there is no freedom in reaction.
Philosophy and religion lay down certain methods whereby we can come to
the  realization  of  truth  or  God;  yet  merely  to  follow  a  method  is  to  remain
thoughtless and unintegrated, however beneficial the method may seem to be in
our daily social life. The urge to conform, which is the desire for security, breeds
fear and brings to the fore the political and religious authorities, the leaders and
heroes  who  encourage  subservience  and  by  whom  we  are  subtly  or  grossly
dominated; but not to conform is only a reaction against authority, and in no way
helps us to become integrated human beings. Reaction is endless, it only leads to
further reaction.
Conformity, with its undercurrent of fear, is a hindrance; but mere intellectual
recognition of this fact will not resolve the hindrance. It is only when we are aware
of hindrances with our whole being that we can be free of them without creating
further and deeper blockages.
When we are inwardly dependent, then tradition has a great hold on us; and a
mind  that  thinks  along  traditional  lines  cannot  discover  that  which  is  new.  By
conforming we become mediocre imitators, cogs in a cruel social machine. It is
what we think that matters, not what others want us to think. When we conform to
tradition, we soon become mere copies of what we should be.    41
This  imitation  of  what  we  should  be,  breeds  fear;  and  fear  kills  creative
thinking.  Fear  dulls  the  mind  and  heart  so  that  we  are  not  alert  to  the  whole
significance of life; we become insensitive to our own sorrows, to the movement
of the birds, to the smiles and miseries of others.
Conscious and unconscious fear has many different causes, and it needs alert
watchfulness to be rid of them all. Fear cannot be eliminated through discipline,
sublimation, or through any other act of will: its causes have to be searched out
and  understood.  This  needs  patience  and  an  awareness  in  which  there  is  no
judgment of any kind.
It is comparatively easy to understand and dissolve our conscious fears. But
unconscious  fears  are  not  even  discovered  by  most  of  us,  for  we  do  not  allow
them to come to the surface; and when on rare occasions they do come to the
surface, we hasten to cover them up, to escape from them. Hidden fears often
make their presence known through dreams and other forms of intimation, and
they cause greater deterioration and conflict than do the superficial fears.
Our  lives  are  not  just  on  the  surface,  their  greater  part  is  concealed  from
casual observation. If we would have our obscure fears come into the open and
dissolve, the conscious mind must be somewhat still, not everlastingly occupied;
then, as these fears come to the surface, they must be observed without let or
hindrance, for any form of condemnation or justification only strengthens fear. To
be  free  from  all  fear,  we  must  be  awake  to  its  darkening  influence,  and  only
constant watchfulness can reveal its many causes.
One  of  the  results  of  fear  is  the  acceptance  of  authority  in  human  affairs.
Authority is created by our desire to be right, to be secure, to be comfortable, to
have no conscious conflicts or disturbances; but nothing which results from fear
can help us to understand our problems, even though fear may take the form of
respect and submission to the so-called wise. The wise wield no authority, and   42
those in authority are not wise. Fear in whatever form prevents the understanding
of ourselves and of our relationship to all things.
The following of authority is the denial of intelligence. To accept authority is to
submit to domination to sub- jugate oneself to an individual, to a group, or to an
ideology, whether religious or political; and this subjugation of oneself to authority
is the denial, not only of intelligence, but also of individual freedom. Compliance
with a creed or a system of ideas is a self-protective reaction. The acceptance of
authority may help us temporarily to cover up our difficulties and problems; but to
avoid  a  problem  is  only  to  intensify  it,  and  in  the  process,  self-knowledge  and
freedom are abandoned.
How  can  there  be  compromise  between  freedom  and  the  acceptance  of
authority?  If  there  is  compromise,  then  those  who  say  they  are  seeking  self-
knowledge  and  freedom  are  not  earnest  in  their  endeavour.  We  seem  to  think
that freedom is an ultimate end, a goal, and that in order to become free we must
first submit ourselves to various forms of suppression and intimidation. We hope
to achieve freedom through conformity; but are not the means as important as the
end? Do not the means shape the end?
To have peace, one must employ peaceful means; for if the means are violent,
how can the end be peaceful? If the end is freedom, the beginning must be free,
for  the  end  and  the  beginning  are  one.  There  can  be  self-knowledge  and
intelligence only when there is freedom at the very outset; and freedom is denied
by the acceptance of authority.
We worship authority in various forms: knowledge, success, power, and so on.
We exert authority on the young, and at the same time we are afraid of superior
authority. When man himself has no inward vision, outward power and position
assume vast importance, and then the indi- vidual is more and more subject to
authority and compulsion, he becomes the instrument of others. We can see this   43
process going on around us: in moments of crisis, the democratic nations act like
the totalitarian, forgetting their democracy and forcing man to conform.
If we can understand the compulsion behind our desire to dominate or to be
dominated, then perhaps we can be free from the crippling effects of authority.
We crave to be certain, to be right, to be successful, to know; and this desire for
certainty,  for  permanence,  builds  up  within  ourselves  the  authority  of  personal
experience,  while  outwardly  it  creates  the  authority  of  society,  of  the  family,  of
religion,  and  so  on.  But  merely  to  ignore  authority,  to  shake  off  its  outward
symbols, is of very little significance.
To break away from one tradition and conform to another, to leave this leader
and follow that, is but a superficial gesture. If we are to be aware of the whole
process of authority, if we are to see the inwardness of it, if we are to understand
and transcend the desire for certainty, then we must have extensive awareness
and insight, we must be free, not at the end, but at the beginning.
The craving for certainty, for security is one of the major activities of the self,
and it is this compelling urge that has to be constantly watched, and not merely
twisted or forced in another direction, or made to conform to a desired pattern.
The  self,  the  «me»  and  the  «mine,»  is  very  strong  in  most  of  us;  sleeping  or
waking,  it  is  ever  alert,  always  strengthening  itself.  But  when  there  is  an
awareness of the self and a realization that all its activities, however subtle, must
inevitably  lead  to  conflict  and  pain,  then  the  craving  for  certainty,  for  self-
continuance comes to an end. One has to be constantly watchful for the self to
reveal  its  ways  and  tricks;  but  when  we  begin  to  understand  them,  and  to
understand the implications of authority and all that is involved in our acceptance
and denial of it, then we are already disentangling ourselves from authority.
As long as the mind allows itself to be dominated and controlled by the desire
for its own security, there can be no release from the self and its problems; and   44
that is why there is no release from the self through dogma and organized belief,
which we call religion. Dogma and belief are only projections of our own mind.
The rituals, the puja, the accepted forms of meditation, the constantly-repeated
words and phrases, though they may produce certain gratifying responses, do not
free the mind from the self and its activities; for the self is essentially the outcome
of sensation.
In moments of sorrow, we turn to what we call God, which is but an image of
our  own  minds;  or  we  find  gratifying  explanations,  and  this  gives  us  temporary
comfort. The religions that we follow are created by our hopes and fears, by our
desire  for  inward  security  and  reassurance;  and  with  the  worship  of  authority,
whether  it  is  that  of  a  saviour,  a  master  or  a  priest,  there  come  submission,
acceptance and imitation. So, we are exploited in the name of God, as we are
exploited in the name of parties and ideologies – and we go on suffering.
We  are  all  human  beings,  by  whatever  name  we  may  call  ourselves,  and
suffering  is  our  lot.  Sorrow  is  common  to  all  of  us,  to  the  idealist  and  to  the
materialist. Idealism is an escape from what is, and materialism is another way of
denying  the  measureless  depths  of  the  present.  Both  the  idealist  and  the
materialist  have  their  own  ways  of  avoiding  the  complex  problem  of  suffering;
both are consumed by their own cravings, ambitions and conflicts, and their ways
of  life  are  not  conducive  to  tranquillity.  They  are  both  responsible  for  the
confusion and misery of the world.
Now,  when  we  are  in  a  state  of  conflict,  of  suffering,  there  is  no
comprehension:  in  that  state,  however  cunningly  and  carefully  thought  out  our
action may be, it can only lead to further confusion and sorrow. To understand
conflict and so to be free from it, there must be an awareness of the ways of the
conscious and of the unconscious mind.    45
No idealism, no system or pattern of any kind, can help us to unravel the deep
workings of the mind; on the contrary, any formulation or conclusion will hinder
their  discovery.  The  pursuit  of  what  should  be,  the  attachment  to  principles,  to
ideals, the establishment of a goal – all this leads to many illusions. If we are to
know ourselves, there must be a certain spontaneity, a freedom to observe, and
this is not possible when the mind is enclosed in the superficial, in idealistic or
materialistic values.
Existence is relationship; and whether we belong to an organized religion or
not, whether we are worldly or caught up in ideals, our suffering can be resolved
only through the understanding of ourselves in relationship. Self-knowledge alone
can bring tranquillity and happiness to man, for self-knowledge is the beginning of
intelligence  and  integration.  Intelligence  is  not  mere  superficial  adjustment;  it  is
not  the  cultivation  of  the  mind,  the  acquisition  of  knowledge.  Intelligence  is  the
capacity to understand the ways of life, it is the perception of right values.
Modern education, in developing the intellect, offers more and more theories
and facts, without bringing about the understanding of the total process of human
existence. We are highly intellectual; we have developed cunning minds, and are
caught  up  in  explanations.  The  intellect  is  satisfied  with  theories  and
explanations,  but  intelligence  is  not;  and  for  the  understanding  of  the  total
process of existence, there must be an integration of the mind and heart in action.
Intelligence is not separate from love.
For most of us, to accomplish this inward revolution is extremely arduous. We
know  how  to  meditate,  how  to  play  the  piano,  how  to  write,  but  we  have  no
knowledge  of  the  meditator,  the  player,  the  writer.  We  are  not  creators,  for  we
have filled our hearts and minds with knowledge, information and arrogance; we
are  full  of  quotations  from  what  others  have  thought  or  said.  But  experiencing
comes first, not the way of experiencing. There must be love before there can be
the expression of love.    46
It  is  clear,  then,  that  merely  to  cultivate  the  intellect,  which  is  to  develop
capacity  or  knowledge,  does  not  result  in  intelligence.  There  is  a  distinction
between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is thought functioning independently of
emotion, whereas, intelligence is the capacity to feel as well as to reason; and
until we approach life with intelligence, instead of intellect alone, or with emotion
alone, no political or educational system in the world can save us from the toils of
chaos and destruction.
Knowledge  is  not  comparable  with  intelligence,  knowledge  is  not  wisdom.
Wisdom is not marketable, it is not a merchandise that can be bought with the
price  of  learning  or  discipline.  Wisdom  cannot  be  found  in  books;  it  cannot  be
accumulated, memorized or stored up. Wisdom comes with the abnegation of the
self. To have an open mind is more important than learning; and we can have an
open mind, not by cramming it full of information, but by being aware of our own
thoughts and feelings, by carefully observing ourselves and the influences about
us, by listening to others, by watching the rich and the poor, the powerful and the
lowly.  Wisdom  does  not  come  through  fear  and  oppression,  but  through  the
observation and understanding of everyday incidents in human relationship.
In our search for knowledge, in our acquisitive desires, we are losing love, we
are  blunting  the  feeling  for  beauty,  the  sensitivity  to  cruelty;  we  are  becoming
more  and  more  specialized  and  less  and  less  integrated.  Wisdom  cannot  be
replaced by knowledge, and no amount of explanation, no accumulation of facts,
will free man from suffering. Knowledge is necessary, science has its place; but if
the mind and heart are suffocated by knowledge, and if the cause of suffering is
explained  away,  life  becomes  vain  and  meaningless.  And  is  this  not  what  is
happening to most of us? Our education is making us more and more shallow; it
is  not  helping  us  to  uncover  the  deeper  layers  of  our  being,  and  our  lives  are
increasingly disharmonious and empty.    47
Information,  the  knowledge  of  facts,  though  ever  increas-  ing,  is  by  its  very
nature limited. Wisdom is infinite, it includes knowledge and the way of action; but
we take hold of a branch and think it is the whole tree. Through the knowledge of
the part, we can never realize the joy of the whole. Intellect can never lead to the
whole, for it is only a segment, a part.
We have separated intellect from feeling, and have developed intellect at the
expense of feeling. We are like a three-legged object with one leg much longer
than the others, and we have no balance. We are trained to be intellectual; our
education cultivates the intellect to be sharp, cunning, acquisitive, and so it plays
the most important role in our life. Intelligence is much greater than intellect, for it
is  the  integration  of  reason  and  love;  but  there  can  be  intelligence  only  when
there is self-knowledge, the deep understanding of the total process of oneself.
What is essential for man, whether young or old, is to live fully, integrally, and
that is why our major problem is the cultivation of that intelligence which brings
integration. Undue emphasis on any part of our total make-up gives a partial and
therefore distorted view of life, and it is this distortion which is causing most of our
difficulties.  Any  partial  development  of  our  whole  temperament  is  bound  to  be
disastrous both for ourselves and for society, and so it is really very important that
we approach our human problems with an integrated point of view.
To be an integrated human being is to understand the entire process of one’s
own consciousness, both the hidden and the open. This is not possible if we give
undue emphasis to the intellect. We attach great importance to the cultivation of
the mind, but inwardly we are insufficient, poor and confused. This living in the
intellect is the way of disintegration; for ideas, like beliefs, can never bring people
together except in conflicting groups.
As long as we depend on thought as a means of integration, there must be
disintegration;  and  to  understand  the  disintegrating  action  of  thought  is  to  be   48
aware of the ways of the self, the ways of one’s own desire. We must be aware of
our conditioning and its responses, both collective and personal. It is only when
one  is  fully  aware  of  the  activities  of  the  self  with  its  contradictory  desires  and
pursuits, its hopes and fears, that there is a possibility of going beyond the self.
Only  love  and  right  thinking  will  bring  about  true  revolution,  the  revolution
within  ourselves.  But  how  are  we  to  have  love?  Not  through  the  pursuit  of  the
ideal of love, but only when there is no hatred, when there is no greed, when the
sense of self, which is the cause of antagonism, comes to an end. A man who is
caught up in the pursuits of exploitation, of greed, of envy, can never love.
Without  love  and  right  thinking,  oppression  and  cruelty  will  ever  be  on  the
increase.  The  problem  of  man’s  antagonism  to  man  can  be  solved,  not  by
pursuing the ideal of peace, but by understanding the causes of war which lie in
our attitude towards life, towards our fellow-beings; and this understanding can
come about only through the right kind of education. Without a change of heart,
without  goodwill,  without  the  inward  transformation  which  is  born  of  self-
awareness, there can be no peace, no happiness for men.    49
Chapter 4: Education And World Peace
TO DISCOVER what part education can play in the present world crisis, we
should understand how that crisis has come into being. It is obviously the result of
wrong  values  in  our  relationship  to  people,  to  property  and  to  ideas.  If  our
relationship with others is based on self-aggrandizement, and our relationship to
property  is  acquisitive,  the  structure  of  society  is  bound  to  be  competitive  and
self-isolating. If in our relationship with ideas we justify one ideology in opposition
to another, mutual distrust and ill will are the inevitable results.
Another cause of the present chaos is dependence on authority, on leaders,
whether  in  daily  life,  in  the  small  school  or  in  the  university.  Leaders  and  their
authority are deteriorating factors in any culture. When we follow another there is
no understanding, but only fear and conformity, eventually leading to the cruelty
of the totalitarian State and the dogmatism of organized religion.
To rely on governments, to look to organizations and authorities for that peace
which must begin with the under- standing of ourselves, is to create further and
still greater conflict; and there can be no lasting happiness as long as we accept
a social order in which there is endless strife and antagonism between man and
man. If we want to change existing conditions, we must first transform ourselves,
which  means  that  we  must  become  aware  of  our  own  actions,  thoughts  and
feelings in everyday life.
But we do not really want peace, we do not want to put an end to exploitation.
We will not allow our greed to be interfered with, or the foundations of our present
social structure to be altered; we want things to continue as they are with only
superficial  modifications,  and  so  the  powerful,  the  cunning  inevitably  rule  our
lives.    50
Peace is not achieved through any ideology, it does not depend on legislation;
it comes only when we as individuals begin to understand our own psychological
process. If we avoid the responsibility of acting individually and wait for some new
system to establish peace, we shall merely become the slaves of that system.
When governments, dictators, big business and the clerically powerful begin to
see  that  this  increasing  antagonism  between  men  only  leads  to  indiscriminate
destruction  and  is  therefore  no  longer  profitable,  they  may  force  us,  through
legislation  and  other  means  of  compulsion,  to  suppress  our  personal  cravings
and  ambitions  and  to  co-operate  for  the  well-being  of  mankind.  just  as  we  are
now educated and encouraged to be competitive and ruthless, so then we shall
be compelled to respect one another and to work for the world as a whole. And
even though we may all be well fed, clothed and sheltered, we shall not be free of
our conflicts and antagonisms, which will merely have shifted to another plane,
where  they  will  be  still  more  diabolical  and  devastating.  The  only  moral  or
righteous  action  is  voluntary,  and  understanding  alone  can  bring  peace  and
happiness to man.
Beliefs,  ideologies  and  organized  religions  are  setting  us  against  our
neighbours;  there  is  conflict,  not  only  among  different  societies,  but  among
groups  within  the  same  society.  We  must  realize  that  as  long  as  we  identify
ourselves  with  a  country,  as  long  as  we  cling  to  security,  as  long  as  we  are
conditioned by dogmas, there will be strife and misery both within ourselves and
in the world.
Then there is the whole question of patriotism. When do we feel patriotic? It is
obviously  not  an  everyday  emotion.  But  we  are  sedulously  encouraged  to  be
patriotic  through  school-books,  through  newspapers  and  other  channels  of
propaganda,  which  stimulate  racial  egotism  by  praising  national  heroes  and
telling us that our own country and way of life are better than others. This patriotic
spirit feeds our vanity from childhood to old age.    51
The  constantly  repeated  assertion  that  we  belong  to  a  certain  political  or
religious group, that we are of this nation or of that, flatters our little egos, puffs
them out like sails, until we are ready to kill or be killed for our country, race or
ideology.  It  is  all  so  stupid  and  unnatural.  Surely,  human  beings  are  more
important than national and ideological boundaries.
The  separative  spirit  of  nationalism  is  spreading  like  fire  all  over  the  world.
Patriotism is cultivated and cleverly exploited by those who  are  seeking  further
expansion, wider powers, greater enrichment; and each one of us takes part in
this process, for we also desire these things. Conquering other lands and other
people  provides  new  markets  for  goods  as  well  as  for  political  and  religious
One must look at all these expressions of violence and antagonism with an
unprejudiced  mind,  that  is,  with  a  mind  that  does  not  identify  itself  with  any
country, race or ideology, but tries to find out what is true. There is great joy in
seeing a thing clearly without being influenced by the notions and instructions of
others, whether they be the government, the specialists or the very learned. Once
we really see that patriotism is a hindrance to human happiness, we do not have
to struggle against this false emotion in ourselves, it has gone from us forever.
Nationalism, the patriotic spirit, class and race consciousness, are all ways of
the  self,  and  therefore  separative.  After  all,  what  is  a  nation  but  a  group  of
individuals living together for economic and self-protective reasons ? Out of fear
and acquisitive self defence arises the idea of `my country,» with its boundaries
and tariff walls, rendering brotherhood and the unity of man impossible.
The  desire  to  gain  and  to  hold,  the  longing  to  be  identified  with  something
greater than ourselves, creates the spirit of nationalism; and nationalism breeds
war.  In  every  country  the  government,  encouraged  by  organized  religion,  is
upholding nationalism and the separative spirit. Nationalism is a disease, and it   52
can never bring about world unity. We can not attain health through disease, we
must first free ourselves from the disease.
It is because we are nationalists, ready to defend our sovereign States, our
beliefs and acquisitions, that we must be perpetually armed. Property and ideas
have  become  more  important  to  us  than  human  life,  so  there  is  constant
antagonism  and  violence  between  ourselves  and  others.  By  maintaining  the
sovereignty of our country, we are destroying our sons; by worshipping the State,
which is but a projection of ourselves, we are sacrificing our children to our own
gratification.  Nationalism  and  sovereign  governments  are  the  causes  and  the
instruments of war.
Our present social institutions cannot evolve into a world federation, for their
very  foundations  are  unsound.  Parliaments  and  systems  of  education  which
uphold  national  sovereignty  and  emphasize  the  importance  of  the  group  will
never bring war to an end. Every separate group of people, with its rulers and its
ruled, is a source of war. As long as we do not fundamentally alter the present
relationship between man and man, industry will inevitably lead to confusion and
become an instrument of destruction and misery; as long as there is violence and
tyranny, deceit and propaganda, the brotherhood of man cannot be realized.
Merely  to  educate  people  to  be  wonderful  engineers,  brilliant  scientists,
capable  executives,  able  workmen,  will  never  bring  the  oppressors  and  the
oppressed together; and we can see that our present system of education, which
sustains the many causes that breed enmity and hatred between human beings,
has not prevented mass murder in the name of one’s country or in the name of
Organized  religions,  with  their  temporal  and  spiritual  authority,  are  equally
incapable  of  bringing  peace  to  man,  for  they  also  are  the  outcome  of  our
ignorance and fear, of our make-believe and egotism.    53
Craving security here or in the hereafter, we create institutions and ideologies
which guarantee that security; but the more we struggle for security, the less we
shall  have  it.  The  desire  to  be  secure  only  fosters  division  and  increases
antagonism. If we deeply feel and understand the truth of this, not merely verbally
or  intellectually,  but  with  our  whole  being,  then  we  shall  begin  to  alter
fundamentally our relationship with our fellow men in the immediate world about
us; and only then is there a possibility of achieving unity and brotherhood.
Most  of  us  are  consumed  by  all  sorts  of  fears,  and  are  greatly  concerned
about  our  own  security.  We  hope  that,  by  some  miracle,  wars  will  come  to  an
end, all the while accusing other national groups of being the instigators of war,
as they in turn blame us for the disaster. Although war is so obviously detrimental
to society, we prepare for war and develop in the young the military spirit.
But has military training any place in education? It all depends on what kind of
human beings we want our children to be. If we want them to be efficient killers,
then  military  training  is  necessary.  If  we  want  to  discipline  them  and  regiment
their  minds,  if  our  purpose  is  to  make  them  nationalistic  and  therefore
irresponsible to society as a whole, then military training is a good way to do it. If
we  like  death  and  destruction,  military  training  is  obviously  important.  It  is  the
function  of  generals  to  plan  and  carry  on  war;  and  if  our  intention  is  to  have
constant battle between ourselves and our neighbours, then by all means let us
have more generals.
If we are living only to have endless strife within ourselves and with others, if
our  desire  is  to  perpetuate  bloodshed  and  misery,  then  there  must  be  more
soldiers,  more  politicians,  more  enmity  –  which  is  what  is  actually  happening.
Modern civilization is based on violence, and is therefore courting death. As long
as we worship force, violence will be our way of life. But if we want peace, if we
want  right  relationship  among  men,  whether  Christian  or  Hindu,  Russian  or   54
American,  if  we  want  our  children  to  be  integrated  human  beings,  then  military
training is an absolute hindrance, it is the wrong way to set about it.
One of the chief causes of hatred and strife is the belief that a particular class
or race is superior to another. The child is neither class nor race conscious; it is
the  home  or  school  environment,  or  both,  which  makes  him  feel  separative.  In
himself he does not care whether his playmate is a Negro or a Jew, a Brahmin or
a  non-Brahmin;  but  the  influence  of  the  whole  social  structure  is  continually
impinging on his mind, affecting and shaping it.
Here  again  the  problem  is  not  with  the  child  but  with  the  adults,  who  have
created a senseless environment of separatism and false values.
What real basis is there for differentiating between human beings? Our bodies
may be different in structure and colour, our faces may be dissimilar, but inside
the  skin  we  are  very  much  alike:  proud,  ambitious,  envious,  violent,  sexual,
power-seeking and so on. Remove the label and we are very naked; but we do
not want to face our nakedness, and so we insist on the label – which indicates
how immature, how really infantile we are.
To enable the child to grow up free from prejudice, one has first to break down
all  prejudice  within  oneself,  and  then  in  one’s  environment  –  which  means
breaking down the structure of this thoughtless society which we have created. At
home  we  may  tell  the  child  how  absurd  it  is  to  be  conscious  of  one’s  class  or
race, and he will probably agree with us; but when he goes to school and plays
with other children, he becomes contaminated by the separative spirit. Or it may
be the other way around: the home may be traditional, narrow, and the school’s
influence may be broader. In either case there is a constant battle between the
home and the school environments. and the child is caught between the two.
To raise a child sanely, to help him to be perceptive so that he sees through
these stupid prejudices, we have to be in close relationship with him. We have to   55
talk  things  over  and  let  him  listen  to  intelligent  conversation;  we  have  to
encourage  the  spirit  of  inquiry  and  discontent  which  is  already  in  him,  thereby
helping him to discover for himself what is true and what is false.
It is constant inquiry, true dissatisfaction, that brings creative intelligence; but
to keep inquiry and discontent awake is extremely arduous, and most people do
not want their children to have this kind of intelligence, for it is very uncomfortable
to live with someone who is constantly questioning accepted values.
All of us are discontented when we are young, but unfortunately our discontent
soon  fades  away,  smothered  by  our  imitative  tendencies  and  our  worship  of
authority.  As  we  grow  older,  we  begin  to  crystallize,  to  be  satisfied  and
apprehensive.  We  become  executives,  priests,  bank  clerks,  factory  managers,
technicians, and slow decay sets in. Because we desire to maintain our positions,
we support the destructive society,which has placed us there and given us some
measure of security.
Government control of education is a calamity. There is no hope of peace and
order  in  the  world  as  long  as  education  is  the  handmaid  of  the  state  or  of
organized  religion.  Yet  more  and  more  governments  are  taking  charge  of  the
children and their future; and if it is not the government, then it is the religious
organizations which seek to control education.
This  conditioning  of  the  child’s  mind  to  fit  a  particular  ideology,  whether
political  or  religious,  breeds  enmity  between  man  and  man.  In  a  competitive
society  we  cannot  have  brotherhood,  and  no  reform,  no  dictatorship,  no
educational method can bring it about.
As long as you remain a New Zealander  and  I  a  Hindu,  it  is  absurd  to  talk
about the unity of man. How can we get together as human beings if you in your
country, and I in mine, retain our respective religious prejudices and eco- nomic
ways?  How  can  there  be  brotherhood  as  long  as  patriotism  is  separating  man   56
from  man,  and  millions  are  restricted  by  depressed  economic  conditions  while
others are well off? How can there be human unity when beliefs divide us, when
there is domination of one group by another, when the rich are powerful and the
poor are seeking that same power, when there is maldistribution of land, when
some are well fed and multitudes are starving?
One of our difficulties is that we are not really in earnest about these matters,
because we do not want to be greatly disturbed. We prefer to alter things only in
a manner advantageous to ourselves, and so we are not deeply concerned about
our own emptiness and cruelty.
Can  we  ever  attain  peace  through  violence?  Is  peace  to  be  achieved
gradually, through a slow process of time? Surely, love is not a matter of training
or of time. The last two wars were fought for democracy, I believe; and now we
are  preparing  for  a  still  greater  and  more  destructive  war,  and  people  are  less
free. But what would happen if we were to put aside such obvious hindrances to
understanding as authority, belief, nationalism and the whole hierarchical spirit?
We would be people without authority, human beings in direct relationship with
one another – and then, perhaps, there would be love and compassion.
What is essential in education, as in every other field, is to have people who
are  understanding  and  affectionate,  whose  hearts  are  not  filled  with  empty
phrases, with the things of the mind.
If life is meant to be lived happily, with thought, with ourselves; and if we wish
to build a truly enlightened society, we must have educators who understand the
ways  of  integration  and  who  are  therefore  capable  of  imparting  that
understanding to the child.
Such educators would be a danger to the present structure of society. But we
do  not  really  want  to  build  an  enlightened  society;  and  any  teacher  who,
perceiving the full implications of peace, began to point out the true significance   57
of  nationalism  and  the  stupidity  of  war,  would  soon  lose  his  position.  Knowing
this, most teachers compromise, and thereby help to maintain the present system
of exploitation and violence.
Surely,  to  discover  truth,  there  must  be  freedom  from  strife,  both  within
ourselves and with our neighbours. When we are not in conflict within ourselves,
we are not in conflict outwardly. It is the inward strife which, projected outwardly,
becomes the world conflict.
War  is  the  spectacular  and  bloody  projection  of  our  everyday  living.  We
precipitate war out of our daily lives; and without a transformation in ourselves,
there  are  bound  to  be  national  and  racial  antagonisms,  the  childish  quarrelling
over  ideologies,  the  multiplication  of  soldiers,  the  saluting  of  flags,  and  all  the
many brutalities that go to create organized murder.
Education  throughout  the  world  has  failed,  it  has  produced  mounting
destruction  and  misery.  Governments  are  training  the  young  to  be  the  efficient
soldiers  and  technicians  they  need;  regimentation  and  prejudice  are  being  cul-
tivated  and  enforced.  Taking  these  facts  into  consideration,  we  have  to  inquire
into the meaning of existence and the significance and purpose of our lives. We
have  to  discover  the  beneficent  ways  of  creating  a  new  environment;  for
environment can make the child a brute, an unfeeling specialist, or help him to
become  a  sensitive,  intelligent  human  being.  We  have  to  create  a  world
government  which  is  radically  different,  which  is  not  based  on  nationalism,  on
ideologies, on force.
All  this  implies  the  understanding  of  our  responsibility  to  one  another  in
relationship; but to understand our responsibility, there must be love in our hearts,
not  mere  learning  or  knowledge.  The  greater  our  love,  the  deeper  will  be  its
influence on society. But we are all brains and no heart; we cultivate the intellect   58
and despise humility. If we really loved our children, we would want to save and
protect them, we would not let them be sacrificed in wars.
I think we really want arms; we like the show of military power, the uniforms,
the rituals, the drinks, the noise, the violence. Our everyday life is a reflection in
miniature  of  this  same  brutal  superficiality,  and  we  are  destroying  one  another
through envy and thoughtlessness.
We want to be rich; and the richer we get, the more ruthless we become, even
though  we  may  contribute  large  sums  to  charity  and  education.  Having  robbed
the victim, we return to him a little of the spoils, and this we call philanthropy. I do
not think we realize what catastrophes we are preparing. Most of us live each day
as  rapidly  and  thoughtlessly  as  possible,  and  leave  to  the  governments,  to  the
cunning politicians, the direction of our lives.
All sovereign governments must prepare for war, and one’s own government
is no exception. To make its citizens efficient for war, to prepare them to perform
their  duties  effectively,  the  government  must  obviously  control  and  dominate
them. They must be educated to act as machines, to be ruthlessly efficient. If the
purpose  and  end  of  life  is  to  destroy  or  be  destroyed,  then  education  must
encourage ruthlessness; and I am not at all sure that that is not what we inwardly
desire, for ruthlessness goes with the worship of success.
The  sovereign  State  does  not  want  its  citizens  to  be  free,  to  think  for
themselves, and it controls them through propaganda, through distorted historical
interpretations and so on. That is why education is becoming more and more a
means  of  teaching  what  to  think  and  not  how  to  think.  If  we  were  to  think
independently  of  the  prevailing  political  system,  we  would  be  dangerous;  free
institutions  might  turn  out  pacifists  or  people  who  think  contrary  to  the  existing
regime.    59
Right education is obviously a danger to sovereign governments – and so it is
prevented by crude or subtle means. Education and food in the hands of the few
have become the means of controlling man; and governments, whether of the left
or of the right, are unconcerned as long as we are efficient machines for turning
out merchandise and bullets.
Now, the fact that this is happening the world over means that we who are the
citizens and educators, and who are responsible for the existing governments, do
not fundamen- tally care whether there is freedom or slavery, peace or war, well-
being or misery for man. We want a little reform here and there, but most of us
are afraid to tear down the present society and build a completely new structure,
for this would require a radical transformation of ourselves.
On  the  other  hand,  there  are  those  who  seek  to  bring  about  a  violent
revolution.  Having  helped  to  build  the  existing  social  order  with  all  its  conflicts,
confusion and misery, they now desire to organize a perfect society. But can any
of us organize a perfect society when it is we who have brought into being the
present  one?  To  believe  that  peace  can  be  achieved  through  violence  is  to
sacrifice  the  present  for  a  future  ideal;  and  this  seeking  of  a  right  end  through
wrong means is one of the causes of the present disaster.
The expansion and predominance of sensate values necessarily creates the
poison  of  nationalism,  of  economic  frontiers,  sovereign  governments  and  the
patriotic  spirit,  all  of  which  excludes  man’s  co-operation  with  man  and  corrupts
human relationship, which is society. Society is the relationship between you and
another; and without deeply understanding this relationship, not at any one level,
but integrally, as a total process, we are bound to create again the same kind of
social structure, however superficially modified.
If  we  are  to  change  radically  our  present  human  relationship,  which  has
brought untold misery to the world, our only and immediate task is to transform   60
ourselves through self-knowledge. So we come back to the central point, which is
oneself; but we dodge that point and shift the respon- sibility onto governments,
religions and ideologies. The government is what we are, religions and ideologies
are but a projection of ourselves; and until we change fundamentally there can be
neither right education nor a peaceful world.
Outward security for all can come only when there is love and intelligence; and
since we have created a world of conflict and misery in which outward security is
rapidly  becoming  impossible  for  anyone,  does  it  not  indicate  the  utter  futility  of
past and present education? As parents and teachers it is our direct responsibility
to break away from traditional thinking, and not merely rely on the experts and
their  findings.  Efficiency  in  technique  has  given  us  a  certain  capacity  to  earn
money, and that is why most of us are satisfied with the present social structure;
but the true educator is concerned only with right living, right education, and right
means of livelihood.
The more irresponsible we are in these matters, the more the State takes over
all responsibility. We are confronted, not with a political or economic crisis, but
with a crisis of human deterioration which no political party or economic system
can avert.
Another and still greater disaster is approaching dangerously close, and most
of  us  are  doing  nothing  whatever  about  it.  We  go  on  day  after  day  exactly  as
before;  we  do  not  want  to  strip  away  all  our  false  values  and  begin  anew.  We
want to do patchwork reform, which only leads to problems of still further reform.
But the building is crumbling, the walls are giving way, and fire is destroying it.
We must leave the building and start on new ground, with different foundations,
different values.
We cannot discard technical knowledge, but we can become inwardly aware
of our ugliness, of our ruthlessness, of our deceptions and dishonesty, our utter   61
lack of love. Only by intelligently freeing ourselves from the spirit of nationalism,
from envy and the thirst for power, can a new social order be established.
Peace  is  not  to  be  achieved  by  patchwork  reform,  nor  by  a  mere
rearrangement of old ideas and superstitions. There can be peace only when we
understand  what  lies  beyond  the  superficial,  and  thereby  stop  this  wave  of
destruction which has been unleashed by our own aggressiveness and fears; and
only then will there be hope for our children and salvation for the world.    62
Chapter 5: The School
THE right kind of education is concerned with individual freedom, which alone
can bring true cooperation with the whole, with the many; but this freedom is not
achieved  through  the  pursuit  of  one’s  own  aggrandizement  and  success.
Freedom comes with self-knowledge, when the mind goes above and beyond the
hindrances it has created for itself through craving its own security.
It  is  the  function  of  education  to  help  each  individual  to  discover  all  these
psychological  hindrances,  and  not  merely  impose  upon  him  new  patterns  of
conduct, new modes of thought. Such impositions will never awaken intelligence,
creative understanding, but will only further condition the individual. Surely, this is
what is happening throughout the world, and that is why our problems continue
and multiply.
It is only when we begin to understand the deep significance of human life that
there can be true education; but to understand, the mind must intelligently free
itself from the desire for reward which breeds fear and conformity. If we regard
our children as personal property, if to us they are the continuance of our petty
selves and the fulfilment of our ambitions, then we shall build an environment, a
social  structure  in  which  there  is  no  love,  but  only  the  pursuit  of  self-centred
A  school  which  is  successful  in  the  worldly  sense  is  more  often  than  not  a
failure  as  an  educational  centre.  A  large  and  flourishing  institution  in  which
hundreds of children are educated together, with all its accompanying show and
success,  can  turn  out  bank  clerks  and  super-salesmen,  industrialists  or
commissars,  superficial  people  who  are  technically  efficient;  but  there  is  hope
only in the integrated individual, which only small schools can help to bring about.
That is why it is far more important to have schools with a limited number of boys   63
and  girls  and  the  right  kind  of  educators,  than  to  practise  the  latest  and  best
methods in large institutions.
Unfortunately,  one  of  our  confusing  difficulties  is  that  we  think  we  must
operate on a huge scale. Most of us want large schools with imposing buildings,
even though they are obviously not the right kind of educational centres, because
we want to transform or affect what we call the masses.
But who are the masses? You and I. Let us not get lost in the thought that the
masses must also be rightly educated. The consideration of the mass is a form of
escape from immediate action. Right education will become universal if we begin
with  the  immediate,  if  we  are  aware  of  ourselves  in  our  relationship  with  our
children, with our friends and neighbours. Our own action in the world we live in,
in the world of our family and friends, will have expanding influence and effect.
By  being  fully  aware  of  ourselves  in  all  our  relationships  we  shall  begin  to
discover those confusions and limitations within us of which we are now ignorant;
and in being aware of them, we shall understand and so dissolve them. Without
this awareness and the self-knowledge which it brings, any reform in education or
in other fields will only lead to further antagonism and misery.
In  building  enormous  institutions  and  employing  teachers  who  depend  on  a
system  instead  of  being  alert  and  observant  in  their  relationship  with  the
individual  student,  we  merely  encourage  the  accumulation  of  facts,  the
development of capacity, and the habit of thinking mechanically, according to a
pattern;  but  certainly  none  of  this  helps  the  student  to  grow  into  an  integrated
human  being.  Systems  may  have  a  limited  use  in  the  hands  of  alert  and
thoughtful educators, but they do not make for intelligence. Yet it is strange that
words  like  «system,»  «institution,»  have  become  very  important  to  us.  Symbols
have taken the place of reality, and we are content that it should be so; for reality
is disturbing, while shadows give comfort.    64
Nothing of fundamental value can be accomplished through mass instruction,
but  only  through  the  careful  study  and  understanding  of  the  difficulties,
tendencies and capacities of each child; and those who are aware of this, and
who earnestly desire to understand themselves and help the young, should come
together  and  start  a  school  that  will  have  vital  significance  in  the  child’s  life  by
helping him to be integrated and intelligent. To start such a school, they need not
wait until they have the necessary means. One can be a true teacher at home,
and opportunities will come to the earnest.
Those who love their own children and the children about them, and who are
therefore in earnest, will see to it that a right school is started somewhere around
the  corner,  or  in  their  own  home.Then  the  money  will  come  –  it  is  the  least
important consideration. To maintain a small school of the right kind is of course
financially difficult; it can flourish only on self-sacrifice, not on a fat bank account.
Money invariably corrupts unless there is love and understanding. But if it is really
a worthwhile school, the necessary help will be found. When there is love of the
child, all things are possible.
As long as the institution is the most important consideration, the child is not.
The  right  kind  of  educator  is  concerned  with  the  individual,  and  not  with  the
number of pupils he has; and such an educator will discover that he can have a
vital and significant school which some parents will support. But the teacher must
have the flame of interest; if he is lukewarm, he will have an institution like any
If  parents  really  love  their  children,  they  will  employ  legislation  and  other
means to establish small schools staffed with the right kind of educators; and they
will not be deterred by the fact that small schools are expensive and the right kind
of  educators  difficult  to  find.  They  should  realize,  however,  that  there  will
inevitably be opposition from vested interests, from governments and organized
religions,  because  such  schools  are  bound  to  be  deeply  revolutionary.  True   65
revolution is not the violent sort; it comes about through cultivating the integration
and  intelligence  of  human  beings  who,  by  their  very  life,  will  gradually  create
radical changes in society.
But it is of the utmost importance that all the teachers in a school of this kind
should  come  together  voluntarily,  without  being  persuaded  or  chosen;  for
voluntary  freedom  from  worldliness  is  the  only  right  foundation  for  a  true
educational centre. If the teachers are to help one another and the students to
understand right values, there must be constant and alert awareness in their daily
In the seclusion of a small school one is apt to forget that there is an outside
world, with its everincreasing conflict, destruction and misery. That world is not
separate from us. On the contrary, it is part of us, for we have made it what it is;
and  that  is  why,  if  there  is  to  be  a  fundamental  alteration  in  the  structure  of
society, right education is the first step.
Only  right  education,  and  not  ideologies,  leaders  and  economic  revolutions,
can provide a lasting solution for our problems and miseries; and to see the truth
of this fact is not a matter of intellectual or emotional persuasion, nor of cunning
If the nucleus of the staff in a school of the right kind is dedicated and vital, it
will gather to itself others of the same purpose, and those who are not interested
will soon find themselves out of place. If the centre is purposive; and alert, the
indifferent periphery will wither and drop away; but if the centre is indifferent, then
the whole group will be uncertain and weak.
The  centre  cannot  be  made  up  of  the  headmaster  alone.  Enthusiasm  or
interest  that  depends  on  one  person  is  sure  to  wane  and  die.  Such  interest  is
superficial, flighty and worthless, for it can be diverted and made subservient to
the whims and fancies of another. If the headmaster is dominating, then the spirit   66
of freedom and co-operation obviously cannot exist. A strong character may build
a  first-rate  school,  but  fear  and  subservience  creep  in,  and  then  it  generally
happens that the rest of the staff is composed of nonentities.
Such a group is not conducive to individual freedom and understanding. The
staff should not be under the domination of the headmaster, and the headmaster
should not assume all the responsibility; on the contrary, each teacher should feel
responsible  for  the  whole.  If  there  are  only  a  few  who  are  interested,  then  the
indifference or opposition of the rest will impede or stultify the general effort.
One may doubt that a school can be run without a central authority; but one
really does not know, because it has never been tried. Surely, in a group of true
educators, this problem of authority will never arise. When all are endeavouring to
be free and intelligent, cooperation with one another is possible at all levels. To
those  who  have  not  given  themselves  over  deeply  and  lastingly  to  the  task  of
right education, the lack of a central authority may appear to be an impractical
theory; but if one is completely dedicated to right education, then one does not
require to be urged, directed or controlled. Intelligent teachers are pliable in the
exercise of their capacities; attempting to be individually free, they abide by the
regulations and do what is necessary for the benefit of the whole school. Serious
interest is the beginning of capacity, and both are strengthened by application.
If  one  does  not  understand  the  psychological  implications  of  obedience,
merely to decide not to follow authority will only lead to confusion. Such confusion
is not due to the absence of authority, but to the lack of deep and mutual interest
in  right  education.  If  there  is  real  interest,  there  is  constant  and  thoughtful
adjustment  on  the  part  of  every  teacher  to  the  demands  and  necessities  of
running  a  school.  In  any  relationship,  frictions  and  misunderstandings  are
inevitable; but they become exaggerated when there is not the binding affection
of common interest.    67
There must be unstinted co-operation among all the teachers in a school of
the  right  kind.  The  whole  staff  should  meet  often,  to  talk  over  the  various
problems  of  the  school;  and  when  they  have  agreed  upon  a  certain  course  of
action,  there  should  obviously  be  no  difficulty  in  carrying  out  what  has  been
decided. If some decision taken by the majority does not meet with the approval
of  a  particular  teacher,  it  can  be  discussed  again  at  the  next  meeting  of  the
No  teacher  should  be  afraid  of  the  headmaster,  nor  should  the  headmaster
feel  intimidated  by  the  older  teachers.  Happy  agreement  is  possible  only  when
there is a feeling of absolute equality among all. It is essential that this feeling of
equality prevail in the right kind of school, for there can be real co-operation only
when the sense of superiority and its opposite are non-existent. If there is mutual
trust, any difficulty or misunderstanding will not just be brushed aside, but will be
faced, and confidence restored.
If the teachers are not sure of their own vocation and interest, there is bound
to be envy and antagonism among them, and they will expend whatever energies
they  have  over  trifling  details  and  wasteful  bickerings;  whereas,  irritations  and
superficial disagreements will quickly be passed over if there is a burning interest
in bringing about the right kind of education. Then the details which loom so large
assume their normal proportions, friction and personal antagonisms are seen to
be vain and destructive, and all talks and discussions help one to find out what is
right and not who is right.
Difficulties and misunderstandings should always be talked over by those who
are working together with a common intention, for it helps to clarify any confusion
that may exist in one’s own thinking. When there is purposive interest, there is
also frankness and comradeship among the teachers, and antagonism can never
arise between them; but if that interest is lacking, though superficially they may
co-operate for their mutual advantage, there will always be conflict and enmity.    68
There  may  be,  of  course,  other  factors  that  are  causing  friction  among  the
members  of  the  staff.  One  teacher  may  be  overworked,  another  may  have
personal or family worries, and perhaps still others do not feel deeply interested
in  what  they  are  doing.  Surely,  all  these  problems  can  be  thrashed  out  at  the
teachers’  meeting,  for  mutual  interest  makes  for  cooperation.  It  is  obvious  that
nothing vital can be created if a few do everything and the rest sit back.
Equal  distribution  of  work  gives  leisure  to  all,  and  each  one  must  obviously
have a certain amount of leisure. An overworked teacher becomes a problem to
himself  and  to  others.  If  one  is  under  too  great  a  strain,  one  is  apt  to  become
lethargic,  indolent,  and  especially  so  if  one  is  doing  something  which  is  not  to
one’s liking. Recuperation is not possible if there is constant activity, physical or
mental; but this question of leisure can be settled in a friendly manner acceptable
to all.
What constitutes leisure differs with each individual. To some who are greatly
interested in their work, that work itself is leisure; the very action of interest, such
as  study,  is  a  form  of  relaxation.  To  others,  leisure  may  be  a  withdrawal  into
If  the  educator  is  to  have  a  certain  amount  of  time  to  himself,  he  must  be
responsible only for the number of students that he can easily cope with. A direct
and vital relationship between teacher and student is almost impossible when the
teacher is weighed down by large and unmanageable numbers.
This is still another reason why schools should be kept small. It is obviously
important  to  have  a  very  limited  number  of  students  in  a  class,  so  that  the
educator can give his full attention to each one. When the group is too large he
cannot  do  this,  and  then  punishment  and  reward  become  a  convenient  way  of
enforcing discipline.    69
The  right  kind  of  education  is  not  possible  en  masse.  To  study  each  child
requires patience, alertness and intelligence. To observe the child’s tendencies,
his aptitudes, his temperament, to understand his difficulties, to take into account
his heredity and parental influence and not merely regard him as belonging to a
certain category – all this calls for a swift and pliable mind, untrammelled by any
system or prejudice. It calls for skill, intense interest and, above all, a sense of
affection; and to produce educators endowed with these qualities is one of our
major problems today.
The  spirit  of  individual  freedom  and  intelligence  should  pervade  the  whole
school at all times. This can hardly be left to chance, and the casual mention at
odd moments of the words»freedom» and «intelligence» has very little significance.
It is particularly important that students and teachers meet regularly to discuss
all matters relating to the well-being of the whole group. A student council should
be formed, on which the teachers are represented, which can thrash out all the
problems of discipline, cleanliness, food and so on, and which can also help to
guide any students who may be somewhat self-indulgent, indifferent or obstinate.
The  students  should  choose  from  among  themselves  those  who  are  to  be
responsible  for  the  carrying  out  of  decisions  and  for  helping  with  the  general
supervision.  After  all,  self-government  in  the  school  is  a  preparation  for  self-
govern-  ment  in  later  life.  If,  while  he  is  at  school,  the  child  learns  to  be
considerate,  impersonal  and  intelligent  in  any  discussion  pertaining  to  his  daily
problems, when he is older he will be able to meet effectively and dispassionately
the  greater  and  more  complex  trials  of  life.  The  school  should  encourage  the
children  to  understand  one  another’s  difficulties  and  peculiarities,  moods  and
tempers;  for  then,  as  they grow  up,  they  will  be  more  thoughtful  and  patient  in
their relationship with others.    70
This  same  spirit  of  freedom  and  intelligence  should  be  evident  also  in  the
child’s studies. If he is to be creative and not merely an automaton, the student
should not be encouraged to accept formulas and conclusions. Even in the study
of a science, one should reason with him, helping him to see the problem in its
entirety and to use his own judgment.
But  what  about  guidance?  Should  there  be  no  guidance  whatsoever?  The
answer to this question depends on what is meant by `guidance.’ If in their hearts
the teachers have put away all fear and all desire for domination, then they can
help  the  student  towards  creative  understanding  and  freedom;  but  if  there  is  a
conscious  or  unconscious  desire  to  guide  him  towards  a  particular  goal,  then
obviously  they  are  hindering  his  development.  Guidance  towards  a  particular
objective,  whether  created  by  oneself  or  imposed  by  another,  impairs
If the educator is concerned with the freedom of the individual, and not with his
own  preconceptions,  he  will  help  the  child  to  discover  that  freedom  by
encouraging him to understand his own environment, his own temperament, his
religious  and  family  background,  with  all  the  influences  and  effects  they  can
possibly have on him. If there is love and freedom in the hearts of the teachers
themselves, they will approach each student mindful of his needs and difficulties;
and then they will not be mere automatons, operating according to methods and
formulas, but spontaneous human beings, ever alert and watchful.
The right kind of education should also help the student to discover what he is
most  interested  in.  If  he  does  not  find  his  true  vocation,  all  his  life  will  seem
wasted; he will feel frustrated doing something which he does not want to do. If
he wants to be an artist and instead becomes a clerk in some office, he will spend
his life grumbling and pining away. So it is important for each one to find out what
he  wants  to  do,  and  then  to  see  if  it  is  worth  doing.  A  boy  may  want  to  be  a   71
soldier;  but  before  he  takes  up  soldiering,  he  should  be  helped  to  discover
whether the military vocation is beneficial to the whole of mankind.
Right education should help the student, not only to develop his capacities, but
to understand his own highest interest. In a world torn by wars, destruction and
misery, one must be able to build a new social order and bring about a different
way of living.
The responsibility for building a peaceful and enlightened society rests chiefly
with  the  educator,  and  it  is  obvious,  without  becoming  emotionally  stirred  up
about  it,  that  he  has  a  very  great  opportunity  to  help  in  achieving  that  social
transformation. The right kind of education does not depend on the regulations of
any government or the methods of any particular system; it lies in our own hands,
in the hands of the parents and the teachers.
If parents really cared for their children, they would build a new society; but
fundamentally most parents do not care, and so they have no time for this most
urgent problem. They have time for making money, for amusements, for rituals
and worship, but no time to consider what is the right kind of education for their
children. This is a fact that the majority of people do not want to face. To face it
might mean that they would have to give up their amusements and distractions,
and  certainly  they  are  not  willing  to  do  that.  So  they  send  their  children  off  to
schools where the teacher cares no more for them than they do. Why should he
care? Teaching is merely a job to him, a way of earning money.
The world we have created is so superficial, so artificial, so ugly if one looks
behind  the  curtain;  and  we  decorate  the  curtain,  hoping  that  everything  will
somehow come right. Most people are unfortunately not very earnest about life
except,  perhaps,  when  it  comes  to  making  money,  gaining  power,  or  pursuing
sexual excitement. They do not want to face the other complexities of life, and   72
that is why, when their children grow up, they are as immature and unintegrated
as their parents, constantly battling with themselves and with the world.
We say so easily that we love our children; but is there love in our hearts when
we accept the existing social conditions, when we do not want to bring about a
fundamental transformation in this destructive society? And as long as we look to
the specialists to educate our children, this confusion and misery will continue; for
the  specialists,  being  concerned  with  the  part  and  not  with  the  whole,  are
themselves unintegrated.
Instead of being the most honoured and responsible occupation, education is
now considered slightingly, and most educators are fixed in a routine. They are
not  really  concerned  with  integration  and  intelligence,  but  with  the  imparting  of
information; and a man who merely imparts information with the world crashing
about him is not an educator.
An educator is not merely a giver of information; he is one who points the way
to wisdom, to truth. Truth is far more important than the teacher. The search for
truth is religion, and truth is of no country, of no creed, it is not to be found in any
temple, church or mosque. Without the search for truth, society soon decays. To
create a new society, each one of us has to be a true teacher, which means that
we have to be both the pupil and the master; we have to educate ourselves.
If a new social order is to be established, those who teach merely to earn a
salary can obviously have no place as teachers. To regard education as a means
of livelihood is to exploit the children for one’s own advantage. In an enlightened
society, teachers will have no concern for their own welfare, and the community
will provide for their needs.
The  true  teacher  is  not  he  who  has  built  up  an  impressive  educational
organization, nor he who is an instrument of the politicians, nor he who is bound
to an ideal, a belief or a country. The true teacher is inwardly rich and therefore   73
asks nothing for himself; he is not ambitious and seeks no power in any form; he
does  not  use  teaching  as  a  means  of  acquiring  position  or  authority,  and
therefore  he  is  free  from  the  compulsion  of  society  and  the  control  of
governments. Such teachers have the primary place in an enlightened civilization,
for  true  culture  is  founded,  not  on  the  engineers  and  technicians,  but  on  the
educators.    74
Chapter 6: Parents And Teachers
THE right kind of education begins with the educator, who must understand
himself and be free from established patterns of thought; for what he is, that he
imparts. If he has not been rightly educated, what can he teach except the same
mechanical knowledge on which he himself has been brought up? The problem,
therefore,  is  not  the  child,  but  the  parent  and  the  teacher;  the  problem  is  to
educate the educator.
If  we  who  are  the  educators  do  not  understand  ourselves,  if  we  do  not
understand  our  relationship  with  the  child  but  merely  stuff  him  with  information
and make him pass examinations, how can we possibly bring about a new kind of
education? The pupil is there to be guided and helped; but if the guide, the helper
is himself confused and narrow, nationalistic and theory-ridden, then naturally his
pupil will be what he is, and education becomes a source of further confusion and
If we see the truth of this, we will realize how impor- tant it is that we begin to
educate ourselves rightly. To be concerned with our own re-education is far more
necessary than to worry about the future well-being and security of the child.
To educate the educator – that is, to have him understand himself – is one of
the most difficult undertakings, because most of us are already crystallized within
a system of thought or a pattern of action; we have already given ourselves over
to some ideology, to a religion, or to a particular standard of conduct. That is why
we teach the child what to think and not how to think.
Moreover, parents and teachers are largely occupied with their own conflicts
and sorrows. Rich or poor, most parents are absorbed in their personal worries
and  trials.  They  are  not  gravely  concerned  about  the  present  social  and  moral
deterioration, but only desire that their children shall be equipped to get on in the   75
world.  They  are  anxious  about  the  future  of  their  children,  eager  to  have  them
educated to hold secure positions, or to marry well.
Contrary to what is generally believed, most parents do not love their children,
though they talk of loving them. If parents really loved their children, there would
be no emphasis laid on the family and the nation as opposed to the whole, which
creates  social  and  racial  divisions  between  men  and  brings  about  war  and
starvation. It is really extraordinary that, while people are rigorously trained to be
lawyers  or  doctors,  they  may  become  parents  without  undergoing  any  training
whatsoever to fit them for this all-important task.
More often than not, the family, with its separate tend- encies, encourages the
general process of isolation, thereby becoming a deteriorating factor in society. it
is only when there is love ind understanding that the walls of isolation are broken
down, and then the family is no longer a closed circle, it is neither a prison nor a
refuge; then the parents are in communion, not only with their children, but also
with their neighbours.
Being absorbed in their own problems, many parents shift to the teacher the
responsibility for the well-being of their children; and then it is important that the
educator help in the education of the parents as well.
He must talk to them, explaining that the confused state of the world mirrors
their own individual confusion. He must point out that scientific progress in itself
cannot  bring  about  a  radical  change  in  existing  values;  that  technical  training,
which  is  now  called  education,  has  not  given  man  freedom  or  made  him  any
happier; and that to condition the student to accept the present environment is
not conducive to intelligence. He must tell them what he is attempting to do for
their  child,  and  how  he  is  setting  about  it.  He  has  to  awaken  the  parents’
confidence,  not  by  assuming  the  authority  of  a  specialist  dealing  with  ignorant   76
laymen,  but  by  talking  over  with  them  the  child’s  temperament,  difficulties,
aptitudes and so on.
If the teacher takes a real interest in the child as an individual, the parents will
have confidence in him. In this process, the teacher is educating the parents as
well as himself, while learning from them in return. Right education is a mutual
task demanding patience, consideration and af- fection. Enlightened teachers in
an  enlightened  community  could  work  out  this  problem  of  how  to  bring  up
children, and experiments along these lines should be made on a small scale by
interested teachers and thoughtful parents.
Do  parents  ever  ask  themselves  why  they  have  children?  Do  they  have
children  to  perpetuate  their  name,  to  carry  on  their  property?  Do  they  want
children merely for the sake of their own delight, to satisfy their own emotional
needs? If so, then the children become a mere projection of the desires and fears
of their parents.
Can  parents  claim  to  love  their  children  when,  by  educating  them  wrongly,
they foster envy, enmity and ambition? Is it love that stimulates the national and
racial antagonisms which lead to war, destruction and utter misery, that sets man
against man in the name of religions and ideologies?
Many parents encourage the child in the ways of conflict and sorrow, not only
by  allowing  him  to  be  submitted  to  the  wrong  kind  of  education,  but  by  the
manner in which they conduct their own lives; and then, when the child grows up
and suffers, they pray for him or find excuses for his behaviour. The suffering of
parents for their children is a form of possessive self-pity which exists only when
there is no love.
If parents love their children, they will not be nationalistic, they will not identify
themselves with any country; for the worship of the State brings on war, which
kills or maims their sons. If parents love their children, they will discover what is   77
right relationship to property; for the possessive in- stinct has given property an
enormous  and  false  significance  which  is  destroying  the  world.  If  parents  love
their children, they will not belong to any organized religion; for dogma and belief
divide people into conflicting groups, creating antagonism between man and man.
If parents love their children, they will do away with envy and strife, and will set
about altering fundamentally the structure of present-day society.
As  long  as  we  want  our  children  to  be  powerful,  to  have  bigger  and  better
positions, to become more and more successful, there is no love in our hearts; for
the worship of success encourages conflict and misery. To love one’s children is
to be in complete communion with them; it is to see that they have the kind of
education that will help them to be sensitive, intelligent and integrated.
The first thing a teacher must ask himself, when he decides that he wants to
teach,  is  what  exactly  he  means  by  teaching.  Is  he  going  to  teach  the  usual
subjects in the habitual way? Does he want to condition the child to become a
cog in the social machine, or help him to be an integrated, creative human being,
a threat to false values? And if the educator is to help the student to examine and
understand the values and influences that surround him and of which he is a part,
must  he  not  be  aware  of  them  himself?  If  one  is  blind,  can  one  help  others  to
cross to the other shore?
Surely,  the  teacher  himself  must  first  begin  to  see.  He  must  be  constantly
alert,  intensely  aware  of  his  own  thoughts  and  feelings,  aware  of  the  ways  in
which he is conditioned, aware of his activities and his responses; for out of this
watchfulness  comes  intelligence,  and  with  it  a  radical  transformation  in  his
relationship to people and to things.
Intelligence has nothing to do with the passing of examinations. Intelligence is
the  spontaneous  perception  which  makes  a  man  strong  and  free.  To  awaken
intelligence  in  a  child,  we  must  begin  to  understand  for  ourselves  what   78
intelligence is; for how can we ask a child to be intelligent if we ourselves remain
unintelligent in so many ways? The problem is not only the student’s difficulties,
but also our own: the cumulative fears, unhappiness and frustrations of which we
are not free. In order to help the child to be intelligent, we have to break down
within ourselves those hindrances which make us dull and thoughtless.
How can we teach children not to seek personal security if we ourselves are
pursuing it? What hope is there for the child if we who are parents and teachers
are not entirely vulnerable to life, if we erect protective walls around ourselves?
To  discover  the  true  significance  of  this  struggle  for  security,  which  is  causing
such chaos in the world, we must begin to awaken our own intelligence by being
aware of our psychological processes; we must begin to question all the values
which now enclose us.
We should not continue to fit thoughtlessly into the pattern in which we happen
to have been brought up. How can there ever be harmony in the individual and so
in society if we do not understand ourselves? Unless the educator understands
himself, unless he sees his own condi- tioned responses and is beginning to free
himself  from  existing  values,  how  can  he  possibly  awaken  intelligence  in  the
child? And if he cannot awaken intelligence in the child, then what is his function?
It is only by understanding the ways of our own thought and feeling that we
can truly help the child to be a free human being; and if the educator is vitally
concerned  with  this,  he  will  be  keenly  aware,  not  only  of  the  child,  but  also  of
Very few of us observe our own thoughts and feelings. If they are obviously
ugly, we do not understand their full significance, but merely try to check them or
push  them  aside.  We  are  not  deeply  aware  of  ourselves;  our  thoughts  and
feelings  are  stereotyped,  automatic.  We  learn  a  few  subjects,  gather  some
information, and then try to pass it on to the children.    79
But  if  we  are  vitally  interested,  we  shall  not  only  try  to  find  out  what
experiments are being made in education in different parts of the world, but we
shall want to be very clear about our own approach to this whole question; we
shall ask ourselves why and to what purpose we are educating the children and
ourselves; we shall inquire into the meaning of existence, into the relationship of
the  individual  to  society,  and  so  on.  Surely,  educators  must  be  aware  of  these
problems and try to help the child to discover the truth concerning them, without
projecting upon him their own idiosyncrasies and habits of thought.
Merely to follow a system, whether political or educational, will never solve our
many social problems; and it is far more important to understand the manner of
our approach to any problem, than to understand the problem itself.
If  children  are  to  be  free  from  fear  –  whether  of  their  parents,  of  their
environment, or of God – the educator himself must have no fear. But that is the
difficulty: to find teachers who are not themselves the prey of some kind of fear.
Fear  narrows  down  thought  and  limits  initiative,  and  a  teacher  who  is  fearful
obviously  cannot  convey  the  deep  significance  of  being  without  fear.  Like
goodness,  fear  is  contagious.  If  the  educator  himself  is  secretly  afraid,  he  will
pass  that  fear  on  to  his  students,  although  its  contamination  may  not  be
immediately seen.
Suppose, for example, that a teacher is afraid of public opinion; he sees the
absurdity of his fear, and yet cannot go beyond it. What is he to do? He can at
least acknowledge it to himself, and can help his students to understand fear by
bringing out his own psychological reaction and openly talking it over with them.
This  honest  and  sincere  approach  will  greatly  encourage  the  students  to  be
equally open and direct with themselves and with the teacher.
To  give  freedom  to  the  child,  the  educator  himself  must  be  aware  of  the
implications and the full significance of freedom. Example and compulsion in any   80
form do not help to bring about freedom, and it is only in freedom that there can
be self-discovery and insight.
The child is influenced by the people and the things about him, and the right
kind of educator should help him to uncover these influences and their true worth.
Right values are not discovered through the authority of society or tradition; only
individual thoughtfulness can reveal them.
If one understands this deeply, one will encourage the student from the very
beginning  to  awaken  insight  into  present-day  individual  and  social  values.  One
will encourage him to seek out, not any particular set of values, but the true value
of all things. One will help him to be fearless, which is to be free of all domination,
whether  by  the  teacher,  the  family  or  society,  so  that  as  an  individual  he  can
flower  in  love  and  goodness.  In  thus  helping  the  student  towards  freedom,  the
educator  is  changing  his  own  values  also;  he  too  is  beginning  to  be  rid  of  the
`’me» and the»mine,» he too is flowering in love and goodness. This process of
mutual education creates an altogether different relationship between the teacher
and the student.
Domination  or  compulsion  of  any  kind  is  a  direct  hindrance  to  freedom  and
intelligence. The right kind of educator has no authority, no power in society; he is
beyond the edicts and sanctions of society. If we are to help the student to be
free  from  his  hindrances,  which  have  been  created  by  himself  and  by  his
environment, then every form of compulsion and domination must be understood
and put aside; and this cannot be done if the educator is not also freeing himself
from all crippling authority.
To follow another, however great, prevents the discovery of the ways of the
self; to run after the promise of some ready-made Utopia makes the mind utterly
unaware  of  the  enclosing  action  of  its  own  desire  for  comfort,  for  authority,  for
someone  else’s  help.  The  priest,  the  politician,  the  lawyer,  the  soldier,  are  all   81
there to «help» us; but such help destroys intelligence and freedom. The help we
need does not lie outside ourselves. We do not have to beg for help; it comes
without our seeking it when we are humble in our dedicated work, when we are
open to the understanding of our daily trials and accidents.
We  must  avoid  the  conscious  or  unconscious  craving  for  support  and
encouragement,  for  such  craving  creates  its  own  response,  which  is  always
gratifying. It is comforting to have someone to encourage us, to give us a lead, to
pacify us; but this habit of turning to another as a guide, as an authority, soon
becomes  a  poison  in  our  system.  The  moment  we  depend  on  another  for
guidance,  we  forget  our  original  intention,  which  was  to  awaken  individual
freedom and intelligence.
All  authority  is  a  hindrance,  and  it  is  essential  that  the  educator  should  not
become  an  authority  for  the  student.  The  building  up  of  authority  is  both  a
conscious and an unconscious process.
The student  is uncertain, groping,  but  the  teacher  is  sure in his knowledge,
strong in his experience. The strength and certainty of the teacher give assurance
to the student, who tends to bask in that sunlight; but such assurance is neither
lasting  nor  true.  A  teacher  who  consciously  or  un  consciously  encourages
dependence can never be of great help to his students. He may overwhelm them
with his knowledge, dazzle them with his personality, but he is not the right kind
of  educator  because  his  knowledge  and  experiences  are  his  addiction,  his
security,  his  prison;  and  until  he  himself  is  free  of  them,  he  cannot  help  his
students to be integrated human beings.
To be the right kind of educator, a teacher must constantly be freeing himself
from books and laboratories; he must ever be watchful to see that the students do
not make of him an example, an ideal, an authority. When the teacher desires to
fulfil himself in his students, when their success is his, then his teaching is a form   82
of  self-continuation,  which  is  detrimental  to  self-knowledge  and  freedom.  The
right kind of educator must be aware of all these hindrances in order to help his
students to be free, not only from his authority, but from their own self-enclosing
Unfortunately, when it comes to understanding a problem, most teachers do
not treat the student as an equal partner; from their superior position, they give
instructions  to  the  pupil,  who  is  far  below  them.  Such  a  relationship  only
strengthens fear in both the teacher and the student. What creates this unequal
relationship? Is it that the teacher is afraid of being found out? Does he keep a
dignified  distance  to  guard  his  susceptibilities,  hide  importance?  Such  superior
aloofness in no way helps to break down the barriers that separate individuals.
After  all,  the  educator  and  his  pupil  are  helping  each  other  to  educate
All relationship should be a mutual education;and as the protective isolation
afforded  by  knowledge,  by  achievement,  by  ambition,  only  breeds  envy  and
antagonism, the right kind of educator must transcend these walls with which he
surrounds himself.
Because he is devoted solely to the freedom and integra- tion of the individual,
the right kind of educator is deeply and truly religious. He does not belong to any
sect, to any organized religion; he is free of beliefs and rituals, for he knows that
they  are  only  illusions,  fancies,  superstitions  projected  by  the  desires  of  those
who create them. He knows that reality or God comes into being only when there
is self-knowledge ind therefore freedom.
People who have no academic degrees often make the best teachers because
they  are  willing  to  experiment;  not  being  specialists,  they  are  interested  in
learning, in understanding life. For the true teacher, teaching is not a technique, it
is  his  way  of  life;  like  a  great  artist,  he  would  rather  starve  than  give  up  his   83
creative work. Unless one has this burning desire to teach, one should not be a
teacher. It is of the utmost importance that one discover for oneself whether one
his this gift, and not merely drift into teaching because it is a means of livelihood.
As  long  as  teaching  is  only  a  profession,  a  means  of  livelihood,  and  not  a
dedicated  vocation,  there  is  bound  to  be  a  wide  gap  between  the  world  and
ourselves: our home life and our work remain separate and distinct. As long as
education is only a job like any other, conflict and enmity among individuals and
among the various class levels of society are inevitable; there will be increasing
competition, the ruthless pursuit of personal ambition, and the building up of the
national and racial divisions which create antagonism and endless wars.
But if we have dedicated ourselves to be the right kind of educators, we do not
create  barriers  between  our  home  life  and  the  life  at  school,  for  we  are
everywhere  concerned  with  freedom  and  intelligence.  We  consider  equally  the
children of the rich and of the poor, regarding each child as an individual with his
particular temperament, heredity, ambitions, and so on. We are concerned, not
with  a  class,  not  with  the  powerful  or  the  weak,  but  with  the  freedom  and
integration of the individual.
Dedication to the right kind of education must be wholly voluntary. It should
not be the result of any kind of persuasion, or of any hope of personal gain; and it
must  be  devoid  of  the  fears  that  arise  from  the  craving  for  success  and
achievement. The identification of oneself with the success or failure of a school
is still within the field of personal motive. If to teach is one’s vocation, if one looks
upon the right kind of education as a vital need for the individual, then one will not
allow  oneself  to  be  hindered  or  in  any  way  sidetracked  either  by  one’s  own
ambitions or by those of another; one will find time and opportunity for this work,
and will set about it without seeking reward, honour or fame. Then all other things
– family, personal security, comfort – become of secondary importance.    84
If  we  are  in  earnest  about  being  the  right  kind  of  teachers,  we  shall  be
thoroughly  dissatisfied,  not  with  a  particular  system  of  education,  but  with  all
systems, because we see that no educational method can free the individual. A
method or a system may condition him to a different set of values, but it cannot
make him free.
One has to be very watchful also not to fall into one’s own particular system,
which  the  mind  is  ever  building.  To  have  a  pattern  of  conduct,  of  action,  is  a
convenient and safe procedure, and that is why the mind takes shelter within its
formations. To be constantly alert is bothersome and exacting, but to develop and
follow a method does not demand thought.
Repetition and habit encourage the mind to be sluggish; a shock is needed to
awaken it, which we then call a problem. We try to solve this problem according
to our well-worn explanations, justifications and condemnations, all of which puts
the mind back to sleep again. In this form of sluggishness the mind is constantly
being  caught,  and  the  right  kind  of  educator  not  only  puts  an  end  to  it  within
himself, but also helps his students to be aware of it.
Some may ask,»How does one become the right kind of educator?» Surely, to
ask «How» indicates, not a free mind, but a mind that is timorous, that is seeking
an advantage, a result. The hope and the effort to become something only makes
the mind conform to the desired end, while a free mind is constantly watching,
learning, and therefore breaking through its self-projected hindrances.
Freedom is at the beginning, it is not something to be gained at the end. The
moment one asks «How,» one is confronted with insurmountable difficulties, and
the  teacher  who  is  eager  to  dedicate  his  life  to  education  will  never  ask  this
question,  for  he  knows  that  there  is  no  method  by  which  one  can  become  the
right kind of educator. If one is vitally interested, one does not ask for a method
that will assure one of the desired result.    85
Can any system make us intelligent? We may go through the kind of a system,
acquire  degrees,  and  so  on;  but  will  we  then  be  educators,  or  merely  the
personifications of a system? To seek reward, to want to be called an outstanding
educator, is to crave recognition and praise; and while it is sometimes agreeable
to  be  appreciated  and  encouraged,  if  one  depends  upon  it  for  one’s  sustained
interest, it becomes a drug of which one soon wearies. To expect appreciation
and encouragement is quite immature.
If  anything  new  is  to  be  created,  there  must  be  alertness  and  energy,  not
bickerings and wrangles. If one feels frustrated in one’s work, then boredom and
weariness generally follow. If one is not interested, one should obviously not go
on teaching.
But why is there so often a lack of vital interest among teachers? What causes
one  do  feel  frustrated?  Frustration  is  not  the  result  of  being  forced  by
circumstances to do this or that; it arises when we do not know for ourselves what
it is that we really want to do. Being confused, we get pushed around, and finally
land in something which has no appeal for us at all.
If teaching is our true vocation, we may feel temporarily frustrated because we
have not seen a way out of this present educational confusion; but the moment
we see and understand the implications of the right kind of education, we shall
have again all the necessary drive and enthusiasm. It is not a matter of will or
resolution, but of perception and understanding.
If teaching is one’s vocation, and if one perceives the grave importance of the
right kind of education, one cannot help but be the right kind of educator. There is
no need to follow any method. The very fact of understanding that the right kind
of education is indispensable if we are to achieve the freedom and integration of
the  individual,  brings  about  a  fundamental  change  in  oneself.  If  one  becomes   86
aware  that  there  can  be  peace  and  happiness  for  man  only  through  right
education, then one will naturally give one’s whole life and interest to it.
One teaches because one wants the child to be rich inwardly, which will result
in  his  giving  right  value  to  possessions.  Without  inner  richness,  worldly  things
become  extravagantly  important,  leading  to  various  forms  of  destruction  and
misery. One teaches to encourage the student to find his true vocation, and to
avoid  those  occupations  that  foster  antagonism  between  man  and  man.  One
teaches to help the young towards self-knowledge, without which there can be no
peace,  no  lasting  happiness.  One’s  teaching  is  not  self-fulfilment,  but  self-
Without  the  right  kind  of  teaching,  illusion  is  taken  for  reality,  and  then  the
individual  is  ever  in  conflict  within  himself,  and  therefore  there  is  conflict  in  his
relationship  with  others,  which  is  society.  One  teaches  because  one  sees  that
self-knowledge alone, and not the dogmas and rituals of organized religion, can
bring about a tranquil mind; and that creation, truth, God, comes into being only
when the «me» and the «mine» are transcended.    87
Chapter 7: Sex And Marriage
LIKE other human problems, the problem of our passions and sexual urges is
a  complex  and  difficult  one,  and  if  the  educator  himself  has  not  deeply  probed
into it and seen its many implications, how can he help those he is educating? If
the parent or the teacher is himself caught up in the turmoils of sex, how can he
guide the child? Can we help the children if we ourselves do not understand the
significance of this whole problem? The manner in which the educator imparts an
understanding  of  sex  depends  on  the  state  of  his  own  mind;  it  depends  on
whether he is gently dispassionate, or consumed by his own desires.
Now, why is sex to most of us a problem, full of confusion and conflict? Why
has it become a dominant factor in our lives? One of the main reasons is that we
are  not  creative;  and  we  are  not  creative  because  our  whole  social  and  moral
culture,  as  well  as  our  educational  methods,  are  based  on  development  of  the
intellect.  The  solution  to  this  problem  of  sex  lies  in  understanding  that  creation
does not occur through the functioning of the intellect. On the contrary, there is
creation only when the intellect is still.
The  intellect,  the  mind  as  such,  can  only  repeat,  recollect,  it  is  constantly
spinning  new  words  and  rearranging  old  ones;  and  as  most  of  us  feel  and
experience only through the brain, we live exclusively on words and mechanical
repetitions. This is obviously not creation; and since we are uncreative, the only
means of creativeness left to us is sex. Sex is of the mind, and that which is of
the mind must fulfil itself or there is frustration.
Our  thoughts,  our  lives  are  bright,  arid,  hollow,  empty;  emotionally  we  are
starved, religiously and intellectually we are repetitive, dull; socially, politically and
economically  we  are  regimented,  controlled.  We  are  not  happy  people,  we  are
not vital, joyous; at home, in business, at church, at school, we never experience
a creative state of being, there is no deep release in our daily thought and action.   88
Caught  and  held  from  all  sides,  naturally  sex  becomes  our  only  outlet,  an
experience to be sought again and again because it momentarily offers that state
of  happiness  which  comes  when  there  is  absence  of  self.  It  is  not  sex  that
constitutes a problem, but the desire to recapture the state of happiness, to gain
and maintain pleasure, whether sexual or any other.
What we are really searching for is this intense passion of self-forgetfulness,
this  identification  with  something  in  which  we  can  lose  ourselves  completely.
Because  the  self  is  small,  petty  and  a  source  of  pain,  consciously  or
unconsciously we want to lose ourselves in individual or collective excitement, in
lofty thoughts, or in some gross form of sensation.
When  we  seek  to  escape  from  the  self,  the  means  of  escape  are  very
important,  and  then  they  also  become  painful  problems  to  us.  Unless  we
investigate and understand the hindrances that prevent creative living, which is
freedom from self, we shall not understand the problem of sex.
One  of  the  hindrances  to  creative  living  is  fear,  and  respectability  is  a
manifestation of that fear. The respectable, the morally bound, are not aware of
the full and deep significance of life. They are enclosed between the walls of their
own  righteousness  and  cannot  see  beyond  them.  Their  stained-glass  morality,
based  on  ideals  and  religious  beliefs,  has  nothing  to  do  with  reality;  and  when
they take shelter behind it, they are living in the world of their own illusions. In
spite  of  their  self-imposed  and  gratifying  morality,  the  respectable  also  are  in
confusion, misery and conflict.
Fear, which is the result of our desire to be secure, makes us conform, imitate
and  submit  to  domination,  and  therefore  it  prevents  creative  living.  To  live
creatively is to live in freedom, which is to be without fear; and there can be a
state  of  creativeness  only  when  the  mind  is  not  caught  up  in  desire  and  the
gratification  of  desire.  It  is  only  by  watching  our  own  hearts  and  minds  with   89
delicate attention that we can unravel the hidden ways of our desire. The more
thoughtful and affectionate we are, the less desire dominates the mind. It is only
when there is no love that sensation becomes a consuming problem.
To  understand  this  problem  of  sensation,  we  shall  have  to  approach  it,  not
from  any  one  direction,  but  from  every  side,  the  educational,  the  religious,  the
social and the moral. Sensations have become almost exclusively important to us
because we lay such overwhelming emphasis on sensate values.
Through  books,  through  advertisements,  through  the  cinema,  and  in  many
other  ways,  various  aspects  of  sensation  are  constantly  being  stressed.  The
political  and  religious  pageants,  the  theatre  and  other  forms  of  amusement,  all
encourage us to seek stimulation at different levels of our being; and we delight in
this encouragement. Sensuality is being developed in every possible way, and at
the  same  time,  the  ideal  of  chastity  is  upheld.  A  contradiction  is  thus  built  up
within us; and strangely enough, this very contradiction is stimulating.
It  is  only  when  we  understand  the  pursuit  of  sensation,  which  is  one  of  the
major activities of the mind, that pleasure, excitement and violence cease to be a
dominant feature in our lives. It is because we do not love, that sex, the pursuit of
sensation,  has  become  a  consuming  problem.  When  there  is  love,  there  is
chastity;  but  he  who  tries  to  be  chaste,  is  not.  Virtue  comes  with  freedom,  it
comes when there is an understanding of what is.
When we are young, we have strong sexual urges, and most of us try to deal
with  these  desires  by  controlling  and  disciplining  them,  because  we  think  that
without  some  kind  of  restraint  we  shall  become  consumingly  lustful.  Organized
religions  are  much  concerned  about  our  sexual  morality;  but  they  allow  us  to
perpetrate violence and murder in the name of patriotism, to indulge in envy and
crafty ruthlessness, and to pursue power and success. Why should they be so
concerned with this particular type of morality, and not attack exploitation, greed   90
and  war?  Is  it  not  because  organized  religions,  being  part  of  the  environment
which we have created, depend for their very existence on our fears and hopes,
on our envy and separatism? So, in the religious field as in every other, the mind
is held in the projections of its own desires.
As long as there is no deep understanding of the whole process of desire, the
institution of marriage as it now exists, whether in the East or in the West, cannot
provide the answer to the sexual problem. Love is not induced by the signing of a
contract, nor is it based on an exchange of gratification, nor on mutual security
and comfort. All these things are of the mind, and that is why love occupies so
small  a  place  in  our  lives.  Love  is  not  of  the  mind,  it  is  wholly  independent  of
thought with its cunning calculations, its self-protective demands and reactions.
When there is love, sex is never a problem – it is the lack of love that creates the
The hindrances and escapes of the mind constitute the problem, and not sex
or  any  other  specific  issue;  and  that  is  why  it  is  important  to  understand  the
mind’s  process,  its  attractions  and  repulsions,  its  responses  to  beauty,  to
ugliness. We should observe ourselves, become aware of how we regard people,
how  we  look  at  men  and  women.  We  should  see  that  the  family  becomes  a
centre  of  separatism  and  of  antisocial  activities  when  it  is  used  as  a  means  of
self-perpetuation,  for  the  sake  of  one’s  self-importance.  Family  and  property,
when  centred  on  the  self  with  its  ever-narrowing  desires  and  pursuits,  become
the  instruments  of  power  and  domination,  a  source  of  conflict  between  the
individual and society.
The difficulty in all these human questions is that we ourselves, the parents
and teachers, have become so utterly weary and hopeless, altogether confused
and without peace; life weighs heavily upon us, and we want to be comforted, we
want to be loved. Being poor and insufficient within ourselves, how can we hope
to give the right kind of education to the child?    91
That  is  why  the  major  problem  is  not  the  pupil,  but  the  educator;  our  own
hearts and minds must be cleansed if we are to be capable of educating others. If
the educator himself is confused, crooked, lost in a maze of his own desires, how
can he impart wisdom or help to make straight the way of another? But we are
not machines to be understood and repaired by experts; we are the result of a
long  series  of  influences  and  accidents,  and  each  one  has  to  unravel  and
understand for himself the confusion of his own nature.
Chapter 8: Art, Beauty And Creation
MOST of us are constantly trying to escape from ourselves; and as art offers a
respectable and easy means of doing so, it plays a significant part in the lives of
many people. In the desire for self-forgetfulness, some turn to art, others take to
drink, while still others follow mysterious and fanciful religious doctrines.
When,  consciously  or  unconsciously,  we  use  something  to  escape  from
ourselves, we become addicted to it. To depend on a person, a poem, or what
you  will,  as  a  means  of  release  from  our  worries  and  anxieties,  though
momentarily enriching, only creates further conflict and contradiction in our lives.
The  state  of  creativeness  cannot  exist  where  there  is  conflict,  and  the  right
kind of education should therefore help the individual to face his problems and
not  glorify  the  ways  of  escape;  it  should  help  him  to  understand  and  eliminate
conflict, for only then can this state of creativeness come into being. Art divorced
from  life  has  no  great  significance.  When  art  is  separate  from  our  daily  living,
when  there  is  a  gap  between  our  instinctual  life  and  our  efforts  on  canvas,  in
marble  or  in  words,  then  art  becomes  merely  an  expression  of  our  superficial
desire to escape from the reality of what is. To bridge this gap is very arduous,
especially for those who are gifted and technically proficient; but it is only when
the gap is bridged that our life becomes integrated and art an integra expression
of ourselves.
Mind has the power to create illusion; and without understanding its ways, to
seek inspiration is to invite self-deception. Inspiration comes when we are open to
it, not when we are courting it. To attempt to gain inspiration through any form of
stimulation leads to all kinds of delusions.
Unless  one  is  aware  of  the  significance  of  existence,  capacity  or  gift  gives
emphasis  and  importance  to  the  self  and  its  cravings.  it  tends  to  make  the   93
individual  self-centred  and  separative;  he  feels  himself  to  be  an  entity  apart,  a
superior being, all of which breeds many evils and causes ceaseless strife and
pain. The self is a bundle of many entities, each opposed to the others. It is a
battlefield of conflicting desires, a centre of constant struggle between the»mine»
and the»not-mine; and as long as we give importance to the self, to the «me» and
the»mine,» there will be increasing conflict within ourselves and in the world.
A  true  artist  is  beyond  the  vanity  of  the  self  and  its ambitions.  To  have  the
power of brilliant expression, and yet be caught in worldly ways, makes for a life
of contradiction and strife. Praise and adulation, when taken to heart, inflate the
ego and destroy receptivity, and the worship of success in any field is obviously
detrimental to intelligence.
Any  tendency  or  talent  which  makes  for  isolation,  any  form  of  self-
identification,  however  stimulating,  distorts  the  expression  of  sensitivity  and
brings about insensitivity. Sensitivity is dulled when gift becomes personal, when
importance is given to the «me» and the «mine» – I paint, I write, I invent. It is only
when  we  are  aware  of  every  movement  of  our  own  thought  and  feeling  in  our
relationship  with  people,  with  things  and  with  nature,  that  the  mind  is  open,
pliable,  not  tethered  to  self-protective  demands  and  pursuits;  and  only  then  is
there sensitivity to the ugly and the beautiful, unhindered by the self.
Sensitivity to beauty and to ugliness does not come about through attachment;
it  comes  with  love,  when  there  are  no  self-created  conflicts.  When  we  are
inwardly poor, we indulge in every form of outward show, in wealth, power and
possessions. When our hearts are empty, we collect things. If we can afford it, we
surround  ourselves  with  objects  that  we  consider  beautiful,  and  because  we
attach  enormous  importance  to  them,  we  are  responsible  for  much  misery  and
destruction.    94
The  acquisitive  spirit  is  not  the  love  of  beauty;  it  arises  from  the  desire  for
security, and to be secure is to be insensitive. The desire to be secure creates
fear; it sets going a process of isolation which builds walls of resistance around
us, and these walls prevent all sensitivity. However beautiful an object may be, it
soon loses its appeal for us; we dull. Beauty is still there, but we are no longer
open to it, and it has been absorbed into our monotonous daily existence.
Since our hearts are withered and we have forgotten how to be kindly, how to
look  at  the  stars,  at  the  trees,  at  the  reflections  on  the  water,  we  require  the
stimulation  of  pictures  and  jewels,  of  books  and  endless  amusements.  We  are
constantly  seeking  new  excitements,  new  thrills,  we  crave  an  everincreasing
variety of sensations. Art is this craving and its satisfaction that make the mind
and heart weary and dull. As long as we are seeking sensation, the things that we
call beautiful and ugly have but a very superficial significance. There is lasting joy
only when we are capable of approaching all things afresh – which is not possible
as  long  as  we  are  bound  up  in  our  desires.  The  craving  for  sensation  and
gratification  prevents  the  experiencing  of  that  which  is  always  new.  Sensations
can be bought, but not the love of beauty.
When we are aware of the emptiness of our own minds and hearts without
running  away  from  it  into  any  kind  of  stimulation  or  sensation,  when  we  are
completely open, highly sensitive, only then can there be creation, only then shall
we find creative joy. To cultivate the outer without understanding the inner must
inevitably build up those values which lead men to destruction and sorrow.
Learning  a  technique  may  provide  us  with  a  job,  but  it  will  not  make  us
creative; whereas, if there is joy, if there is the creative fire, it will find a way to
express  itself,  one  need  not  study  a  method  of  expression.  When  one  really
wants to write a poem, one writes it, and if one has the technique, so much the
better; but why stress what is but a means of communication if one has nothing to   95
say?  When  there  is  love  in  our  hearts,  we  do  not  search  for  a  way  of  putting
words together.
Great artists and great writers may be creators, but we are not, we are mere
spectators. We read vast numbers of books, listen to magnificent music, look at
works  of  art,  but  we  never  directly  experience  the  sublime;  our  experience  is
always through a poem, through a picture, through the personality of a saint. To
sing we must have a song in our hearts; but having lost the song, we pursue the
singer. Without an intermediary we feel lost; but we must be lost before we can
discover  anything.  Discovery  is  the  beginning  of  creativeness;  and  without
creativeness, do what we may, there can be no peace or happiness for man.
We think that we shall be able to live happily, creatively, if we learn a method,
a  technique,  a  style;  but  creative  happiness  comes  only  when  there  is  inward
richness, it can never be attained through any system. Self-improvement, which
is another way of assuring the security of the «me» and the»mine,» is not creative,
nor  is  it  love  of  beauty.  Creativeness  comes  into  being  when  there  is  constant
awareness of the ways of the mind, and of the hindrances it has built for itself.
The freedom to create comes with self-knowledge; but self-knowledge is not a
gift. One can be creative without having any particular talent. Creativeness is a
state of being in which the conflicts and sorrows of the self are absent, a state in
which the mind is not caught up in the demands and pursuits of desire.
To be creative is not merely to produce poems, or statues, or children; it is to
be in that state in which truth can come into being. Truth comes into being when
there is a complete cessation of thought; and thought ceases only when the self
is  absent,  when  the  mind  has  ceased  to  create,  that  is,  when  it  is  no  longer
caught in its own pursuits. When the mind is utterly still without being forced or
trained into quiescence, when it is silent because the self is inactive, then there is
creation.       The love of beauty may express itself in a song, in a smile, or in silence; but
most of us have no inclination to be silent. We have not the time to observe the
birds,  the  passing  clouds,  because  we  are  too  busy  with  our  pursuits  and
pleasures. When there is no beauty in our hearts, how can we help the children to
be alert and sensitive? We try to be sensitive to beauty while avoiding the ugly;
but avoidance of the ugly makes for insensitivity. If we would develop sensitivity
in the young, we ourselves must be sensitive to beauty and to ugliness, and must
take every opportunity to awaken in them the joy there is in seeing, not only the
beauty that man has created, but also the beauty of nature.


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