Krishnamurti on Education
Talks to Teachers
Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Teachers Chapter 8 'On the Good Mind'
Krishnamurti: I think that most of us have a fairly comprehensive view of what is happening in the world. Looking at the historical process, the appalling travesty of peace, one must have ask oneself what life is all about. There is the enslaving of whole masses of people; there is corruption and talk of democracy; religions have failed, only superstitions remain. There is the dead weight of tradition, the innumerable gurus, soothsayers, monks, astrologers. There is poverty, degradation, the squalor of existence. And there is also a sense of deep despair. So, seeing this immense suffering, what is our answer to it all? There are people who say that what is needed is not a new system or a new philosophy, but rather a new type of leadership, a new type of man who has immense authority not only in the state but in his own idealistic strength. But do we want new leaders? What we need is freedom from leaders. When we see this vast confusion, economic strangulation and imbalance, and come to Rishi Valley, what is it that a school of this kind can do, and should do? Can we discuss this? Not as an ideal, for ideals of any kind are very detrimental. Ideals prevent us from looking at facts, and it is only a concern with facts and the understanding of facts which releases an energy that is the movement in the right direction. Ideals merely engender various forms of escape. Let us consider all this and see what we can do here in this school.
This is not going from the vast to the ridiculous, for this school is a miniature of what is taking place in the world and, seeing the destructive chaos, misery, suffering, I feel there is only one answer and that is the creation of a new mind. What is essential is a different mind that will look at all problems and find a solution and not create new problems. I think the right kind of education does bring about the good mind, the total development of man, and it seems to me that is the major issue not only in this valley but also in the rest of the world.
How can one bring about a good mind, a mind that sees all these co-relations, not only at the superficial level but a mind that can penetrate inwardly? It seems to me that the problem of education is to see whether it is possible to cultivate an intelligence which is not the result of influence, an intelligence which is not the learning of certain techniques and the earning of a livelihood. They are part of education but surely they are not the only function of education? Now how do you educate a child so that he is able to face life and not merely conform to the established patterns of society, to certain modes of conduct? So that he can go much further, deeper into the whole problem of existence?
I do not know if you have ever considered what a good mind is. Is it a good mind that has the capacity to retain what it reads, and functions from memory? The electronic brain is doing this marvellously. It calculates at astonishing speed some of the most complicated mathematical problems. It functions, I have been told, in the same way as the human brain, doing the desired calculations.
Is a good mind one that repeats, like a gramophone, what it has been told? That is our education, isn't it? The learning of facts, dates, to repeat them once a year when a boy takes his examination. Can this be called cultivating a good mind? And yet is this not what most of us are doing when we are teaching? So the mere addition to knowledge, which is really the cultivation of memory, is just an additive process. it does not engender a clear, good mind, does it? Negatively, one can see that the mere cultivation of memory does not bring about a good mind although most of our existence is based on this. And yet, one must have memory, one must have a very good memory to remember certain things, to be a good technician. So, at what point does memory interfere with a good mind capable of explanation, investigation and discovery? At what point does memory interfere with real freedom?
I do not know if you have ever considered the man who invented the jet aeroplane. He had first to understand the whole problem of the piston-propeller engine. He had to know it, but after knowing it, he had to put it away in order to discover something new. The specialists, until they really discover something new, merely continue a better and more complicated technique, but if a man is to invent something new he has to let go of the old.
Teacher: Sir, you have said that perception of a fact leads to knowledge in the right direction, whereas ideals lead to escapes. Can you make the statement clearer?
Krishnamurti: How do ideals come into being, and what is the need for ideals? The ideal of what should be, which is away from the fact, limits the mind and makes it static. If a child merely conforms to certain ideals, to the words of certain teachers, to the words of his father, grandfather, uncle and so on, that restrains energy and limits knowledge, does it not? All conformity limits knowledge. If I am an art teacher and I teach children to copy, which is imitation, it does not really help creative perception or expression, does it? Now let us see what happens when there is perception of the fact. I perceive that I am stupid. There is perception, realization, awareness of the fact that I am stupid. That is, I do not give explanations or offer an opinion about my stupidity and thereby escape through explanation. The observation of a fact without justification or condemnation releases tremendous energy. Now is there a release of energy through conformity, through motive, through mere acceptance? And can one function in the framework of that acceptance?
Teacher: Physically, there is.
Krishnamurti: Is physical energy released by conforming? What is the motive behind this extraordinary urge in most of us to conform to a pattern? What is the compulsive urge behind this? Obviously it is the desire to be secure, is it not? Security in your relationship with your wife, with your hus- band, in the good opinion of the public or a friend. All this indicates the desire not only for economic security but inward mental security or certainty, does it not?
Teacher: The demand for security is the desire to have peace of mind.
Krishnamurti: I need a certain amount of security. I must have a job. If I am uncertain of my next meal I would not be sitting here talking. Does the desire for peace mean that we should have a mind that will never be disturbed? And why should we not be disturbed? What is wrong if we are disturbed? Much of the world is disturbed. Why should we not be disturbed? And, is not the mind which says, "I must not be disturbed", really a dead mind? There can be no state of mind which says, "l am perfectly safe," there can be no mind which is so certain that it will never be disturbed. I think that is the kind of mind most of us want and that is why we conform endlessly. If you had a son, you would want him to conform to the pattern of society because you do not want him to be a revolutionary. So, I am asking what is behind this demand for security, certainty, this hope in which despair is included?
We will come back to it in different way. I am just asking myself, why this urge? Is it fear? I am afraid of not being able to take care of my family and therefore I hold on to my job. I am afraid my wife may not care for me, or my husband may not care for me. I possess property. I am afraid that property may be taken away from me. Behind that threat there is a sense of fear, a desire to be secure.
Teacher: We can only be secure when there is no fear.
Krishnamurti: Wait a minute. Is that possible? You know what fear is. If most of us were free from all fear, you know what would happen? We would do exactly what we want to do. Fear restrains us, is that not so? But we are asking if a mind that is afraid, anxious, is it ever secure? I may have a good job, I may love my wife or husband, but am I secure when this fear is going on in me? To have no fear, which is an extraordinary state, is to be free of the problem of security. Is it possible for this mind to understand fear and be free from fear? Whatever such a mind does, being free, is right action.
How will you educate a group of children to be fearless? Which does not mean that they can do what they like - but to be free from the sense of all apprehension, anxiety? Will this not release an enormous amount of energy?
How do you set about educating the child? You are afraid and you see that fear is most disturbing. It is the worst form of destruction. How do I educate a boy to be without fear? What is it a teacher can do to translate this into action? Is it to allow the child to think freely? You see the importance of being without fear, because it is death to live in a state of fear. Whether it is conscious or unconscious fear, it troubles your mind. How will you help a child not to be afraid and yet to live with others? He cannot do whatever he likes, he cannot say, "I need not go to the class because I am fearless." Then what makes a child, a student, free? What gives him the deep impression that he is free, not to do what he likes, but free. If a child feels that you are really looking after him, that you care for him, that he is completely at home with you, completely secure with you, that he is not afraid of you, then he respects you and he listens to you because you are looking after him and he has complete confidence in you. He is then at peace with what you tell him. So open the door to him to be without fear. How else will you proceed? First of all you have to establish a relationship with the student, let him know that you really care for him, that he can really feel at home with you and therefore he can be completely at ease and feel secure. It is not a theory, it is not an idea. What will you do if your student fails in an examination? One boy may not be as quick as the other boy and yet he must learn. How will you encourage learning without fear? If you say one boy is better than another, it engenders fear. How will you avoid all this and yet help the child to learn? The child comes from a home where he has been brought up differently. His whole life is geared to achievement, success, and he comes here with all his background of fear and competition. How are you to help him?
Teacher: You can help him learn according to his individual capacity.
Krishnamurti: Let us go slowly. How is it to be done? This? school is in your hands. You have to create something out of it. Teaching is a creative thing, it is not merely something you can learn and repeat. How are you going to teach the children in your class for whom you have a feeling of love. Remember they are not interested in learning. They want to have a good time. They want to play cricket, watch birds, and occasionally look at a book. The fact is they want to do the easiest thing. If you leave it to them the more they are secure with you, the more they will exploit you. How will you help them to learn? You have to find ways to teach them and that is going to release your energy to devise mean of making subjects interesting for the child.
Before you proceed with a child, what is the state of your mind which wants to help the child to learn subjects in which he is not interested?
Teacher: It is the urge to share your learning with the child.
Krishnamurti: I want these children to learn because learning is part of existence and the child can only learn if there is no fear. I must teach the child so that he learns without fear, which means I have to explode with this feeling of wanting to share with that boy. Do you know the state of mind that wants to share with another? That itself seems to be the right feeling. Do you know what that implies? The fact is I know more, the child knows less, and I have a feeling that he must learn, that he must be capable of sharing. We both are learning, which means we are going through an experience together. The child and I are then already in a state of communication. Once I have established the right relationship or communication between myself and the child, he is going to learn because he has confidence in me.
Teacher: The teacher may be very fond of the child, but still the child is not willing to learn, the child is not interested.
Krishnamurti: I question it. When the child has confidence in you, do you think he will not learn any subject you want him to? What we are trying to do is to establish relationship. If that is possible, then will I not convey to the child the importance of learning a subject?
This morning when we began to talk there was no commu- nication between the speaker and the audience. Now we have established some kind of communication and we are trying to work the thing out together. Can we not do the same thing with children?
Krishnamurti on Education
Talks to Teachers
Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Teachers Chapter 8 'On the Good Mind'
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