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Krishnamurti on Education

Talks to Teachers

Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Teachers Chapter 9 'On the Negative Approach'

Krishnamurti: What do you think is right education, not for any particular group of children, the children of the rich or the poor, the children of the village or of the town, but children? How would you bring up a child knowing that walls of destructive nationalism divide people?

Machines are taking over man's labour and man is going to have more leisure. There will be electronic brains, machines which will run by themselves. Man is going to have a great deal of leisure, perhaps not immediately, but in fifty or a hundred years time. Taking into account the advance of technology, growing systematization, the acceptance of authority and tyranny in the world, what do you consider is the direction of education? What would you consider is the direction of the whole development of man? What is it you want the student to discover for himself? Are these vain questions? If you consider them seriously what would be your reaction? Machines are going to take over. The perfect teacher, who is really excellent in his subject, can teach a class and his instructions can be recorded through tapes and distributed throughout the world and the ordinary teacher can utilize them and instruct the student. So, the responsibility for good teaching may be taken out of individual hands, though you may need a teacher. You may say that what happens in fifty years is not your immediate problem. But a really good educator must be concerned not only with the immediate but be prepared for the future - future not in the sense of the day after, or a thousand days after tomorrow, but the tendency of this extraordinary development of the mind. I suppose you exist from day to day. The immediate is brutal, tiring and you say: "Why should I bother with what is going to happen?" But if you have a child if you are a teacher with students, unless you have a total comprehension of all this, you cannot see and understand the meaning of education. What will happen after you educate all these girls and boys? The girls are going to get married and disappear into the vast world. They will be sucked into society. What is the point of educating them? And the boys will get jobs. Why should you educate them to fit into this rotten society? To teach them how to behave, how to be gentle and kind, is that the end of education? Take the total picture of what is happening in the world, not only in India. Seeing this whole picture, comprehending it, what is it you are trying to do?

Unless you have a total response to this whole issue the mere tinkering with it to improve teaching methods has very little meaning. The world is on fire, and being an educated man you must have the right answer to this; being a human being you must have an answer to this, and if you have an answer, a feeling of this totality of evil, then, when you teach mathematics, dancing, singing, it has a significance.

Teacher: Sir, if I do not have this whole feeling towards something, do you think it is likely to come into being when I do something and do it well?

Krishnamurti: I want you to be factual.

Teacher: By being punctual, learning the technique, studying before I teach and doing the thing perfectly, would that help to bring about the quality of total feeling?

Krishnamurti: Would it? It is essential that I be punctual, that I study my subject before I teach - that is understood. And you are asking if that will lead to the total feeling of all this?

Teacher: I feel there is a likelihood - it is not a certainty - when I study something with attention.

Krishnamurti: You have moved away from doing something, from being punctual and all the rest of it, to "attention". What do you mean by attention? I may give a certain meaning to attention and you may not. I will work on mathematics and I will be punctual. I will be very quiet and very tender and affectionate, encourage the student, discourage him from being competitive. Would you call that an attentive mind?

Teacher: I think so, sir. By helping the student not to compete, there is a quality of attention.

Krishnamurti: What does that mean? Not only are you attentive to your subject and to your relationship with the student but also attentive to nature, to world events and world tendencies, not only to the individual corruptions and individual aspirations but to the collective. But if you say you are attentive because you go to the class punctually, it has no meaning.

Can you put the question differently? Is it possible to have this total comprehension without fear? In discussing the possibility of such a comprehension, and discovering it, can we then turn to the everyday activities and not the other way round? Now how would you discuss it?

From what do we derive our energy? If we eat a certain amount of food we have a certain vitality but the vitality is not the thing that makes us live, function and be conscious. How do we derive energy, psychological energy, the driving energy? Most people get that energy by having an end in view, an ego, by maintaining a vision, an ideal, a thing that must be done, a result. That gives one an astonishing energy. Look at all the saints and politicians; the wish for success gives them enormous energy. The man who has an ideal in view and thinks that it must be established on earth, will walk the earth. He gets his psychological energy in spite of hi body because that is the thing he must do, because he thinks it is good for the people and from that he derives an abundant energy. And when he does not succeed he feels disappointed, depressed, unhappy, but he covers it up and goes on. Most people derive energy from wanting a result through the desire to achieve a position, to fulfil an ambition or an ideal. They get energy with its accompanying disappointments, frustrations, despair. In this is the destruction of energy.

If you are interested in god, you want to create the most beautiful god in the world and you drive yourself, you exhaust yourself, and when the drive becomes a futility, a despair, you become depressed. So you meet a living energy with a negative energy which is depression, sorrow; so there is a contradiction going on.

Teacher: Sir, is energy not destroyed when there is no interest in what one is doing? For example, when a gardener is interested in gardening, there is energy. Is this not real energy and the other one no energy at all?

Krishnamurti: The poor gardener is also depressed if he cannot get what he wants. You are connecting interest with energy and the lack of interest with lack of energy. There are very few of us who are really interested in what we are doing.

Most of us derive our energy from the desire for security, from ideals, from seeking a result, fulfilment of ambition and so on. For most of us that is energy. For the man who goes about doing good, his activity gives him enormous energy and when he does not succeed he is in despair, the two always go together. That energy always brings with it depression, frustration.

In realizing that this form of energy is very destructive, would you not enquire to discover an energy which is not accompanied by depression, by despair, by frustration? Is there such energy? One knows the ordinary energy with its entanglements and one sees that energy which is brought about by seeking a result; and if, seeing it, one pushes it aside, then would that in itself not bring about an enquiry as to whether there is any other form of energy which is not accompanied by despair? That is the problem. Look at that for a little while, consider it, and let us go back to the first question. Seeing this world in flames, the world in utter confusion, an every politician trying to patch it up and every patch having a hole in it - seeing this total state, we must have a total answer. And how do you, as an educator, respond to this? Do you respond with the energy which is destructive or with the energy which is not destructive?

Teacher: What is that energy which has no shadow of destruction in it?

Krishnamurti: Do not ask that question. Never put a positive question. Always put a negative question in order to find a positive answer which is not the response of the opposite.

Now, what is negative thinking? What is this energy which is not destructive? That is a positive question.

What is this total energy? Would it be right for us to describe this total energy which is not destructive, and can I describe it? If I were to describe it, would it not be merely verbal, theoretical to others?

Energy becomes a destructive thing the moment you want to achieve it. The desire to achieve it becomes the end for which you strive and if you do not achieve it, you are in despair. So your question was a wrong question and if one is not very careful, a wrong answer will ensue. So, what should the next question be: "How will you help me to experience this total energy?" If I were able to help you, you would be depending on the helper and the helper may be wrong. So how would you put the question?

Teacher: Is it possible in communication to experience this total energy in the present? Krishnamurti: You can ask the same question in a different way. You are asking a positive question all the time about something you do not know. Your question is unrelated to the problem. Now how would you put the question?

Teacher: Do you mean to say that the right question should be "When I see the destructive nature of this energy...."

Krishnamurti: See the falseness of this energy which is destructive, that in itself is the answer. You cannot go beyond the destructive nature of this energy and say what the other is.

Can you cease to revolve in creating destructive energy? You will not then ask what the other is. All you can ask is, "Is it possible to stop this self-created destructive energy?" You cannot enquire positively into energy, it must be a negative approach - the comprehending of the fact negatively, not positively, in order to get to the other - because you do not know the other. So your approach must be negative in the sense that you see the factual nature of this energy which is self-destructive.

Can I comprehend negatively? Can I learn a technique, and can the mind liberate itself from the technique without recompense? Then the mind is open to a different pattern of i energy.

The entire world is in a vast mess, in confusion. To have a total response to that, you must have energy of a different quality from the usual energy which you apply to a problem. The usual approach to a problem is in terms of hope, fear, success, fulfilment and so on, with its accompanying despair. This is obvious. These are all psychological facts. Here we have a world issue and you have to approach it not with the energy of despair but with an energy which is not contaminated by despair. To come upon that energy which is not destructive, the mind must be free from the energy of despair. This is a world problem, how do you answer it? Do you answer it idealistically with the intention, the desire and the feeling, "This is the right thing to do"? If you do, you answer it with the energy of despair. Or do you look at it with a different energy altogether? If you look at the total problem with that new kind of energy, you will have the right answer.

Teacher: I would like to talk a little more about the communication of this feeling you are hinting at: that we are perpetuating through our education the energy of despair and hence the hopelessness of such education. Can we educate in I the accepted sense of the word, and yet have the other? Can a person who is engaged in teaching a certain subject teach that perfectly and yet get the whole, total feeling? Can he do it without a motive, with a total attention to the thing that he is doing and with a feeling of love? Will that help to keep the I mind open to the new source of energy?

Krishnamurti: You are introducing suppositions, they are not facts. You see, you have no love. Occasionally there is an opening in the cloud and you see the bright light, but only occasionally. You are not dealing with facts, you are dealing with suppositions. If you were dealing with facts, then you could have answered.

The main statement is not good enough, "I do pay attention sometimes, I do love without wanting something in return." You may do this occasionally, but you have to do it on all the three hundred and sixty five days, not just one day.

Teacher: As I see it, whatever I do, I want to fit the "plus" into this.

Krishnamurti: You cannot put the plus into the minus, you cannot put the creative thing into the destructive. The destructive energy has to cease for the creative thing to come in.

You have time, you have leisure to meditate, and without becoming sentimental you have to discover the destructive energy in yourself. It is a continuous process of awareness, keeping the window open for the other. This is a total process all the time.

There is a psychological climate that is necessary, which means relationship in teaching and that requires subtlety. You cannot have subtlety and pliability if you have an end in mind. If you are thinking from a conclusion, from an experience of knowing a great many techniques, you cannot have pliability, subtlety.

Have you ever talked to anybody who is entrenched deep in some ideal, in some dogma? He has no pliability, no subtlety. To bring about subtlety, pliability, the mind must have no anchorage.

Teacher: Is it possible to arrange circumstances so that this pliability and subtlety come into being? It is not always possible to create this within organizations.

Krishnamurti: How can one create neither antagonism nor resistance in relationship? How is a sense of equality to be brought about? If you can establish that feeling then what is the next step? Is there a next step?

First of all, is it possible to establish mutual confidence within an organization? To establish that requires a great deal of intelligence on my part and on the part of others.

Teacher: As you said, the problem is how to establish relationship without the sense of high and low and with the awareness of this total feeling.

Krishnamurti: We do not know anything about this total feeling. But we know the destructive nature of certain forms of energy and the mind tries to disentangle itself from that.

We know there must be equality and that equality is denied when there are divisions, cliques, when we are functioning merely on an economic level and when there is no comprehension of the nature of destructive energy. It is not an economic equality that has to be established but an equality at every level. If we do not establish that right from the beginning and establish it also in ourselves, we have no contact. Can we spend time in considering how to establish an equality in that sense, not the equality of technique? Can we come together to establish between ourselves this feeling of equality in which all differences are gone? Then we are free. We must be quite sure that at least a few of us are walking along the road. Some of us then may walk slowly, some may walk fast but it is in the same direction and the direction is the quality. It is really a turning of one's back to the world. If you see the crippling effects of the energy of despair, you have to renounce it. If you are alive to this, it means that your relationship with the world is entirely different and that opens a great many doors.

Krishnamurti on Education

Talks to Teachers

Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Teachers Chapter 9 'On the Negative Approach'

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