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Chapter 28 - These places exist for the enlightenment of humanity
Teachers or educators are human beings. Their function is to help the student to learn not only this or that subject, but to understand the whole activity of learning; not only to gather information about various subjects, but primarily to be complete human beings. These schools are not merely centres of learning, they must be centres of goodness and bring about a religious mind.
All over the world, human beings are degenerating to a greater or lesser extent. When pleasure, personal or collective, becomes the dominant interest in life-the pleasure of sex, the pleasure of asserting one's own will, the pleasure of excitement, the pleasure of self- interest, the pleasure of power and status, the insistent demand to have one's own pleasure fulfilled-there is degeneration. When human relationships become casual, based on pleasure, there is degeneration. When responsibility has totally lost its meaning, when there is no care for another or for the earth and the things of the sea, this disregard of heaven and earth is another form of degeneration. When there is hypocrisy in high places, when there is dishonesty in commerce, when lies are part of everyday speech, when there is the tyranny of the few, when only things predominate, there is the betrayal of all life. Then killing becomes the only language of life. When love is taken as pleasure, then human beings have cut themselves off from beauty and the sacredness of life.
Pleasure is always personal, an isolating process. Though one thinks pleasure is something shared with another through gratification, it is actually an enclosing, isolating action of the ego, of the "me". The greater the pleasure, the greater is the strengthening of the "me". When there is pursuit of pleasure, human beings are exploiting each other. When pleasure becomes dominant in our lives, relationship is exploited for this purpose, and so there is no actual relationship with another. Then relationship becomes merchandise. The urge for fulfilment is based on pleasure, and when that pleasure is denied or has not found means of expression, then there is anger, cynicism, hatred or bitterness. This incessant pursuit of pleasure is actually insanity.
All this indicates, doesn't it, that man, in spite of his vast knowledge and extraordinary capacities, his driving energy and aggressive action, is on the decline? This calculated selfcentredness with its fears, pleasures and anxieties is evident throughout the world.
What, then, is the total responsibility of these schools? Surely they must be centres for learning a way of life that is not based on pleasure, on self-centred activities, but on the understanding of correct action, the depth and beauty of relationship, and the sacredness of a religious life. When the world around us is so utterly destructive and without meaning, these schools, these centres, must become places of light and wisdom. It is the responsibility of those who are in charge of these places to bring this about.
As this is urgent, excuses have no meaning. Either the centres are like a rock round which the waters of destruction flow, or they go with the current of decay. These places exist for the enlightenment of humanity.