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Chapter 38 - To learn about the images we have accepted demands self-awareness
Every profession has its discipline; every action has its direction; and every thought has its end. This is the cycle in which the human mind is caught. Being a slave to the known, the mind is always trying to expand its knowledge, its action within that field, its thought seeking its own end. In all schools, discipline is regarded as a framework for the mind and its action, and in recent years there has been revolt against any form of control, restraint or moderation. This has led to every form of permissiveness, immodesty and the pursuit of pleasure at any cost. Nobody has any respect for anyone. It appears that all form of personal dignity and deep integrity has been lost. Billions are spent on drugs, on destroying bodies and minds. This all-permissiveness has become respectable and accepted as the norm of life.
To cultivate a good mind, a mind that is capable of perceiving the whole of life as one unit, unbroken and so a good mind, it is necessary that in all our schools a certain kind of discipline must exist. We must together understand the hated and perhaps despised words discipline and rules.
To learn you need to have attention. To learn there must be not only hearing with the ear, but an inward grasp of what is being said. To learn it is necessary to observe. When you hear or read these statements you have to give an attention that is not compelled, and not be under any pressure or expectation of reward or punishment. Discipline means to learn, not to conform. If you want to be a good carpenter, you must learn the proper tools to use with different kinds of wood, and learn from a master carpenter. If you wish to be a good doctor, you must study for many years, learn all the facts of the body and its many ways, cures and so on. Every profession demands that you learn as much about it as you possibly can. This learning is to accumulate knowledge about it and act as skilfully as you can.
Learning is the nature of discipline. Learning why one should be punctual for meals, the proper time for rest and so on, is learning about order in life. In a disorderly world where there is much confusion politically, socially and even in religion, our schools must be centres of order for the education of intelligence. A school is a sacred place where all are learning about the complexity of life and its simplicity.
So learning demands application and order. Discipline is never conformity, so don't be afraid of the word and rebel against it. Words have become very important in our life. The word God has become extraordinarily important to most people, or the word nation, or the name of a politician. The word is the image of the politician. The image of God has been built by thousands of years of thought and fear. We live with images created by the mind or by a skilful hand. To learn about these images that one has accepted or self- created, demands self-awareness.
Education is not only learning about academic subjects but educating oneself.