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Chapter 39 - Efficiency is not an end in itself

A school is a place of learning, and so it is sacred. The temples, churches and mosques are not sacred for they have stopped learning. They believe; they have faith, and that denies entirely the great art of learning. A school, like those to which this letter is sent, must be devoted entirely to learning, not only about the world around us, but essentially about what we human beings are, why we behave the way we do, and the complexity of thought.

The ancient tradition of mankind has been learning, not only from books, but about the nature and structure of the psychology of a human being. As we have neglected this, there is disorder in the world, terror, violence and all the cruel things that are taking place. We have put the world's affairs first and not the inner. The inner, if it is not understood, educated and transformed, will always overcome the outer, however well organized the outer may be politically, economically and socially. This is a truth which many seem to forget. We are trying politically, legally and socially to bring order in the outer world in which we are living, and inwardly we are confused, uncertain, anxious and in conflict. Without inward order there will always be danger to human life.

What do we mean by order? In the supreme sense, the universe has known no disorder. Nature, however terrifying to man, is always in order. It becomes disordered only when human beings interfere with it. It is only man from the beginning of time who seems to be in constant struggle and conflict. The universe has its own movement of time. Only when man has ordered his life, will he realize the eternal order.

Why has humanity accepted and tolerated disorder? Why does whatever man touches decay, become corrupt and confused? Why has mankind turned away from the order of nature, the clouds, the winds, the animals and the rivers? We must learn what disorder is and what order is. Disorder is essentially conflict, self-contradiction and division between becoming and being. Order is a state in which disorder has never existed.

Disorder is bondage to time. Time to us is very important. We live in the past, in past memories, past hurts and pleasures. Our thought is the past. It is always modifying itself as a reaction to the present, projecting itself into the future, but the deep-rooted past is always with us. This is the binding quality of time. We must observe this fact in ourselves and be aware of its limiting process. That which is limited must ever be in conflict.

The past is knowledge derived from experience, action and psychological responses. This knowledge, of which one may be conscious or not aware, is the very nature of man's existence. So the past becomes all-important, whether it is tradition, experience, or remembrance with its many images. But all knowledge, whether in the future or the past, is limited. There can be no complete knowledge. Knowledge and ignorance go together.

In learning about this, that very learning is order. Order is not something planned and adhered to. In a school, routine is necessary, but this is not order. A machine that is well put together functions efficiently. The efficient organization of a school is absolutely necessary, but this efficiency is not an end in itself to be confused with the freedom from conflict which is order.

How will an educator, if he has deeply learned all this, convey the nature of order to the student? If his own inward life is in disorder and he talks about order, he will not only be a hypocrite, which in itself is a conflict, but the student will realize that what is being said is double talk and so will not pay the least attention to it. When the educator is immovable in his understanding, the student will grasp that very quality. When one is completely honest, that very honesty is transmitted to another.