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Chapter 47 - Our vital intent is to bring about a free human being
Our intent is far more important than to achieve a goal, an end; it is not just toward an intellectual and ideological conclusion, but is an active, living present. It is the wick that is burning in a bowl of oil. It cannot be extinguished; no breeze can blow it out; the wick is stout, and the oil is not fed by any external influence or source. It has no cause, and so the flame, the wick and the oil are ever enduring. Our vital flame of intent is to bring about a good, intelligent, extremely capable, free human being. This is my intent as a dedicated teacher, and it should be yours, too, as parents. It should be the intent of all humanity, for we are all concerned. You cannot escape from this intention. You are involved in it as much as I am. You may shy away from it, disregard it, neglect it, but you are as much responsible as I am.
The future is our responsibility, so this is our immediate problem. My problem and yours is to cultivate the comprehensive intelligence from which all other things flow. I can see this in my mind's eye as the central factor, for no intelligent person, in the sense we are using that word, would ever want to hurt another intentionally. Such a person would treat all humanity as he would treat himself, without these terrible destructive divisions. I can also feel in some vague way, not sentimentally, that this intelligence is totally impersonal, neither yours nor mine. I can feel its tremendous attraction and its truth.
Now, in what manner can I cultivate this in my students and myself? I am using the wrong word cultivate-cultivation implies the activity of thought; it implies an achievement, a labour. So I am beginning to perceive that intelligence is totally different from the activity of thought. Thought has no relation to it. It cannot be born out of thought, for thought is always limited.
Now, having stated this, which is not a vague apprehension, but a burning intention, I ask myself if it is possible for me to convey to the student the quality of this intention, knowing that the students' brains are conditioned, limited, conforming? Can I do this through mathematics or biology, or any other subject?
Let us say I am a teacher of mathematics. Mathematics is order, infinite order. Order is the universe, is intelligence. Order is not static, it is a living movement. Our life is movement, but we have brought about disorder in our life. So I am going to talk to the students not just about mathematics, but about order in our life. Negation of disorder is order. A human being, being confused, disorderly, uncertain, in trying to establish order creates only more disorder. I see this very, very clearly, so I am going to help the students, and in helping them I am helping myself. That order cannot be pursued, as you can pursue mathematics, step by step. So, the first thing to realize is that thought, do what it will, can never bring about order through legislation, administration or compulsion. Order is independent of thought. Thought cannot put together order; the more it attempts it, the greater the confusion. Mathematics is not disorder. Mathematics in itself is basically order. Thought is capable of seeing the order of mathematics, but this order is not the product of thought. One can see the great majesty and beauty of a mountain, but the human being who sees it may have no dignity, no majesty, no beauty.
I must study order and disorder before I can discuss it with my pupils. The study of a book on any particular subject is very different from the study of myself, who is disorderly, confused. The book reveals things phrase by phrase, chapter by chapter, coming to some conclusion or other. The book is visible, and one can spend perhaps years on the subject of the book. But I am not studying just any book; I am studying a book that has no print in it, one which cannot be read through another's eyes. So I must find out how to study it.
You are doing this with me too, so don't step aside. I am studying for my own interest and also to convey it to the student; it is not that I am studying for myself only. The book and the subject are palpable, tangible; the words convey a certain definite meaning. But to study the tenuous, living, changing subject that is the quality of my own brain, which lives in disorder, confusion and fear, is far more difficult than reading a book. It requires swiftness, subtlety, moving without leaving an imprint. Do I have such subtlety? In asking that question of myself, I am studying not only who puts that question but also the intent behind the question?
So I am studying the whole phenomenon very cautiously, never coming to a definite conclusion. This constant watchfulness, never allowing any shadow to slip by without careful observation, is making the brain, the whole activity of thought, quieten down without becoming dull. I take a rest and pick it up again. The rest is as important as the renewal of observation. I am capturing the perfume of that intelligence, the extraordinary subtlety of it, and so the whole physical organism is becoming more alive, aware, and is beginning to have a different rhythm. It is creating its own atmosphere.
Now I can go to the class under a tree or in a room where I am supposed to teach mathematics, knowing that the students have to qualify in it. For the first five or ten minutes, I talk to them, explaining very clearly what I have been studying and how it is possible for them to study it too. I am teaching them the art of studying. I am really deeply interested in conveying to them my deep intention, and they are enveloped in my ardour. I explain to them how I approach this question of intelligence step by step. I point out to them the order and beauty of a tree, which is not put together by thought. I insist that they see clearly that nature and the heavens and the wild animals of the forest are not the product of thought, although thought may use them for its own convenience or destruction. Thought in its activity has brought about great destruction and also great passing beauty. At every opportunity, without boring myself and the students, I talk about these matters with humour and seriousness. This is my life, for this intelligence is supreme.
Order has no cause, therefore it is everlasting; but disorder has a cause, and that which has a cause can end.