You are here
Chapter 65 - The essence of culture is complete harmony
Although the word education has misapplied meanings, it must be used to convey generally what is going on in the world. The use of that word, whether in the East or the West, implies attending classes from childhood through to university, taking degrees and accumulating a great deal of information about various subjects-from theoretical physics to the growing of vegetables, from music to medicine and so on. This cultivation of memory has become a necessity in the present social and economic structure. To have a good job in the field of education or in the field of politics or in business, a degree is considered essential. To acquire this degree you must conform to the structure of knowledge and to the established order of society or of the State-whether that State be socialist, communist or capitalist. In acquiring these varieties of knowledge, the brain must retain a great deal of facts, experience and tradition. Through the course of many years in acquiring information, and applying it in practice, the brain inevitably must be conditioned and so becomes mechanical, though it has freedom to function within its limited area. The whole of existence is aimed at the earning of a livelihood, to conform to a pattern and to living with the known.
The exercise of the brain is confined to the field of knowledge, the known. The known is the past, as is knowledge, and from that the future or the present is built. However intricate and subtle knowledge is, it is always within the field of time, the known. And thought has its roots in the past. Thought may go very far, explore many fields into the past or into the future, into abstract science or into anthropology; it may explore space.
From childhood the brain is trained to be competitive, to be ambitious, to worship success, which gives importance to the "me", the self, the ego; and so the essence of co-operation is destroyed. All this is generally what is called education even in the higher forms which give status in society, which has become more important than function. Throughout the world this is what is called education, and therefore one begins to question or doubt that very word.
Culture is something totally different. The word implies not only the cultivation of knowledge, but also the total essence of man, both inner and outer. This division is artificial; complete harmony in which there is no division is the real. The present cultures of the world are fast fading, and because they are disappearing they are being replaced by knowledge and not by wisdom. The essence of culture is complete harmony. This harmony is the very core of the religious mind. Without religion there is no culture; but not the religion of organised propaganda, which all religions are, nor the personal search for some vast experience. The religious mind is not based on any belief, faith or authority; it is the total absence of self. When, in the disintegration of any culture, sex, gurus, authority with its followers spring up-like mushrooms in a damp field of rotting forest-then tradition and the book become all important. This is what is happening basically, deep down in the human mind, when fanciful mysticism, pleasing visions, self-projected gods and saviours are pursued. When knowledge, the known, has become of supreme importance, then the mind searches out mysteries, runs after the experiences of others and establishes new gods.
Culture is the door to reality, which is not in philosophies, psychology and analysis. Without the beauty of religion, culture has no meaning. It is like a lovely flower without the perfume; and we tear the flower to pieces to find the perfume.
Love is harmony, which cannot be cultivated, as knowledge can, so there is a widening gap between the known and the harmony of perception. The seeing is the doing, but knowledge, because of its time quality, prevents instant action. The religious mind has this quality of immediate action.
A different kind of education is necessary. It is not the mere cultivation of memory with all its emphasis on compulsion, conformity, imitation, leading to violence, but the total culture of man in which the "you" and the "me" disappear and are not replaced by the State or by a new figure of sanctity. This different education is concerned with knowledge, with freedom, with what is, and to go beyond what is.
Wisdom is not in any book or in the perfection of knowledge. It is in the movement of freedom in learning. There is no end to learning; and wisdom is the ending of sorrow.