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Chapter 69 - Learn without compulsion

Chapter 69 - Learn without compulsion

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The Whole Movement of Life is Learning

There is no freedom when there is disorder. Disorder begets authority, and authority in any form is evil-if one can use that word evil. Where there is freedom, disorder or the lack of order cannot exist, yet the disorderly mind is always seeking freedom. Such a mind will define freedom in terms of its own confusion. A disordered mind seeking freedom or asserting freedom has no meaning whatsoever. A disordered mind invites the discipline imposed by authority in different forms-politically, religiously, socially and so on-political tyranny and religious dogma.

What are we being educated for? Is it to make the mind conform to the patterns set by previous generations, or is it to understand and go beyond the whole structure of our disordered life both outwardly and inwardly? Is it merely to acquire knowledge or is it to free ourselves from disorder and so bring about a new society?

Obviously if one gives serious thought to this, education is to bring about in the mind a total freedom so that it is capable not only of ordering its own life but also, in this very process, of bringing about a different social structure. This is action which the mind that is committed to a particular course of action or a particular belief, ideal or action influenced by the environment.

We are concerned with education and how to bring about order without compulsion. Where there is compulsion in any form, subtle or obvious, there is not only conformity, imitation, but also fear is bred. Our problem in these schools is how to educate without any form of authority and compulsion. Knowing how authority comes into being and the effects of compulsion, how is a disordered mind to free itself from its confusion naturally, without effort? The students come from disordered families and society. They themselves are confused, uncertain. They react from their conditioning. Their revolt, which they call freedom, is the response of their confusion. So that is the state of the students. They want security, affection; this cannot be if there is compulsion. In their anxious revolt they reject not only the word discipline with its authority but also any form of coercion. The more sensitive they are, the stronger are their reactions, and their revolt is unfortunately expressed in many superficial ways.

Education is not the right word, but we have to use it to convey a meaning that implies the real cultivation of the human mind in all its relationships and activities. The cultivation of the mind and the heart is our responsibility.

The student comes already conditioned, and from that conditioning his reactions are his temperament, his peculiarity, his desire to fulfil. So the educator, who is also conditioned with his own peculiarities, in his responsibility of relationship to the student must be aware of his own limitations as well as those of the student; so both are educating themselves together. If the educator is disorderly in his private life, and outwardly assumes an orderly life, his word has no significance. When he tells the student to be orderly, he becomes a hypocrite. So the educator needs education as well as the student. This is the principle action- that both are learning-and so the spirit of authority doesn't enter at all into this relationship. When this is clearly and deeply understood, then one has to establish a relationship in which compulsion and conformity cease altogether.

How is the student, being confused and disorderly, to learn without compulsion to be orderly? Order is necessary. Order is expressed in behaviour. Order is the very nature of the universe. There is order in nature. Only when man interferes in nature is there disorder, because he himself is disorderly. Order is the action of virtue. Order is love. There is no order when there is effort or contradiction. Order is the highest form of intelligence. Intelligence is not intellectual capacity; it is not the opposing of opinions and conclusion; it is not the mere reasoning capacity, however logical that may be. Intelligence is the highest form of sensitivity outwardly and inwardly toward others as well as toward oneself.

How is this intelligence to be awakened? Obviously not through any method or system. It is possible only when both the older and the younger are aware of the world about them, of nature and of their own activities, are aware of the events that are going on in the world and their own inward reactions. This awareness is not a thing to be practised and made mechanical. One becomes aware of the total activities of one's mind and body, the way one sits, stands, walks. One listens to one's voice and the significance of words, one's opinions and attitudes, the language of look and gesture, the language of behaviour and its effect on others. All this implies an awareness of one's own self-centred motives and activities.

We have separated ourselves logically from the world. This separation is linguistic rather than real. The actuality is that we are the world and the world is us. We are not totally aware of this. We may accept this idea intellectually, but it is not an actuality. In the same way, we divide ourselves as the body and the mind, as sentiment or emotion. We never look at ourselves as a whole. This fragmentation is caused by thought, and through thought this awareness is not possible. In this awareness, identification with one's own desires and choice disappear, so both young and old are learning to be. Awareness isn't only in the classroom, but at the table, on the playground. It is to be learned also when one is walking alone across the fields or sitting quietly in one's room. From this sensitive awareness comes intelligence.

How is this to be conveyed and sustained? Obviously by talking about it, by observing what is happening about one and in one's own reactions. It is this intelligence that will bring order. When this awareness is acting, punctuality, behaviour, politeness, respect, all become a natural thing, not self-imposed or compelled. The teacher and the taught are one. Therefore the observer is the observed. When this relationship is established-and it can only take place when there is the quality of intelligence-there is the possibility of a psychologically different human being.

It is for this that these schools exist, and it is our responsibility to see that this comes into being.