The Observer is the Observed
Bombay, India. Public Talk 13th March, 1948
(Although open to all, today's meeting was convened especially for the benefit of educationists and teachers. It was presided over by a member of the New Education Fellowship, who welcomed Krishnamurti on behalf of his institution and thanked him for doing them the honour to attend. He then requested him to give them the benefit of his advice in the matter of education.)
Krishnamurti: Mr. Chairman and friends: I have been sent many questions, and I propose to answer as many of them as possible this evening. All these questions have been rewritten, but their substance has been kept. Some questions were repeated, and we thought it would be better to combine and rewrite them, and there are about 15 or 16 questions here. But before I answer them, I would like to say something.
Throughout the world, it is becoming more and more evident that the educator needs educating. It is not a question of educating the child, but rather the educator, for he needs it much more than the pupil. After all, the pupil is like a tender plant that needs guiding, helping; but if the helper is himself incapable, narrow, bigoted, nationalistic and all the rest of it, naturally his product will be what he is. So, it seems to me that the important thing is not so much the technique of what to teach, which is secondary; but what is of primary importance is the intelligence of the educator himself. You know that, throughout the world, education has failed, because it has produced the two most colossal and destructive wars in history; and since it has failed, merely to substitute one system for another seems to me to be utterly futile. Whereas, if there is a possibility of changing the thought, the feeling, the attitude of the teacher, then perhaps there can be a new culture, a new civilization. Because, it is obvious that this civilization is likely to be destroyed completely; the coming war will probably settle Western civilization as we know it. Per- haps we shall be profoundly affected by it in this country also. But in the midst of all this chaos, misery, confusion and strife, surely the responsibility of the teacher, whether he is a government employee, whether he is a religious teacher or a teacher of mere information, is extraordinarily great; and those who merely fatten on education as a means of livelihood seem to me to have no place in the modern structure of society if a new order is to be created. So, our problem is not so much the child, the boy or the girl, but the teacher, the educator, who needs educating much more than the pupil. And to educate the educator is far more difficult than to educate the child, because the educator is already set, fixed. He merely functions in a routine, because he is really not concerned with the thought process, with the cultivation of intelligence. He is merely imparting information; and a man who merely imparts information when the whole world is crashing about his ears, is surely not an educator. And do you mean to say that education is a means of livelihood? To regard it as a means of livelihood, to exploit the children for one's own good, seems to me so contrary to the real purpose of education.
So, in answering all these questions, the principal point is the educator, and not the child. You can provide the right environment, the necessary tools, and all the rest of it; but what is important is for the educator himself to find out what all this existence means. Why are we living, why are we striving, why are we educating, why are there wars, why is there communal strife between man and man? To study this whole problem, and to bring our intelligence into operation, is surely the function of a real teacher. The teacher who does not demand anything for himself, who does not use teaching as a means of acquiring position, power, authority; the teacher who is really teaching, not for profit, not along a certain line, but who is giving, growing, awakening intelligence in the child because he is cultivating intelligence in himself - surely such a teacher has the primary place in civilization. Because, after all, all great civilizations have been founded on the teachers, not on engineers and technicians. The engineers and technicians are absolutely necessary, but those who awaken the moral, the ethical intelligence, are obviously of primary importance; and they can have moral integrity, freedom from the desire for power, position, authority, only when they don't ask anything for themselves, when they are beyond and above society and are not under the control of governments; and when they are free from the compulsion of social action, which is always action according to a pattern.
So, a teacher must be beyond the limits of society and its demands, so as to be able to create a new culture, a new structure, a new civilization. But at present we are merely concerned with the technique of how to educate a boy or girl, without cultivating the intelligence of the teacher - which seems to me so utterly futile. We are now mostly concerned with learning a technique and imparting that technique to the child, and not with the cultivation of intelligence which will help him to deal with the problems of life. So, when I answer these questions, I hope you will bear with me if I don't go into any particular detail, but deal primarily, not with technique, but with the right approach to the problem.
Question: What part can education play in the present world crisis?
Krishnamurti: First of all, to understand what part education can play in the present world crisis, we must understand how the crisis has come into being. Without understanding that, merely to build on the same values, on the same ground, on the same foundation, will bring about further wars, further disasters. So, we must first investigate how the present crisis has come into being, and in understanding the causes we will inevitably understand what kind of education we need.
Obviously, the present crisis is the result of wrong values - wrong values in man's relationship to property, to people, and to ideas. The expansion and predominance of sensate values necessarily creates the poison of nationalism, economic frontiers, sovereign governments and the patriotic spirit, all of which excludes man's cooperation with man for the benefit of man, and corrupts his relationship with people, which is society. And if the individual's relationship with others is wrong, the structure of society is bound to collapse. Similarly, in his relationship to ideas, man justifies an ideology - whether of the left or of the right, whether the means employed are right or wrong - in order to achieve an end. So, mutual distrust, lack of goodwill, the belief that a right end can be achieved by wrong means, the sacrificing of the present for a future ideal - all these are obviously causes of the present disaster. One cannot take time to go into all the details, but one can see at a glance how this chaos, this degradation, has come into being. Surely, it all arises from wrong values and from dependence on authority, on leaders, whether in daily life, in the small school, or the big university. Leaders and authority are deteriorating factors in any culture. The moment you depend on another, there is no self-dependence, and where there is no self-dependence, obviously there must be conformity, eventually leading to the dictatorship of totalitarian states.
So, realizing all these things, realizing the causes of war, of this present catastrophe, of the present moral and social crisis, seeing both the causes and the results, naturally one begins to perceive that the function of education is to create new values, not merely to implant existing values in the mind of the pupil, which merely conditions him without awakening his intelligence. But when the educator himself has not seen the causes of the present chaos, how can he create new values, how can he awaken intelligence, how can he prevent the coming generation from following in the same steps leading ultimately to still further disaster? Surely, then, it is important for the educator, not merely to implant certain ideals and convey mere information, but to give all his thought, all his care, all his affection, to creating the right environment, the right atmosphere, so that when the child grows up into maturity he is capable of dealing with any human problem that confronts him. So, education is intimately related to the present world crisis; and all the educators, at least in Europe and America, are realizing that the crisis is the outcome of wrong education. Education can be transformed only by educating the educator, and not merely creating a new pattern, a new system of action.
Question: Have ideals any place in education?
Krishnamurti: Certainly not. Ideals and the idealist in education prevent the comprehension of the present. This is an enormous problem, and we are going to try to deal with it in 5 or 10 minutes. It is a problem upon which our whole structure is based. That is, we have ideals, and according to those ideals we educate. Now, are ideals necessary for education? Don't ideals actually prevent right education, which is the understanding of the child as he is and not as he should be? If I want to understand a child, I must not have an ideal of what he should be. To understand him, I must study him as he is. But to put him into the framework of an ideal is merely to force him to follow a certain pattern, whether it suits him or not; and the result is that he is always in contradiction to the ideal, or else he so conforms himself to the ideal that he ceases to be a human being and acts as a mere automaton without intelligence. So, is not an ideal an actual hindrance to the understanding of the child? If you as a parent really want to understand your child, do you look at him through the screen of an ideal? Or do you simply study him, because you have love in your heart? You observe him, you watch his moods, his idiosyncrasies. Because there is love, you study him. It is only when you have no love that you have an ideal. Watch yourself and you will notice this. When there is no love, you have these enormous examples and ideals, through which you are forcing, compelling the child. But when you have love, you study him, you observe him and give him freedom to be what he is; you guide and help him, not to the ideal, not according to a certain pattern of action, but to bring him to be what he is.
In this question there arises the problem of the so-called bad boy - if I may use that word to define quickly and strongly a certain point. To change him into not being bad, surely you don't have to have an ideal. If a boy is a liar, you don't have to give him the ideal of truth. You study why he is telling lies. There may be various reasons - probably he is frightened, or is avoiding something. We need not go into the various reasons for lying. But obviously, when a child lies, to make him conform to a pattern of truth, which is your ideal, does not help him to free himself from the causes of lying. You have to study him, you have to observe him, and to do that takes a long time; it demands patience, care, love; and because you have not got it, you force him into a pattern of action which you call an ideal. Obviously, an ideal is a very cheap escape. The school which has ideals, or the teacher who follows ideals is obviously incapable of dealing with a child.
You don't have to accept automatically what I am saying, or deny it. Just observe. After all, the function of education is to turn out an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life intelligently, wholly - not partially, not as a technician or an idealist. But the individual cannot be integrated if he is merely pursuing an idealistic pattern of action. Obviously, Sirs and Ladies, the teachers who become idealists, who are pursuing a pattern of action, the so-called ideal, are pretty useless. If you observe you will see that they are incapable of love, they have hard hearts and dry minds. Because, it demands much greater observation, greater affection, to study, to observe the child, than to force him into an idealistic pattern of action. And I think that mere examples, which are another form of the ideal, are also a deterrent to intelligence.
Probably what I am saying is contrary to all that you believe. You will have to think it over, because this is not a matter of denial or acceptance. One has to go into it very, very carefully. I am not being dogmatic; but as there are many questions, I have to be very brief and concise. The implications of an ideal are obvious. When the teacher is pursuing an ideal, he is incapable of understanding the child, because then the future, the ideal, is far more important than the child, the present. He has a certain end in view which he thinks is right, and he is forcing the child to conform to that ideal. Surely, that is not education, is it? That is like turning out motor cars. You have the pattern, and you put the child through the mould, with the result that you create human beings who are mere technicians, who have no human relationship with others, but are out for themselves, for their own gain, politically, socially, or in the family. Obviously, it is much easier to follow an ideal than to observe, to take care, to awaken love for the children and humanity. And that is one of the calamities of modern education: the so-called ideal, the end in view, whether it is an ideology of the extreme left or of the right, has become a pattern of action, and has brought about this present world catastrophe.
Question: Is education in creativeness possible, or is creativeness purely accidental, and therefore nothing can be done to facilitate its emergence?
Krishnamurti: The question is, to put it differently, whether by learning a technique, you will be creative? That is, by practicing, say, the piano, the violin, by learning the technique of painting, will you be a musician, will you be an artist? Does creativeness come into being through technique, or is creativeness independent of technique? You may go to a school and learn all there is to know about painting, about the depth of colour, the technique of how to hold the brush, and all the rest of it; but will that make you a creative painter? Whereas, if you are creative, then anything that you do will have its own technique. I went once to see a great artist in Paris. He had not learned a technique. He wanted to say something, and he said it in clay and then in marble. Most of us learn the technique, but have very little to say. We neglect, we overlook the capacity to find out for ourselves; we have all the instruments of discovery, without finding anything directly. So, the problem is, how to be creative, which brings its own technique. Then, when you want to write a poem, what happens? You write it; and if you have a technique, so much the better. But if you have no technique, it does not matter - you write the poem, and the delight is in the writing. After all, when you write a love letter, you are not bothered about the technique; you write it with all your being. But when there is no love in your heart, you search out a technique, how to put words together. Sirs, if you do not love, you miss the point. You think you will be able to live happily, creatively, by learning a technique, and it is the technique that is destroying creativeness - which does not mean that you must not have a technique. After all, when you want to write a poem beautifully, you must know the meter, the rhythm, and all the rest of it. But if you want to write it for yourself and not publish it, then it does not matter. You write. It is only when you want to communicate something to another that proper technique is necessary, the right technique, so that there will be no misunderstanding. But surely, to be creative is quite a different problem, and that demands an extraordinary investigation into oneself. It is not a question of gift. Talent is not creativeness. One can be creative without having a talent. So, what do we mean by creativeness? Surely, a state of being in which conflict has completely ceased, a state of being in which there is no problem, no contradiction. Contradiction, problem, conflict, are the result of too much emphasis put on the `I', the `mine' - `my success', `my family', `my country'. When that is absent, then thought itself ceases, and there is a state of being in which creativeness can take place. That is, to put it differently, when the mind ceases to create, there is creation. One of the causes of problems is your belief, your greed, and so on; and the mind creates as long as it has a problem, as long as it is the originator of problems. A mind that is chained to a problem, that is tethered to the creation of its own problem, can never be free. Only when the mind is free from creating its own problems, can there be creation. Sir, to go into it fully and really deeply, one has to go into the whole problem of consciousness; and I say that everyone of us can be creative in the right sense of the word, not merely producing poems and statues, or procreating children. Surely, to be creative means to be in that state in which truth can come into being; and truth can come into being only when there is a complete cessation of the thought process. When the mind is utterly still, without being compelled, forced into a certain pattern of action; when the mind is still because it understands all the problems as they arise and therefore no longer has any problem; when the mind is really quiet, not compelled; then in that state, truth can come into being. That state is creation, and creation is not for the few; it is not the talent of the few or the gift of the few; but that creative state can be discovered by each one who gives his mind and heart to search out the problem.
Question: Is not the imparting of sex experience a necessary part of education? Is it not the only rational solution to the troubles of adolescence?
Krishnamurti: Sir, to understand sex demands intelligence, not the ideal of something or other; and it is an extremely difficult subject, like every other human problem. If the educator himself has not understood that problem, how can he educate somebody else? If he is himself caught in the net, in the turmoil, in the extraordinarily complex problem of sex, how can he teach another? And why is it a problem to him? Obviously, because he himself is uncreative. Then sex becomes a mere tool of pleasure, an experience which gives momentary joy, momentary absence of self; and therefore it becomes a problem. Whereas, to be free from it, one has to investigate the various hindrances that are preventing creativeness. Obviously, one of the factors is imitation, the social compulsion to be something in society. Following an ideal is obviously a form of compulsion, a form of imitation; therefore, there is no creative thinking. After all, when you are thinking really creatively, when you have strong feeling, sex is of very little importance. It is only when you are not alert to the whole significance of existence, to the movement of the birds, to the trees, to smiles, to the joy of living, whether you are rich or poor - only then sex becomes a problem.
There are other things involved in this question. Can the significance of the sexual experience be imparted to an adolescent child? Naturally, he is curious, he wants to know what it is all about. Again, it depends on the teacher or the parents. Generally, they are so ashamed of it themselves, they are so shy, the whole thing becomes absurd. They have such dirty minds. Sirs, you should watch yourselves, how you look at people, how you look at men and women. And you think you are capable of telling adolescent children what it is all about!
And there is another problem: Our whole emphasis is laid on sensate values, the values of the senses, in which the radio, the cinema and magazines, play an important part. pick up any magazine or newspaper; all the advertisements are attracting you, creating sensation. So, on the one side, you encourage sensation, sex, sensuality; and on the other, you say, `You must not, you must become holy, you must follow the ideal of celibacy', It is all nonsense. You create contradiction in the mind, and in that state of contradiction you are incapable of understanding anything. Whereas, if you yourself approach the problem directly, as an obvious biological thing, without all the imputations, all the traditions, all the ugliness behind it, then you can be helpful by your own understanding of it.
As I explained in the previous question, creation is not the mere sexual act, but creation is far more significant, profound; and there can be creation only when the mind is not consumed with its own gratification. Sirs, when one loves, love is chaste; and when there is no love, sex becomes a problem, it becomes an ugly habit. So, our difficulty in all these questions is that we ourselves, the educators, have become so dull, so weary. Life has been too much for us. We want to be comforted, we want to be loved. So, being insufficient, being poor in ourselves, how can we, who are the educators, give right education? Obviously, as I said, the problem is first the teacher, the educator, and not merely the education of the pupil. Sirs, our own hearts and minds must be cleansed, to be really capable of educating others. You may say that this is very goody stuff, without any practical information; but if the instrument that is teaching is itself crooked, how can it impart right information, right knowledge, right wisdom, right understanding?
Question: Is not State education a calamity? If it is, how to raise funds for schools which are not controlled by the government?
Krishnamurti: Obviously, State education is a calamity - with which governments won't agree. They don't want people to think, they want people to be automatons, because then they can be told what to do. So, our education, especially in the hands of governments, is becoming more and more a means of teaching what to think and not how to think; because, if you were to think independently of the system you would be a danger. Therefore, it is a function of government, not to make you think, but to accept what is told you. So, as you see throughout the world, every government is stepping into education. Education and food have become the means of controlling man. And what do governments care, whether of the left or of the right as long as you are perfect machines to turn out merchandise and bullets? There are a few private schools in England and other places, but they are all being watched carefully, investigated, controlled, because government does not want free institutions which might turn out pacifists, people who think contrary to the regime, to the system. Right education is obviously a danger to government, so it is a function of government to see that is right education is not imparted. There are about 80,000 pacifists in England. If their numbers increase, are they not a danger to the government? Therefore, control people from childhood. Don't let them think in terms of non-war, non-country, non-systems, or a different ideology. This means government supervision, the control of education through the Educational Minister. Sirs, this is what is happening in the world, whether you like it or not; and it means that you, who are the citizens and who are responsible for government, don't want freedom. You don't want a new state of being, a new culture, a new structure of society. If you have something new it may be revolutionary, it may be destructive of what is; and because you want things as they are, you say, `Well, let there be a government which will control education'. You want a little modification here and there, but you don't want a revolution in thought; and the moment you want a revolution in thought, government steps in, puts you in prison, or liquidates you quickly behind doors, and you are forgotten. Sirs, a country becomes more and more organized, there is more and more authority and external compulsion, when man himself has no inward vision, inward light, understanding. Then he becomes a mere tool of the authorities, whether in a totalitarian state or in a so-called democracy. Because, in moments of crisis, the so-called democratic states become like the totalitarian, forgetting their democracy and making men conform to a pattern of action.
Now, the second part of the question is, "How to raise funds for schools which are not controlled by the government?". Sir, surely that is not the problem, is it? The moment you have funds, you are ruined. Look at all the schools that start in the most idealistic way. Look at their headmasters. They grow fat on it. But you can start a little school round the corner of your street. I know several schools that have been started that way, and they are still working, because they were prepared, they have the enthusiasm, the feeling for it. One of our difficulties is that we want to transform the whole of mankind the day after tomorrow - or affect the masses, as you call it. Who are the masses, poor humanity? You and I. And if you feel deeply, if you really think about these problems, not just superficially for an afternoon to while away the time, then you will see that a right school is started somewhere, round the corner or in your own house; because then you are interested in your own children, and in the children about you. Then money will come, Sir, don't bother about money. Money is the least important thing. Leave money to the idealists, who want to start an ideal school. But if you and I are aware of the whole problem of human existence, what it means, why we live, why we suffer, why we go through all these tortures, if we really want to understand it and help the child to understand, then we will start a school without funds, without beating drums and collecting lakhs. Because, the moment you have money, what happens? Don't you know what happens, Sir? You have your own private resources, and you have to watch your money, who is using it, whether you, or your secretary, or the committee, and all the rubbish, the idiotic stuff begins. But if you have little money and real clarity of thought and feeling behind it, then you will create a school. And, in creating the school, obviously you will be opposed by the government, or will have the interference of the government. If you teach your children not to be nationalistic and not to salute the flag because nationalism is a factor which brings about war, if you teach them not to be communal, if you help them to understand this whole problem of existence, do you think governments are going to stand for it? If you really turn out revolutionaries, not in the sense of killing, but real revolutionaries in thought and feeling, do you think society will put up with it for a minute?
So, Sirs, as parents and teachers, you are responsible, you have to find out whether you are merely complying with the dictates of government, whether you have merely learned a technique which gives you a certain capacity to earn money and are content to carry on the present social structure as it is; or whether you are concerned with right living and right means of livelihood. If you see that governments are built on violence and are the product of violence, and realize that through wrong means a right end cannot possibly be achieved; and if you are interested in really educating your children, obviously you will start a school anywhere - just round the corner, in your backyard, or in your own room. Because, Sirs, I don't think many of us realize to what an abyss, to what degradation, we have come. If there is a third war, that will be the end of things, You may escape; but your problem will be the fourth world war, because we have not solved this problem of man's antagonism to man. and you can solve it only through right means, which is right education - not through an ideal of non-war, but by understanding the causes of war which lie in our attitude toward life, our attitude toward our fellow-beings. Without a change of heart, without goodwill, mere organizations are not going to bring about peace - which is shown by the League of Nations and UNO. To rely on governments, to look to outward organizations for the transformation which must begin with each one of us, is to look in vain. What we have to do is to transform ourselves, which is to become aware of our own actions, thoughts and feelings in everyday life.
So, don't bother about raising funds. You won't be bothered now, and for a few minutes, while you are pressed into a corner at this meeting, you may see the significance of all this. But afterwards you will slip back into your daily routine, you will go back to your teaching and professions, because you have to earn money. So, there will be very few who are serious. But it is those of you who are serious that will bring about a revolution in thought. Sir, revolution must begin in thought, not in blood; and if there is right revolution in thought, there will be no blood. But if there is no right thinking, no true thinking, there will be blood, more and more of it. The wrong means can never produce the right end, because the end is in the means.
Question: What have you to say about military drill in education?
Krishnamurti: It all depends on what you want the human being to be. If you want him to be efficient cannon fodder, then military drill is marvellous. If you want to discipline him, if you want to regiment his mind, his feelings, then military drill is a very good way to do it. If you want to condition him in a certain way and make him irresponsible to society, then military drill is a very good instrument. It all depends on what you want your son to be. Surely, Sir, if you want him to live, military drill is the wrong way to proceed; but if you like death, then military drill is excellent. And as modern civilization is seeking death, obviously the military with its generals, soldiers, lawyers, and all the rest of it, is considered very good. In that way you will have death, sure death. But if you want peace, if you want right relationship between man and man - whether he is Christian, Hindu, Mussulman or Buddhist, all these labels being barriers to right relationship - , then military education is an absolute hindrance. Sir. it is surely the function of a general to prepare for war, it is the function of a soldier to maintain war; and if life is meant to be a constant battle between yourself and your neighbour, then by all means have more generals. Then let us all become soldiers - which is what is happening. Conscription was fought in England for generations, while the rest of Europe was being conscripted; and now England has given in. England is part of the whole world structure, and it is an indication of what is happening. In this country, because it is so huge, conscription is not possible immediately; but it will come when you are all thoroughly organized. Then war, more wars, more bloodshed, more misery. Is that what we are living for - constant battle within ourselves and with others? Surely, Sir, to discover truth, reality, the bliss of the unknowable, there must be freedom, freedom from strife within yourself and with your neighbour. After all, when a man is not in strife within himself, then he does not create strife outwardly. The inward strife, projected outwardly, becomes the world chaos. After all, war is a spectacular result of our everyday living; and without a transformation in our daily existence, there is bound to be the multiplication of soldiers, drills, the saluting of flags and all the rubbish that goes with it, inevitably prolonging destruction, misery and chaos. I was told by an anthropologist that two or three thousand years ago a politician said, `I hope this will be the last war' - and we are still at it. I think we really want arms. We want all the fun of military instruments, the decorations, the uniforms, the salutes, the drinks, the murder. Because, our everyday life is that. We are destroying others through our greed, through our exploitation. The richer you get, the more exploiting you are. You like all this, and you also want to be rich. As long as the three professions of soldier, police, and lawyer, are dominant in society, civilization is doomed; and that is what is happening in India, as well as the world over. These three professions are becoming stronger and stronger. I don't think you know what is going on about you, and in yourself, what catastrophes you are preparing. All that you want to do is to live a day as rapidly and as stupidly and as distintegratingly as possible, and you leave to the governments, to the politicians, to the cunning people, the direction of your lives.
So, it all depends on what you want life to be. If life is meant to be a series of conflicts, then military expansion is inevitable. If life is meant to be lived happily, with thought, with care, with affection, then the military, the soldier, the police, the lawyer, are a hindrance. But the lawyer, the police, and the military, are not going to give up their professions, any more than you are going to give up your exploiting ways, whether psychologically or outwardly. So, it is very important, Sir, to find out for yourself what is the purpose of living - not to learn it from somebody else, but to discover it for yourself, which means being aware of your daily actions, of your daily feelings and thoughts; and when you are fully aware, that awareness will reveal the true purpose.
Question: What is the place of art in education?
Krishnamurti: I don't quite know what you mean by art. Do you mean hanging pictures in your school room, or do you mean helping the child to draw a picture according to a pattern, because you have learnt a little technique? Or do you mean teaching the child to be sensitive - not to you as the teacher or to what you say, but sensitive to the miseries, to the confusions, to the sorrows of life? Do you want merely to teach him how to paint, or do you want him to be awake to the influence of beauty - not of any particular picture or statue, but beauty itself? Sir, in modern civilization, beauty is apparently only on the surface of the skin: how you dress, how you paint your face, how you comb your hair, how you walk. We are discussing art, whether beauty is on the surface, or whether it is a matter of love; whether it is outward, or understanding the inward process of thought.
As our society is constructed, we are more concerned with the outward expression, with the looks, with the sari, than with that which is inward. It does not matter what you are within, but you must present a respectable appearance - put on rouge, lip-stick. It does not matter what you are inside. So, we are more concerned with technique than with living, with mere expression than with love. Therefore, we use outward things as a means of covering up our inner ugliness, our inward confusion. We listen to music to escape from our own sorrow. In other words, we become spectators, and not the players. To be creative, you must know yourself, and to know yourself is extremely difficult; but to learn a technique is comparatively easy. So, when you talk about art in education, I don't know exactly what you mean. Obviously, the outward environmental influences have their place; but when the outer is emphasized, the inner confusion is not understood, and so the inward understanding, the inward beauty, is denied; and without inward beauty, how can there be the outward expression of it? And to cultivate inward beauty, you must first be aware of the inward confusion, the inward ugliness, because beauty does not come into being by itself. To be sensitive to beauty, you must understand the ugly and the confused; and it is only when there is order out of confusion that there is beauty.
Question: Whom would you call a perfect teacher?
Krishnamurti: Obviously, not the teacher who has an ideal, nor he who is making a profit out of teaching, nor he who has built up an organization, nor he who is the instrument of the politician, nor he who is bound to a belief or to a country; but the perfect teacher, surely, is one who does not ask anything for himself, who is not caught up in politics, in power, in position. He does not ask anything for himself, because inwardly he is rich. His wisdom does not lie in books; his wisdom lies in experiencing, and experiencing is not possible if he is seeking an end. Experiencing is not possible to him for whom the result is far more important than the means; to him who wants to show that he has turned out so many pupils who have brilliantly passed exams, who have come out as first class M.A.s, B.A.s, or whatever it is. Obviously, as most of us want a result, we give scant thought to the means employed, and therefore we can never be perfect teachers. Surely, Sir, a teacher who is perfect must be beyond and above the control of society. He must teach and not be told what to teach, which means, he must have no position in society. He must have no authority in society, because the moment he has authority, he is part of society; and since society is always disintegrating, a teacher who is part of society can never be the perfect teacher. He must be out of it, which means, he cannot ask anything for himself; therefore, society must be so enlightened that it will supply his needs. But we don't want such an enlightened society, nor such teachers. If we had such teachers, then the present society would be in danger. Religion is not organized belief. Religion is the search for truth, which is of no country, which is of no organized belief, which does not lie in any temple, church, or mosque. Without the search for truth, no society can long exist; and while it exists, it is bound to bring about disaster. Surely, the teacher is not merely the giver of information, the teacher is one who points the way to wisdom; and he who points to wisdom is not the guru. Truth is far more important than the teacher. Therefore you, who are the seeker of truth, have to be both the pupil and the teacher. In other words, you have to be the perfect teacher to create a new society; and to bring the perfect teacher into being, you have to understand yourself. Wisdom begins with self-knowledge; and without self-knowledge, mere information leads to destruction. Without self-knowledge, the airplane becomes the most destructive instrument in life; but with self-knowledge, it is a means of human help. So, a teacher must obviously be one who is not within the clutches of society, who does not play power politics or seek position or authority. In himself he has discovered that which is eternal, and therefore he is capable of imparting that knowledge which will help another to discover his own means to enlightenment.
Question: What is the place of discipline in education?
Krishnamurti: I should say, none. Just a minute, I will explain it further. What is the purpose of discipline? What do you mean by discipline? You, being the teacher, when you discipline, what happens? You are forcing, compelling; there is compulsion, however nice, however kind, which means conformity, imitation, fear. But you will say, `How can a large school be run without discipline?'. It cannot. Therefore, large schools cease to be educational institutions. They are profitable institutions, for the boss or for the government, for the headmaster or the owner. Sir, if you love your child, do you discipline him? Do you compel him? Do you force him into a pattern of thought? You watch him, don't you? You try to understand him, you try to discover what are the motives, the urges, the drives, that are behind what he does; and by understanding him, you bring about the right environment, the right amount of sleep, the right food, the right amount of play. All that is implied, when you love a child; but we don't love children, because we have no love in our own hearts. We just breed children. And naturally, when you have many, you must discipline them, and discipline becomes an easy way out of the difficulty. After all, discipline means resistance. You create resistance against that which you are disciplining. Do you think resistance will bring about understanding, thought, affection? Discipline can only build walls about you. Discipline is always exclusive, whereas understanding is inclusive. Understanding comes when you investigate, when you enquire, when you search out, which requires care, consideration, thought, affection. In a large school, such things are not possible, but only in a small school. But small schools are not profitable to the private owner or to the government; and since you, who are responsible for the government, are not really interested in your children, what does it matter? If you loved your children, not just as toys, as playthings to amuse you for a little while and a nuisance afterwards, if you really loved them, would you allow all these things to go on? Wouldn't you want to know what they eat, where they sleep, what they do all day long; whether they are beaten, whether they are crushed, whether they are destroyed? But this would mean an enquiry, consideration for others, whether for your own child or your neighbour's; and you have no consideration, either for your children, or for your wife or husband.
So, the matter lies in your hands, Sirs, not in the hands of any government or system. If all of us really cared for children, we would have a new society tomorrow; but we really do not care, and so we have no time. We have time for puja, we have time for earning money, we have time for clubs, we have time for amusements, but no time to give thought or care to the child. I am not being rhetorical. This is a fact, and you don't want to face the fact. Because, to face the fact means that you would have to give up your amusements and distractions; and do you mean to say you are going to give them up? Certainly not. So, you throw the children into the schools, and the teacher cares no more for them than you do. Why should he? He is there for his job, for his money, and so it goes on; and we come together for an evening to discuss education! It is really a marvellous world we have got. It is such a phoney super- ficial world, so ugly if you look behind the curtain; and we are decorating the curtain and hoping that everything will be right behind it. Sirs, I don't think you, the educators and the parents, realize how serious things are. The catastrophe that is going on in this country is obvious; but you don't want to strip it all bare and begin again, anew. You want to do patch-work reforms, and that is why all these questions arise. Sirs, you have to start anew, there can be no patch-work reform; because, the building is crumbling, the walls are giving way, there is a fire destroying it. You must leave the building and start anew in a different place, with different values, with different foundations. But those who are making a profit out of education, whether the State or the individual, will go on, because they do not see the destruction, the deterioration, the degradation. But those who really see the whole catastrophe, not just in a few spots, but the world over, have to strip themselves of everything and start anew. I don't mean stripping off the outward knowledge, the technical knowledge. I know it can never be stripped off; but you can strip yourselves inwardly, see yourselves as you are, your ugliness, your brutality, your ruthlessness, your deceptions, your dishonesty, your utter lack of love. Seeing all that, you can start anew, and become honest, clear, simple, direct. Surely, only then is there a possibility of a new world and a new order. Peace does not come through patch-work reform. Peace does not come through mere adjustment of things as they are. Peace comes only when we understand what is, beyond the superficial. Peace can come into being only when the wave of destruction, which is the wave of our own action, is stopped. Sirs, how can we have love? Not through the pursuit of the ideal of love, but only when there is no hatred, when there is no greed, when there is consideration, when there is generosity; but a man who is occupied with exploitation, with greed, with envy, can never know love. When there is love, systems become of very little importance. When there is love, there is care, there is consideration, not only for the children, but for every human being.
The Observer is the Observed
Bombay, India. Public Talk 13th March, 1948
Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.