Krishnamurti on Education
Talks to Students
Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Students Chapter 3 'On Knowledge and Intelligence'
You are here to gather knowledge - historical, biological, linguistic, mathematical, scientific, geographical, and so on. Apart from the knowledge that you acquire here, there is collective knowledge, the knowledge of the race, of your grandfathers, of your past generations. They all had a great many experiences, a great many things happened to them, and their collective experience has become knowledge. Then there is the knowledge of your own personal experiences, your own reactions, impressions, your own tendencies and inclinations, which have assumed their own peculiar forms. So there is scientific, biological, mathematical, physical, geographical, historical knowledge; there is also the collective knowledge of the past which is the tradition of the community, the race; then there is the personal knowledge which you yourself have experienced. There are these three kinds of knowledge - scientific, collective, personal. Do they collectively make for intelligence?
Now what is knowledge? is knowledge related to intelligence? Intelligence uses knowledge, intelligence being the capacity to think clearly, objectively, sanely, healthily. Intelligence is a state in which there is no personal emotion involved, no personal opinion, prejudice or inclination. Intelligence is the capacity for direct understanding. I am afraid this is rather difficult, but it is important, it is good for you to exercise your brain. So there is knowledge, which is the past continually being added to, and there is intelligence. Intelligence is the quality of the mind that is very sensitive, very alert, very aware. Intelligence does not hold on to any particular judgement or evaluation, but is capable of thinking very clearly, objectively. Intelligence has no involvement. Are you following? Now, how is this intelligence to be cultivated? What is the capacity of this intelligence? You are living here, being educated in all the various disciplines, in various branches of knowledge. Are you also being educated so that intelligence comes into being at the same time? Do you see the point? You may have a very good knowledge of mathematics or engineering. You may take a degree, enter a college and be a first class engineer. But at the same time, are you becoming sensitive, alert? Are you thinking objectively, clearly, with intelligence, understanding? Is there a harmony between knowledge and intelligence, a balance between the two? You cannot think clearly if you are prejudiced, if you have opinions. You cannot think clearly if you are not sensitive; sensitive to nature, sensitive to all the things that are happening around you, sensitive not only to what is happening outside you but also inside you. If you are not sensitive, if you are not aware, you cannot think clearly. Intelligence implies that you see the beauty of the earth, the beauty of the trees, the beauty of the skies, the lovely sunset, the stars, the beauty of subtlety.
Now, is this intelligence being gathered by you here in this school? Are you gathering it or only gathering knowledge through books? If you have no intelligence, no sensitivity, then knowledge can become very dangerous. It can be used for destructive purposes. This is what the whole world is doing. Have you the intelligence that questions, tries to find out? What are the teachers and you doing to bring about this quality of intelligence, which sees the beauty of the land, the dirt, the squalor, and is also aware of the inner happenings, how one thinks, how one observes the subtlety of thought? Are you doing all this? If not, what is the point of your being educated?
Now what is the function of an educator? Is it merely to give you information, knowledge, or is it to bring about this intelligence in you? If I were a teacher here, do you know what I would do? First of all, I would want you to question me about everything - not about knowledge, that is very simple, but to question me about how to look, how to look at these hills, to look at that tamarind tree, how to listen to a bird, how to follow a stream. I would help you to look at the marvellous earth and nature, the beauty of the land, the redness of the soil. Then I would say, look at the peasants, the villagers. Look at them, do not criticize, just look at their squalor, their poverty, not the way you look at them at pre- sent, with utter indifference. There are those huts there, have you been there? Have the teachers been down there and looked at those huts, and if they all have, what have they done? So I will make you look, which is to make you sensitive, and you cannot be sensitive if you are careless, indifferent to everything that is happening around you. Then I would say, "To be intelligent, you must know what you are doing, the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you eat." You understand? I would talk to you about your food. I would say, "Look, discuss, do not be afraid to ask any questions, find out, learn", and in your classes I would discuss a subject with you, how to read, how to learn, what it means to pay attention. If you say you want to look out of the window, I would say look out of the window, see everything that you want to see out of the window, and after you have seen it, look at your book with equal interest and pleasure. Then I would say, "Through books, through discussions I have helped you to be intelligent; let me help you to find out how to live in this world sanely, healthily, not half asleep." That is the function of a teacher, of an educator, not just to give you a lot of data, knowledge, but to show you the whole expanse of life, the beauty of it, the ugliness of it, the delight, the joy, the fear, the agony. So that when you leave this place, you are a tremendous human being who can use your intelligence in life, not just a thoughtless, destructive, callous human being.
Now you have listened, the teachers, the principal and students, you have all listened. What are you going to do about it? You know, it is as much your responsibility, as students, as it is the responsibility of the teachers. It is the respon- sibility of the students to demand, to ask, not just to say "I will sit down, teach me". It means that you must be tremendously intelligent, sensitive, alive, unprejudiced. It is also essential for the teacher to see that you are intelligent so that when you leave Rishi Valley you leave with a smile, with glory in your heart, so that you are sensitive, ready to cry, to laugh.
Student: If you are very sensitive, do you not think you are apt to become emotional?
Krishnamurti: What is wrong with being emotional? When I see those poor people living in poverty, I feel very strongly. Is that wrong? There is nothing wrong in feeling emotion when you see the squalor, the dirt, the poverty around you. But you also feel strongly if another says something ugly about you. When this happens what will you do? Because of your emotion will you hit back at him? Or because you are sensitive, emotional, will you be aware of what you are going to do? If there is an interval before your response and you observe, are sensitive to it, then in that interval intelligence comes in. Allow that interval; in it begin to watch. If you are tremendously aware of the problem there is instant action and that instant action is the right action of intelligence.
Student: Why are we conditioned?
Krishnamurti: Why do you think we are conditioned? It is very simple. You have asked the question. Now, exercise your brain. Find out why you are conditioned. You are born in this country, you live in an environment, in a culture, you grow into a young child, and then what takes place? Watch the babies around you. Watch the mothers, the fathers, if they are Hindus or Muslims or communists or capitalists; they say to the child, "Do this, do that". The child sees the grandmother going to a temple, preforming rituals, and the child gradually accepts all that. Or the parents may say "I don't believe in rituals" and the child also accepts that. The simple fact is that the mind, the brain of the child is like putty or clay and on that putty, impressions are made, like the grooves in a record. Everything is registered. So in a child everything is registered consciously or unconsciously, until gradually he becomes a Hindu, Muslim, Catholic or a non-believer. He then makes divisions - as my belief, your belief, my god, your god, my country, your country. You have been conditioned to make tremendous effort; you have to make an effort to study, to pass an examination, you have to make an effort to be good.
So, the question is how is the mind, which is conditioned, to unravel itself, to get out of conditioning? How do you propose to get out of it? Now exercise your intelligence to find out. Do not follow somebody who says, "Do this and you will get unconditioned; find out how you will uncondition yourself. Come on, answer me, tell me, discuss with me.
Student: Can you tell us how to uncondition ourselves?
Krishnamurti: To fall into the trap of another conditioning, is that it? First of all, do you know that you are conditioned? How do you know? Is it only because somebody has told you that you are conditioned that you know? Do you see the difference? That is, somebody tells you that you are hungry, that is one thing, and to know for yourself that you are hungry is altogether different. These two statements are different, aren't they? In the same way, do you know for yourself without somebody telling you that you are conditioned, as a Hindu, a Muslim? Do you know it for yourself?
Now I will ask you a question and see whether there is a gap before you answer it. Right? Now observe, think very clearly, unemotionally, without any prejudice. My question is, are you aware that you are conditioned without being told? Are you aware? It is not so very difficult.
Do you know what it means to be aware? When there is a pain in the thumb, you are aware there is pain, nobody tells you there is pain. You know it. Now, in the same way do you know that you are conditioned, conditioned into thinking that you are a Hindu, that you believe in this, that you do not believe in that, that you must go to a temple, that you must not go to a temple? Are you aware of it?
Krishnamurti: You are? Now that you are aware that you are conditioned, what next?
Student: I will then see whether I want to be unconditioned.
Krishnamurti: You are conditioned and you become aware, then what takes place? Then I ask, what is wrong with being conditioned? Now I am conditioned as a Muslim and you are conditioned as a Hindu, right? What takes place? We may live in the same street, but because of my conditioning, my belief, my dogma, and you with your belief, with your dogma, though we may meet in the same street, we are separate, aren't we? So where there is separation there must be conflict. Where there are political, economic, social, nationalistic divisions, there must be conflict. So conditioning is the factor of division. Therefore, in order to live peacefully in this world, let us be free of conditioning, cease to be Muslim or Hindu. This is the factor of intelligence; becoming aware that one is conditioned, then seeing the effect of that conditioning in the world, the divisions, nationalistic, linguistic and so on, and seeing that where there is division there is conflict. When you see this, when you are aware that you are conditioned, that is the operation of intelligence.
That is enough for the day. Do you want to ask more questions?
Student: How can one be free from prejudice?
Krishnamurti: When you say, "how", what do you mean by that word? How am I to get up from this place? All that I have to do is to get up. I never ask how I am to get up? Use your intelligence. Do not be prejudiced. First be aware that you are prejudiced. Do not be told by others that you are prejudiced. They are prejudiced, so do not bother what other people say about your prejudices. First be aware that you are prejudiced. You see what prejudice does - it divides people. Therefore you see that there must be intelligent action, which is that the mind must be capable of being free from prejudice, not ask "how" which means a system, a method. Find out whether your mind can be free from prejudice. See what is involved in it. Why are you prejudiced? Because part of your conditioning is to be prejudiced, and in prejudice there is a great deal of comfort, a great deal of pleasure. So first become aware, become aware of the beauty of the land, become aware of the trees, the colour, the shades, the depth of light, and the beauty of the moving trees, and watch the birds, be aware of all that is around you; then gradually move in, find out, be aware of yourself, be aware how you react in your relationships with your friends - all that brings intelligence. Is that enough for this morning? Then we will do something else.
First of all sit completely quiet, comfortably, sit very quietly, relax, I will show you. Now, look at the trees, at the hills, the shape of the hills, look at them, look at the quality of their colour, watch them. Do not listen to me. Watch and see those trees, the yellowing trees, the tamarind, and then look at the bougainvillaea. Look not with your mind but with your eyes. After having looked at all the colours, the shape of the land, of the hills, the rocks, the shadow, then go from the outside to the inside and close your eyes, close your eyes completely. You have finished looking at the things outside, and now with your eyes closed you can look at what is happening inside. Watch what is happening inside you, do not think, but just watch, do not move your eyeballs, just keep them very, very quiet, because there is nothing to see now, you have seen all the things around you, now you are seeing what is happening inside your mind, and to see what is happening inside your mind, you have to be very quiet inside. And when you do this, do you know what happens to you? You become very sensitive, you become very alert to things outside and inside. Then you find out that the outside is the inside, then you find out that the observer is the observed.
Krishnamurti on Education
Talks to Students
Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Students Chapter 3 'On Knowledge and Intelligence'
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