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Letters to The Schools 1

1978

Letters to Schools Volume One 1st October, 1978

We must continue, if one may, with the flowering of goodness in all our relationship, whether it is the most intimate or superficial, or in ordinary daily matters. Relationship with another human being is one of the most important things in life. Most of us are not very serious in our relationships, for we are concerned with ourselves first and the other when it is convenient, satisfying or sensually gratifying. We treat relationship from a distance, as it were, and not as something in which we are totally involved.

We hardly ever show ourselves to another, for we are not aware of ourselves fully and what we show to another in relationship is either possessive, dominating or subservient. There is the other and me, two separate entities sustaining a lasting division until death comes. The other is concerned with himself or herself so this division is maintained throughout life.Of course one shows sympathy, affection, general encouragement, but this divisive process goes on. And from this arises unsuitability, the assertion of temperaments and desires, and so there is fear and placation. Sexually there may be coming together but this peculiar almost static relationship of the you and the me is sustained, with the quarrels, the hurts, the jealousies and all the travail. All this is generally considered good relationship.

Now can goodness flower in all this? And yet relationship is life and without some kind of relationship one cannot exist. The hermit, the monk, however they may withdraw from the world, are carrying the world with them. They may deny it; they may suppress; they may torture themselves, but they still remain in some kind of relation with the world, for they are the result of thousands of years of tradition, superstition and all the knowledge that man has gathered through millennia. So there is no escape from it all.

There is the relationship between the educator and the student. Does the teacher maintain, whether knowingly or unknowingly, his sense of superiority and so always stands on a pedestal, making the student feel inferior, one who has to be taught? Obviously in this there is no relationship. From this arises fear on the part of the student, a sense of pressure and strain, and therefore the student learns, from his youth, this quality of superiority; he isis made to feel belittled, and so throughout life he either becomes the aggressor is continuously yielding and subservient.

A school is a place of leisure where the educator and the one to be educated are both learning. This is the central fact of the school: to learn. We do not mean by leisure having time to oneself, though that is also necessary; it does not mean taking a book and sitting under a tree, or in your bedroom,reading casually. It does not mean a placid state of mind; it certainly does not mean being idle or using time for day-dreaming. Leisure means a mind that is not constantly occupied with something, with a problem, with some enjoyment, with some sensory pleasure. Leisure implies a mind that has infinite time to observe: observe what is happening around one and what is happening within oneself; to have leisure to listen, to see clearly. Leisure implies freedom, which is generally translated as doing as one desires, which is what human beings are doing anyhow, causing a great deal of mischief, misery and confusion. Leisure implies a quiet mind, no motive and so no direction. This is leisure and it is only in this state that the mind can learn, not only science, history, mathematics but also about oneself; and one can learn about oneself in relationship.

Can all this be taught in our schools? Or is it something you read about and either memorize or forget? But when the teacher and the taught are involved in really understanding the extraordinary importance of relationship then they are establishing in the school a right relationship among themselves. This is part of education, greater than merely teaching academic subjects.

Relationship requires a great deal of intelligence. It cannot be bought in a book or be taught. It is not the accumulated result of great experience.Know-ledge is not intelligence. Intelligence can use knowledge. Knowledge can be clever, bright and utilitarian but that is not intelligence. Intelligence comes naturally and easily when the whole nature and structure of relationship is seen.That is why it is important to have leisure so that the man or the woman, the teacher or the student can quietly and seriously talk over their relationship in which their actual reactions, susceptibilities, and barriers are seen, not imagined, not twisted to please each other or suppressed in order to placate the other.

Surely this is the function of a school: to help the student to awaken his intelligence and to learn the great importance of right relationship.

Letters to The Schools 1

1978

Letters to Schools Volume One 1st October, 1978

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