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Letters to The Schools 1

1978

Letters to Schools Volume One 15th October, 1978

It appears that most people spend a great deal of time in discussing mere verbal clarity and they do not seem to grasp the depth and content beyond the word. In trying to search out verbal clarity they make their minds mechanical, their life superficial and very often contradictory.In these letters we are not concerned with verbal understanding but with the daily facts of our lives. This is the central fact of all these letters: not the verbal explanation of the but the fact itself. When we are concerned with verbal clarity, and so a clarity of ideas, our daily life is conceptual and not factual.All the theories the principles, the ideals are conceptual. Concepts can be dishonest, hypocritical and illusory. One can have any number of concepts or ideals but they have nothing whatsoever to do with the daily happenings of our life. People are nurtured on ideals; the more fanciful they are, the more they are considered noble; but again the understanding of daily events is far more important than ideals. If one's mind is cluttered with concepts, ideals and so on, the fact,the actual happening can never be faced. The concept becomes a block. When all this is very clearly understood - not an intellectual, conceptual understanding - the great importance of facing a fact, the actual, the now, becomes the central factor of our education.

Politics is some kind of universal disease based on concepts, and religion is romantic, imaginary emotionalism. When you observe what is actually going on, all this is an indication of conceptual thinking and an avoidance of the daily misery, confusion and sorrow of our life.

Goodness cannot flower in the field of fear. In this field there are many varieties of fear, the immediate fear and the fears of many tomorrows. Fear is not a concept, but the explanation of fear is conceptual and these explanations vary from one pundit to another or from one intellectual to another. The explanation is not important but what is, is the facing of the fact of fear.

In all our schools the educator and those responsible for the students, whether in the class, the playing field or their rooms, have the responsibility to see that fear in any form does not arise. The educator must not arouse fear in the student.This is not conceptual because the educator himself understands, not only verbally,that fear in any form cripples the mind,destroys sensitivity, shrinks the senses. Fear is the heavy burden which man has always carried. From this fear arise various forms of superstition - religious, scientific and imaginary. One lives in a make-believe world, and the essence of the conceptual world is born of fear. We said previously that man cannot live without relationship,and this relationship is not only his own private life but, if he is an educator, he has a direct relationship with the student. If there is any kind of fear in this, then the teacher cannot possibly help the student to be free of it.The student comes from a background of fear, of authority, of all kinds of fanciful and actual impressions and pressures.The educator too has his own pressures,fears.He will not be able to bring about the understanding of the nature of fear if he himself has not uncovered the root of his own fears.It is not that he himself must first be free of his own fears in order to help the student to be free, but rather that in their daily relationship, in conversation, in the class, the teacher will point out that he himself is afraid, as is the student too, and so together they can explore the whole nature and structure of fear. It must be pointed out that this is not a confessional on the part of the teacher. He is just stating a fact without any emotional, personal emphasis. It is like having a conversation between good friends. This requires a certain honesty and humility. Humility is not servility. Humility is not a sense of defeatism; humility knows neither arrogance nor pride. So the teacher has a tremendous responsibility, for it is the greatest of all professions. He is to bring about a new generation in the world, which again is a fact not a concept. You can make a concept of a fact, and so get lost in concepts, but the actual always remains. Facing the actual, the now, and the fear, is the highest function of the educator - not to bring about only academic excellence - but what is far more important, the psychological freedom of the student and himself. When the nature of freedom is understood, then you eliminate all competition; on the playing field, in the classroom. Is it possible to eliminate altogether the comparative evaluation, academically or ethically? Is it possible to help the student not to think competitively in the academic field and yet to have excellence in his studies, his actions and his daily life? Please bear in mind that we are concerned with the flowering of goodness which cannot possibly flower where there is any competition. Competition exists only when there is comparison, and comparison does not bring about excellence. These schools fundamentally exist to help both the student and the teacher to flower in goodness. This demands excellence in behaviour, in action and in relationship. This is our intent and why these schools have come into being; not to turn out mere careerists but to bring about the excellence of spirit.

In our next letter we will continue with the nature of fear; not the word fear but the actual happening of fear.

Letters to The Schools 1

1978

Letters to Schools Volume One 15th October, 1978

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