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Letters to The Schools 2

1982

Letters to The Schools Volume 2 15th October 1982

As we said, education must not only be efficient in academic disciplines but must also explore the conditioning of human conduct. This conduct is the result of many, many centuries of fear, anxiety, conflict and the search for security both inwardly and outwardly, both biologically and psychologically. The brain is conditioned by these processes. The brain is the result of evolution which is time. We are the result of this accumulated past both religiously and in our daily life. It is based on reward and punishment as an animal, a dog, is trained. Our brain is an extraordinary instrument of great energy and capacities. Look at what it has done in the outward world, in the world that surrounds us, It has divided into various races, religions and nationalities. It has done this to have security. It has sought this security in isolation religiously, politically, economically, in the unit of the family, in small communities and associations. It has sought this protective reaction in organizations and establishments.

Nationalism has been one of the major causes of war. Our politicians are concerned with maintaining nationalism with its economy, thus isolating itself. Where there is isolation there must be opposition, aggression, and good relationship with other nations appears to be trade, exchange of arma- ments, the balance of power and maintaining power in the hands of the few. This is our government, whether totalitarian or democratic. We have sought to bring about order in our society through political action and so we have become dependent upon the politicians. Why have politicians become so extraordinarily important, like gurus, like the religious leaders? Is it because we have always depended on outside agencies to put our house in order, always depended on external forces to control and shape our lives? The external authority of a government, of parents, of every form of specialized leader seems to give us some hope for the future. This is part of our tradition of dependence and acceptance. This has been the long accumulated tradition which has conditioned our brain. Education has accepted its ways and so the brain has become mechanical and repetitive.

Is not then the function of the educator to understand the tremendous accumulated energy of the past, though not denying its necessity in certain areas of our life? We are concerned, are we not, as educators, to bring about the flowering of a good human being? This is not possible when the past, however modified, continues. What then are the factors of our conditioning? What is it that is being conditioned and who is it that does the conditioning? When we ask this question are we aware of our own actual conditioning and from that awareness ask this question, which has great vitality, or are we asking a theoretical, problematical question? We are not concerned in any way with hypothetical questions: we are dealing with actualities the actual being, what is. We are asking what is the cause of this state of human beings. There may be one cause or many causes. Many little streams give their waters to a great river. The depth, the volume and the beauty are all-important, not tracing each little stream to its source. So we are concerned in our investigation with the totality of our existence, not a particular part of it. When we comprehend the vastness of life with its complexities, then only can we ask what is the cause of our conditioning.

One feels it is important to understand first, not verbally or intellectually, but to perceive that life is the woman, the man, the child, the animals, the river, the sky and the forest all of it. To feel this, not the idea of it, but to see the immensity and beauty of it. If we do not grasp the significance of this that all the vast movement of life is one when we ask what is the cause of conditioning we bring about the fragmentation of life.

So first realize that this movement of the skies, the earth, the human existence, is indivisible. Then only we come to the particular. When the heavens, the earth and human beings are one vast unitary process, then enquiry as to the cause of our conditioning will not be fragmentary, divisive. Then we can ask what is the cause: then the question has depth and beauty. To find the cause we must go together and enquire into the nature and structure of a human being. Apart from the biological, the organic, which left to itself has its own natural intelligence, its self-protective reactions, there is the whole psychological field the inward responses, inward hurts, the fears, the contradictions, the drive of desire, the passing pleasures and the weight of sorrow. This psyche when it is disorderly, confused and messy naturally affects the biologic existence. Then disease is psychosomatic. We are concerned, are we not, with the exploration of our inward nature which is very complex. This investigation is really self-education not to change what is, but to understand what is. Again this is important to grasp, important to live with this question. What is, is far more important than what should be. The understanding of what we actually are is far more essential than to transcend what we are. We are the content of our consciousness. Our consciousness is a complexity but its very substance is movement. This must be clearly understood that we are not dealing with theories, hypotheses, ideals, but with our own actual daily existence.

Letters to The Schools 2

1982

Letters to The Schools Volume 2 15th October 1982

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