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Letters to The Schools 2

1983

Letters to The Schools Volume 2 1st February 1983

Freedom is very necessary in our life. Freedom is obviously not to do whatever you like, though this has been considered freedom and has been the way of our life. We feel thwarted, inhibited when our desires are denied. From this arises our resentments, our feeling that we are sat upon and so a continuous revolt. We have followed this course of life and we can see, if we are at all thoughtful,what it has brought to the world: utter chaos. Some of the psychologists have encouraged us to pursue our impulses without any restraint, to do what we like immediately, rationalizing such activity as necessary for each one's growth. This was actually the cry for many generations, though there was outward restraint, and now they call it freedom to allow the child to do what he wants, and so on up the ladder of his life, which is society. And perhaps now there will be an opposite swing: control, inhibit,discipline and the psychological restraint. This appears to be the story of mankind.

Added to this is the computer and the robot: the technology that is developing in this direction, hoping to produce and probably will produce a computer with a human brain which may think faster and more accurately and thus give freedom from long hours of labour. The computer too is gradually taking over the education of our children. Highly qualified teachers and professors in their various subjects can inform the student without the actual presence of the teacher. This too will give us a certain freedom. Except in the totalitarian States, greater freedom is going to come to man and so perhaps allow him to do what he likes. Thus greater conflict may arise, greater misery and wars for man. When technology and computers with robots dominate and become part of our daily life, then what is to happen to the human brain which has been active so far in outward and physical struggle? Will the brain then become atrophied, working only a couple of hours or more? When relationship is between machine and machine, what is to happen to the quality and vitality of the brain? Will it seek some form of entertainment, religious or otherwise, or will it allow itself to explore the vast recesses of one's being? The industry of entertainment is gathering more and more strength and very little human energy and capacity is turned inwardly, so if we are not aware, the entertainment world is going to conquer us.

So we must ask what is freedom? It is often said that freedom is at the end of drastic discipline and civilized control civilized in the sense of literature, art, museums and good food. This is merely the outward coating of a confused, declining human being. Is freedom a choice of entertainment? Is freedom choice at all? We always consider freedom as being from something: from bondage, anxiety, loneliness, despair and so on. Such consideration only leads to further and perhaps more refined states of misery, sorrow and the ugliness of hatred. Freedom is not choosing a leader, political or religious, to follow which obviously denies freedom. Freedom is not the opposite of slavery. Freedom is the ending: not giving continuity to what has been. Freedom in itself has no opposite.

After having read this and studied it, what is my relationship not to the student and to my wife and children, but to the world? Really to understand the depth of freedom one needs a great deal of intelligence and perhaps love. But the activities of the world are not intelligent and neither is my group of children. I spend most of my day with them: have I this quality of freedom, with its intelligence and love? If I have this, my problem is very simple. That very quality will operate and what I thought to be a problem will cease to be one. But I really do not have this. I can pretend, put on a show of friendliness, but that is very shallow. My responsibility is immediate. I cannot say to myself that I will wait until I will achieve freedom and this affection, love. I literally have no time because my students are in front of me. I cannot become a hermit: that will not solve any problem, mine or the world's. I need lightning from heaven to break up this incrustation, this conditioning, to have this freedom and love; but there is no thunderbolt, no heaven. I can allow myself to come to an impasse and get depressed over the matter but that is an escape from the problem to completely enclose myself and thus be incapable of facing the actuality. As when I actually see the truth that there is no outside agent to help me in this dilemma, that no outside influence, no grace, no prayer will help in this matter, then perhaps I will have an uncontaminated energy. That energy may then be freedom and love.

But have I the energy of intelligence to dismantle the things which human beings all over the world, of whom I am one, have built psychologically around themselves? Have I the persistence to go through all this? I am asking these questions of myself and I shall be asking my students in a more gentle and benevolent manner. I see the implications of all this quite clearly and I must tread very softly. The true answer lies in intelligence and love. If you have these qualities you will know what to do. One must realize the truth of this very deeply, otherwise we shall all be perpetuating in one form or another the confusion between man and man.

Letters to The Schools 2

1983

Letters to The Schools Volume 2 1st February 1983

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