The root cause of society’s ills is how we deal with education. Deep down we all know this, but for decades we have barely lifted a finger to address it. The main reason for this inaction is because most of us are ourselves products of this defective system. We have been programed for obedience, turned into self-absorbed apathetic beings that submit to authority and fear dissent.
We are bombarded with propaganda that wants us to believe in the economy. That if everyone had a job and the economy was growing at whatever rate our centralized governments had set, then all would be well. There are two problems with this mindset. First, our crony cannibalistic economic system will never reach this zenith. Second, it’s a lie; a better economy is not the solution to our woes. What is, is educating our children to become integrated beings, free of envy and materialism. Unfortunately, our present education system is not set up to achieve this task, not yet anyway, but it’s coming, and it will change everything.
There is a war going on for the hearts and minds of our children - for the control of the future. Our present education system is collapsing and numerous parties are vying over who will be the dominant player during this revolution, hence the faction in control of the new system. From billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates to politicians, governments, traditional and charter schools, massive open online courses, homeschoolers, teachers, unions, and parents, everyone is joining the fray.
No matter what the final outcome, the simple fact is that a centralized system should never again be allowed to dominate education in our society. We are diverse and social creatures and require intimate and personal stimulation to grow, learn, question, and create. To be educated we need engagement; to be fulfilled we need to be triggered – we need educators that engage students - to challenge, inspire, and motivate.
As for how we can achieve this task? The answers have been available for decades, we just haven’t acted on them. Below you will find some examples of what needs to be done.
What follows are excerpts from Jiddu Krishnamurti’s “Education and The Significance of Life” (pdf), as well as lectures from three playlists: Robert Anton Wilson’s first segment as he “Explains Everything; Or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance” (links to torrent on The Pirate Bay), John Taylor Gatto’s first hour interview regarding the “Ultimate History Lesson”, and Richard Hamming’s opening lecture on “Learning to Learn”.
The works complement each other quite well and are well worth exploring, especially for educators and parents:
Jiddu Krishnamurti’s “Education and The Significance of Life” (pdf):
“The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books, nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions. One who has not studied may be more intelligent than the learned. We have made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed cunning minds that avoid vital human issues. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in others, is education.
“Education should help us to discover lasting values so that we do not merely cling to formulas or repeat slogans; it should help us to break down our national and social barriers, instead of emphasizing them, for they breed antagonism between man and man. Unfortunately, the present system of education is making us subservient, mechanical and deeply thoughtless; though it awakens us intellectually, inwardly it leaves us incomplete, stultified and uncreative.
“Without an integrated understanding of life, our individual and collective problems will only deepen and extend. The purpose of education is not to produce mere scholars, technicians and job hunters, but integrated men and women who are free of fear; for only between such human beings can there be enduring peace.”…
“Any method which classifies children according to temperament and aptitude merely emphasizes their differences; it breeds antagonism, encourages divisions in society and does not help to develop integrated human beings. It is obvious that no method or system can provide the right kind of education, and strict adherence to a particular method indicates sluggishness on the part of the educator. As long as education is based on cut-and-dried principles, it can turn out men and women who are efficient, but it cannot produce creative human beings.
“Only love can bring about the understanding of another. Where there is love there is instantaneous communion with the other, on the same level and at the same time. It is because we ourselves are so dry, empty and without love that we have allowed governments and systems to take over the education of our children and the direction of our lives; but governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments - and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.
“Life cannot be made to conform to a system, it cannot be forced into a framework, however nobly conceived; and a mind that has merely been trained in factual knowledge is incapable of meeting life with its variety, its subtlety, its depths and great heights. When we train our children according to a system of thought or a particular discipline, when we teach them to think within departmental divisions, we prevent them from growing into integrated men and women, and therefore they are incapable of thinking intelligently, which is to meet life as a whole.”…
“To discover what part education can play in the present world crisis, we should understand how that crisis has come into being. It is obviously the result of wrong values in our relationship to people, to property and to ideas. If our relationship with others is based on self-aggrandizement, and our relationship to property is acquisitive, the structure of society is bound to be competitive and self-isolating. If in our relationship with ideas we justify one ideology in opposition to another, mutual distrust and ill will are the inevitable results.
“Another cause of the present chaos is dependence on authority, on leaders, whether in daily life, in the small school or in the university. Leaders and their authority are deteriorating factors in any culture. When we follow another there is no understanding, but only fear and conformity, eventually leading to the cruelty of the totalitarian State and the dogmatism of organized religion.
“To rely on governments, to look to organizations and authorities for that peace which must begin with the under- standing of ourselves, is to create further and still greater conflict; and there can be no lasting happiness as long as we accept a social order in which there is endless strife and antagonism between man and man. If we want to change existing conditions, we must first transform ourselves, which means that we must become aware of our own actions, thoughts and feelings in everyday life.
“But we do not really want peace, we do not want to put an end to exploitation. We will not allow our greed to be interfered with, or the foundations of our present social structure to be altered; we want things to continue as they are with only superficial modifications, and so the powerful, the cunning inevitably rule our lives.
“Peace is not achieved through any ideology, it does not depend on legislation; it comes only when we as individuals begin to understand our own psychological process. If we avoid the responsibility of acting individually and wait for some new system to establish peace, we shall merely become the slaves of that system.
“When governments, dictators, big business and the clerically powerful begin to see that this increasing antagonism between men only leads to indiscriminate destruction and is therefore no longer profitable, they may force us, through legislation and other means of compulsion, to suppress our personal cravings and ambitions and to co-operate for the well-being of mankind. just as we are now educated and encouraged to be competitive and ruthless, so then we shall be compelled to respect one another and to work for the world as a whole. And even though we may all be well fed, clothed and sheltered, we shall not be free of our conflicts and antagonisms, which will merely have shifted to another plane, where they will be still more diabolical and devastating. The only moral or righteous action is voluntary, and understanding alone can bring peace and happiness to man.
“Beliefs, ideologies and organized religions are setting us against our neighbours; there is conflict, not only among different societies, but among groups within the same society. We must realize that as long as we identify ourselves with a country, as long as we cling to security, as long as we are conditioned by dogmas, there will be strife and misery both within ourselves and in the world.”…
“It is only when we begin to understand the deep significance of human life that there can be true education; but to understand, the mind must intelligently free itself from the desire for reward which breeds fear and conformity. If we regard our children as personal property, if to us they are the continuance of our petty selves and the fulfilment of our ambitions, then we shall build an environment, a social structure in which there is no love, but only the pursuit of self-centred advantages.
“A school which is successful in the worldly sense is more often than not a failure as an educational centre. A large and flourishing institution in which hundreds of children are educated together, with all its accompanying show and success, can turn out bank clerks and super-salesmen, industrialists or commissars, superficial people who are technically efficient; but there is hope only in the integrated individual, which only small schools can help to bring about. That is why it is far more important to have schools with a limited number of boys and girls and the right kind of educators, than to practise the latest and best methods in large institutions.
“Unfortunately, one of our confusing difficulties is that we think we must operate on a huge scale. Most of us want large schools with imposing buildings, even though they are obviously not the right kind of educational centres, because we want to transform or affect what we call the masses.
“But who are the masses? You and I. Let us not get lost in the thought that the masses must also be rightly educated. The consideration of the mass is a form of escape from immediate action. Right education will become universal if we begin with the immediate, if we are aware of ourselves in our relationship with our children, with our friends and neighbours. Our own action in the world we live in, in the world of our family and friends, will have expanding influence and effect.
“By being fully aware of ourselves in all our relationships we shall begin to discover those confusions and limitations within us of which we are now ignorant; and in being aware of them, we shall understand and so dissolve them. Without this awareness and the self-knowledge which it brings, any reform in education or in other fields will only lead to further antagonism and misery.
“In building enormous institutions and employing teachers who depend on a system instead of being alert and observant in their relationship with the individual student, we merely encourage the accumulation of facts, the development of capacity, and the habit of thinking mechanically, according to a pattern; but certainly none of this helps the student to grow into an integrated human being. Systems may have a limited use in the hands of alert and thoughtful educators, but they do not make for intelligence. Yet it is strange that words like ‘system,’ ‘institution,’ have become very important to us. Symbols have taken the place of reality, and we are content that it should be so; for reality is disturbing, while shadows give comfort.
“Nothing of fundamental value can be accomplished through mass instruction, but only through the careful study and understanding of the difficulties, tendencies and capacities of each child; and those who are aware of this, and who earnestly desire to understand themselves and help the young, should come together and start a school that will have vital significance in the child's life by helping him to be integrated and intelligent. To start such a school, they need not wait until they have the necessary means. One can be a true teacher at home, and opportunities will come to the earnest.
“Those who love their own children and the children about them, and who are therefore in earnest, will see to it that a right school is started somewhere around the corner, or in their own home.Then the money will come - it is the least important consideration. To maintain a small school of the right kind is of course financially difficult; it can flourish only on self-sacrifice, not on a fat bank account. Money invariably corrupts unless there is love and understanding. But if it is really a worthwhile school, the necessary help will be found. When there is love of the child, all things are possible.”…