the Educator: Abandoning Idealism in Teaching.
(copiado literalmente del original: http://www.kfa.org/links_educating_educator.htm)
This article first appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of Parabola magazine.
The meeting of which this article is a record took place in Bombay, India, on March 13, 1948. Though open to the general public, it was intended primarily for educators and teachers. The questions raised and the answers given are as relevant today as they were in 1948.
Throughout the world, it is becoming more and more evident that the educator needs educating. It is not a question of educating the child, but rather the educator, for he needs it much more than the student. After all, the student is like a tender plant that needs guiding, helping; but if the helper is himself incapable, narrow, bigoted, nationalistic and all the rest of it, naturally his product will be what he is. So, it seems to me that the important thing is not so much the technique of what to teach, but the intelligence of the educator himself.
Throughout the world, education has failed, because it has produced the two most colossal and destructive wars in history. Since it has failed, merely to substitute one system for another seems to me to be utterly futile. But if there is a possibility of changing the thought, the feeling, the attitude of the teacher, then perhaps there can be a new culture, a new civilization. In the midst of all this chaos, misery, confusion, and strife, surely the responsibility of the teacher-whether he is a government employee, a religious teacher, or a teacher of mere information-is extraordinarily great.
So, our problem is not so much the child-the boy or the girl-but the teacher, the educator. And to educate the educator is far more difficult than to educate the child, because the educator is already set and fixed. He functions in a routine, because he is really not concerned with the thought process, with the cultivation of intelligence. He is merely imparting information, and a man who merely imparts information when the whole world is crashing about his ears is surely not an educator. Do you mean to say that education is a means of livelihood? To regard it as a means of livelihood, to exploit the children for oneís own good, seems to me so contrary to the real purpose of education.
You can provide the right environment, the necessary tools, and all the rest of it, but what is important is for the educator himself to find out what all this existence means: Why are we living, why are we striving, why are we educating, why are there wars, why is there communal strife between man and man? To study this whole problem, and to bring our intelligence into operation, is surely the function of a real teacher.
The teacher who does not demand anything for himself, who does not use teaching as a means of acquiring position, power, or authority, the teacher who is really teaching-not for profit, not along a certain line, but who is giving, growing, awakening intelligence in the child because he is cultivating intelligence in himself-such a teacher has the primary place in civilization. After all, all great civilizations have been founded on the teachers, not on engineers and technicians. The engineers and technicians are absolutely necessary, but those who awaken moral and ethical intelligence are obviously of primary importance. They can have moral integrity, freedom from the desire for power, position, authority, only when they donít ask anything for themselves, when they are beyond and above society and are not under the control of governments, and when they are free from the compulsion of social action, which is always action according to a pattern.
The teacher must be beyond the limits of society and its demands, so as to be able to create a new culture, a new structure, a new civilization; but at present we are merely concerned with the technique of how to educate a boy or girl, without cultivating the intelligence of the teacher-which seems to me so utterly futile. We are now mostly concerned with learning a technique and imparting that technique to the child, and not with the cultivation of intelligence, which will help him or her to deal with the problems of life.
When I answer these questions, I hope you will bear with me if I donít go into any particular detail, but deal primarily not with technique, but with the right approach to the problem.
Questioner: What part can education play in the present world crisis?
Krishnamurti: Seeing both the causes and the results of war, of the present moral and social crisis, naturally one begins to perceive that the function of education is to create new values, not merely to implant existing values in the mind of the pupil, which merely conditions him without awakening his intelligence. But when the educator himself has not seen the causes of the present chaos, how can he create new values, how can he awaken intelligence, how can he prevent the coming generation from following in the same steps, leading ultimately to still further disaster? Surely, then, it is important for the educator not merely to implant certain ideals and convey mere information, but to give all his thought, all his care, all his affection, to creating the right environment, the right atmosphere, so that when the child grows up into maturity he is capable of dealing with any human problem that confronts him. So, education is intimately related to the present world crisis; and all the educators, at least in Europe and America, are realizing that the crisis is the outcome of wrong education. Education can be transformed only by educating the educator, and not merely creating a new pattern, a new system of action.
Questioner: Have ideals any place in education?
Krishnamurti: Certainly not. Ideals and the idealist in education prevent the comprehension of the present. This is an enormous problem to try to deal with it in five or ten minutes; it is a problem upon which our whole structure is based, that is, we have ideals, and we educate according to those ideals. Donít ideals actually prevent right education, which is the understanding of the child as he is and not as he should be? If I want to understand a child, I must not have an ideal of what he should be. To understand him, I must study him as he is. To put him into the framework of an ideal is merely to force him to follow a certain pattern, whether it suits him or not; and the result is that he is always in contradiction to the ideal, or else he so conforms himself to the ideal that he ceases to be a human being and acts as a mere automaton without intelligence.
So, is not an ideal an actual hindrance to the understanding of the child? If you as a parent really want to understand your child, do you look at him through the screen of an ideal? Or do you simply study him because you have love in your heart? You observe him, you watch his moods, his idiosyncrasies. Because there is love, you study him. It is only when you have no love that you have an ideal. Watch yourself and you will notice this. When there is no love, you have these enormous examples and ideals, through which you are forcing, compelling the child. But when you have love, you study him, you observe him and give him freedom to be what he is; you guide and help him, not to the ideal, not according to a certain pattern of action, but to bring him to be what he is.
After all, the function of education is to turn out an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life intelligently-wholly, not partially-not as a technician or an idealist. But the individual cannot be integrated if he is merely pursuing an idealistic pattern of action. Obviously, the teachers who become idealists are pretty useless. If you observe, you will see that they are incapable of love: they have hard hearts and dry minds because it demands much greater observation, greater affection, to study and observe the child than to force him into an idealistic pattern of action. And I think that mere examples, which are another form of ideal, are also a deterrent to intelligence.
Probably what I am saying is contrary to all that you believe. You will have to think it over, because this is not a matter of denial or acceptance. One has to go into it very, very carefully.
Questioner: Is education in creativeness possible? Or, is creativeness purely accidental, and therefore nothing can be done to facilitate its emergence?
Krishnamurti: To put it differently, the question is whether by learning a technique you will be creative-that is, by learning the technique of painting, will you be an artist? Does creativeness come into being through technique, or is creativeness independent of technique? You may go to a school and learn all there is to know about painting, about the depth of color, the technique of how to hold the brush, and all the rest of it. Will that make you a creative painter? Whereas, if you are creative, then anything that you do will have its own technique. I once went to see a great artist in Paris who had not learned a technique; he wanted to say something, and he said it in clay and then in marble. Most of us learn the technique but have very little to say. We neglect, we overlook the capacity to find out for ourselves; we have all the instruments of discovery, without finding anything directly. So the problem is how to be creative, which brings its own technique.
Then, when you want to write a poem, what happens? You write it. If you have a technique, so much the better; but, if you have no technique, it does not matter: you write the poem, and the delight is in the writing. After all, when you write a love letter, you are not bothered about the technique; you write it with all your being. But when there is no love in your heart, you search out a technique, how to put words together. If you do not love, you miss the point. You think you will be able to live happily, creatively, by learning a technique, and it is the technique that is destroying creativeness-which does not mean that you must not have a technique. After all, when you want to write a poem beautifully, you must know meter and all the rest of it. But if you want to write it for yourself and not publish it, then it does not matter. You write. It is only when you want to communicate something to another that proper technique is necessary, the right technique, so that there will be no misunderstanding.
But, surely, to be creative is quite a different problem, and that demands an extraordinary investigation into oneself. It is not a question of gift. Talent is not creativeness. One can be creative without having a talent. So, what do we mean by creativeness? To go into it fully and deeply, one has to go into the whole problem of consciousness. I say that everyone of us can be creative, in the right sense of the word, not merely producing poems and statues or procreating children. Surely, to be creative means to be in that state in which truth can come into being. And truth can come into being only when there is a complete cessation of the thought process. When the mind is utterly still, without being compelled, forced into a certain pattern of action; when the mind is really quiet, not compelled; then, in that state, truth can come into being. That state is creation, and creation is not for the few; it is not the talent of the few or the gift of the few. That creative state can be discovered by each one who gives his mind and heart to search out the problem.
Questioner: Whom would you call a perfect teacher?
Krishnamurti: Obviously, not the teacher who has an ideal, nor he who is making a profit out of teaching, nor he who has built up an organization, nor he who is the instrument of the politician, nor he who is bound to a belief or to a country. The perfect teacher, surely, is one who does not ask anything for himself, who is not caught up in politics, in power, in position; he does not ask anything for himself, because inwardly he is rich. His wisdom does not lie in books; his wisdom lies in experiencing, and experiencing is not possible if he is seeking an end. Experiencing is not possible for him for whom the result is far more important than the means; to him who wants to show that he has turned out so many pupils who have brilliantly passed exams, who have come out as first-class M.A.ís, B.A.ís, or whatever. Obviously, as most of us want a result, we give scant thought to the means employed, and therefore we can never be perfect teachers.
A teacher who is perfect must be beyond and above the control of society. He must teach and not be told what to teach, which means he must have no position in society; he must have no authority in society, because the moment he has authority, he is part of society; and, since society is always disintegrating, a teacher who is part of society can never be the perfect teacher. He must be out of it, which means he cannot ask anything for himself; therefore, society must be so enlightened that it will supply his needs. But we donít want such an enlightened society, nor such teachers. If we had such teachers, then the present society would be in danger. Religion is not organized belief; religion is the search for truth, which is of no country, which is of no organized belief, which does not lie in any temple, church, or mosque. Without the search for truth, no society can long exist; and, while it exists, it is bound to bring about disaster.
Surely, the teacher is not merely the giver of information; the teacher is one who points the way to wisdom. And he who points the way to wisdom is not the guru. Truth is far more important than the teacher; therefore, you who are the seeker of truth have to be both student and teacher. In other words, you have to be the perfect teacher to create a new society; and to bring the perfect teacher into being, you have to understand yourself. Wisdom begins with self-knowledge and, without self-knowledge, mere information leads to destruction. Without self-knowledge, the airplane becomes the most destructive instrument in life, but with self-knowledge, it is a means of human help. So the teacher must be one who is not within the clutches of society, who does not play power politics or seek position or authority. He has discovered that which is eternal in himself and, therefore, he is capable of imparting that knowledge which will help another to discover his own means to enlightenment.