2010-11 Term II
What is a message? What is the message one wants to convey and why?
It is only after writing a few messages on different occasions that the purpose has begun to dawn on me. Presently, it seems to me that one of the primary objectives of messages is to make an earnest attempt to spell out what one has in mind. In the process one reminds oneself of what one had set out to do or what he had intends to achieve. This message, being expressed on the eve of the tenth term of the school and my fourth term in it is surely more of this nature. It is a message meant primarily for me, and for teachers like me, who had set out to understand what education is.
It seems important to ask the right questions with or without impressive and imposing infrastructure, international curriculum, international staff or international students.
primarily for me, and for teachers like me, who had set out to understand what education is.
Digging deeper into the question perhaps would enable one to go to the first principles of education but is that what one is seeking? What is a teacher seeking to understand about education? Is it the need for it? Is it the content or process of education? Why education? Does education catalyze a person to live better? In which respects and at what cost to the world or nature at large? What is the purpose of education as it could be defined today? Does the purpose education differ over a period of time? I can sense the dead end which this type of questions seems to head towards.
Should we ask more basic questions like what is human existence about, for if we can get to that we could define education as something which enables a person to understand the purpose of existence? Who is a human being? What does he do in this world? Why does he do it? What is the sensory experience he needs to gather so as to live life in its pristine quality? How do we enable the sensory perception of the world to be astute so that the joy is unbounded? What is the relationship between the quality of sensory perception and the experience one experiences during the endless moments of human existence? Given that each of us has been influenced by our early and later life up to this point of time we are already having a patterned method of experiencing, understanding, interpreting and feeling our way through in life. Is it possible for a school and its educators to make children explore the larger and subtler questions of life?
The intent of a school has been stated by J Krishnamurti in the following words. These words seem to strike at the basic purpose that schools could make an attempt to explore. I contemplate about what is stated below today.
It is becoming more and more important in a world that is destructive and degenerating that there should be a place, an oasis, where one can learn a way of living that is whole, sane and intelligent. Education in the modern world has been concerned with the cultivation not of intelligence, but of intellect, of memory and skills. In this process little occurs beyond passing information from the teacher to the taught, the leader to the follower, bringing about a superficial and mechanical way of life. In this there is little human relationship. Surely a school is a place where one learns about the totality, the wholeness of life. Academic excellence is absolutely necessary, but a school includes much more than that. It is a place where both the teacher and the taught explore not only the outer world, the world of knowledge, but also their own thinking, their behaviour. From this they begin to discover their own conditioning and how it distorts their own thinking. This conditioning is the self to which such tremendous and cruel importance is given. Freedom is not conditioning and its misery begins with this awareness. It is only in such freedom that true learning can take place. In this school it is the responsibility of the teacher to sustain with the student a careful exploration into the implications of conditioning and thus end it.
A school is a place where one learns the importance of knowledge and its limitations. It is a place where one learns to observe the world not from any particular point of view or conclusion. One learns to look at the whole of man s endeavour, his search for truth and essence, his search for truth and essence of violence. So far education has not been concerned with this, but in this school our intent is to understand actuality and its action without any preconceived ideas, theories or beliefs which bring about a contradictory attitude towards existence. The school is concerned with freedom and order. Freedom is not the expression of one s own desire, choice or self interest. That inevitably leads to disorder. Freedom of choice is not freedom, though it may appear so; nor is order conformity or imitation. Order can only come with the insight that to choose is itself the denial of freedom.
In school one learns the importance of relationship which is not based on attachment and possession. It is here one can learn about the movement of thought, love and death, for all this is our life. From the ancient times, man has sought something beyond the materialistic world, something immeasurable, something sacred. It is the intent of this school to inquire into this possibility. The whole movement of inquiry into knowledge into oneself, into the possibility of something beyond knowledge, brings about naturally a psychological revolution, and from this comes inevitably a totally different order in human relationship, which is society. The intelligent understanding of all this can bring about a profound change in the consciousness of mankind.