Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Public Talk, March 13th, 1948 | Mumbai, India

Question: 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, and we are going to try to deal with it in 5 or 10 minutes. It is a problem upon which our whole structure is based. That is, we have ideals, and according to those ideals we educate. Now, are ideals necessary for education? Don't 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. But 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.

In this question there arises the problem of the so-called bad boy - if I may use that word to define quickly and strongly a certain point. To change him into not being bad, surely you don't have to have an ideal. If a boy is a liar, you don't have to give him the ideal of truth. You study why he is telling lies. There may be various reasons - probably he is frightened, or is avoiding something. We need not go into the various reasons for lying. But obviously, when a child lies, to make him conform to a pattern of truth, which is your ideal, does not help him to free himself from the causes of lying. You have to study him, you have to observe him, and to do that takes a long time; it demands patience, care, love; and because you have not got it, you force him into a pattern of action which you call an ideal. Obviously, an ideal is a very cheap escape. The school which has ideals, or the teacher who follows ideals is obviously incapable of dealing with a child.

You don't have to accept automatically what I am saying, or deny it. Just observe. 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, Sirs and Ladies, the teachers who become idealists, who are pursuing a pattern of action, the so-called ideal, 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, to observe the child, than to force him into an idealistic pattern of action. And I think that mere examples, which are another form of the 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. I am not being dogmatic; but as there are many questions, I have to be very brief and concise. The implications of an ideal are obvious. When the teacher is pursuing an ideal, he is incapable of understanding the child, because then the future, the ideal, is far more important than the child, the present. He has a certain end in view which he thinks is right, and he is forcing the child to conform to that ideal. Surely, that is not education, is it? That is like turning out motor cars. You have the pattern, and you put the child through the mould, with the result that you create human beings who are mere technicians, who have no human relationship with others, but are out for themselves, for their own gain, politically, socially, or in the family. Obviously, it is much easier to follow an ideal than to observe, to take care, to awaken love for the children and humanity. And that is one of the calamities of modern education: the so-called ideal, the end in view, whether it is an ideology of the extreme left or of the right, has become a pattern of action, and has brought about this present world catastrophe.

Tags: education

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