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Question: What is the significance of history in the
education of the young?
Jiddu Krishnamurti -If one has read history it is fairly clear that man
has struggled against nature, conquered it, destroyed and polluted it;
man has struggled against man; there have always been wars. Man
struggles to be free and yet he becomes a slave to institutions and
organizations from which in turn he tries to break away, only to form
another series of institutions and organizations. There is an
everlasting struggle to be free.
The history of mankind is the history of tribal wars,
feudal and colonial wars, the wars of the kings and nations; and it is
all still going on; the tribal mind has become national and
sophisticated - but it is still the tribal mind. The history of man
includes its culture; it is the story of the human being who has gone
through all kinds of suffering, through various diseases, through wars,
through religious beliefs and dogmas, persecution, inquisition, torture
in the name of god, in the name of peace, in the name of ideals.
And how is all that to be taught to the young? If it is the story of
mankind, the story of human beings, then both the educators and the
young are the human beings; it is their story, not merely the story of
kings and wars, it is a story of themselves.
How can the educator help the student to understand
the story of himself, which is the story of the past, of which he is the
result? That is the problem. If you are the educator and I am the young
student, how would you help me to understand the whole nature and
structure of myself - myself being the whole of humanity, my brain the
result of many million years? it is all in me, the violence, the
competition, the aggressiveness, the brutality, the cruelty, the fear,
the pleasure and occasional joy and that slight perfume of love.
How will you help me to understand all this? it means
that the educator must also understand himself and so help me, the
student, to understand myself. So it is a communication between the
teacher and myself; and in that process of communication he is
understanding himself and helping me to understand myself.
It is not that the teacher or the educator must first
understand himself and then teach - that would take the rest of his
life, perhaps - but that in the relationship between the educator and
the person to be educated, there is a relationship of mutual
investigation. Can this be done with the young child, or with the young
student? in what manner would you set about it? That is the question.
How would you as a parent go into this, how would you help your child to
understand the whole nature and structure of his mind, of his desires,
of his fears - the whole momentum of life? it is a great problem.
Are we prepared, as parents and teachers, to bring about a new
generation of people, for that is what is implied - a totally different
generation of people with totally different minds and hearts? Are we
prepared for that? If you are a parent, would you give up for the sake
of your child drink, cigarettes, pot, you know, the whole drug culture
and see that both you and the child are good human beings?
The word `good' means well-fitting - psychologically, without any
friction, like a good door - you understand? like a good motor. Also,
`good' means whole, not broken up, not fragmented. So, are we prepared
to bring about, through education, a good human being, a human being who
is not afraid - afraid of his neighbour, afraid of the future, afraid of
so many things, disease, and poverty?
Also, are we prepared to help the child and ourselves
to have integrity? The word `integrity' also means to be whole and to
say what you mean and not say one thing and do something else. Integrity
implies honesty. Can we be honest if we have illusions and romantic and
speculative ideals and strong beliefs? We may be honest to a belief but
that does not imply integrity.
As it is, we bring children into the world, spoil them
till they are two or three, and then prepare them for war. History has
not taught human beings; how many mothers must have cried, their sons
having been killed in wars, yet we are incapable of stopping this
monstrous killing of each other.
If we are to teach the young we must have in ourselves a sense of the
demand for the good. Good is not an ideal; it is to be whole, to have
integrity, to have no fear, not to be confused; these are not ideals,
they are acts. Can we be factual and so bring about a good human being
through education? Do we really want a different culture, a different
human being, with a mind that is not confused, that has no fear, that
has this quality of integrity?
J Krishnamurti - Children
must be helped to be Intelligent, Sensitive