THE ANGRY OLD MAN

WHAT IS EDUCATION
(Think about it)

 

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(I don't remember just where this material 
came from. I found it with some other notes 
and writings I had been saving. While it sounds 
like what I would write or say, it's a little too 
polished, I'm not that skilled at using the language. 
At any rate, I've added it here because it is a 
reflection of my thinking. Whenever you see 
any text inside ( ), that is what I have added to 
the original )
THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION:
Is it the function of education to help us understand the 
whole process of life, or is it merely to prepare us for a 
vocation, for the best job we can get?
Education has no meaning unless it helps you to 
understand the vast expanse of life with all its subtleties, 
with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and joys.
What is the point of it all if in the process your mind 
becomes dull, weary, stupid?
Is it not the true function of education to cultivate in 
you the intelligence which will try to find the answers 
to all those problems?
(When I graduated from college in 1989, my class was 
the first ones required to take a pre-graduation test to 
see if we had learnt any- thing while spending time in 
school. We had two tests. One was made up of general 
knowledge, mostly what you should of learnt in high
school. The second part was a writing test. We were 
given a story, we had to rewrite it. The first time I 
wrote it, I wrote it as if I was writing for a general 
purpose magazine. This is what I thought they wanted, 
something to show that we knew how to communicate 
with others. It didn't pass. I had to redo it and make it 
a scholarly paper. I felt this was a little silly, because 
the reason the test was started was that business's were 
saying that college grads couldn't even fill out employment 
applications. On a following page you will find the file
 "EIGHTH GRADE EXAM"  This is an example of how we 
have went down on our education standards)
DO YOU KNOW WHAT INTELLIGENCE IS?
It is the capacity to think freely, without fear, without 
a formula, so that you begin to discover for yourself 
what is real, what is true; but if you are frightened you 
will never be intelligent.
Not to imitate but to discover-that is education.
It is very easy to conform to what your society or your 
parents and teachers tell you. That is a safe and easy 
way of existing; but that is not living, because in it there 
is fear, decay, death. To live is to find out for yourself 
what is true, and you can do this only when there is 
freedom, when there is continuous revolution inwardly,
within yourself.
Your parents and society want you to live safely, 
and you also want to live safely. Living safely generally 
means living in imitation and therefore in fear.
It is only when you are constantly inquiring, constantly 
observing, constantly learning, that you find truth, God 
or love: and you cannot inquire, observe, learn, you 
cannot be deeply aware, if you are afraid. So the function 
of education, surely, is to eradicate, inwardly as well as 
outwardly, this fear that destroys human thought,
human relationship and love.
WHAT IT MEANS TO LEARN!
When you are really learning you are learning throughout 
your life and there is no special teacher to learn from.
You learn from everything, therefore there is no guide, 
no philosopher, no guru. Life itself is your teacher, and 
you are in a state of constant learning.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE FREE?
Is freedom a matter of doing what happens to suit you, 
going where you like, thinking what you will. Merely to 
have independence, does that mean freedom.
To be free is to be intelligent, but intelligence does 
not come into being by just wishing to be free; it comes 
into being only when you begin to understand your 
whole environment, the social, religious, parental and 
traditional influences that are continually closing in
on you.
Whether in this world of politicians, power, position 
and authority, or in the so-called spiritual world where 
you aspire to be virtuous, noble, saintly, the moment you 
want to be somebody you are no longer free.
The function of education, then. is to help you from 
childhood not to imitate anybody, but to be yourself 
all the time.
Freedom lies, not in trying to become something 
different, nor in doing whatever you happen to feel 
like doing, nor in following the authority of tradition, 
of your parents, of your guru, but in understanding what
you are from moment to moment.
WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?
To find out is not to come to a conclusion. The moment 
you come to a conclusion as to what intelligence is, 
you cease to be intelligent.
An intelligent mind is one which is constantly learning, 
never concluding.
An intelligent mind is a mind which is not satisfied 
with explanations, with conclusions; nor is it a mind 
that believes because belief is again another form of 
conclusion. An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind, a 
mind that is watching, learning, studying. There is intelli-
gence only when there is no fear, when you are willing 
to rebel, to go against the whole social structure in order 
to find out what God is, or to discover the truth of 
anything.
intelligence is not knowledge.
If the parents and teachers are really concerned 
that the young person should discover what he is 
they won't compel him; they will create an environment 
in which he will come to know himself.
It is very important to be exposed to new ideas, 
to something to which you may not be accustomed. 
It is good to see what is beautiful, but you must also 
observe the ugly things of life, you must be awake
to everything. You must be exposed to things which you 
perhaps don't quite understand, for the more you think 
and ponder over these matters which may be somewhat 
difficult for you, the greater will be your capacity to live 
richly.
WHAT IS SOCIETY?
Society is the relationship between man and man.
Human relationship makes society; and our present 
society is built upon a relationship of acquisitiveness.
Education at present is aimed at making you conform, 
fit into and adjust yourself to this acquisitive society.
A lovely rose is a lovely rose; but we human beings 
have been given the capacity to think, and we think 
wrongly. To know HOW to think requires a great deal 
of penetration, understanding, but to know WHAT to 
think is comparatively easy. Our present education 
consists in telling us what to think, it does not teach 
us how to think, how to penetrate, explore;
and it is only when the teacher as well as the student 
knows how to think that the school is worthy of its name.
You must understand the whole of life, not just one little
part of it.
WHY DO YOU LISTEN TO PEOPLE?
Listening to find out has quite a different significance 
from listening merely to hear that which will confirm 
what you think.
(the above statement points out why I feel that the 
30 second political ads we are force fed before each 
election are a complete waste. The individuals who 
don't support that issue or candidate doesn't watch 
it, and wouldn't learn anything new if they did watch 
it. Instead, it is watched by its supporters to bolster 
and confirm their already made up minds.)
True education is to learn how to think, not what to 
think. If you know how to think, if you really have that 
capacity, then you are a free human being, free of 
dogmas, superstitions, ceremonies, and therefore you 
can find out what religion is.
(in my opinion, a good teacher is one that encourages
the students to think,  to ask questions such as WHY.
It is much easier to understand and learn a concept
when you know the why of it instead of just committing
it to memory)
 
AMBITION:
Wherever one goes in the world, it does not matter 
where, one finds that society is in a perpetual state 
of conflict. There are always the powerful, the rich, 
the well-to-do on the one hand, and the laborers on 
the other; and each one is enviously competing with 
each other. Each one wants a higher position, a
bigger salary, more power, greater prestige. That is 
the state of the world, and so there is always war 
going on both within and without.
Society is the relationship between you and me; 
and if our relationship is based on ambition, each 
one of us wanting to be more powerful than the other, 
then obviously we shall always be in conflict.
Can we live creatively in this world without the drive 
of ambition?
You will find the right answer when you love what you 
are doing. If you can plant a tree, or paint a picture, or 
write a poem, not to gain recognition but just because 
you love to do it, then you will find that you never 
compete  with another. This is the real key: 
TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO.
THINKING:
What we call thinking is the response of memory. If you 
merely observe, then you will have a direct relationship 
with people and with things. If you can observe alertly, 
keenly, but without judging, without concluding, you will 
find that your thinking becomes astonishingly acute. 
Then you are learning all the time.
LIFE:
Life is like a river: endlessly moving on, ever seeking,
exploring, pushing, overflowing its banks. A mind that 
has no walls, that is not burdened with its own 
acquisitions, accumulations, with its own knowledge, 
a mind that lives timelessly, insecurely, to such a mind, 
life is an extraordinary thing. Such a mind is life itself.
But most of us want security. We demand permanency 
and create a culture based on this demand, inventing 
gods which are not gods at all but merely a projection 
of our own desires. The efforts of a mind that is seeking 
a pool of security, of permanency, can only lead to 
darkness and corruption. Once established in the pool, 
such a mind is afraid to venture out, to seek, to explore.
EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE:
Knowledge is the cultivation of memory, but becomes 
a hindrance when it has become a tradition which 
shapes or conditions the mind to a particular pattern, 
because then it not only divides people and creates 
enmity between them, but it also prevents the deep 
discovery of what is truth, what is life.
The function of education is to give the student 
abundant knowledge in the various fields of human 
endeavors and at the same time to free his mind from 
all tradition so that he is able to investigate, to find 
out, to discover. The difficulty is to free the mind from 
the known so that it can discover what is new all the 
time.
(this last paragraph shows why I believe that a 
comparative religion class should be on every schools 
agenda. Only by being exposed to all information can 
anyone make a valid judgment. And for that very reason 
it will never happen. those with strong religious beliefs 
cannot tolerate any other view as a valid view and fear 
their children being exposed to knowledge.)
RELIGION AND GOD:
Religion has nothing to do with priests, churches, 
dogmas, or organized beliefs. These things are not 
religion at all, they are merely social conveniences 
to hold us within a particular pattern of thought and 
action; they are the means of exploiting our credulity, 
hope and fear. Religion is the seeking out of what is 
truth, what is God, and this search requires enormous 
energy, wide intelligence, subtle thinking. It is in this 
very seeking of the immeasurable that there is
right social action, not in so-called reformation of a
particular society.