Education of World Citizenships.

Creativity and World Citizen Education: Insights from J. Krishnamurti

The function of education is to give the student abundant knowledge in the various fields of human endeavour and at the same time to free his mind from all tradition so that he is able to investigate, to find out, to discover. Otherwise the mind becomes mechanical, burdened with the machinery of knowledge. Unless it is constantly freeing itself from the accumulations of tradition, the mind is incapable of discovering the Supreme, that which is eternal, but it must obviously acquire expanding knowledge and information so that it is capable of dealing with the things that man needs and must produce. So knowledge, which is the cultivation of memory, is useful and necessary at a certain level, but at another level it becomes a detriment. To recognize the distinction — to see where knowledge is destructive and has to be put aside, and where it is essential and to be allowed to function with as much amplitude as possible — is the beginning of intelligence. J. Krishnamurti in This Matter of Culture (1964)

Krishnamurti stressed that along with knowledge necessary for everyday life, it was essential to have students understand the process of thought, the working of the mind. He said “In a real school, the student must not only be taught various subjects but also helped to be aware of the process of his own thinking…You cannot create a new world if your mind is not alert, watchful, expansively aware; and that is why it is so important while you are young, to spend some time reflecting over these very serious matters and not just pass your days in the study of a few subjects.

“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.

“A crucial feature of intelligence is the capacity of self-awareness. Self-knowledge comes when you observe yourself in your relationship with your fellow-students and your teachers, with all the people around you…If you can just observe what you are and move with it, then you will find that it possible to go infinitely far.

“To go beyond its hindrances, the mind must first be aware of them. You must know the limitations, the boundaries, the frontiers of your own mind…If one can watch the hindrances of the mind, not only the superficial hindrances but also the deeper hindrances in the unconscious — watch them without condemnation — then the mind can go beyond them; and that very going beyond is a moment towards truth.”

In order to develop a school in which there is both the transmission of knowledge and an emphasis on the processes of the mind, you need teachers who are aware of these processes of the mind. As Krishnamurti said “You must have teachers who really have a song inside them and are therefore happy, creative human beings.” Teachers must help the students to explore, to discover, to understand the whole process of life with a mind that is very acute, sharp, alive, inquiring, curious, and therefore capable of discovery.

Understanding how the mind functions should also open the door to creativity. “There must first be freedom of the mind for creativeness to take place, and then technique can be used to express that creativeness. But to have the technique is meaningless without a creative mind, without the extraordinary creativeness which comes with the discovery of what is true.”

By understanding the working of the mind, a student also learns to understand how negative conditioning can take place. As Krishnamurti said “Your mind is like a rich soil, and if given sufficient time any problem that comes along takes root like a weed, and then you have the trouble of pulling it out; but if you do not give the problem sufficient time to take root, then it has no place to grow, and it will wither away. If you encourage hate, give it time to take root, to grow, to mature, it becomes an enormous problem. But if each time hate arises, you let it go by, then you will find that your mind becomes very sensitive without being sentimental; therefore it will know love.”

Understanding the processes of the mind is a crucial step in overcoming fear. The overcoming of fear is necessary for psychological freedom. Krishnamurti had said “we shall give our hearts, our minds, our bodies towards creating a school where there is no such thing as fear with all its implications.” Understanding the processes of the mind helps to create a sense of world citizenship, of going beyond narrow identifications. Right education will cultivate in the student a global outlook, a realization that all of humanity is linked and shares a common, basic psychological condition. The individual is not, in any deep respect, different from mankind everywhere. The school’s work is not to reproduce an American mind, or a European mind, or an Indian mind, but rather a mind unconditioned by identification with any national, ethnic or cultural group. The role of the teacher entails unconditioning himself as well as the student. There is no blueprint or method for this process because any prescribed method can only produce a mechanical result. What can be done is to explore the meaning of conditioning and the actual, living reality of one’s own state of mind.

As Krishnamurti noted “As one travels over the world and observes the appalling conditions of poverty and the ugliness of man’s relationship to man, it becomes obvious that there must be a total revolution. A different kind of culture must come into being. The old culture is almost dead and yet we are clinging to it. Those who are young revolt against it, but unfortunately have not found a way or a means, of transforming the essential quality of the human being, which is the mind. Unless there is a deep psychological revolution, mere reformation on the periphery will have little effect. This psychological revolution — which I think is the only revolution — is possible through meditation.