J. Krishnamurti – San Diego 1974 – Conversation 15 – Religion, authority and education – Part 1

Krishnamurti in dialogue
with Dr. Allan W. Anderson J. Krishnamurti
was born in South India and educated in England. For the past 40 years he has been speaking
in the United States, Europe, India, Australia,
and other parts of the world. From the outset of
his life’s work he repudiated all connections with organised
religions and ideologies and said that his only concern was to set man
absolutely unconditionally free. He is the author of many books, among them
The Awakening of Intelligence, The Urgency of Change,
Freedom From the Known, and The Flight of the Eagle. This is one of a series
of dialogues between Krishnamurti and
Dr. Allan W. Anderson, who is professor
of religious studies at San Diego State University where he teaches Indian
and Chinese scriptures and the oracular tradition. Dr. Anderson, a published poet, received his degree
from Columbia University and the Union Theological
Seminary. He has been honoured with
the distinguished Teaching Award from the
California State Universities. A: Mr. Krishnamurti, we were talking
last time together about death in the
context of living and love. And
just as we came to the close of what
we were discussing, we thought it would be good
to pursue a further enquiry
into education, what really goes on
between teacher and student when they look together,
and what are the traps that immediately
appear and shock. You mentioned
the terror of death, not simply externally, but internally
in relation to thought. And perhaps
it would be a splendid thing if we just continued that
and went deeper into it. K: Sir, I would like to ask, why we are educated at all. What is the meaning of this education
that people receive? Apparently they don’t understand
a thing of life, they don’t
understand fear, pleasure, the whole thing
that we have discussed, and the ultimate fear of death, and the terror of not being. Is it that we have become
so utterly materialistic that we are only concerned
with good jobs, money, pleasure and superficial amusements,
entertainments, whether they be
religious or football. Is it that our whole nature
and structure has become so utterly meaningless? And when we are educated to that to suddenly face
something real is terrifying. As we were saying yesterday, we are not educated
to look at ourselves, we are not educated
to understand the whole business of living, we are not educated to look and see what happens
if we face death. So I was wondering, as we
came along this morning, religion – which we were
going to discuss anyhow – has become merely not only a divisive process,
but also utterly meaningless. Maybe 2,000 years as Christianity, or 3,000, 5,000 as Hinduism,
Buddhism, and so on, it has lost its substance! And we never enquire
into what is religion, what is education,
what is living, what is dying, the whole business of it. We never ask,
what is it all about! And when we do ask, we say, well,
life has very little meaning. And it has very little meaning
as we live, and so we escape
into all kinds of fantastic, romantic nonsense,
which has no reason, which we can’t discuss,
or logically enquire, but it is mere escape from this utter emptiness
of the life that one leads. I don’t know if
you saw the other day a group of people
adoring a human being, and doing
the most fantastic things, and that’s what
they call religion, that’s what they call God. They seem to have lost
all reason. Reason apparently
has no meaning any more, either. A: I did see a documentary
that was actually put on by this station,
in which the whole meeting operation
was being portrayed between the public
and this individual, in this young 15-year-old guru,
Maharaji. And it was extraordinary.
K: Disgusting. A: Amazing. In many respects
revolting. K: And that is
what they call religion. So, shall we begin
with religion and go on? A: Yes, I think that would
be a splendid thing to do. K: All right, sir. Man has always wanted,
or tried to find out, something beyond
the everyday living, everyday routine,
everyday pleasures, every activity of thought,
he wanted something much more. I don’t know whether
you have been to India, if you have been
to villages. They put a little stone
under a tree, put some marking on it,
the next day they have flowers, and for all the people
that are there it has become divinity, it has become something
religious. That same principle is continued
in the cathedrals. Exactly the same thing,
Mass and all the rituals in India,
all that, it begins there: the desire for human beings
to find something more than what
thought has put together. Not being able to find it,
they romanticise it, they create symbols, or somebody who has got a
little bit of this, they worship. And round that
they do all kinds of rituals, Indian puja,
all that business goes on. And that is called religion. Which has absolutely
nothing to do with behaviour, with our daily life. So, seeing all this, both
in the West and the East, in the world of Islam, in the world of Buddhism,
and all this, it is the same principle
going on: worshipping an image
which they have created, whether it is the Buddha,
or Jesus, or Christ, it is the human mind
that has created the image. A: Oh yes, certainly. K: And they worship
the image which is their own. In other words, they are
worshipping themselves. A: And the division, the
split, grows wider. K: Wider. So when one asks
what is religion, obviously, one must negate
– in the sense not brutally cut off –
understand all this. And so negate all the religions! Negate the religion of India, and the multiple gods
and goddesses, and here the religion
of Christianity, which is an image
which they have created, which is idolatry. They might not like to
call it idolatry, but it is. It is an idolatry of the mind. The mind has created the ideal and the mind, through the hand,
created the statue, the cross, and so on. So, if one really
puts all that aside, the belief, the superstition,
the worship of the person, the worship of an idea,
and the rituals, and the tradition – all that –
if one can do it, and one must do it to find out. A: Exactly. There is a point of terror here that is many, many faceted, it has so many different mirrors that it holds up to
one’s own dysfunction. To reach the point where he makes this negation
in order to find out, he thinks very often
that he must assume something in advance in order to make the negation.
K: Oh, of course. A: And therefore he balks at that,
and he won’t do it. K: No, because, sir,
the brain needs security, otherwise it can’t function.
A: That’s right. K: So it finds security
in a belief, in an image, in rituals, in the propaganda
of 2,000 or 5,000 years. And there, there is a sense
of safety, comfort, security, well-being,
the image of somebody greater than me, who is looking after me,
inwardly he is responsible – all that.
So when you are asking a human being to negate all that, he is faced with an
immense sense of danger, he becomes panicked! A: Exactly. K: So to see all that, to see the absurdity of
all the present religions, the utter meaninglessness
of it all, and to face
being totally insecure, and not be frightened. A: I sense a trick that one
can play on himself right here. Again,
I am very grateful to you that we are exploring together this pathology
in its various facets. One can begin with the notion that he is going to make
this negation in order to attain
to something better. K: Oh no,
that’s not negation. A: And that’s not negation at all. K: No. Negation is
to deny what is false not knowing what is,
what is truth. To see the false in the false, and to see
the truth in the false, and it is the truth
that denies the false. You don’t deny the false,
but you see what is false, and the very seeing of
what is false is the truth. I don’t know…
A: Yes, of course. K: And that denies,
that sweeps away all this. I don’t know if
I am making myself clear. A: Well, I had a very
interesting experience in class yesterday. I had given the class
an assignment. – I think I mentioned
yesterday that I had given
an assignment to go and look at the tree. So in fact, I am making a report as to what happened
after they came back. One young woman
described what happened to her, and she described it
in such a way that the class was convinced that there was no blockage of her looking
between herself and this tree. She was calmly ecstatic
in her report. That sounds like a curious
juxtaposition of words, but it seems to me to be correct. But then I asked her a question. And I said, were you thinking of yourself
as looking at this tree? And she hesitated – she had already gone through this whole statement, which was
very beautifully undertaken – and I come along playing the role of the serpent
in the garden and I said, might
it not have been the case that, any time
when you were doing this, that you thought of yourself looking at the tree?
K: As the observer. A: And with this hesitation, she began to fall more and
more out of her own act. We had a look at that, she and I and the class, we all had a look at
what she was doing. Finally she turned around
and said, the reason that I stopped was not because of what went on
between me and the tree – I am very clear about that – it’s because I am in class now, and I am thinking that
I ought to say the right thing, and so I have ruined
the whole thing! It was a revelation
not only to her, but you could see with respect to the
faces all around the room that we are all involved
in this nonsense. K: Yes, sir. A: And her shock that she
could so betray this relationship that she had had
in doing her exercise, in just a couple of words, was almost…
K: Very revealing. A: Yes, extremely revealing,
but at the same time desperately hard to believe that anybody would do
such a thing to himself. K: Quite, quite.
A: Yes. Please, do go on. K: So, sir, that’s it. Negation can only take place
when the mind sees the false. The very perception
of the false is the negation of the false. And when you see the religions, based on miracles, based on personal worship, based on fear that you, yourself, your own life is so
shoddy, empty, meaningless, and it is so transient, you will be gone in a few years, and then the mind creates
the image which is eternal, which is marvellous, which is the beautiful,
the heaven, and identifies with it
and worships it. Because it needs a sense of security, deeply, and it has created
all this superficial nonsense, a circus – it is a circus.
A: Oh yes. K: So can the mind
observe this phenomenon and see its own demand
for security, comfort, safety, permanency, and deny all that? Deny, in the sense,
see how the brain, thought, creates
the sense of permanency, eternity, or whatever
you like to call it. And to see all that. Therefore one has to go
much more deeply into the question of thought, because,
both in the West and the East, thought has become the
most important movement in life. Right, sir?
A: Oh yes. K: Thought which has created this marvellous
world of technology, marvellous world of
science and all that, and thought which has created
the religions, all the marvellous chants, both the Gregorian and
the Sanskrit chants, thought which has built
beautiful cathedrals, thought which has made
images of the saviours, the masters, the gurus,
the Father – image. Unless one really
understands thought, what is thinking, we will still play the same game
in a different field. A: Exactly, exactly. K: Look what is happening
in this country. These gurus come, from India, they shave their head,
put on the Indian dress, a little tuft of hair
hanging down, and repeat endlessly
what somebody has said. A new guru. They have had old gurus,
the priests. A: Oh yes.
K: The Catholic, the Protestant, and they have denied them,
but accept the others! You follow?
A: Yes. K: The others are as dead
as the old ones, because they are just
repeating tradition: traditionally repeating
how to sit, how to shave, how to meditate, how to
hold your head, breathe. And finally you obey
what the old guru says, or the young guru says. Which is exactly what took place in the Catholic world,
in the Protestant world. They deny that
and yet accept the other. Because they want security, they want somebody to tell them
what to do, what to think, never how to think. A: No.
This raises a question I hope we can explore together, that concerns
the word ‘experience’. K: Oh yes, it’s another word. A: It’s amazing how often
in these times this word crops up to
represent something that I desperately need, which somehow
lies outside myself. I need the experience
of an awakening. It isn’t an awakening
that I need, apparently, it’s an
experience of this awakening. The whole idea of
religion as experience needs
very careful thought, very careful penetration.
K: Quite right. Sir, if I may ask,
why do we demand experience? Why is this
craving for experience? We have sexual experience, experiences of every kind,
don’t we? A: Yes.
K: As we live. Insults, flattery,
happenings, incidents, influences,
what people say, don’t say, we read a book, and so on. We are experiencing
all the time. We are bored with that! And we say
we’ll go to somebody who will give me
the experience of God. A: Yes, that’s precisely
what is claimed. K: Yes. Now, what is involved in that? What is involved
in our demand of experience and the experiencing
of that demand? I experience what that guru, or master,
or somebody tells me. How do I know it is real? And I say I recognise it,
don’t I, sir? Look, I experience something, and I can only know
that I have experienced it, when I have recognised it. Right?
A: Right. K: Recognition implies
I have already known. A: Re-cognise.
K: Re-cognise. A: Yes. K: So, I am experiencing
what I have already known, therefore it is nothing new. I don’t know if I am…
A: Yes, you are making yourself very, very clear. K: So all they are doing
is a self-deception. A: It is actually lusted after.
K: Oh, good lord, yes. A: Yes, the drive for it
is extraordinary. I have seen it
in many, many students, who will go to
extraordinary austerities, really. K: I know all this. A: We sometimes think
that young people today are very loose
in their behaviour. Some are – but what
is so new about that, that has been going on
since time out of mind. I think that
what is rarely seen is that many young persons
today are extremely serious
about acquiring something that someone possesses
that they don’t have, and if someone claims
to have it, naively,
they are on their way. And they’ll go through
any number of cartwheels, they’ll stand on
their head indefinitely for that that lines up. K: Oh yes, I have seen all that. A: Which is called
an experience as such. K: That’s why
one has to be very careful, as you pointed out, sir,
to explore this word. And to see why the mind, why a human being
demands more experience, when his whole life
is a vast experience, with which he is so bored. He thinks
this is a new experience, but to experience the new, how can the mind
recognise it as the new, unless
it has already known it? I don’t know if I’m…
A: Yes, yes. And there is something
very remarkable here, in terms of what
you said earlier, in other previous conversations: in the recognition
of what is called the new, the linkage with old thought,
old image, establishes the notion that there is something
gradual in the transition. That there really is some
kind of genuine link here with where I am now
and where I was before. Now I become the next guru, who goes out and teaches
the person how, gradually,
to undertake this discipline. K: Yes, sir.
A: And it never stops. No, I do see that.
It’s amazing. Driving down in the car
this morning I was thinking about the whole business of chant that you mentioned,
the beauty of it all, and since this is related
to experience as such, I thought maybe we could
examine the aesthetics, where this self-trapping
lies in it. And of course,
I thought of Sanskrit and that beautiful invocation
that is chanted to the Upanishadic Isa: Poornamada, poornam idam poornat poornamudachyate poornasya poornam, and it goes on. And I said to myself, if one would attend
to those words, there is the echo of the abiding
through the whole thing, through that
whole glorious cadence, and yet within it there’s the radical occasion to fall into a euphoria.
K: Yes, sir. A: And somnolence takes over. But it is
within the very same! And I said to myself, maybe Mr. Krishnamurti would
say a word about the relation of beauty to this in terms of one’s own
relation to the beautiful, when that relation is
not seen for what it is. Since there is a narcosis present
that I can generate. It isn’t in those words! And yet we think that the
language must be at fault, there must be something
demonically hypnotic about this, we do. And then religious groups will separate themselves totally
from all this. We had a period in Europe,
when Protestants, Calvinists, wouldn’t allow an organ,
no music, because music is seductive. I am not the self-seducer,
it is the music’s fault! K: That’s just it, sir.
A: Let’s look at it. K: As we were saying
the other day, sir, beauty can only be when there
is the total abandonment of the self. Complete
emptying the consciousness of its content,
which is the ‘me’. Then there is a beauty,
which is something entirely different from the
pictures, chants – all that. And probably most of these
young people, and also the older people,
seek beauty in that sense: through
the trappings of the church, through chants, through reading
the Old Testament with all its beautiful words
and images, and that gives them
a sense of deep satisfaction. In other words,
what they are seeking is really gratification
through beauty, beauty of words,
beauty of chant, beauty of all the robes,
and the incense, and the light coming through those
marvellous pieces of colour – you have seen it all
in cathedrals, Notre Dame de Chartres, and
all these places – marvellous. And it gives them
a sense of sacredness, sense of feeling happy,
relieved: at last there is a place,
where I can go and meditate, be quiet, get into
contact with something. And when you come along and say,
look, that’s all rubbish, it has no meaning! What has meaning is how
you live in your daily life. A: Yes.
K: Then they throw a brick at you. A: Of course, it is
like taking food away from a starving dog.
K: Exactly. So, this is the whole point,
sir: experience is a trap, and all the people want
this strange experience, which the gurus think they have. A: Which is always called
the knowledge. Interesting, isn’t it?
K: Very, very. A: It is always called
the knowledge. Yes. I was thinking
about previous conversations about this self-transformation that is not
dependent on knowledge. K: Of course not.
A: Not dependent on time. K: No. A: And eminently
requires responsibility. K: And also, sir,
we don’t want to work. We work very strenuously
in earning a livelihood. Look what we do: year after year, year after year, day after day, day after day, the brutality,
the ugliness of all that. But here, inwardly, psychologically,
we don’t want to work. We are too lazy.
Let the other fellow work, perhaps he has worked, and perhaps he will give me
something. But I don’t say
I am going to find out, deny the whole thing
and find out. A: No, the assumption is
that the priest’s business is to have worked in order to know, so that I am relieved
of that task, or if I didn’t come into the
world with enough marbles, then all I need do is simply
follow his instructions, and it’s his fault
if he gets it messed up. K: Yes, and we never ask the man who says,
‘I know, I have experienced’ what do you know?
A: Exactly. K: What have you experienced? What do you know? When you say, ‘I know’ you only know something
which is dead, which is gone, which is finished,
which is the past. You can’t know
something that is living. You follow, sir?
A: Yes. K: A living thing you can
never know, it’s moving. It is never the same. And so I can never say
I know my wife, or my husband, my children, because they are
living human beings. But these fellows come along, from India specially, and they say, I know,
I have experienced, I have knowledge,
I will give it to you. And I say what impudence. You follow, sir?
A: Yes. K: What callous indifference that you know
and I don’t know. And what do you know? A: It’s amazing
what has been going on in the relation between men and women with respect to this, because a whole mythology
has grown up about this. For instance, our sex says, woman is mysterious, and never is this
understood in terms of the freshness of life, which includes
everything, not just woman. Now we have an idea
that woman is mysterious. So we are talking about something
in terms of an essence, which has nothing
to do with existence. Isn’t that so?
K: That’s it, sir. A: Yes, yes. Goodness me! And as you said
we are actually taught this, this is all in books, this is all in the conversations
that go on in class rooms. K: So that why, sir, I feel, education is destroying people
– as it is now. It has become a tragedy. If I had a son – which I
haven’t got, thank God! – where am I to educate him? What am I to do with him? Make him
like the rest of the group? Like
the rest of the community? Taught memories, accept, obey. You follow, sir? All the
things that are going on. And when you are faced with that,
as many people are now, they are faced with this problem. A: They are, yes.
There’s no question about that. K: So we say, look,
let’s start a school, which we have in India, which I am going to do
in California, at Ojai. We are going to do that.
Let’s start a school where we think totally
differently, where we are taught differently. Not just the routine,
routine, to accept, or to deny, react
– you know – the whole thing. So from that arises, sir,
another question: why does the mind obey? I obey
the laws of the country, I obey keeping to the
left side or the right side
of the road. I obey what the doctor
tells me – obey… …I am careful
what he tells me, personally
I don’t go near doctors. If I do,
I am very careful, I listen very carefully
what they have to say, I am watchful. I don’t accept
immediately this or that. But politically, in a
so-called democratic world, they won’t accept a tyrant. A: No, no, they won’t… … accept a tyrant.
K: They say, no authority, freedom. But spiritually, inwardly, they accept every
Tom, Dick, and Harry, especially when they come
from India. A: Oh yes. K: The other day
I turned on the London BBC, and there was a man
interviewing a certain group of people. And the boy and the girl said, ‘We obey entirely
what our guru says’. And the interviewer said, ‘Will he tell you to marry?’ ‘If he tells me, I will marry’. ‘If he tells me, I must
starve, I will starve, fast’. Just a slave.
You understand, sir? And yet the very same person will object to
political tyranny. A: Absurd. Yes. K: There he will accept
the tyranny of a petty little guru with his fanciful ideas, and he will reject politically
a tyranny or a dictatorship. So, why does the mind
divide life into accepting authority
in one way, in one direction, and deny it in another? And what is the
importance of authority? The word ‘authority’,
as you know, means
‘the one who originates’. A: Author, yes.
K: ‘Author’, yes, of course. And these priests, gurus,
leaders, spiritual preachers, what have they originated? They are repeating tradition,
aren’t they? A: Oh yes, precisely. K: And tradition, whether it
is from the Zen tradition, the Chinese tradition,
or Hindu, is a dead thing! And these people are
perpetuating the dead thing. The other day I saw a man, he was explaining
how to meditate, put your hands here,
and close your eyes. A: Yes, that’s the one I saw. K: And do this, that…
I said, good God. A: It was appalling. K: And people accept it. A: And on the same thing,
there was this woman, who had run out of money, she had nowhere to go to sleep and hysterically she was saying, ‘I’m in line, I’ve got all
these people ahead of me, but I must have this knowledge, I must have this knowledge’. The hysteria of it,
the desperation of it. K: That’s why, sir,
what is behind this acceptance of authority? You understand, sir? The authority of law,
the authority of the policeman, the authority of the priests,
the authority of these gurus, what is behind the
acceptance of authority? Is it fear? Fear of going wrong
spiritually, of not doing the right thing
in order to gain enlightenment, knowledge,
and the super-consciousness, whatever it is, is it fear? Or is it
a sense of despair? A sense of utter loneliness, utter ignorance? I am using the word ‘ignorance’ in the deeper sense of the word…
A: Yes, yes, I follow. K: …which makes me say,
well, there is a man there who says he knows,
I’ll accept him. I don’t reason. You follow, sir? I don’t say,
what do you know? What do you bring to us, your own tradition
from India? Who cares! You are bringing
something dead, nothing original – you follow, sir? –
nothing real, but repeat,
repeat, repeat, repeat what others have done, which in India they themselves
are throwing out. A: Yes. I was just thinking
of Tennyson’s lines – though
in a different context – when he wrote:
‘Theirs not to reason why, but to do and die’.
K: Yes, that’s the guru’s thing. So what is behind
this acceptance of authority? A: It is interesting
that the word ‘authority’ is radically related to the self
– autos, the self. There is this sensed gaping void,
through the division. K: Yes, sir, that’s just it.
A: Through the division. And that immediately opens
up a hunger, doesn’t it? And my projection of
my meal, I run madly to. K: When you see this,
you want to cry. You follow, sir?
A: Yes. K: All these young people
going to these gurus, shaving their head,
dressing in Indian dress, dancing in the streets. All the fantastic things
they are doing! All on a tradition,
which is dead. All tradition is dead.
You follow? And when you see that, you say,
what has happened? So I go back and ask:
why do we accept? Why are we influenced
by these people? Why are we influenced when
there is a constant repetition in a commercial, ‘Buy
this, buy this, buy this’? It is the same as that. You follow, sir?
A: Yes. K: Why do we accept? The child accepts,
I can understand that. Poor thing, he doesn’t
know anything, it needs security, it needs
a mother, it needs care, it needs protection, it needs to sit quietly on your lap
– you follow? – affection, kindness,
gentleness. It needs that. Is it they think
the guru gives him all this? Through their words,
through their rituals, through their repetition,
through their absurd disciplines. You follow? A sense of acceptance, as I accept
my mother when a child, I accept that in order to be
comfortable, in order to feel at last something
looking after me. A: This relates to what you
said earlier, we looked into fear,
the reaction of the infant is a reaction with no
intermediary of any kind, of his own contrivance. He simply recognises
that he has a need, and this is not
an imagined want, it is a radical need. He needs to feed, he needs to be
affectionately held. K: Of course, sir. A: The transition from that
to the point where one, as he gets older,
begins to think that the source of that need, is the image
that is interposed between the sense of danger
and the immediate action. So, if I am understanding
you correctly, there is a deflection here from the radical purity of act.
K: That’s right, sir. A: And I’ve done that myself. It isn’t because of
anything that I was told, that actually
coerced me to do it, even though
– what you say is true – we are continually invited, it’s a kind of siren-like call
that comes to us throughout the entire culture,
in all cultures, to start that stuff. K: So, sir,
that’s what I want to get at. Why is it that
we accept authority? In a democratic world, politically,
we’ll shun any dictator. But yet religiously
they are all dictators. And why do we accept it? Why do I accept the priest as an intermediary to something
which he says he knows? And so it shows, sir,
we stop reasoning. Politically we reason, we see how important
it is to be free: free speech, everything free
– as much as possible. We never think freedom
is necessary here. Spiritually we don’t feel
the necessity of freedom. And therefore we accept it, any Tom, Dick, and
Harry. It is horrifying! I’ve seen
intellectuals, professors, scientists,
falling for all this trash! Because they have reasoned in their scientific world,
and they are weary of reasoning, and here, at last, I can
sit back and not reason, be told, be comfortable,
be happy, I’ll do all the work for you, you don’t have to do anything, I’ll take you over the river. You follow?
A: Oh yes. K: And I’m delighted. So, we accept
where there is ignorance, where reason doesn’t function, where
intelligence is in abeyance, and you need all that: freedom, intelligence, reasoning with regard to
real spiritual matters. Otherwise what? Some guru comes along
and tells you what to do, and you repeat what he does? You follow, sir, how
destructive it is? A: Oh yes. K: How degenerate it is.
That is what is happening! I don’t think these gurus
realise what they are doing. They are encouraging
degeneracy. A: Well, they represent
a chain of the same. K: Exactly. So, can we – sir, this brings up a
very important question – can there be an education, in which there is no
authority whatsoever? A: I must say yes to that, in terms of the experience
that I had in class yesterday. It was a tremendous
shock to the students when they suspended their
disbelief for a moment, just to see whether I meant it,
when I said, ‘Now we must do this together ‘ not your doing what I say to do. K: To work together.
A: We will do this together. K: Share it together.
A: Right. You will question,
and I will question, and we will try to grasp
as we go along – without trying. And I went into the business about let’s not have this shoddy
little thing ‘trying’. K: Quite right.
A: That took a little while. That increased the shock, because the students who have been
– to their own great satisfaction – what you call ‘devoted’, those who do their work,
who make effort, are suddenly finding out that this man
has come into the room and he is giving ‘trying’
a bad press. This does seem to turn the thing
completely upside down. But they showed courage
in the sense that they gave it a little attention before beginning
the true act of attention. That’s why I was
using ‘courage’ there, because it is
a preliminary to that. I’ve quite followed you when
you have raised the question about the relation of courage
to the pure act of attention. It seems to me
that is not where it belongs. K: No.
A: But they did get it up for this preliminary step. Then we ran into this what I called earlier dropping a stitch – where
they really saw this abyss, they were alert enough to
stand over the precipice. And that caused them
to freeze. And it’s that moment
that seems to me absolutely decisive. It is almost like one sees in terms of events,
objective events. I remember reading the
Spanish philosopher Ortega, who spoke of events that trembled back and forth before the thing actually
tumbles into itself. That was happening
in the room. It was like water that moved
up to the lip of the cup and couldn’t quite spill over.
K: Quite, quite. A: I have spoken about this
at some length, because I wanted to describe
to you a real situation what was actually happening.
K: I was going to say, sir, I have been connected
with many schools, for 40 years and more, and when one talks
to the students about freedom and authority, and acceptance,
they are completely lost. A: Yes. K: They want to be slaves. My father says this,
I must do this. Or, my father says that,
I won’t do it. It is the same…
A: Exactly. Do you think in
our next conversation we could look at that moment
of hesitation? K: Yes, sir. A: It seems to me so terribly
critical for education itself. Wonderful.

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