The education that has prevailed in the past is very
insufficient, incomplete, superficial. It only creates people who
can earn their livelihood but it does not give any insight into
living itself. It is not only incomplete, it is harmful too -
because it is based on competition.
Any type of competition is violent deep down, and creates people who are unloving. Their whole effort is to be the achievers - of name, of fame, of all kinds of ambitions. Obviously they have to struggle and be in conflict for them. That destroys their joys and that destroys their friendliness. It seems everybody is fighting against the whole world.
Education up to now has been goal-oriented: what you are learning is not important; what is important is the examination that will come a year or two years later. It makes the future important - more important than the present. It sacrifices the present for the future. And that becomes your very style of life; you are always sacrificing the moment for something which is not present. It creates a tremendous emptiness in life.
The commune of my vision will have a five-dimensional education. Before I enter into those five dimensions, a few things have to be noted. One: there should not be any kind of examination as part of education, but every day, every hour observation by the teachers; their remarks throughout the year will decide whether you move further or you remain a little longer in the same class. Nobody fails, nobody passes - it is just that a few people are speedy and a few people are a little bit lazy - because the idea of failure creates a deep wound of inferiority, and the idea of being successful also creates a different kind of disease, that of superiority. Nobody is inferior, and nobody is superior. One is just oneself, incomparable.
So, examinations will not have any place. That will change the whole perspective from the future to the present. What you are doing right this moment will be decisive, not five questions at the end of two years. Of thousands of things you will pass through during these two years, each will be decisive; so the education will not be goal-oriented.
The teacher has been of immense importance in the past, because he knew he had passed all the examinations, he had accumulated knowledge. But the situation has changed - and this is one of the problems, that situations change but our responses remain the old ones. Now the knowledge explosion is so vast, so tremendous, so speedy, that you cannot write a big book on any scientific subject because by the time your book is complete, it will be out of date; new facts, new discoveries will have made it irrelevant. So now science has to depend on articles, on periodicals, not on books.
The teacher was educated thirty years earlier. In thirty years everything has changed, and he goes on repeating what he was taught. He is out of date, and he is making his students out of date. So in my vision the teacher has no place. Instead of teachers there will be guides, and the difference has to be understood: the guide will tell you where, in the library, to find the latest information on the subject.
And teaching should not be done in the old-fashioned way, because television can do it in a far better way, can bring the latest information without any problems. The teacher has to appeal to your ears; television appeals directly to your eyes; and the impact is far greater, because the eyes absorb eighty percent of your life situations - they are the most alive part.
If you can see something there is no need to memorize it; but if you listen to something you have to memorize it. Almost ninety-eight percent of education can be delivered through television, and the questions that students will ask can be answered by computers. The teacher should be only a guide to show you the right channel, to show you how to use the computer, how to find the latest book. His function will be totally different. He is not imparting knowledge to you, he is making you aware of the contemporary knowledge, of the latest knowledge. He is only a guide.
With these considerations,
The first is informative, like history, geography, and many other
subjects which can be dealt with by television and computer
In the first dimension also come languages. Every person in the world should know at least two languages; one is his mother tongue, and the other is English as an international vehicle for communication. They can also be taught more accurately by television - the accent, the grammar, everything can be taught more correctly than by human beings.
We can create in the world an atmosphere of brotherhood: language connects people and language disconnects too. There is right now no international language. This is due to our prejudices. English is perfectly capable, because it is known by more people around the world on a wider scale - although it is not the first language. The first is Spanish, as far as population is concerned. But its population is concentrated, it is not spread all over the world. The second is Chinese; that is even more concentrated, only in China. As far as numbers go, these languages are spoken by more people, but the question is not of numbers, the question is of spread.
English is the most widespread language, and people should drop their prejudices - they should look at the reality. There have been many efforts to create languages to avoid the prejudices - the Spanish people can say their language should be the international language because it is spoken by more people than almost any other language.... To avoid these prejudices, languages like Esperanto have been created. But no created language has been able to function. There are a few things which grow, which cannot be created; a language is a growth of thousands of years. Esperanto looks so artificial that all those efforts have failed.
But it is absolutely necessary to create two languages - first, the mother tongue, because there are feelings and nuances which you can say only in the mother tongue. One of my professors, S. K. Saxena, a world traveler who has been a professor of philosophy in many countries, used to say that in a foreign language you can do everything, but when it comes to a fight or to love, you feel that you are not being true and sincere to your feelings. So for your feelings and for your sincerity, your mother tongue... which you imbibe with the milk of the mother, which becomes part of your blood and bones and marrow. But that is not enough - that creates small groups of people and makes others strangers.
One international language is absolutely necessary as a basis for one world, for one humanity. So two languages should be absolutely necessary for everybody. That will come in the first dimension.
The second part should be sciences. They can be imparted
by television and computer too, but they are more complicated, and
the human guide will be more necessary.
The second is the enquiry of scientific subjects, which is tremendously important because it is half of reality, the outside reality.
And the third will be what is missing in present-day
education, the art of living. People have taken it for granted that
they know what love is. They don't know, and by the time they
know, it is too late. Every child should be helped to transform his
anger, hatred, jealousy, into love.
An important part of the third dimension should also be a sense of humor. Our so-called education makes people sad and serious. And if one third of your life is wasted in a university in being sad and serious, it becomes ingrained; you forget the language of laughter - and the man who forgets the language of laughter has forgotten much of life.
So love, laughter, and an acquaintance with life and its wonders, its mysteries... these birds singing in the trees should not go unheard. The trees and the flowers and the stars should have a connection with your heart. The sunrise and the sunset will not be just outside things - they should be something inner, too. A reverence for life should be the foundation of the third dimension.
People are so irreverent to life. They still go on killing animals to eat - they call it game; and if the animal eats them - then they call it calamity. Strange... in a game both parties should be given equal opportunity. The animals are without weapons and you have machine guns or arrows. You may not have thought about why arrows and machine guns were invented: so that you can kill the animal from a faraway distance; to come close is dangerous. What kind of game is this? And the poor animal, defenseless against your bullets.
It is not a question of killing the animals; it is a question of being irreverent to life, because all that you need can be provided either by synthetic foods, or by other scientific methods. All your needs can be fulfilled; no animal has to be killed. And a person who kills animals, deep down can kill human beings without any difficulty - because what is the difference?
A great reverence for life should be taught, because life is God and there is no other God than life itself, and joy, laughter, a sense of humor - in short a dancing spirit.
The fourth dimension should be of art and creativity: painting, music, craftsmanship, pottery, masonry - anything that is creative. All areas of creativity should be allowed; the students can choose. There should be only a few things compulsory - for example an international language should be compulsory; a certain capacity to earn your livelihood should be compulsory; a certain creative art should be compulsory. You can choose through the whole rainbow of creative arts, because unless a man learns how to create, he never becomes a part of existence, which is constantly creative. By being creative one becomes divine; creativity is the only prayer.
And the fifth dimension should be the art of dying. In this fifth
dimension will be all the meditations, so that you can know there is
no death, so that you can become aware of an eternal life inside
you. This should be absolutely essential, because everybody has to
die; nobody can avoid it. And under the big umbrella of meditation,
you can be introduced to Zen, to Tao, to Yoga, to Hassidism, to all
kinds and all possibilities that have existed, but which education
has not taken any care of. In this fifth dimension, you should also
be made aware of the martial arts like aikido, jujitsu, judo - the
art of self-defense without weapons - and not only self-defense,
but simultaneously a meditation too.
The new commune will have a full education, a whole education. All that is essential should be compulsory, and all that is nonessential should be optional. One can choose from the options, which will be many. And once the basics are fulfilled, then you have to learn something you enjoy; music, dance, painting - you have to know something to go inwards, to know yourself. And all this can be done very easily without any difficulty.
I have been a professor myself and I resigned from the university with a note saying: This is not education, this is sheer stupidity; you are not teaching anything significant.
But this insignificant education prevails all over the world - it makes no difference, in the Soviet Union or in America. Nobody has looked for a more whole, a total education. In this sense almost everybody is uneducated; even those who have great degrees are uneducated in the vaster areas of life. A few are more uneducated, a few are less - but everybody is uneducated. But to find an educated man is impossible, because education as a whole does not exist anywhere.