Then one will care for the child, not just at the tender age, but see that he understands the significance of responsibility throughout his life. This art includes behaviour, the ways of one's thinking and the importance of correct action. In these schools of ours responsibility to the earth, to nature and to each other is part of our education not merely the emphasis on academic subjects though they are necessary. Then we can ask what is the teacher teaching and what is the pupil receiving, and more widely - what is learning?
What is the educator's function? Is it to teach merely algebra and physics or is it to awaken in the student - and so in himself - this enormous sense of responsibility? Can the two go together? That is, the academic subjects which will help in a career and this responsibility for the whole of mankind and life. Or must they be kept separate?
If they are separate, then there will be contradiction in his life; he will become a hypocrite and unconsciously or deliberately keep his life in two definite compartments.
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Mankind lives in this division. At home he is one way and in the factory or the office he assumes a different face.
We have asked if the two can move together. Is this possible? When a question of this kind is put one must investigate the implications of the question and not whether it is or it is not possible.
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So it is of the greatest importance how you approach this question. If you approach it from your limited background-and all conditioning is limited, then it will be a partial grasp of the implications in this You must come to this question afresh. Then you will find the futility of the question itself because, as you approach it afresh, you will see that these two meet like two streams making a formidable river which is your life, your daily life of total responsibility.
Is this what you are teaching, realizing that the teacher has the greatest of all professions? These are not mere words but an abiding actuality not to be slurred over. If you do not feel the truth of this then you really should have another profession.
Then you will live in the illusions that mankind has created for itself. So we can again ask: what are you teaching and what is the pupil learning? Are you creating that strange atmosphere in which actual learning takes place? If you have understood the enormity of responsibility and beauty of it, then you are totally responsible for the student - what he wears, what he eats, the manner of his talk and so on.
From this question arises another, what is learning? Probably most of us have not even asked that question, or if we have asked it, our response has been from tradition, which is accumulated knowledge, knowledge which functions with skill or without skill to earn our daily living. This is what one has been taught, for which all the usual schools, colleges, universities, etc.
Knowledge predominates, which is one of our greatest conditionings, and so the brain is never free from the known. It is always adding to what is already known, and so the brain is put into a straight-jacket of the known and is never free to discover a way of life which may not be based on the known at all.
The known makes for a wide or narrow rut and one remains in that rut thinking there is security in it. That security is destroyed by the very finite known. This has been the way of human life up to now. So is there a way of learning which does not make life into a routine, a narrow groove?
Then what is learning? One must be very clear about the ways of knowledge: first to acquire knowledge and then act from that knowledge - technological and psychological, or act, and from that action acquire knowledge? Both are acquisitions of knowledge. Knowledge is the past always.
Is there a way of acting without the enormous weight of man's accumulated knowledge? There is. It is not learning as we have known it; it is pure observation - observation which is not continuous and which then becomes memory, but observation from moment to moment. The observer is the essence of knowledge and he imposes on what he observes that which he has acquired through experience and various forms of sensory reaction.
The observer is always manipulating that which he observes, and what he observes is always reduced to knowledge. So he is always caught in the old tradition of habit-forming. So learning is pure observation - not only of the things outside you but also of that which is happening inwardly; to observe without the observer. The whole movement of life is learning. There is never a time in which there is no learning.
Every action is a movement of learning and every relationship is learning. The accumulation of knowledge, which is called learning and to which we are so accustomed, is necessary to a limited extent, but that limitation prevents us from comprehending ourselves. Knowledge is measurable, more or less, but in learning there is no measure. This is really very important to understand, especially if you are to grasp the full meaning of a religious life.
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Knowledge is memory and if you have observed the actual, the now is not memory. In observation memory has no place. The actual is what is actually happening. The second later is measurable and this is the way of memory. To observe the movement of an insect needs attention - that is if you are interested in observing the insect or whatever interests you. This attention again is not measurable.
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It is the responsibility of the educator to understand the whole nature and structure of memory, to observe this limitation and to help the student to see this. We learn from books or from a teacher who has a great deal of information about a subject and our brains are filled with this information.
This information is about things, about nature, about everything outside of us and when we want to learn about ourselves we turn to books that tell about ourselves. So this process goes on endlessly and gradually we become second-hand human beings. This is an observable fact throughout the world and this is our modern education.
The act of learning, as we have pointed out, is the act of pure observation and this observation is not held within the limitation of memory. We learn to earn a living but we never live. The capacity to earn a living takes most of our life; we have hardly any time for other things. We find time for gossip, to be entertained, to play, but all this is not living.
There is a whole field which is the actual living, totally neglected. To learn the art of living one must have leisure. The word leisure is greatly misunderstood, as we said in our third letter. Generally it means not to be occupied with the things we have to do such as earning a livelihood, going to the office, factory and so on, and only when that is over is there leisure.
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During that so-called leisure you want to be amused, you want to relax, you want to do the things which you really like or which demand your highest capacity. Your earning a livelihood, whatever you do, is in opposition to so-called leisure. So there is always the strain, the tension and the escape from that tension, and leisure is when you have no strain. During that leisure you pick up a newspaper, open a novel, chatter, play and so on.
This is the actual fact. This is what is going on everywhere. Earning a livelihood is the denial of living. So we come to the question - what is leisure?
Leisure, as it is understood, is a respite from the pressure of livelihood. The pressure of earning a living or any pressure imposed on us we generally consider an absence of leisure, but there is a much greater pressure in us, conscious or unconscious, which is desire and we will go into that later.
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