This is the fourteenth issue of the Journal and what started as an in-house exchange between the various Krishnamurti schools has, over the years, slowly and quietly found a wider audience. The voice of the Journal is quiet, deep and intense. It is the voice of passionate practitioners of Krishnamurti's insights into education, as also of those who have just joined these schools and are tentative, unsure and gentle in their exploring. It is also the voice of those who reflect on contemporary society and dwell on how these insights may act on that society.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Journal from the first issue to this one is that there is never a sense of conclusion and finality about the matters explored. Frameworks and principles do emerge but have never crystallized into a methodology. While there is a tremendous amount to be learnt and adapted to one's own teaching practices, one always tweaks, changes, doubts, and questions what one reads. On a lighter note, the autonomous, independent character of each of the Krishnamurti schools is seen in the fact that there isn't a shared chant, or assembly song which is sung in an identical manner across the schools! This is both exhilarating and frustrating. And the freedom to explore has been one of Krishnamurti's greatest gifts to these schools. In that sense, the Journal is a reflection of the teachings - like any institution, a teacher may wish to settle down, but cannot.
A 'new' feature in the Journal this time is that the Editors' single article has become several articles. This year each one of us has taken a keyword or phrase in school education and examined it, unravelling its meanings. Themes chosen are discipline, work and leisure, knowledge and creativity.
There are several articles here on curriculum and practice. Three of these are on social studies, with a special emphasis on history. One documents the visit to three temples and a mosque, the basis of an exploration not meant to be academic, but direct and immediate. The second describes a comparative study of ancient Greece and modern Banaras to understand 'the distinctiveness of cultures and human values'. While these projects involved ten-and eleven-year-olds, a course for 12th grade students on religion, culture and ethics at the Oak Grove School explored and investigated not only the religions of the world and modern atheism but through them the 'contradictory theories on the meaning of life and right action'. Two more articles from Oak Grove School present us with a seeming paradox, so typical of all our schools. While one is a possible 'framework' for a Krishnamurti school to include enquiry, communication, academia, engagement, aesthetics, caring and relationship, there is also a report on a two-week programme called 'Teaching Academy' on how educators 'learn and explore the art, science and craft of teaching without recourse to methodologies' because a method, no matter how liberal, is ultimately prescriptive. This section also includes articles on the possibility of a non-competitive sports programme which can still be rigorous and dynamic, and how a discussion can be fostered in a mixed-age classroom enquiry into which is the larger sum of numbers, odd or even, between 1 and 100.
Another set of articles explores more general concerns in education. One makes a strong case that the education of values in schools is too important an issue to be left 'to chance or to the experts', because values are learned and acquired in the context of relationship between individuals and groups. The concern of another educator is to involve 'parents and to integrate home life with the schooling experience' for the well-being of a child. In Educating Romeo a forty-six-year-old male teacher dons the persona of a 'typical' male seventeen-year-old he has to look after in school. The world of the seventeen-year-old is dominated by a search for an identity and getting ready for an adult world seems both exciting and scary. To this young man the teacher has to reveal the importance of dialogue in a meaningful education to discuss life and living, while respecting biological changes in young people and helping them discover their passions.
In Educating for the Art of Living the writer suggests that unless we want to fall into habitual and mechanical patterns of thought one has to constantly ask: What is the essence of education? In a seemingly indifferent universe, pragmatism, survival, materialism, competition and progress are dominant principles. Krishnamurti, however, talks of learning the art of living where 'the whole can function totally'. Discovering whether this art really exists is a challenge for ourselves. Also in a philosophical vein, Science and Religion calls upon teachers especially to grapple with philosophical issues, lest one teach out of 'unexamined conditioning'. There is an exploration of the fundamental assumption in all religions: of the sacred and the profane as divisions of reality. Science helps us see the values in nature - the 'sacred what is which does not profane'. In 'Krishnamurti and Deep Ecology', Krishnamurti's writing about nature is looked at in the light of 'deep ecology', a philosophical movement with a broad base, including people as diverse as M K Gandhi and William Wordsworth. Krishnamurti believed in the intrinsic worth of living things, and also believed that it was possible for human beings to restore their relationship with nature by 'connecting the transformative power of perception to the inner life of the mind'. This is what deep ecology calls the 'great ethic' - the 'seemingly simple act of stepping outside our psychological frameworks'.
A line from The Awakening of Intelligence captures the essence:
An interval of time separates man from nature.