Issue 20 - January 2016

Goodness can flower only in freedom. It cannot bloom in the soil of persuasion in any form, nor under compulsion, nor is it the outcome of reward. It does not reveal itself when there is any kind of imitation or conformity, and naturally it cannot exist when there is fear. Goodness shows itself in behaviour and this behaviour is based on sensitivity. This goodness is expressed in action.

For days the rain has been drumming heavily or dripping gently, as we complete the task of editing this twentieth issue of the Journal.

Krishnamurti did not accept the conventional meaning of religion prevalent in society. He said that temples, mosques and churches are not religious places as no learning takes place there.

What does one teach when one teaches a subject? I notice there are three different kinds of learning.

I consider it to be a great good fortune to have lived alongside the people and trees of Oak Grove School for most of my adult life. This good fortune has surrounded me with oaks, mountain vistas and children of all ages to ‘understand the vast field of our existence’.

If mediocrity and worldliness are the twin foes of J Krishnamurti’s teaching, education and enquiry are its pillars of strength.

What do we mean by attention? Is there attention when I am forcing my mind to attend?

The nature of attention has always been a vexatious issue with me. From the days of being a student, the purpose of attention has always been to gain something.

The link between the gardener and the teacher has fascinated me over the years.

In Pala, a fictional place in Aldous Huxley’s novel Island, the myna birds called out “attention, attention”, “here and now boys, here and now”. As I stand in line before lunch to rewash a badly washed plate, I ponder over the use of mynas.

Krishnamurti’s educational philosophy forms a complex but coherent whole. I attempt in this article to disaggregate salient aspects of this wholeness.

Many students come to Brockwood Park School unaware that they have a deep conditioning imposed upon them by their culture and society through schooling, advertising, music, the media and sports.

I have played soccer for thirty-three years. During this time, several old timers like myself have tried to encourage a non-competitive game by asking players who must keep score to keep it to themselves and to make the game as fun as possible with no overeager competitiveness.

A twelve-year-old student had been bullying a younger boy on the school bus. When confronted with his bullying, he dissolved into tears and said it was not fair that only he was being blamed for something others also did.

Conflict of any kind—physically, psychologically, intellectually— is a waste of energy. Please, it is extraordinarily difficult to understand and to be free of this because most of us are brought up to struggle, to make effort.

‘Conflict’ is the buzz word. Recently, a long retired but still immensely respected cricketer was being asked for his views on the question of ‘conflict of interest’, an issue that has been plaguing Indian cricket authorities for some time now.

It was a bright, sunny day in the hills, with clear skies, and the children were bustling around trying their hand at bouldering.

It is ‘circle time’ and the class has to decide on a cooperative game for sports day. The emphasis is on choosing a game or activity that allows for the coming together of the group in a safe and cooperative manner.

The ‘uncharted territory’ of my title is the world within us. As Krishnamurti has pointed out, the world without is merely a reflection of the one within; and so, we can learn about ourselves by being fully aware of the reality outside of us, the chaotic world in which we live and act in relation to other people.

It was the centenary of John Muir’s death on 21 December 2014, an event largely unreported in the UK even though Muir was born here.

Every morning between 8:00 and 9:00 am in this upwardly-mobile-yet-backward district, the country-roads are full of children commuting to school, hoisting bags laden with what they believe is the wisdom and knowhow of modern culture.

I often wonder what is the meaning of my life. I generally wish that I could act in wiser, gentler and more enlightened ways.

When the nature of freedom is understood, then you eliminate all competition; on the playing field, in the classroom. Is it possible to eliminate altogether the comparative evaluation, academically or ethically?

I first arrived in the Valley 20 years ago, in June 1995, wearing a flowered cotton dress stitched by my grandmother.

In the world of education, ‘excellence’ is thought of as synonymous with ‘success’. One of the consequences of this thinking is that school and college education is structured around competition and a need to categorize people by measurable ability.

‘Excellent!’ says the remark in red ink, next to a hundred per cent score on a test. A glowing face looks at the rest of the class, looking for admiration.

J Krishnamurti created these schools intending them to become centres for excellence—places where students, parents and teachers would come together to discover the highest form of intelligence.

When trying to educate in the right way, one of the things we can and probably should do is follow good practice, or ‘best practice’ as it is called in common parlance.

Knowing how young children find stability and benefit from order and structure, how will increased structure and predictability of work in class affect the quality of the attention and engagement of older students?

In May 1959 the British writer, scientist and civil servant, C. P. Snow delivered the Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge which he titled ‘The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution’.

It is curious that so few of the books by J Krishnamurti are reviewed in the press and by the major book review magazines like the New York Review of Books.