Is it possible for a human being to have a sense of goodness in daily life, a goodness that is not idealistic, not sentimental, but actual? A goodness born of harmony between mind and heart, that expresses itself as affection and care. Such goodness would imply an inward understanding and a creative energy that shows itself outwardly in action. It is this quality of mind that is needed for change in a society where there is so much violence against human beings, animals and nature.
This seventh issue of the Journal of Krishnamurti Schools is dedicated to the possibility of creating this good human being through education.
Education must concern itself with the development of the good mind. This includes the capacity to investigate and explore the world, clear non-partisan thinking, and a right relationship with ideas. In responding to the world around them students must grow in intelligence and sensitivity and it is the task of the teacher and the curriculum to ensure this. Young people need to be helped to discover their vocation in life and live with a sense of responsibility.
Can the teacher also be concerned with the education of the heart, in a practical, everyday sense? This means learning to relate rightly with people as well as nature. For this, looking and listening with attention is crucial, so that the student can be in actual contact with all that is around and also his responses within. Then education will awaken a wider sense of responsibility. Krishnamurti often asked if it is possible in teaching mathematics or history to convey to the student that s/he is responsible for the whole of mankind.
These are some of the themes that are implicit in the articles of this journal, which are drawn primarily from the field of the humanities.
‘Why Study History’ examines the changing narratives of history and asks if teaching history can convey the value of holding divergent views about an issue without conflict, seeing that violence often results from defending ideological positions. ‘Issues in Teaching History’ examines the place of ‘truth’ in education and points out that a glorification of the past and pride in the nation are replacing truth in the world we are creating for our children and suggests that freedom lies in a return to the demands that truth and beauty place on humanity.
While a certain utilitarian, market-driven sensibility regards the concerns of the humanities as ‘Ninny Stuff’ and even the pure sciences and pure mathematics are seen as abstruse pursuits of less practical value, the article with the above title argues that the revival of creativity, beauty, leisure and open-endedness has, in fact, a bearing on the well-being of all life on earth. ‘Philosophy as a Contribution of the Humanities’ suggests that whatever the discipline of study, one must step outside of it and be able to place one’s learning in the wider context of all human knowledge and how it impacts our lives in general. The writer suggests that this is the current role of philosophy, and that the sciences and the social sciences need the humanities—in the guise of philosophy—as much as the humanities need science.
The writer of ‘Studying Economics as if People Mattered’ wonders if students can experience in quietness and attention, the actual feeling of poverty. Can they become aware of the physical and psychological plight of the peoples of the world—including themselves—caught under contemporary economic forces? Can they feel responsible for their actions, their choices? A central concern in ‘Relating with the Earth’ is how to actually bring about a relationship and communion with a tree, or a hill? The writer states that sensitivity, and not knowledge, has to be the starting point of education. For instance, how do we get the child to see that all rivers are sacred or that this earth is neither yours nor mine, the writer asks.
The process of creating meaningful learning experiences in the classroom and outside are detailed in several other articles. ‘Energy’ narrates the experiences of a multidisciplinary project that took students far beyond set curriculum goals. ‘At School with Design’ looks at the exciting possibility of learning and doing ‘design’ by which young students are led towards a deep attention to detail both in the work they produce and in the life they live. In the Teacher’s File section—appearing as a booklet this time - ‘Fermat’s Enigma’ takes students through a step-by-step exploration that shows how even tough learning can be imbued with a sense of play, experimentation and discovery.
The articles in this issue, then, reflect the concerns of our times. Covering ground that ranges from the controversies of historical truth to the power and beauty of mathematics, they ask that we discover lasting values in the classroom and for all life.