=1 "Education for a greater consciousness"

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Education for a greater consciousness

If we want to live in a world where man is not a wolf to man, if we want the next generation to be capable of solving the problems which we have not been able to solve, it is obvious that education is of capital importance. Man is not yet advanced enough, domesticated enough, civilized enough to get along without education without falling back into his precivilized mentality.

The best of our educators are convinced that the idea of education itself has to be changed, that simply rearranging the school curriculum is not sufficient. Most of the great decisions which our generation ought to have made, we were not able to make because of the superstitious limitations implanted in us by our still medieval education. The coming generation must be prepared to make these decisions.

Stones for the hungry

To an outside observer, the most striking single condemnation which can be made of our educational system in the West is the spiritual starvation of the children.

In order to make clear what we mean we have to insist on some elementary definitions. Spiritual does not mean physical, though physical education can be a means for spiritual education. Neither is spiritual education mental or intellectual education, which is emphasized almost exclusively in our educational institutions. Though narrow-minded and bigoted in many cases, partly through economic or nationalistic pressure, it is improving and can become an instrument for spiritual education.

Spiritual education has nothing to do with morality or with religious beliefs, and on this distinction we must insist.

But is there anyone to guide the child or to show him what spirituality is –

the kingdom of himself
the lordship over his own past, present and future
the force to fight through the millenniums for ever new victories of the spirit
the primeval urge which breeds the elements in the stars, distributes them in planetary formation, and continuously creates life again and again, endlessly, in new forms, evolutionary forms able to express more and more victoriously the joy of endless creation
the knowledge of a consciousness more and more aware of the continuous miracles around it and of the oneness which is the foundation of its own mystery.

There is nobody there to know that the protesting atheism of the child is a sign of a healthy growth, the desire of a growing mental being to live in a world which is not split between religion and science, the refusal to accept any longer the smallness of the past. This growing mind is confused by the ambiguity of faith and belief in things, the ambiguity of knowing a grammatical rule and knowing oneself, of Truth of being – and existing.

And all those beautiful words like God and soul and immortality, when put in the context either of religionism or of scientism, are totally inadequate, are stones instead of bread for one who doesn't yet know his soul or God. No formulations, not even the most beautiful ones of Plato or of the Upanishads, will give him that faith which transplants mountains. What he needs is to know the foundations of his consciousness, not in philosophical terms, not in formulas, not as something impersonal and abstract, but in a living experience as his mother, as his beloved, as his friend. Only his own experience, his own meeting with that ultimate purpose and origin of his being, will satisfy him. And true education must show him the way.