Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: What is the place of discipline in education?

Krishnamurti: I should say, none. Just a minute, I will explain it further. What is the purpose of discipline? What do you mean by discipline? You, being the teacher, when you discipline, what happens? You are forcing, compelling; there is compulsion, however nice, however kind, which means conformity, imitation, fear. But you will say, `How can a large school be run without discipline?'. It cannot. Therefore, large schools cease to be educational institutions. They are profitable institutions, for the boss or for the government, for the headmaster or the owner. Sir, if you love your child, do you discipline him? Do you compel him? Do you force him into a pattern of thought? You watch him, don't you? You try to understand him, you try to discover what are the motives, the urges, the drives, that are behind what he does; and by understanding him, you bring about the right environment, the right amount of sleep, the right food, the right amount of play. All that is implied, when you love a child; but we don't love children, because we have no love in our own hearts. We just breed children. And naturally, when you have many, you must discipline them, and discipline becomes an easy way out of the difficulty. After all, discipline means resistance. You create resistance against that which you are disciplining. Do you think resistance will bring about understanding, thought, affection? Discipline can only build walls about you. Discipline is always exclusive, whereas understanding is inclusive. Understanding comes when you investigate, when you enquire, when you search out, which requires care, consideration, thought, affection. In a large school, such things are not possible, but only in a small school. But small schools are not profitable to the private owner or to the government; and since you, who are responsible for the government, are not really interested in your children, what does it matter? If you loved your children, not just as toys, as playthings to amuse you for a little while and a nuisance afterwards, if you really loved them, would you allow all these things to go on? Wouldn't you want to know what they eat, where they sleep, what they do all day long; whether they are beaten, whether they are crushed, whether they are destroyed? But this would mean an enquiry, consideration for others, whether for your own child or your neighbour's; and you have no consideration, either for your children, or for your wife or husband.

So, the matter lies in your hands, Sirs, not in the hands of any government or system. If all of us really cared for children, we would have a new society tomorrow; but we really do not care, and so we have no time. We have time for puja, we have time for earning money, we have time for clubs, we have time for amusements, but no time to give thought or care to the child. I am not being rhetorical. This is a fact, and you don't want to face the fact. Because, to face the fact means that you would have to give up your amusements and distractions; and do you mean to say you are going to give them up? Certainly not. So, you throw the children into the schools, and the teacher cares no more for them than you do. Why should he? He is there for his job, for his money, and so it goes on; and we come together for an evening to discuss education! It is really a marvellous world we have got. It is such a phoney superficial world, so ugly if you look behind the curtain; and we are decorating the curtain and hoping that everything will be right behind it. Sirs, I don't think you, the educators and the parents, realize how serious things are. The catastrophe that is going on in this country is obvious; but you don't want to strip it all bare and begin again, anew. You want to do patch-work reforms, and that is why all these questions arise. Sirs, you have to start anew, there can be no patch-work reform; because, the building is crumbling, the walls are giving way, there is a fire destroying it. You must leave the building and start anew in a different place, with different values, with different foundations. But those who are making a profit out of education, whether the State or the individual, will go on, because they do not see the destruction, the deterioration, the degradation. But those who really see the whole catastrophe, not just in a few spots, but the world over, have to strip themselves of everything and start anew. I don't mean stripping off the outward knowledge, the technical knowledge. I know it can never be stripped off; but you can strip yourselves inwardly, see yourselves as you are, your ugliness, your brutality, your ruthlessness, your deceptions, your dishonesty, your utter lack of love. Seeing all that, you can start anew, and become honest, clear, simple, direct. Surely, only then is there a possibility of a new world and a new order. Peace does not come through patch-work reform. Peace does not come through mere adjustment of things as they are. Peace comes only when we understand what is, beyond the superficial. Peace can come into being only when the wave of destruction, which is the wave of our own action, is stopped. Sirs, how can we have love? Not through the pursuit of the ideal of love, but only when there is no hatred, when there is no greed, when there is consideration, when there is generosity; but a man who is occupied with exploitation, with greed, with envy, can never know love. When there is love, systems become of very little importance. When there is love, there is care, there is consideration, not only for the children, but for every human being.

Public Talk, March 13th, 1948
Mumbai, India