← Back to Kinfonet

Seeing, education and the transformation of society

It seems to me that anyone who questions the state of “the world” does understand that society needs to be fundamentally transformed, not merely reformed. Until now, man has turned to all sorts of political, social and religious theories and beliefs to resolve the social chaos through the ages. And yet the chaos has only been steadily increasing. At least that’s how I see it. I repeatedly hear many say that mankind has evolved and progressed and that “eventually” that progress will result in humanity’s golden age, but I don’t see it that way.

As we have talked about and as I see it, a transformation of the entire social network of global relationship is needed, and mankind cannot depend on knowledge to effect that transformation. As I see it, early childhood education is the key to transforming society. But how can one who has been shaped - psychologically molded and crippled - by his or her own early childhood education - how can such a one approach any aspect of life in a balanced, sane, holistic way? How can such a one educate the young in such a way as not to propagate the disorder? And each one of us IS that “one”, the educator, the parent, the neighbour, the friend, the employee, the boss, and so on. We are all “that one”

Before one ever sets foot in a school building, the human psyche has already been largely molded and shaped by the knowledge inculcated in early childhood - of right and wrong, of being good or bad, worthy or unworthy, smart or stupid, and so on. It is in early childhood that the individual is educated to racism, to every form of fear, bluster, violence, aggression, shame, duty, deceit, arrogance. It is in early childhood that one’s character is shaped and molded. And it is through this psychological mold or bondage that each one of us/them relates with or meets each other one of us/them throughout our lives.

If this is so and seen to be so, then the problem is: who CAN educate the young children … and who can re-educate US? Who can re-educate US - the educators, the parents, families, neighbours, authorities, teachers, police officers, activists, merchants, service people, and so on - who have all been shaped by OUR early childhood education?

The key to a brand new society surely does not lie in elementary, secondary, post-secondary or religious education. Such education does teach us necessary skills and techniques. But along with those necessary skills and techniques, such “education” continues the process of amassing MORE knowledge which further molds our character.

The transformation of society also does not lie in political, civic or social action ALONE - although such actions may be necessary. It does not lie in religious education. It does not lie in the teachings of the school of hard knocks, the informal education of encounters with legal, school, work or police authorities, and so on. Such actions and education are based on knowledge-based “values”.

And certainly - as we have often said - knowledge and action are necessary. But action-as-we-now-know-it is based on the impulses, drives, compulsions, fears, and so on, of our early childhood, isn’t it. Those compulsions etc. are based on the knowledge accumulated in early childhood, and this early knowledge is what has shaped our hearts and minds. This early knowledge determines the additional knowledge we gravitate to and adopt as adults; and so also determines the actions based on knowledge. The inculcation of early childhood knowledge has shaped our hearts and mind, and it is THIS heart/mind - shaped by early knowledge - which must be transformed. Having thus been shaped, additional knowledge cannot overcome that early education. Such additional knowledge cannot “re-educate”. So knowledge cannot transform society.

To actually SEE this … can or does actually SEEING this transform the heart and mind?

https://jkrishnamurti.org/content/madras-3rd-group-discussion-16th-april-1948:

Seeing things directly, is it not different from thought-process. You saw the importance of silence and then you talk or verbalize about it. Through verbalizing you do not see. Thought-process begins only in communications with another, or in recording, or in experiencing. Thought-process is not necessary for experiencing. Experiencing is not a state of thinking.

1 Like

Our actions are shaped by our conditioning, yes. And this conditioning indeed starts in very early childhood. The division between the parent and child is the start of it, it seems to me.

Right…knowledge applied in the psychological field leads to further division and conflict, which is the cause of the disorder in society. So the cause of the disorder obviously can’t be the cure/solution.

No…knowledge in human relationships is based upon division…upon the ideal…the goal…the ‘should’ and ‘should not’…attachment to some fulfillment or other. So we’re left with action…with what is…with ‘what is’ now (not in the future). And what is isn’t based upon knowledge…it’s moving…living…always new, like the river is always moving…changing.

Hello Huguette. I hope what I am going to try to say, or better for what is going to be tried to share has a relevance to your post. It is a result of experiments that have been tried and there has been insight relevant to what you have written. The child (we) start out as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting creatures but before long there is given to us a ‘nexus’ where all this information gathered by the senses is projected into what is called ‘you’…‘You’. we are given a name, taught right from wrong, to be good not bad, and on and on. This ‘I’ or as K. puts it ,‘me and mine’ continues unquestioned through the whole life cycle unless for some reason, its authenticity, does finally come into question…We are here questioning that, aren’t we? Is there this ‘I’, this ‘thinker’ apart from the thinking process? When there is the hearing of a sound, is there a hearer, a me apart from the sound being heard? When there is seeing the river, the bird, the tree,is there an observer separate from what is being observed. Our conditioning since childhood says yes of course there is, it is ‘you’ separate from everything going on around you…you are an individual.

If any of that is true, doesn’t transformation of a society depend on the supposed ‘individual’ seeing through that myth? There is ‘seeing’, there is ‘hearing’, there is touching, there is smelling, there is tasting, there is thinking, etc but isn’t it thought’s identification with those sensations and the resultant ‘I / me’ having them,‘doing’ them, that is false?

It may be that the formation of a ‘self-image’ in an inevitable part of the child’s development, if so that image should be a healthy one. What is harmful I think is the ‘favoring’ the ‘best and the brightest’ which is done according to the values of the society and not for the well-being of every child. Children are introduced very early to a ‘superior / inferior’ value system.

Hello Huguette

At some specific level like how to live together on this planet, I see only two ways, we have chosen since some unknown times , to compete between us, which means to eliminate others, use others, and so on. This creates a vertical society based on a value given in money, where every level steal others don below. This is war, destruction, stealing, tortures and all human insanity. they are our choice not at all inevitable, we are the creators of this disaster. This ,of course , is negated by all means, words are great in the sense that it does not have to be factual.
there is another way, cooperation, sharing, equity etc of course this can be only on a voluntary basis , and if so it is an outer peace, quite easy to accomplished all our basic needs by and for all according to the talents Nature freely gave us…
We do not want that. Why ? I see it for myself…

That’s a very good question! What do you say, Daniel? Is it that the search for psychological security for ‘me’ inevitably puts ‘you’ second. Me first and ‘you’ come second? Like the husband who wants his golf game every sunday while his wife wants him to take her to visit her mother for dinner. We can’t cooperate if we’re seeking fulfillment for ‘me’, can we?

K. : “An equitable distribution of the physical necessities is prevented by our psychological greed, our nationalism, our religious differences.”. Posted on Facebook in a Krishnamurti group. From a collection called The Answer is in the Problem, according to the poster.

Hello Tom, the thinking process as I see it so far, has itself as a referent( own memory, own desires, own fears, but more-less we all deeply have the same analytical process with superficial differences… etc) , then it is always right and lying is fine in its (my) view, it is just a mean out of many like stealing, killing etc in my view it has no aptitude in balanced and peaceful , cooperative etc relationship but with itself. As such there is , for me, nothing wrong here , that is the way it works . It is more complex but I make it simple on purpose. If this is all what we have as human ,then conflict is our destiny, hell is earth then So cooperating is not part of what thought naturally wants to do.So yes as you say if remaining in such corner we can’t cooperate, well we do not even want to try.
Search for security, well we search physical security, refusing death at the same time (consciously or not) , in a permanent and global conflict between all of us, to make it nicer and hide that it eliminates, we call that competition, I accept as I imagine that I may win…This search for security is pure insecurity…wars and all other human goodies…etc just my view so far.

Hello Tom,

you say: “An equitable distribution of the physical necessities is prevented by our psychological greed, our nationalism, our religious differences.”. Posted on Facebook in a Krishnamurti group. From a collection called The Answer is in the Problem, according to the poster.

greed seems not to be a root, but an effect of something else, so is nationalism, so is religion…
As far as I am concerned apart from properly living what we call suffering etc I do not know how to go beyond that other than intellectually, not a piece of advice for anyone, my own path since young so far, I am 64.
Having said that , the answer is in the deep perception of the problem, yes. Can thought do that, for me , in my case at least , no it cannot…cheers.

Thanks for the reply Daniel. Fear is the root then? That would imply that thought is the root, yes? Just inquiring…

“Suffering is NOT necessary. It’s the most destructive element in life.”

Hello Tom, around 2.24 k says, suffering must end, go through it.…that is what I say and I say it because I am in such situation quite often. It may destruct someone , if not solved of course yes. The entire planet of man is caught in this net.this is what I feel. Searching for suffering would be insane, when it is there yes it must end so we must go through it, and this cannot be found by another for oneself… :slightly_smiling_face:

Hello Tom, fear is part of it I’d say yes, for me to put it far too briefly, thought itself is the root problem, if and when it works on its own. But this does not say much I agree. We may or not eventually go into all that…cheers

I was going to comment that we really have no choice in the matter. Suffering is a fact for most of us whether we like to face it or not. Whether we have to ‘go through it’ or not is another story. No one can say for another. One person may feel he MUST run…he cannot face it. There was a time of such intense suffering due to a loved one going through total hell with a critical illness that I took to drink. I have no shame in that. It worked…it killed the pain …my anquish…enough that I could survive the whole ordeal. And my loved one somehow recovered. Now I no longer feel the need for the alcohol.

Thought isolates from the fact…always. Speaking psychologically or emotionally. This isolation from the fact means we live in illusion and raise our kids with all kinds of illusions…false beliefs and ideals. So yes…thought is probably behind all social…and personal… ills.

Hello Tom, yes indeed. Now facing such moment too since more than a year but with my youngest, this time no escape is possible, I have done the trick seen it so not even alcohol or any drug… he is 15. But whatever the cause seems to be, solving pain remains the same process, as it seems to be a process for me, then yes one runs away or not, not being judgemental here just factual. It is tough as it seems that we have lost such already there in our psyche , “knowledge” or clarity. On the top of that man’s society is absolutely insane and utterly violent and so on, our choices not fate, it does not help, but it may precisely be the point as society is the sum of what we all are…the entire lunacy of mankind can be perceived . And we seem to understand nothing, I guess there may be exceptions of moments and persons.

Hello Tom, thought can see a fact, but often when it does not fit its desires, it says it is not a fact, thought is not reliable , that is normal it is only a tool for practical life, it depends on “what” uses it, and for us since millennia, what is using thought is…thought.A tool using itself does not go far, yet this is what we are up to.My view. Illusion yes, falseness too , THE problem when working alone as it is the case for us…cheers

Greetings Daniel
I found this very apt QOTD today, so I’ll share it here. It’s from Eight Conversations, 1968:

“You are seeking, asking, longing, to walk on the other shore. The other shore implies that there is this shore, and from this shore to get to the other shore there is space and time. That is what is holding you and bringing about this ache for the other shore. That is the real problem - time that divides, space that separates, the time necessary to get there and the space that is the distance between this and that. This wants to become that, and finds it is not possible because of the distance and the time it takes to cover that distance. In this there is not only comparison but also measurement, and a mind that is capable of measuring is capable also of illusion. This division of space and time between this and that is the way of the mind, which is thought. Do you know, when there is love space disappears and time disappears? It is only when thought and desire come in that there is a gap of time to be bridged. When you see this, this is that”

Here’s more from the QOTD:

“Sir, you are so impatient, and that very impatience is its own aggressiveness. You are attacking, asserting. You are not quiet to look, to listen, to feel deeply. You want to get to the other shore at any cost and you are swimming frantically, not knowing where the other shore is. The other shore may be this shore, and so you are swimming away from it. If I may suggest it: stop swimming. This doesn’t mean that you should become dull, vegetate and do nothing, but rather that you should be passively aware without any choice whatsoever and no measurement - then see what happens. Nothing may happen, but if you are expecting that bell to ring again, if you are expecting ail that feeling and delight to come back, then you are swimming in the opposite direction. To be quiet requires great energy; swimming dissipates that energy. You need all your energy for silence of the mind, and it is only in emptiness, in complete emptiness, that a new thing can be.”

It struck me on reading this fine quote that it applies as well to any ‘escape’ from the moment. With any disturbance we name: ‘suffering’, anger’, loneliness, fear, etc. …when there is the attempt or desire to change, suppress, eliminate , substitute, etc., we are “swimming to another shore” enlisting ‘time’ to get from here to ‘there’…and dissipating the energy that is necessary to ‘choicelessly’ observe what is taking place.

Yes…agree. “Sir, you are so impatient, and that very impatience is its own aggressiveness. You are attacking, asserting. You are not quiet to look, to listen, to feel deeply.”