……And I think the teaching profession is the highest profession in the world. Though one acquires very little money out of it I think it is the greatest thing. Really I do. Really think that. It isn’t just verbal rhetorical assertion. It’s the greatest thing, because in our hands lie the whole future generation”. – Krishnamurti
Question: Educationalists all over the world are troubled by the question of moral education. How can education evoke the deeper core of human decency and goodness in oneself and in others?
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Krishnamurti: The good is not the `respectable’. The respectable man can never know what is good. Most of us are respectable and therefore we do not know what it is to be good. Moral education can only come, not with the cultivation of respectability, but with the awakening of love.
But we do not know what love is. Is love something to be cultivated? Can you learn it in colleges, in schools, from teachers, from technicians, from the following of your gurus? Is devotion love? And if it is, can the man who is respectable, who is devoted, know love? Do you know what I mean by respectability? Respectability is when the mind is cultivating, when the mind is becoming virtuous.
The respectable man is the man who is struggling consciously not to be envious, the man who is following tradition, he who says, `What will people say’? Respectability will obviously never know what Truth is, what good is, because the respectable man is only concerned with himself.
It is love which brings morality. Without love there is no morality. You may be a great man, a moral man; you may be very good; you may not be envious; you may have no ambition; but if you have no love, you are not moral; you are not good, fundamentally, deeply, profoundly.
You may have all the outer trimmings of goodness; but if you have no love in the heart, there can be no moral, ethical being. Is love something to be taught in a school? Please follow all this. What is it that prevents us from loving? – If you can be taught in the school and in the house, to love, how simple it would be, would it not? Many books are written on it. You learn them and you repeat them; and you know all the symptoms of love without having love. Can love be taught? Please, Sirs, this is really an important question; please do follow it. If love cannot be taught, what are the things that are preventing love? The things of the mind, the thoughts, the jealousy, the anguish, the ideas, the pursuits, their suppressions, the motives of the mind – these may be the things that prevent love. And as we have cultivated the mind for several centuries, it may be that the mind is preventing us from loving.
So perhaps the things that you are teaching your children and the things that you are learning be the things which are at the root of the destruction of love; because you are only developing one side – the intellectual side, the so-called technical side – and that is becoming more and more important in an industrial world; other things become less and less valuable, they fade away.
If love can be taught in school through books, shown on the screen in cinemas, then it would be possible to cultivate morality. If morality is a thing of tradition, then it is quite simple; then you condition the student to be moral, to be a Communist, to be a Socialist, to think along a particular line, and say that that line is the good line, the true line; any deviation from it is immoral, ending up in concentration camps.
Is morality something to be taught – which means, can the mind be conditioned to be moral? Or is morality something that springs spontaneously, joyously, creatively? This is only possible when there is love. That love cannot exist when you cultivate your mind which is the very centre of the `me’, the `I’, the thing that is uppermost in most of us day in and day out – the `me’ that is so important, the `I’ that is everlastingly trying to fulfil, trying to be something.
And as long as that `I’ exists, do what you will, all your morality has no meaning; it is merely conformity to a pattern based on security, for your being something some day, so that you can live without any fear. Such a state is not a moral state, it is merely an imitation. The more a society is imitative, following tradition, the more deteriorating it is. It is important to see this, to find out for oneself how the self, the `me’ is perpetuating itself, how the `me’ is everlastingly thinking about virtue and trying to become virtuous and establishing laws of morality for itself and for others.
So the good man who is following the pattern of good is the respectable man; and the respectable man is not the man who knows what love is. Only the man who knows what love is is the moral man.