14 October 2011

Fear Prevents True Education

Michael Oakeshott stated that, "Each of us is born in a corner of the earth and at a particular moment in historic time, lapped round with locality. But school and university are places apart where a declared learner is emancipated from the limitations of his local circumstances...He finds himself invited to [conversations.]" It is through these conversations and observations that we may learn the inhibiting and unrelenting cancer of fear.

Michael Oakeshott
Jiddu Krishnamurti, in The Function of Education, makes particular claims about the dire need of an education system designed to truly educate and instruct those who are desirous to grow and learn. He speaks of crucial conditions that must be met through the student and the necessary ambiance, or atmosphere of the education system to truly find a real education. Krishnamurti is trying to thwart the notion that an education is nothing more than a means to an end. He claims that today’s modern education system seems to be designed to shove a bunch of technical information down someone’s throat, so that they may pass an exam and then move on to the next level. But to Krishnamurti, true education is far more than just passing a school quiz or exam and ultimately moving along to a career. 
President Joseph F. Smith
According to President Joseph F. Smith, "The mere stuffing of the mind with a knowledge of facts is not education. The mind must not only possess a knowledge of truth, but the soul must revere it, cherish it, love it as a priceless gem; and this human life must be guided and shaped by it in order to fulfil its destiny. The mind should not only be charged with intelligence, but the soul should be filled with admiration and desire for pure intelligence which comes of a knowledge of the truth. . . .educate yourself not only for time, but also for eternity. [GD, p. 269]
President David O. McKay
President David O. McKay stated, "True education--the education for which the Church stands--is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character. . . character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting. [GI, pp. 440­41]

Jiddu Krishnamurti
According to Krishnamurti, true education rests with an atmosphere ready to receive the inquirer with open hearts and a determination to distinguish fear. With this type of education we can allow students the availability to, “constantly [inquire,] constantly [observe,] constantly [learn] and to acquire intelligent answers to life’s problems.” Krishnamurti also wants to make it clear that through this pursuit of a true education one must be able to, “think freely without fear.” It is fear that prevents us from proper schooling and it is, he claims, only by freeing ourselves from this world of trepidation that we are capable and prepared to receive authentic intelligence. “Any form of ambition, spiritual or mundane, breeds anxiety, fear; therefore ambition does not help to bring about a mind that is clear, simple, direct and hence intelligent.” For example those who feel troubled or afraid to raise their hand or to simply inquire for further information upon any given thing, are in reality preventing a great opportunity for essential growth and learning.

To create a habitat or environment free from fear is to possess an intensification of growth, an expansion of intelligence and enlargement of the discovering self. The atmosphere we are placed in should allow us this freedom of development. The freedom to evolve intellectually without emotional inhibitors is to create an atmosphere to discover, “what is true, so that you can become an intelligent being and so that you are able to face the world and understand it, not just conform to it.” What does this mean? It means that conforming to the world has, “conditioned us,” and has a strong influence on us that creates fear. For example, “I feel if I don't smoke it is odd socially and I can't fit in; therefore I must force myself to smoke and do the things they do; I am a little frightened that I don't conform."  So if we are able to establish an atmosphere free from the conditioning of the world which creates fear then we can truly teach and mold the characters of the human race into meaning.

Krishnamurti is not the only philosopher who claims that fear is a destroyer. Take for example, Aristotle’s particular ethical theory of “the object of life.” Aristotle alludes to the weaknesses of the human race. Fear is what Aristotle claims to be deficient in virtue. In fact, Aristotle’s “cardinal rule,” states that it is the character that must be ruled, shaped and fashioned into a product that is able to distinguish and balance the scale of deficiency and excess. He says, “Right conduct is incompatible with excess or deficiency in feelings and actions.” This, “right conduct,” is what Aristotle calls, “Virtue.” Aristotle’s claim that virtue plays a role in true education may help some of the claims Krishnamurti has made. To Aristotle, “true education,” is virtue and a person who is fearful lacks virtue. Another way to say is that someone who is afraid becomes precarious and unbalances the scale of virtue making him a coward. On the other hand the scale may be unstable by an excess of behavior. Someone, “who is afraid of nothing at all, but marches up to every danger, becomes foolhardy.” It therefore becomes the balance of these two vices that virtue and true education may be recognized and pursued. Hence the path to education is to not only to rid ourselves of fear but to do the things in your life that will shape and form a character of virtue. In order for the human race to find this mean we must abstain and prevent the extremes.

Like Krishnamurti, Aristotle alludes to the fault of both the human being and of outside compelling forces. Those ignorant compelling forces may harm and distort our journey to balance the scale of virtue. “Indeed we sometimes praise those who show deficiency, and call them patient, and sometimes those who display temper, calling them manly.” If the human race is only to fulfill his pleasure of receiving this kind of praise then his scale becomes uneven and, “noticeable.” He says, “The man who deviates only a little from the right degree, either in excess or in deficiency is not censured - only when one goes too far, because he is noticeable.”

“In the past, human muscle was the source of the products that made life better. Today, those products are increasingly created by the power of the human mind," and if through fear we prevent ourselves from increasing the power of our minds we become weaker and weaker until we have succumbed to the weakest of the human muscles and no single weak human muscle has ever built anything magnificent.


BYU Carpet Cleaner

I carpet clean the Mission Training Center and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. These posts contain my experiences, thoughts and opinions on spiritual things.

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