Now, why should you be disciplined at all? What does discipline mean? It means adjusting yourself to something, does it not? To adjust your thinking to what other people say, to resist some forms of desire and accept others, to comply with this practice and not with that, to conform, to suppress, to follow, not only on the surface of the mind, but also deep down – all this is implied in discipline. And for centuries, age after age, we have been told by teachers, gurus, priests, politicians, kings, lawyers, by the society in which we live, that there must be discipline.
So, I am asking myself – and I hope you too are asking yourself – whether discipline is necessary at all, and whether there is not an entirely different approach to this problem? I think there is a different approach, and this is the real issue which is confronting not only the schools but the whole world. You see, it is generally accepted that, in order to be efficient, you must be disciplined, either by a moral code, a political creed, or by being trained to work like a machine in a factory; but this very process of discipline is making the mind dull through conformity.
Now, does discipline set you free, or does it make you conform to an ideological pattern, whether it be the utopian pattern of communism, or some kind of moral or religious pattern? Can discipline ever set you free? Having bound you, made you a prisoner, as all forms of discipline do, can it then let you go? How can it? Or is there a different approach altogether – which is to awaken a really deep insight into the whole problem of discipline? That is, can you, the individual, have only one desire and not two or many conflicting desires? Do you understand what I mean? The moment you have two, three, or ten desires, you have the problem of discipline, have you not? You want to be rich, to have cars, houses, and at the same time you want to renounce these things because you think that to possess little or nothing is moral, ethical, religious. And is it possible to be educated in the right way so that one’s whole being is integrated, without contradiction, and therefore without the need of discipline? To be integrated implies a sense of freedom, and when this integration is taking place there is surely no need for discipline. Integration means being one thing totally on all levels at the same time.
You see, if we could have right education from the very tenderest age, it would bring about a state in which there is no contradiction at all, either within or without; and then there would be no need for discipline or compulsion because you would be doing something completely, freely, with your whole being. Discipline arises only when there is a contradiction. The politicians, the governments, the organized religions want you to have only one way of thinking, because if they can make you a complete communist, a complete Catholic, or whatever it is, then you are not a problem, you simply believe and work like a machine; then there is no contradiction because you just follow. But all following is destructive because it is mechanical, it is mere conformity in which there is no creative release.
Now, can we bring about, from the tenderest age, a sense of complete security, a feeling of being at home, so that in you there is no struggle to be this and not to be that? Because the moment there is an inward struggle there is conflict, and to overcome that conflict there must be discipline. Whereas, if you are rightly educated, then everything that you do is an integrated action; there is no contradiction and hence no compulsive action. As long as there is no integration there must be discipline, but discipline is destructive because it does not lead to freedom.
To be integrated does not demand any form of discipline. That is, if I am doing what is good, what is intrinsically true, what is really beautiful, doing it with my whole being, then there is no contradiction in me and I am not merely conforming to something. If what I am doing is totally good, right in itself – not right according to some Hindu tradition or communist theory, but timelessly right under all circumstances – then I am an integrated human being and have no need for discipline. And is it not the function of a school to bring about in you this sense of integrated confidence so that what you are doing is not merely what you wish to do, but that which is fundamentally right and good, everlastingly true? you love there is no need for discipline, is there? Love brings its own creative understanding, therefore there is no resistance, no conflict; but to love with such complete integration is possible only when you feel deeply secure, completely at home, especially while you are young. This means, really, that the educator and the student must have abounding confidence in each other, otherwise we shall create a society which will be as ugly and destructive as the present one. If we can understand the significance of completely integrated action in which there is no contradiction, and therefore no need for discipline, then I think we shall bring about a totally different kind of culture, a new civilization. But if we merely resist, suppress, then what is suppressed will inevitably rebound in other directions and set going various mischievous activities and destructive events.
So it is very important to understand this whole question of discipline. To me, discipline is something altogether ugly; it is not creative, it is destructive. But merely to stop there, with a statement of that kind, may seem to imply that you can do whatever you like. On the contrary, a man who loves does not do whatever he likes. It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.