Mutation Out of Time

From Krishnamurti’s Book ON EDUCATION

Krishnamurti: Shall we consider the question of immediacy of action? Action is pressing on each one of us, and there must be the long vision which includes the immediacy; but the immediacy does not include the larger, the wider, the deeper. Most people throughout the world who are intellectual and learned seem to be caught in the immediate responses to immediate challenges. More scientists, more engineers, more technicians are needed and education is geared to produce them. The immediate demand is accepted and answered and so one loses, I think, a larger perspective and therefore one’s mind and body and emotions become very shallow and empty. If one actually realizes all this, not verbally, but with a direct perception, how is a teacher to educate a student to have not only technical knowledge, the know-how, but also a wider, deeper understanding of life?

How will you translate this into action in education? Is that not what you have come here to do? How do you set about it, if you have not already done it? I believe, here in Rishi Valley, the origin of the school was to bring about a different kind of education. It was not only to provide the child with knowledge but to make him understand that knowledge is not the end of life; that it is necessary to be sensitive to trees, to beauty, to know what it is to love, to be kind, to be generous. Now how would you set about it?

It seems at first absolutely necessary that there should be a few who have this feeling, and by their enthusiasm, understanding, capacity, not only to impart knowledge but also to see beyond the hills. If I were here and I felt this urgency that a student must academically be most proficient, and also that he must know how to dance, sing, look at the trees, see the mountains, know how to look at a woman without the usual sexual attitude and consider the extraordinary beauty of life, know sorrow and go beyond sorrow – if I were here, how would I set about it?

If I were here and my sole job was that, I would not leave any one of you alone. I would discuss with you the way you talk, dress, look, behave, eat; I would be at it all the time – and probably you would call me a tyrant and talk of democracy and freedom. I do not think it is a question of democracy, tyranny and freedom. You see, this brings up the question of authority. We have talked about it a great deal in this place, on and off, whenever I have come; but let us discuss authority again.

To me, authority is terrible, destructive. The quality of authority is tyrannical – the authority of the priest, the police – authority of law. Those are all outward authorities. There is also the inward authority of knowledge, of one’s own dignity of one’s own experience which dictates certain attitudes to life. All this breeds authority and without exercising this authority, you have to look after the child, to see that he has good taste, that he puts on the right clothes, eats properly, has a certain dignity in speech, in the way he walks; you have also to teach him to play games, not competitively and ruthlessly, but for the fun of it. To awaken in him all this without authority is extremely difficult and because of its difficulty, you resort to authority. One must have discipline in the school. Now, can you bring about discipline without exercising authority? Children must come to meals regularly, not talk incessantly at meal time, everything must be in proportion, in freedom and affection; and there must be a certain non-authoritarian awakening of self-respect.

To give knowledge which does not become an end in itself and to educate the mind to have a long vision, a wide comprehension of life, is not possible if education is based on author.

Teacher: It is extremely difficult to bring about an inner orderliness in the child without discipline, without restraint and authority. Adults are in a different position from children.

Krishnamurti: I wonder if that is so. We are conditioned and children are being conditioned. Can education bring about a revolutionary mind? The difficulty is that this has to begin at a very tender age, not when children are fourteen or older.

By then they are already formed and destroyed but if they came to you very young what would you do to encourage a feeling that there are other things than mere sex, money and position?

Besides giving the child information as knowledge, how would you show him that the world is not only the immediate but that there are other things far greater? First, you and I must feel this, not merely because I talk about it or you talk about it. I must be burning with it, and if I am burning with it, how do I communicate it without influencing the child? Because when I influence, I destroy the child; I make him conform to the image I have. So I must realize, though I feel very strongly about all this, that in my relationship with the student, however young, I must not encourage an imitative attitude and action. This is all extremely difficult. If I love somebody, I want him to be different, to do things differently, to look at life, to feel the beauty of the earth. Can I show him all this without influence, without breeding the imitative instinct?

Teacher: Before we come to help the child without influencing him, is there an approach which we can establish in ourselves, because in our lives there seem to be so many contradictions?

Krishnamurti: In order to establish it – one must change, remove the contradictions, wipe out destructive feelings. That may take many days or perhaps no time at all. We say that can be done through analysis, through awareness, through questioning, enquiring, probing. All that involves time. But time is a danger. Because the moment we look to time to change, it is really a continuation of what has been. If I have to enquire into my mind and be aware of my activities and my conditioning and my demands and each day probe, all that entails time. Time as a means to mutation is illusion. And when I introduce time into the problem of mutation, then mutation is postponed, because then time is merely a further continuation of my desire to go on as I am. Time is necessary to learn French. The time taken to learn French is not an illusion, but to bring about a psychological mutation, a psychical change in myself through time is an illusion, because it encourages laziness, postponement, a sense of achievement, vanity. All that is implied in the employment of time when I use time as a means to mutation. So, if I do not look to time at all for mutation, then what happens?

It is a marvellous thing. All religious people have seen time as a means of change and actually we find mutation can only be out of time, not through time.

Teacher: Does that not apply to all creative action?

Krishnamurti: Of course it does. So can my mind refuse to use time and deny time as a means to mutation? Do you see the beauty of it? Then what takes place?

The thing which I want changed has been put together through time, it is the result of time, and I deny time. Therefore I deny the whole thing and therefore mutation has taken place. I do not know if you see this. It is not a verbal trick.

Have you understood it? If I deny my conditioning as a Hindu, which is the result of time, and I deny time, I deny the whole thing. I am out of it. If I deny ritual – the Christian, Hindu or Buddhist – deny it because it is the product of time, I am out. I do not have to ask how to bring about mutation. The thing itself is the result of time and I deny time – it is finished.

So the mind in which mutation has taken place, that mind can then instruct, can look, can bring about a definite series of environmental actions. One cannot deny the use of time for acquiring knowledge but does time exist anywhere else?

Teacher: Even in activities we need time, we seem to do things in a sloppy way and therefore time hangs heavily. If the understanding of time in all these things is as simple as this, why are we not able to get out of it?

Krishnamurti: But if you give your whole attention, not to mutation through time but to denying time, you would then be in a position to teach in a totally different way. The boys and girls are here to acquire knowledge and if you can impart this knowledge with attention which is not using time to convey information, then you are quickening their minds.

That is what I am interested in, which is, to awaken the mind, to keep the mind tremendously alive. We say the mind can be kept alive through knowledge and therefore we pour in knowledge which only dulls the mind. A mind that functions in time is still a limited mind. But a mind which does not function in time is extraordinarily alert, is tremendously alive and can impart its aliveness to a mind which is still seeking, enquiring, innocent. So we have discovered something new. You and I have discovered something. I have imparted something to you. Together we have found that the mind functions in time and the mind is the result of time. In that state, the mind can only give information. Such a mind is limited. But a mind that is not functioning, thinking in terms of time, though it uses time, will quicken the mind of another and therefore knowledge will not destroy. You see, such a mind is in a state of learning, not acquiring. Therefore it is everlastingly alive; such a mind is young.

Some of the boys in this school are already old, because they are merely concerned with acquiring knowledge, not with learning. And learning is out of time. Now, how will you set about quickening the mind, keeping it astonishingly alive all the time?

You have to understand the quality of a mind in which mutation has taken place. It has taken place the moment you deny time. You have thrown the whole past out. You are no longer a Hindu, a Christian. Now how will such a mind in which mutation has taken place instruct, translate its action? How will it act in giving knowledge which involves time, and yet keep the mind of the child in a state of intense aliveness? Find out.