Chapter 48


Discontent does not necessarily lead to intelligence. Most of us have some kind of dissatisfaction and are not satisfied with most things. We may have money, position and some kind of prestige in the world, but there is always this worm of discontent. The more you have, the more you want. Satisfaction is never satisfied. Discontent is like a flame; however much you feed it, it absorbs more. It is curious how easily satisfaction finds its temporary fulfilment, and one holds on to it, though it soon fades and the wanting more comes back again. It appears that this is the constant swing from one object of satisfaction to another, physically as well as inwardly. “The more” is the root of discontent. The flame of measurement leads either to satiety, indifference and neglect, or to a wider and deeper inquiry.

In inquiry, satisfaction is not the goal. Inquiry is its own source, which is never extinguished, and it can never forget itself through any kind of satisfaction. This flame can never be smothered by any outward or inward activity of achievement. Most of us have a tiny flame, which is generally smothered by some form of gain, but in order to allow this tiny flame to burn furiously, the measurement of “the more” must totally end. Then only does the flame burn away all sense of gratification.

As an educator, I have been concerned with another problem. I cannot have a school all to myself. In a school I have many colleagues. Some are extremely bright-I am not being patronizing-others are of varying dullness, though all are what is called well-educated, have degrees, and so on. Perhaps one or two of us are trying to help the students to understand the nature of intelligence, but I feel that unless all of us are together co-operatively helping the student in this direction, those teachers who are not concerned with the cultivation of it will act as an impediment. This is the problem of a few of us; this goes on most of the time in educational centres.

So my problem is-and again let me repeat that this is not being said in any patronizing way-how are we, the few, to deal with the many? What is our response to them? It is a challenge that must be met at all levels of our life. In all forms of government, there is the division between the few and the many. The few may be concerned with the whole population, and the many are concerned with their own particular little interests. This happens all over the world and it is happening in the field of education. So how are we to establish a relationship with those of us who are not totally committed to the flowering of intelligence and goodness? Or is it all one problem-to awaken the flame in the whole of the school?

Of course, the authoritarian attitude destroys all intelligence. The sense of obedience breeds only fear which in itself inevitably drives away the understanding of the true nature of intelligence. So what place has authority in a school? We have to study authority, not merely assert that there should be no authority but only freedom. We have to study it as we study the atom. The structure of the atom is orderly. Obedience, following, accepting authority, whether it is blind or clear-eyed, must inevitably bring about disorder. What is the root of obedience, which breeds authority? When one is in disorder, confusion, society becomes utterly chaotic; then that very disorder creates authority, as has happened so often historically. Is fear the root of accepting authority, being uncertain, without clarity in oneself,? Then each human being helps to bring about the authority that will tell us what to do, as has happened in all religions, all sects and communities. It is the everlasting problem of the guru and the disciple, each destroying the other. The follower then becomes the leader. This cycle is forever repeating itself.

We are studying together, in the real sense of the word, what the cause of authority is. If each one of us sees that it is fear, muddle-headedness, or some deeper factor, then the mutual study of it, verbal or non-verbal, has significance. In studying, there may be an exchange of thought, and the silent observation of the cause of authority. Then that very study uncovers the light of intelligence, for intelligence has no authority. It is not your intelligence or my intelligence. A few of us may see this deeply, without any deception, and it is our responsibility that this flame be spread wherever we are, in school, at home, or in a bureaucratic government. It has no abiding place; it is wherever you are.