Chapter 28: Education for Life - and for Death
I still study in school and I want to know: What is the secret of education?
It may be a little difficult for you to understand the secret of education. But I cannot come down from my vision, so I will tell what I feel is the secret, knowing perfectly well perhaps you may not be able to understand it yet, you are too young. But through you perhaps others may understand, and one day you will also grow up and be in a position to understand it.
The question is very complex and I can see that you have asked it without knowing its implications. It is the question that is one of the most fundamental for the future of man. I would like to begin from the very beginning.
Up to now, man has been living an accidental life. No one knows what your potential is, what you are supposed by nature to be. And the question - the secret of education - cannot be decided without knowing what your potential is. Are you going to become a musician? A poet? An engineer? A doctor? Without knowing anything about your possibilities, almost groping in the dark, we go on deciding people’s destiny for strange reasons.
The very word education, in its roots, means to draw out. It has the very secret in its root-meaning. Whatever is within you as a seed has to be drawn out, given full opportunity, so that it can blossom. But no one knows what is hidden within you, what kind of soil you need and what kind of gardener, what is the right climate and the right season and the right time for you to be sown.
Parents decide about their children according to their own ambitions. Somebody wanted to be very rich and could not be: he is hoping through his children that his ambitions should be fulfilled. Although he could not manage it, he will manage through his children. Naturally he would not like his children to move in directions where possibilities of becoming rich are scarce. As a musician you cannot earn much; as a flute-player you cannot compete with engineers, with doctors, with politicians, with industrialists.
Naturally the parents who have been interested in money would like to send their children into a certain pattern of education which brings them the right qualification to be rich. The decision is arbitrary. The person about whom it is being decided, his potential has not even been taken into consideration. He may have the potential of becoming a great dancer, or a great painter, he may not have any greed for money, but you are forcing him into a direction where greed for money is an essential to be successful.