osho on education system

Osho – The center around which our education is moving is wrong. The whole problem has arisen due to the wrong center – which is ambition. Our whole educational system is revolving around ambition. What is being taught to us? We are taught ambition. We are taught a race to get ahead of everyone. Even in a small child learning in kindergarten we are creating an anxiety about coming first in the class. There is no greater anxiety than this in the world. The only anxiety is how to get ahead of all, leaving everyone else behind.

The small child going to school is full of anxiety. He will be rewarded if he comes first; he will be insulted if he comes second. If he fails he will be humiliated; if he succeeds he will be rewarded and respected by teachers and parents. We are creating competition in him. Competition is a kind of fever. When you are feverish there is a rise of energy. You can run faster, you can use bad language faster, you can do things which ordinarily you would not be able to do. In fever there is a kind of intensity and speed.

The whole educational system is based on this fever of getting ahead of everyone. The ego of the children is aroused; they become eager to come first. They work hard, with all their strength. But for what? Only because there is competition to come first. This fever of competition gets hold of children. Even after they come out of the field of education that fever persists.

They want to build a bigger house, have a bigger shop, reach a higher position. From being a junior clerk, they want to be the head clerk; from being a master, they want to be a headmaster; from being a deputy minister, they want to become a minister. Somebody wants to be the president of the country, or to be something else. A sort of mad race for being something or the other takes hold of them for their whole life. In this mad race the whole peace, energy and capability in their lives gets destroyed.

What do they achieve in the end? In the end, they reach nowhere. Wherever they reach, they will find someone ahead of them. And as long as there is someone ahead, they will have no peace. There has been nobody in the world so far who has experienced being ahead of everybody; there is always someone in front. The world is big and we are standing in a circle. In a circle who is ahead and who is behind? Everyone is ahead of everyone else. And then the race goes on and on and on.

So far in the world nobody has got ahead of everybody. But we are still teaching children to come first; we are teaching madness. They will remain in the race throughout their life and will waste it. Our whole education is based on jealousy and envy. We go on saying to people, ”Do not be envious, violent and jealous,” but our whole education is rooted in jealousy. We point to one child and say to the other, ”See how intelligent he is, and how dull you are. Be like him!” Thus we are creating envy and jealousy.

What are we creating in the mind of this child? We are pouring the poison of envy into him. We do not love this child. This poison will flow through his veins, through his mind, for his whole life. The child will always want to be ahead of everyone – and the joke of it all is that nobody ever has been ahead of all, and there is no joy in being ahead. What has joy to do with being ahead of somebody? What relation can peace have to being ahead of somebody? No, this is a fundamentally wrong

This ambition, and the educational system revolving round that center of ambition, is wrong. If we want to create a new world we will have to change this center and create some new center. What can the new center be?

I would like to tell you that competition cannot be and should not be the center of education. The center of education should be love. What do I mean by love? If we want to learn music – and we are so many sitting here – and if in our effort to learn music we try not to allow anybody to get ahead of us in music… can we learn music in such haste and fever? If we fall into that race to remain ahead so that nobody insults or disgraces us, so that nobody proves that we are unsuccessful and we are nobody, can we learn music? Will this be love of music or love of ego? If it is love of ego, then music cannot be learned. Can we learn music while loving the ego?

For learning, humility is required. Our educational system teaches ego, not humility. Teachers are all displeased and complaining that there is no humility in the students. How can the teachers expect humility? When we teach students to be ahead of everyone, we are teaching them ego. How can there be humility in them? It is a fallacy to expect that. When they stand ahead of others, their humility is destroyed and they are full of ego. Those suffering from ego cannot learn music, cannot learn anything.

To learn anything, humility is required. To learn, egolessness is required. But we are not encouraging egolessness. We are, as it were, firing their ego by telling them, ”You have to come first and secure a gold medal in university. You have to be a Bharat-Ratna” – the highest title conferred on an individual by the president of India – ”You have to be the president”; ”You have to be this and that!” The fire of envy is created in their mind – their ego is encouraged. How can they learn music? How can they learn mathematics? How can they learn the essentials of life? For learning anything, a nonambitious, non-competitive mind is required.

Yes, there is another basis for learning music. That is love of music, not competition with the knower of music. Not competition with a fellow student, but love, sincerity and delight in the subject to be learned is required. It is better that we teach love for mathematics, rather than competition with others learning mathematics. It is better that we create love for music, rather than competition with others who are learning music. Music can be learned because of the love for music. Everything can be learned when we love that thing; then only is it possible to learn. But we are not taught what love is. Our education has nothing to do with love.

So what actually happens is that if you have studied literature in the university, after coming from the university you do not continue to learn literature, because it has harassed you and bored you a lot. If you have learned poetry in the university, your love and joy for poetry in life will have already been destroyed. It is destroyed because it was studied during the race of the egos, studied only to pass the examination and studied to come first. No love for poetry was really created. Therefore, in fact, it happens that our education destroys our genius.

Emerson once said something in honoring the first young graduate of his town – he was asked to say a few words in praise of that graduate. Emerson said, ”Well, let me first understand and evaluate that young man. After that I can say something.” After a month he attended a gathering to honor that young boy. Emerson told the gathering, ”I have liked this young man, I am all praise for him. But why do I say so? I say so because in spite of his having a university education, he has been able to preserve his genius. I praise him for that.”

The state of education is like that. They are really marvellous people who have come out of the intricacies of the university without losing their genius. Ordinarily it is destroyed, it gets destroyed. The whole foundational structure of education is basically wrong. Then education can only be of competition, rivalry, and ambition, which naturally creates a world full of ambitious fights, battles and conflicts. These children will grow up tomorrow and will fight. They will fight as a crowd, as a society, as a cult, or as a nation, because they have to be ahead of everyone. They will fight for their country.

All countries of the world are fighting. Why are they fighting? – because the children have been taught nothing else but fighting. They have not been taught love, they have been taught jealousy and envy. Two world wars were fought recently in which about one hundred million people were killed. There must be something wrong with the education. What sort of education is this, which enables the killing of millions of people over five to ten years? What sort of students have come
out of the universities? How diseased are their minds? How is it possible that wars continue to be fought in this world every day and the universities also continue to grow?

If the education is true and the universities are real, wars must disappear from the world. There would be no wars – because how can an educated person fight? Can a cultured, civilized person fight? Can he kill? – not one or two persons but millions of people? But that is what we are doing. A well educated student will fight and go to wars! He cannot be aware of the strategies that cause war, because in him only the seeds of war have been sown. The seeds to fight with everyone else have been sown in him. In fact he will be interested in war, he will be happy fighting.

You may have observed that when there is war you feel happy. It certainly is a diseased state of mind. When there is war there is brightness on the faces of people; people appear to be enthusiastic and cheerful. When India is fighting with Pakistan, or when India is fighting with China, or when anywhere else such stupidity is being committed, how cheerful people appear to be! Their nights and days are filled with a freshness. They read newspapers from the early morning, listen to the news and go on discussing the events. Just watch their faces. It is as if some event of great happiness has happened! People have been prepared for fighting. They have no other interest but fighting for all the twenty-four hours of the day.

When passing by and seeing two persons fighting, hundreds of people will form a crowd watching the fight, putting aside many necessary, important things needing to be attended to. What madness! Watching two persons fighting is a sign of a perverted mind,.it is not a sign of a cultured mind. To be interested in seeing two persons fight is a sign of an ugly mind. But people throughout the whole world are doing this. It is true for every country. Our mind is prepared for that.

When one person is defeated and the other has won, we garland the one who has won and disregard the one who is defeated. This is a sign of a perverted mind. This is a sign of a violent and a wicked mind. After all, what is so great that makes you garland a winner and disregard the one who is defeated? Don’t you see the diseased mind of the person doing this? Should there be love and sympathy for the man who is defeated or not? Or should we become full of respect for the winner?

If the education was right, love and respect towards the defeated would arise. One would feel amazed upon seeing this person who wanted to win, who wanted to defeat someone. What a violent attitude this man must have! There is violence in defeating someone, there is hatred in defeating someone. The very effort to defeat someone is a proof of a perverted mind, proof of a diseased mind. But we always respect the one who wins, we disregard the one who is defeated.

Why? – because we ourselves want to win. We are supporters of those who have won because we also want to win. In our mind also the same interest in winning is working. We are also interested in sitting on the chest of another person, so we garland the one who succeeds and forget the one who has fallen; there is no value in a defeated person. This is fundamentally wrong.

Try to understand why there is ambition within us. What is the reason for our running so madly? The reason is that the more a person is suffering from inferiority, the more ambitious he becomes. The more inferiority you experience, the more you feel that you are nothing, the more you will become ambitious. Why? Through ambition, you want to prove yourself in the eyes of the world and in your own eyes, so that nobody makes the mistake of considering you inferior.

I will tell you a small story to help you understand. You may have heard the name of Tamerlane – he fought and defeated a small country. The king of that country was Baijal; he was arrested and brought before Tamerlane, duly handcuffed. Defeated, Baijal stood in front of Tamerlane, who was sitting on a throne with his advisers and soldiers standing by.

Tamerlane began to laugh. It was natural that Baijal should get angry; Baijal, though defeated, was a king. He lifted his head proudly and told Tamerlane not to be foolish. ”He who laughs at others’ defeat has some day to shed tears at his own defeat.”

But Tamerlane said, ”I am not laughing at your defeat. I am not so foolish as to laugh over such a small victory. I am laughing at the fact that I am a lame man and you are a man with one eye. How strange God is, that he gives kingships to lame and one-eyed men!”

If I were present at that time I would have told Tamerlane that nobody else asks for kingships except for those who are lame and blind. No wise person would like to become a king. No wise person would like to become a politician. No wise person would want to sit on the chest of another person. No wise person would like to bring someone else down to his feet or be his owner. All these things are desired by the diseased and inferior man residing within us.

The mental states of inferiority and weaknesses within us – the lameness and blindness – want to be hidden. We are running to hide them and to prove that the whole world is wrong, that we are alright. We have proved our might, and we are trying to prove to others that we are not weak or wanting. This is the race of the inferior mind.

The education based on ambition is, at its root, based on violence. Ambition is not a dignity to the personality; it is an inferiority of the personality. Everybody in the world is afraid of being nobody. Everybody wants to have a name, to be a VIP. Everyone wants to have a position, a good reputation and a house of his own. Who is creating this madness? It is created by our education. The education is right which can say that you are enough as you are; that you do not have to be anything else, you are enough as you are. Explore all your possibilities and experience the joy of it. Do not be in a race with anyone. It is not necessary; there is no reason for doing so.

If education can make every person aware that one is enough as one is, and can enable him to experience the bliss of it, if education can make facilities available for the full growth of what one has – facilities for growth, not for ambition; facilities for love, not for competition; facilities for self awakening and consciousness, not for conflict with others – then such education will be able to bring about a fundamental revolution in the world. As long as education is not able to do this, it is not in the interest of man; on the contrary it is harmful to man, it poisons the human mind.

Whatsoever we have is enough. What is lacking in anyone? If a person does not become ambitious, the world is not lacking in anything. If a person does not become diseased with the madness of ambition he has everything. But he is not able to see that. How can he see? We only see what others have. One who is ambitious always sees what others have, he is not able to see what he has. It is interesting to note that if tomorrow he is able to get what others have, he will cease to see that too. Again, he will begin to see what others have. Just think and see if it is true or not. You have two eyes, two hands, two legs; you are breathing; you have a body – it is a great wealth with which you can create a great many things.

source – osho book “revolution in education”

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