Education in the New Age
Education in the New Age
Education has become of major importance today in all parts of the world. The requirements of education under modem conditions of international relationships and in the light of an emerging new civilisation, are occupying the attention not only of those countries now providing education for the masses of their peoples for the first time in history, but also of countries where a form of compulsory education has been in existence for some time. What should be the principles and purposes underlying new educational techniques? What should these techniques be?
In this pamphlet certain ideas and concepts fundamental to education in all its aspects, and in the many different circumstances of the modern world, are presented.
Education in the New Age
Education Past and Present
Education, up to the present time, has been largely occupied with the art of synthesising past history and past achievement in all departments of human thought and with the attainments to date of human knowledge. It has been primarily backward-looking and not forward-looking.
The values of modern education are still largely competitive, nationalistic and, therefore, separative. The child comes to regard the material values as of major importance, to believe that his particular nation is also of major importance and that every other nation is secondary. This has fed his pride and fostered the belief that he, his group, his religion and his nation are superior to other people and peoples. He becomes consequently a one-sided person with his world values wrongly adjusted and his attitudes to life distinguished by bias and prejudice.
Education has also concerned itself with the organising of the lower mind, (the purely rational as distinct from creative and intuitive faculties). To read, to write and to be able to do elementary arithmetic are regarded as the minimum requirements. The rudiments of the arts are taught to children in order to enable them to function with the needed efficiency in a competitive setting and in their particular environment.
The natural idealism of the child (and what child is not an innate idealist?) has been slowly and steadily suffocated by the weight of the materialism of the world's educational machine.
Little by little this disastrous state of affairs has been changing, so that today in many countries the welfare of the state itself, the need of the nation, is held before the child from its earliest years an the highest possible ideal. This is a definite step forward in the expansion of consciousness which the human race must achieve, for expansion of consciousness and the production of increased sensitivity and perceptive awareness to the larger whole are the goals of all evolutionary endeavour. A further step is to be seen in the fact that everywhere and in every country men are taught to be exponents of certain group ideologies. These ideologies are, in the last analysis, materialising dreams, visions, or ideas.
Leading educational thinkers and organisations today, including UNESCO at the world level, are increasingly emphasising the moral, ethical and spiritual objectives and needs of the educational process. It is, therefore, apparent that behind all the surface turmoil and chaos present today in the consciousness of humanity human beings are beginning to blend in themselves three states of consciousness: that of the individual, of the citizen, and of the idealist. Humanity's sense of world awareness is definitely growing.
The Task and Objectives of the New Education
Education has three major objectives, from the angle of human development.
First, it must make a man an intelligent citizen, a wise parent, and a controlled personality, able to play his part harmoniously and constructively in the work of the world.
Second, the gap between the lower mind and the soul has to be bridged. The true work of education is to train the man in right discrimination and accurate sensitivity to moral and spiritual ideas and ideals, so that he can build true to the purpose of his soul and produce upon the earth that which will be his contribution to the whole. Curiously enough humanity has always recognised this and has talked therefore in terms of "achieving unity" or "attaining alignment". These are all attempts to express this intuitively realised truth.
Third, it must enable him to bridge the gap between the various aspects of his own mental nature.
The true education is consequently the science of linking up the integral parts of man: also of linking him up in turn with his immediate environment, and then with the greater whole in which he has to play his part. This involves the process of acquiring facts, and then learning to infer and gather from this information what can be of practical use in any given situation. It involves the process of learning wisdom, as an outgrowth of knowledge. This is the power to apply knowledge in such a manner that sane living, and an understanding point of view, plus an intelligent technique of conduct, are the natural results. It is finally a process whereby unity or a sense of synthesis is cultivated.
The coming education, therefore, should cover training for citizenship, for parenthood, and for world understanding and could be defined in a new and broader sense as the science of right human relations and of social organisation.
The general trend of the new education should, therefore, be more psychological than in the past and educators should in the future lay emphasis upon:
Finally, education should present the hypothesis of the soul in man as the interior factor which produces the good, the true and the beautiful.
"Mystical perception" therefore is no more and no less than the power, innate in man, to reach out and to grasp that which is greater and better than himself. It is the power to appreciate and to strive after the apparently unattainable good.
The objective of education should, therefore, be the training of the personality mechanism to respond to the life of the soul. Creative expression and humanitarian effort will then be spiritually based and there will be a more realistic answer to the question, what is
Unfoldment and Study of the Child
There is an urgent need for the development of more adequate means of understanding and studying children and young people if the objectives of the new education are to be achieved. The future education can only be built on a comprehensive appreciation of man's nature and constitution, and the process of his unfoldment.
The sequence of the child's growth, based upon the process of unfoldment in a human being, can be briefly tabulated an follows:
Every child should be studied first, to ascertain the natural trend of his impulses. Are they towards physical expression? Is there a latent capacity for one or other of the arts? Is the intellectual calibre one that should warrant a definitely mental training in analysis, deduction, mathematics or logic? Then perhaps as life goes on our young people will be graded into two groups: the mystical, under which one would group those with religious, cultural and artistic tendencies; and the occult, which would include the intellectual, scientific and mental types.
By the time the child is seventeen the training given should have enabled him to strike his note clearly, and should have indicated the pattern to which his life impulses will most probably run. In the the first fourteen years opportunity should be given to experiment in many fields of experience. Pure vocational training should not be emphasised until the later years of the educational process.
The time is coming when children will be studied far more comprehensively than is at present the case. In particular this will be made possible through:
In order to bring this about the best that the East has to offer and the knowledge of the West should be made available. In addition to the methods of studying the child outlined above, all children should be studied medically, with special attention to the endocrine system and the development of the response apparatus, and vocationally, so that later in life their gifts and capacities may find fullest expression. In time scientific astrology will be developed as a means of determining the life tendencies and the peculiar problem of the soul.
All children will also be studied spiritually--the apparent age of the soul and the place on the ladder of evolution will be approximately noted; mystical and introspective tendencies will be considered and their apparent lack noted. Coordination of all aspects of the individual will be carefully investigated so as to bring the entire equipment of the child into a functioning and united whole.
The word "spiritual" does not refer to religious matters, so-called. All activity which drives the human being forward towards some form of development--physical, emotional, mental, intuitional, social--if it is in advance of his present state is essentially spiritual in nature and is indicative of the livingness of the inner divine entity. The spirit of man is undying; it forever endures, progressing from point to point and stage to stage upon the path of evolution, unfolding steadily and sequentially the divine attributes and aspects.
If a true understanding of the seven basic ray types, of the constitution of man and of astrology, plus a right application of synthetic psychology is of any use at all, it must demonstrate itself in the production of a correctly coordinated, wisely developed, highly intelligent and mentally directed human being.
Education and the Seven Rays
There are seven "rays" or qualities of energy influencing humanity and producing seven basic types of human being. It is with these qualities and characteristics and with their related traits and instincts that the future educational systems should work:
The New Education
It is the production of some form of culture--material or spiritual, or material and spiritual--which is the objective of all education.
Civilisation is the reaction of humanity to the purpose of any particular world period. In each age, some idea must be expressed in the current racial idealism.
Culture is the approximation of two ways--feeling and mind; of two worlds--sensitivity and thought; and of the attitudes, relational in nature, which will enable a man to live as an intelligent, subjective being in a tangible physical world. The man of culture relates the world of meaning to the world of appearances and regards them as constituting one world with two aspects.
In the last analysis, civilisation concerns the masses and the racial consciousness, while culture concerns the individual and the creative, spiritual man.
Schools and Colleges
In the schools of today, primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges and universities, there can be seen an imperfect and symbolic picture of the triple objectives of the new education: civilisation, culture, unification.
Elementary or Primary Schools might be regarded as the custodians of civilisation; they should fit the child for citizenship, teach him his place as a social unit, and emphasise his group relations.
High Schools or Secondary Schools should regard themselves as the custodians of culture; they should emphasise the larger values of history and literature and give some understanding of art. They should begin to train the boy and girl for that future profession or mode of life which it is obvious will condition them. Citizenship will be taught in larger terms, the world of true values be pointed out and idealism consciously and definitely cultivated. The youth of the world should begin to relate the worlds of objective outer living and of inner subjective existence.
Colleges and Universities should provide a higher extension of all that has already been done.
Fitting a man for citizenship in the Kingdom of God is not essentially a religious activity. It should be the task of the higher education, giving purpose and significance to all that has been done.
Instinct--intellect--intuition--provide the keynotes for the three scholastic institutions through which every young person will pass. The first effort of education to civilise the child will be to train and rightly direct his instincts. The second obligation upon the educators will be to bring about his true culture, by training him to use his intellect rightly. The third duty of education will be to evoke and develop the intuition.
Education should be basically concerned with relations and interrelations, with the bridging or the healing of cleavages, and thus with the restoration of unity or synthesis.
There is a thread of energy, which we call the life or spirit aspect, anchored in the heart. It uses the blood stream as its distributing agency.
There is another thread of energy, which we call the consciousness aspect or the faculty of soul knowledge, anchored in the centre of the head. It controls the brain and directs activity by means of the nervous system.
These two energy factors, which are recognised by human beings as life and knowledge, or as living energy and intelligence, are the two poles of a child's being. The task ahead of him is to develop consciously the middle or balancing aspect, which is love or group relationships. A true balance will be brought about by the recognition that the way of service is a scientific technique for achieving this balance.
Educators, therefore, have three things to bear in mind during the present period of transition:
a. Serve as a directional agency, finally indicating vocation and avocation.
The meeting of these three requirements will be the primary step (made on a racial scale) to the building of the "antahkarana",* or the bridge in consciousness, between:
It should be noted here that the bridging has to be done in the consciousness aspect, and concerns the continuity of man's awareness of life in all his various aspects.
Three New Age Sciences
Three major sciences should influence the field of education in the new age.
These three sciences may be regarded eventually as the three major concerns of the educational process and emphasis will be increasingly placed upon them.
The tendency of the newer education should be to make the subject of the educational experiment the conscious possessor of his equipment; it should leave him standing clear-eyed before life, with open doors ahead of him into the world of objective phenomena and relationships; it should have brought him to the knowledge of a door leading into the world of soul reality through which he may pass at will, and there assume and work out his relation to other souls.
Education and World Unity
An international system of education, developed in joint conference by broad-minded teachers and educational authorities in every country, is today a crying need and would provide a major asset in preserving world peace. The initial outlines of a world educational systern are emerging today particularly as a result of the pioneering work of UNESCO.
World democracy will take form when men everywhere are regarded in reality as equal. World unity will be a fact when the children of the world are taught that religious differences are largely a matter of birth. Right human relations will be established when the children of every country are taught two major ideas. They are the value of the individual and the fact of the one humanity. The value of the individual and the existence of that whole we call humanity are most closely related. These two principles will lead to the intensive culture of the individual and then to his recognition of his responsibility as an integral part of the whole body of humanity. Thus gradually our quarrels and differences will be offset and the idea of the one humanity will take their place.
It is bridging work that has now to be done. If, in the immediate future, we develop this technique of bridging the many cleavages found in the human family and in offsetting the racial hatred. and the separative attitudes of nations and people, we shall have succeeded in creating a world in which war will be impossible.
Is it not possible to build our teaching of history upon the great and good ideas which have conditioned the nations and made them what they are, and emphasise the creativity which has distinguished all of them? Can we not present more effectively the great cultural epochs which--suddenly appearing in some one nation--enriched the entire world and gave to humanity its literature, its art and its vision?
We should place emphasis on those great moments in human history wherein man's divinity flamed forth. These moments produced the Magna Carta; they gave emphasis through the French Revolution to the concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity; they formulated the American Bill of Rights and the Four Freedoms; and they have culminated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are the great concepts which must govern the new age with its nascent civilisation and its future culture.
A growing idealism is fighting its way into the forefront of the human consciousness in spite of all separative enmities. It is largely responsible for the present chaos, and for the establishment and growth of the United Nations and its specialised agencies. It has produced the conflicting ideologies which are seeking world expression. These conflicting idealisms are a wholesome sign, whether we agree with them or not. Out of it should emerge a tolerant and inclusive attitude of mind and a tendency to synthesis. This the soul of man nurtures and expresses.
The sense of responsibility is one of the first indications that the soul of the individual is awakened. The soul of humanity is also at this time awakening en masse, and hence the following indications:
It is difficult for modern man to conceive of a time when there will be no racial, national or separative religious consciousness present in human thinking. It will be obvious that very many decades must elapse before such a state of affairs will be actively present. But it could be decades and not centuries.
Much greater care will have to be given in selecting and training the teachers of the future.
Cooperative goodwill is surely the first idea to be presented to the masses and taught in our schools.
Loving understanding, intelligently applied, should be the hallmark of the cultured and wiser groups.
World citizenship, as an expression of both goodwill and understanding, should be the goal of the enlightened everywhere and the hallmark of the spiritual man, and in these you have right relations established between education, religion and politics.
Enlightenment is the major goal of education. It is in this statement and region of thought that the distinction is to be found between the work of the Buddha and the Christ. The Buddha achieved "enlightenment", and was the first of our humanity to do so. Christ, because of the attainment of the Buddha and because of His own point in evolution, inaugurated the "age of love", and gave to the people an expression of a new divine aspect, that of love.
The Buddha culminated the "age of knowledge". The Christ began the "age of love". Both ages embody and express two major divine principles. Thus the new education has been made possible by the work of the Buddha. The new religion has been made possible by the work and the life of the Christ.
In the future, illumination will be viewed primarily from the intellectual angle and the whole subject will be approached mentally, and not so definitely (as is the case today) from the angle of religion. Illumination, mysticism and religion have gone hand in hand. One of the major contributions of the present age to the unfoldment of the race has been the growing recognition that spirituality is not to be confined only to the acceptance and the following of the precepts contained in the world scriptures.
The keynote of the new education is essentially right interpretation of life, past and present and its relation to the future of mankind. The keynote of the new religion must and should be right approach to God, transcendent in nature and immanent in man, whilst the keynote of the new science of politics and government will be right human relations. For both of these education must prepare the child.
Those working in these three groups must eventually proceed in the closest cooperation, and it is for this planned understanding and this intelligent activity of mankind that the new education must prepare.