Stifled Genius: Rethinking Our Education Systems
Sadhguru answers a few questions on the nature of today’s education systems, and how every child is a genius, who needs the right kind of ambience to blossom.
Q: Do you think we need to un-educate ourselves? Do you think the normal learning processes that we go through in modern-day life is actually lessening our ability to become greater human beings, or more perceptive?
Sadhguru: What you know is not the problem in your life. The more you know, the better it is. That’s why you are trying to know. Knowledge is not causing the problem. You are identified with what you know. That is what is causing the problem. If you learn to be not identified with what you know, all that you know, whether it is considered great knowledge or it is considered filth on the street, both are actually useful to live life. Knowledge is not the burden. Identity is the burden – you get identified with limited things that you know.
Q: Are there any special techniques you developed at Isha Home School? At this age, I’m obsessed with mathematics but I should have learnt it then. I wish that I was taught mathematics differently. All I can remember is the fear of maths…
Sadhguru: They are not employing anything very special as such here, because what I see is, it is information versus inspiration. Here, the children are inspired. That’s why you see them moving about with such energy. You can gather information any time if you have an alert mind. Today, the way technology is developing, carrying all the information in your head is not relevant anymore. It’s all there on the net. If you have an alert mind, when you want it, you have it. But the Home School students are doing very well academically also.
Q: Are you planning to open more schools?
Sadhguru: Opening a school like this will not happen because you build buildings. You have to get those kinds of people who are committed to making it happen. That’s always a challenge because dedication is scarce material in the world today. Though we are enjoying that much in Isha, still it is very scarce material in the world. Everyone does something thinking of what they will get. They are not doing something simply because they love to do it. Those people are a very small number.
A Conspiracy to Educate
Q: How to preserve a state of uneducated-ness in a child when the whole world is conspiring to educate them and show them the way?
Sadhguru: It’s a good thing you said, “conspiring to educate.” Most educators are conspirators; they have a plan of their own. But at the same time, creating a large-scale, safe, conducive atmosphere where we can leave a child uneducated is an ideal condition, which I don’t see happening in the near future... But if we can create that within a home, if you want to leave your child in a state where he is not building his life on other people’s influence, but more on his innate sense of humanity and the natural capability of a human being, that would be great. I feel, we have seven billion geniuses, all horribly stifled. Every human being would be able to create wonderful things if only we could scale down the level of influence that organized systems are trying to have upon them. I can prove this. I can show you hundreds of thousands of people who, just by scaling down the influence that was there upon them, suddenly have become so creative, doing so many things.
Almost everything that is done in Isha is done in-house. We are our own architects, we are our own artists, we are our own printers, our own everything – none of them are trained, everybody just figures out how to do it. Generally, the level of aesthetics that Isha Yoga Center creates is internationally appreciated. It’s among the best that you can see anywhere. The craft and other things that are coming out of the Center are really high quality stuff, and nobody is trained for anything. And I would say, every human being is capable of this if you take away the stifling influences around him.
At the same time, this also means that all of them may not fit into the normal system if you don’t educate them. If you don’t have a lot of cogs who will just do what they are supposed to do, maybe you can’t run your industry or a political or economic system. If everyone becomes an artist, things won’t happen on the street. So, somewhere in terms of social structures, we have decided to sacrifice the majority of the population to fill these cogs so that the whole machine runs the way we want it.
So, if we are talking about remaining uneducated, we should look at a completely different way of life – which is not yet possible. Even to do it in a limited way, one of the foremost things is, parents should learn that your children are not your property, they only come through you. It’s a privilege another life chooses to come through you. You definitely cannot create another life, isn’t it? But when somebody says, “I’m a parent,” it usually means being a parent and being a boss are not too different. Instead of being a boss, you need to learn to place yourself at the same level with your child… Why I’m saying this is, if you compare yourself and your child, I would say 99.9% of the time, the child is more joyful than the parent, isn’t it? If that is so, who should be a consultant for life? Whose ways are better? This is something we have to seriously look at.
The moment a child enters a home, all the things that you have forgotten about life and become like a zombie, it’s time to learn them once again to be alive. Once a child enters your house, unknowingly you laugh, unknowingly you dance, unknowingly you play, unknowingly you crawl under the table – things you would have never done otherwise. So, when a child enters one’s life, parents need to understand it’s time to relearn life that they have forgotten, rather than trying to teach about life.
Editor’s Note: Download the ebook “Inspire Your Child, Inspire the World” for more parenting advice from Sadhguru. The book is available as “Pay As You Like.” (Enter “0” for a free download)