When one travels around the world, one notices to what a extraordinary degree human nature is the same, whether in India or American, in Europe or Australia. This is especially true in colleges and universities. We are turning out, as if through a mold, a type of human being whose chief interest is to find security, to become somebody important, or to have a good time with as little thought as possible.
Conventional education makes independent thinking extremely difficult. Conformity leads to mediocrity. To be different from the group or to resist environment is not easy and is often risky as long as we worship success. The urge to be successful, which is the pursuit of reward whether in the material or the in the so-called spiritual sphere, the search for inward or outward security, the desire for comfort – this whole process smothers discontent, puts an end to spontaneity and breeds fear; and fear blocks the intelligent understanding of life. With increasing age, dullness of mind and heart sets in.
In seeking comfort, we generally find a quiet cornet in life where there is a minimum of conflict, and then we are afraid to step out of that seclusion. This fear of life, this fear of struggle and of new experiences, kills in us the spirit of adventure; our whole upbringing and education have made us afraid to be different from our neighbor, afraid to think contrary to the established pattern of society, falsely respectful of authority and tradition.
Fortunately, there are a few who are in earnest, who are willing to examine our human problems without the prejudice of the right or of the left; but in the vast majority of us, there is no real spirit of discontent, of revolt. When we yield uncomprehendingly to environment, any spirit of revolt that we may have dies down, and our responsibilities soon put an end to it.
Revolt is of two kinds; there is violent revolt, which is mere reaction, without understanding, against the existing order; and there is the deep psychological revolt of intelligence.
Source: Education and the Significance of Life (book), by J. Krishnamurti
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