On education: Are titles like “teacher” and “student” any necessary? | Meditative Diaries



On education: Are titles like “teacher” and “student” any necessary?

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The previous diary was about whether compulsion is any necessary in education! This diary was followed by dozens of comments in social media and made other questions appear.. one of the most important was whether there is such thing as a teacher and a student? Whether such hierarchy is necessary.. or maybe its destructive.

So let’s say that there is a school. No matter what the outer rules are, what the curriculum demands, two people enter the classroom. One is called Teacher, the other is called Student. These words do exist, but if we separate the practical, academic knowledge, do these words represent anything true? If they don’t symbolize anything true then these words represent just two images, two fantasies, two imaginary entities. Two images that seem to hinder actual relationship between these two people. In such case it seems that only the images are in relationship. In such a relationship, true learning and education seems not possible. Once two images contact each other how could one learn and how can one teach – everything happens in the dimension of imagination so no actual learning is possible? If these two images are active doesn’t it mean that the student accepts teacher as an authority, because connected to the existence of these two images is an also imaginary hierarchy? Once this happens the teacher will necessarily dominate the student. Unfortunately the student will blindly follow, the student will mechanically imitate. Do you feel such things have anything to do with actual education?

Now what happens when these images disappear? Two people enter the classroom and nothing hinders their contact. These two people are now able to see each other to actually meet each other.. totally free from images they are able to see the unique eternally changing beauty of each other, the beauty of their expressions. It’s like grasping what life is, like watching the flow of a river. They are able to listen to each other with no need at all to prevail, to convince, to dominate, to propagandize.. such desires do exist only when some images are active. So the teacher is not a teacher anymore. The student is not a student anymore.. there are only two people that start talking about the problems of living with care and affection, like friends! What is the source of this affection? I think its life itself! Such a relationship flourishes in freedom, in complete freedom, where no psychological rules that set the relationship between the student and the teacher exist, even if the outer rules do exist. While there is total freedom, fear is not and love is.  In such an atmosphere the two people discuss passionately but calmly, they stimulate each other to go further, to discover, to investigate, to find out on their own.

So if you leave out of the conversation the academic knowledge what exactly is education, what exactly is learning. Is it accumulation of knowledge? Accumulation of experience or ideas and stereotypes? A guide of Do’s and Dont’s? Or is it something quite different? Is it a process where two people (of different age or not) embrace each other with love and affection and they explore together what life is, what they are? And is such movement possible to flourish if not in complete inner freedom (even if outer freedom is not possible)? So probably education is the true relationship that shows/teaches people the necessity of being a light for themselves, shows them the necessity to be completely free.. and this is not something that someone with the title of a “teacher” can do. Probably only the quality of love can do that. And when love is the teacher and the student are not!

So it seems actual education is able to take place only when this inner transformation takes place, no matter what the outer environment is. Again, don’t take all these as right or wrong, this would be silly.. please find on your own.



Jorge Kapa

The speaker is never important but you may examine the message, if you wish


  1. a nice part on Self -knowledge that I just read from “A Dominie’s log” a book written by neill before he found summerhill, when he worked at a public school,. “My work is hopeless, for education should aim at bringing up a new generation that will be better than the old. The present system is to produce the same kind of man as we see to-day. Most of the stuff I teach them will be forgotten in a year or two, but an attitude remains with one throughout life. I want these boys and girls to acquire the habit of looking honestly at life. Ah ! I wonder if I look honestly at life myself ! Am I not a very one-sided man ? Am I not a Socialist, a doubter, a heretic ? Am I not biassed when I judge men ? I admit it. I am a partisan, and yet I try to look at life honestly. I try and that is the main point. I do not think that I have any of the current superstitions about morality and religion and art. I try to forget names. I try to get at essentials, at truth. The fathers of my bairns are, I think, interested in names. I wonder how many of them have sat down saying : “I must examine myself, so that I may find out what manner of man I am. I hold that self-knowledge must come before all things. When one has stripped off all the conventions, and superstitions, and hypocrisies, then one is educated.” A.S. Neill, 1915

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