Satish Kumar: Holistic Education
I would like to thank all of you for coming this evening!
Professor Tian Song has discussed four dimensions: science, technology, society, and ecology. I would like to add a fifth dimension. The four dimensions are very good, but are all related to the external world. What about our inner world? We have a mind. We have a heart. We have consciousness. Unless we have a transformation within our consciousness, in our mind, in our heart, the change outside will not be enough.
The first change of heart we need is to see that nature ‘out there’ and human beings ‘here’ are not two separate entities. Science and technology, particularly science, has divided nature and people. Science has put us above nature. We think that all of nature is only for the use of human beings, that the human race is the supreme race. We are in charge of the planet. We are the rulers of the planet. So we can do to nature what we like, it’s our nature for our use. This mindset, this worldview, has to change.
Born in Nature, Belong to Nature
We have to say that nature and humans are not separate. We are also nature. The word ‘nature’ means ‘birth’ in English. When a mother is pregnant, she goes to the hospital for a pre-natal check, and after the birth she has the postnatal check. ‘Natal’ and ‘nature’ come from the same root. ‘Native’ does too. If you say ‘I am a native of China’, it means you're born in China. So, anybody, and any creature, is born in nature. We are born. So how can you say we are not nature, that nature is only out there, that the animals and the forest and the oceans and the mountains are nature, but we are not? We are born. We are also nature.
At the quantum physics level, we are all one. So this is what I call inner transformation. If our minds are dualistic, that we are separate from nature, then our mindset ill be full of ideas that we have to conquer nature, control nature, subjugate nature, and use nature for our benefit. If this is our mindset of greed and control and domination, then no science, no technology, no ecology, no sociology, and no external recipient can help. We have to realize that forests and animals and mountains are made of the same elements that we are made of. We all have one single origin. We have all come from the Big Bang. And we are children of the ocean, the mountains, the forests, the animals, and the chimpanzees. We are the children of nature. And therefore, the rights of the human are only one of many rights – there are rights of nature, rights of the earth.
So the pollution of the planet happens when our minds are polluted. Our minds are polluted with the idea of dualism, separation, domination, control, and greed. And more importantly, the ego. All universities teach us to be egotistical, they teach you to get a job that will make you successful. What is success? When you make lots of money, buy a big house, a big car, and have a big salary, which will destroy the planet? That doesn't matter. As long as you make a lot of money and have a big car, a big house and a Nobel Prize and control and power, you're successful. This is the university education. The universities have been polluting our minds. With our polluted mind, we go out and pollute the planet. At the university, they look at you as a student, as young people, and they say, you have no body, you have no hands, you have no heart, you have no legs, you have no body, only a brain. So they only teach that you have a brain and they pollute the brain.
I did not go to university. I went walking. I went walking for two-and-a-half years. My university was a walking university. I walked 8,000 miles in two-and-a-half years. I walked from New Delhi to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Moscow. And then I walked from Moscow to Belorussia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France. I walked for two-and-a-half years without any money in my pocket. If you want to see the world, just go walking. You don't need any money. Wherever you go, there is land, and land produces food. Wherever you go, there are trees, and trees produce apples and mangoes and papayas. And I did not eat meat for two-and-a-half years, no meat, no fish, only a vegetarian diet.
Even though I did not go to university, I started Schumacher College. We started Schumacher College to stop the pollution of the mind. At Schumacher College, students have education for the brain, but also for the heart, hands and legs. We teach holistic science, Gaia theory, Deep Ecology; we teach complexity theories like quantum physics. But also we teach spirituality. We teach meditation. So it’s about learning, living, and loving.
Holistic education is to learn from our whole body, and learn in our mind and body that we are a microcosm of a macrocosm. The entire planet Earth, the entire universe is our body. I am earth, air, fire, water, consciousness. I am the sun and the moon. I am stars. The moment you have that unity with the cosmos, then your science, your technology, your sociology, and your ecology has a different, profound and deep meaning. And when I have such a big mind and a big heart, then my relationship with the natural world is not of greed, but of celebration. We in the modern world are so busy working on computers and machinery and offices and shops that we have forgotten to celebrate life. Celebration comes from your heart, the place of love.
Before we can protect the environment, and protect the planet, we have to love the planet, love the environment, love nature. Love is the foundation of science, technology, sociology and ecology. So, apart from the four points of the professor, I add the fifth point, which is love. Without love, human life cannot be of any good use. If you are a teacher, teach because you love children and you love knowledge, not for money, but for love. Teach for love, and money will come. If you're a doctor, what is important in a hospital? Not the big hospital building, not all the modern machinery, not all the medicine coming from all over the world. All of that is secondary. It’s the love in the heart of the doctor and the nurse to heal the sick. If that love is missing, you can have hundreds of kinds of machinery and thousands of medicines and fancy buildings, but no healing will take place. Medicine and machinery and buildings are just by the way, they are means to an end. If you are an entrepreneur and businessman, what is important for a business? Not the bank balance, not the balance sheet, not the things you are buying and selling, and exporting and importing. What is most important in business? It is the trader who is trying to love the community that needs clothing, shoes, housing, who needs all these things. So out of love, we go and do business, and then we earn money. But it's the love that informs the business. And that becomes a good business.
Love has nothing to do with religion, cult, dogma or any kind of doctrine. Love is just the opening of the heart, and the feeling and celebration and appreciation of our relationship with the trees and the flowers and the water and the rivers and the oceans, and the people and the future people too. So, science, technology, sociology, ecology are very good for the outer transformation. Love, compassion, a change of worldview, and a sense of unity with life, that is inner transformation. When inner transformation and outer transformation are walking on two legs, side by side, in and out together, then we have holistic education. I don't think the Communist Party will have any objection to this revolution. You have had one revolution in 1949, and now we are in 2019 – let China lead the new revolution, a love revolution. Thank you!