Question: In the courses on integral upbringing and education, we intend to first of all educate people who lost their job. The majority of them is disillusioned with life; many have difficulties with their family, self-actualization, and so on.
The first thing that you may encounter in such a group is resentment, frustration, and aggression. Would people in this state be able to perceive such distant, abstract, and theoretical information? What should we start with in order to find common ground with people?
Answer: We have no other choice. We, people, consist of two halves: heart and mind, and they have to balance each other. Then a person develops harmoniously, sees the world and himself within it. Perhaps he sees both himself and the world as unbalanced, but his worldview becomes more or less correct.
Therefore, first and foremost we have to counterbalance all of today’s problems with knowledge: From where did these problems arise, what is their origin, their necessity for our continued development, what exactly we need to come to, and so on.
As the first order of business people must necessarily complete an educational course, and not the ones on upbringing, practical work, and game scenarios—they are still far from that. The practical work within such groups begins only when the state of all sorts of problems and crises is balanced. People begin to understand the essence of these problems; they can now discuss, decide, arrive at some kind of an opinion, object, and discern the truth. But it gets discerned when feelings are balanced by knowledge.
If right now we simply take 50 people from the street and start to talk to them about today’s problems, we’ll be confronted with complete lack of understanding of our point of view. Correspondingly, feelings prevail above the mind, and we won’t get anywhere.
This is what happens in today’s world. Without understanding the general system of nature, its development (beginning, middle, and end of this path), and the state of humanity (where we exist in this moment along the axis of time), we evaluate everything only on the basis of our small, worldly egoism that doesn’t allow us to obtain the correct result. Moreover, we make wrong decisions about the future and with that bring ourselves into an even more difficult state. That is why, personally, I have no doubts that first and foremost we need to pursue education.
Precisely with that we begin our interaction with children. We always need to take our natural attitude to children as an example.
Everything begins with explanations. A child develops and feels: I sense this and that. A correct upbringing lies in supplementing a child’s feelings with explanations and with a system of correct attitude towards what he feels and how he perceives everything. This has to be balanced in adults as well. Without this we cannot advance.
Only to the extent that a group adapts this knowledge into itself does it realize and understand the causality and consequences of the feelings, their cause and effect development, and is able to see itself from the side. When a person rises above his self, he can separate his own “I” and see himself and society from the side.
The same way in psychology: You look at a person not as an individual, but from the side, trying to imagine him as a certain psychological object. Then, exploring him, you begin to give him some concrete recommendations, fragmentary explanations without even explaining who and what he is. But in principle, these explanations too are based on some kind of balance between knowledge and feelings. You cannot do without that.
That’s why in the first place we will have to introduce the courses that we spoke about in the last talk. It is a great amount of knowledge.
In the process of study, this knowledge gradually gets absorbed by people, and a person then starts to internally assimilate it along with feelings. At this point we need to start fortifying it with practical exercises that help a person balance knowledge and feelings.
A person can receive an initial sensation of that state by studying the material first-hand. We need to tell him about the origin, evolution, and properties of egoism and to present it completely objectively as a certain existing reality independent from and having nothing to do with us, so that a person could absorb everything in the form in which it exists in nature.
Next in the same course, a brief explanation can be given about how egoism works in a person: how it manifests itself in our world, in connections with family, children, with one’s own self, and so on.
That is, education involves at the very least separation into two parts, when we objectively lay out what is taking place in nature and try to express that in a somewhat dry, scientific language, and afterwards, as a supplement to that, we utilize this. After that is when the practical training begins, where we try to investigate our feelings from the point of view of reason.
A theoretical study is always reason, and we study it, fill ourselves with all kinds of knowledge, data, graphs, formulas, images, discernments of relationships, and so on, while gradually adding a little bit of feelings to that. In other words, studying always proceeds from two directions, “reason and feelings”: feelings in reason and reason in feelings.
From a “Talk on Integral Education,” 12/13/11