The Purpose of Education
From Intellect to Intuition
Articles By Alice A. Bailey
Perhaps in the turning of the great wheel of life, we are due again to revert to the ancient method of specialized training for the special individual - a reversion which will not involve a discarding of mass education. In this way, we may ultimately unify the methods of the past and of the East with those of the present and of the West.
Before considering these two methods let us attempt to define education, to express to ourselves its goal and so clarify our ideas as to the objectives ahead of all our endeavor. This is no easy thing to do.
Viewed from its most uninteresting aspect, education can briefly be defined as the imparting of knowledge to a student, and usually to an unwilling student, who receives a mass of information that does not interest him in the least.
A note of dryness and of aridity is struck; we feel that this presentation deals primarily with memory training, with the impartation of so-called facts, and with giving the student a little information on a vast number of unrelated subjects. The literal meaning of the word, however, is "to lead out of," or "to draw out," and this is most instructive. The thought latent in this idea is that we should draw out the inherent instincts and potentialities of the child in order to lead him out of one state of consciousness into another and wider one. In this way we lead children, for instance, who are simply conscious of being alive, into a state of self-consciousness; they become aware of themselves and of their group relationships; they are taught to develop powers and capacities, especially through vocational training, in order that they may be economically independent, and thus self-supporting members of society. We exploit their instinct of self-preservation in order to lead them on along the path of knowledge. Could it be said that we begin with the utilization of their instinctive apparatus to lead them on to the way of the intellect? Perhaps this may be true, but I question whether, having brought them thus far we carry on the good work and teach them the real meaning of intellection as a training whereby the intuition is released. We teach them to utilize their instincts and intellect as part of the apparatus of self-preservation in the external world of human affairs, but the use of pure reason and the eventual control of the mind by the intuition in the work of self-preservation and of continuity of consciousness in the subjective and real worlds, is as yet but the privileged knowledge of a few pioneers.
If Professor H. Wildon Carr is right, in his definition of the intuition, then our educational methods do not tend to its development. He defines it as
"the apprehension by the mind of reality directly as it is, and not under the form of a perception or a conception, nor as an idea or object of the reason, all of which by contrast are intellectual apprehension."
- Carr, H. Wildon, Philosophy of Change, page 21.
We rate the science of the mind or the modifications of the thinking principle (as the Hindu calls it) as strictly human, relegating man's instinctual reactions to qualities he shares in common with the animals. May it not be possible that the science of the intuition, the art of clear synthetic vision, may some day stand to the intellect as it, in its turn, stands to the instinctual faculty.
Dr. Dibblee of Oxford makes the following interesting comments upon instinct and intuition, which have their place here on account of our plea in this book for the recognition of an educational technique which would lead to the development of a faculty of a higher awareness. He says:
"...both instinct and intuition begin within the extra-conscious parts of ourselves, to speak in a local figure, and emerge equally unexpectedly into the light of every day consciousness... The impulses of instinct and the prompting of intuition are engendered in total secrecy. When they do appear, they are necessarily almost complete, and their advent into our consciousness is sudden."
- Dibblee, George Binney, Instinct and Intuition, page 128.
And he adds in another place that intuition lies on the other side of reason to instinct. We have, therefore, this interesting triplicity - instinct, intellect and intuition - with instinct lying below the threshold of consciousness, so to speak, with the intellect holding the first place in the recognition of man, as human, and with the intuition lying beyond both of them, and only occasionally making its presence felt in the sudden illuminations and apprehensions of truth which are the gift of our greatest thinkers.
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