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Comparison and violence

Almost all human beings in their lives desire power and wealth.

Comparison and violence

BENGALURU: Almost all human beings in their lives desire power and wealth. When there is wealth, there is a sense of freedom, and pleasure is pursued. The desire for power seems be an instinct which expresses itself in many ways. It is in the priest, the guru, the husband or the wife or in the action of one student towards another.

The desire to dominate or to submit is one of the conditions of mankind, probably inherited from the animal. This aggressiveness and the yielding to it pervert all relationships throughout life. This has been the pattern from the beginning of time. Humanity has accepted this as a natural way of life, with all the conflicts and miseries it brings.

Basically, measurement is involved in it – the more and the less, the greater and the smaller – which is essentially comparison. One is always comparing oneself with another, comparing one painting with another. There is comparison between the greater power and the lesser, between the timid and the aggressive. This constant measurement of power, position, wealth begins almost at birth and continues throughout life. This is encouraged in schools, colleges and universities.

Their whole system of gradation is this giving comparative value to knowledge. When A is compared to B who is clever, bright, assertive, that very comparison destroys A. This destruction takes the form of competition, of imitation of and conformity to the patterns set by B. This breeds, consciously or unconsciously, antagonism, jealousy, anxiety and even fear; and this becomes the condition in which A lives for the rest of his life, always measuring, always comparing psychologically and physically.

This comparison is one of the many aspects of violence. The word more is always comparative, as is the word better. The question is: can the educator put aside all comparison, all measurement, in his teaching? Can he take the student as he is, not as what he should be, and not make judgements based on comparative evaluations? It is only when there is comparison between the one called clever and the one called dull that there is such a quality as dullness.

When the educator puts aside comparison and measurement, then he is concerned with the student as he is, and his relationship with the student is direct and totally different. This is really very important to understand. Love is not comparative. It has no measurement.

Comparison and measurement are ways of the intellect. This is divisive. When this is understood basically, not the verbal meaning but the actual truth of it, the relationship of teacher and student undergoes a radical change. The ultimate tests of measurement are examinations accompanied by fear and anxieties, which deeply affect the future life of the student. The whole atmosphere of a school undergoes a change when there is no sense of competition, comparison.

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