The Educator

… one must in all seriousness face the question of how such idiotic and bigoted methods of education ever came to be employed, and still are employed.  Obviously, for the sole reason that there are half-baked educators who are not human beings at all, but walking personifications of method.  TEJ 192

Our whole educational problem suffers from a one-sided approach to the child who is to be educated, and from an equally one-sided lack of emphasis on the uneducatedness of the educator.  Everyone who has finished his course of studies feels himself to be fully educated; in a word, he feels grown up.  He must feel this, he must have this solid conviction of his own competence in order to survive the struggle for existence.  Any doubt or feeling of uncertainty would hinder and cripple him …   TEJ 193

As a rule, however, the individual is so unconscious that he altogether fails to see his own potentialities for decision.  Instead he is constantly and anxiously looking around for decision.  Instead he is constantly and anxiously looking around for external rules and regulations which can guide him in his perplexity. 

Cont’d … Aside from general human inadequacy, a good deal of the blame for this rests with education, which promulgates the old generalizations and says nothing about the secrets of private experience. 

Cont’d…  Thus, every effort is made to teach idealistic beliefs or conduct which people know in their hearts they can never live up to, and such ideals are preached by officials who know that they themselves have never lived up to these high standards and never will.  What is more, nobody ever questions the value of this kind of teaching.   MDR 330

I am afraid that we cannot hold the unconsciousness and impotence of the individual entirely responsible for this state of affairs:  it is due also to the general psychological education of the European.  Not only is this education of the proper concern of the ruling religions, it belongs to their very nature - for religion excels all rationalistic systems in that it alone relates to the outer and inner man in equal degree.  We can accuse Chritianity of arrested development if we are determined to excuse our own shortcomings; but I do not wish to make the mistake of blaming religion for something that is due mainly to human incompetence.  I am speaking therfore not of the deepest and best understanding of Christianity but of the superficialities and disastrous misunderstandings that are plain for all to see.  The  (Mysterium Coniunctionis)

Our consciousness is still secretly coupled with these two tendencies (knowledge and power) for domination, and knowledge is generally combined with them.  You see this most irritatingly in the prestige drive of the academic world.  It is a rare event in university life that a professor is interested in truth for its own sake; usually he is more interested in his position and in being the first to have said something.  TPoPA 222

The teacher, as a personality, (if given charge of a child who is highly unconscious due to family reasons), is then faced with the delicate task of avoiding repressive authority, while at the same time exercising that just degree of authority which is appropriate to the adult in his dealings with children.  This attitude cannot be produced artificially; it can only come about in a natural way when the teacher does his duty as a man and a citizen.  He must be an upright and healthy man himself, for good example still remains the best pedagogic method.  But it is also true that the very best method avails nothing if its practitioner does not hold his position on his personal merits.  It would be different if the only thing that mattered in school life were the methodical teaching of the curriculum.  But that is at most only half the meaning of school.  The other half is the real psychological education made possible thorugh the personality of the teacher.   TDoP 5

For the day will inevitably come when what the educator teaches by word of mouth no longer works, but only what he is.  Every educator – and I use the term in its widest sense – should constantly ask himself whether he is actually fulfilling his teachings in his own person and in his own life, to the best of his knowledge and with a clear conscience.  Psychtherapy has taught us that in the final reckoning it is not knowledge, not technical skill, that has a curative effect, but the personality of the doctor.  And it is the same with education: it presupposes self-education.  TDoP 140

… I would say, in the light of my own experience, that an understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough.  One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.  TDoP 144

The educator should know above all else that talk and officious discipline lead nowhere, that what counts is example.  If he unconsciously permits all kinds of viciousness, lies, and bad manners in himself, these will have an incomparably more powerful effect than the best of intentions, which are so easily come by.  The doctor therefore believes that the best way to educate others is for the educator himself to be educated, and that he should first try out on himself the psychological profundities he has learnt from text-books, in order to test their efficacy.  So long as these efforts are prosecuted with a certain amount of intelligence and patience, he will probably not make such a bad teacher.   TDoP 132

The educator, too, is a fallible human being, and the child he educates will reflect his failings.  Therefore it is wise to be as clear-sighted as possible about one’s subjective views, and particularly about one’s faults.  As a man is, so will be his ultimate truth, and so also his strongest effect on others.   TDoP 120

Nobody will deny or underestimate the importance of childhood; the severe and often life-long injuries caused by stupid upbringing at home or in school are too obvious, and the need for more reasonable pedagogic methods is far too urgent.  But if this evil is to be attacked at the root, one must in all seriousness face the question of how such idiotic and bigoted methods of education ever came to be employed, and still are employed.  Obviously, for the sole reason that there are half-baked educators who are not human beings at all, but walking personifications of method.  Anyone who wants to educate must himself be educated.  But the parrot-like book-learning and mechanical use of methods that is still practiced today is no education either for the child or for educator.  TDoP 168