Education in the New Age – Theory, Methods and Goals

Theory, Methods and Goals

By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl

All that I have to say here is still in the nature of introductory remarks. Please bear this in mind. I am anxious however, to lay a sound foundation for our future discussions on the building of the antahkarana, so that we can work intelligently, but not critically. It is essential that as we start our work it should be based on that which is today in existence. Nature works without any gaps, and this is so even when (from the standpoint of academic science) there is an apparent hiatus between facts and known species. In transitional periods some of the bridging forms have disappeared and the gap appears to be there. But it is not so in fact. We have not yet discovered all that is to be found in the world of phenomenal appearances. We are passing through one of the great natural transitional periods at this time. We are laying the foundation for the emergence of a new species of human being – a more highly evolved unit within the human family – hence much of our problem, and much of the present failure to meet the demands of the race, and to measure up to human need for development.

We have, in the world, a general theory as to education, and certain basic methods are universally employed. Countries vary greatly in the application of methods, and systems differ very considerably. All, however, teach these same fundamental things; they teach the youth of the country to read and write and to attain a fair measure of ability to deal with figures through instruction in elementary arithmetic. These three are curiously symbolic of the whole evolutionary unfoldment of the race.

Reading has to do with the clothing of ideas with form and is related to the first step in the creative process, wherein Deity, governed and impelled by an idea (embodying God’s purpose and plan), converted that idea into the desired substance and clothed it with the needed outer appearance. Writing symbolizes the method whereby the process is carried on, but it is of course far more personal in its implications. Reading is concerned essentially with the realization of a clothed idea of some kind, whereas writing is, curiously enough, concerned with the individual’s conscious self-relation to ideas, and his use of words in writing is the measure of the grasp he may have of these universal ideas. Arithmetic (and the power to add, to subtract, and to multiply) is related also to the creative process and concerns the production of those forms upon the physical plane which will adequately produce the idea and bring it to manifestation.

Vision might be regarded as concerning itself with the higher levels of the mental plane, whereon the idea is sensed and seen. Writing has a more definite relation to the concrete levels of the mental plane and to the ability of the man to bring through and express these visioned ideas in his own particular form. Arithmetic has a definite relation to subsequent aspects of the process and to the emergence of the idea into some correlated form upon the physical plane. The visioning of the thought-form is a process which must be succeeded by the appropriation of as much energy by the idea as is needed to make it effective or “apparent” (esoterically speaking). Of this the symbolism of arithmetic is the expression.

From another angle, man reads his destiny in the heavens and writes out that destiny in his life upon the earth; he reduces, knowingly or unknowingly, the idea of his soul to due and proper form, so that each life adds, subtracts and multiplies, until the sum of each soul’s experiencing is complete. Thus, symbolically, the three basic ideas are held in elementary education, though their true meaning is divorced from reality and the right significance is entirely lost. All that we have, however, emerging slowly and definitely through the medium of world education, is built upon this unrealized scaffolding. The fundamental necessity which today confronts the educational world is the need to relate the process of unfolding the human mentality to the world of meaning, and not to the world of objective phenomena. Until the aim of education is to orient a man to this inner world of realities, we shall have the misplaced emphasis of the present time. Until we can arrive in our educational objectives at the bridging of the gap between the three lower aspects of man and the soul (a bridging which must take place upon the mental levels of consciousness), we shall make but little progress in right directions and all interim activity will be inadequate to the modern need. Until the fact of the higher mind is recognized, and the place which the lower concrete mind should fill as the servant of the higher is likewise recognized, we shall have the over-development of the concrete materializing faculty – with its aptitude to memorize, to correlate facts and to produce that which will meet man’s lower desire – but we shall not have a humanity which can truly think. As yet, the mind reflects the lower desire nature and does not attempt to cognize the higher.

When the right method of training is instituted, the mind will be developed into a reflector or agent of the soul and so sensitized to the world of true values that the lower nature – emotional, mental and physical or vital – will become simply the automatic servant of the soul. The soul will then function on earth through the medium of the mind, thereby controlling its instrument, the lower mind.

Yet at the same time, the mind will remain the recorder and reflector of all information coming to it from the world of the senses, from the emotional body, and will register also the thoughts and the ideas current in its environment.

At present, it is alas true, the trained mind is regarded as the highest expression of which humanity is capable; it is viewed entirely as a personality, and the possibility of there being something which can use the mind, as the mind in its turn uses the physical brain, is overlooked.

One of the things which we shall seek to do in our studies together is to grasp the relation of the world of meaning to the world of expression; we shall attempt to study the technique whereby this world of quality (which expresses itself through the world of meaning) can be entered and understood by the integrated consciousness of the intelligent human being.

Certain words will recur again and again as we work and study together; such words as meaning, quality, value – all of which stand revealed in their vital spiritual significance when man learns to grasp the fact of the higher realities and bridges the gap between his higher and his lower consciousness. The significance also of creative activity and the right understanding of what we call genius will likewise be made clearer, and in this way creative work will no longer be regarded as unique and manifesting sporadically as is now the case but will become the subject of trained attention, and so assume its normal place in man’s unfoldment. It might be added here that creative activity in the field of art becomes possible when the first aspect of the bridging energy of man can function and the soul (manifesting its third or lowest aspect) can begin to work. Creative work can be carried forward when two of the “knowledge petals” of the egoic lotus are unfolded. The man can produce, through knowledge and creative energy, something upon the physical plane which will be expressive of the soul’s creative power. When two of the “love petals” are also unfolded, then a genius makes his appearance. This is a technical piece of information for those students who are studying the science of the Ageless Wisdom, but it is of no value to those who do not recognize symbology, or the fact of the higher ego or soul.

It might be of value here if I clarified my use of the words “higher ego.” As you know, if you have read A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vols. I and II (Esoteric Psychology), the soul is an aspect of the divine energy in time and space. We are told that the Solar Logos circumscribed for His use and for the meeting of His desire, a certain measure of the substance of space and informed it with His life and consciousness. He did this for His good purposes and in conformity with His self-realized plan and intent. Thus He submitted Himself to limitation. The human monad followed the same procedure and – in time and space – limited itself in a similar manner. On the physical plane and in the physical body, this phenomenal and transient entity controls its phenomenal appearance through the two aspects of life and consciousness. The life principle – the flow of divine energy through all forms – temporarily seated in the heart, while the consciousness principle, the soul of all things, is located (temporarily as far as the form nature of a particular human unit is concerned) within the brain. As again you know, the life principle controls the mechanism through the medium of the blood stream, for “the blood is the life,” and uses the heart as its central organ; whilst the consciousness principle uses the nervous system as its instrument, with the intricate extensions of the organ of sensitivity, the spinal column.

The objective of education should therefore be the training of the mechanism to respond to the life of the soul. The higher Self or Soul is the sumtotal of the consciousness of the Monad, again in time and space. The lower self or soul is, for our purposes, as much of that sumtotal as any one person in any one life can use and express. This activity is dependent upon the type and quality of the body nature, the mechanism produced by soul activity in other lives, and the effect of reaction to environing conditions. The increasing of soul awareness, the deepening of the flow of consciousness, and the development of an inner continuity of awareness, plus the evocation of soul attributes and aspects upon the physical plane through the medium of its triple mechanism, constitute the objective of all education. These aspects are, as you well know:

    1. Will or purpose. This, through education, should be developed to the point where the manifested life is governed by conscious spiritual purpose and the life tendency is correctly oriented towards reality.

The right direction of the will should be one of the major concerns of all true educators. The will-to-good, the will-to-beauty, and the will-to-serve must be cultivated.

    2. Love-wisdom. This is essentially the unfolding of the consciousness of the whole. We call it group consciousness. Its first development is self-consciousness, which is the realization by the soul that (in the three worlds of human evolution) man is the Three in One and One in Three. He can therefore react to the associated groups of lives which constitute his own little phenomenal appearance; self-consciousness is, therefore, a stage on the way to group consciousness and is the consciousness of the Immediate.

Through education, this self-consciousness must be unfolded until the man recognizes that his consciousness is a corporate part of a greater whole. He blends then with the group interests, activities and objectives. They are eventually his and he becomes group conscious. This is love. It leads to wisdom, which is love in manifested activity. Self-interest becomes group interest. Such should be the major objective of all true educational endeavor. Love of self (self-consciousness), love of those around us (group-consciousness), become eventually love of the whole (God consciousness). Such are the steps.

    3. Active Intelligence. This concerns the unfolding of the creative nature of tile conscious, spiritual man. It takes place through right use of the mind, with its power to intuit ideas, to respond to impact, to translate, analyze, and to construct forms for revelation. Thus the soul of man creates. This creative process can be described, as far as its steps are concerned, as follows:

  • The soul creates its physical body, its phenomenal appearance, its outer form.
  • The soul creates, in time and space, in line with its desires. Thus the secondary world of phenomenal things comes into being and our modern civilization is the result of this creative activity of the soul’s desire nature, limited by form. Ponder on this.
  • The soul creates through the direct agency of the lower mind and hence the appearance of the world of symbols which fill our united lives with interest, concepts, ideas and beauty, through the written word, the spoken word, and the creative arts. These are the products of the thought of the thinkers of the race.

The right direction of this already developed tendency is the aim of all true education. The nature of ideas, the modes of intuiting them, and the laws which should govern all creative work are its goals and objectives. Thus we come to the world of attributes which supplement the activity of the three aspects, in the same way that the three major rays are enhanced and aided by the work of the four minor rays. These four attributive unfoldments in man, through the activity of the soul in manifestation, are:

    4. The attribute of harmony, produced through conflict. This leads to release and to the eventual power to create. This is one of the attributes which education should deal with from the angle of the intuition and should hold before its exponents as personality and group objectives. It is the attribute latent in all forms and is that innate urge or discontent which leads man to struggle and progress and evolve in order finally to make at-one-ment and union with his soul. It is the lowest aspect of that higher spiritual and monadic triad which reflects itself in the soul. It is the consciousness of harmony and beauty which drives the human unit along the path of evolution to an eventual return to his emanating Source.

Education must work, therefore, with this dissatisfaction and interpret it to those who are taught, so that they can understand themselves and work intelligently.

    5. The attribute of concrete knowledge whereby man is enabled to concretize his concepts and so build thought-forms whereby he materializes his visions and his dreams and brings his ideas into being. This he does through the activity of the lower concrete mind.

The true work of education is to train the lower man in right discrimination and true sensitivity to the vision, so that he can build true to the purpose of his soul and produce upon the earth that which will be his contribution to the whole. It is right here that the work of modern education has to begin. Not yet can man work with intelligence in the world of ideas and of patterns; not yet is he sensitive to the true spiritual values. This is the goal for the disciple, even though the masses cannot yet function on these levels. The first thing that must be done is to train the child in the correct use of the discriminating faculty and in the power of choice and of directed purpose. He must be brought to a truer understanding of the underlying purpose of being, and be led to work with wisdom in the field of creative activity, which means, in the last analysis, in the right use of the “mind stuff” (the chitta of Patanjali). Thus and only thus, can he be released from the control of his lower nature.

    6. The attribute of devotion is the next to be considered. Devotion grows out of and is the fruit of dissatisfaction, plus the use of the faculty of choice. According to the depths of a man’s discontent, and of his power to see clearly, he passes from one point of temporary satisfaction to another, each time demonstrating his devotion to a desire, to a personality, to an ideal, and to a vision, until he finally unifies himself with the ideal which is the highest possible to man. This is, first of all, the soul; and then the Oversoul or God.

Educators are therefore faced with the opportunity of dealing intelligently with the innate idealism to be found in any child, and with the interesting task of leading the youth of the world on from one realized goal to another. But this they must do in the future from the angle of the ultimate soul objective and not, as in the past, from the angle of a particular standard of national education. This is an important point, for it will mark the shift of attention from the non-essential to the essential.

    7. Finally the attribute of order, and the imposition of an established rhythm through the development of innate faculty to function under directed purpose and ritual. This particular attribute of divinity is now highly developed in one aspect, so that we have today much standardization of humanity, and the autocratic imposition of a ritualistic rhythm upon public life in a large number of countries. It can be seen to perfection in the life in our public schools – but it is an undesirable perfection. This is partly due to the recognition that the unit or individual is only a part of a greater whole (a recognition which is much needed) and a part of the evolutionary unfoldment of the race. Owing, however, to our faulty application of any new truth it means as yet the submergence of that unit in the group, leaving him little opportunity for the free play of the individual will, intelligence, purpose and soul technique. Educators will have to work with this principle of innate attribute and this instinct to ordered rhythm, making it more creatively constructive and so providing, through it, a field for the unfoldment of soul powers.

I have digressed thus far so as to instill certain of the basic ideas which should underlie the educational tendencies. These thoughts, coupled with those already given, constitute a statement of the objectives before the educators of the world which you would find it of value to consider. Earlier I suggested the goal. I now link that goal up with possibilities, for I have here touched upon the equipment (aspects and attributes) which is found, in some stage of development, in every human being. It is with these hidden traits and instincts that the future educational systems must work. They must not work, as they do today, with the brain apparatus and with the lowest aspects of the mind; nor must they lay their emphasis upon the effort to impress upon that brain and mind the facts, so-called, of the evolutionary process and of physical plane investigation.

The above remarks will serve to show you that the true educator should be working with energies in a world of energy; that these energies are tinged and qualified by distinctive divine attributes, and that each human being therefore can be regarded as an aggregate of energies, dominated by some one particular type of energy which serves to make him distinctive among his fellows, and which produces the differences among human beings. If it is true that there are seven major types of energy qualifying all forms, and that these in their turn are subdivided into forty-nine types of qualified energy, the complexity of the problem emerges clearly. If it is true that all these distinctive energies play constantly upon energy-substance (spirit-matter), producing “the myriad forms which make up the form of God” (Bhagavad Gita, XI), and that each child is the microcosmical representation (at some stage of development) of the Macrocosm, the magnitude of the problem becomes evident, and the extent of our demanded service will call forth to the utmost the powers which any human being can express at any given moment in time and space.

You will note that these words “in time and space” have repeatedly recurred in this instruction. Why is this? Because it must constantly be remembered that we are living in the world of illusion – an illusion which is temporary and transient and which will some day disappear, taking with it the illusion of appearance, the illusion of evolutionary unfoldment, the illusion of separateness, and the illusion of distinctive identity – that illusion which makes us say “I am.” The educator of the future will start his service to the child with the recognition of this ephemeral and transient misconception of the soul, and will deal primarily with the mind aspect, and not with the imposition of as much imparted organized knowledge concerning phenomenal existence as the memory of the child is capable of grasping. How can I illustrate this changed attitude to you in the simplest form? Perhaps by pointing out that, whereas today parents and guardians of the child spend much of their time in answering or evading questions posed by the awakening consciousness of the child, in time to come the situation will be reversed. Parents will ceaselessly meet the demands of the emerging intelligence of the child by always inquiring of the child, Why? Why ask this? Why is it thus? – and so throwing always the responsibility of answering the questions upon the child, yet at the same time dropping the solution of the question subtly into the child’s mind.

This process will begin in the fifth year of the child’s life; the seeking intelligence (which is the child itself) will always be forced by the teacher into the position of inward search, not outer demand for a reply which can be memorized and which rests upon the authority of the older person. If this seems to you as yet impossible, remember that the children who will or have come into incarnation, after the period of increased stimulation found between the years 1935 and 1942, will normally and naturally respond to this evocation of the mind element.

One of the major functions of those who train the infant minds of the race will be to determine, as early as possible in life, which of the seven determining energies are controlling in each case. The technique to be later applied will then be built upon this important initial decision – hence again, the growing responsibility of the educator. A child’s note and quality will be early determined, and his whole planned training will grow out of this basic recognition. This is not yet possible, but will shortly be so, when the quality and nature of any individual etheric body can be scientifically discovered. This development is not as distant as might be supposed or anticipated.

It is not my intention to deal with the details of this process, nor to elaborate the methods whereby the children of the race can be trained. Our objective is to deal with the more universal and immediate necessity of bridging the gap between the different aspects of the lower self, so that an integrated personality emerges; and then of bridging the gap between the soul and the spiritual triad, so that there can be the free play of consciousness and complete identification with the One Life, thus leading to the loss of the sense of separateness and to the merging of the part with the Whole, with no loss of identity but with no recognition of self-identification.

Here an interesting point should be carefully noted. It holds the key to future racial unfoldment. For it the new science of psychology, which has developed so remarkably during the past thirty years, is preparing us. Students should train themselves to distinguish between the sutratma and the antahkarana, between the life thread and the thread of consciousness. One thread is the basis of immortality and the other the basis of continuity. Herein lies a fine distinction for the investigator. One thread (the sutratma) links and vivifies all forms into one functioning whole and embodies in itself the will and the purpose of the expressing entity, be it man, God or a crystal. The other thread (the antahkarana) embodies the response of the consciousness within the form to a steadily expanding range of contacts within the environing whole.

The sutratma is the direct stream of life, unbroken and immutable, which can be regarded symbolically as a direct stream of living energy flowing from the center to the periphery, and from the source to the outer expression or the phenomenal appearance. It is the life. It produces the individual process and the evolutionary unfoldment of all forms. It is, therefore, the path of life, which reaches from the monad to the personality, via the soul. This is the thread soul and it is one and indivisible. It conveys the energy of life and finds its final anchor in the center of the human heart and at some central focal point in all forms of divine expression. Naught is and naught remains but life.

The consciousness thread (antahkarana) is the result of the union of life and substance or of the basic energies which constitute the first differentiation in time and space; this produces something different, which only emerges as a third divine manifestation, after the union of the basic dualities has taken place. It is the thread which is woven as a result of the appearance of life in form upon the physical plane. Speaking again symbolically, it might be said that the sutratma works from above downward and is the precipitation of life into the outer manifestation. The antahkarana is woven, evolved, and created as the result of this primary creation, and works from below upwards, from the without to the within, from the world of esoteric phenomena into the world of subjective realities and of meaning.

This “Path of Return,” by means of which the race is withdrawn from outer emphasis and begins to recognize and register those inner conscious knowledges of that which is not phenomenal, has already (through the evolutionary process) reached a point of development wherein some human beings can follow along this path from the physical consciousness to the emotional, and from the emotional to the mental. That part of the work is already accomplished in many thousands of cases and what is now required is facility and right use of this power. This thread of energy, colored by conscious sentient response, is later colored by the discriminating consciousness of the mind, and this produces that inner integration which makes man eventually an efficient thinking being. At first, this thread is used purely for lower selfish interests; it steadily gets stronger and more potent as time goes on, until it is a definite, clear, strong thread reaching from the outer physical life, from a point within the brain, straight through to the inner mechanism. This thread, however, is not identified with the mechanism, but with the consciousness in man. Through the means of this thread a man becomes aware of his emotional life in its many forms (note this phraseology), and through it he becomes aware of the world of thought; he learns to think and begins to function consciously on the mental plane, in which the thinkers of the race – a steadily increasing number – live and move and have their being. Increasingly he learns to tread this path of consciousness, and thereby ceases to be identified with the animal outer form and learns to identify himself with the inner qualities and attributes. He lives first the life of dreams, and then the life of thought. Then the time comes when this lower aspect of the antahkarana is completed, and the first great conscious unity is consummated. The man is an integrated, conscious, living personality. The thread of continuity between the three lower aspects of the man is established and can be used. It stretches, if such a term can be used (my intent being entirely pictorial), from the center of the head to the mind, which is in its turn a center of energy in the world of thought. At the same time, this antahkarana is interwoven with the thread of life or the sutratma which emerges from the heart center. The objective of evolution in form is now relatively complete.

When this stage has been reached, the sensitive feeling-out into the environing universe still continues. Man weaves a thread which is like the thread the spider weaves so amazingly. He reaches out still further into his possible environment and then discovers an aspect of himself of which he had little dreamt in the early stages of his development. He discovers the soul and then passes through the illusion of duality. This is a necessary but not a permanent stage. It is one which characterizes the aspirant of this world cycle, perhaps I should say this manvantara or world period. He seeks to merge himself with the soul, to identify himself, the conscious personality, with that over-shadowing soul. It is at this point, technically speaking, that the true building of the antahkarana must be begun. It is the bridge between the personality and the soul.

The recognition of this constitutes the problem with which the modern educator is faced. It is a problem that has always existed but it has concerned the individual hitherto more than the group. Now it concerns the group, for so many of the sons of men are ready for this building. Down the ages individuals have built their individual bridges between the higher and the lower, but so successful has been the evolutionary process that today the time has come for a group understanding of this emerging technique, for a group bridging, leading to a consequent or subsequent group revelation. This provides the modern opportunity in the field of education. It indicates the responsibility of the educator and points out the necessity for a new unfoldment in educational methods. The “group aspirant” must be met and the group antahkarana must be built. This, however, when rightly understood, will not negate individual effort. That always must be met; but the group understanding will increasingly aid the individual.