Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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What does it mean to be serious?

Total Freedom | First Talk at Rajghat School, Varanasi, 1955

Questioner: Are individuals impotent against the atomic and hydrogen bombs?

KRISHNAMURTI: They are going on experimenting with these bombs in America, in Russia, and elsewhere, and what can you and I do about it? So what is the point of discussing this matter? You may try to create public opinion by writing to the papers about how terrible it is, but will that stop the governments from investigating and creating the H-bomb? Are they not going to go on with it anyhow? They may use atomic energy for peaceful as well as destructive purposes, and probably within five or ten years they will have factories running on atomic energy, but they will also be preparing for war. They may limit the use of atomic weapons, but the momentum of war is there, and what can we do? Historical events are in movement, and I don't think you and I living here in Banaras can stop that movement. Who is going to care? But what we can do is something completely different. We can step out of the present machinery of society which is constantly preparing for war, and perhaps by our own total inward revolution, we shall be able to contribute to the building of a civilization which is altogether new.

After all, what is civilization? What is the Indian or the European civilization? It is an expression of the collective will, is it not? The will of the many has created this present civilization in India, and cannot you and I break away from it and think entirely differently about these matters? Is it not the responsibility of serious people to do this? Must there not be serious people who see this process of destruction going on in the world, who investigate it, and who step out of it in the sense of not being ambitious and all the rest of it? What else can we do? But you see, we are not willing to be serious, that is the difficulty. We don't want to tackle ourselves, we want to discuss something outside, far away.

Questioner: There must be some people who are very serious, and have they solved their problems or the problems of the world?

KRISHNAMURTI: That is not a serious question, is it? It is like my saying that others have eaten when I myself am hungry. If I am hungry, I will inquire where food is to be had, and to say that others are well fed is irrelevant, it indicates that I am not really hungry. Whether there are serious people who have solved their problems is not important. Have you and I solved our problems? That is much more important, is it not? Can a few of us discuss this matter very seriously, earnestly pursue it and see what we can do, not merely intellectually, verbally, but actually?

Questioner: Is it really possible for us to escape the impact of modern civilization?

KRISHNAMURTI: What is modem civilization? Here in India it is an ancient culture on which have been superimposed certain layers of Western culture like nationalism, science, parliamentarianism, militarism, and so on. Now, either we shall be absorbed by this civilization, or we must break away and create a different civilization altogether.

It is an unfortunate thing that we are so eager merely to listen because we listen in the most superficial manner, and that seems to be sufficient for most of us. Why does it seem so extraordinarily difficult for us seriously to discuss and to eradicate in ourselves the things that are causing antagonism and war?

Questioner: We have to consider the immediate problem.

KRISHNAMURTI: But in considering the immediate problem, you will find that it has deep roots, it is the result of causes which lie within ourselves. So, to resolve the immediate problem, should you not investigate the deeper problems?