Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: What should be the attitude of society towards criminals?

Krishnamurti: It all depends on whom you call criminals. (Laughter, applause) A man who steals because he cannot help it, must be looked after and treated as a kleptomaniac. The man who steals because he is hungry, we also call a criminal, because he is taking something away from those who have. It is the system that makes him go hungry, to be in want, and it is the system that turns him into a criminal. Instead of altering the system, we force the so-called criminal into a prison. Then there is the man who, with his ideas, disturbs the vested interest of religion or of worldly power. You call him also a dangerous criminal and get rid of him.

Now, it depends on the way you look at life, as to whom you call a criminal. If you are acquisitive, possessive, and another says that acquisition leads to exploitation, to sorrow and cruelty, you call that person a criminal, or an idealist. Because you cannot see the greatness and the practicality of non-acquisition, of not being attached, you think he is a disturber of the peace. I say you can live in the world, where there is this continual acquisitiveness and exploitation, without being attached, possessive.

Public Talk 2nd August, 1935
Public Talk 2nd August, 1935