Question: Assuming that we usually act in response to some mental bias or some emotional stress, is there any technique by which we may become conscious of such bias or stress at the moment of action, before we have actually performed the action?
Krishnamurti: In other words, you are seeking a method, a system, which will enable you to keep awake at the moment of action. System and action cannot exist together, they kill each other. You are asking me: Can I take a sedative and yet be awake at the moment of action? How can a system keep you awake, or anything else except your own intensity of interest, the necessity of keeping awake? Please see the significance of this question. If you are aware that your mind is biased, then you do not want any discipline or system or mode of conduct. Your very discernment of a prejudice burns away that prejudice, and you are able to act sanely and clearly. But because you do not perceive a bias, which causes suffering, you hope to rid yourself of sorrow by following a system, which is but the development of another bias, and this new bias you call the process of keeping awake, becoming conscious. The search for a system merely indicates a sluggish mind, and the following of a system encourages you to act automatically, destroying intelligence. The so-called religious teachers have given you systems. You think that by following a new system, you will train the mind to discern and accept new values. When you succeed in doing this, what you have really done is to deaden the mind, put it to sleep, and this you mistake for happiness, peace.
One listens to all this, and yet there remains a gap between everyday life and the pursuit of the real. This gap exists because change involves not only physical discomfort but mental uncertainty, and we dislike to be uncertain. Because this uncertainty creates disturbance, we postpone change, thus exaggerating the gap. So we go on creating conflict and misery, from which we desire to escape. We then accept either the mechanistic view of life or that of faith, and so escape from actuality. The gap between ourselves and the real is bridged only when we see the absolute necessity for cessation from all escapes and hence the necessity for integral action, out of which is born true human relationship with individuals, with society.
1st Public Talk 12th June, 1936