Questioner: Since it is as true that the individual is a product of society as that society is a product of the individual who composes it, and since the change in social organization affects large numbers of individuals, is it not as important to stress the need for changing society as it is to emphasize the need for changing individuals, and since the major causes of catastrophe in the world arise from malfunctioning social organization, is there not danger in over-emphasizing the need for the individuals to change themselves, even though the change is ultimately necessary?
Krishnamurti: What is society? Is it not the relationship of one individual with another? If individuals in themselves are ignorant, cruel, ambitious, and so on, their society will reflect all that they are in themselves. The questioner seems to suggest that the conflicting relationship of individuals which is society, with its many organizations, should be changed. We all see the necessity, the importance of social change. Wars, starvation, ruthless pursuit of power, and so on, with these we are all familiar, and some earnestly desire to change these conditions. How are you going to change them? By destroying the many or the few who create the disharmony in the world? Who are the many or the few? You and I, aren't we? Each one is involved in it, because we are greedy, we are possessive, we crave for power. We want to bring order within society, but how are we to do it? Do you seriously think there are only a few who are responsible for this social disorganization, these wars and hatreds? How are you going to get rid of them? If you destroy them, you use the very means they have employed and so make of yourself also an instrument of hatred and brutality. Hate cannot be destroyed by hate, however much you may like to hide your hate under pleasant sounding words. Methods determine the ends. You cannot kill in order to have peace and order; to have peace you must create peace within yourself and thereby in your relationship with others, which is society.
2nd Public Talk 2nd June, 1940