Most of us are educated in nationalistic spirit. We are brought up to love our country in opposition to another; to regard our people as superior to another and so on. This superiority or pride is implanted in the mind from childhood and we accept it, live with it and condone it. With that thin layer which we call the conscious mind let us understand this problem and its deeper significance. We accept it first of all through environmental influences and are conditioned by it. Also this nationalistic spirit feeds our vanity. The assertion that we are of this or that race or country feeds our petty, small, poor egos, puffs them out like sails and we are ready to defend, to kill or be maimed for our country, race and ideology. In identifying ourselves with what we consider to be the greater we hope to become greater. But we still remain poor, it is only the label that looms large and powerful. This nationalistic spirit is used for economic purposes and is used, also, through hatred and fear, to unite one people against another. Thus when we become aware of this problem and its implications we perceive its effects: war, misery, starvation, confusion. In worshipping the part, which is idolatrous, we deny the whole. This denial of human unity breeds endless wars and brutalities, economic and social division and tyranny.
We understand all this intellectually, with that thin layer which we call the conscious mind, but we are still caught up in tradition, opinion, convenience, fear and so on. Until the deep layers are exposed and understood we are not free from the disease of nationalism, patriotism.
Thus in examining this problem we have cleared the superficial layer of the conscious into which the deeper layers can flow. This flow is made stronger through constant awareness: by watching every response, every stimulation of nationalism or of any other hindrance. Each response however small must be thought out, felt out, widely and deeply. Thus you will soon perceive that the problem is dissolved and the nationalistic spirit has withered away. All conflicts and miseries can be understood and dissolved in this manner: to clear the thin layer of the conscious by thinking out and feeling out the problem as comprehensively as possible; into this clarity, into this comparative quietness, the deeper motives, intentions, fears and so on can project themselves; as they appear examine them, study them and so understand them. Thus the hindrance, the conflict, the sorrow is deeply and wholly understood and dissolved.
2nd Public Talk 21st May, 1944