Questioner: Did you seriously mean what you said when you suggested last week that one should retire from the world when one is around forty-five or so?
Krishnamurti: I suggested this seriously. Almost all of us, till death overtakes us, are so caught up in worldliness that we have no time to search out deeply, to discover the real. To retire from the world necessitates a complete change in educational and economic systems, does it not? If you did retire, you would be unprepared, you would be lost, you would be lonely, you would not know what to do with yourself. You would not know how to think. You would probably form new groups, new organizations with new beliefs, badges and labels, and once again be active outwardly, doing reforms which will need further reform. But this is not what I mean. To retire from the world you must be prepared: by right kind of occupation, by creating right kind of environment, by setting up the right State, by right education and so on. If you have been so prepared then to withdraw from worldliness at any age is the natural not abnormal sequence; you withdraw to flow into deep and pure awareness, you withdraw not into isolation but to find the real; to help to transform the ever congealing, conflicting society and State. All this would involve a wholly different kind of education, an upheaval in our social and economic order. Such a group of people would be completely disassociated from authority, from politics, from all those causes which produce war and antagonism between man and man. A stone may direct the course of a river; so a small number may direct the course of a culture. Surely any great thing is done in this manner.
You will probably say most of us cannot retire however much we may want to. Naturally all cannot but some of you can. To live alone or in a small group requires great intelligence. But if you really thought it worthwhile then you would set about it, not as a wonderful act of renunciation but as a natural and intelligent thing for a thoughtful man to do. How extraordinarily important it is that there should be at least some who do not belong to any particular group or race or to any specialized religion or society! They will create the true brotherhood of man for they will be seeking truth. To be free from outward riches there must be the awareness of inward poverty, which brings untold riches. The stream of culture may change its course through a few awakened people. These are not strangers but you and me.
5th Public Talk 11th June, 1944