Questioner: Don't you think that there is a principle of destruction in life, a blind will, quite independent of man, always dormant, ready to spring into action, which can never be transcended?
Krishnamurti: Surely we know that within us there are these two opposing capacities: to destroy and to create, to be good and to be harmful. Now, are they independent of each other? Is the will to destroy separate from the will to live, or is the will to live, to become, in itself a process of destruction? What makes us destroy? What makes us angry, ignorant, brutal; what urges us to kill, to seek vengeance, to deceive? is it a blind will, a thing over which we have no control whatever - let us call it the devil - an independent force of evil, or an uncontrollable ignorance? Is the urge to destroy inane or is it the response to a deeper demand to live, to be, to become? Is this reaction never to be transcended, or can it slow down to be examined and so understood? To slow down a response is possible. Or is there a blind spot which can never be examined, a result of heredity, an inborn result which has so conditioned our thinking that we are incapable of looking into it? And so we think that there is a power of destruction, of evil, which cannot be transcended.
Surely anything that has been created, that has been made up, can be understood by those who have created it. This dual process of good and evil is in us to create and to destroy. We have created it and so we can understand it; but to understand it we must have the faculty of dispassionate observation of ourselves which requires great alertness and pliable awareness. Or we can say that in all of us potentially there is a dormant evil, a power that is in itself destructive. Though we may be loving, generous, merciful, this power - like an earthquake - completely impersonal, seeks an occasional outburst. And as over an earthquake, over acts of nature we have no control, so over this power we have no influence whatever.
Now is this so? Can we not, in understanding ourselves, understand the causes that exist in us to destroy and to create? If first we can clear the confusion that exists in the superficial layer of our conscious mind, then into it because it is open, clear, the deeper layers of consciousness, with their contents, can project themselves. This clarification of the superficial layer comes when thought-feeling is not identifying but detached and so capable of observing without comparison and judgment. Then only can it, the conscious mind, discover what is true. Thus you can test for yourself whether there is in you an element which is absolutely beyond your control, an element which is destructive. Then you can find out whether it is the result of conditioning or whether it is ignorance or whether it is a blind spot or an independent, uncontrollable evil force. Only then can you discover whether or not you are capable of transcending it.
The more you comprehend yourself and so bring about right thinking the less you will find that there is any tendency, any ignorance, any force within you that cannot be transcended. And out of this you will discover an ecstasy that comes with understanding, with wisdom. It is not the faith and the hope of the foolish. In understanding ourselves completely and thus creating the faculty to delve deeply within, we will find there is nothing that cannot be examined or understood. Out of this self-knowledge comes creative understanding; but because we do not understand ourselves there is ignorance. What thought has created thought can transcend.
7th Public Talk 25th June, 1944