Without self-knowledge understanding is not possible. Self-knowledge is extremely arduous and difficult, for you are a complex entity. You must approach the understanding of the self simply, without any pretensions, without any theories. If I would understand you I must have no preconceived formulations about you, there must be no prejudice; I must be open, without judgment, without comparison. This is very difficult for, with most of us, thought is the result of comparison, of judgment. Through approximation we think we are understanding, but is understanding born of comparison, judgment? Or is it the outcome of non-comparative thought? If you would understand something do you compare it with something else or do you study it for itself?
Thought born of comparison is not right thinking. Yet in studying ourselves we are comparing, approximating. It is this that prevents the understanding of ourselves. Why do we judge ourselves? Is not our judgment the outcome of our desire to become something, to gain, to conform, to protect ourselves? This very urge prevents understanding.
1st Public Talk 1945