Questioner: At this time and in our present way of life our feelings become blunted and hard. Can you suggest a way of life that will make us more sensitive? Can we become so in spite of noise, haste, all the competitive professions and pursuits? Can we become so without dedication to a higher source of life?
Krishnamurti: Is it not necessary for clear and right thinking to be sensitive? To feel deeply must not the heart be open? Must not the body be healthy to respond eagerly? We blunt our minds, our feelings, our bodies, with beliefs and ill will, with strong and hardening stimulants. It is essential to be sensitive, to respond keenly and rightly but we become blunted, hard, through our appetites. There is no separate entity such as the mind, apart from the organism as a whole, and when the organism as a whole is ill-treated, wasted, distracted, then insensitivity sets in. Our environment, our present way of life blunts us, wastes us. How can you be sensitive when every day you indulge in reading or seeing pictures of the slaughter of thousands - this mass murder reported as though it were a successful game. First time you read the reports you may feel sick at heart but the constant repetition of brutal ruthlessness dulls your mind-heart, immunizing you to the utter barbarism of modern society. The radios, magazines, cinemas are ever wasting your sensitive pliabilities; you are forced, threatened, regimented and how can you, in the midst of this noise, haste and false pursuits remain sensitive for the cultivation of right thinking?
If you would not have your feelings blunted and hard, you must pay the price for it; you must abandon haste, distraction, wrong professions and pursuits. You must become aware of your appetites, your limiting environment, and by rightly understanding them you begin to reawaken your sensitivity. Through constant awareness of your thoughts-feelings, the causes of self-enclosure and narrowness fall away. If you would be highly sensitive and clear, you must deliberately work for it; you cannot be worldly and yet be pure in the pursuit of Reality. Our difficulty is we want both, the burning appetites and the serenity of Reality. You must abandon the one or the other; you cannot have both. You cannot indulge and yet be alert; to be keenly aware there must be freedom from those influences that are crystallizing, blunting.
We have over developed the intellect at the cost of our deeper and clearer feelings and a civilization that is based on the cultivation of the intellect must bring about ruthlessness and the worship of success. The emphasis on intellect or on emotion leads to unbalance, and intellect is ever seeking to safeguard itself. Mere determination only strengthens the intellect and blunts and hardens it; it is ever self-aggressive in becoming or not-becoming. The ways of the intellect must be understood through constant awareness and its re-education must transcend its own reasoning.
1st Public Talk, 1945