Questioner: I am an inventor and I happen to have invented several things which have been used in this war. I think I am opposed to killing but what am I to do with my capacity? I cannot suppress it as the power to invent drives me on.
Krishnamurti: Which do you think-feel is the more urgently important problem to understand, the power to kill or the capacity to invent? If you are concerned only with inventing, with the mere expression of your talent, then you must find out why you give so much emphasis to it. Does not your capacity give you a means of escape from life, from reality? Then is not your talent a barrier to relationship? To be is to be related and nothing can exist in isolation. So without self-knowledge your capacity to invent becomes dangerous to your neighbour and to yourself.
Does your occupation aid in destroying your fellowman? Your inventions and activities may temporarily help but if they lead him to ultimate destruction then of what use are they? If the end result of this culture is mass murder then of what significance is your talent? What is the purpose of inventing, improving, rearranging if it all leads to the destruction of man? If you are only interested in fulfilling your particular capacity, disregarding the wider issues of life and the ultimate end of existence, then your talent is meaningless and worthless. Only in relation to the ultimate Reality is your capacity significant. I feel that all of you are not vitally interested in this question. Is this not also your problem? You may be an artist, a carpenter or have some other occupation and this question is as vital to you as to the inventor. If you are an artist or a doctor your occupation or the expression of your talent must have its foundation in reality, otherwise it becomes merely a form of self-expression and mere expression of the self leads inevitably to sorrow. If you are interested only in self-expression then you are contributing to the conflict, confusion and antagonism of man. Without first searching out the meaning of life mere self-expression, however gratifying, will only bring misery and disaster.
Beware of mere talent. With self-knowledge the craving for self-fulfilment is transformed. The craving for fulfillment brings its own frustration and disillusionment, for the desire for self-fulfilment arises from ignorance.
5th Public Talk 1945