Question: Why is your teaching so purely psychological? There is no cosmology, no theology, no ethics, no aesthetics, no sociology, no political science, not even hygiene. Why do you concentrate only on the mind and its workings?
Krishnamurti: For a very simple reason, Sir. If the thinker can understand himself, then the whole problem is solved. Then he is creation, he is reality; and then what he does will not be antisocial. Virtue is not an end in itself; virtue brings freedom, and there can be freedom only when the thinker, which is the mind, ceases. That is why one has to understand the process of the mind, the `I', the bundle of desires that create the `I', my property, my wife, my ideas, my God. Surely, it is because the thinker is so confused that his actions are confused; it is because the thinker is confused that he seeks reality, order, peace. Because the thinker is confused, ignorant, he wants knowledge; and because the thinker is in contradiction, in conflict, he pursues ethics to control, to guide, to support him. So, if I can understand myself, the thinker, then the whole problem is solved, is it not? Then I will not be antisocial, I will not be rich and exploit the poor, I will not want things, things, things, which brings about a conflict between those who have and those who have not. Then I will have no caste, no nationality, there will be no separation between man and man. Then we shall love each other, we shall be kind. So, what is important, then, is not cosmology, not theology, not hygiene - though hygiene is necessary, and cosmology and theology are unnecessary; but what is important is to understand myself, the thinker.
Now, is the thinker different from his thoughts? If thought ceases, is there the thinker? Can the quality be removed from the thinker? When the qualities of the thinker are removed, is there the thinker, the `I'? So, thoughts themselves are the thinker, they are not separate. The thinker has separated himself from his thoughts in order to safeguard himself; he can then always modify his thoughts according to circumstances, and yet remain aloof as the thinker. The moment he begin to modify the thinker, the thinker ceases. So, it is one of the tricks of the mind to separate the thinker from the thoughts, and then to be concerned about the thoughts, how to change them, how to modify them, how to transform them - all of which is a deception, an illusion. Because, the thinker is not if thought is not, and mere modification of thoughts does not do away with the thinker. That is one of the clever ways the thinker has of protecting himself, of giving himself permanency; whereas thoughts are impermanent. So, the self is perpetuated; but the self is not permanent, whether the higher self or the lower self. Both are still within the field of memory, within the field of time.
So, the reason why I give so much importance and urgency to the psychology of the mind, is that the mind is the cause of all action; and without understanding that, merely to reform, to potter around, to trim the superficial actions, has very little meaning. We have done that for generations, and have brought about confusion, madness, and misery in the world. So, we have to go to the very root of the whole problem of existence, of consciousness, which is the 'I', the thinker; and without understanding the thinker and its activities, mere superficial social reforms have no significance - at least, not for the man who is very serious, very earnest. That is why it is important for each of us to find out on that we are laying emphasis - whether on the superficial, the outward, or on the fundamental. Because, Sirs, with the world in such an insane mood of butchering, of destroying, of hurling man against man, surely the time has come for those who are really in earnest, purposeful, to tackle the problem radically and profoundly, and not deal with superficial reforms and trimmings. That is why it is important to know for yourself on what to lay emphasis, and not depend on another to tell you. If you give importance to the psychology of the thinker merely because I do, then you will be imitative and you can be persuaded to imitate somebody else when this does not suit you. So, you must think out this problem very seriously and very profoundly, and not wait for somebody to tell you on what to lay emphasis. Surely, all this is so obvious and clear. Organized religion, party and power politics, socialism, capitalism, communism, all have failed because they are not dealing with the fundamental nature of man. They want to trim the environmental influences; and what value has that when man is inwardly sick, diseased and confused? Surely, a good doctor is not concerned only with the symptoms. Symptoms are merely indicative. He goes to the cause, and eradicates the cause. So, a man who is in earnest has to go to the cause, and not superficially play with words; and the fundamental cause of this misery in the world is the lack of understanding of the process of ourselves. We do not want to bring order within ourselves, but only outward order. There will be outward order when there is inward order, because the inward always overcomes the outer. So, the emphasis obviously must be laid on the psychological process, with all its implications. When one understands oneself, there is happiness, there is peace, and a happy man is not in conflict with his neighbour. It is only the miserable man, the ignorant man, who is in conflict; his actions are antisocial, and wherever he goes he creates misery and more conflict. But a man who understands himself is at peace, and therefore his actions are peaceful.
Public Talk 22nd February, 1948