.... So, our problem is: Is evil ever understood through the ideal of good? Is not evil transformed, not through an ideal, not through the pursuit of its opposite, but in the direct understanding of evil itself? And does not the ideal in any form, which is the opposite, prevent the understanding of what is? I am greedy, I am violent, I am arrogant, I am angry, vicious, brutal; and will the ideal of non-violence, non-greed, kindliness, help me to overcome that which I am? Surely, we have tried the pursuit of the ideal, of the opposite, and we are familiar with the conflict thus created between the opposites. We know all that very well. We are entirely familiar with that extraordinary struggle to become something other that what we are. Our religious, social, and moral education is based on this attempt to become something, to transform what is into something which it is not; and we know the struggle, the pain, the constant battle of the opposites, of the thesis and antithesis, hoping to arrive at a synthesis which is beyond both. Though we have not succeeded in arriving at that state, we are familiar with the constant battle of the opposites which is supposed to bring it about.
Now, is that struggle necessary? Is not that struggle fallacious, unreal? Is not the opposite unreal? What is the real, the factual? The fact is, I am arrogant. Humility, the ideal is non-existent, it is fictitious. It is a creation of the mind as a means of escaping from what is. You are violent; and will the opposite help you to overcome that which you are? Obviously not. For centuries you have struggled to overcome it, yet you are violent. So the method of our approach must be wrong, and therefore there must be a new approach, a different way of attacking the problem of greed, of arrogance, of violence. But first we must see the fallacy of the ideal. As it was suggested to me this morning. India is the nation which fabricates ideals. Your pet industry is creating ideals for the world. And do we need ideals? Please, this is really a very important question. If you have no ideals, will you collapse, will you become immoral? Are your ideals acting as a dam against your immoral actions? Is your ideal of non-violence preventing you from being violent? The ideal of not being greedy, of having just enough to live, is that making you less greedy? Obviously not. Sir, we must look at this, mustn't we? The man who is greedy, who wants to pursue riches, goes on doing it in spite of the ideal which he talks about. Obviously, ideals are non-existent except in theory, and therefore they are valueless. So, why pursue them? In other words, an idealist is really a man who is escaping from that which is, who is avoiding action in the present. We are all very familiar with the idealist, how hard they are, how brutal, how resistant with that quality of hardness, because they are really avoiding the central issue, which is what they are. So, by removing the ideals, will the weak-minded be thrown off there feet? The weak-minded are already thrown off there feet by politicians, by the gurus, by there pujas, by there wedding ceremonies; and the man who is strong disregards the ideals anyhow, he pursues what he wants. So, neither party pays any attention to the ideals, which are a very convenient way to cover up a great many false things.
Public Talk 29th February, 1948