... So, is an ideal necessary to understand what is? Will the ideal of non-violence help me to understand violence? That is, if I am violent and want to transcend violence must I have the ideal of non-violence? Surely, I don't have to have it do I? It is a hindrance, a positive hindrance to my direct understanding of the state in which I am, which is violence. So, the ideal, the opposite, the example, is a hindrance, an avoidance of the direct understanding of what is. Being violent, can I not understand it and transcend it? I can tackle it, I can understand it, only when I am not escaping from it, when I haven't this fantasy of the ideal, when I can look at it, examine it, and act upon it directly. But I don't want to act upon it directly, and therefore I invent this marvellous thing called the opposite, the ideal - a state which I can never achieve, because it is merely a postponement.
So, the problem is: how to transcend, how to go beyond what is, which is violence, and not how to achieve the opposite. There is no opposite. There are the opposites of man and woman, a biological fact; but the opposite that the mind has created is non-existent. It is a convenient ruse, a trick of the mind to avoid acting directly upon what is. Can I transcend that which is, and not transform it, not make it into something else? I am greedy, violent; and can that violence, greed, come to an end? Obviously, it comes to an end when I can examine it and be completely aware of its whole social and psychological significance; but I can examine it only when there is no escape from what is - which none of us want to do, and that is the difficulty. None of us are honest enough to acknowledge that we are what we are, and then do something about it. To know that I am a liar, to know that I am greedy, is already the beginning of freedom from greed, from falsehood. But to acknowledge it requires a certain honesty, and as we are so dishonest in our thinking, in our relationships, in almost everything that we do, we are incapable of facing what is. So, in this question is involved seeing the truth in the false, that is seeing the truth of the falseness of the ideal; and the moment one is capable of seeing the truth in the false, one is also able to see that which is true as being true. It is that truthfulness, the acknowledgment that you are greedy, that you are violent, seeing the fact - of what you are without any pretence, that brings about liberation from it, and not the pursuit of the opposite.
Public Talk 29th February, 1948