Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: What have you to say about military drill in education?

Krishnamurti: It all depends on what you want the human being to be. If you want him to be efficient cannon fodder, then military drill is marvellous. If you want to discipline him, if you want to regiment his mind, his feelings, then military drill is a very good way to do it. If you want to condition him in a certain way and make him irresponsible to society, then military drill is a very good instrument. It all depends on what you want your son to be. Surely, Sir, if you want him to live, military drill is the wrong way to proceed; but if you like death, then military drill is excellent. And as modern civilization is seeking death, obviously the military with its generals, soldiers, lawyers, and all the rest of it, is considered very good. In that way you will have death, sure death. But if you want peace, if you want right relationship between man and man - whether he is Christian, Hindu, Mussulman or Buddhist, all these labels being barriers to right relationship - , then military education is an absolute hindrance. Sir. it is surely the function of a general to prepare for war, it is the function of a soldier to maintain war; and if life is meant to be a constant battle between yourself and your neighbour, then by all means have more generals. Then let us all become soldiers - which is what is happening. Conscription was fought in England for generations, while the rest of Europe was being conscripted; and now England has given in. England is part of the whole world structure, and it is an indication of what is happening. In this country, because it is so huge, conscription is not possible immediately; but it will come when you are all thoroughly organized. Then war, more wars, more bloodshed, more misery. Is that what we are living for - constant battle within ourselves and with others? Surely, Sir, to discover truth, reality, the bliss of the unknowable, there must be freedom, freedom from strife within yourself and with your neighbour. After all, when a man is not in strife within himself, then he does not create strife outwardly. The inward strife, projected outwardly, becomes the world chaos. After all, war is a spectacular result of our everyday living; and without a transformation in our daily existence, there is bound to be the multiplication of soldiers, drills, the saluting of flags and all the rubbish that goes with it, inevitably prolonging destruction, misery and chaos. I was told by an anthropologist that two or three thousand years ago a politician said, `I hope this will be the last war' - and we are still at it. I think we really want arms. We want all the fun of military instruments, the decorations, the uniforms, the salutes, the drinks, the murder. Because, our everyday life is that. We are destroying others through our greed, through our exploitation. The richer you get, the more exploiting you are. You like all this, and you also want to be rich. As long as the three professions of soldier, police, and lawyer, are dominant in society, civilization is doomed; and that is what is happening in India, as well as the world over. These three professions are becoming stronger and stronger. I don't think you know what is going on about you, and in yourself, what catastrophes you are preparing. All that you want to do is to live a day as rapidly and as stupidly and as distintegratingly as possible, and you leave to the governments, to the politicians, to the cunning people, the direction of your lives.

So, it all depends on what you want life to be. If life is meant to be a series of conflicts, then military expansion is inevitable. If life is meant to be lived happily, with thought, with care, with affection, then the military, the soldier, the police, the lawyer, are a hindrance. But the lawyer, the police, and the military, are not going to give up their professions, any more than you are going to give up your exploiting ways, whether psychologically or outwardly. So, it is very important, Sir, to find out for yourself what is the purpose of living - not to learn it from somebody else, but to discover it for yourself, which means being aware of your daily actions, of your daily feelings and thoughts; and when you are fully aware, that awareness will reveal the true purpose.

Public Talk, March 13th 1948
Mumbai, India