Question: Who is he that feeds you if not an exploiter? How are you free from exploitation, since you exploit an exploiter?
Krishnamurti: Now, what do we mean by exploitation? Obviously, using another for one's own gratification, which is principally psychological. When I use another psychologically, then I am really exploiting him; and most of our exploitation in the world - the rich exploiting the poor, the leader exploiting the led, the follower exploiting the leader, and so on - is essentially based on inward demands, on psychological poverty of being. There will be no outward exploitation of man by man when there is a cessation of the inner and entirely psychological demand to use another - whether it be your wife, a labourer, or the man in the office - as a means to enrich yourself. After all, you gather money, prestige, as a means of self-expansion; but you are content with little, with the necessities of life, when you are inwardly rich, when you don't depend upon another as a means of covering up your own psychological demands and emptiness. So, exploitation obviously begins when we use another psychologically as a means of self expansion.
Now, the questioner asks me if I am not exploiting the exploiter. I don't think I am. I am fed by him, as I would be if I went out and earned money. I am not using him as a psychological necessity, nor am I using you, the audience, the individual, in order to expand myself. Therefore, I am not your leader and you are not my follower. I don't need you psychologically, and I have tested this out for myself by not getting on a platform and by ceasing to talk. So, as I would go out and earn money for my needs, I am talking; and for that I am clothed and fed. But as society is constructed at the present time, its whole structure is based on exploitation, which is using another psychologically as a means of self-expansion; and there are only a very few thoughtful people who don't care to use another as a means of self-expansion, and who therefore cease to exploit. Surely, exploitation means far more than exploiting the labourer. The basis of all exploitation is the psychological demand to use another as a means of self-expansion, as a means of aggression and self-perpetuation. So, where there is no self-expansion, where there is not the use of another psychologically, there is no exploitation. That means you are content with little, not because of an ideal, but because inwardly there is a treasure, there is beauty, ecstasy. But without that inward simplicity, merely to don a loin cloth means nothing; because, you may outwardly have but one cloth, while inwardly you are using and therefore exploiting people. We give so much importance to outward exploitation; the communist, the socialist, everybody is trying to stop outward exploitation. It does not mean that that is wrong; but we should attack the inward causes of exploitation, which are much more complex, much more subtle, and that cannot be done through mere legislation. That is why it is very important for the individual to transform himself. And the transformation of the individual, you and me, is not a question of time. It must be done now. Because, when you transform yourself, the world will be transformed. The world is the place where you live, it is your relationships, your values; and it can be affected immediately when there is a deep, inward revolution in you. And this inward revolution can take place only when you as an individual are not using another for your self-expansion, for your gratification, for your comfort.
Public Talk 21st March, 1948