Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Questioner: Would you go a little more into what you mean when you say that we should doubt our experience?

Krishnamurti: What is an experience, Sir? When you are responding to a challenge - any challenge, whether it is small or great - if the response is not adequate, complete, then there is conflict. This conflict, whether it is pleasurable or painful, is part of the experience. When you experience anything, be it a response to a political speech or whatever it is, it is either partial or total - and if total the response is comparable to the challenge. Every challenge is new - or it is not a challenge - and if you respond according to your background then the experience is in terms of the old, there is no experience at all.

For most of us, experience is the stimulus that keeps us awake. If we had no challenges at all we would be fast asleep - we would become very dull. There are vast technological changes in the world, and to these our psychological response is inadequate - hence the conflict.

Experience, as we have it, is a process of recognition of what has been. You cannot recognize a new experience - it is impossible. You only recognize something which you have already known; therefore when you say I have a new experience, it is not new at all.

One has to understand this process of recognition, which is the memory, which is the past - the past is responding all the time. We are the past, we are the bundle of memories, and it is that that is responding all the time - demanding more and more experience. And, as I said, if we did not have challenges, we would go to sleep; on these we depend to keep us awake. The more intelligent one becomes, the more one tends to reject the challenge; then one creates one's own challenge, asking, doubting, questioning, denying, but in that there is still the process of recognition, hence conflict.

Can the mind keep awake without the stimulus of experience? - implying a great sensitivity, both physically and psychologically, a great capacity and vulnerability. Such a mind does not demand experience, it is not seeking experience. it is its own light; it does not need a challenge, or know a challenge; it does not say, I am asleep or not asleep; it is completely what it is. It is only the frustrated, narrow, shallow mind, the conditioned mind, that is always seeking the more. Is it possible to live a life in this world without the more - without this everlasting comparison? - surely it is. That, one has to find out for oneself.

Talks in Europe, 1967
5th Public Talk Paris 30th April 1967