Question: What is the real cause of the present chaos in the world, and how can this painful state of things be remedied?
Krishnamurti: First of all, I feel, by not looking to a system as a remedy. You know, through centuries we have built up a system, the possessive system based on security. We have built it up; each one of us is responsible for this system wherein acquisition, gain, power, authority, and imitation play the most important part. We have made laws to preserve that system, laws based on our selfishness, and we have become slaves to these laws. Now we want to introduce a new set of laws, to which we shall again become slaves, laws by which possession becomes a crime.
But if we understood the true function of individuality, then we would tackle the root cause of all this chaos in the world, this chaos that exists because we are not truly individual. Please understand what I mean by being individual; I do not mean individualistic. We have for centuries been individualistic, seeking security for ourselves, comfort for ourselves. We have looked to the physical things of life to give us inward shelter, happiness, spiritual ease. We have been dead and have not known it. Because we have imitated and followed, we have blindly exploited beliefs. And being spiritually dead, naturally we have tried to realize our creative powers in the world of acquisition - hence the present chaos wherein each man seeks only his own advantage. But if each one individually begins to free himself from all imitation, and thus begins to realize that creative life, that creative energy which is free, spiritual, then, I feel, he will not look for or give emphasis to either possession or non-possession. Isn't that so?
Our entire lives are a process of imitation. Public opinion says this, so we must do it. I am not saying, please, that you must go against all convention, that you must impetuously do whatever you like: that would be equally stupid. What I am saying is this: Since we are merely machines, since we are ruthlessly individualistic in the world of acquisition, I say, free yourselves from all imitation, become individuals; question every standard, everything that is about you, not just intellectually, not when you feel at ease with life, but in the moment of suffering when your mind and heart are acute and awake. Then, in that realization which comes from the discovery of living values, you will not divide life into sections - economic, domestic, spiritual; you will meet it as a complete unit; you will meet it as a complete human being.
To put an end to the chaos in the world, the ruthless aggression and exploitation, you cannot look to any system. Only you yourselves can do it, when you become responsible, and you can be responsible only when you are really creating, when you are no longer imitating. In that freedom there will be true co-operation, not the individualism that now exists.
5th September, 1933, Talk in University Hall.