Questioner: Do you mean to say that sooner or later all human beings will inevitably, in the course of existence, attain perfection, complete liberation from all that binds them? If so, why make any effort now?
Krishnamurti: You know, I am not talking of the mass. To me there is not this division of the individual and the mass. I am talking to you as individuals. After all, the mass is but yourself multiplied. If you understand, you will give understanding. Understanding is like the light that dispels darkness. But if you do not understand, if you apply what I am saying only to the other man, the man outside, then you are but increasing darkness.
So you want to know if you - not this imaginary man from the mass - if you will inevitably attain perfection. If that is so, you think, why make any effort in the present? I quite agree. If you think that you will inevitably realize the ecstasy of living, why trouble yourself? But nevertheless, because you are caught up in conflict, you are making an effort.
I will put it differently: it is like saying to a hungry man that he will inevitably find some means of satisfying his hunger. How does it help him today if you tell him that he will be fed ten days hence? By that time he may be dead. So the question is not, ''Is there inevitably perfection for me as an individual?'' Rather, it is, ''Why do I make this ceaseless effort?''
To me, a man who is pursuing virtue is no longer virtuous. Yet that is what we are doing all the time. We are trying to be perfect; we are engaging in the incessant effort to be something. But if we make an effort because we are really suffering and because we want to be free from that suffering, then our chief concern is not perfection. We do not know what perfection is, we can only imagine it or read of it in books; therefore, it must be illusory. Our chief concern is not with perfection, but with the question, ''What creates this conflict that demands effort?''
1st Public Talk, 6th September, 1933