Question: There seems to be the idea that liberation is a goal, a culmination. What is the difference in this case between striving for liberation and striving for any other culmination? Surely the idea of an end, a goal, a culmination is wrong. How then ought we to regard liberation if not in this way?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid the questioner has not been hearing what I have been talking about; probably he has read some old books of mine and then has put the question.
Now, mind is seeking a culmination, a goal, an end, because mind wants to be certain, assured. Take away all the assurances and certainties from the mind, which are subtle forms of self-glorification or of the craving for self-continuance. Take all that away from the mind, strip it naked, and then you will see that the mind is battling again for security, for shelter, because from that security it can judge, it can function, it can act safely like an animal tethered to a post.
As I said, liberation is not an end, it is not a goal; it is the understanding of right values, eternal values. Intelligence is ever becoming, it has no end, no finality. In the desire to attain there is a subtle craving for self-continuance, glorified self-continuance; and every struggle, every effort to attain liberation indicates an escape from the present. This summation of intelligence, which is liberation, is not to be understood through effort. After all, you make an effort when you want, when you desire to acquire something. But liberation is not to be acquired, truth is not to be acquired. So where there is a craving for liberation, for a culmination, for attainment, there must be an effort to sustain, to preserve, to perpetuate that consciousness which we call the "I". The very essence of that "I" is an effort to reach a culmination, because it lives in a series of movements of memory, moving towards an end.
"But then, how ought we to regard liberation if not in this way?" Why regard it at all? Why do you want liberation? Is it because I have been talking about it for the last ten years? Or is it because you want to escape from conditions, or because it will give you greater excitement, greater stimulation, greater intellectual domination? Why do you want liberation? You say, "I am not happy, and if I can find liberation there will be happiness; because I am in misery, if I find this other, then misery will disappear." If you say so, then you are merely seeking substitution.
Liberation is not to be "regarded" in any way. It is born. It comes into being only when the mind is not trying to escape from the condition in which it is caught, but rather to understand the significance of that condition which creates conflict. You see, as you don't understand the condition, the environment which creates conflict, you seek an idea, a culmination, an end, a goal, saying to yourself, "If I understand that, this will disappear", or, "If I have that, I can impose that on this condition." So it is but a subtle form of continual escape from the present. All ideals, beliefs, goals and culminations are but ways out of the present. Whereas if you really come to think of it, the more you are pursuing an end, a goal, an aim, a belief, an ideal, the more you are burdening the future, because you are escaping from the present and therefore creating more and more limitation, conflict, sorrow.
4th Public Talk, 19th June, 1934