Question: I live in a world of chaos, politically, economically, and socially, bound by laws and conventions which restrict my freedom. When my desires conflict with these impositions, I must break the law and take the consequences, or repress my desires. Where then, in such a world, is there any escape from self-discipline?
Krishnamurti: I have spoken about this often, but I will try again to explain it. Self-discipline is merely an adjustment to environment, brought about through conflict. That is what I call self-discipline. You have established a pattern, an ideal, which acts as a compulsion, and you are forcing the mind to adjust itself to that environment, forcing it, modifying it, controlling it. What happens when you do that? You are really destroying creativeness; you are perverting, suppressing creative affection. But if you begin to understand environment, then there is no longer repression or mere adjustment to environment, which you call self-discipline.
How then can you understand environment? How can you understand its full worth, significance? What prevents you from seeing its significance? First of all, fear. Fear is the cause of the search for protection or security, security which is either physical, spiritual, religious or emotional. So long as there is that search there must be fear, which then creates a barrier between your mind and your environment, and thereby creates conflict; and that conflict you cannot dissolve as long as you are only concerned with adjustment, modification, and never with the discovery of the fundamental cause of fear.
So where there is this search for security, for a certainty, for a goal, preventing creative thinking, there must be adjustment, called self-discipline, which is but compulsion, the imitation of a pattern. Whereas when the mind sees that there is no such thing as security in the piling up of things or of knowledge, then mind is released from fear, and therefore mind is intelligence, and that which is intelligence does not discipline itself. There is self-discipline only where there is no intelligence. Where there is intelligence, there is understanding, free from influence, from control and domination.
11th Public Talk 30th June, 1934