Consciously or unconsciously, surreptitiously or openly, one begins to inquire into the purpose of life, and each one receives an answer from the so-called specialists. The artist, if you ask him what is the purpose of life, will tell you that it is self-expression through painting, sculpture, music, or poetry; the economist, if you ask him, will tell you that it is work, production, co-operation, living together, functioning as a group, as society; and if you ask the religionist he will tell you the purpose of life is to seek and to realize God, to live according to the laws laid down by teachers, prophets, saviours, and that by living according to their laws and edicts you may realize that truth which is God. Each specialist gives you his answer about the purpose of life, and according to your temperament, fancies and imagination you begin to establish these purposes, these ends, as your ideals.
Such ideals and ends have become merely a haven of refuge because you use them to guide and protect yourself in this turmoil. So you begin to use these ideals to measure your experiences, to inquire into the conditions of your environment. You begin, without the desire to understand or to fulfil, merely to inquire into the purpose of environment; and in discovering that purpose, according to your conditioning, your preconceptions, you merely avoid the conflict of living without understanding. So mind has divided life into ideals, purposes, culminations, attainments, ends; and turmoil, conflict, disturbance, disharmony; and you, yourself, the self-consciousness. That is, mind has separated life into these three divisions. You are caught up in turmoil and so through this turmoil, this conflict, this disturbance which is but sorrow, you work towards an end, a purpose. You wade through, plough through this turmoil to the goal, to the end, to the haven of refuge, to the attainment of the ideal; and these ideals, ends, refuges have been designed by economic, religious and spiritual experts.
12th Public Talk 1st July, 1934