Ojai, California | 7th Public Talk 24th June, 1934
What is individuality? When you say, "I am an individual", what do you mean by it? I think you mean by that - without giving subtle philosophical or metaphysical explanations - you mean by individuality, the consciousness of separation, and the expression of that separate consciousness which you call self-expression. That is, individuality is that full recognition, full consciousness of separate thought, separate emotion, limited and held in the bondage of environment; and the expression of that limited thought and of that limited feeling, which are the same essentially, he calls his self-expression. This self-expression of the individual, which is but the consciousness of separation. is either forced and compelled by circumstances to take some particular channel of action; or, in spite of circumstances, expresses intelligence, which is creative living. That is, as an individual he has become conscious of his separative action, is compelled, forced, circumscribed, urged to function along some particular channel which he does not choose at all. Most people are forced into work, activities, vocations for which they are not at all suited. They spend the rest of their existence in battling against these circumstances and so waste all their energies in struggle, pain, suffering, and occasionally in pleasure. Or a man pierces through the limitations of environment because he understands its full significance, and lives intelligently, creatively, whether in the world of art, music, science, or of professions, without the sense of separation through expression.