Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Buenos Aires, Argentina | 2nd Public Talk 15th July, 1935

Question: It is clear to me that you are determined to destroy all our cherished ideals. If these are destroyed, will not civilization collapse and man return to savagery?

Krishnamurti: First of all, I cannot destroy your ideals which you have created. If I could destroy them, you would create others in their place and so be prisoners to these. What we have to find out is, not whether by destruction of ideals there is going to be savagery, but whether ideals really help man to live completely, intelligently. Is there not savagery, chaos, misery, exploitation, war, in spite of your ideals, religions and closed morality? So let us find out whether ideals are a help or a hindrance. To understand this, your mind must not be prejudiced or on the defensive.

When we talk about ideals, we mean those points of light by which we seek to guide ourselves across the confusion and mystery of life. That is what we mean by ideals: those future conceptions which will help man to direct himself across the chaos of present existence.

The subtle desire for ideals and their permanence indicates that you want to cross the ocean of life without suffering. As you do not fully comprehend the present, you desire to have guides in the form of ideals. So you say, "As life is such a conflict, as there is so much misery and suffering in it, ideals will give me encouragement, hope." Thus ideals become an escape from the present. Your mind and heart are crippled and burdened by them, giving you a subtle means of escape from the ever living present, thus covering up and dodging the conflict and the suffering of the now. So gradually you come to live in theories and cannot understand the actuality.

Let me take an example which I hope will make my meaning clear. As Christians you profess to love your neighbours: that is the ideal. Now what is happening in actuality? Love doesn't exist, but we have fear, domination, cruelty, and all the horrors and absurdities of nationalism and war. In theory it is one thing, and in fact it is quite the opposite. But if you put aside for the moment your ideals and really confront the actual; if instead of living in a romantic future you face without illusion that which is ever taking place, giving your whole mind and heart to it, then you will act and know the movement of reality.

Now, you are confusing actuality with theories. You have to separate the actual from the theoretical, from hopes and longings. When you are confronted with the actual, there is action; but if you escape into ideals, into the security of illusion, then you will not act. The greater the ideal, the greater is its power to hold man in an illusion, in a prison. it is only in understanding life, with all its suffering, joy and deep movement that the mind can free itself from illusions and ideals. When the mind is crippled with hopes and longings which become ideals, it cannot understand the present. But when the mind begins to free itself from these future hopes and illusions, then action will awaken that intelligence which is life itself, the ever-becoming.

Tags: escape, suffering

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