Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Madras, India | Public Talk 2nd November, 1947

Question: In a recent article by a famous correspondent it was stated that wisdom and personal example do not solve the world's problem. What do you say?

Krishnamurti: As there are many things involved in this particular question we must analyse it carefully. First of all we are persuaded or told what to think by famous correspondents, because correspondents, like you, have axes to grind. So, being very clever and good at words the correspondent writes and we read because we are educated, and what we read becomes the truth. We have stopped thinking but we absorb and so, famous correspondents become very important in our daily activities, also what they think and what they do. First of all, we should be aware of everything; one has to be extremely alert, not to absorb other people's ideas and demands. The correspondent says that wisdom and personal examples are not enough to solve the world's problem. Neither do I think wisdom and personal example will save the world. The correspondent asks invariably for political action either of the left or of the right, based on a certain set of ideals, religious, economic or social.

Now, what does personal example mean? invariably it leads to imitation. You have an ideal and you conform to it and naturally conformity, imitation, regimentation of thought can never solve the world's problems. Therefore personal example in a great crisis becomes of very little significance. Wisdom cannot be realized through personal example. Wisdom is a thing that is living, real and constantly moving. It is not in a fixed place; it is not learned through books. What is necessary at the present time is not example, but revolution in thinking, creative thinking. And that revolution cannot take place or be gained by following a few leaders. It can only be gained through you, the individual. So neither personal example, nor political action based on a system or on an authority is going to save the world. That has been tried over and over again. Man puts his faith in a system, in the party, in a leader and each one of these has invariably failed. We merely returned to the exploitation of man in a different form, in different degrees, on a different level. Whether the State exploits man or man exploits man is all the same. The problem is not solved by the State or by examples.

The problem is our problem, because we no longer think creatively, but are following patterns, in a regimented way. We have brought about this world chaos and therefore personal example can never save mankind.

So there must be a creative revolution in thinking and that is extremely difficult. And because it is difficult we look to somebody else, to the example, to the leader. What do I mean by creative thinking? Do we think at all or do we merely respond to a certain set of conditions? Is that thinking? Because you are a Hindu, you are conditioned in a certain manner or if a Muslim, a Buddhist, or what ever it be, your response is to that particular conditioning. Surely that is not thinking. You have a certain conditioning and you respond to that. You think that you are thinking. There can be revolution in thinking only when the man is free from conditioning, not only the conscious conditioning, but the many layers of consciousness in which conditioning exists and to become liberated from that conditioning is revolutionary thinking. And that means you have to cease to be a Brahmin or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Christian. You have to transcend all fallacies, class divisions and that is the problem now. I know you will easily agree with me in all this. You will shake your head in assent. You will probably come next Sunday and the many following Sundays and yet you will go on in the same routine because you are conditioned. If you do change, what will your neighbours say! You might even lose your job and therefore you will go on shaking your head and the world will go on more and more miserably and you will go on talking about changing the world.

So the start is not in the world of which you are unaware, but in you. The world's problem can be solved if you are aware of the catastrophe and the misery in yourself, the confusion which exists in you and therefore in the world. Political action is comparatively easy. To organize the distribution of food for mankind is comparatively easy. There is a need to clothe man, shelter him and give him food. We all know that. Every school boy knows it. But what is the result? It is merely book knowledge. Because the boy is conditioned, because he cannot free himself from his conditioning, it remains merely book knowledge without action. That is why, we must break through our conditioning and all the degradations, the degenerative qualities that exist. I assure you that is the only way out, and that also means that personal examples are of very little significance in a world crisis of this kind, but what is of the highest importance is what you are, your thinking, your feeling, your action now.

Tags: conditioning, thinking

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