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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

What Is Right Action?

University of Montevideo
Public Talk 6th July, 1935

Friends, to bring about a mass action there must be individual awakening; otherwise, the mass merely becomes an instrument in the hands of the few for the purpose of exploitation. So either you lend yourself to be exploited, or you begin to awaken true intelligence. which is to live completely. fully, with out exploitation.

Now, what is it that will awaken the individual from his self satisfied, egotistic accumulations? The continual process of awakening the mind from its own limitations is true experience. When there is this action of experience on a limited mind, the awakening is called suffering. For most of us, the desire to cling to certainties, securities, to habits of thought, to traditions, is so great that anything which comes to shake us out of that groove of safety, out of those established values, thus creating insecurity, we call suffering. When there is suffering. there is an intense craving to escape from it, and so the mind creates further illusory values that are satisfying and consoling. These values are established through defensive reaction against intelligence. What we call values, moralities, are really based on this self-defensive reaction against the movement of life. To these values mind has become an unconscious slave.

We have ideals, values, traditions, in which we are constantly taking shelter where there is conflict or suffering. intelligence, which is perception of the false and which is awakened through suffering, is again put to sleep by establishing other sets of values which will live in an illusory comfort. So we move from one illusion to another. There must be constant conflict and suffering till the mind is free from all illusions, till there is creative intelligence.

Question: Is it one of the duties of teachers to show children that war in any of its forms is inherently wrong?

Krishnamurti: What would happen to a teacher who really taught the whole significance and stupidity of war? He would soon be without a job. So, knowing that, he begins to compromise. (Laughter) You all laugh, you say it is perfectly true, but you are the very people who are maintaining this whole system of thought. If you really humanly felt the ugliness and cruelty of war, you as individuals would not contribute to all the steps leading up to nationalism and eventually to war. After all, war is merely the result of a system based on exploitation, on acquisitiveness. We hope by some miracle that this whole system will change. We do not want to act individually, voluntarily, freely, but we are waiting for a system to be created by others in which individually we will have no responsibility. If that happens, we shall merely become slaves to another system. If a teacher really feels that he must not teach war, because he understands the full significance of it, then he will act. A man who deeply and intelligently feels the cruelty of a thing in itself will act and not consider what will happen to him. (Applause)

Question: What should be the real purpose of education?

Krishnamurti: If you think that man is nothing but a machine, clay to be moulded, to be shaped according to a particular pattern, then you must have ruthless compulsion, rigorous discipline; for then you do not want to awaken individual intelligence, creative thinking, but you merely want the individual to be conditioned for a particular system. That is what is happening throughout the world, in some cases subtly, in others in a gross form. You see compulsion in various forms exercised over human beings, thus gradually destroying their intelligence, their fulfillment.

Most of you who are religiously inclined, and who talk about God and immortality, do not fundamentally believe in individual fulfillment, for in the very structure of religious thought, through fear, you allow compulsion and imposition. Either there must be individual fulfillment, or the complete mechanization of man. There cannot be compromise between the two. You cannot say that man must fit into a pattern, must comply, follow, obey, have authority, and at the same time think that he is a spiritual entity.

Once you begin to understand the deep significance of human life, then there will be true education. But to understand this, mind must free itself from authority and tradition by discerning their true significance. The superficial questions concerning this will be answered when you delve profoundly into all the subtleties of authority. there must inevitably be the subtle and gross form of compulsion when the mind is seeking security, safety. So a mind that would liberate itself from compulsion must not seek the limitation of security, certainty. To understand the deep significance of authority and compulsion. you need very delicate and careful thought.

Question: You deny authority, but are you not creating authority too, by all you have to say or teach to the world, even if you insist that people must not recognize any authority? How can you prevent people from following you as their authority? Can you help it?

Krishnamurti: If a man desires to obey and to follow someone, no one can prevent him; but it is most unintelligent, leading to great unhappiness and frustration. If those of you who are listening to me really begin to think deeply about authority, you will not follow anyone, including myself. But as I said, it is much easier to follow and to imitate than to really free thought from the limitation of fear and so from compulsion and authority. The one is an easy giving over of oneself to another, in which there is always the idea of getting something in return, whereas in the other there is absolute insecurity; and as people prefer the illusion of comfort, security, they follow authority with its frustration. But if the mind discerns the illusory nature of comfort or security, there is born intelligence, the new, the vital life.

Question: A person who is religiously minded but who has the power to think deeply may lose his religious faith after listening to you. but if his fear remains, what advantage will that be for him?

Krishnamurti: What creates faith in man? Fundamentally, fear. You say, "If I get rid of faith, then I shall be left with fear, and so have gained nothing." So you prefer to live in an illusion, clinging to its phantasies. in order to escape from fear, you create faith. Now when through deep thinking you dissolve faith, then you are face to face with fear. Then only can you resolve the cause of fear. When all the avenues of escape have been thoroughly understood and destroyed, then you are face to face with the root of fear: only then can the mind liberate itself from the clutch of fear.

When there is fear, then religions and authorities, which you have created in your search for security, offer you the opiate which you call faith, or the love of God. Thus you merely cover up fear, which expresses itself in hidden and subtle ways. So you continue rejecting old faiths and accepting new ones; but the real poison, the root of fear, is never dissolved. As long as there is that limited consciousness, the "I", there must be fear. Until the mind liberates itself from this limited consciousness, fear must remain in one form or another.

Question: Do you think it is possible to solve social problems by transforming the state into an all-powerful machine in every field of human endeavour, having one man rule supreme over the state and the nation? In other words, has Fascism any useful feature in it? Or is it rather to be fought against, as war must be, as an enemy of man's highest welfare?

Krishnamurti: If in any organization there exist class or hierarchical distinctions based on acquisitiveness, then such an organization will be an impediment to man. How can there be the well-being of man if your attitude towards life is nationalistic, class-conscious or acquisitive? Because of this, people are divided into nations ruled by sovereign governments which create wars. As possessiveness and nationalism divide, so religions with their beliefs and dogmas separate people. So long as these exist, there must be divisions, wars. disputes and conflicts.

To understand any of these problems. we must think anew, which demands great suffering; and as very few are willing to go through that, we accept political parties, with their jargon, and think that thereby we are dissolving the fundamental problems.