Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jiddu Krishnamurti - The world is in confusion and misery


The world is in confusion and misery, and every nation, including
India, is looking for a way out of this conflict, this mounting
sorrow. Though India has gained so-called freedom, she is caught
in the turmoil of exploitation, like every other people; communal
and caste antagonisms are rife, and though she is not as advanced
as the West in technological matters, yet she is faced like the rest
of the world with problems that no politician, no economist or
reformer, however great, is able to solve. She seems to be so
completely overwhelmed by the unexpected problems confronting
her, that she is willing to sacrifice, for immediate ends, the
essential values and the cumulative understanding of man's
struggle. India is giving her heart over to the glittering and
glamorous pomp of a modern State. Surely this is not freedom.
India's problem is the world problem, and merely to look to the
world for the solution of her problem is to avoid the understanding
of the problem itself. Though India has been, in ancient times, a
source of great action, merely to look to that past, to breathe the
dead air of things that have been, does not bring about creative
understanding of the present. Till we understand this aching
present there can be no resolution of any human problem, and
merely to escape into the past or into the future is utterly vain.
The present crisis, which is obviously unprecedented, demands
an entirely new approach to the problem of our existence.
Throughout the world man is frustrated and in sorrow, for all the
avenues through which he has sought fulfilment have failed him.
So, far, the diagnosis and the remedy of this problem have been left
to the specialists, and all specialization denies integrated action.
We have divided life into departments, and each department has its
own expert; and to these experts we have handed over our life, to
be shaped according to the pattern of their choice. We have
therefore lost all sense of individual responsibility, and this
irresponsibility denies self-confidence. The lack of confidence in
oneself is the outcome of fear, and we try to cover up this fear
through so-called collective action, through the search for
immediate results, or through the sacrifice of the present for a
future Utopia. Confidence comes with action which is fully thought
out and felt out.
Because we have allowed ourselves to become irresponsible, we
have bred confusion, and out of our confusion we have chosen
leaders who are themselves confused. This has led us to despair, to
a deep and aching frustration; it has emptied our hearts, which do
not respond eagerly and swiftly, and therefore we never find a new
approach to our problems. All that we seem able to do,
unfortunately, is to follow some leader, old or new, who promises
to take us to another world of hope. Instead of understanding our
own irresponsibility, we turn to some ideology or to some easily
recognizable social activity. It requires intelligence to perceive
clearly that the problem of existence is relationship, which must be
approached directly and simply. Because we do not understand
relationship, whether with the one or with the many, we look to the
expert for the solution of our problems; but it is vain to rely on the
specialists, for they cam only think within the pattern of their
conditioning. For the solution of this crisis, you and I must look to
ourselves - not as of the East or of the West, with a special culture
of our own, but as human beings.
Now, we are challenged by war, by race and class, and by
technology; and if our response to this challenge is not creatively
adequate, we shall have to face greater disaster and greater sorrow.
Our real difficulty is that we are so conditioned by our Eastern or
Western outlook, or by some cunning ideology, that it has become
almost impossible for us to think of the problem anew. You are
either an Englishman, an Indian, a Russian, or an American; and
you try to answer this challenge according to the pattern in which
you have been brought up. But these problems cannot be
adequately met as long as you are not free from your national,
social and political background or ideology; they can never be
solved according to any system, whether of the left or of the right.
The many human problems can be solved only, when you and I
understand our relationship to each other, and to the collective -
which is society. Nothing can live in isolation. To be, is to be
related; and because we refuse to see the truth of this our
relationships fraught with conflict and pain. We have avoided the
challenge by escaping into the abstraction called the mass. This
escape has no true significance, for the mass is you and I. It is a
fallacy to think in terms of the mass, for the mass is yourself in
relationship with another; and if you do not understand this
relationship, you become an amorphous entity exploited by the
politician, the priest, and the expert.
The ideological warfare that is going on at the present time has
its roots in the confusion which exists in your relationship with
another. War is obviously the spectacular and bloody expression of
your daily life. You create a society that represents you, and your
governments are the reflection of your own confusion and lack of
integration. Being unaware of this, you try to solve the problem of
war merely on the economic or the ideological level. War will exist
as long as there are nationalistic states with their sovereign
governments and frontiers. The gathering round a table of the
various national re- presentatives will in no way end war; for how
can there be goodwill as long as you cling to organized dogmas
called religion, as long as you remain nationalistic, with particular
ideologies backed up by fully armed sovereign governments? Until
you see these things as a hindrance to peace and realize their
cultivated falsehood, there can be no freedom from conflict,
confusion and antagonism; on the contrary, whatever you say or do
will contribute directly to war.
The class and racial divisions which are destroying man are the
outcome of the desire to be secure. Now, any kind of security,
except the physiological, is really insecurity. That is, the pursuit of
psychological security destroys physical security; and as long as
we seek psychological security, which creates an acquisitive
society, the needs of man can never be sanely and effectively
organized. The effective organization of man's needs is the real
function of technology; but when used for our psychological
security, technology becomes a curse. Technological knowledge is
intended for the use of man; but when the means have lost their
true significance and are misapplied, then they ride the man - the
machine becomes the master.
In this present civilization, man's happiness is lost because
technological knowledge is being used for the psychological
glorification of power. Power is the new religion, with its national
and political ideologies; and this new religion, the worship of the
State, has its own dogmas, priests and inquisitions. In this process,
the freedom and the happiness of man are completely denied, for
the means have become a way of postponing the end. But the
means are the end, the two cannot be separated; and because we
have separated them, we inevitably create a contradiction between
the means and the end.
As long as we use technological knowledge for the
advancement and glorification of the individual or of the group, the
needs of man can never be sanely and effectively organized. It is
this desire for psychological security through technological
advancement that is destroying the physical security of man. There
is sufficient scientific knowledge to feed, clothe and shelter man;
but the proper use of this knowledge is denied as long as there are
separative nationalities with their sovereign governments and
frontiers - which in turn give rise to class and racial strife. So, you
are responsible for the continuance of this conflict between man
and man. As long as you, the individual, are nationalistic and
patriotic, as long as you hold to political and social ideologies, you
are responsible for war, because your relationship with another can
only breed confusion and antagonism. Seeing the false as the false
is the beginning of wisdom, and it is this truth alone that can bring
happiness to you and so to the world.
As you are responsible for war, you must be responsible for
peace. Those who creatively feel this responsibility, must first free
themselves psychologically from the causes of war, and not merely
plunge into organizing political peace groups - which will only
breed further division and opposition.
Peace is not an idea opposed to war. Peace is a way of life; for
there can be peace only when everyday living is understood. It is
only this way of life that can effectively meet the challenge of war,
of class, and of everincreasing technological advancement. This
way of life is not the way of the intellect. The worship of the
intellect in opposition to life has led us all to our present
frustration, with its innumerable escapes. These escapes have
become far more important than the understanding of the problem
itself. The present crisis has come into being because of the
worship of the intellect, and it is the intellect that has divided life
into a series of opposing and contradictory actions; it is the
intellect that has denied the unifying factor which is love. The
intellect has filled the empty heart with the things of the mind; and
it is only when the mind is aware of its own reasoning and is able
to go beyond itself, that there can be the enrichment of the heart.
Only the incorruptible enrichment of the heart can bring peace to
this mad and battling world.

November 6, 1948

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