Think on These Things
This Matter of Culture Chapter 12
WE HAVE BEEN discussing the question of revolt within the prison: how all reformers, idealists, and others who are incessantly active in producing certain results, are always revolting within the walls of their own conditioning, within the walls of their own social structure, within the cultural pattern of civilization which is an expression of the collective will of the many. I think it would now be worth while if we could see what confidence is and how it comes about.
Through initiative there comes about confidence; but initiative within the pattern only brings self-confidence, which is entirely different from confidence without the self. Do you know what it means to have confidence? If you do something with your own hands, if you plant a tree and see it grow, if you paint a picture, or write a poem, or, when you are older, build a bridge or run some administrative job extremely well, it gives you confidence that you are able to do something. But, you see, confidence as we know it now is always within the prison, the prison which society - whether communist, Hindu, or Christian - has built around us. Initiative within the prison does create a certain confidence, because you feel you can do things: you can design a motor, be a very good doctor, an excellent scientist, and so on. But this feeling of confidence which comes with the capacity to succeed within the social structure, or to reform, to give more light, to decorate the interior of the prison is really self-confidence; you know you can do something, and you feel important in doing it, Whereas, when through investigating, through understanding, you break away from the social structure of which you are a part, there comes an entirely different kind of confidence which is without the sense of self-importance; and if we can understand the difference between these two - between self-confidence, and confidence without the self - I think it will have great significance in our life.
When you play a game very well, like badminton, cricket, or football, you have a certain sense of confidence, have you not? It gives you the feeling that you are pretty good at it. If you are quick at solving mathematical problems, that also breeds a sense of self-assurance. When confidence is born of action within the social structure, there always goes with it a strange arrogance, does there not? The confidence of a man who can do things, who is capable of achieving results, is always coloured by this arrogance of the self, the feeling, "It is I who do it". So, in the very act of achieving a result, of bringing about a social reform within the prison, there is the arrogance of the self, the feeling that I have done it, that my ideal is important, that my group has succeeded. This sense of the `me' and the `mine' always goes with the confidence that expresses itself within the social prison.
Have you not noticed how arrogant idealists are? The political leaders who bring about certain results, who achieve great reforms - have you not noticed that they are full of themselves, puffed up with their ideals and their achievements? In their own estimation they are very important. Read a few of the political speeches, watch some of these people who call themselves reformers, and you will see that in the very process of reformation they are cultivating their own ego; their reforms, however extensive, are still within the prison, therefore they are destructive and ultimately bring more misery and conflict to man.
Now, if you can see through this whole social structure, the cultural pattern of the collective will which we call civilization - if you can understand all that and break away from it, break through the prison walls of your particular society, whether Hindu, communist, or Christian, then you will find that there comes a confidence which is not tainted with the sense of arrogance. It is the confidence of innocence. It is like the confidence of a child who is so completely innocent he will try anything. It is this innocent confidence that will bring about a new civilization; but this innocent confidence cannot come into being as long as you remain within the social pattern.
Please do listen to this carefully. The speaker is not in the least important, but it is very important for you to understand the truth of what is being said. After all, that is education, is it not? The function of education is not to make you fit into the social pattern; on the contrary, it is to help you to understand completely, deeply, fully and thereby break away from the social pattern, so that you are an individual without that arrogance of the self, but you have confidence because you are really innocent.
Is it not a great tragedy that almost all of us are only concerned either with how to fit into society, or how to reform it? Have you noticed that most of the questions you have asked reflect this attitude? You are saying, in effect, "How can I fit into society? What will my father and mother say, and what will happen to me if I don't?" Such an attitude destroys whatever confidence, whatever initiative you have. And you leave school and college like so many automatons, highly efficient perhaps, but without any creative flame. That is why it is so important to understand the society, the environment in which one lives, and, in that very process of understanding, break away from it.
You see, this is a problem all over the world. Man is seeking a new response, a new approach to life, because the old ways are decaying, whether in Europe, in Russia, or here. Life is a continual challenge, and merely to try to bring about a better economic order is not a total response to that challenge, which is always new; and when cultures, peoples, civilizations are incapable of responding totally to the challenge of the new, they are destroyed.
Unless you are properly educated, unless you have this extraordinary confidence of innocence, you are inevitably going to be absorbed by the collective and lost in mediocrity. You will put some letters after your name, you will be married, have children, and that will be the end of you.
You see, most of us are frightened. Your parents are frightened, your educators are frightened, the governments and religions are frightened of your becoming a total individual, because they all want you to remain safely within the prison of environmental and cultural influences. But it is only the individuals who break through the social pattern by understanding it, and who are therefore not bound by the conditioning of their own minds - it is only such people who can bring about a new civilization, not the people who merely conform, or who resist one particular pattern because they are shaped by another. The search for God or truth does not lie within the prison, but rather in understanding the prison and breaking through its walls - and this very movement towards freedom creates a new culture, a different world.
Questioner: Sir, why do we want to have a companion?
Krishnamurti: A girl asks why we want a companion. Why does one want a companion? Can you live alone in this world without a husband or a wife, without children, without friends? Most people cannot live alone, therefore they need companions. It requires enormous intelligence to be alone; and you must be alone to find God, truth. It is nice to have a companion, a husband or a wife, and also to have babies; but you see, we get lost in all that, we get lost in the family, in the job, in the dull, monotonous routine of a decaying existence. We get used to it, and then the thought of living alone becomes dreadful, something to be afraid of. Most of us have put all our faith in one thing, all our eggs in one basket, and our lives have no richness apart from our companions, apart from our families and our jobs. But if there is a richness in one's life - not the richness of money or knowledge, which anyone can acquire, but that richness which is the movement of reality with no beginning and no ending - then companionship becomes a secondary matter.
But, you see, you are not educated to be alone. Do you ever go out for a walk by yourself? It is very important to go out alone, to sit under a tree - not with a book, not with a companion, but by yourself - and observe the falling of a leaf, hear the lapping of the water, the fisherman's song, watch the flight of a bird, and of your own thoughts as they chase each other across the space of your mind. If you are able to be alone and watch these things, then you will discover extraordinary riches which no government can tax, no human agency can corrupt, and which can never be destroyed. Questioner: Is it your hobby to give lectures? Don't you get tired of talking? Why are you doing it?
Krishnamurti: I am glad you asked that question. You know, if you love something, you never get tired of it - I mean love in which there is no seeking of a result, no wanting something out of it. When you love something, it is not self-fulfilment, therefore there is no disappointment, there is no end. Why am I doing this? You might as well ask why the rose blooms, why the jasmine gives its scent, or why the bird flies.
You see, I have tried not talking, to find out what happens if I don't talk. That is all right too. Do you understand? If you are talking because you are getting something out of it - money, a reward, a sense of your own importance - then there is weariness, then your talking is destructive, it has no meaning because it is only self-fulfilment; but if there is love in your heart, and your heart is not filled with the things of the mind, then it is like a fountain, like a spring that is timelessly giving fresh water.
Questioner: When I love a person and he gets angry, why is his anger so intense?
Krishnamurti: First of all, do you love anybody? Do you know what it is to love? It is to give completely your mind your heart, your whole being and not ask a thing in return not put out a begging bowl to receive love. Do you understand? When there is that kind of love, is there anger? And why do we get angry when we love somebody with the ordinary, so-called love? It is because we are not getting something we expect from that person, is it not? I love my wife or husband, my son or daughter, but the moment they do something `wrong' I get angry. Why?
Why does the father get angry with his son or daughter? Because he wants the child to be or do something, to fit into a certain pattern, and the child rebels. Parents try to fulfil, to immortalize themselves through their property, through their children and, when the child does something of which they disapprove, they get violently angry. They have an ideal of what the child should be, and through that ideal they are ful- filling themselves; and they get angry when the child does not fit into the pattern which is their fulfilment.
Have you noticed how angry you sometimes get with a friend of yours? It is the same process going on. You are expecting something from him, and when that expectation is not fulfilled you are disappointed - which means, really, that inwardly, psychologically you are depending on that person. So wherever there is psychological dependence, there must be frustration; and frustration inevitably breeds anger, bitterness, jealousy, and various other forms of conflict. That is why it is very important, especially while you are young, to love something with your whole being - a tree, an animal, your teacher, your parent - for then you will find out for yourself what it is to be without conflict, without fear.
But you see, the educator is generally concerned about himself, he is caught up in his personal worries about his family, his money, his position. He has no love in his heart, and this is one of the difficulties in education. You may have love in your heart, because to love is a natural thing when one is young; but it is soon destroyed by the parents, by the educator, by the social environment. To maintain that innocence, that love which is the perfume of life, is extraordinarily arduous; it requires a great deal of intelligence, insight.
Questioner: How can the mind go beyond its hindrances?
Krishnamurti: To go beyond its hindrances, the mind must first be aware of them, must it not? You must know the limitations, the boundaries, the frontiers of your own mind; but very few of us know them. We say that we do, but it is merely a verbal assertion. We never say, "Here is a barrier, a bondage within me, and I want to understand it; therefore I am going to be cognizant of it, see how it came into being and the whole nature of it". If one knows what the disease is, there is a possibility of curing it. But to know the disease, to know the particular limitation, bondage or hindrance of the mind, and to understand it, one must not condemn it, one must not say it is right or wrong. One must observe it without having an opinion, a prejudice about it - which is extraordinarily difficult, because we are brought up to condemn.
To understand a child, there must be no condemnation. To condemn him has no meaning. You have to watch him when he is playing, crying, eating, you have to observe him in all his moods; but you cannot do this if you say he is ugly, he is stupid, he is this or that. Similarly, if one can watch the hindrances of the mind, not only the superficial hindrances but also the deeper hindrances in the unconscious - watch them without condemnation - then the mind can go beyond them; and that very going beyond is a movement towards truth.
Questioner: Why has God created so many men and women in the world?
Krishnamurti: Why do you take it for granted that God has created us? There is a very simple explanation: the biological instinct. Instinct, desire, passion, lust are all part of life. If you say, "Life is God", then that is a different matter. Then God is everything, including passion, lust, envy, fear. All these factors have gone to produce in the world an overwhelming number of men and women, so there is the problem of overpopulation, which is one of the curses of this land. But you see, this problem is not so easily solved. There are various urges and compulsions which man is heir to and, without understanding that whole complex process, merely to try to regulate the birth rate has not much significance. We have made a mess of this world, each one of us, because we don't know what living is. Living is not this tawdry, mediocre, disciplined thing which we call our existence. Living is something entirely different; it is abundantly rich, timelessly changing, and as long as we don't understand that eternal movement, our lives are bound to have very little meaning.
Think on These Things
This Matter of Culture Chapter 12
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