Tuesday, September 09, 2008

1. KRISHNAMURTI on Violence and Other Matters

[LIVING IN AN INSANE WORLD is a selection of passages from books and discussion groups with J. KRISHNAMURTI. From that, in turn, I have tried to make a finer selection]:

“Most of us take a pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or a group of people, having antagonistic feelings about others. There is a certain pleasure in this, which I think most of us are aware of. But I don’t think we realize that there is a far greater state of mind in which all violence of any sort has come to an end. In that there is far more joy than in the mere pleasure of violence with its conflicts, with its hatred and fears. So if we are at all serious we should by discussing, by the exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings, we should discover whether it is at all possible totally to end every form of violence. I think it is possible and yet to live in this world, in this monstrous brutal world of violence.

“We took a part of this violence, which is anger, and we were trying to find out how to meet it without suppressing it, sublimating it, or accepting it. We said that it is quite an art to look at anger without any justification or condemnation. To look at ourselves without accepting or denying, to see ourselves exactly as we are, is quite a difficult thing to do, and therefore one has to learn how to look. If one knows how to look at violence outwardly in society – wars, riots, the nationalistic antagonisms, the class conflicts – then perhaps we can observe violence in ourselves: sexual, ambition, aggression, the violence of defending oneself. Then perhaps we shall be able to go beyond it.”

“If I do not know not to analyze, how to look, I cannot come upon the other. I cannot have this total perception if I don’t know how to look. My mind has been trained for generations to analyze; it is extremely arduous to realize that analysis in any form doesn’t lead anywhere. But I must know how to analyze; otherwise I cannot come upon the other. This means, in the very process of analysis my mind becomes extraordinarily sharp, and it is that quality of sharpness, attention, seriousness that will give a total perception. You see, we are so eager to get the total, to see the whole thing in one glance. But we haven’t the eyes to look. It is only possible to have that clarity if I can see the detail and then jump.

“Nationalism, with its unfortunate patriotism, is really a glorified form, an ennobled form, of tribalism. In a small tribe or in a very large tribe there is a sense of being together, having the same language, the same superstitions, the same kind of political, religious system. And one feels safe, protected, happy, comforted. And for that safety, comfort, we are willing to kill others who have the same kind of desire to be safe, to feel protected, to belong to something. This terrible desire to identify oneself with a group, with a flag, with a religious ritual and so on, gives us the feeling that we have roots, that we are not homeless wanderers. There is the desire, the urge, to find one’s roots.”

“This separative spirit of nationalism is spreading like fire all over the world. Patriotism is cultivated and cleverly exploited by those who are seeking further expansion, wider powers, greater enrichment; and each one of us takes part in this process, for we also desire these things. Conquering other lands and other people provides new markets for goods as well as for political and religious ideologies.”

“Nationalism, the patriotic spirit, class and race consciousness are all ways of the self, and therefore separative. After all, what is a nation but a group of individuals living together for economic and self-protective reasons? Out of fear and acquisitive self-defense arises the idea of ‘my country,’ with its boundaries and tariff walls, rendering brotherhood and the unity of man [woman] [The Human] impossible.

“The desire to gain and to hold, the longing to be identified with something greater than ourselves creates the spirit of nationalism; and nationalism breeds war. In every country the government, encouraged by organized religion, is upholding nationalism and the separative spirit. Nationalism is a disease, and it can never bring about world unity. We can not attain health through disease, we must first free ourselves from the disease.”

“Organized religions, with their temporal and spiritual authority, are equally incapable of bringing peace to man, for they also are the outcome of our ignorance and fear, of our make-believe and egotism.”

“If you change, it will affect the whole of mankind.”

“There is really a very important and urgent question; whether man [woman] [a human], you, can bring about this change in yourself – not say, ‘If I change, will it have any value? Won’t it be just a drop in a vast lake and have no effect at all? What is the point of my changing?’ That is a wrong question. It is wrong because you are the rest of mankind. You are the world, you are not separate from the world. You are not an American, Russian, Hindu, or Muslim. You are apart from these labels and words; you are the rest of mankind because your consciousness, your reactions are similar to the others. You may speak a different language, have different customs, which is superficial culture – all cultures apparently are superficial – but your consciousness, your reactions, your faith, your beliefs, your ideologies, your fears, anxieties, loneliness, sorrow, and pleasure are similar to the rest of mankind. If you change, it will affect the whole of mankind.”

“When we remove the division between the ‘me’ and the ‘you,’ the we’ and the ‘they,’ what happens. Only then, and not before, can one perhaps use the word ‘love.’ And love is that most extraordinary thing that takes place when there is no ‘me’ with its circle or wall.”

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