Tuesday, September 09, 2008


“Another form of conditioning is that of comparison. One compares oneself with what one thinks is noble or heroic, with what one would like to be, as opposed to what one is. The comparative pursuit is a form of conditioning; again, it is extraordinarily subtle. I compare myself with somebody who is a little more intelligent, or more beautiful physically. Secretly or openly, there is a constant soliloquy, talking to oneself in terms of comparison. Observe this in yourself. Where there is comparison, there is a form of aggression in the feeling of achievement; or, when you cannot achieve, there is a sense of frustration and a feeling of inferiority. From childhood we are educated to compare. Our educational system is based on comparison, on the giving of marks, on examinations. In comparing yourself with somebody who is cleverer, there is envy, jealousy, and all the conflict that ensures. Comparison implies measurement; I am measuring myself against something I think is better or nobler.

“One asks: can the mind ever be free of this social and cultural conditioning, of the mind measuring and comparing, the conditioning of fear and pleasure, of reward and punishment? The whole of our moral and religious structures are based on this. Why is it that we are conditioned? We see the outward influences which are conditioning us, and the inward voluntary demand to be conditioned. Why do we accept this conditioning? Why has the mind allowed itself to be conditioned? What is the factor behind it all? Why do I, born in a certain country and culture – calling myself a Hindu, with all the superstition and tradition imposed by the family, the society – accept such conditioning? What is the urge that lies behind this? What is the factor that is constantly demanding and acquiescing, yielding to or resisting this conditioning?

“One can see that one wants to be safe and secure in the community, which is following a certain pattern. If one does not follow the pattern, one may lose one’s job, be without money, not be regarded as a respectable human being. There is a revolt against that, and that revolt forms its own conditioning – which all the young people are going through now. One must find out what is the urge that makes one conform. Unless one discovers it for oneself, one will always be conditioned one way or the other, positively or negatively. From the moment one is born until one dies, the process goes on. One may revolt against it, one may try to escape into another conditioning, withdrawing into a monastery – as do the people who devote their life to contemplation, to philosophy – but it is the same movement right through. What is the machinery that is in constant movement, adjusting itself to various forms of conditioning?

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