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Choiceless Awareness

New Delhi Radio Talk 6th November, 1948

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.

Choiceless Awareness

New Delhi Radio Talk 6th November, 1948

Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. Choiceless Awareness. What can the average decent man do to put an end to our communal problem?

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