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Ojai, 2nd meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 10th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th May 1980 'Violence'

Question: How can we take responsibility for what is happening in the world while continuing to function in our daily life? What is right action with regard to violence and when faced with violence?

Is that which is happening in the world outside different from that which is happening inside? In the world there is violence, extraordinary turmoil, crisis after crisis. There are wars, division of nationalities, religious differences, racial and communal differences, one set of systematized concepts against another. Is that different from what is going on inside us? We are also violent, we are also full of vanity, terribly dishonest, putting on different masks for different occasions.

So it is one movement like the tide going out and the tide coming in. We human beings have created what is going on outside and that cannot possibly be changed unless we human beings change. That is the root of it. We want to do something in the world, have better institutions, better governments etc, but we never say we have created that. Unless we change that cannot change. After the millions of years we have lived, we are just the same. We have not changed fundamentally and we continue to create havoc in the world.

The fact is, one is the world; not as an idea but actually. Do you see the difference between the idea and the actuality? One has heard the statement that one is the world and one makes an idea, an abstraction of it. And then one discusses the idea, whether it is true, or false and one has lost it. But the fact is, one is the world; it is so.

So one is responsible for changing it. That means, one is responsible, completely, for the way one lives one's daily life. Not try to modify the chaos that is going on, decorate it or join this group or that group or institution, but as a human being, who is the world, go through a radical transformation oneself; otherwise there can be no good society.

Most of us find it difficult to change, to give up smoking, for example. There are institutions that will help one not to smoke! See how one depends on institutions. So, can one find out why one does not change, why one does not, when one sees something wrong - `wrong' in quotes - end it, immediately? Is it that one hopes that somebody else will bring order in the world and then one can just slip into it? Is it that we are indolent, psychologically lazy, ineffectual?

How many years one spends in acquiring certain techniques, going through high school, college, university, becoming a doctor, yet one will not spend a day to bring about a change in oneself.

So one's responsibility is to bring about a radical change in oneself, because one is the rest of humanity.

The next question is: What is right action with regard to violence and when faced with violence? Violence is anger, hatred, conformity, irritation, obedience. The denial of all that is the opposite of that. Is it possible to be free of the violence that is part of one's life, inherited, probably from the animal - not relatively free, but completely free? That means to be free of anger; it means, not only to be free of anger, but to have no anger in the mind. Or, to be free of conformity - not outward conformity, but conformity through comparison. One is always comparing, psychologically - I was, I will be, or I am, something. A mind which is always comparing, judging, is aggressive. If the mind is free from imitation, conformity and comparison then from that there is right action.

Can the mind be absolutely free of all violence? If it is, then when it meets violence, what is its response? If one meets violence, face to face, what is the action that takes place? Can one judge what one is going to do when one meets it? The brain when faced with violence, undergoes a rapid chemical change; it reacts much quicker than the blow. One's whole body reacts and there is immediate response; one may not hit back, but the very presence of anger or hatred causes this response and there is action.

In the presence of a person who is angry see what takes place if one is aware of it and does not respond. The moment one is aware of the other person's anger and one does not react oneself, there is quite a different response. One's instinct is to respond to hate by hate, to anger by anger, there is the welling up chemically which creates in the system the nervous reactions; but quieten all this in the presence of anger, and a different action takes place.

Questions and Answers

Ojai, 2nd meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 10th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th May 1980 'Violence'

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